There was this old man (had to be in his late 70s) I used to work with at my first job. He was bald, had a faded navy seal tattooed on his forearm and smoked Lucky Strikes as if they were a life-source. His name was Vince; he worked in the plumbing department at H&E in Hesperia (a local hardware store that smelled like lumber, grease, soil and sweat. It was cooled by giant swamp coolers so everything felt moist. Every time the desert winds would blow into the store through the automatic doors you could feel your skin shrink under the contrast of environments. Most days I sat with him during lunch and he would tell stories of the war or some adventure he had while stationed in Europe. Although I could not tell which story was actually true he always had a message that went with each of his captivating chronicles.
My favorite story was about his good friend “James”. Now James was married, however he was not pleased with his wife. He would bark it up with Vince at the local tavern and tell these horrible stories about his wife. “She couldn’t care less about me – all she does is gripe about money and how useless I am!” This went on and on for several years but James never left, he just hoped that someday it would get better. It was a Saturday, the yard was mowed and the heavy scent of freshly cut grass filled the air. Vince decided to quench his thirst at the tavern before Marge (his wife of 20 years) got home. When he got to the tavern to his surprise he saw his pal James sitting at the bar. “I think she’s cheat’n on me Vince!!” James yelled with a drunken stagger. “Now hold on there Jimmy what’s the matter?” Vince kept the next Scotch from getting near James. “one of these days…I’ll leave her! I mean it!! – Now bug off I need some air!” James stumbled out the door to the blinding light of the sun. He then heard was sounded like a horn..but then it was too late. Without warning a bus that suffered a blown tire ran up the sidewalk and in an instant knocked the life out of James.
“That was it? That was the story?” I asked. Vince took a deep drag from his filter-less cigarette and sighed. “Now you see James hated his situation but he never left. The longer he stayed the more impossible it seemed to leave. Even when his wife took an interest to the pool guy, he never left. Til that one day a bus drove by and killed him. So if you are ever in a bad situation; leave as soon as you can, or you’ll never see the bus coming.”
Until Next Time.