HINDSIGHT IS 20/20

Did you ever wish you could go back in time to when you were five years old? That’s a reasonable age – old enough to grasp the difference between right and wrong yet young enough to be just a kid having lots of fun; not on the cusp of adulthood so it’s probably a good idea to try not to muck it all up.

If I, a sixty-something-year-old woman could write a letter to my five-year-old self, I might say something like this:

“Hey, you!

There’s a ginormous amount of ‘stuff’ that you’re gonna have to deal with in life so listen up:

• Everything you’ll ever need to know you’ll learn in kindergarten so pay attention.
• Follow the Golden Rule, obey the Ten Commandments and listen to the Beatles because life really is about peace, love and understanding.
• Mom and Dad aren’t the enemy; they’re doing the best they can so cut them some slack.

Right now you’re having the time of your young life. Your days are pretty much planned out. Mom does all the work and there aren’t a lot of demands on you. It’s mostly playing, eating, napping, doing a chore or two, sleeping; repeat tomorrow. Life is good and you’re a happy kid.

Sometimes, though, you’re gonna be so sad all you wanna do is cry and that’s ok; even big people cry. You won’t be sad forever. Other times you’re gonna get so mad you just wanna hit somebody, but that isn’t a good reaction – except if it’s Willie Casa; he’s the bully who lives three houses down. So when he hits you over the head with that plastic gun of his, you’re gonna bop him in the nose. And you know what? He’ll never bully you again.

Speaking of noses, yours is ok right now but in a few years it’s gonna turn into a real honker and you’re not gonna like it. You’ll get teased some and it’ll hurt. But hang in there because the most important guy in your life won’t care about that at all. He thinks you look like Sophia Loren and that’s a good thing.

Mom isn’t comfortable talking about a lot of personal stuff and you’re gonna wake up one morning to discover you’re body’s changing. It happens to all girls and while some of it is pretty yucky, most of it is really amazing. Let’s just say God knows what he’s doing and you’re gonna turn out ok.

When you’re about 13 somebody cool is gonna enter your life, coming and going for a couple of years. He’s a 16-year-old beanpole name Steven Tallarico – Google him. You might feel like kicking yourself because you didn’t run off with him but your whole life would have turned out differently and probably not for the best. Don’t worry. In 1968 you’re gonna go on a blind date and that guy will change your life forever and in the best ways imaginable.

You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes; everybody does. It doesn’t matter who you are in this giant world – you’re gonna screw up and believe me some of your booboos are doozies. You’re gonna hurt people and when the dust settles all you can do is apologize and try to make things right. The important thing is to own your mistakes and take responsibility.

Responsibility. Accountability. Big words with important meanings and so easy to overlook. They’re gonna be important to you and believe me, kid, there’s nothing wrong with that. People won’t always act the way you want them to; try to remember just because YOU think someone should act a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way for them. Let it go because it’s wrong to force people to do anything. And don’t let others force you.

Don’t be afraid to smile and make friends but don’t blindly trust people you don’t know. And if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If somebody scares you, scream your head off and run like hell because there are some bad people out there. But there are also a lot of wonderful people and most of the time you’ll be able to see the difference. Sometimes you won’t and people will hurt you. Shame on them! Cut your losses and move on; it’s their problem, not yours.

Nobody’s life is perfect, not even yours. You can own a lot of great stuff but if you don’t have a loving family and friends then you don’t have anything. You will be greatly blessed in more ways that you can count – not by the wonderful things YOU do but by the wonderful people in your life.

