I awoke to the sensation of my face getting wet.
“What the Hell!”
My eyelids sprang open and the light of day was blinding. Looking around I noticed everything I owned; which wasn’t much, was piled around me where I laid on the couch. Raising up I stared at the front door of the townhouse I was renting which had a small piece of paper plastered to it. I swung my legs around and stood up wearing the same outfit as yesterday when I was out trying to find a job; black slacks, white and blue checkered dress shirt, silver and red striped tie, and black socks and shoes. My black dress coat was hanging from the coat rack by the couch. I made my way to the door and read the note: Eviction Notification for Derrick Black issued by Verdorben Bank. Shamefully, I walked back to the couch and sat back down. Perfect, as if being unemployed weren’t bad enough now I’m homeless. I probably wouldn’t be behind if those bastards at the bank would have sent me the hardship modification packet last year. Every time I went to the bank itself they told me that I had to get the packet by calling the corporate number. Twenty different times I called them…twenty times of waiting through their automated system…twenty different times of speaking to their annoyingly chipper customer service reps…twenty promises made by them that the packet would be arriving in the next few business days. 365 days later and here I am sitting on a wet couch in the middle of the damn sidewalk while rain steadily pours from overhead. As people pass by I can feel the intensity of their stares and hear murmurs of their whispers. After making it back from the war a couple years ago I got hired on as a security guard at the same bank that laid me off a year later and now just evicted me from my home. I got by with the hope that surely someone would employ me. A year later, I’m not so sure. This world is a messed up place when a veteran that fought for his country and helped secure freedom so everyone could enjoy themselves is now tossed out on the street. They can’t do this to me…I’m not the type of man to take this sitting down. They have created a man with nothing to lose. If they want to evict me they can do it over my dead body! I stood up, grabbed my wet coat, and made my way to the chest on the other end of the couch. Opening it I found Harry, my .44 caliber magnum revolver laying on top of a towel wrapped around Sonny, my M1 Carbine given to me by my father when he died. I stuffed Harry into my coat pocket and carried Sonny in the traditional military march pose with the barrel on my shoulder and butt in my hand. This garnered even more stare downs from the passersby. Verdorben was just two blocks from my old townhouse on the same road, so I set off to evict some undeserving people from this life with Harry and Sonny while whistling the tune to Radiohead’s song “Karma Police”. As I was nearing Verdorben a white limousine swerved to park next to the street. The driver got out and walked around to the rear door closest to me and opened it.
“Get in. Looks like you could use a ride.” Came a deep voice from inside the vehicle.
Normally I would have told the person of a nice warm place they could go on vacation, but I felt compelled to get in. I sat down facing the rear of the car diagonally from an older man wearing a white suit. The old man had long white hair and a long white beard. He had broad shoulders that looked like they could bear the weight of the world and blue eyes surrounded by crow’s feet that reflected wisdom, love, and sadness. As the car took off the old man got out two glasses and poured what looked like red wine. He lifted both of the glasses and handed one to me.
“Um, can I ask why you picked me up?”
“I couldn’t help but notice you was carrying a military issued M1 Carbine in perfect condition. Where did you get it?”
“It belonged to my father. He was in the military.”
“I see, would you be willing to part with it?”
“Well…I hate to. But perhaps if you could offer me a job?”
“Hmm, I suppose it is only right that to get the reward of your father I should welcome his son. Let me think about it for a minute.”
As the time passed I drank the glass of wine. When it was finished the old man promptly refilled it. I finished another glass and he refilled it again. I began to feel like a burden was being lifted; maybe it was the wine, the possibility of getting a job, or both. The old man finally broke the silence.
“I think I have the perfect position for you. I am the owner of an organization that feeds many people. I could always use a new fisherman. All of your needs will be provided for. The only stipulation is that you must change the way you live your life. You will need to live aboard a houseboat which was built by my son who was a carpenter before he was killed. He sacrificed himself to save many. If you accept, I can assure you the benefits will be worth more than what you have to give up. Do you accept these conditions?”
“Yes, I accept.”
“Then you have yourself a job.”
The relief and joy of finding a job mixed with the touch of kindness given to me by the old man was overwhelming. I wept.
I awoke to the sensation of my face getting wet.