Cache of Willow Oak

11-05-03 GCG3BE

39.483667 -74.950233


A cold drizzle focused Mark on his plight. At 34, he was walking home at night, in the rain, from his job of waiting tables at Applebees. “Is this the best I can do?”

Plenty of time to ponder that as the daily walk through the 3rd Ward was close to two miles. Pockets full of cash, wet, and tired, Mark was aware he was a target. Easy pickins.

There was not an event that got him here. Rather, a lifetime (it seemed) of less than successful decisions. That’s putting it mildly. He could lament his troubles, or he could knuckle down.

What? Another set of plans that never go anywhere?

What will my major be this time? Bah!

Double shifts to pay down the debt?

Borrow from Grandma again?

Deep breath.


Switch sides of street. Don’t look. Pick up pace.

Home. Open the bottle. My friend. Troubles can wait.

Somewhere, another consequence is preparing to enter Mark’s life. Officer Tanton polishes his cuffs for the day’s shift. They’ll be used once . . . to control a drunken deadbeat. The town will take potshots online while a mother sits and cries two towns over.

It’s not getting better.

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