A Day in the Life

Dawn

I’m still in bed, awakened by the dogs moving about in the other room. It’s quiet this morning: I hear the sound of only one car in ten minutes. It’s been chilly at night, so the windows are closed; otherwise, I’d probably hear birdsong, though not much — with the windows closed, I can hear only the most penetrating of birdcalls.

Hardly anyone is awake: the bakers at the bakery up the street, of course, and a few restaurant and coffee shop owners and employees getting ready for the breakfast crowd; the night shift at the police station and the hospital, wrapping up a long night; a few insomniacs and early-risers taking quiet walks.

I slip back into REM sleep, where I have a strange and vivid dream of a different life, a gloriously self-sufficient life where I am no longer burdened by taxes or government interference with my essential freedoms…

I’ve been up for half an hour, milking my cow. Selling fresh milk is one of my most consistent sources of trade income, since I’ve the only cow in the area, owing to the good fortune of the grazing on this piece of land, and a running stream. She’s getting old, and I worry about her production. I give her a sad look, with a hint of calculation in it. I can see steak in the next year or two, but I’m not sure I’ll make enough off the meat to afford a new calf, much less a new cow. Not sure what I’ll do at that point.

My hands are nice and warm, the early morning ache from the cold worked out. My heavy quilted jacket is warm, but my feet are still cold; I’d traded for a poor batch of wood a year back, and the night fire had once again gone out early and left me shivering. I’d had words with Jim, the woodsman, for selling me crap wood, but he’d just shrugged. He knew he was the only game in town. He didn’t overcharge, at least not too much, but his prices were high. There’d been another young fellow a couple of years back who had tried to compete with Jim, but he’d up and vanished after a year. Some said Jim had cut his throat and burned the body. Could be — Jim was a mean son of a bitch — but with nary a trace of evidence, there wasn’t much to be done about it, and no one was going to pay for an investigation. I’m sure as Hell too old to be taking down trees: it’s trade with Jim, or do without.

I hear a shriek in the woods, and experience a brief moment of grim satisfaction. A new group of squatters moved into the area a week ago, and they haven’t yet learned that my fences mean business. I keep on milking as the screams grow hoarse and then subside to a bubbling howl. My son issues a soft birdcall as he slips through the trees around the perimeter, to let me know where he is, just in case I decide to explore. Wouldn’t want to shoot him by accident. No point to my going out there yet, though — I’m not going to waste shot on the poor bastard, he’ll die quick enough. My son will raise the alarm if there are more coming.

I sigh, thinking about the work involved in digging another grave, but it was that, or let the body rot in the open, and that would attract scavengers. It’s putting wear on the shovel, too, and new steel will cost me dearly. But I’m too damn old to work with a wooden shovel in this soil. Wish the squatters would just read the signs I post, or at least have the sense to pay attention to the scalps I’ve mounted on poles. Of course, who’d pay to teach any of them to read? This squatter was probably hungry enough to try to eat the scalps — I should check on those later today, too.

6:00 am

I wake a second time. The dogs are restless, and my wife has just fed them, so they’re yipping to go out and play. I throw back the covers, and put my bare feet on a cool hardwood floor.

The dream is still with me, and I think about the temperature in the house — not a usual early-morning thought. I can still feel the dawn chill of the dream and the warm udders against my palms. I hear the hum of the forced-air furnace as it kicks on, fed by natural gas and electricity from a public utility with government-regulated prices, quality-of-service, and safety practices.

I remember the gas leak up the street last spring, when the neighbors had gone digging with a backhoe to plant a new tree, and hadn’t bothered to call the utility company first for a free service visit to mark the underground gas line. We lost our gas in the neighborhood for two days while the crews repaired it, and I heard the neighbors got hit with a huge bill, which their insurance paid. Everyone complained that insurance costs were going to go up, but they didn’t.

I think about Jim, selling shoddy fuel for high prices, and how his only competitor just vanished one night, in a world where no one is interested in paying for justice.

Brrr. I shake off the dream and become preoccupied with my daily morning routine.