Some things I’ve learned along the way:
• Listen to Mom and Dad; they really do know more than you (especially about Woodstock!).
• Go easy with the blue eye shadow; it’s not a great look. And watch out for sloe gin fizzes; they have a way of sneaking up on you and knocking you on your ass.
• Be a friend, lend a hand and don’t judge; you never know what someone may be going through.
• Be respectful – not only of others but of yourself.
• The popular thing isn’t always the right thing and the right thing isn’t always the popular thing. That’s a tough one.
• If you say you’re gonna do something, do it. Be responsible (see above).
• Don’t be afraid to show your emotions and let people know how much you care; it’s how you know you’re alive.
• Be flexible. Things don’t always go as planned.
• You’re gonna have your heart broken more than a few times and you’re gonna break some hearts, too. It sucks but that’s just the way life is.
• Don’t be late. Period. You can’t control the weather or traffic but you can anticipate it.
• Don’t lie or make excuses. Not only does it show poor character – it’s too hard to remember all your tall tales. The truth always comes out.
• Smoking is not cool so cut it out. It’s a disgusting and expensive habit.
• Listen to the Beatles as much as you can; not only is their music just about the best you’ll ever hear, you’ll learn a lot from what they have to say.
• Just be a decent person; it’s really not that difficult.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Love, You!”

NAR © 2020

OH, YE WHO CANNOT COMMIT

I’ve got little patience, I know that it’s true
For people who say “Sure, I’ll do it!
I’ve lots on my plate but this I can do!”
And they never do nothing but shit.

They sign up for that, they sign up for this
With the best of intentions behind it,
But the deadline they always just happen to miss
And they never do nothing but shit.

I talked with a woman a few months back
Who said she liked writing quit a bit.
I gave her the name of a person to contact.
She never wrote back; she was all full of shit.

Then there’s the school coach who wears many hats;
From one sport to the other he’ll flit.
He promised to buy all the baseballs and bats
But in the end he did nothing but shit.

A friend said he’d come over to move my piano;
I took off the front door so it would fit.
The hours went by and my friend was a no-show.
Turns out he was worthless as shit.

My cousin said she would do Christmas dinner;
A stressful undertaking, I freely admit.
We all did our share, Mom’s pie was a winner
But my cousin forgot; she did nothing but shit.

The kids in our school rehearsed for the play;
The secretary said she would schedule it.
A lot of other things seemed to get in her way
And you guessed it; she didn’t do shit.

‘Twas the big wedding day for my sister Doris;
The guests looking ’round for someplace to sit.
But something went terribly wrong at the florist;
There were no lovely flowers. The wedding was shit.

My daughter-in-law joined a poetry group;
Every week she wrote poems to submit.
Soon the size of the group started to droop
And after a while it all turned to shit.

We hired a fellow to paint our new house;
The bright yellow color didn’t suit it.
He bought the wrong paint; it’s called “Dead Grey Mouse”;
Now our house just looks like a pile of shit.

There’s always that loud sloppy drunk at the bar
Who promised his wife he would quit.
He’s done this too often; he’s gone way too far,
But he’s wasted and gives not a shit.

I have a good friend who is constantly late
And I really don’t know how she does it.
She’s never on time for a meeting or date.
We’re all waiting but it doesn’t mean shit.

The guy next door lost another great job
And he swears that he didn’t deserve it.
Well, everyone knows he’s a big lazy blob;
He’s a loser and he’s useless as shit.

Folks love to say when you’re part of a team
You must do your fair share and get with it.
So I work my ass off and it just makes me scream:
“I’m the only one who gives half a shit!”

We placed an advertisement in our local newspaper:
“Free Christmas tree. Brand new. We can’t use it.”
A woman called: “Put it aside and I’ll take her!”
We waited till midnight; she was just full of shit.

I drove my dear friend to the store for a gift.
Her car had a flat; she couldn’t drive it.
“I’ll pay for the parking as a thanks for the lift.”
But didn’t because she was all full of shit.

Why can’t some people just do what they say?
Why’s it always so hard to commit?
Well, you know what? At the end of the day
I guess they were all full of shit.

NAR © 2020

JUST DESSERTS

Death comes suddenly to some; for others it takes a lifetime.

