The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 76
Believe In Butch
It only took a week or so for The Beacon’s new staff in the newsroom to operate fluidly. When everyone was aware of Anderson’s leaving there was the feeling the newsroom might struggle for a while. With in a day or two it was as if Anderson was never there. His name was seldom brought up.
Like Anderson, Rudy became Sam’s right hand man and he was good at it. Rudy ran the newsroom with better efficiency and he did so in a friendly manner. Rudy lead by example not by ordering. Likely, his managing style came from working and observing Sam for the past three years.
Anderson seldom socialized with anyone in the office. He seemed to leave the impression Rockland and The Beacon were too small and backward for his interests and pursuits.
A couple of times a week the four in the newsroom (Rich, Butch, Gordy and Rudy) managed to go bowling, toss darts, or shoot some pool after work. To the chagrin of everyone Butch was unbeatable at any game that was popular at bars.
One night at a place called the Lobster Trap there were four lobstermen at the next pool table. Between the lobstermen and the newsroom crew one word led to another and a double elimination tournament was set up between the two tables. Each player had to start with five dollars and the winnings stayed with the winner to play the next round.
This led to quite a stack of money by the time Butch faced the best lobsterman of the four; a guy they called Claw. The final round was determined to be the best of three games.
Butch won the first game when Claw scratched on the eight ball. Butch could hardly hold a steady hand and was beginning to slur his words.
Rich, Gordy, and Rudy painfully observed seated at a table as the second game was being played.
“He’s been drinking boilermakers all night long,” Rich said. “I’m surprised he’s standing.”
“How many do you think he’s had?” Gordy said.
“He’s had a sip of beer with each whiskey and he’s near the bottom of the glass,” Rudy said. “I have no idea how many sips are in a mug of beer.”
“I think we can all agree he’s had more than ten shots,” Gordy said.
“He’s gonna kill himself if he keeps this up,” Rich said.
“I’m surprised Sam puts up with it,” Gordy said.
“I’ve worked with Butch for three years,” Rudy said. “He always answers the bell, never misses work and never comes in drunk.”
“How much of you money is on the table?” Rich ask Rudy and Gordy. “I got twenty dollars.”
“Thirty,” Rudy said.
“Twenty-five,” Gordy said.
“I’m never going to do this again,” Rich said. “Butch has a way of reeling you in.”
“There has to be a couple hundred dollars on the table,” Rudy said.
“After the game let’s get Butch out of here,” Gordy said.
The second game was over. Butch pocketed only two balls.
Butch slowly walked to the table and in a slur said, “Empty your wallets and take side bets on the last game.”
“There has to be a point when enough is enough,” Ruddy said.
“Don’t you believe in me?” Butch drunkenly smiled. “I will pay you back every dime you loose, but just believe in me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted all my life, just somebody to believe. My father never believed in me. My mother, my own mother didn‘t even show up at my college graduation because she didn‘t believe I was actually graduating. She wouldn‘t even loan me $19.99 for a cap and gown. Just this one time.”
They all tossed their last bit of money on the table.
Butch grabbed it and tossed it in the middle of the pool table. “Anybody want to match that?”
Some of the patrons placed bets and tossed in some money.
One of the lobster men counted the money. He said to Butch, “There ain’t even enough to come close to an even up bet.”
Butch slowly blinked. He turned on his heels and nearly feel. He walked over to the table. “Rich give me the keys to your jeep.”
“No,” Rich said.
“Just believe,” Butch said. “If I loose your jeep I’ll give you my car.”
“I don’t want your car,” Rich said.
Butch smiled. “Than whose car do you want?”
Butch turned to the bar and called out, “Barkeep! Two shots.”
Butch turned to Rich. “You need some courage and confidence my young friend.”
“I don’t like whiskey,” Rich said.
“But we are brothers in arms,” Rich said. “We have faced the foe and vanquished evil together. He is not my brother who will not go down with me into battle or drink with me.”
“I just want to be you friend,” Rich said.
“Than drink from the same bottle, my friend,” Butch said.
The bartender brought the two shots and sat them on the table. Butch picked up his shot and gestured for Rich to do the same. Rich lifted his glass and they downed the shot at the same time. Rich coughed and choked.
“We are brothers,” Butch said.
Rich tossed his keys to the jeep on the table. Butch scraped them from the table and tossed them in the middle of the pool table.
“That ought to cover everything,” Butch said to everyone betting against him. “If I loose you can all figure out how to divide the spoil while me and my friends walk home.”
“Rich!” Butch called out, “rack ‘em.”