A Panglossian Outcome

They say lightning never strikes in the same spot twice, and that the sun shines on a dog’s ass once in a blue moon – but what they won’t tell you is if everything lines up just right the sun can shine on a dog’s ass twice in one day. That’s the best way I can describe what happened to me this weekend. Not only did the old man finally check out and leave me what’s rightfully mine – I know for a fact the only reason he held out all this time was to deny me my birthright – but he made his swan song into a grand ornery spectacle and for his efforts earned himself a none too gentle push offstage by the city’s finest. And that makes his passing a double gift. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it means I can sue for wrongful death or what have you. The downtown shyster specializing in death-by-cop paydays I talked to says the thing’s a slam dunk. Thinks we should be able to get four, five mil out of it easy. Which means two for him, three for me, and five less for the city to fritter away on bullshit. Add in the million and change coming to me from Dad’s T-bill holdings and I think you’ll agree I’m sitting pretty.

Those cops would just shit themselves if they knew how sweet their taser cannons and beanie rounds were working out for me. I guess they thought they were just putting down a menacing curmudgeon in the line of duty, but the real upshot of their trip down the force continuum was to set me up for life. They’ll shit themselves good, you just wait. When it rains it pours, they say. But it’s not like you can just reach up into the clouds and fix so it’ll rain. Shit – if I’d been the one to pop him it’d be down to a gavel stroke to see if I’d do life or ride the lightning. Not to mention that the million plus would have gone to a veterans fund or some damn thing. No, sometimes you just have to wait around for divine intercession in this life.

What will I do with my payday? I don’t want to get too far along my planning continuum before my eggs have hatched, so let’s just say in a year from now I hope to be on a Thai beach hooked into one of those wife-of-the-month deals. I won’t say too much more and risk putting a jinx on my sun-shiny dog’s ass. What I need to do now is just relish what got me here.

From what they told me down at the home the old man had been in one of his states all week. Could have been a romance gone awry. Old broads are tricky cunts, is what he used to say. Could have been him working himself into a tizzy on account of the food and passing the point of no return on the way – I can’t tell you how many Kowalski staffers have called me up after taking a tongue-lashing from the old man since I switched him over to the cheaper meal plan. What was I supposed to do, sit by and let the nursing home devour my birthright one filet mignon at a time? It could also have been him being hopping mad about me and taking it out on whoever wandered into his orbit. We’d had our fair share of let’s say altercations in the month before his passing. I wasn’t talking to him anymore except through the mouthpiece of the head nurse. He’d been pestering me to come scope a Cubs game with him and some other geezers on the home’s faded out big screen. I wasn’t into it, go figure.

I remember the last time he asked. Before I knew it I was an earful into one of his classic tirades about how I had put him on war rations and was drawing on his benefits and this and that and how I didn’t even have the decent filial feeling to come around for a ballgame to pass the time of day. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend time down at the corner pounding the oak top with my good friends Glen, Jack, Captain and Cutty. Might even catch an inning or two on the plasma screen. Pathetic old sponge. As to drawing on his bennies, guilty as charged I guess, but I think this is what the boys down at the Board of Trade call an administrative fee. Talk about double standards. And it’s not like I wasn’t doing plenty of administrating. Seems like I was having to field complaints and queries from the home every other day, that or play bad cop to their good. It’s not easy cleaning up the messes made by an old non-compos mental, believe me. If you asked me I earned every cent I drew on him. And seriously, what does it matter how I spent my fee? So I like to go down to the corner and tie one on. Who the fuck doesn’t with all the curveballs this world throws us? It’s not like anyone asks the Board of Trade boys how they’re spending their fees and commissions. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Plus if my old man had been a little sharper and more on the ball in his day there might just have been more of his draw to go around. The way things stood most of it had to go to me, since I was doing the work. It stands to reason. Not to mention the fact that I never would have had to dip into his monthly checks in the first place if he’d just let me have what was coming to me when I first boarded him at Kowalski Geriatric Estates. But you know what? That’s not a problem I have anymore. Neither does the old man for that matter. All thanks to the men in blue.

To be honest I’m feeling a little fuzzy on what happened. I wish I could see for myself. You know, to make sure the officers properly modulated their force continuum and treated the subject in a manner comporting with his years, like the shyster says – but they’re not releasing the video. Which is good as far as the general public is concerned, since you don’t want people working themselves into a lather for no good reason. But I think maybe I should be the exception here. I am the guy’s son for chrissake. But no doubt the officers have their reasons. In one way I guess the more reasons they had the better, since in a way it means he gave as good as he got. But that would kind of prick holes in my wrongful death suit. So you’ve got to figure the reason they’re sitting on the tape is maybe they didn’t act in a way comporting with the dignity of his years. Maybe he never rushed them with that cleaver in the first place. Hell, what’s to say it wasn’t a plant? Which is great for my case at all, but it does make you wonder if maybe they could have done something different.

I’ll be the last to deny the old man was a mean bastard, but he did also happen to be 95. It’s complicated I guess. I mean on the one hand the whole thing was a godsend. On the other maybe it’s true that tasing him and pelting him with those beanie rounds was over the top. Like his cronies keep saying. In which case it really was wrongful and me getting my settlement is no more than what’s right. You just kind of wish it would have come straight out of the cops’ paychecks instead of some slush fund. But the shyster says this is as close to justice as I’ll get this side of the hereafter.

Last night down at the corner I worked myself into a bona fide rage. I wanted everything: I wanted to be the one to’ve done him in; I wanted the cops to pay for my suffering out of their own money; and I wanted the old man to still be hanging on so I could keep drawing on him. But now in the bleak aquarium light of my hangover I guess the moral of the story is just take what you can get. Come to think of it maybe I can get something else out of this. His bennies are federal, but so far the case is state. Who’s to say Social Security ever has to know he kicked it? Maybe this story has the happiest of happy endings, the one where the hero keeps cashing his checks unabated as he vanishes into the Thai sunset to drink and get his knob polished forever.

A Panglossian Outcome

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