It was Good Friday of 1946; Kathleen O’Brien walked through a narrow cobblestone passage way to St. Brigid’s Church. She hated walking by Sully’s Bar with its overpowering stench of booze and abundance of seedy characters hanging around but she was late for services (a terrible habit) and this was a convenient shortcut. She was twenty-two years old – no longer a kid – yet she’d rather die than admit to her mother that she missed the Veneration of the Cross. It was bad enough she was late for everything.

Seeing an unfamiliar man drinking a beer and leaning against the wall outside Sully’s, Kathleen quickened her pace. She heard him chuckle and say “What’s ya hurry, toots?” She walked even faster, opening the side door of the church; it creaked loudly. The elderly priest paused in mid-sentence and made a grand gesture of looking in Kathleen’s direction; he stared at her over his glasses, giving her a withering scowl. Embarrassed, she quickly found a seat at the end of a pew next to Mrs. Callahan who huffed at having to make room for this rude latecomer.

As is the tradition on Good Friday, everyone remained after services for a period of silent prayer. It was a time to reflect and meditate, one of Kathleen’s favorite parts of Holy Week. When the ushers opened the church doors the sense of peacefulness and solemnity was instantly shattered by the loud music and drunken laughter emanating from Sully’s Bar. “Some people have no respect” thought Kathleen angrily. “An Irish pub shouldn’t even be open on Good Friday!

As she began her walk home Kathleen noticed the same man from the bar standing at the corner. Had he been waiting for her or was this just a coincidence? Warily Kathleen took a step when suddenly the man started walking right toward her. She was taken aback as he stood in her path and extended his hand. “Name’s Harry Selkin and you’re one fine lookin’ dame. Ya need somebody like me to walk ya home. It can be dangerous for a good Catholic girl like yourself to be alone in this neck of the woods.”

Where do you get off saying something like that to me?” Kathleen snapped. “And how do you know I’m a good Catholic girl anyway?”

Well, I ain’t no Einstein but I seen ya practically runnin’ to St. Brigid’s like ya pants was on fire and I’m guessinya ain’t no altar boy – not with them gorgeous legs.” Harry replied in a very ‘Bogey’ sort of way. He smiled and his tough guy persona became surprisingly charming. Kathleen found it hard not to laugh just a little at this roguish stranger and she shocked herself by allowing him to walk her home.

Harry and Kathleen were as different as a gorilla and a swan but there was an undeniable chemistry between them and they started falling in love. No one was more surprised than Kathleen; Harry was like no man she had ever met. Sure, he was rough around the edges but she loved how his face lit up like a kid whenever he ate dessert, especially his favorite – homemade apple pie. Kathleen was known for her baking skills and would make a pie for Harry every couple of days.

They had a whirlwind courtship and Harry popped the question, much to Kathleen’s delight – and her parent’s chagrin. At first they tolerated the relationship thinking it would blow over, but the more serious it got the more concerned they became. There was a major obstacle her parents couldn’t overlook – the fact that Harry was Jewish. Kathleen’s father was dead set against Harry, calling him names like ‘Christ killer’ and ‘kike’. He was enraged when Kathleen announced that she and Harry were going to get married with or without his blessing. Her mother was crushed. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Can’t you see he’s no good for you? I don’t trust him at all, Katy girl, not at all!” she warned, crying into her apron. Kathleen hated defying her parents but would not be dissuaded; she was in love! Her father said she was a blind fool and if she married “that good-for-nothing bum” she was dead to him. With a heavy heart Kathleen closed the door of her childhood home behind her and never looked back.

Harry and Kathleen got married in city hall, the judge and his clerk their only guests and witnesses. After a weekend honeymoon in Niagara Falls the couple settled into Harry’s tiny apartment – a walk-up on the fifth floor and almost within arm’s reach of the elevated train. Kathleen was startled by the scream of the locomotive but Harry said she’d get used to it.

