"That does it. You're fired. Get your ass out of here and when you get home pack your shit and leave." I couldn't believe what I had just heard. This was my Uncle Roy telling me this. He was shouting as always, as he did every time he opened his mouth to me.
I am twenty years old and I had been living with him since my folks died when I was fifteen. The court had pressured him to take me in as he was my only living relative. I believe I was more slave than kin. He owned a convenience store. I got twenty bucks a week for working there until I finished high school and then I got $65 a week until now.
According to him that was pretty good pay along with my room and board. I stood there looking at him. I had just told him that the woman who was his present store manager had been dipping into the till and had some kind of a deal going with the delivery men. Stock would be signed for and never brought into the store. The next time that delivery man would be there she was handed some cash.
Uncle Roy had never married and he was always hiring female help to work in the store. This particular manager, was sweet-talking him from day one and on occasion, I suspect made her bed available to him. To me she was just a whore and was taking a bonus by skimming the store. When he came whining to me about profits being way under what he thought they should be, I laid it all out for him.
That is when he started shouting and fired me. I shrugged, and uncle or not, I had had enough. I headed over to the house. I picked up my clothes. My bed was made and I left my room as neat as always. Mom taught me this and I had kept to it. It had been my chore to keep the kitchen clean as well here at my uncle's. That had been no problem because Uncle Roy very seldom ate at home anyway.
I had a fifteen-year-old Ford pickup that I drove. I was allowed to fill it up at the store, but in return I had to make the call-in deliveries with it. It was mine though, and in my name. An old guy had given it to me to get it out of his yard. At home, I loaded up the pickup with my clothes. I didn't take any mementos of my folks, figuring they were as much Uncle Roy's and he wouldn't throw them out because of this. I would come get them someday.
I headed across town to another convenience store and applied. I told them what had happened. They knew Uncle Roy and how he operated and also was aware of how he used me. I was hired on the spot. My salary was three times what my uncle paid me and the promise of a raise at the end of the first month.
The first day of work, I washed up in the washroom and slept in my truck. I had to find a place to live! There was a community bulletin board at the store. I looked on that and found a room was posted. The house was owned by an old woman, just getting by on Social Security and Medicare. The rent would be reduced if the renter would do chores for her. That next night I had a bed to lay my head on and I was invited to eat with her. A month later and by the time I had started rebuilding her back porch, all my living was costing me was half the food bill. She was a lovely person near the end of her life.
Uncle Roy had realized his mistake in firing me and came begging me to return before the first month was out. No way, as I had settled into my new life very easily and was saving some money. I got along well in my new job and looked on the old lady I was rooming with as a grandmother.
I had the mechanical parts in the pickup checked over, and it was in pretty good running condition. I didn't travel much, and it would last me for a long time. The old lady had a car so I used that when I needed something better than my pickup. I used her car occasionally when I went out on a date. This was something I hadn't had time for when I was with Uncle Roy.
I was made manager of the store when I was twenty-two. I rarely talked to my uncle as I felt we had nothing to say to each other. I was ready to start looking for a wife. A college girl, Cynthia Kopek, was coming into the store occasionally and I looked at her and was attracted. She was short at five feet-one, pretty stocky, not really pretty, but seemed to be full of fun. She flirted with everyone, including me.
I found out on our first date she was just a little older than I was. She said she wasn't getting serious with anyone at this time because she was going on to law school which would take her three years to complete. We dated several times before she went away. We were intimate, but she dated others and I suspected she was with them as well. I liked her, but I wondered if she wasn't a little fast for me.
Over the next three years, I dated and had a two-year relationship with a woman my age. It broke up when her family moved west. I now had been working in a convenience store for ten years. To tell the truth, it was all I knew. Maybe I was getting bored with it and needed a change. Then Cynthia came back into my life when she passed her bar exam.
We seemed to connect. She had slimmed down, but not much. She was still a flirt and was always commenting on how such and such a man was a hunk. When she went to work for one of the law offices in the city, she said, "My boss is a hunk. He can get into my panties any time."
Gram passed away. She was the woman who I had been rooming with since leaving Uncle Roy's. She left the house to me and I had been named administrator of her small estate. As Cynthia and I became closer, I knew the house wouldn't be anything I could bring a wife to. I sold it and moved into a single room in a rooming house. This was in preparation for asking Cynthia to become my wife and I wanted my wife to decide where we would be living after we were married. I was also ready to make the move to one of the larger grocery chains as manager.
There was still the niggling doubt in my mind about Cynthia. I was in love with her and I was planning on a long engagement to make certain she would be true to me. She became a defense attorney at the law office and was beginning to win some cases. She still lived with her parents and I don't think they were too taken with me. They were pleasant enough, but reserved toward me.
I was working out a notice at the convenience store. This was the time I figured to propose as we had been seeing each other regularly and had been pretty hot and heavy together. She knew my plans about purchasing a home for myself that I could bring a wife to. I bought an engagement ring and picked it up early one morning after it had been sized. This was the day I would propose.
I called her at the office and made arrangements to take her to lunch at one o'clock. Thinking I might pick her up early, I was just pulling to the side of the street near her office because the office parking was limited. I could see the front entrance and I was ready to get out of my car when the office door opened. She was with her boss and looking up at him. He had a satchel in his hand and she had a good sized case in hers.
They hurriedly got into his Cadillac and turned to the right away from where I was parked on the street. I followed them to a motel and watched him park. He went to the motel office. Cynthia got out and removed her jacket which was her normal attire. She folded it carefully and laid it over the seat, then stood waiting by the car until her boss came back. He took off his suit jacket and did the same. They went into room number seven.
I waited an hour and decided that they were in there far too long. I didn't at this point want to see them come out. There had been no call on my cell from Cynthia and it was way past time we had arranged to be at lunch. This had happened before, and I believed at the time it was a reasonable excuse I was given. Not this time, as it was self explanatory to me.
I headed for my room, expecting at any moment my cell would ring. It didn't, even after I had time to scribble a note and enclose it in an envelope. I threw some clothes together in shopping bags and tossed them into the back of my pickup. Still no call, so I felt I had been replaced. My checking account at the bank was easily drawn down, but I left enough in it to keep it active. By three-thirty, and a stop at a mailbox, I was on my way out of town without a destination in mind.
I'd guess I was 25 miles from home when there were tornado warnings all over the radio. The sky was getting more threatening as I was watching it. I was almost at the Kentucky border, before entering Missouri. The sky was getting darker all of the time. It was now a strange, dark greenish hue. I had just crossed over the Cumberland river, when I saw a funnel and it looked like it was coming right for me. There was a farm ahead and I speeded toward it.
The small car I had been following pulled off into the barnyard. There was a partially empty bunker silo and the driver ahead pulled right into it. The driver wasn't able to go in far enough to let me drive my pickup in behind. The tornado was almost here and I was still out in the open. I grabbed my satchel with my personal papers and ran up and knocked on the driver's door. A little old lady told me to go around and get in. The wind had picked up and huge drops of water were raining down. I threw my satchel in the back seat.
.... There is more of this story ...