After breakfast, I pour milk into my coffee, and with the sight of pouring milk, the dream returns unbidden…

I dig with a steady rhythm, and when I tire, my son relieves me. He digs longer and faster than I do. I don’t want to sit too long, though, lest I stiffen up. The soil isn’t too hard, and we don’t hit any big rocks; we’re deep enough in less than an hour. We drag the two bodies to the grave and roll them in. The man had been caught by the trap. The woman had put a sharp stick through her own neck and died with her arms around the man. It was probably just the two of them. She lands on her back, and her eyes pop open — they seem to stare at me, though I know she’s dead and isn’t staring at anything in this world. She and the man are both emaciated scarecrows, doubtless starving for weeks. I cover her with dirt quickly, and then sit and let my son work. I tell myself it’s age.

Dammit, why should I care? If they starve, it’s their own damn fault. It’s not like they can’t work just as hard as the rest of us. These squatters are like all those people on welfare back when I was a kid, when we had the big nanny state fed by taxes taken at the point of a gun, no freedoms, a world full of welfare bums living off the hard work of other people, no respect for private property, no self-respect. Parasites.

I think again of the other woodsman. What was his name? I don’t remember. I wonder if Jim really did kill him. Maybe Jim just drove him away. Maybe took his axe, and broke his arm, and frightened him off. Couldn’t very well work as a woodsman with a broken arm and no axe. Takes a month to starve, longer than that for a bone to knit. Assuming it knits straight, which there’s no guarantee if you can’t pay a bonesetter. I try to remember if the man we’re burying maybe had a bad leg, or a bad arm. I didn’t notice. Doesn’t matter. Squatters are squatters.

“You’re falling behind, Old Man,” my son says. He’s grinning, but there’s a sadness in his eyes, and a hint of calculation that I don’t like the look of. I suppress a grunt as I rise to take my shift with the shovel. I sat too long, and my back hurts.

8:00 am

Seated at my desk, I reply to e-mails from work. I sit in an ergonomically-designed chair that allows me to put in a solid eight hours without back or leg pain, at a desk designed to minimize wrist strain. The company I work for paid for both of them, which was less expensive than dealing with an OSHA grievance filed against them with the government. Without the threat of OSHA, there probably wouldn’t be any profit in making such chairs and desks, since they are too expensive for most people to buy on their own.

The VPN secure network software I use was developed by a private company, using algorithms developed by researchers at a public university. The Internet I use for high-speed data transfer is an outgrowth of the fiber-optic backbone laid in at government expense back in the late 1990’s. Performance is good, and relatively cheap. The government prevents the service providers from tiering their prices, the so-called “net neutrality” issue that keeps floating in Congress: providers can’t force their customers to bid against each other for better bandwidth, which removes incentives for scalpers and speculators to move in.

I finish reading all my new e-mails, and sit back for a moment before digging into the project I’m working on. I sip my second cup of coffee, close my eyes to savor the taste, and the dream intrudes again…

I’m late to market, and have to set up on the periphery instead of my usual spot. My customers give me a hard time about my “new location,” and I grunt and say, “Had to bury some bodies.” They laugh. They don’t ask questions. There’s some hard bargaining this morning, but I hold firm on prices, and sell out quickly. It’s a good take. The baker is preparing a cake for a wedding, and buys a whole pint with the cream. That leaves me short for the other customers, and they get into a bidding war over what’s left.

There’s a brief scuffle down by the baker’s table. Some drifter is accused of passing counterfeit coins. They’ve already got the rope around his neck when one of the other vendors looks at the fake coin and declares it to be Canadian quarter, rare these days, worth more than twice an old US quarter. The baker is embarrassed enough to throw in an extra bread roll for free. The drifter’s face is pale, but he gathers up his order and the extra roll with shaking hands and leaves quickly. We won’t see him again. Good riddance.

I buy a loaf of bread, and some eggs. No meat: I’m saving my money to try to buy a lamb at the big market in the Fall. I’ll be able to spin wool, then, and maybe get a second lamb and start breeding them. That might provide enough extra income to buy a new cow.

When I get back to my property, I walk the perimeter and check the traps. All of the scalps are still there. I always salt them before I put them up. Not even birds are stupid enough to peck at them. Only starving humans would try. Those two squatters didn’t get close enough to try. My son has reset the traps. All good.

10:00 am

I dial into the team meeting. Six of us in the group, a fairly large development team, but it’s a complicated project. The remote conference software is not too flaky this morning; developed by a pure for-profit company, one of many competing products in the marketplace, the software is constantly being revised, patched, and its user-interface redesigned. We rarely have a month go by without some major glitch. It’s the cheapest and most widely-used software out there. I swear, most of their money must go into marketing.

