I put $5,000 down on black and let it ride. The wheel goes around and he lets the ball lose. It come up 31. Black 31. I am on a roll. The table limit is $5,000 or I would let it all ride. I came here with near nothing and now I am up about $52,000. I don’t know if it was desperation or fantasy that led me to Cleveland but I will be leaving with a new car. On the next roll, I was told that a spot in a higher table was open. I bet $5,000 on 13. He spun the table and let the ball fly. When it was over I had another 175,000 to my take. With that I was about $227,000 up. This was a good day.
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I started to work when I was fifteen. I got a job delivering newspapers at 4:30 am before school. I had just one goal. A new car by graduation. About a year into the paperboy gig and I was told they were going into a different direction. The paper service would be taken over by a separate company that would only hire people with cars who could cover multiple routes. I would get the “where is my paper” call for months before they got the hint. My parents showed their usual level of support. They told me I just had to work harder to prove I could be trusted to do the job despite being fired. I told them I was let go and not fired but I think they just don’t listen.
When I turned 16 my dad took me to get my driver’s license. I passed the tests and earned the license. Dad then charged me $10 for the trip to get the license. Later, at home I was told I would need a job so I could pay rent on the room they were allowing me to use. It went from my room to a rental overnight. They said I could do that or share a room with my 10-year-old brother. They felt having to pay rent would instill a work ethic that I was somehow lacking getting me fired. I said, “I was not fired they let me go.” Mom said, “Mike, that is the same thing.” Then she told me not to take that tone with her.
I had about $1,750 in the bank. They wanted $200 a week. For a room that was mine a few minutes ago. Then my brother Jeffery spoke up, “I don’t want him in my room.” And like that it was either pay up or live in the unpowered popup trailer in the back. To save enough money for a car I would need to earn $400 a week. And do this while attending school. That $200 didn’t include the board part of room and board. I had to pay for my own food. Eventually this included paying for laundry and bathroom privileges. Yes, I had to pay to go to the bathroom.
After school, I found a job at a plastics company. They paid me $8.50 an hour to sort through plastic waste for reusable parts. We also would separate the plastic by color. I would go to school from 8am to 3pm then work from 4pm to 9pm. I worked every day including Sundays. My boss a Mr. Tanner said I was a hard worker and an asset to his department. With working almost fulltime and school my social life ended. A girl I was dating dumped me for what would end up being a twenty-year-old guy with a Mustang and criminal conviction. I went from a solid A- student to a B+ student. When summer rolled around I went to work full time. Just not at the plant. Legally they couldn’t hire me full time. So, I went to work another job on top of the plastic company. Dave Darn, a friend’s dad ran a lawn service. Dave’s son JR. and I went and formed a crew for cutting lawns. Four of us would split $40 a yard. We would have 5 to 7 yards a day. six days a week. I was working on average 14 hours a day.
Even with paying my parents nearly $350 a week I was setting some money aside. I worked it out once. I was paying around $850 in rent for a crappy room with no bathroom or kitchen. I was told by the plant manager when I turned 18 he could take me in fulltime with benefits. The fulltime employees make around $15 an hour with dental, health and eye insurance. JR. said I should just walk away from all that and work full time with him as a partner. He thought that we could do much better on our own renting equipment than working for his father.
Summer turned into fall. We went back to school. Well, I went back to school JR went to work fulltime. His dad said he knew enough to run the job and that was all he needed. My senior year was much like my junior year. I went to school then work. Eventually it snowed and the lawn service turned into snow removal. I helped before school and was at the plant after. My 14-hour days quickly became 16-hour days. Then today happened.
For most people turning 18 is a milestone. I didn’t have the opportunity to see it as anything put another day. My parent’s saw it as something else. I woke up at my usual 3:30 am so I could earn a little cash. With school coming to an end I was going just part-time from noon to 3pm. I could work clearing snow then go to classes then the factory. When I came down I found my parents up and waiting. Waiting with boxes. They decided that it would be best if I was to move out. They said it would build character to live on my own. I had to call JR. and tell him I wouldn’t work with him today. I was being evicted. It took a couple of hours but I eventually moved all my things into a storage facility that would rent to me. The last thing my parents said to me before I left was that they would send me a bill for helping me. Nice.
I went to school. Or I tried to go. On the way, a cop stopped me. He asked where I was going. I said to school. He said, “a little late aren’t you.” He threatened to arrest me when I mentioned I was 18 as of today. He arrested me for a fake ID. I couldn’t call my parents they would just say keep him so I called my boss at the plant. No answer. After my identification was proven to be genuine I was released. On the way out, I was told not to let this happen again. Yes, I won’t let you arrest me for doing nothing again. Well, that was what I thought. In the distance, I saw smoke. Yes, the plastic company I work at or worked at was burning to the ground. I went from there to a branch of my bank downtown. I was going to rent a room for the night and wanted to take some cash out for food. There I found out I had left my check book back at home and the family cleaned me out. They left me with about $75 dollars.
I called Dad. He said, “well when you didn’t say anything about paying us for helping you I went and paid us with your savings.” He went on to say he was a cosigner on the account so the money was partly theirs. He also said that they setup a cot in the garage for me for a few nights until I could find something else. I didn’t say anything I just hung up. I cleared the account, but I couldn’t close it without Dad’s permission. I left the bank and went outside. In front of me was a special bus that runs between Akron and Cleveland. For $5 I could be away from here.
to be continued..........
These are short stories I wrote. Some are connected to the larger books I am working on others are just for the fun of story telling.
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