The dilapidated condition of the apartment shocked Kathleen but she was determined to turn it into a lovely home for them. She sewed curtains and towels for the kitchen and bought bed coverings from the thrift store. She also bought sacks of apples from the fruit stand to make Harry’s beloved apple pies. She read in her cookbook that it was alright to freeze apples until you were ready to use them – a handy tip Kathleen didn’t know.

Harry worked the graveyard shift as a printer at the local newspaper, seven days a week from midnight till 8:00 AM. His fingers were permanently stained with black ink. The first morning he came home from work and saw the newly decorated apartment, he got angry at Kathleen for spending his hard-earned money on unnecessary things. Uncaring, he left ink stains on the bedspread when he sat down to remove his shoes. However his mood lightened considerably when he eyed the sacks of apples and Kathleen forgave his angry outburst when she saw that boyish grin.

While Harry slept during the day Kathleen cleaned, shopped and cooked. She wanted a vacuum cleaner but Harry said it was too expensive and the noise would keep him awake so she settled for a carpet sweeper. Their only chance to be together was at breakfast and dinner time – and of course for coffee and dessert. Kathleen suggested a few times that it would be nice if Harry worked during the day so they could be like a normal couple and spend more time together but her words fell on deaf ears.

She also longed for a baby. Each time she thought she was pregnant it turned out to be a false alarm. She saw a doctor who wasn’t very encouraging; he shrugged his shoulders, gave her ambiguous explanations and performed a couple of routine tests. He told her it was just one of those things; not all couples could get pregnant. When Kathleen finally got up the nerve to mention to Harry what the doctor said, he laughed and said it wasn’t his fault she couldn’t get pregnant; “Just ask that sweet little Frenchie I knocked up during the war” was his mean-spirited reply. Kathleen felt like she’d been kicked in the gut. When she cried that she needed something else to fill her lonely days Harry yelled to “go get a job and start earnin’ ya keep around here! Who needs another mouth to feed anyways?” Kathleen was reeling; how could he say such hurtful things? Heartbroken, she eventually gave up on having a baby and found a job as a presser in a shirt factory. The work was exhausting and she still had to maintain the apartment and cook for Harry.

What happened to the guy she married? Harry was constantly annoyed about something or other and drank more now than usual. He got mean when he drank and and Kathleen bore the brunt of his anger. When he demanded sex every night before going to work, she kept her mouth shut but she was silently screaming. This was no way to exist, like a piece of property and not a person. She’d lie awake at night remembering her mother’s warning words. The only thing in her God-forsaken life that she truly enjoyed was baking and she did it all for Harry. She would fantasize about how lovely it would be to have her own little bake shop; she’d make lots of delicious cakes and pies for her large following of loyal customers – not just for her selfish husband. She knew she could do it if she only had the chance.

A few weeks after Kathleen began working she started complaining about backaches and being very tired – probably from constantly lifting the heavy pressing machines at work. Harry, as usual, was unsympathetic and said she better toughen up because no way was she giving up that job.

One morning Kathleen asked Harry if he could bring down the mixing bowl she kept on top of the fridge so she could make an apple pie. He was tired from working all night and wanted to get to sleep but he obliged her at the prospect of dessert. Harry put down his bottle of beer and got the step-stool out of the closet. As he started to climb, Kathleen hoisted a five pound sack of frozen apples, wincing at the pain in her back, and bashed Harry as hard as she could on the back of his head. He fell backwards onto the kitchen floor, his lifeless eyes staring up at the ceiling.

Kathleen hurriedly tore open the sack of apples and dumped them into a pot on the stove. She shoved the empty apple sack into the garbage bag, bunched it all up and threw it down the incinerator chute outside their apartment door. Placing a new bag in the garbage can, she looked at Harry’s body and felt sick to her stomach, vomiting in the sink. She washed her hands and face, then placed a call to the police.

