Hey, does the start of the following story sound familiar to you? In some ways it does, but it really doesn't, you know.
"Blasted summer time again," a cranky 40-something man snarls as he walks through the town center of Periwinkle Village, Massachusetts, a village located on the South side of America's hometown of Plymouth. "It's the same old thing every year. Out-of-towers invading our turf, people throwing trash all over the beach, motorcycles speeding down the street, people getting drunk and playing beer pong, and they have the nerve me to expect me to be a welcome wagon for this scum! Bah, humbug!"
"Happy Memorial Day, sir," a 65-year-old motorcyclist shouts to him.
"BAH, HUMBUG!" the crank shouts back.
Yeah, it's cranky old Tyler Callahan. He just got laid off from a big 6 accounting firm a few days ago. It was nothing to reflect on his performance; he was the junior partner of the firm when he and 500 other people were told that a Japanese bank-whose name I won't mention-had bought them out and were asking the head office to reduce its working staff. As he and the others left that day, many of them were in tears; to many of them, this had been their only source of income. Now he and his fellow employees are out of a job.
On this Memorial Day afternoon, people are hitting the road and headed for home after the long holiday weekend. It's been a humid, rainy day and the vacationers are hot-tailing it out of town early. Many are going back to Boston, Providence, Worcester, New York, Canada...you name it, they come from all over. And now, Tyler is facing a summer without work. Worse, his wife's been diagnosed with both Lou Gherig's Disease and Alzheimer's disease(and she's only 35 years old). This means that her physical and mental capacities are going to be destroyed within the next few years.
His only child, Anna, a college freshman at the University of Colorado was killed in a tragic car accident this past week in Denver. She'd been driving out to a Colorado Rockies game with two of her girl friends when 2 minivans crashed into hers-one head on, the other in the back. She was pronounced dead the scene; her friends were seriously injured. Both of them ended up being paralyzed from the neck down; one of them also had her larnyx crushed. The doctors had to remove it in order to keep her from death by suffocation.
The funeral is scheduled to take place tomorrow at the local Congregational Church on Adolf Hitler Road. There is to be a wake at 10 a.m., a Rainbow Girls service at 11 a.m. and a funeral at 12 Noon. The internment will take place in a church yard somewhere in Kingston, followed by a gathering at Tyler's house. Over the past weekend, people have been visiting the couple and giving them comfort.
Earlier today, Tyler and his wife Veronica met the body at T.F. Green Airport in Providence. It was a tough and heart-rending necessity that had to be done. It was decided that there would be no formal visiting hours; the visitation would take place at the church in the morning. As he and his wife arrived home, the neighbors all comforted them.
Now, as he returns to his house on John Alden Lane, his brother Gene meets him at the door.
"Tyler," Gene says, "we have to talk."
"I'm sorry," Tyler says. "I'm just disturbed by these summer people who come down every summer."
"Me, too," Gene says. "Anyway, it's about Veronica."
"What about her?" Tyler asks.
"I know that her having ALS is bad," Gene says, "but with that Alzheimer's kicking in first, her mental capacity has gone down a lot in the past couple of weeks."
"Look," Tyler says, "I can take care of her..."
"That's the trouble," Gene interrupts him. "This disease is very bad. And it's going to get worse, especially with having a muscle wasting disease. Normally, when one has ALS, his or her mind is left intact, but when one has Alzheimer's disease, the mind is destroyed while the physical part is left intact. But with both of these diseases at the same time, there's no option whatsoever."
"What are you saying?"
"We need to put Veronica in an assisted living facility..."
"Fuck, no! I can take care of her here at home."
"That won't be possible."
"Don't you know how much it costs for a nursing home?"
"That's why I am suggesting that she go to an assisted living facility here in town."
"We can't discuss this until after the funeral."
"Okay." Gene pauses, then says, "And here's another thing. Mrs. Cullhane was taken away in an ambulance last night."
"She was talking with her daughter Kelly at her candy shop when someone shot a bullet through the window. It hit her in the neck and sent her sprawling to the floor. Kelly called the cops and they picked up the suspect at the beach early this morning."
"So is Kelly gonna take over the shop?"
"No, because Mrs. Cullhane didn't have any insurance on the shop, so Kelly's had to sell it."
"Who's gonna buy it?"
"That's what I'm worried about-it's a pair of guys from India."
"Oh, no! They've bought out the liquor stores and gas stations between here and Quincy. Now they want to take over the sweet shop."
"I think you should speak to Kelly before she goes ahead with it."
Meanwhile, a young girl dressed in a white blouse and a dark blue miniskirt walks past their house. "Hello, guys," she says. "Happy summer!"
"Eat shit!" Tyler says.
"Oh, is that so?" the lady shouts as she charges towards him, but Gene stops her.
"His daughter was killed in Colorado this past week," he reminds her. "You'd best give him some space."
"All right," she says as she walks away. But she mutters angrily to herself, "That fuckin' bastard will pay for this."
Caitlin Niles doesn't like grumps who shoot off their guff. Especially when she passes Tyler on the streets. Ever since he got laid off, he's been getting himself into trouble. And with no good paying jobs here on the South Shore, she's worried that he'll take his anger out on everyone. As she walks towards home, a man dressed in knight's armor passes her and shouts, "Out of my sight, thou Satan! For thou art of thy father the Devil!"
"To hell with the Devil, buddy!" Caitlin shouts. "And to hell with you, too!"
"How dare you!" the knight shouts, but he decides to walk away. "Well, to hell with you, too!" he retorts.
A few minutes later, he's run over by a Home Depot truck.
To be continued....