Again he was calling me. It had become as predictable as the change of seasons.
I’m going to do a little venting here. My name is George and this is my brother-in-law Jonah, I’m talking about. He married my little sister four years ago and immediately made her pregnant, stopped working and accelerated his drinking. Then he started knocking my beautiful little sister around and finally started hitting me up for more and more money.
At first it was hard luck stories about how he couldn’t get any work in the miserable economy. He’s a security guard and maybe there was a certain amount of truth to that. There isn’t a lot of work out there for drunken, nasty, security guards.
Then he played the guilt card pointing out to me that my adorable three year old niece was going to go barefoot or without a winter coat. This didn’t work for long because I soon realized that if I gave him the money for the coat or shoes he would spend it on booze. Then of course I had to buy them directly. So about a year ago that scam ended and he came up with a really evil game.
He would get drunk, beat up my sister, and scare the hell out of the baby. Then when my sister would call me crying, I’d go over to tell him to leave.
His standard reply is, “Where am I gonna go? I got no money to go nowhere. You and the bitch want me out you pay. Gimme a couple a hundred and I’m gone.”
Each time, I would give him two hundred bucks and he’d be gone for a week or so and then we go through the whole routine again.
The last time he showed up with some bimbo who waited for him in his old wreck of a car in front of the house. You talk about arrogance; it’s like he stops at the ATM machine to make a withdrawal. He pulls up in front, staggers into the house, knocks my sister Gail around screams at my niece Courtney, lets Gail call me and waits for the cash dispenser to arrive… me!
This time was different, Gail wasn’t the one calling. It was Jonah himself! When I heard his voice I figured he’d hurt Gail so badly she couldn’t call for his ATM machine to come over with the cash or worse, he’d killed her.
After about two minutes I realized he was far drunker than usual, I could hardly understand him for the slurring and rambling.
In a nutshell, Gail wouldn’t let him in the house. She locked the doors and windows and stood inside the front door with an old shotgun our Grandpa had given her when she turned sixteen. After that scene, the bimbo left with the car and Jonah figured the better alternative was to back off, call me directly and tell me where to meet him with his ‘allowance’.
He had a temporary job as a night watchman at a local construction site and he wanted me to come there and bring him two-hundred bucks. Seems he was being laid off from the watchman job (big surprise) and needed rent money for the room he stayed in. He added the interesting touch that if I didn’t come with the money he would go back and set Gail’s house on fire.
I went with the two-hundred bucks in my pocket and picked up a quart of cheap vodka to keep him unconscious until morning when daylight would reduce his options. By then I could come up with a longer term plan than paying Jonah every two weeks or so, to stay away.
Between his ‘allowance’ and the fact that I supplemented Gail’s salary as a waitress so she could stay in the house I was feeling the financial drain. I needed new sneakers and my old car needed new tires and I couldn’t afford either.
I had to buy off Jonah once and for all and I hoped by morning I could figure out a way to do that.
I checked with Gail to make sure Jonah’s story was not a lie, congratulated her on keeping him out and told her I’d talk to her in the morning.
I got to the construction site near the river and wandered around until I found Jonah sitting on a crate in the middle of a huge cleared area, not another soul in sight. It had what looked like large pipes coming out of the ground and rising into the night sky for about forty or fifty feet.
I approached Jonah shouting his name to make sure it was him and he mumbled something and threw an empty vodka bottle across the open space. It hit one of the pipes and smashed into pieces. This was good because the bottle I brought with me would make him more manageable and I had an idea.
“Jonah, this crap has got to end,” I said to him as I stood over his slumped drunken figure on the crate. “When is your shift over?”
“Eight in the morning, but I’m gonna have to make a vodka run before then, I’m outta medicine. Ha ha, yeah, I’m outta my sleeping medicine so I gotta have my prescription filled,’” slurred the drunken slug.
I thought to myself, “I wish I’d had some guts; I would like to crack his skull with the bottle of vodka and end Gail’s and my problem once and for all.” Some people can do that kind of thing and some can’t, I was one of those who couldn’t.
“I have a deal for you, Jonah. I have your medicine here, delivered direct. You stay on the job and I’ll be back before nine tomorrow with a thousand bucks, another bottle of vodka and a bus ticket to Miami. You agree to leave for Miami and never come back and bother Gail or me and I’ll drive you to the bus depot, give you the thousand bucks and the booze and see you on your way. Don’t agree and don’t get on that bus and I’ll start answering your calls with the police. Your party is over, in this town at least. Go find another scam in nice sunny Florida. What do you say?”
“Yeah, OK, gimme that bottle and I’ll see you in the morning.”
With that he grabbed the bottle, chugged down about ten ounces and slid off the crate onto the ground. Within minutes he was snoring and unconscious, but, before he went out he laughed and mumbled, “Yeah, I could use a Florida vacation, but if I don’t like it I’ll be back to my lovely wife and her generous brother.”
As I started to walk away I thought how dumb and weak I was. He would probably take the money, get on the bus and be back in a month or so. Gail and I were never going to get out of his clutches.
As I was walking back to my car it startled to drizzle. Can you believe what an idiot I am? I spotted a plastic tarpaulin and took it back to cover my slug of a brother-in-law.
I left saying over and over to myself, ‘”George, what the hell is the matter with you?”
By the time I got home, it was a little after midnight. I fell into bed and believe it or not slept pretty well.
The next morning I was late getting to the construction site to pick up Jonah. I stopped to get all his belongings from his furnished room and to pick up the thousand. I then got the bottle of vodka and the bus ticket with the two hundred bucks I didn’t give him the night before.
When I arrived at the site it was a bustle of activity. There must have been fifty concrete trucks lined up in front of a huge concrete spreading chute suspended over the ‘field’ where I last saw Jonah.
There was a guy working in the cab that was moving the nozzle of the chute over the field via a crane. The field must have been thirty yards by thirty yards and the concrete was already about ten feet deep.
I went up to the guy operating the crane and asked with innocent curiosity what was being built?
“This is one of the four footings for the new bridge. Each of them has five hundred thousand cubic feet of concrete, that’s a total of two million cubic feet of concrete, a real great contract for our company. See the rods going up, they look like pipes, they’re fifty feet high, called re-bar, to strengthen the concrete. The pour will go to the top of those rods.
“Nothing going to move these babies after we finish. When I got here this morning and started the pour you wouldn’t believe it, the re-bar guys left their tools under a tarp in the middle of the pour site.
“I was going to stop the pour and go get them but my honey started texting me some really hot morning comments so I just said screw it, serves them right for leaving their stuff out on the site. So I just kept pouring and texting and now they’re under about ten feet of concrete soon to be fifty. Ha ha, I’ll never tell.”
“Are you sure it was tools under the tarp,” I asked, trying desperately to look dumb.
“Well, like I say, I didn’t stop pouring to check, but what the hell else would it have been, a body, ha, ha, ha.
Gotta get back to pouring and texting, love that concrete and love that girl.
Hey, you gotta get off this site, you don’t have a hard hat on and that will get us some real crap from the inspectors. Off with you now.”
Six months have gone by and Gail keeps marveling how she has never heard from Jonah since the time she stood him off with Grandpa’s shotgun.
I congratulate her on her courage and simply tell her that Grandpa is watching over her and Courtney and she must now get on with their lives.
By the way, our Grandpa was in the concrete business.