As bank manager, I’ve been forced to work long hours and sometimes I would find myself sleeping in the office. Although I love my job, I have been finding it to be tedious over the years. In my office I had the picture of Parker and I from Christmas. As I pound away at the keyboard at work late in the evening, I often find my eyes glancing over to the photo of Parker and wonder what he was up to. I was happy on these nights that dad was raising Parker, I would have felt awful working late and long hours if he was with me.
If I wasn’t at work, working, I was at home. . . working. It was all that I did these days. I kept the same photo of Parker and I at home as I did at the office. I don’t know why, I had a million different photos of him and I. I think it’s because it was our first Christmas together, and it was the first weekend he was brought back into my little life.
Parker had become a handful over the last year. He was keeping his grades up, and visiting me often. Yet, when he went home he would start to act out. Dad and I just recently decided that it would be in his best interest if he didn’t see me for a while. Parker loved my dad, it’s just he wants to live here in Bridgeport. I can’t take on that kind of responsibility. Not yet at least. Heck I can barely take care of my drunken uncle.
Since my grandfather’s death, Jake has been drinking harder than ever before. Grandma and I have both tried to get him into an AA. The news started to call him the Charlie Sheen of Bridgeport. He was always off doing stupid things when he was drunk. The last time he was arrested grandma put her foot down and told him to sober up or not to call her for help anymore. She had enough of him. They haven’t spoken since. I tried telling Jake it wasn’t worth it, and that he needed to change. He punched me and then went out of the apartment to get more booze.
Jake went out one day while I was working and bought us a bar. He stocked it heavily that morning and started to mix his own drinks. After breaking a few Patron bottles and Jack, he finally stopped trying to toss the liquor bottles in the air. When I got home I found him totally shitfaced trying to pour himself a glass. He had to work at it slow as he as he poured. I ended up having to move his hand over the glass, because he was pouring the rum onto the table rather than his glass. “Thanks man!” He said. He had been drinking all day. I nodded at him and headed for my room. I was tired of him drinking.
I think for me the last straw was when I came home and found over a hundred people in my apartment. Jake had thrown a party and invited everyone he knew, plus the entire building. I walked in just shy of midnight after a long day of working only to find everyone and their mother in my place. When I walked into my room I found two people screwing in my bed. I slammed my door, yelled at the two in my bed to get the hell out and then I turned off the hip-hop music everyone was listening to and told every single person in my place to get the hell out. Jake had a hissy fit, and I threw his drunk ass out of the building. It pissed me off.
After that Jake and I started to ignore each other. When I came home from work I headed straight for my bedroom, locked it, and I never said a word to my uncle. Jake was always in the living room watching the television with a beer or some hard liquor in hand. Of course if he wasn’t home, he was at the bars or at work. I was surprised he hadn’t been fired from the show, granted he was the star. I guess that’s showbiz.
Although I did have my fun with Jake. I never let an opportunity pass me by, and when I got Jake drunk enough and passed out, I would find ways to amuse myself and play practical jokes on him. I took some magic markers one night and had fun doodling a clown face on him. I snickered as I did it, happy he was totally passed out.
In the morning though Jake wasn’t too pleased for me. I was laughing, though, the entire time he yelled at me. “You fucker! I have a photo shoot today!”
“For what, Circus de Sole?” I busted up laughing.
“You better pray this shit comes off?”
“Or what, you’re gonna balloon me to death?” I laughed so hard, he ended up storming back to his room, swearing.
Of course my fun didn’t end with drawing on his face. . . . Nope. I had even more fun a few weeks later. I had come home and found Jake and some girl skinny dipping, completely trashed, in the pool. I snuck on over while the two made out in the pool and was just about to grab his clothes when I heard him, “don’t even think about it Travis.” I looked over and I was laughing so hard. I took one look at him and one look at the clothes, and in seconds I had the clothes in my hands and I was running. I was laughing so hard. I heard him splash and get out of the pool.
“Get back you little fucker!” He screamed as he chased me, bare ass. Once he caught up with me he tackled me. After he pinned me down and had his johnson close to my face I released his clothes he let me go. I stood up trying not to laugh. He pulled his boxers on and glared at me. “Your beginning to be a real ass Travis.” He said.
“Yea well maybe if you started to clean up a bit I might stop messing with your drunk ass.” It wasn’t my best comeback, but it was all I had.
“Fuck you, Travis.” He yelled and walked back to his girl.
