Monday after high school graduation kid was required to become adult, moving long miles to Los Angeles and working in south central warehouse owned by gray parental friend named Jack who invited to dinner first night.
In large Palos Verdes home south of city Jack and wife greeted kid and promised he’d have great summer. During drive to restaurant and dinner of pizza and sodas everyone was congenial, and afterward Jack complied when wife said she’d drive.
In back kid was confused when Jack slapped front passenger window, then alarmed as Jack continued batting demons. Wife squeezed steering wheel but did not comment. In few minutes, after Jack rolled down window and shouted hey at teenage girl in short pants, wife said stop.
I hear football coach George Allen lives in Palos Verdes, kid said. Damn right, Jack responded, honey turn left here. They moved through dark streets to mansion and Jack said, pull into driveway, and wife complied. Jack, squinting at dark structure, then ordered turn on brights so kid can see. We can’t do that, Jack, she said, backing out.
Few minutes later kid thanked for dinner, shook Jack’s hand, and executive said, hi, ah, bye, and kid wondered how he’d gotten that way. Several years later he learned Jack died in hotel room after another two-bottle day beginning at breakfast.