by Mike Windham
Years ago, I swore I’d never take Denver Gene anywhere. It just never worked out. Trips always started out innocent enough, but by the end of the day something always happened.
Two weeks ago, he talked me into taking him to New Orleans with me on a business trip. Honestly, I tried to find a reason not to take him. None of my reasons worked.
At eight o’clock in the morning, he was outside my house, waiting for me just like a puppy waits for his owner to feed him. I couldn’t help but smile, he looked so innocent, so clean, so nice. But in the back of my mind, I was hoping there would be no trouble. He was wearing a pair of Levi’s, no belt, a clean white shirt, a pair of black cowboy boots, and a red and white baseball cap. He had his spit cup in his hand and a load of chewing tobacco in his jaw. As my mother would say, “Handsome as a picture post card from Niagara Falls!”
The trip took two and a half hours. Denver Gene talked about the weather, the women in town he liked and the ones who didn’t like him. Some had valid reasons to dislike him. Football scores were rehashed, problems with the President and the Governor were confronted and mighty opinions offered. I heard it all.
Denver Gene asked me to drop him off at Jackson Square. He said he wanted to rummage through the French Quarter. I think he wanted to find a dark place to have a beer or two.
I had business across town. We decided to meet at 3 o’clock at the Windsor Court Hotel, have a drink and head for home. Of course, I was buying at the Windsor Court.
I walked in at 2:45 and there’s Denver Gene holding a bar stool at ransom. No doubt, he’d been there for a while – and I knew who was going to buy a bit more than a drink or two at the bar. He had realized there was no need to rummage through the French Quarter if someone would be buying drinks at the Windsor Court bar. He had the thirst and I had the credit card.
Denver Gene’s white dress shirt was already rumpled and kinda gray. Somewhere, someone had dropped catsup or Tabasco Sauce on the front left side. The stain started at the pocket and dripped southward.
Sitting over in the corner was a guy in a real expensive looking suit. He had a cup of coffee, a laptop computer and a notebook in front of him. You could see where he had been taking notes.
Another guy walked up and introduced himself to the first one. They shook hands and sat down. In a minute or two, I realized I was watching a job interview. I said something to Denver Gene. Up until this moment, Denver Gene’s back was to the two guys talking to each other. He turned to look at what I was looking at.
“I know that guy!” Denver Gene said. “He’s a cop. Gave me a ticket one time. The ticket cost me $200 dollars and some change. My insurance went through the roof. Do you think he’s looking for a job?” Then he started grinning. Lights started flashing in his eyes. Bad Karma was approaching.
“Watch this!” he said as he got up, straightened his collar, adjusted his Levi’s, turned and headed straight for the two men sitting at the table. Then he stopped and said to me, “Oh, pay the tab, we’re leaving.”
I should have known!
Denver Gene walked up and, in a voice just a little louder than necessary, said, “Hey, where you been?” He turned to the interviewer, “Excuse me sir, I need to tell this guy something.”
He turned back to the other man.
“Look, you’d better catch up with those last three child support payments. Sis is having a real bad time. Ain’t nothing easy when you’re 19 with a three year old. It’s bad enough the kid don’t know you his daddy. I’ll tell Sis I saw you, okay? Now, I mean it, send her some money.”
He delivered the message non-stop, leaving no room for interruption. Then he turned and walked back to me.
“Time to go!” he said.
“What was that about?”
“Nothing, but I bet my $200 ticket cost him a job!”
Mike Windham is a successful business owner and part-time writer from Brookhaven, Mississippi. He's got a lot more college than any of his high school teachers imagined, finally settling for 3 degrees from 3 Mississippi universities. He loves Ole Miss and the Deep South, and he still has problems with Yankees and lawyers. He owns a 28 year old pickup truck that was a gift from his family, a 4 wheel drive hunting truck, 2 dogs, 4 pairs of bib overalls, 3 chain saws, 2 guns and a pocketknife.
Mike has been a motivational speaker and management/marketing consultant in the insurance industry since 1998. He teaches continuing education workshops nationwide. He has had more than 100 articles and essays published about business management and insurance related topics.
How To Buy A Strip Club
Buying a Dog on Saturday Night
Superbras and Whiskey
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