Joe’s diner

You know a Joe. Lots of us do.
My Joe, well, he’s got it bad. Back in the day, my Joe was kinda livin’ the Dream. With a nice young wife, a good job that he liked, and, with it all, a beautiful little daughter growing up fast. A bit too fast. Young, impressionable, sullied by the sordidness of high school cliques, she lost respect for her doting parents. Emotional scenes at home, exasperation over her rebellion, lost nights of worry over her increasing absence.

Joe drank a little too much. His wife Mary had a health scare, and they decided to get life insurance. Over two hundred bucks a month it was, but they kept it up. Joe was working sixty hours a week, and thought he was a lucky guy to get it. A few more drinks when that blessed weekend came. He deserved to relax. Their girl left home at seventeen, and went God knows where. Mary’s diabetes medication was getting expensive, and secretly she stopped taking it.

Joe was getting depressed and anxious, and got some sort of under-the-tongue pills from the Doc. They levelled him out pretty good. A month shy of two years of her insurance payments, Mary went to coma and died. The insurance company would not pay out the policy. Broken now, Joe began to bumble through his job, but always made sure he had enough of those funny pills and something to wash them down with. When he forgot to pay the rent for a while, and made too many mistakes at work, his fate was sealed. Now my Joe sits under a bridge. He’s got the goddamn shakes ’cause there’s no more booze. He pats the pocket of his smelly jacket, and yeah, that plastic pill bottle’s still there, the last of his three month supply he begged from the Doc. Just to check, he shakes it. Oh please, God. Oh please. Two left. Fall is in the air. My Joe rises, takes his grocery bag, and in the city twilight, walks his well worn path to McDonald’s dark dumpster.

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