[Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
He had compiled a list of anyone who had ever wronged him, and these names were noted, line by line, in more than 300 black, college-ruled notebooks that he'd stored in his one-bedroom assisted-living condo; they were an accumulation of 53 years. His latest wrong-doer was Tom, the new man at work–the middle-aged pretty boy who thrilled the girls and gladhanded the bosses. Oh, if they could only see Tom as he did, see him as he really was, without that glossy veneer of bravado dripping from his bullshit ego. Tom had slighted him in the cafeteria.
“Edgar, I need you to get going on those deliveries.”
“Yes, Mr. Evans.”
“And take Tom with you; I'd like to get him acclimated to the route.”
“To the route?” thought Edgar. “That's my territory. What the hell does Evans want me showing–wait, fuck, he's trying to give that prick my job! And he expects me to train him. I won't do it.”
Edgar entertained thoughts of sabotage as he walked down the hallway to the break room. As he got closer, he could hear that slick buffoon's excessive laugh bouncing off the Formica counters and the cabinets. “And then the colored boy said–“
“Tom.” The room came to a standstill as Edgar entered like a wet fart in a crowded elevator. “You're to come with me. Evans put me in charge.”
Edgar led the way to his car.
When the two men were settled and on their way to their first stop, Edgar laid down the law.
“These clients are important,” he began. “A few of them we've had since the '80s. They're–“
Tom reached up to the visor, unfastened the vanity glass, laid it neatly on the dashboard, and then dumped the contents of a small paper bindle upon it–white powder in fine crystalline form.
“What is that?” Edgar indignantly asked.
“It's blow, bitch–do you want some?”
“What? No, I don't want some. What do you think you're doing?”
“I'm getting your fucking noise out of my head, and you're gonna shut the fuck up. And one more thing: I'm not doing shit today. This is ride-along for me–the work, you're doing it.”
Edgar squeezed hard on the steering wheel and kept his mouth shut.
Tom rolled a new hundred-dollar bill into a makeshift straw, held it over the powder, put one end into his left nostril and inhaled a nice long, dusty cloud of coke.
“And you're gonna have to step on it, Edgar. I'm not gonna have you pussy-footing the pedals.”
“But what about the police?”
“Fuck the police,” Tom said as he took another long blast, finishing the blow with his right nostril, then licking his finger and wiping the mirror.
The car accelerated. Tom leaned back and smiled.
“How does it feel, Edgar, knowing that I'm about to take your job? You are aware of that, aren't you?”
“Yes, I guess I am.”
To be continued…