A Day In The Life by jaydub99
Ted Shiff was getting hungry around the mouth. Long ago he had read that phrase in a Western novel and had always liked that saying. He slowly eased his white Tundra up along Ace of Diamonds street and with a crank of the wheel and a quick head turn expertly wedged it between two parked cars. Shutting off the ignition, he jumped out and headed for the Kasino Klub, a local tavern and watering hole. He pulled up the collar of his Levi jacket and noted how cool the air was getting. Crunchy brown leaves scattered along the boardwalk and there was the distinct smell of winter in the air. It was only the middle of October but in the small Idaho town of Stanley the foreshadowing of a harsh and brutal winter was a certainty. Soon the temperature would plummet to below zero and the snow would fall making Stanley a place where only the hardy and resolute would survive. Ted knew that reality indeed. He drove the city snow plow and was on the Mayor's speed dial for a reason.
Ted opened the heavy doors of the bar and could instantly smell the greasy aroma of fried food drifting in from the kitchen. Mixed with the remnants of cigarette smoke from another age, the air gave Ted a sense of comfort. The place was buzzing with activity as most of the city offices were closed by now and it was a popular place with the locals. Established in 1938 it was a place to drink, meet up with friends and maybe see a live band during the summer. He looked around and saw the familiar faces of his cronies. Wedged around a table sat Tommy, his best friend Alan, and Alan's brother in law, Fred. Fred had been glossed volatile Fred many years ago. This had mostly to do with his penchant for angry outbursts and his very short fuse, almost always directed at salespeople or those in the retail world. He mostly ranted and raved and was for the most part a decent guy. Ted walked over and was greeted with a handshake from Tommy, a bro hug from Alan, and a fist bump from Fred. A young blond waitress with incredibly tight jeans appeared with a Coors light and with a smile placed it on the table in front of the seat Ted was angling into.
"Hello boys!" He said as he reached out to grasp the icy mug.
Alan, a large man with a thick black beard and glossy bald head, clinked his half full IPA into Ted's glass.
"Good to see you brother. Not gonna be long and you will be putting in 14-hour days clearing snow. I hope those bastards at Lamb's Market don't get their panties in a bunch again this year."
Ted shifted in his chair and smiled as he thought of the complaints coming from the store manager. Hell, you gotta put all that snow somewhere and it isn't like the back part of their parking lot ever had any cars in it. He had apologized but man alive had that dude raised a stink.
"Boys," Tommy said, "You ever hear that Beatles song, 'A Day in the Life?' It was on Sirius on the way to work and man that is a messed-up song. Didn't make no sense to me. Plumb stupid if you ask me.... I thought the Beatles were supposed to be a deep band or something. I don't even know what they were trying to say."
Fred gagged a little on his beer and thrust his body forward like a pissed off cobra. His voiced raised an octave and it was obvious he as not happy about the musical review he had just heard.
"Tommy are you just a freaking idiot? That song is a classic. If you were not such a numbnuts you would know that was written by Lennon after reading the daily paper. It was a synopsis about all the stories he had read. You know a day...in..the..life. In the life of John freaking Lennon! Those lyrics, along with the arrangement, makes it a genius song.
Tommy, although a short man by most standards, was an accomplished wrestler and body builder. Although he possessed the means to reduce most men to rubble, he had a gentle soul. He knew Fred was just wired a bit differently. He threw up his hands and smiled in Fred's direction.
"Easy buddy, no sense getting upset. I didn't know the meaning. Thanks for explaining it to me. I have never heard why it was written. I will have to give it another listen. Tell you what, let me get you another beer."
Fred eased up and Alan motioned to the waitress for another round. This was how it would go for the next few hours. Perhaps politics, perhaps sports but always lots of laughs and fellowship.
Ted loved hanging out with his buddies. Soon, a plate of nachos or hot wings would appear, and they would devour it. He always left the Kasino feeling full, a little tuned up and grateful for the friends in his life. It wasn't always this way. A few years ago, he was a successful stockbroker in Seattle with a bad marriage and a medical report that demanded a change. He had worked the jet set life, making a ton of money and rarely sleeping more than four hours a night. His company expected 80-hour work weeks and vacation was a luxury usually offered only during the holidays when nobody else was working. His wife, Stephanie, loved the huge house and the money his job provided. Unfortunately, she also loved his neighbor Brad with an equal amount of alacrity. He had caught them in a compromising position outside the pool shed one afternoon when he had cut out of work early. At that point, he had reached his breaking point. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high stress and not much to look forward to. That was when he took a road trip and drove through Stanley, Idaho. Its magnificent mountains, roaring rivers and the smell of pine all grabbed him deep in his soul and pulled him in. He got a divorce, quit his job, sold everything he owned and moved. He had plenty of money in the bank, owned a nice little house by the river, and more importantly was at peace. He had lost forty pounds, and driving the snow plow allowed him to listen to pod casts and other things that renewed his soul rather than tearing it apart. He was happy.
He motioned for the waitress to come over to the table and ordered a plate of super nachos and an order of cheesy fries. His friends all nodded their approval. Alan looked up at one of the many television sets mounted along the wall.
"Man, I am looking forward to the Raiders and Denver game this Sunday. You all going to be able to make it?"
Everyone nodded. Sunday football at the Kasino was a weekend standard in Stanley. Even when Old Man Winter showed up in full vigor, everyone made it to watch the games, especially when there was a good match up. Nobody seemed to favor any one team, except Fred, who always wore his Cheese Head when the Packers were playing. Everyone else seemed to just enjoy the atmosphere and the games.
"I was thinking," Tommy said in between gulps of beer. "That we should start a fantasy football league. I hear it is pretty fun. My buddy at the highway department does one and he says it is a hoot. We could call ourselves the Four Amigos."
"Fred will just draft Packers players," Ted said with a grin.
"I probably would! Best team on planet Earth," Fred said with a look daring anyone to argue. Nobody did. To tell the truth seeing him wearing that ridiculous cheese head was worth hearing him brag about his team.
The nachos came and everyone dug into the fragrant pile of chips, cheese, ground beef and jalapenos. Another cheesy aroma hit as a plate of fries, covered in liquid cheese, arrived at the table. Conversation was forgotten as hands flew and napkins crunched. After a few minutes, Tommy addressed the group.
"Hey, you all see the Powerball is now at 150 million bucks?"
"Yeah", said Fred, "That is sure a lot of money."
"A man could sure be happy with all that bread," said Alan. "He could retire, enjoy life, and do whatever he wanted, with whomever he wanted."
"I would move to Maui," quipped Fred. "Anywhere that is warm and there is no snow."
"I would go to Best Buy in Boise and buy the biggest tv they had." said Tommy.
"Maybe even a new laptop."
The men started a new conversation about all the things they would do with the money if they won; all the ways it would make them happy and all the amazingly extravagant items they would fill their Amazon shopping cart with. Everyone except Ted. He looked around at all his friends. He thought about his job plowing the roads of one of the most beautiful towns he had ever seen. He thought about Redfish Lake and how clear the water was. He thought about Mary, the teller at the bank, who had agreed to go on a date with him this Friday. He had a feeling about her and the way she smiled at him. He thought about his house with no mortgage that overlooked the river. Frozen or not, it was a wonderful thing to look at over a cup of hot coffee. He thought about how he woke up and it didn't feel like someone was stepping on his chest. He thought about eating more of these amazing nachos and maybe getting a salad as well. Kasino made a wonderful bleu cheese dressing. He decided he probably wasn't going to buy a Powerball ticket this week. No, the way he saw it, he had already won the lottery.
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