Chris was 20 when he left Buffalo.He ran as far as he could, with the money he had and minding that he had no passport. He ended up in Honolulu. He applied for jobs cooking, his first love, and no one called. He applied, out of desparation, to be a security guard, at a large contractor that was better than it's reputation. He was hired then and there, as security guards so often are, put through class, given a uniform, and put on his post.

Chris did not intend to make a career of it, but he quickly learned that not many people wanted to be security guards and he could consequently make a nice check with his overtime. He did the job right and received praise from the Sergeant. He learned, on his own volition, how to handle situations properly. Soon he found a better, more stable roomate situation, and he pressed his uniform with sharp creases and polished his Danners before every shift. After six months, Chris became a Sergeant, right after he'd turned 21.

Chris was a good leader, but the responsibility stressed him out. It was mainly a lack of confidence rather than a lack of ability. He took to drinking. The drinking did not interfere with his work, and security guards drink, so his habit was not noticed. But Chris was honest with himself. He knew he had a problem, and he worried it would get worse. His mother was an alcoholic. But then, Chris would say, who is putting the beer in my mouth?

Chris got used to being a Sergeant. He developed many guards, and he was proud of them. Things were going good on other fronts too; he could afford a studio with his own bathroom. He had a few relationships, but nothing serious. Chris had never been in love. Didn't really have the time or inclination anyway. But he always ended things on good terms. He left girls better than he'd found them.

The stress of being a Sergeant diminished, but he liked the drinking and the drinking continued. He just liked a nice buzz, but his tolerance was increasing rapidly. He could be pretty buzzed and no one could tell. Nobody knew about the drinking but him.

Chris called his father and told him how he was doing. His father was proud, though he initially hadn't supported the move to Hawaii. Well. Chris had accomplished a lot, but compared to his siblings, he was clearly the child that made it. Chris had a twin sister, Brittany, who got into and out of relationships on the basis of shelter and another sister, Ramona, just a year older who already had a kid and worked at Walmart. His youngest sister, Isabella, was three years younger and worked in the record store. She still lived with Dad and maybe there was hope for her. But Chris you didn't have to worry about.

Chris didn't even both calling his Mom. The mainland might as well have been her, and Hawaii might as well have been giving a fuck.

Money rich, and time poor. Chris stopped cooking for himself and became familiar with Denny's to go. He did not put on much weight. He used to only smoke when he drank, but now he was buying packs and smoking at work. But he loved what he did, and his Captain appreciated him. Thats why he gave six months notice, and requested a transfer to Buffalo. He was accomodated, and his father was happy to hear the news. It had been three years.

 

Chris' father met him at the airport, and took him home. His father had been living alone for the past couple of months, after Isabella had moved in with Kevin somebody. She was only 20. Neither Dad nor Chris approved. Chris' father appreciated the company.

 

Chris caught up with some of the people he'd known; many more had gone elsewhere. He went to the licensing class and began working in security once again. More of the same; 16 hour shifts, overtime, and solid performance as a supervisor.

On one of his days off, Chris stopped by the restaurant where he had worked a couple years after high school. So little had changed. Actually, most of the employees were familiar. The owner was cool; treated everyone like family and paid good for that kind of work. Only one new face actually. Chris received a hero's welcome. The owner took Chris over to the bar and fed him beer. Chris hadn't been drinking lately, but his old boss was being very hospitable. Chris never stopped at one. He was sloshed; not that anyone had the slightest idea. His old boss then suggested a meal, on the house; Chris declined, the man insisted. An order was made for Chris' favorite. The new girl served it.

"Emily, this is Chris. Used to work for me awhile ago. Good man."

"Hi! I'm Emily! I just started here. So yeah..." She was evidently trying to think of something else to say. The booze had Chris in a talking mood. "This is a good place to work. I was here two years. Then I moved to Hawaii."

"What are you doing here?" Mock surprise.

"Everyone comes back eventually."

