Monday, January 23, 2006

You Drive A Horse-Drawn Carriage For Money Day!

Every once in a while your father gets drunk and hops into the carriage to demand that you give him some money. The last time he did it you already had some passengers in the carriage. He made them run off and you had to chase them down to return their fare to avoid a citation on your license. You warned your father then to stay away from you forever. Today, he's going to ignore your warning.

You'll catch sight of him just a second before he jumps into the seat. Before he can even catch his breath you'll be landing a barrage of blows to his face and belly. He won't be drunk, apparently. And he'll just sit there and take the hits.

Your horse will be edging into other lanes of traffic so you'll grab the reins again and steer back towards the curb.

"I'm dying," your father will say.

You'll be yanking on the reins to get the buggy straight.

"My liver," he'll add. Then he'll pull a bottle from his pocket and drink.

"Serves you right," you'll say.

Your father will take a few more sips. Ask him, "So what do you want from me?"

He'll shrug. He'll be staring into the thick of the park on his right. "This is a nice ride. You got nice work here."

You'll let the clomping of the hooves fill the silence for a spell. Then you'll say, "The cold gets too much some days, but sure."

Your father won't say anything else. You'll spy him wiping at the blood pouring out of his nose and you'll hand him a napkin from your lunch. He'll sit in silence for half a turn around the park.

When you hit a red light, he'll say, "Kiss your mother for me." Then he'll hop out and start to walk away.

"That's it?" you'll ask.

He'll stop and turn around. He'll shrug again. You'll hand some twenties down to him and say, "Get warm."

He'll take the money, wave goodbye, and walk into the park. It might be a lie. It wouldn't be beyond him to pretend to be dying just to get his hands on sixty bucks. You won't know until you see him again. Some of the shelters have your name as a contact in the event of death, so maybe if he dies in a bed you'll get a call. Or one day he'll just run up and hop into your carriage again. If he does, he knows what he's got coming to him.

Happy You Drive A Horse-Drawn Carriage For Money Day!