I’m the oldest son in my family. I had an older brother, Allen, but he got dead when he was very young.
Despite what you may have heard, there are only two causes of death. SIDS and GIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Gradual Infant Death Syndrome.
SIDS is the unexplained death of a child less than one year of age. It claims about 2500 lives in the United States each year. GIDS is the Number One cause of death of everyone else, every year.
My brother got dead from SIDS. I’m going to got dead from GIDS, someday. Hopefully, not today. I have stuff to do.
* * * *
I certainly had stuff to do when Shorty and I were vacationing in Dallas. We were as good as broke, and our flight home wasn’t for another week. We were fucked, so to speak. Two men in their early twenties could burn through eighty bucks in a New York minute, whatever that translates into in Dallas time. Hell, Shorty had burned through one hundred fifty bucks in about four hours.
On Monday morning, I did what any broke twenty-three year old man on vacation in a foreign land would do.
I called my mom. Collect.
I didn’t tell Mom I had smuggled an half pound of weed into Texas, nor that Shorty had sold most of it, then blew the profits buying drinks for everyone so he could get into Martha’s pants. I can’t remember what I told her exactly, but I’m sure I lied, a lots.
I’ve stated before that I am apparently a very convincing liar. Well, my mom had learned if my lips were moving, I was probably lying. And she wasn’t dramatically moved by my tale of woe. I needed one hundred dollars immediately, or I was probably going to got dead from starvation. She could wire the money to a bank in Dallas, it’d be easy!
“Let me think about it.” was her noncommittal response.
“What does that mean?”
“Call me in two days.” and she hung up the phone.
“What did she say?” Shorty asked. He had been standing next to me while I talked to Mom.
“Well, she didn’t say no.”
“Man, we’ve got to make some money, brother.”
There was a novel idea. Why don’t we get, you know, jobs! We jumped in the car and drove to Hillary’s office, and asked Jerry if we could talk to him. He waved us into his office.
“We’ve run into a cash flow problem.” I said.
“Welcome to the club.” he replied. “What do you want, a loan?”
“No. We want jobs.” Shorty answered.
I don’t think Jerry was expecting that. I explained we didn’t want to be on the payroll, but we’d be willing to do odd jobs around the office. Or we could help Michael install carpeting. We had already done that! But now we needed to be paid for our services. We’d work cheap, for say, twenty bucks a day.
“You guys are serious!” Jerry said. I’m not sure I can describe the look on his face. We nodded. “Well, ain’t this a bitch.” We looked at each other, then nodded at Jerry again.
“Let me think about it.” he said. “Wait out there, but stay out of the bullpen. No one does a fucking thing around here once you two yahoos show up!”
“He didn’t say no…” Shorty whispered. No, he hadn’t, but he hadn’t said yes either. We just might find a way to survive in the Big City… We tried to stay away from the bullpen, but someone spotted us, and pretty soon no one was doing a fucking thing. I had never noticed that before. I wanted to disappear because we really needed to stay on Jerry’s good side for one week, but I forgot all about that when Martha smiled at me, and I beat Shorty, getting to her before he did, for the first, and last, time.
Success! I was enthralled being in Martha’s angelic presence. I’m pretty sure heavenly light radiated from her. I would’ve crawled fifteen miles through broken glass, with two broken ankles, just to let her pee on my toothbrush. That’s how much I was in love with Martha.
I don’t remember much of our conversation, except the part where I invited her to the Big Party at Michael and Hillary’s apartment on Friday. Yeah, Shorty and I have had such a great time, and we’ve met so many wonderful people, like you, Martha. Oh, you’re just about the most amazing person I’ve ever met. Sure, you are! Anyway, big party. You have to be there. You will! That’s great!
Yep. I had totally lost my mind. And I couldn’t have cared less. I would’ve robbed a bank to pull this off, if I had to.
“Hey! I thought I told you two to stay out of the bullpen!” Jerry shouted over the chatter in his sales office. “Zombies! Back to work! You two, my office!”
Maybe Jerry knew more than I thought. Everyone jumped. Hillary and the rest of the sales force went back to work. Shorty and I followed Jerry.
“You see my dilemma, right?” Jerry said to me. “Seriously, I don’t think I can afford to have either one of you around here. All of my girls want to to fuck your brains out, which I can’t understand for the life of me.”
I missed the import of that statement at the time.
Shorty and I shrugged our shoulders. It wasn’t our fault we were irresistible to women.
“But I like you guys. I talked to Bernie. He’s okay with one of you guys working with Michael. You can lay padding and clean up, stuff like that, okay?” We nodded. “Twenty bucks a day, just like you asked, all right?”
“Yeah, that’s cool.” we agreed.
“And I can probably find something for the other one. I’ve got a few odd jobs around here I haven’t been able to get anyone to do, but I don’t think I have enough work to last the week..”
“Jerry, anything you can do for us will help a lot.” I said.
“Okay. Show up tomorrow morning. Now get out of here before I change my mind.”
Shorty and I went back to the apartment to enjoy the last day of our vacation. We were sipping beer poolside and soaking up the sun. I thought about telling Shorty about my trip to Fort Sill, and Shelly, and the booze cruise on the range roads, but all I said about it was it was good to see my Army buddies again, and left it at that.
And this might sound a little weird, but my time with Shelly had become almost…sacred…to me. I didn’t want to demean it. And the rest of it was too complicated to explain. Kind of like this story…
So I told Shorty about the Big Party we were having on Friday instead.
“What? Are you nuts? We don’t have any money! How the hell are we going to pay for it?”
I could’ve been a dick. We could’ve had a ton of money, if someone hadn’t blown it all! But I didn’t go there. It would all work out, I had no doubt. And it was going to be totally worth it. Martha was coming to the Big Party.
And I am totally spending the night with her, we both thought. It. Was. On. We clinked our beer cans together, and smiled.
The Big Party! Friday night!! Martha!!!
It was going to be epic!