We all touch base, then two of us stay on for a half-hour longer working out some of the design issues on a virtual whiteboard. There’s an integrated whiteboard in the commercial conference software, but it freezes all the time. We instead use an old piece of code originally developed at a public university, which then moved to the public domain and is now maintained with community support. It does the job, and it’s fast and stable.

The two of us are about three thousand miles apart — she’s just returned from lunch. She says she’ll write up the notes, and we end the call and I wait for them. She’s always quick — it won’t be more than fifteen minutes, and there’s no point in doing anything more until we have a common document. I take a bathroom break, and then come back and open my windows to enjoy the warming breeze. I close my eyes…

I’m splitting some extra wood for the fire tonight — damn that fucker Jim, anyway — when the gate bell clatters. I pick up my shotgun and walk around front, to find the postman, of all people. He’s a rare sight, these days. I remember daily mail as a kid. These days, with no taxes and no government to collect them, there’s precious little in the way of official mail. I can read, but most people can’t, and don’t miss it, so there isn’t much call for mail at all. Postman used to come around once a month, to the middle of town, and a couple of the old-timers and I would make a little trade by reading the mail aloud to the illiterate recipients, then writing down their replies for return post. There hasn’t been much of that kind of work in the last few years. 

Postman has never shown up at my gate. No one pays for that kind of service. Yet here he is.

He isn’t in a talkative mood, just sees me coming and drops a big, fat envelope on the ground and takes off. I imagine he’s pissed to have to come out here, though it’s only about a mile from town — even paid for, it’s extra time added to his day, which I’m sure is as full as anyone else’s. Whoever sent it must have paid pretty well.

I pick up the envelope. It’s heavy, cream-colored paper, elegant stuff I haven’t seen the like of in … well, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this. The address is mine, my name and everything, and the writing is like artwork. I stare at it without opening it. Then I go in the house, the house I built with my own hands, and put it on the desk I built with my own hands. It’ll keep. I’ve got real work to do.

12:00 pm

I look up from my work and stretch. It’s already noon, time to take a break for lunch. My wife is meeting with one of her friends, and the dogs are done napping and want to have some fun. I rummage through the refrigerator, and find some left-over caprese salad from dinner last night, all local produce, including the balsamic vinegar. I dice leftover grilled chicken and mix it with mayonnaise, chopped kalamata olives, and a dash of seasoned salt, served on a bed of fresh lettuce. I have just water to drink — I’m trying to watch sugar and starch intake, since I’ve got high blood sugar. It’s just tap water, from another regulated public utility. The State is pretty fierce about enforcing water quality here — none of that nonsense like up in Flint, Michigan.

I take my lunch to the back yard, and sit at the patio table and watch the dogs frolic. Two ravens tick-tock at each other up in the branches of the trees. The heat is rising, and I feel a little sleepy…

My son and I eat our day-meal: fresh bread from this morning, with our own butter, a berry jam from last Fall’s canning, roast garden potatoes from last night, fresh garden greens, and the milk I reserved from this morning, cooled in the stream. We’ll have the eggs tonight, after I start the night-fire. We talk about what to do with our neighbor upstream, Raymond.

The stream smells of pigshit, again. He’s got pigs, and while the bacon is welcome in the Fall, he can’t seem to keep the styes from leaching into the stream, which flows through his land. We’ve had some friendly conversations, but they’ve soured and matters are coming to a head. No one further downstream cares: water flows into a small fen just beyond us, then over a spillway into a fast, shallow run over gravel with lots of sun, and folks past that are happy with their water. The matter’s between Raymond and me.

Once Raymond figured out that it was just the two of us, he stopped even pretending to care. Said he wasn’t about to spend time, effort, or money looking out for my interests, and I had no call to be infringing on his freedoms. I agree with that, in principle, but the stream past my place stinks, and I worry my cow will get sick. Raymond shrugs: says he’s lactose-intolerant, meaning he can’t drink milk anyway, so he doesn’t give a damn about my cow or the milk. The bastard says his water’s fine, and has the cheek to offer to pasture my cow for me, for a fee.

My son and I try to find a point of leverage against Raymond, but we come up empty. I wonder if we need to build a gravel bed upstream, though I don’t know if that will be enough without a fen.

