I slammed through the door and headed to my usual seat at the bar. My hands were shaking. My head hurt. Every nerve was tingling and crying . My foot hurt -- the one that living in a garbage dump somewhere.
Rick was behind the bar, it was dave's night off. Rick always wanted to chat me up. I sure was not in the mood tonight. I held up three fingers when he looked at me. Rick raised his eyebrows and poured a triple whiskey in a highball glass. I gulped it down almost as soon as he set down the glass and pointed at the dregs. From my scowl Rick knew better than to comment. The booze exploded in my throat and stomach. A warmth spread through me. I lifted the second glass and looked at the mirror behind the bar through the amber liquid. I took a sip and let it roll around my tongue. I had an almost unbearable urge to punch something, anyone, anything.
Fifteen minutes later, the pressure in my head became pleasant. I almost felt like I was floating away from my body. My anger had dulled like an old kitchen knife. I pulled out my phone to call Kerry to tell her to keep her fingers off my stuff. Who does she think she is to take away my booze?
I didn't though. Instead I ordered another drink
I used to be a regional sales manager for a big multi-national corporation. They were really good about things when I missed so much work when Sarah was sick. They were less than thrilled when I missed two more months to have my leg cut off just below the knee. Company insurance bought my new foot, but my boss made a few hints I should retire on disability. I guess a cripple did not meet the company image. I ignored the hints.
The first DUI gave them the excuse. I traded the company a year's salary for my laptop, files, and a document promising not to sue. As a celebratory bonus I also got a second DUI. Kerry bailed me out.. Her brother, my only son Robert, provided the money. He suggested to me I needed to go to AA. I suggested he could save his ideas for someone with real problems. I could hear his wife screeching in the background.
I progressed from anger to mellow. I felt exactly like that Pink Floyd song -- Comfortably Numb. My cheels were tingling. The glass was a bit blurry. Rick looked my way but I waved my finger no. "Drizzle drazzle drazzle drone", time for this one to go home." I mumbled to myself. I tried to step off the stool, but there was no left leg to hold me up. The guy next to me caught me.
"Whoa there old timer" he said cheerfully. I narrowed my eyes and knit my brow. Errol Flynn would have slugged him. The Duke would have punched him right in the kisser. I was just too emotionally tired. I grabbed my crutches and it dawned on me I had no way home. I perched back on the stool. I pushed my cell across the bar and asked Rick to call the cab. He told me it was after midnight, the cabbie was closed. I tossed a twenty and a five on the bar. I asked for a beer to help me think.
I could not call Josh again. I would walk before I called Kerry. That was not true. I would crawl home over broken glass before I called Kerry. I stared at the screen on the cell phone. I scrolled slowly through the contacts trying to focus on the names. I settled on the one name I did not want to call. I dialed up Mike, Kerry's ex husband.
I had to beg. Do you know how hard it is to say please to a man you do not care for? I almost would have rather apologized to that big mouth Dave Childs. Mike the cheater told me I would have to pay him for his time and gas. Mike lived ten minutes away. He said if I was not waiting outside he would not stop. I swallowed my words and mumbled a faint "Thanks".
I leaned on my crutches breathing the nightime summer air. I could hear the faint hum of the factories and the more distant sounds from the interstate. The noise had a hypnotising effect and I swayed on the crutches a bit. I leaned my butt against the wall. I flexed my toes in my shoe. I thought about going back in for another beer. Twenty minutes later a dark SUV pulled into the lot. I glanced up as the tires crunched the gravel.
Kerry rolled down the passenger window. Her glance said volumes. That motherfucker Mike called her. I swung to the door and as I climbed in I noticed she had on sweatpants. She had obviously been asleep. Kerry did not say anything as we drove down the street. The street lights painted orange stripes on her face every few hundred yards. I could see tears making tiny trails down her cheeks.
She stopped in front of the house nstead of pulling in the drive. I slammed my hand on the dash and shouted at her "Just say it"! Anger and hate had replaced the buzz in my brain.
Kerry sniffed and asked me if I needed help with the door. She pulled a dirty napkin from the door pocket and wiped her eyes. "Goodnight, Daddy" was all she said.
I slammed the door behind me. For the second time in a day I wished I was dead.