HELP!” Kathleen screamed into the phone. “My husband fell! I think he’s dead!” Then she calmly sat at the kitchen table and waited, crying over misspent years. The police and ambulance arrived quickly; after examining Harry, he was officially declared dead. Blunt force trauma, they said, obviously from smashing his head on the kitchen floor. Everyone was very conciliatory and sympathetic and they respectfully removed Harry’s body. “If there’s anything we can do, Mrs. Selkin, please let us know” the officers said as they left Kathleen alone in the quiet apartment.

Kathleen cleaned up the kitchen and called her boss at the shirt factory to say she wouldn’t be able to work that day. Her boss barked that if she didn’t come in to work she shouldn’t bother coming back at all. Kathleen simply said “Goodbye”. She put the pot of apples in the fridge and after changing her clothes she went to the funeral parlor to make arrangements for Harry.

When she got home she received a phone call from her doctor. “Mrs. Selkin, I’m calling because your test results came back; you and Mr. Selkin will be thrilled to know you’re pregnant. Congratulations, Mrs. Selkin!” Kathleen swayed in stunned disbelief and grabbed onto the edge of the table. She managed a weak “Thank you” and hung up the phone. “Pregnant” she whispered in awe and her slight smile slowly grew into a broad grin. She gently touched her belly, truly happy for the first time in years.

The next morning Kathleen baked a large apple pie with the same apples she used to bash in Harry’s head. When the pie was done and still warm, she placed it in a box and delivered it to the nice policemen. On the way home she stopped in the little bakery near her apartment and inquired about a job. It was a start, a new beginning for her and her baby.

NAR © 2020

NO JOKE!

Death is no laughing matter;
It isn’t some practical joke.
It doesn’t care if you’re thinner or fatter;
Death comes to all sorts of folk.

Death isn’t anything new, we all know
It began in the Garden of Eden.
Cain, he killed Abel, it was mano a mano;
He was jealous and just had to get even.

Death came to Caesar as quit a surprise
At a meeting in the Theatre of Pompey.
The Senators punctured his back and his sides;
“Et tu, Brute?” was all he could say.

Death for young Romeo was a goblet of poison
Which he drank thinking Juliet was dead.
She found her dead lover, stabbed herself in the bosom
And dropped dead at the foot of his bed.

Death is the bloody result of world war;
Brave men within earshot of guns.
Grenades flying high like a bird on the soar;
Frightened lads crying out for their mums.

Death is something we don’t like to ponder;
It gives us the cold sweats and chills.
Not so for a psycho who’s out on the wander;
Killing quenches his thirst for cheap thrills.

Death is merely a passage of sorts,
Ambiguous though it may seem.
Don’t forget what your mom used to say ’bout your shorts,
“If you die they had better be clean!”

Death can sometimes be quit accidental;
Even crossing the street isn’t easy.
Finding oneself in the path of a rental
Will most certainly make you feel queasy.

Death likes to climb into bed when you’re sleeping;
Some say it’s the most pleasant way.
Under your bloomers and sheets it comes creeping;
Good thing you had no plans for the day!

Death can be so inconvenient!
It shows up when you haven’t a hunch.
One minute you’re pitching your new camping tent
And the next you’re a hungry bear’s lunch.

Death likes to hide in the darkest of places
Where junkies shoot up in the night.
But nobody sees the relief on their faces
When they finally give up the fight.

Death can appear right in front of your car
And you cannot control your Range Rover.
You slam on the brakes but you’ve gone way too far
And drive over the White Cliffs of Dover!

Death comes a-tapping on your neighbor’s back window
And you’re thinking “Thank God it’s not me!”
Next thing you know your poor wife is a widow
When you’re squashed by your dead neighbor’s tree.

Death has been known to appear at the station
While you’re waiting for the next express train.
There go your big plans for summer vacation;
But you made the late news – don’t complain!

Death frequently happens in bathrooms
After falling through the glass shower door.
It’s going to take more than a mop and some brooms
To clean all the blood off the floor.

Death will take all the fun out of life;
I hear that it happens quite often.
So have lots of sex with your perky young wife
Before they lower the lid on your coffin!