“Well fuck you too!” I yelled and headed back to the lobby of the apartment building.
Within minutes of me getting to bed, I heard the door to the apartment fling open. The woman Jake was with was laughing and screaming, and he was laughing as well. The next thing I know is that they were screaming so loud I could only imagine what they were doing. In the morning I woke only to hear the same screaming, the same laughter come from his room. The two were still at it. I wasn’t even sure if they even bothered sleeping.
They walked out of the bedroom still locked on as I sat and started to eat. They were trying to make their way to the kitchen, probably wanting to eat as well. “You know, your gonna have to stop kissing her in order to actually eat.” I yelled back at them. Neither of them said a word to me, they were too involved with each other to even care to listen. I ended up leaving for work early to allow them to have the apartment to themselves, but not before locking my bedroom. Since the party, I never left the apartment without locking my bedroom door.
Not soon after did I find out that Jake and the young woman were actually dating. It actually surprised me, seeing as how Jake normally had a different girl over every night. The last time he dated it ended terrible. Rose was the last woman he was with for more than a month. I found out that Gloria and Jake had been dating for almost three months, and I found out through Sims Magazine! He never told me. Granted, we never talked anymore. I wish he had though, I probably wouldn’t have stolen his clothes. Ooops.
Not long after finding out about Jake’s new love, did I receive a phone call to the woman I desperately missed, Sally. “Hello Travis.” She said even before I answered.
“Sally, babe, what is up!” I sounded way to ecstatic. I had missed her greatly.
“I gave birth to my daughter, Jess, last week.” She said happily. I gulped and felt my heart race. I didn’t want to know. I was content on just thinking of the idea that the baby wasn’t mine and that the two of them would be happy. “Do you want to know the results?” I didn’t say anything. I just mumbled and stuttered incoherently. Sally started to laugh, “Travis, it’s okay. Jessica’s father is holding her as we speak.” I could just tell she was smiling.
“So, then. . . I’m not the father?” I asked slowly. I wanted to make sure I heard her right before I started to celebrate.
“No, sorry.” She answered. I jumped up in the air, pumping my fist. I managed to get lucky for once in my life. I was overjoyed. I felt my heart lift. “Well, goodbye Travis.”
“Goodbye Sal, and congrats.” I said hanging up the phone. I continued my celebration.
I ended up heading to the sports bar that Jake started to work at on his time off. He wasn’t doing it for publicity or anything, he just really loved bartending. I sat on the stool with the widest grin and it made Jake stop in his tracks. “What the hell are you smiling about?” He asked me.
“Parker remains an only child.” I said with the biggest smile on my face.
“You’ve got to be shitting me!” He yelled.
“Round of drinks for everyone.” I said loud enough. People in the bar cheered me on. Jake poured the drinks and as everyone headed back to their table we each took a drink and tapped our glasses before drinking. “Cheers Jake.”
That night I did a bit too much celebrating. For the first time in five years I found myself puking in the John. What’s worse is I didn’t even make it home, I was still at the bar. I’m so happy I was drunk when I puked, I didn’t even want to think about how gross those toilets were. Jake ended up dragging me home, puking at every mile in a bag. The tables had turned that night, and Jake ended up pranking me.
Sometime in the night while I was passed out Jake had access my internet and googled my name and found a newspaper blog about me from China. I had known about it, but I didn’t tell a soul. I hadn’t called Ming since my trip to China, and she took that badly. She talked about our little fling in great detail and calling me names that I didn’t quite understand, but could easily guess as to their meanings. She hated my guts for not even calling her. Now, Jake found the article, and emailed it to me with a P.S. “Hope your grandmother or father doesn’t find out about this one. . .” Then he attached a link. When I clicked on it there was a picture of Ming with a young baby boy. CRAP! My heart was racing. Not again! I went back to my email and scrolled down to another link, when I clicked on that another photobucket picture popped up with a text inside a black square, reading “don’t you just love photoshop.” Ming was never pregnant, nor did she have a kid. Jake photoshopped Ming’s face onto another photo of a mother and child. Jerk!
Jake and I were still messing with each other. We were also talking to each other. It was great to have my best friend back. After a night of fun, I woke up a little hungover. He was awake and smiling, probably had already started his day drinking. “Morning sunshine.” He said to me as I grabbed a left over plate of pancakes. “How’s the head.” I gave him the middle finger. He sat there and watched me eat with a huge grin. It was bugging me. He was trying hard not to laugh.
