Saturday, March 26, 2011

2014: A little of Chapter VI: Fred: Rough Draft

Chapter VI: Fred

Fred is a good man, and all good men deserve a break.  The problem is coming from the fact that this year is going by shitty.    

The dark blue Geo Prism rumbles as he roughly switches gears.  Fred curses as he briefly catches a glimpse of a sign as he speeds down Interstate 270.  He is supposed to meet his son in Rockville but got lost in Gaithersburg.  To make matters worse he has been on the road for two days and has a headache.

Fred is from Minnesota and doesn’t care for the East Coast or its people who look like monkeys in suits.  His son was supposed to work in the factory like him.  Instead his son Kyle got a job in the east coast.  Kyle had to be different and always liked wearing a tie and slacks when everyone else wore blue jeans.  It didn’t matter his family preferred to be simple.  While Kyle’s brothers and sisters were playing with dolls and footballs you could find Kyle at the museum down town.  Fred didn’t understand how someone prefers the History and Discovery Channel over ESPN.

Fred laughs thinking his son could have been normal, “What’s the point, it is what it is.”  He is frustrated that he missed the interstate sign.  He wasn’t impressed with his son when Kyle dragged him out of his comfortable life a week ago.   If it was up to him he would be back in Minnesota and fishing at White Bear Lake.  Life was good when he was fishing and had a twelve pack of beer.

Instead he received a call a week ago from his son.  His son wasn’t like the rest of the family and had to start a career in the Big Apple. 

“Damn,” Fred slows down as he sees a new sign announcing Emory Grove.   He knows he just over shot his turn.  He corrects himself while muttering, “Not the Big Apple, it is a place much worse.”   

Fred believes there is one thing worse than city slickers and that is a politician.  Both his grandpa and dad believed politicians lie and as far as he was concerned they did.   Why would he question what his parents and grandparents say?  All you have to do is look on the news and you will see how politicians in Washington DC never keep their word.  

One week ago, during his lunch break, he received a call from Kyle.  Kyle was in a lot of distress and didn’t know how to handle his new baby, Kyle Junior.  Kyle Juniors mother died during child birth two weeks ago.  Kyle Junior was in the hospital and Kyle was living in denial that this wife died.  It was only natural to jump in his Geo Prism and trek across America to help his weird son.   His boss was not happy that he walked out without ending his shift.  In hind sight he could have taken a plane but was to afraid to fly after 9-11.

He’s making good time and gets back on the Interstate 270.  His stomach grumbles and he briefly ponders if he should eat something for breakfast.  

During a normal work week he would often eat breakfast at Burger King in Northfield Minnesota.  Fred works at Coca Cola and is a Floor Man.  He is a whiz with tools, specially a wrench.   The plant he works for is called Crown Cork and Seal and he loves his job.  He loves his job so much he decided to be loyal and swore off all Pepsi products.  His family thinks he is crazy in this regard but he looks at it differently.  Why would anyone buy a product from competition who is trying to put your employees out of business?  If everyone bought Pepsi then he would be out of a job.  It does make it hard to eat at places that only serve Pepsi.  For that reason he always has a case in his car or truck of coca cola.  Poker games give witness to him boasting that his plant produces over two million aluminum cans every shift and back in 2003 he was voted machinist of the year.  Coco Cola even put his picture up in the break room where Union leaders play cribbage.  Maybe someday he would become a prominent union person who champions democratic principles but this year he was happy being a Floor Man.  Higher inspirations are meant for people like his son.

Kyle did not surprise anyone and went to college after high school.  He tried to talk Kyle into working at the factory or to join the military but Kyle always had to be different.  After college Kyle got a job with the Smithsonian in Washington DC and disappeared for a few years. 

Kyle did not call or visit on holidays.  That was another problem with politicians and the people who work with them.  They become disconnected with the community and their roots.  Kyle acted like he was better than everyone else and was on a power trip.   Within a year he got a woman knocked up and at least did the right thing by marrying her.  Of course his family was not invited because they were viewed as ignorant red necks.  Who did Kyle think he was when he told his family they were not good enough?

It wasn’t worth holding a grudge.  His son and grandson need his help and a good Christian always forgives and forgets.  It’s been two days of intense driving and his back hurt.  He wanted to sleep but Kyle asked one last thing of him last night.  His son didn’t care that he was tired and hungry, instead when he got into town his son had the tenacity to ask him to set up a stage down town before he agreed to let him have his grandson.   Fred was going to take his grandson back to Minnesota and give him a proper family.  Since when did work come before family?  Fred grips the steering wheel tighter as he ponders how to get his son to see his logic.  He doesn’t notice his foot press down on the pedal or his speed increase to 90 mph.  

Sirens shatter his thoughts as red lights instantly engulf his reality.  Fred’s head starts to pound as he comes to a complete stop.  Ironically he sees a sign nearby; Burger King is a few miles ahead.  At least he would have a full stomach before seeing his son and setting the stupid stage.  What else could possibly go wrong today?


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