Death comes to all whether dirt poor or rich;
It’s never been known to discriminate.
You can be a real gent or a son of a bitch,
Pure of heart or brimming with hate.

Death will happen in every generation;
Today or tomorrow, no one can tell.
Whether a low-life or of high veneration
We’re all gonna end up in heaven or hell.

Death doesn’t come for a gain or a profit;
It’s certainly no money-maker
Unless, of course, you’re lucky to sit
In the chair of the rich undertaker


NAR © 2020

NEW YORK STATE OF TERROR

Death was on Julia Rubino’s mind a lot during 1976.

Automatic nagative thoughts (or ANTS as she called them) started entering her brain months go when she first heard about the mysterious murders in New York City.

The killer openly taunted the police. Seeking misplaced attention and public veneration, he wrote rambling and ambiguous letters to journalist Jimmy Breslin who printed them in his column in The Daily News. In his letters the murderer sometimes referenced a cult, hinting that the killings were a rite of passage. Other times he claimed a demonic dog owned by his neighbor Sam spoke to him demanding the blood of pretty young girls.

All the victims were females with long dark hair; as a college student with shoulder-length brunette curls, Julia felt particularly vulnerable. When she told her parents she wanted to cut her hair and dye it blonde they said she was over-reacting. Julia’s boyfriend Steve told her she was being ridiculous, that there was nothing to worry about. He said they were safe in their little town of New Rochelle. Violent crimes like that only happened in dangerous urban locations, not quiet Westchester County.

At night Julia and Steve often drove to the Glen Island Beach parking lot in New Rochelle; it was a popular make-out place and the police very rarely patrolled the area. When Julia told Steve she didn’t want to go parking any more, he got pissed off. Tearfully she reminded him that the killings always involved two victims – young women and their boyfriends parked in cars. She couldn’t shake the idea that something terrible was going to happen to them. Steve argued that they had no other choice if they wanted to be alone. They had no privacy living at home with their parents and Julia felt going to a motel was sleazy. Frustrated, Steve yelled at her to calm down and get a grip. Afraid of losing him, Julia begrudgingly chose to give in.

On July 29 things took an unexpected and shocking turn; the first murders in Westchester County occurred. This time the killer’s MO was different and left the police wondering if the shootings were done by the same individual or a copy-cat killer. The victims were two girls sitting in a car in a well-lit area – not a girl and her boyfriend in a darkened parking lot. The two women were nurses Jody Valenti and Donna Lauria. They had been sitting in Jody’s double-parked Oldsmobile outside Donna’s house talking about their night at a New Rochelle disco. When Donna opened the car door to leave a man suddenly approached. Pulling out a gun, he crouched down and opened fire. Donna was killed instantly but Jody survived. The attack happened quickly however Jody was able to give a description of the assailant; it matched that of the shooter of the previous killings.

Westchester County residents were panic-stricken, especially Julia. Police urged everyone to stay vigilant and refrain from sitting in parked cars. Julia considered dropping out of college and hiding in her house until the murderous madman was caught; her parents convinced her it was irrational to completely cut oneself off from the world.

For more than a year the killer held the citizens of New York captive but on the night of August 10, 1977 the state of terror finally ended. After a tense shootout the murderer was apprehended at his Yonkers apartment – ironically within earshot of Westchester Community College where Julia was a student.

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of that historic arrest. The notorious killer was David Berkowitz, known around the world as Son of Sam.

Exactly ten years ago to the day. Berkowitz pled guilty to all the shootings and is currently serving six life sentences in Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, New York.

Authors note: With the exception of Julia Rubino, her boyfriend Steve and her parents, everyone and everything in this story is factual.

