The pony run, he jumped, he pitched, he threw my master in the ditch, Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care, Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care.” American Folk Song
When Lynn told Jimmy she had called the police, he went right out to his pick-up truck and started cleaning it out, all the paraphernalia and drugs, especially the crack. He took it all into the house and hid it. Afterwards he couldn’t remember where he had put it.
“Lord knows where!” he said. He was so mad about it he could barely talk, which for him is mad, since he talks one hundred miles a minute.
They had gotten into an argument weeks before and Jimmy had left, going to work in Pennsylvania. He is a heavy machine operator. When she called him he ran back to her. It wasn’t what he thought it was going to be.
“Do you know you could put me back in prison?” Jimmy said to Lynn when the police came.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, but my lawyer said I had to.”
She was already regretting it.
The police put Jimmy in handcuffs.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Jimmy. “What are you arresting me for?”
“You stole that pick-up truck outside,” they said.
“That is bullshit,” said Jimmy. “I’ve been making payments to her for it. I have proof it’s my truck, believe me. I was just in Pennsylvania with it. She was fine with that. I can show you all my text messages, and she always says, your truck, your truck, not her truck.”
“Let me see those text messages,” said one of the policemen.
He went back to their squad car and when he came back he gave Jimmy his phone.
“It’s his truck,” said the policeman to Lynn. “That’s what you’ve been saying in all your text messages.”
They took the cuffs off. They had to work out a few more things, Jimmy told me, but they finally drove away.
“You fucking called the police,” he said to Lynn.
“We can work this out,” she said.
“There’s no working this out,” he said. “You ruined everything.”
“No, Jimmy,” I told him later. “You ruined everything by going out and having a crack weekend. Maybe you shouldn’t have been that stupid.” He didn’t like that. “Don’t blame her because she called the cops. Yeah, it’s a crappy thing to do, but it gets to the point where you don’t give people too much choice. It’s always your way or the highway, and if they don’t like it, they can go, so, honestly, I can see where she’s coming from.”
He got a written piece of paper from her, signed, stating, yes, this is my truck, in my name, but I have given Jimmy full power over it.
He’s still paying her. “I’m not going to go back on my word,” he said. “I’m never going back to her, either. She ruined everything.”
He was driving., on the phone. I asked him where he was going. “I packed all my shit and I’m going to Colorado,” he said. His kids live in Colorado. One of them is a Marine. The other one wanted to be a pilot, but his eyes are bad. He’s still floundering.
“Are you high?” I asked him.
“I don’t want to answer that,” he said.
“You’re a special kind of stupid,” I said. “Getting high and drunk and driving, putting yourself and others in jeopardy, you selfish bastard. What’s wrong with you?”
“They can’t nail me. I’m not drunk enough.” He had gotten the taste back for drink and coke.
“Your husband was an addict,” he said.
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“He’s fat, too.”
“What? Are you fucking two?”
“He replaced drugs with food.”
“I have no idea why you’re bringing Brian into this. And he’s not fat, not by far.”
“Don’t you dare defend him,” he said. Then he hung up and blocked me
He unblocked me a few days later. I sent him a text.
“This friendship has reached its conclusion. There’s no room for it to grow.”
A few weeks later I got a letter in the mail. It was addressed to Jimmy. He lived in our house for part of a year, getting back on his feet. Some of his mail was still being delivered to our address. He never bothered going to the post office to set up a forwarding address.
He doesn’t want to hear how he used Brian and me and never paid us back for all the stuff we paid for while he was living in our house. He doesn’t want to recognize we took him in when no one else would, fed him, clothed him, and got him on his feet. What we got in return was not even a thank you.
Inside the oversize letter were his heavy machinery training certificate and new membership card.
Jimmy is famous for ignoring people, but I texted him about the letter.
“I got your laminated stuff, where do I mail them to? If I don’t hear from you, they’re in the trash.”
He sent me his new address right away.
We’re still friends on Facebook. He posts things about me, playing the victim.
“When people throw you out of your life” are the kinds of things he posts. He’s become a drama queen. Get off your high horse! That’s what I should post.
I admit when I’m wrong, and I would say to Jimmy, don’t be a dick your whole life. I don’t know what to do with him. He wants to go around pretending he never does anything actually wrong.
Jimmy and Brian were once best friends, but not anymore.
“I don’t care about me,” he said. “But you bent over backwards for him. I don’t ever want to see the kid again.”
But, if Jimmy is a bad penny, and bad pennies always turn up, like people say, I expect Jimmy will turn up again someday.
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25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.