Then she was gone. The owner suggested she had designs on Chris; Chris supposed she was just nice, and inquired as to her age. Twenty. Chris remarked she was as young as his little sister, and that he was more inclined toward thirty than twenty, even if he was 23.

Chris ate, and received another beer he didn't want or need, and then stepped out to smoke a cigarette. When he came back in, one of the old crowd was waiting for him. She handed him an order slip, which read "Emily." There was a phone number.

"She said she just wants to go to dinner or something. She said all the guys she meets are all the same, all jerks."

"I'm a different kind of jerk."

The owner laughed. "What did I tell you, Chris? Your smart but you need to get old."

"Well, where is she?"

"Left already."

Chris ended up calling her, and they went out a week later. She drove worse than Chris, smoked more than he did, and had a filthier mouth than he. She had the attention span of a ten year old, and Chris found it incredibly cute. He was completely gaga. The man who never smiled, always had his shoulders back so you could notice his Sergeant stripes, and never took the slightest infraction from his guards kindly. And now morale of the guards completely depended on this 110 pound, 5'2" barely-a-woman-yet who didn't even know how military time worked.

Actually, work was going even better. Chris was flying high; he could pull a 16 or even 24 hour shift and walk out with a smile on his face. Emily didn't like the long hours, though she understood. He was in a better mood, the guards got away with screwing around a little more, but the job got done. Chris' energy was boundless, and there was talk of making him a Captain.

Chris still lived with his father. Rent was free, there was a washer and dryer that required no quarters, and his father did not bother him at all. He'd learned in Hawaii living with your folks has definite benefits.

Actually, it was a double standard. Isabella had to pay $30 a week in rent, and was subject to a curfew and behavior standards. Chris couldn't pay rent if he wanted to, and it was A-OK to drink in the living room, smoke cigarettes in the garage, and bring home girls Isabella's age.

It was a week after Chris made Captain that he and Emily were at the mall, and he saw Isabella with who he assumed was Kevin. And then he saw an argument transpiring between them. And then Kevin got in Isabella's face. Isabella pushed him away, Kevin slapped her.

That was it for Chris. His topcoat came off, and suddenly he caught himself yelling in Hawaiian pidgin.

"Ya fucka! You like hit girls? Little bitch, take a swing at me, you like hit girls!" Chris pushed Kevin violently. "Too pussy to hit a man, eh? You just slap girls. Loddat, ya fucka." Chris slapped Kevin, and he began to cry. "Yer a miserable excuse. Yer not even a little boy. Yer a piece of shit." Chris landed a punch that broke Kevin's nose, and then another punch to the gut. Security came, and as soon as they put their hands on Chris, he was cooperative. Security told him they had to cuff him, and he put his hands behind his back. The police came, and Chris said nothing as security took their cuffs off and the police put theirs on. They let Emily take the keys to his car, and Chris was brought to the black and white.

On the way to jail, the officer driving the car told Chris what he just did should be legal. Then they got to disussing the phone calls Chris got, two of them. Boss and Dad, said Chris. And then it came up that Chris worked in Security.

"Fuck," said the cop. "You're gonna lose your license dude. I'm sorry."

Chris hadn't even thought of that. But he knew it was true.

Then the officer said, "Your sister didn't press charges against him. She got in the ambulance and they went to the hospital together.

"I should've slapped her too. No! I take that back." But the police officer just nodded.

Chris was booked and bonded out shortly thereafter. The people in the cell commended him. He was fired the next morning.

Chris called the Captain in Hawaii to see if she could pull some strings. She said with the company, maybe, but there was no way she could get his license back. But then she said, you know...you don't need a license to do Security in Hawaii. The door's always open."

Chris thought it was his only option. He plead guilty and did a month in lieu of probation, so that he could move back to Hawaii.

Emily said she'd go with him. But then she couldn't. She said she was too young to move to Hawaii by herself.

Chris moved back by himself and resumed his job. He was still one hell of a supervisor, but now he just put on the costume and played the part.

He loitered at the dive, he no longer dated in favor of visitng massage parlors once in a great while, and he never returned home.

And he never loved again.

 

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