Home Depot Profiles In Courage

New Preface

These stories are the result of some years working on the overnight freight team at a Home Depot. There is much, however, that wasn't written and won't appear in this book. For some things are too hard to write and others you save for another occasion even if you cannot be sure that it will come.

There is nothing of Felicia and her years of crack addiction in Detroit, her molestations and rape while living in the streets; nor of Heather, Doug’s wife, who worked the cash registers and didn’t understand when a customer gave her extra coins in order to receive a bill as change ― she looked at the coins strangely, then thrust them back saying it wasn’t right and threatened to call a manager; nor is there anything about the man in the white Mercedes who parked behind the garden area and shot himself in the face. Corey found him, his jaw and nose shot off, blood splaying everywhere, holding where his face had been, hopping around and moaning ― But he’s got a white Mercedes, Doug said. Why should he want to kill himself? They were still discussing it in the lunchroom when the man died a week later.

Neither is there anything about Robert the Jew, who ate whoever’s lunch he wanted from the refrigerator, one time even offering Puerto Rican Dave a bite of his own sandwich. When someone caught him with their food or there wasn’t anything he wanted, Robert didn’t hesitate to root through the garbage. I once watched him pull up from the bottom of the trash bin a blackened, days-old bagel and quickly consume it.

And what of old Jay the ex-con, who had nubs for fingers on both his hands and was rumored to be the disowned son of the Kraft family. Jay moved slowly on his crutches, coughing, and smoking whenever he had the chance, the cancer slowly destroying him. He told fantastic stories about pointing handguns at sheriffs and beating up train conductors, all of them ending in clever escapes or police escorts back to his home with never any charge. Jay was an alcoholic and disappeared for months at a time into treatment centers.

Nor is there mention of 'Slick' Nick, big and slow-moving, who was run over by a car at 16 and spent two years in a coma. If you didn’t see him for a week he forgot who you were. Slick worked the parking lot pushing carts but regularly disappeared to prune the calluses on the soles of his feet. They grew quickly and required weekly attention, he said, and when they had grown too large or he had trimmed them too deeply, Nick claimed he was unable to work. The sight of Nick in the electrical aisle with his shoes off, hacking at his calluses with a penknife, had caused a number of customers to complain to management.

It might have been a better book if these other characters had appeared in it but this will have to do for now. To some readers the truth of these stories will be manifest, while to others, perhaps too educated and financially fortunate, they will only be regarded as fiction.

Bogota, Colombia
March 2012

1 comment:

  1. What is tremendous about your work is that it does not provoke transcendence in me--e.g., someone is if finally living a an authentic life and creating original work and overcoming the West--but encourages me to drop my poor life for one of risk, creation, and authenticity. Indeed, you have 'left out' certain events and certain men, but they are indirectly reflected in your accounts of the other men.


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