I was sitting enjoying my morning espresso at an outside table at Starbucks in Honolulu. Actually it was a Venti Java Chip Frapachino. That is my favorite drink. The girls at the store start making me one as soon as I walk in the front door. I guess I'm a creature of habit. I do get a few dirty looks from people waiting in line when one of the girls walks down the line and hands me my drink with a pleasant, "Good Morning Mr. Mitchell. Of course the tip may help.
It was a typical Hawaiian day, not a cloud in the sky, the temperature was in the mid 70's, and the breeze was mild coming out of the west from the ocean. Actually that's a dumb statement; Hawaii is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. No matter what the direction of the wind actually is from, it's always coming off the ocean.
I sat outside at my small table under a palm tree. The palm just provided enough shade that I was safe from a nasty sun burn. My driver (Keanu) and I enjoyed the peace and tranquility. I was trying to read the Wall Street Journal. He was checking his eyelids for light leaks. But today my mind kept wandering back over the last five years.
Yeap it's been five years since my wife divorced me and took off with her lover.
I was living in western New York State at the time, working as a computer nerd for a large manufacturing company. I wasn't the greatest tech employed there. In reality, I was a little lower than average, I didn't even try hard. I guess I wasn't the most ambitious rep they employed. Too be exact if I finished one job, I would just wait until the next job was assigned to me instead of looking for more work.
I tended to hide a lot.
As normal I was surfing the web after finishing my last assigned task, when my supervisor walked into my cubie. He said the Department Manager want to see me.
This was an unusual request and I was just a little apprehensive. We walked to the elevators together to visit him.
When my supervisor and I reached the big boss's office, Margaret (his secretary) asked us to take a seat. I believe she said, "Mr. Martin is on the phone and will see you shortly." Shortly turned out to be almost 30 minutes, the longest 30 minutes of my life. When we were finally escorted into his office, we weren't even offered a chair.
"Jim" (that's me), he started "you have been an employee of this company for "(he stopped to look at some paperwork on his desk) "15 years. I regret to inform you that your services are no longer required here. You will receive one year's severance, all your accrued vacation and personal time in your next paycheck." Well that was it. I was fired. What the hell was I going to do now? I was too old to start all over again.
"What the hell was I going to tell Shelia, my wife?" I thought as I packed my belongings in a box.
I'm not really sure what the next couple of hours contained, but I found myself sitting in a bar having a double, actually my third or fourth double, when the bartender suggested that I had had enough and it was time to go home.
I drove carefully home. "No use getting a DWI arrest," I thought. I pulled into my garage and promptly drove partially through the rear wall. I guess my wife had some work done today and it involved shortening the garage.
Well the noise should have brought her out to the garage. But it didn't.
When I finally got to my feet and tried the door to the house, I found it unlocked. I opened the door to a completely empty kitchen. The table and chairs were gone. But even worse, all the kitchen appliances were also missing.
The first though entering my foggy mind was, "We've been robbed"
I staggered into the living room and everything was gone. The room was as bare as it was when we first bought the house. My head was still a little slow and I never noticed the pile of my stuff in the middle of the living room floor.
I carefully climbed the stairs to the bedroom area. I found everything missing. Well not everything. All my clothes and stuff were thrown in a pile on the bedroom floor.
The pile stunk. After a while I realized that the smell was urine. As I got closer to the pile, the smell got stronger and stronger. In my drunken state, I vomited. To culminate my day, I hit my clothes.
I went down stairs and curled up on the carpet. I won't claim that I fell asleep. I think I just passed out.
When I awoke the next morning I had the world's biggest hangover. My head throbbed, my mouth tasted as if an army has marched through, and my body was stiffer than a board from sleeping on the floor. I stumbled out to the garage and noticed my wife's car was gone. I staggered back to the kitchen, planning on fixing the some coffee, if there was any left.
There wasn't. She took that too.
It took a few minutes for my brain to engage a little more, before I saw the note on the counter. I picked it up and started reading "Jim, We have been married almost 14 years. In that length of time you have turned out to be a loser. You are not a good husband, a good provider, or a good lover. You are selfish and think only of your wants and needs.
I have moved my stuff out and into my lover's house.
I will be contacting a lawyer to start divorce proceedings.
Sheila" Well I guess I knew where today was going. Sheila was a legal secretary for a large law firm. I suspected that she was planning to upgrade to one of the attorneys as well as use the firm to gut me. Thank God we didn't have children.
I was a little pissed. So I looked for the house phones. They were all gone. I still had my company cell phone (they forgot to ask me for it). So as a final act of defiance, I called the bank and I reported that I was mugged last night and my wallet was stolen. A very helpful young lady froze all my credit cards and my checking and savings accounts (Debit card was stolen to).
After I got off the phone, I was smiling. Boy was Sheila was going to be pissed when none of our joint cards worked. I packed my things into my car. The bitch took all the luggage. I couldn't even find any garbage bags.
The bitch took everything.
One of the reasons "Some Place Else" was my favorite watering hole was the fact that it was owned and operated by my best friend since childhood. The one person I trusted with my life.
So, I went to his bar for advice. Bartenders always give the best advice. And besides he had an ex-wife, and might know a good divorce attorney. There was also the problem of hiding my final check.
I didn't want Sheila to get it.
Martin poured me a double as I walked into the barroom. "After last night, I figure you could use one." he stated with great sympathy.
I downed the glass in one gulp. He looked at me in shock. I really didn't drink that way. So I told him my story from when I left his bar last night.
When I got done, I had the name of his divorce attorney, an apartment over the bar, and an IOU equaling the amount of my severance check. He was going to include the check in one of his banking deposits and just dole out the monies as I needed.
Time went on and so did my divorce.
It was a year later that I found myself a divorcee living in a small one bedroom apartment in a questionable neighborhood. My loving wife had hired a shark for a lawyer (hell, she worked for the firm) and I was cleaned out. She got the house, the 401K, the investment account, the checking and saving accounts.
However she almost got alimony payments.
But since I had no job or money, the judge took pity on me and forgave them.
Ha! I still had the severance check. No one on her legal team thought to ask about it.
It might sound as if my ex made out, but the house was upside down on the mortgage, the savings account had less than $1000 in it, the checking account was almost empty from paying the monthly bills with no deposits and the newly started 401 had less than $2,000.00 in it.
And best of all, in my opinion, was the fact that most of the joint credit cards were near their max. It seems Sheila went on a spending spree before the divorce was final. I guess she planned on sticking me with the bill.
Since I had no income at the time, the judge stuck her with them. I think it took a week to get the smile off my face.
Eventuality, I had to get a job. I wound up as a janitor in the school system. I worked the night shift. My days consisted of either sitting at my computer or sitting at my friend's local bar.
Guess what I did with my free time when at the bar? I was on my way to becoming an alcoholic.
One morning I found a Power Ball ticket in my pocket. I didn't remember buying it, but I did remember that the bar I favored sold them. I tossed the ticket on my desk and went to the bathroom. I did the three S's and started my morning coffee. I needed that wonderful elixir to feel human in the morning. Well actually it was 1:00pm but that was morning to me.
When I got out of the shower I noticed I had a "woody". So I felt a little internet porn might be the answer. As I waited for my PC to boot, I noticed the Powerball ticket beckoning me. So once the PC started I fired up Firefox and went to the Powerball site.
I checked the numbers on the ticket three times. They matched the winners. I reread the web page. There was only one winning ticket sold and it was worth $250,000,000 <that's Millions folks>. My "Woody" disappeared.
I grabbed a pen and quickly signed my name on the back of the ticket.
.... There is more of this story ...
Tear Jerker /