“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” Roger Caras
When Jimmy broke up with Lynn again it was because he told her that her addiction to pain medicines and her drinking weren’t any different than his smoking crack cocaine. So, he decided he was going to smoke crack on weekends, and that was that. When Jimmy gets it into his mind that that is that, that’s the way it goes. Lynn thought it was all too trashy for her, and they got into a fight.
“I’m never coming back,” he said at the end of the fight, and left. He walked out of the Florida mansion, gave his pick-up truck, which was her truck, back to her, and left with a suitcase, his phone, and his wallet.
“I dropped a truth bomb on her,” he said.
“I’m going to drop a truth bomb on you,” I said. “You’re homeless, you’re living out of your son’s pick-up truck, and you don’t have a job.”
“I’m trying to find work,” he said.
JJ and Alex, his sons, who are both in the Marines, have a house in Colorado. They invited him to visit them, with the intention of doing an intervention on their father. They didn’t say anything about it to him.
He got fucked up on the way, lost his phone, lost his wallet, lost his way, but somehow made it there. When he found out what they were up to, he got his hands on Alex’s pick-up truck, and beat it.
“How dare they pull that shit on me!” he said.
Trying to get Jimmy to do something he doesn’t want to do is like trying to dam up Niagara Falls with toothpicks.
“Oh, Jim,” I said.
“Don’t you take their side.”
He somehow made it to Georgia. He called me. He had gotten another phone, somehow.
“I’m coming up to Cleveland.”
He showed up a week later. He didn’t have any money. He stole his whole way up from the south to here. He would go into Walmarts, steal food and alcohol, go to gas stations, steal snacks, connive gas for his truck.
“I have a Home Depot gift card,” he said. “Can you buy it off me?”
“I guess so.”
“You know it’s stolen, don’t you?” Brian asked me.
Jimmy steals stuff from big stores, returns it later on for a refund, and gets gift cards.
We met him for breakfast when he got into town.
“I don’t have any gas,” he said, wolfing down ham and eggs and coffee.
“I’ll fill your tank up,” said Brian.
He was hoping we would ask him to stay at our house. I could tell. I brought it up to Brian later at home. But, buying him breakfast and filling up his gas tank was as far as it was going to go.
“He’s not sitting on our sofa, much less staying at our house,” he said.
Jimmy called me again about buying the Home Depot card.
“How much is it?” I asked.
“It’s $186.00, but you can have it for a hundred.”
I knew it was throwing money away. We would never use it. It would just be something to help Jimmy out.
“I have to get out of Cleveland,” he said.
“Who did you piss off?”
“Nobody,” he said.
“Did you steal some drugs?”
“I just need to go,” he said.
“You are such an asshole.”
“All right, but are you going to buy this gift card, or not?”
“OK, I’ll come and get it. I just need to stop at an ATM.”
“No, I’ll come and get you,” he said.
Like an idiot, when he came over, I got into his truck with him. He went flying down Detroit Road and sideswiped a parked car. He didn’t stop. He just kept going.
“Stop the car,” I yelled.
“I’m sorry, Jewel,” he said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Stop the car!”
The whole side of his son’s new, very nice pick-up, on the passenger side, where I was sitting, was bruised and dented and scratched up. There was food scattered everywhere.
I was pissed.
“Do you know you just smashed your kid’s truck? And you drove away. And you almost killed me.”
“I know, but I promise I’ll be good.”
“Did you steal all that food?” I asked.
“A guy’s gotta eat,” he said.
The next day, JJ called.
“Alex is in Cleveland,” he said. “He’s gone up there to get the truck back from our dad.”
“JJ, why didn’t you tell me he was coming? Jimmy was here yesterday, but now he’s gone.”
“We called him and said we were coming.”
“That was a mistake,” I said. “He’s gone to Canton.”
“Because Alex isn’t in Canton, that’s why. He’s hiding from you.”
They finally found him by phone, and Alex went to see him. They met in Canton. But Jimmy parked the truck a couple of blocks away, so Alex wouldn’t see it and take it away from him. They talked, but Alex never got the truck back. He went back to Colorado and Jimmy went back to living in the pick-up.
Jimmy thought I had led Alex to him. He thought I was scheming with them to take the trucj away from him. He called me and called me every name in the book.
“Even though you do what you do to your kids?”
“That’s right,” he said.
“You treat them worse than junk yards treat their dogs. Have you ever even had a dog?”
“No,” he said
“The only way you’ll ever get that truck back is if you report it stolen,” I told JJ when I talked to him afterwards.
“No, I can’t do that,” he said. “My dad would go to jail if I did that.”
“Maybe that’s what he needs,” I said. “Maybe he needs to be in jail for a while.”
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.