My Family-Your Family
Peering into the Darkness
Mr. Chang first met Alex at the homeless shelter where she volunteered on
Thanksgiving Day serving the thousands of homeless, unemployed and underemployed men, women, children and families during this brutal economic contraction in South Florida; Mr. Chang worked the serving line next to Alex carving meat animals with expertise and a smile to the delight all those extending a paper plate to receive the succulent stable of the traditional feast. Alex recommended him to the owners of the Red Parrot where he commenced temporary employment as a busboy, dishwasher and then worked his way into the kitchen as prep cook and now as the head chef and Sunday Buffet Director.
Alex intercepted the waiter as he was walking the tray of food for Baltimore, laid out the place setting and silverware and gently placed the plate of covered food in front of him. She lifted the lid to the aroma of a perfectly cooked steak, asparagus rounds, a potato as large as the steak and a heaping basket of hot bread with garlic butter on the side. She ordered him another beer kissed him on the forehead and turned to leave now signaling Bill who begrudgingly stepped down off his stool guzzled the last of the Dom Perignon directly from an abandoned bottle wiped his mouth with his hand and moved closer to Alex who said Bill: “Please give Baltimore the money I gave you this morning.”
Bill feigned interest in the game televised above the bar and when Alex stepped down off her stool and walked to his stool he turned and said: “Let’s go” Alex replied: “You don’t have it do you! The money I gave you this morning, what could you have done with it? All of your eating and drinking even your smokes were charged to my tab.” Then the perplexed look on her face gave way to disbelief as she said: “No, no, no, no, Bill you gave it to the waitress for sex, didn’t you?” Bill was off of his stool and half way out the door.
He stopped and put his arm around Baltimore and through is glazed eyes and slurred speech, said: “Stay thirsty my friend” Alex was right behind him and said: “take your arm off of him, what are you doing and what are you saying? Are you quoting a beer commercial as words of wisdom to Mr. Baltimore?” Bill turned and yelled at Alex: “It’s not just a beer commercial Alex, it’s a Dos Equis beer commercial and it’s hosted by the most interesting man in the world kind of like me. You don’t know everything Alex! I’m not your pet I’m a person and an adult just like you. You’re the one who grew up as an orphan and keeps me around because you’re afraid to be alone and have some great guilt complex and abandonment issue that you have never resolved. Get over it! You’re the one who couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to trace your roots back through your Facebook contacts and now you know that your father is a lifer formerly on death row and your mother couldn’t afford to keep you or didn’t want you. At least she didn’t have an abortion. Have you thought about that? So please project your holier than though attitude if you must; but do it with someone else and get off of my back!”
Alex stood motionless then mustered up all of her dignity, reached in her purse and pulled out two crisp one hundred dollar bills apologized to Baltimore for the public airing and pressed the money into his hand kissed his forehead and marched for the front door with a finger extended towards Bill saying: “That was your money for next week boy!” Now let’s go before you embarrass yourself any more than you already have this Sunday and day of the Lord!”
Just then the door opened and a balding man dressed in slacks and a summer shirt but sporting a cardigan sweater in the late afternoon heat walked in with a younger woman who promptly extended her hand thinking Alex was a talent agent saying: “I’m the original south beach Barbie check me out on twitter.” Alex replied: “I already have and you’re the best” as the door closed behind her. The gentleman now able to see as his prescription sunglasses adjusted to the darkness from the extreme brightness outside bellowed. “Hello everyone I’m Larry David, where is everybody?
Alex tipped the valet and Alex and Bill motored down Shakedown Street in her new Burgundy Jaguar without the vaunted cat hood ornament that unbeknownst to Alex; Bill had pulled out and cut the cable in a previous fit of rage.
9. Grateful Dead-Shakedown Street 1978.4