2:00 pm

My computer bleeps at me, and my doctor’s appointment pops up on the screen. I pull on shoes, and drive to her clinic, about a mile away. There’s no traffic to speak of; it takes five minutes. Normally, I’d walk the mile, but I’ve got some work I’d like to finish today.

The doctor and I discuss my last tests, and the high blood sugar seems to be under control. She wants a follow-up in six months. It’s an easy visit — a lot easier than the one fifteen years ago, when they told me I had cancer.

Treatment has come a long way since I was a kid. Back then, a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence. Since then, basic research done in public universities had found new ways to treat different cancers, including some uncommon forms that gave them hints for handling some of the more common ones. Spreading the costs through insurance, combined with various direct and indirect government subsidies, had created a mass market for cancer treatments, which would otherwise have been restricted to the very wealthy. That, in turn, provided a profit motive for pharmaceutical companies to mass-produce some of the drugs, as well as support the education and training of a whole cadre of experienced surgeons and oncologists to serve that market. My treatment had been almost routine.

That whole turn of thought makes me change my mind about going back to work. When I get home, I walk to the nearby public park, where I sit and watch squirrels for a bit…

It’s just a finger cut, but it’s deep — I can see bone — and it was one of those stupid things. I know how to hold a knife to carve wood. Hell, I taught my son how to carve wood. Then I go and break my own rules, and slice my finger open.

Blood poisoning is an ugly thing. I’ve no choice — I need to make the walk back to town, and get the healer to clean, and stitch, and sell me some Pharma. I hope not Big Pharma. I don’t know if I’ve got enough saved to pay for that. Maybe a poultice will be good enough.

Looks like the lamb will have to wait another year.

4:00 pm

I receive a surprise call from the VP of Engineering. It’s six o’clock in his time-zone. He’s worried about the delivery of parts for the new hardware, and wants to discuss how that’s going to affect my part of the project. We talk for nearly an hour. I tell him about the new design we’d knocked out this morning, and he’s enthusiastic. We both hang up feeling good about the project.

It’s quitting time when we finish talking, and I retire to the back yard with a glass of wine. My wife joins me, and we enjoy the lazy afternoon heat together. She tells me about her day, and I smile, and tell her a little about mine. I don’t mention the strange dream, but then we fall into companionable silence…

I scream and weep as the healer cleans the cut. The stitching isn’t as bad as the cleaning, but then the pain settles into a throbbing rhythm that swells and peaks and dies away, only to swell again. She offers some pain-killing tea, but I decline — I’ve already spent enough. The poultice helps with the pain. As I’d feared, I can’t afford the Big Pharma. She sells me her best poultice, and gives me a price break, because she’s one of my milk customers: uses it to make one of her Pharmas, so it contributes to her own income. At least I’ll still be able to afford the lamb in the Fall. If I live.

The healer is my age. She helped deliver my son, and helped my wife recover from the hard birth. That set me back nearly all of my savings, and when my wife caught pneumonia a year later, I couldn’t afford the Pharma, so she died. I dug her a special grave, apart from the squatters. Damn lucky I was already in the milk business, and that my son wasn’t lactose intolerant, or I’d have lost him, too.

I walk out into the main street through the town, and decide to Hell with everything, I’m going to buy myself a shot of something strong. I don’t indulge often — my father turned to the bottle when I was young, a good man broken by changed circumstances, and I’ve seen plenty of fine men ruined by the stuff. But I need something to lift my spirits, or at least mute the pain a little. Healer’s tea would likely have been more effective, but also more expensive. I’ve spent enough today.

There’s something outlandish outside the bar. It’s a vehicle, like nothing I’ve seen. Shiny metal, gloss-painted silver. Tinted one-way glass windows. Sleek, like a fish or a bird, but powerful-looking. A man in a red jacket and white gloves steps out, walks around the vehicle and opens a door on the other side. A short man in a white suit steps out, looks around, sniffs the air. As he turns toward me, I see his face. It’s a mess.

There’s no other way to describe it. It looks like someone has gone at it with a chisel, leaving deep, purple gouges. His nose is the wrong color, as if it isn’t real flesh, and his lower lip droops and hangs open on the left. He carries a delicate handkerchief in his left hand, and dabs at the lip, reflexively, I imagine to keep from drooling.

