Episode 45 of Street Dreams
When Tony and Harold had brought their refreshments from the kitchen and placed them on Harold’s glass coffee table, Harold settled into his white La-Z-Boy chair and Tony found a place on Harold’s orange and white leather sofa.
Tony took a few seconds to glance around Harold’s living room. He could see many things that were of interest to him.
Last night I was having so much fun playing jukebox with you guys that I didn’t pay too much attention to my surroundings. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your possessions?” Tony asked, biting off a sizable chunk of his extra-large oatmeal and raisin cookie. He added a sip from his coffee cup. Harold poured Tony’s coffee into a Motorhead coffee cup. Tony was amazed at how well the coffee and cookie combo tasted.
Harold also sampled this morning’s culinary delights and experienced the same sense of joy that Tony was experiencing.
“Wow, I didn’t know how well Whisper could bake cookies,” Tony said.
Harold looked Tony Barrows straight in the eye.
“I will gladly answer your questions about my possessions after we have a chat about other things,” Harold answered.
“When you get to be my age, Tony, I think one becomes much more proficient at reading people. In other words, you become much more observant and skilled at drawing inferences,” Harold said.
Tony started moving his fingers around in a nervous manner. He was hoping for a conversation about deep things, but he was surprised that Harold delved into that realm this early in the conversation.
“Tony, which artists created those two pieces of artwork that I’m pointing to on my wall?” Harold asked using his forefinger to point to two different paintings on the wall across from Tony.
“The one to your immediate right is by Jackson Pollock, the second one is by Picasso and if you’d asked me about the third I would say that it was done by Salvador Dali,” Tony answered with a look of self- satisfaction on his face.
Harold got caught in the middle of a laughing spell and spewed out a sudden spray of coffee and partially chewed cookie. This incident also caused Tony to laugh and had the effect of putting them more at ease.
“You just proved my point, son. You’re either self educated, partially educated or have a university degree,” Harold said.
“I don’t know how you figured that out, but you are right. I spent two years at the University of Manitoba. My major was economics. I also read a lot on my own if that’s what you mean by self educated.”
“I, too, do a lot of reading on my own, listen to audiobooks, watch Fox News and do a considerable amount of research on the internet. Why haven’t you finished your bachelor’s degree?” Harold asked.
“That’s kind of a long and sad story. Just after I finished my second year courses, my girlfriend died of a drug overdose. Two weeks later, I get a call telling me that while my uncle and his girlfriend were driving on a trip down the highway, their car got squashed by a semitrailer. My uncle died immediately and his girlfriend was pronounced DOA when an ambulance took her to the closest hospital,” Tony answered.
“That’s horrible,” Harold said, as a tear slid down his left cheek.
“Were you close to your uncle?” Harold asked.
“Yes, very much so. I only lived with him for about a year and a half, but he was the closest thing to a father figure I ever knew. I worked for him as a plumber’s helper any he gave me a love of reading, writing fiction and participating in intellectual discussions. He was the one who inspired me to attend university,” Tony answered.
“Something here doesn’t add up. Why does a smart young man like yourself end up throwing his girlfriend out of his truck on a cold winter day?” Harold asked.
Tony’s face reddened and he hung his head towards the ground in shame.
“Somewhere along the line I didn’t develop a good sense of morals, but I think that I lost my temper and snapped when I decided to push Whisper out of my truck,” Tony explained.
“Do you lose your temper often, Tony?” Harold asked.
Harold moved from his La-Z-Boy chair over to the white leather sofa and sat right next to Tony. Harold put his arm around Tony’s shoulder.Tony began to weep and tried to stop what was turning into a deluge of tears.
“I’m sorry, Tony managed to say in between the falling of his tears. I have so much rage inside me that it scares me to death. I’m afraid I’ll kill somebody one of these days if I don’t learn how to control my temper.”
The two men just sat in silence for close to five minutes while both of them wept. Tony raised his head and looked at Harold.
“I can’t remember the last time I cried like that,” Tony said as he finally began to regain his composure. My biological father died from cancer when I was just five years old and my mother was an alcoholic who never wanted me. Still, there is no excuse for what I did to Whisper or for the other people I’ve hurt in my life,” Tony said as he gave Harold a quick hug.