Back in the day, “Big Jack” MacMurdo was really something. For the better part of 30 years, Big Jack (he insists everyone call him that) was at the top off his field: highest sales quota in the company 4 fiscal years in a row, in charge of 3 top-tier territories throughout the whole of the Midwest, was nominated for the Silver Lathe an astounding 7 years running, and, just between you and me, knew all best spots for poon between here and Wichita.
Now, of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for ol’ Big Jack. (for one, Sunshine retired after she got a she got the Hep’, and Rainbows got knocked up; and, before you ask, it wasn’t his, she could never prove it.) Yeah, he had to spend a lot of time on the road; and it took a heavy toll on his personal relationships. But shit; you don’t get to be in charge of 3 top-tier territories in the Midwest without beating the pavement, right? Right! So why couldn’t his Old Lady understand that? Hell, why couldn’t all 4 of them? Every one of them, the same thing: “Jack, when are you gonna be home? Jack, you’ve been on the road for a month! I had to get this number from your boss! Jack, are you gonna be back in time for Tim’s surgery?” I mean, it never stopped!
It’s not like he didn’t keep them well-stocked in the finer things in life. Every time he came back from a trip, didn’t he bring them back something nice? Clothes, nylons, jewelry? I mean, sure, the jewels weren’t, strictly speaking, real, but it’s not like they could tell, at first, right? And sure; occasionally there would be a time where the wife would find a gift not meant for her in the trunk of his car. But like, nine times out of ten, she would end up thinking it was her, anyway; so, win-win, right?
And as for the kids, well, you can only do so much from the road, y’know? It’s not like he didn’t sit them down when he was home that one time and explain all about The Birds and the Bees. He explained the dangers you could expect if you didn’t get it from a reputable source; and even then, the boys knew to always pack a jimmy hat.
And with his daughter? I mean, he told her to wait until at least Junior year. And he remembers being very clear about staying away from places like Papa Charlie’s; especially on Friday nights. Lord knows she saw him go in there, enough, growing up.
And then, before he knew it, it all went tits-up. It started with the the 3 A.M phone call from wifey saying that she took Dawn to the clinic, and the doctor says it’s going to cost at least $2000; so, BAM! There goes one sale, down the drain. The trips became more stressful, and all he started to hear was: “Jack, Ramon says you can’t pay on credit no more,” or “I don’t feel comfortable taking an order from a man who’s been drinking.” And then, out of nowhere, the boss called him into his office and starts in on all this B.S. about: “quotas,” and, “unacceptable credit charges,” and “tarnishing the company image.” And, without so much as “thanks for the last 30 years of your goddamned life,” he’s out on his ass; and Frank, from the bowling league, that fucking Judas, is pretending like he’s not a Rent-A-Cop, and escorting him from the building. No, I don’t need a cab, Frank, fuck you very much; I’m gonna get in my car, and drive it home to my wife and kids.
But then he remembers he don’t have a car; because the company owned it. He don’t have a wife, because like other three, she couldn’t handle the thought of a man making an honest living, and left him with only a letter filled with big words like “emotional rollercoaster,” and “codependence.” And he don’t have any kids because, like the ungrateful little shits that they are, they didn’t want you anywhere near them because the one time, the one tine, you had a tipple at the grandson’s birthday party and took a little nap in the bouncy castle. Well, y’know what? Fuck ’em. See if they’re gonna get one red cent from me when they come crawling back. You got kids? Well, lemme tell you; they’re not worth it!
The man tips his glass back, his fifth in the past hour, in an almost exaggerated fashion, before slamming it down on the bar. Hunching over, he runs his fingers slowly round the rim of the glass before craning his neck towards you.
“So,” he says. “What lime of work you in?”
Aloha, fellow wage slaves. The bar is open, and it’s taking orders.