Tuesday, July 10, 2018
These Gifts. by Michael Dwayne Smith
Was busted out in South Bend once. No car, no job,
warrants issued for my sorry ass. Was slunk down
at a bar with a suitcase and a laundry bag tucked
under my stool in the Evil Czech Brewery, spending
what little I had on cheap lager when, in a case of
mistaken identity, this old guy starts slapping me
on the back and buying rounds. He was one jovial
sonofabitch. I played along. “Mitch” I think I was
for a while, soaking up two porters, a stout, and some
unforgivable fruit beer he insisted on. Next thing,
the bartender started pouring free rye shots, laughing
with us but keeps giving me the ol’ malevolent eye.
I excused myself to piss, sensing the jig was up, then
slipped out the front door, and there it was, curbside,
waiting for me… a bent-to-shit, white-paint-flaking
1988 F-250, on monster rubber and chrome wheels.
With the windows rolled down! I opened the driver
side door, slid the bags passenger side, hotwired,
and hauled ass for Louisiana. Kept changing out plates
until I got there. Dumped it down in Central City
once I hit town, then caught the new Loyola Avenue
streetcar. From there, I asked around, found Delilah’s
apartment, rapped on her door damn near midnight.
She let me in, mad drunk, but kept a mean buck knife
trained on me. “You can stay overnight,” she said,
“so we can ride rodeo one last time, but if you’re still
here when I wake up, I’m gonna start with your hair
and cut off every hanging part of you.” Roughstock
to say the least. Got my faults, but I’m a grateful man.
Won’t ever catch me with little faith. I tease and rally
my way through life on a simple prayer: Bless these
thy gifts, O Lord, for I am always ready to receive.
Every knock I here I think it’s you left your over night bag on the floor half zipped open like you were here the bed is a lonely place...