“What’s up Jake?” I finally asked.
“Oh nothing.” He started to giggle. He flipped on the television to the news, which was odd since he never watched the news unless it was about celebrities. I watched as he continued to stare at me. He was really starting to annoy me. Then it hit me. The newscaster mentioned the date.
I started to cough on my food. “Is that today’s date?” I asked as I choked. “SHIT!” It was three days after Parker’s birthday and I had totally and completely forgot.
“Did you forget something?” He grinned. He, of course knew, dad probably called him.
“Why didn’t you remind me!” I yelled as I stood from the couch. He started to laugh. He thought this was brilliant. “Crap. He’s gonna kill me. I totally forgot his tenth birthday.”
This was funner than reminding you.” He said with a grin.
I threw my plate in the sink and headed for the shower. After getting dressed I grabbed my cell off my desk and dialed Parker. It was a Sunday, so he was off. “Hey dad.” He answered.
“Happy Birthday Parker!” I said happily.
“Three days! It’s been three days dad.” He was mad. “And you forgot my birthday party yesterday. You said you’d be here. I waited and waited and waited.”
“I know. I am so sorry Parker. I completely forgot. Hey, I’ll make it up to you.”
“No you won’t. You always say that, but then you don’t.” Click. He hung up on me. I tried calling again but only got his voicemail. “Hey this is Park, I’m off on an adventure, leave a message.”
“Parker, I am really really really sorry. Look, I can come by next week. I’ll take you to the movies or something. Please, call me.”
I called dad next. “Parker doesn’t want to talk to you.” He answered. “And frankly, I’m on his side with this one. How the hell did you forget his tenth birthday! I reminded you all week.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“Give him a few days and then try calling him again. He’s really upset you missed his party. It was an Indiana Jones theme and everyone went on a scavenger hunt around the entire town. Your mom and her friends organized the adventure. It was really fun.”
“I’ll make it up to him. Tell him I love him and I’ll call him in a few days.”
For days I was calling Parker’s phone, only getting his voicemail every time. I knew what he was doing. I did it to my own dad for months. I ended up calling dad and apologizing for ignoring his call. He laughed, probably happy knowing I was going through the same feelings he did. It frustrated me.
At work I tried getting Parker out of my mind. I was working harder than ever, it was tax season. My phone buzzed on my desk, “Sir, a Mr. Wayde here to see you.” Josh said through my intercom.
“Alright, send him in.” I said back, through the com. I saved my work and turned off the computer screen. The door opened and I stood and walked around to greet my boss.
“Mr. Wayde, it’s a pleasant surprise.” I extended my hand.
“Mr. Rain.” He shook my hand vigorously. “How’s the family?”
“Great. Parker’s a bit mad at me, but I’m sure he’ll get over it.” I extended my hand over the chairs in my office. “Please sit.”
“Thank you Travis. I’ll only be a minute. I’m sure your busy.”
“For you, no.” I walked over behind my desk and sat down and waited for him to tell me why he was back in my office.
“Travis, you heard about Wilson, right.” I nodded. Our Vice President took a nose dive off the top of the roof over at Plasma 51. He drank something there, or took something there that made him think he could fly. Poor guy. “Well, we are looking for someone to take his position.” I nodded. “The board has decided to make you the next Vice President of the bank.”
My mouth dropped. Was he serious? He laughed. “For real?”
“Yes. The position is yours, if you want.” He stood and fixed his jacket. I stood and walked around.
“Thank you sir. Thank you so much.” I said taking his hand, accepting my newest position.
“No problem. You deserved it Travis. You’ve really pulled this bank around.” He tapped my shoulder and I walked him out of the office. He turned just as we walked out. “Oh, and you’re gonna need a new office. How bout the empty corner office down the hall? Sound good?”
“But. . . But that’s your office sir?” I asked in shock.
“I’m retiring Mr. Rain.” He smiled. “It’s yours now.” He handed me the keys to his office. I was in shock. His office was the biggest in the building. He was one of the four CEO’s and co-founder of the bank. He had built this bank up from the ground up, and now he was retiring.
“Thank you sir.” I said shaking his head again. As Mr. Wayde walked out of the reception area, I saw Jeff stand. “Well, Jeff, guess we’re moving.”
“Congratulations sir.” Then I heard everyone around in my office reception area and outside the hallway. Everyone cheering for me. I was Vice President of Landgraab First National Bank.