Loose Cannons - Cover

Loose Cannons

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 2

A very inebriated Max Boros rode to his house in the backseat of a patrol car with Cody Slonaker. The last round of drinks after their police interview, had nearly done him in. He wasn’t feeling queasy, but the world did occasionally turn into twins and spin a little at odd moments. The drink had logical consequences on his mood in the sense that it rapidly fluctuated from one extreme to another. At times he was angry, belligerent, morose, or depressed.

During the first half of the ride, he learned a few more details about Cody’s daughter. She was described as being far less mature for her age than Cody felt appropriate. Although she was in her early twenties, he described her as acting more like a fourteen year old than an adult. Cody painted a picture of her through episodes of her life as a teenager and the arguments that he had with his wife concerning how she was being raised.

The man’s description of the girl sounded eerily familiar with how he would describe his own daughter. She was a little princess who was too good to do the kinds of things her mother had done. She started many projects, but finished none of them. Everything was plans, but when it came time to do the work nothing happened. Mother and daughter worked together to keep the daughter as childlike as possible for the longest time possible.

Cody described a pattern of rapid mood swings, temper tantrums, and expensive changes in fashion. There were times when she was dressed like a punk that alternated with times dressed in Goth. She listened to weird music about how the whole world sucked. According to Cody, there was only one person in the world that mattered to his daughter, and that was his daughter. She was totally self-involved and had no empathy for anyone else.

Max listened with a rising sense of horror.

As the effects of the alcohol caught up with them, both men became lost in thoughts about their own problems. Max felt betrayed by the company where he had spent the last nineteen years. As a salesman, he wasn’t the best or the worst. He was a good consistent producer of sales. In many ways, he felt that he was more valuable than the flash in the pans who burst into the company with huge sales and then fled for greener pastures, a few months later. He remained behind making sales while others scrambled to deal with underrepresented territories. Often times, replacements were credited with sales that represented little more than catching up on a backlog of orders.

He had followed the company line. He had attended all of the little sales meetings, applauded all of the speeches made by upper management of the company, and given lip service to all of the memos that crossed his desk. In short, he was a good loyal company man.

What good had it done him? The company had rewarded him by laying him off despite having made the sale of his life. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. Max was a firm believer in fairness and the company’s actions were particularly grating to his sensibilities.

Max’s thoughts turned to his home life. He dearly loved his wife and children, but the fact of the matter was that there were things about his family that bothered him. Cody’s description of his daughter disturbed him. He could see a possible future in which his own daughter became the star of some porn site. He despaired that his son would ever get his act together and start taking on responsibilities.

Thus it was that when the police car stopped outside his house, a somber, but not sober, Max stepped out. He leaned in the car and said, “Cody. If you decide you need a place to stay ... well ... you’re welcome to stay here.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Cody replied.

Max turned and headed towards the front door of his house. He paused and waved at the police car expecting it to drive off. Instead, the officer waited to make sure that Max reached the front door of his house.

His wife, having seen the police car pull up in front of the house, opened the door and watched Max stagger towards her. She waited for him to come in the house. It only took a single whiff of him when he staggered past her towards the living room to realize that he had been drinking.

Marylou said, “You’re drunk.”

“As a skunk,” Max replied proudly.

She was worried by his appearance. In the entire time that she had known him, she had never seen him drunk. She couldn’t recall ever seeing him have more than a single drink in an entire evening. He often bad mouthed salesmen who drank too much. He claimed that drinking too much was not an occupational hazard, but that sales was an occupation that attracted individuals who drank too much. Alcoholics saw sales as a perfect cover for their alcoholism.

“Why were you in a police car?” Marylou asked.

“They brought me home,” Max answered. He mumbled, “I thought that would be obvious.”

“Did they pick you up for drunk driving?” Marylou asked.

Max shook his head. “No. They would have taken me to jail for drunk driving.”

“So why did they bring you home?” Marylou asked.

Max held up a hand with his index finger pointed upwards. “They wanted to reward me for having done my civic duty as a proud citizen of this fine city.”

“What did you do?”

By this time, his son and daughter had arrived in the living room to discover why a police car was parked in front of their home. Both stopped and stared at their father who was weaving from side to side. They stared at him not believing what they were seeing.

“I beat up some fucking robbers. I kicked the shit out of them,” Max answered proudly.

He mimed taking a kick at something on the floor and nearly fell over in the process. Marylou was shocked by his language, particularly that he had talked like that in front of the kids. Being drunk did not excuse that kind of language.


“What?” Max asked in that belligerent manner that only the truly drunk can achieve.

“Don’t talk like that in front of the children,” Marylou said sternly.

Marylou was a plain looking woman of small stature. Despite her size, she could turn viscous as a badger when her family was threatened. Max watched her transform from worried wife to angry woman. In his inebriated state, he didn’t care and the words that proceeded to flow from his mouth would never have been uttered under any other circumstance.

Turning to his son, he said, “Ah! The lazy bum managed to break away from his games.”

“Dad, I’m not...”

Max shouted, “Listen up, little fucker. Your days as a freeloader in this family are over. You’re going to start earning your god-damned allowance. You’re going to mow the lawn, take out the trash, and ... I don’t know ... paint the fucking house.”

His son, Robert, stared at his father in shock. “What? Paint the house?”

“You heard me, you little shit. You’re going to paint the whole house, inside and out,” Max said pleased to have come up with a job that would keep his son busy.

“I don’t...”

“Your days of sitting around this house, complaining that the crap that I buy for you isn’t good enough have come to an end. You want it, you buy it with money you earned with good honest labor. Fuck this shit of me buying you a computer and hearing a week later that it isn’t good enough. Fuck that!”

Robert took two steps backwards. He couldn’t believe the language his father was using. Unfortunately, that put his sister in front of him.

“Max! Shut up!”

Ignoring his wife, he turned to his daughter. She stood there with red, purple, and green hair. Her outfit made her look like some kind of refugee from an internment camp. She looked like hell. All of the little comments about Cody’s daughter rushed back to him.

Max said, “Wash that shit out of your hair and put on some real clothes. You look like a tramp. Next thing you know, you’ll start acting like one.”

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