vacation…

the Chevrolet station wagon was parked out in the street…it’d sat there for awhile…needed a battery…jumpin’ it just didn’t work anymore…so the old man just let it sit there…collectin’ rust from winter’s punishment and summer’s rain…all it took was a new battery…all it needed…

instead…he took the bus everywhere he went…he’d take it to the day labor place over on Calhoun…stand in line with Mexicans and Blacks…all of ’em waitin’ for some kinda job to be sent out on…some kinda hope for a paycheck at the end of the week…

some would spend that money just as soon as they’d got it…spend it on booze…crack…whores…we all have our vices…he’d spend his at the casino down South…takin’ the bus every Saturday to Anderson so he could play the slots…he’d put in a couple of bucks..hit ten and cash out…he’d do this till he hit a hundred bucks then collect his money and sit down to a buffet dinner by himself…puttin’ the rest in his pocket…he had plans…

kept workin’ and workin’ at the day labor joint…different kinds of jobs…warehouse work…assembly lines…beer trucks…separatin’ trash from recyclables…work that most men would turn their noses up at…but he took it…only twelve bucks an hour for most of the work… sometimes he’d hit it lucky on the beer trucks and drivers would tip him out for a day of liftin’ kegs and wheelin’ cases down cellar stairs…hard work was the only work he knew…

one day he counted his money that’d been savin’…from casino winnings…tips from drivers…little bit of scratch…came up with two thousand bucks…figured that was ‘nough…

and it was on one mornin’ that he didn’t go into work…didn’t show up to stand in line and wait for a job slip…he decided to sleep in…spend money onna battery for the Chevy…pack his bags…and go on a long vacation…extended out to eternity…

he crossed the Ohio line…drove through the buckeye state down towards Youngstown and on into Pennsylvania…bought a bucket of chicken and stayed up all night in a motel room watchin cable television…HBO…STARZ…ESPN…FOX news…kept lookin’ at pictures on the tv with the sound down…a soft mumble…

drove on up to Philly where he had one sandwich at Pat’s and then walked ‘cross the street to Gino’s to try their steak and cheese as well…that’s all he got outta that town…didn’t see the Liberty Bell…didn’t go to any museums…just wanted to try an authentic steak and cheese or two…

parked the wagon in Time’s Square…New York City…went and talked to a pretty girl behind glass…told her ’bout his travels…money he had on him…stories of how life had passed him by…yeah…how life had passed him by…

next mornin’ he was found dead in his car outside of Yonkers…apparently he’d fallen asleep in the wrong neighborhood…killed from a gunshot straight to his heart…killers gottaway with two hundred bucks…all he had left on him…vacations can kill a man…

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