Cans were piled high in the corner of the trailer. Old Style, PBR, The Champaign of Beers, King of Beers and Schlitz tossed aside by a television set that was always on.
The old man watched talk shows all day long. He’d start with Kelly and Ryan then end with Dr. Phil; Springer and Maury were in the middle of the day.
He’d talk to the TV. Call women whores and men assholes. He’d swing in the air if a fight broke out. Flailing his arms out in front of him. Making fists out of weathered hands. He’d yell out, You whore. You asshole, at the top of his lungs. Then the old man would tell Jerry and Maury to get ’em. Show ’em whose boss Jerry. Tear ’em apart Steve, he’d drink another beer. Slurped it down with a loud noise. Whatever was on sale that week.
His boy would come around every once in awhile to check on him. Basically he just came by when he didn’t have any beers or money. The old man was always good for a ten or a twenty spot. The boy would steal bills from dirty pants laying on the floor. Waited for the old man to go to the bathroom then go through the pockets. It was a habit he had since childhood. Boy knew the old man didn’t have much in the bank , but he couldn’t wait for the old man to die so he could take that too.
They sat there in silence watching Dr. Phil. A teenage girl was tearing her family apart. One day she wanted to be a boy, the next she’d want to be a girl. Her indecision was driving her mad. The parents didn’t know what to do. Please Dr. Phil. Will you help us, they’d ask.
The old man would sit there glued to the TV. The mother and father were crying. The girl kept spouting off at them. Saying, You don’t understand. Never have, never will, the daughter screamed. Dr. Phil got her in line. Told her he wouldn’t put up with that on his show. The old man cheered him on. Boy just sat there in amazement.
This is America, the kid said to himself as he opened another beer. Take it or leave it. This is America.