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Gary's Prayer

I'd had a particularly castrating Friday at the office —the kind that ends at 8:30 and requires several beers to forget.

I'd also been running on empty all day — literally. In a frenzied hunt for documents, the little gas light on the dashboard burned bright and the needle had sunk to a hair raising low.

My first stop was a dingy Chevron on 28th street and NW 2nd Avenue. A guy named Gary wandered over in a sport coat and tattered shorts, brandinshing a long squeegie in leather gloved hands. Gary flashed his one front tooth in a smile that made his cheeks look like leather, stretched to the limit.

"You're windows are dirty," Gary said.

I told him I didn't have any change.

"That's alright, this one's on the house —Karma."

I held out a dollar, which Gary refused. "I'm not trying to pressure anybody," Gary said. I shook his hand ("Excuse the gloves") and he wished me a good evening.

"I'll need it," I said, climbing into my car.

"You need to talk to that Higher Power," Gary said, like a doctor filling a perscription. "I don't know who your higher power is. Some people got Jesus. Others got Bhudda. Others got Venus. But somebody's higher than you. So whatever your Higher Power is, you gotta tell him: Look here, Higher Power, I know I done a lotta things I don't understand. But I'm just trying to make it by out here. I'm an o.k. guy and I'm tired of the bullshit. So can you please help me out with one good Friday night?"

I said Gary's Prayer as I drove to the Lost And Found for a beer and a taco. And the bartender there bought me a round. And a friend I ran into bought me a taco. And it was a good Friday night. -Calvin Godfrey


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