I make a guess at cancer. They had better surgeons when I was young. When they dismantled the welfare state, the whole medical system broke down. No one could afford it. Well, the rich could afford it. They could afford anything. But they weren’t about to throw money away on the poor, and there weren’t enough of the rich getting sick to keep the medical schools open for training specialists. Besides, there were no students: there was no future in doctoring the old way. You might have one paying customer in a lifetime, and if you did, you were set for life. Most likely, however, you’d starve waiting for that one customer. A kind of patronage system came into use for a while, where the rich would fund their own private, exclusive hospitals, but the hospitals were almost always empty of patients and the doctors took to gambling and drinking to pass the time. Then, when a real case finally came in — like this poor bastard — they simply didn’t have the skills.

A crowd gathers.

“Begging the pardon of all you excellent people,” the man in the white suit says in a high voice like that of a pre-pubescent boy, all his labial consonants mangled by that dead lip. “Could you direct me to the property of the man who owns the cow?”

I step forward. “That would be me.”

“Ah,” he said. “I assume you received my letter.”

I scowl. “Haven’t read it yet.”

He blinks and pats his drooping lip in silence.

“Well,” he says at last. “I wish to purchase your land.”

“It isn’t for sale.”

The right side of his face smiles. I’m learning to ignore the left side. His smile looks condescending to me.

“Everything is for sale, my good man. Just name your price.”

“It isn’t for sale at any price.”

“Hey, mister, what the Hell happened to your face?” That’s the baker, who is an impulsive ass. The man in the suit turns to look at the baker. He says something in a soft voice to his driver, or servant, or whatever the Hell he is, and the servant replies inaudibly.

“Ah,” says the man with the ruined face, and there’s a hard glitter in his eye. “You are the baker. Your livelihood is selling bread to this community, is it not?”

“Aye,” says the baker. He stands a little straighter, and his chest puffs. He’s proud of his independence, his freedom, just like all the rest of us. He’s his own man, and he’s got a right to be proud.

“Take a note,” the man in the white suit says to his servant in a loud voice that carries, still staring at the baker. “I’d like to open a bakery in this village. A proper bakery. Spare no expense. I want greater variety. Higher quality. Lower prices. Much lower prices. Say, half what this fellow charges.”

The baker’s face is red, and his fists clench. “That’ll put me out of business!”

“Indeed,” says the man in the white suit. He turns back to me, dismissing the baker.

“You can’t do that!” the baker wails. “You can’t do that!”

“Take another note,” the suited man says in the same carrying voice, without looking at the baker. “Hire some men to travel with this baker fellow, to make sure he stays completely safe wherever he goes. Have them report regularly, and any place this fellow settles, open a new bakery. Same goods, same prices as here. For as long as he lives.”

The baker collapses to the ground, eyes wide, his jaw slack. The crowd moves away from him, slightly, as if he might be contagious.

The man in the suit speaks to me. “I understand that your livelihood is selling milk to this community, is it not?”

I stare at his misshapen face for a long moment, and a knot of fear rises in my stomach like nothing I have ever felt. I think as quickly as I have ever thought. I lower my eyes to the ground.

“It was,” I say, carefully. “What is your offer for my land … sir?” That last word comes hard. Damn hard.

“Name your price,” says the man in the white suit. His voice is cheery.

6:00

Dinner is pork loin on the grill, asparagus, and new butter-gold potatoes. We eat outside, and then come in as the evening cools and the mosquitoes come out. I wash up the dishes — there aren’t many — while my wife reads the local paper.

There’s an art walk tonight, and we walk to the downtown area. Sidewalks are a little uneven in spots, but the way is well-lighted, courtesy of city government. We have our own “squatters,” more than a few, but they generally have places to stay, and ways to eat. They don’t worry about lethal traps that landowners have set.

All the artists are local, and some of them are very good. We meet neighbors, old friends, familiar acquaintances. It occurs to me that I’m not plotting against any of them for running pig feces into my water; if they were, I’d complain to the cops, and the cops would make them stop, because that sort of thing isn’t allowed.

On the walk home, under a beautiful moon, I’m quiet and reflective…

I’m shit-faced drunk. I pull out the heavy, soft paper and stare at it again. My signature at the bottom, and the illegible scrawl of the man in the white suit. I’d never even learned his name — the letterhead is that of a law firm, representing a corporation named in the document as the new owner of my land.

