My name is Wally, though people used to call me Mr. Dawson. I barely remember those days but I was you, Mister Fancy Suit, a long time ago. I had a great family and a job I loved, until my life changed and I became who I am today. My whole body is wracked in pain, every bone and muscle, even the inside of my head hurts all the time.
My liver and kidneys are rotting, orange like rust. I have lots of pain when I am sober enough to look at my life long enough to remember. It lasts only a minute or two, then I pop a handful of pills, drink two or three shots of cheap whiskey
and vodka or whatever I can get my hands on just to dull the edges around my sorry life.
I got the needle tracks on my arms, but today I’m hurting with no more crack or heroin to get me through the day. My friend Ben said he’ll come meet me at this here bar. He still isn’t here and I’m going through hell.
People don’t believe me when I tell them that I was a white-collar, middle-class family man for more than twenty-five years. I had a little office, a desk and chair. I was a loyal employee and where did that get me? It got me nothing, that’s for sure. I put in all my hours, never took a sick day once and still they let me go.
I dealt with unemployment well the first year, I went on interviews but after a year and a half things slowed down. People weren’t returning my calls, I would interview for jobs and they would never say if I got the job or if I didn’t. I would call up and ask and people never returned the call. First, I thought it was just me but then I talked to some other guys, women too, who had lost their jobs and the same thing was happening to them, to everyone I knew.
I’d spent my whole adult life working here, every single day, being the husband to my wife Adele and the father to Gordon and Jennifer. Why, my office was a mini-vacation for my kids. every year they spent some time with me in “Daddy’s big office.” I loved that, when they came in and Mom made us all sandwiches from home. She’d do something special for herself that day, like get her hair done or her nails and I was so proud that I could give that to her. She was the best wife and mother you could ask for in a person.
What happened to the great country I lived in? No money coming in, now Adele was working part-time. Finally, something inside me died. I couldn’t stand it anymore it hurt so much that I started drinking a lot to dull the pain, I drank around the clock, I stopped shaving and wouldn’t leave the house. My wife used to scream at me, she said I was a “bad influence on the kids.” We fought all the time.
I was a nasty drunk too. Adele, threw me out. The last straw was when I got real angry, so angry that I slapped my wife, well, I pushed her and she turned pale, she was scared of me. She had every right. I was not the man she married. I was not the husband she loved, the father of her children. I was an addict but I didn’t want help, I just wanted out.
I grabbed a few of my things and stuffed them into a bag. The kids were at school and Adele was working. I took our savings money and I left. I walked out the door thinking it would be better for them. I thought I did the right thing, looking at me now, three years later, I am convinced I was right.