The man with the long, white beard careens out of the dive bar on Southeast Foster Road and into a parked car, his limbs jerking spasmodically.
I help him peel himself off of the beat-up Taurus’ hood and navigate his way into the backseat of my beat-up Crown Victoria, hoping for a short trip.
Which, thankfully, I get. Homeboy doesn’t live more than two miles away, but he wants me to stop at the 7-Eleven on 92nd Avenue, run in, and get him a 22 of Mickey’s.
As I pull out of the store’s parking lot, after having given him his beer, change, and receipt, he mutters that “this is a horrible idea.” I tell him that maybe it is, but he can just put the beer in the fridge and save it for tomorrow if that’s the case.
I pull into the driveway. He throws a wadded ball of bills at me from the backseat and growls that I should keep the change. Before I know it, he’s opened the door, taken a couple of lunging steps, and done a face-plant into his lawn.
I rush to get out of the car and sprint over to him.
“Leave me alone!” he screams. “This is what I do to myself!”
“Come on, man, we’re almost there,” I say. As I reach down to grab him, a fist flies up at me, barely missing my nose.
“Leave me alone!” he yells again.
As usual, I do the wrong thing. I do what I’m told.