At the top is a number. The price I’d asked. Enough for me and my son to coast through life like rich men. The man in the suit hadn’t even haggled. He’d just said, “Done.” Next thing I knew, I had two copies of the letter he’d sent by post in front of me, and a pen in my hand. I signed both copies, he signed both copies, then he handed me one, took the other and got back in his vehicle. The window had rolled down.

“I’d like you out by the end of the week,” he said, pleasantly.

After that, I headed straight to the bar.

What will I tell my son? That I’d just scored the biggest deal of my life? Or that I’d just sold both of us into slavery?

What can I do with this much money? How will I even collect it? There’s a bank named on the paper, located in a city. That city is a resort favored by the rich. It’s a month’s journey by foot; we’ll be drifters, until we run out of money. If we survive the trip, the contract will be my passport, if I’m not robbed en route, and if I get a chance to show it.

If they let me into the bank, then what? If I take out the whole amount, where will I put it? How do I keep it safe? If I keep it in the bank, I will be chained to the bank, living among people who can throw away this kind of money without haggling. That is my new career, and my son’s: making daily trips to the well of the rich man’s bank to draw up a bucket of money, to spend on a poor man’s vision of Heaven in a rich man’s city.

Or I could just burn this damn thing, and forget the money. But then what? I have no land, no house, no hand-made desk, no aging milk cow. I have nothing but this fucking piece of paper.

Is my life any less ruined than the baker’s?

The worst of it is that I had no choice. I’ve prided myself on being my own man, beholden to none, pulling my own weight in the world, dignified and free.

I gave up my land and my livelihood without a fight, without a struggle, without even a bleat of protest. I lowered my eyes and called him “sir” as he robbed me of everything.

The man with the ruined face had not even threatened me. He had been nothing but pleasant. He had destroyed the baker with a handful of words, words that should have been purest philanthropy — a new bakery for the town with better goods at half the price, and then a kind offer of protection for the man he’d just robbed of his livelihood and driven out on the road to become an unwilling evangelist for that benediction. Wherever the baker goes, people will thank him for the blessing he brings with him — while he slowly starves to death. I have no doubt that if the baker figures out a way to exploit the situation, the ruined man will turn it back on him. I have never seen such vicious, cold-blooded cruelty.

Two emaciated faces appear uninvited in my mind’s eye. Faces buried at the bottom of a fresh-dug grave. One had died in agony, by my design, and I’d felt only satisfaction. The other had taken her own life in despair, and I’d felt only disgust.

No, dammit, that was different. They were trespassers, for God’s sake! Squatters. No respect for private prop….

No respect….

I curse aloud and tell the bartender to pour me another. I see myself in the mirror behind the bar, and for a moment, just a moment, I see a reflection of my father.

8:00 pm

I sit and try to read, but I can’t follow the plot, and my legs are restless. My wife watches me for a while, then asks what is wrong. I put down the book, and slowly try to convey the dream that has been haunting me all day.

“That’s a horrible dream!” she says, when I’m done. “What a nightmarish world!”

“I know,” I reply. “We all take so much of our civilization for granted. Streetlights. Electrical power grids. Potable water. A right to live unmolested, enforced by law, paid for by taxes. Courts to sort out who cheated whom in business. Sharing of costs for accidents and disasters. A basic, publicly-funded, free-to-all education in how to read and write. To give all that up for a … a ‘free market’ where even basic justice has a price tag on it…. My God.”

She shakes her head, and tells me she’s going to bed. She usually retires earlier than I do. She kisses me, and I hold her tight.

I give up on the book, and sit down at my computer to write out this dream.

I leave the bar, the last of the cash I’d brought to town spent on whiskey. I run into my son who is coming in the doorway. He stares at me with worry that slowly turns to disgust as he sees the state I’m in. He tells me he’d finished his chores and came to town because I hadn’t come home. The healer was already in bed, and he’d been asking everywhere about me. Says there was some nonsense story about a silver carriage and a man in a white suit, but someone finally mentioned they’d seen me go into the bar.

He wants to know what the Hell?

My son doesn’t cuss like I do. That he would use such language says a lot about his state of mind. I tell him I just want to go home, it’s been a pisser of a day.

Halfway home, I weave to the side of the road and puke my guts out. A long walk on a belly full of whiskey is not a good recipe for digestion. I feel better after that.

I still don’t know what to tell my son. I have to tell him. That we’re rich. And that we’re totally fucked. Tomorrow.

I’ll tell him tomorrow.

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