Work hard, save your money, buy a piece of paradise and watch life crap on you. A weekly online serial.
Five days a week, fifty two weeks a year, for thirty years is seven thousand, eight hundred days. Eight hours a day for seven thousand eight hundred days is sixty two thousand, four hundred hours.
This is what I paid for my security, for a chance to finally relax and live a life.
It was a close thing. The whole WorldCom fiasco set me back a few years, and an ill advised dalliance in day trading set me back a few more. But I beat the race against social security and I can finally tell the world what I’ve wanted to for the last thirty years.
You can go fuck yourself. All of you.
Decades of busting my ass, eyes on the prize, and what do I get? A wife who leaves me. Leaves me because I’m not willing to cripple my future to put a junkie son through rehab, again. That boy had been a disgrace since the day he dropped from his mother’s womb. Even as a child, he was a liar, and a cheat, and a thief. So, why am I the bad guy? Why, after feeding him, clothing him, and educating him, why should I be willing to try and save a dirt bag drug addict who’s just going fall off the wagon the moment he gets out? It’s his whole generation, a bunch of entitled, spoiled brats who think the future should be handed to them on a silver platter. That they shouldn’t have to work, to suffer.
And, of course, when the police finally pulled his corpse out of some shooting gallery deep in the ghetto, who’s fault was it? Not mine, I’ll tell you that.
Dead son, dead wife. To her credit, she remarried quickly, at least sparing me the indignity of supporting some withered old hag’s descent into dotage. When her new hubby flipped the their car on a wine tasting excursion to Napa, his reflexes muddled by a combination of room temperature Brie and piss yellow Chardonnay, well, I wasn’t happy, exactly. More like relieved.
But, it’s all come together, finally. Decades of work, a couple hundred thousand dollars, and a sheer, blind commitment to my goals has paid off. The condo is finished and I get to take possession of the place I will die in. Alone, if I have any luck left.
Two bedrooms, Spanish tile in the kitchen, blue tile in the bathroom, creme colored walls. Exactly as specified. My balcony looks down on a head-high swell unfolding across the pointbreak I’ve coveted all these years.
Those were the best days of my life. Late teens, early twenties, surfing the Point until my arms were rubber, until my eyes were on fire. I told myself that, one day, I’d own a piece of her. And now I do.
The rest of my boards arrive with the furniture tomorrow. In the meantime, I retrieve my longboard from the spare room, and paddle out, into my wave. It’s steeper than I remember and I’m having a hard time making the drop. I can hear the snickers of spoiled Orange County day-tripper brats as I paddle back out. One of them blatantly stuffs me. I kick my board at him and miss.
“I tell him to watch his mouth, that this is my wave, that I’ve been surfing since his parents were children. He spits in my face and pushes me off my board. I take a swing at him and he ducks it.”
He paddles back out and starts screaming at me. “What was that about, old man?”
I tell him to watch his mouth, that this is my wave, that I’ve been surfing since his parents were children. He spits in my face and pushes me off my board. I take a swing at him and he ducks it.
Suddenly, I’m surrounded by his little pack of cronies, all splashing, laughing, mocking “go home old man”,”don’t break a hip”,”where’s your walker?”
I’ll kill them.
Later that night I’m sitting on my balcony, drinking from a bottle of tequila. My cell has ten missed calls, all from my realtor.
“Hey, um, we’ve run into a little problem here, can you call me back?”
“Hey, I really need you to call me back, it’s urgent.”
“Listen, I know you’re retired now, but you need to call me as soon as you get this message.”
“Alright, I didn’t want to tell you this via voice mail, but we’ve run into a problem with the condo…”
And so on…
I take a swig from the bottle and dial his number.
“Jesus, it’s about time, listen…”
“Look, just tell me what the problem is.” I slur out the words.
“Well, it’s like this, you know you own the condo…”
“Damn straight I do…”
“Yeah, well, it turns out that’s all you own. The land belongs to someone else.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The land owner is claiming he never sold the property, that the condos were built illegally. That you have to either pay him five hundred thousand, or vacate the premises.”
“What about my condo?”
“He says you’re welcome to move it.”
I hang up the phone and throw it off the balcony. I don’t see what it hits.
I’m going to finish this bottle, and then open another. I wonder where you can get a gun in Mexico. How hard would it be to smuggle one down from San Diego? I gulp down more tequila, too quick, too much, and retch it back up.
God damn it.