I watched…

my father mount the Purple Heart awarded him on our den wall.

dad struggle with his left eye, the right remained in a paddy field thousands of miles away.

as my hero fulfilled a dream of owning a business, Arrow Gas and Lube, a neighborhood service station that was as big a part of the town’s fabric as the crooked local politicians.

the man year after year work 12-hour days, 7-days a week to provide for my mother and me.

the futility as he tried removing decades of hardened grease embedded under his fingernails with a coarse, green bar of soap.

him lose weight and hair after it was announced that the mega oil conglomerate, Atlas Oil Corporation had purchased all of the remaining independent Arrow Gas and Lube stations.

him worry.

the one I looked up to and admired become scared for the first time in his life, although he never admitted it.

my father grow more and more suspicious of the smiling Atlas Oil Corporation CEO’s public statement, “We have no intention of changing anything about the way our newly acquired Arrow Gas and Lube stations run their businesses.”

my old man smoke incessantly, the greasy oil stained butts overflowed a crude ceramic ashtray I had made in kindergarten.

the long shiny black limousine at my father’s service station and a sharply dressed man enter the bay area.

as the man, the CEO of Atlas Oil, refused to shake hands with my father.

my father’s reaction as the man said coldly to him, “Effective immediately, we are raising your wholesale fuel rates 10 percent.”

my father plead with the man, and beg him to reconsider lest they force him out of business.

the man with a smirk on his face walk back into the limo and speed away.

my father extend himself at the bank just to keep the place afloat.

the same C-level gentleman return months later, tell my father he must keep the station open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and add a small convenience store in addition to pumping gas and the repair work.

my father cry for the first time.

the Atlas Oil Company terminate my old man’s lease.

another man pump gas at the center of my father’s universe.

the bank foreclose our house.


I watched…

the Atlas Corporation’s CEO closely.

him trying to save money by filling his automobile at a competitor’s service station.

the video I posted of him pumping gas go viral.

as the Atlas shareholders called for his resignation.

the media frenzy gain traction and steam.

the CEO’s publically broadcasted apologies, then resignation.

not one, but two women come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.

his wife file for divorce.

a very public and messy public divorce.

his life spiral out of control.

a broken man take his own life.

with a broad smile as they buried the son of a bitch.

~ fin ~

Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type (www.batteredbox.com). He enjoys relaxing with a Marxman.