NAR © 2020

LOCK IT UP

Finding himself suddenly unemployed, Omar anguished over supporting his family – not just his wife and kids but his parents in Somalia. One would think having a biomedical engineering degree would open many doors for him but the job search proved more difficult than Omar imagined. His wife Waris was trained as a midwife and she was willing to go back to work but Omar was too proud to allow her to be the only breadwinner in the family. He would find work if it was the last thing he did. Waris encouraged him to look outside his comfort zone; it was then that he saw the ad in Craig’s List:

Drive With Uber – Be Your Own Boss.
For information call 888-555-BOSS

Omar called the number; a man with a strange accent anwered. “UberBoss” was all he said.

Um, yes” replied Omar haltingly. “I’m calling about the ad.”

Email your phone number and driver’s license to uberboss@hotmail.com. We’ll be in touch.”

That’s it? Don’t I need to take a test or something?” Omar asked.

Look, buddy. You want the job or do you want to play 20 questions?” the man replied sarcastically.

Yes, I’m interested, but what is the pay, please?” inquired Omar.

The man sighed impatiently. “$25 an hour; UberBoss gets 20% commission plus 25% booking fee.”

Omar was stunned. “That seems a bit exorbitant!”

That’s the going rate, buddy. Work six days, clear $100. Take it or leave it” was the gruff response.

Considering he currently had no income, Omar accepted.

Ok, buddy. Someone will call you.” Click. Within the hour Omar received his first assignment.

+ + + + + + + +

A woman was waiting for Omar; she wore a burka and only her eyes were visible. She signaled Omar to roll down the window, handed him a thick envelope and quickly walked away without saying a word. Taped to the envelope was a key and instructions which read: “100 Hester Street, Locker #57. Unlock padlock, remove backpack, leave envelope and key, snap padlock shut.”

The destination was a YMCA. Upon entering the building Omar spotted a hallway with a row of lockers. He found #57, opened the padlock, removed the backpack, placed the envelope and key inside the locker and snapped the lock shut. The pack had a tag with an address, locker number and key attached; this had to be his next destination. It turned out to be a bus depot and the locker contained a thick envelope just like the one the woman had given him earlier. Omar determined he had to remove the envelope and replace it with the backpack from the previous locker. He tossed in the key and secured the lock.

This routine continued for six hours at which point Omar received a text from UberBoss requesting his PayPal address. He was advised that his work was finished for the day and he would get a new assignment in the morning. Omar complied and shortly after he received another text, this time from PayPal informing him that $100 had been deposited in his account.

The days were tiring and monotonous. Omar’s ass was sore from driving all around town and he didn’t speak to a single person all day. Being an uber driver was not what he thought it would be; he was just some tool in a game of hide and seek. But he’d been at it for three weeks and had accumulated $2100 in his PayPal account – more money than he had in a long time.

Omar was getting very curious about the contents of the envelopes and backpacks but they were tightly sealed – except for today. Noticing a small tear in the envelope, Omar used his pocket knife to finesse the opening just a bit. Peeking inside he saw stacks of neatly bound $100 bills and the hooded eyes of Benjamin Franklin staring back at him.

Omar considered his next move for about five seconds. He drove to the address on the envelope, ripped off the key and shoved the envelope under the front seat of his car. Driving to his destination he located the locker, grabbed the backpack and snapped the lock. Whatever was in these packs had to be very valuable.

As he sped home Omar knew he was taking a huge risk but it was worth it for Waris and his family. He laughed excitedly at the prospect of financial freedom and the more he laughed the faster he drove. The sound of screaming sirens brought Omar back to reality; a police car was chasing him. He was forced off the road and commanded to step out of the car. While looking through the car the police found the envelope full of money. They also found a backpack crammed with bricks of cocaine.

Omar’s world came crashing down around him and he desperately proclaimed his innocence, to no avail. He was handcuffed and hauled away on the spot. Omar never saw the text that came from UberBoss: “Big mistake, Buddy! Say bye bye.”

At the same moment back at Omar’s house a frantic Waris was tearfully staring down the barrel of the UberBoss’s gun.

NAR © 2020