Monday, November 2, 2009

Fear Is In The Eye Of The Beholder pt 1

“He can have all the Cuban sandwiches, pork and beans, and other crap he wants! I'm doing a holy thing! I don't give a damn! I'm from Missouri! I'm staying right here! 6'5” of me's still drinking; if the Sheriff comes, I don't care, you know damn well I don't. Fuck off! I'm staying! I elected the Sheriff. Not a fucking thing he can do about cold turkey and shit. Jesus Christ almighty, I don't care who he is. Fuck him for interrupting me! Where the hell are all the Cuban sandwiches? That good Samaritan fucker took'em didn't he. Fuck him and the Sheriff!

The night is crashing down fast. Chet, the man ranting, stands swaying on the lanai of my friend Mara's apartment. I haven't known Chet very long. I brought him to this party and now there are only four of us left, including Chet, and the rest of us can't figure out what to do with him.

Chet and I had become drinking buddies solely because we were two of a handful of regulars at the Nite Owl Lounge, and the others were assholes. He and I have been spending more time together since his wife, Gorgeous Dolores, had left him. Dolores wasn't much to look at now, but in her youth she was stunning, as the photos Chet carries with him in his wallet attest. Chet likes to tell the story of how the two of them met. They were in their early twenties, Chet had just started working for an insurance agency, and Dolores was a newly wed secretary in the office. After much cajoling he got Dolores to agree to have a drink with him after work. The moon was full, the perfect first kiss was had and her husband Daniel Mankowski was soon to be a thing of the past. Chet had become a successful and respected insurance salesman, well off financially. He and Dolores were happy in their marriage. The years rolled on and Chet was no longer the man she had married. Chet found himself in his fifties and planning for a long happy retirement in a few years. That is until the company he worked for went under due to criminal acts of insurance fraud. Unemployed, embittered by the fact he'd spent his youth working for a company that was stealing from people like himself, and unable to find another insurance sales position, Chet hit the bottle hard. His dear Dolores rolled with it for a few years but when the money was gone and Chet had no plans to make more, Gorgeous Dolores left.

Tony, Mara, and myself are sitting on the couch trying to figure out what to do with Chet. He's too drunk to confront, and the three of us are too stoned to do any confronting anyway.

“I'm wishing he would go away. He's killing my buzz.” Mara says.

“Somebody's going to call the cops if he keeps this up. We need to at least get him inside.” Tony adds.

“I don't need this shit. The neighbors already don't like me. Fuck Gilbert, you need to get your friend out of here or at least shut him up.” Mara isn't messing around now. She's off the couch, pissed off, and demanding in a tone of voice that would scare anyone, that we get the fuck out.

Cajoling, arguing, and damn near a punch in the face is what it takes for me to get Chet in the car. I'm in no state to be dealing with this. Had Chet not started his drunken argument with the night, I would be upstairs on the couch, waiting until I was not so stoned to be driving us home. The the situation being what it is, and Mara and Tony wanting us out, I don't have much of a choice. I strap Chet into his seat and hope he will chill out and that I will be able to focus on driving and not babysitting the drunk bastard.

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