Steve's Second Chance

October 21, 2008
By Susan Piper, Evansville, IN

The door creaked as Steve, cigar in hand, walked in the Waterloo Tavern and ordered his first scotch.
“Hey Steve-o, what’s up man?” yelled the already tipsy bar regulars.

With a sip of his scotch Steve replied, “Not much boys, just ready to unwind and have a good time.” Steve worked as a Corporate Manager for Swander Real-Estate. Minutes after leaving work he arrived at the tavern and announced, “Just settled a huge deal boys! He was a sucker too! Settled for way more than his property was worth!”

The bartender Ray chimed in saying, “One of these days Steve-o you’re going to get into so much trouble and we’re gunna have to bail you outta jail.”

“Naw, I’m too good, I’ll never get caught doin’ something like that,” said Steve. “I need another scotch! This time don’t put as much ice!”

“All right, but take it easy, I don’t want to have to cut you off tonight,” replied Ray in a submissive manner. Steve downed his scotch in three giant gulps and demanded another. Steve and his friends talked about the good days when their wives actually cared about them. Three years ago Steve’s wife and three kids left him because of his drinking problem and obsession with money. Since then things escalated from bad to worse. Everyday Steve left work early to go to the Waterloo Tavern and drink his problems away. In the past month Ray cut Steve off six times and took his keys away five times. Steve chain-smoked and exhibited horrible health. Through all of the events during the divorce and all of Steve’s problems, only one friend stuck by Steve’s side, Charlie.

“You need to go to AA meetings. What number scotch is that?” said Charlie.

“It’s my second I swear! Chill man!” replied Steve.

“Dude you’ve had five already. You need to learn your limit so you can tell when to stop”, Ray interrupted, “I don’t want to have to cut you off…again.”
Just then the antique jukebox began playing a number from Jimmy Buffet. Steve jumped up from his bar stool and started dancing to the beat with a waitress he grabbed. By the second verse Steve caught on to the lyrics and started slurring the words to Margaritaville.

“Wastedd away again in Margaritaville! Bum bum bum! Looookin’ for my losst shaka of salt!” slurred Steve. The song continued on as Steve realized his glass was empty and ordered his seventh scotch.
Ray poured Steve’s scotch and handed it to him saying, “This’s it for the night, no more. I don’t want you endin’ up in a ditch on your way home.”
“You suck Ray! You always go and ruin the party,” screamed a very drunk and angry Steve. He grabbed his keys before the chance for Ray to take them presented itself and walked to the parking lot.
“Don’t be stupid man!” yelled Charlie from the tavern’s door, “You’re gunna kill yourself!”
“I’m fine! I’ll see ya tomorrow!” Steve shouted back. He climbed into his bright red Porsche and drove away.
A local news channel came on the television at the tavern and showed a breaking news story of a car accident near the tavern. No specific details were known but a picture of the scene confirmed everyone’s worst fear: Steve. Five minutes after Steve left the Tavern he took a curve at seventy-five miles an hour and lost control of his car and hit a tree. The impact threw him through the windshield, and he landed in a field. It was an elderly woman walking her dog along the road who called to report the possible drunk driver. When police arrived on the scene they found Steve’s red Porsche smashed into an old oak tree, but they did not find Steve in the car. They realized the crash threw him into the field ahead, and an extensive search was launched. After an hour Steve was found unconscious and flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital.
“Hello Steve,” said a familiar voice, “do you know where you are?”
“Ouch my head. Where am I?” said Steve.
“You’re in heaven”.
“Shut up, are you on crack or something?”
“And I am your Guardian Angel,” said the voice. “I want to show you a few things that you may remember.” Everything turned white, and a cool breeze blew through the air. Then it all cleared.
“This is my house. Why did you bring me to my house?” said a confused Steve.
“Well this is your house when your wife Sarah and your three children still lived here. I want to show you what your wife did while you were at work or the Tavern.”
“What’s the point of that? We aren’t together anymore. She’s a stupid b**ch who could’ve had everything she could ever want.”
“Really? You would have given her everything she ever wanted?”
“Yea, duh. I was her husband.”
“All she ever wanted was for you to love her and your children. But all you worried about was getting more money. She never cared about the money.”
“That’s a lie!” said Steve. Just then Sarah walked into the scene and the children soon followed.
“Where’s daddy?” asked the youngest of the three children.
“He’s probably running behind at work and had to stay late to finish something,” replied Sarah. She knew their father was sitting at the tavern drinking scotch like it was his job and it showed in her face. “Now go to bed and maybe Daddy will be home soon to tuck you in.”
“Alright” mumbled the children as they walked upstairs to their rooms.
Sarah sat at the kitchen table staring at the clock through her tears. She sat there wondering what to do about Steve. The clock struck one thirty, and Steve stumbled in the back door only to find his wife waiting up for him. “Where have you been? Do you know how late it is? I’ve been worried sick!” shouted Sarah.
“Umm I worked laattte”, slurred Steve.
“Don’t lie to me! You come in drunk every night! Your children ask where you are and I have to lie to them because I don’t want them to know their FATHER is a drunk!”
“Now do you get why I brought you here tonight?” asked the Guardian Angel.
“I’m guessing to show how bad I messed up”, said Steve.

“Close, but not exactly. I brought you here to show you how much she loved you and how much you missed while you were drowning yourself in scotch.” Once again everything turned white. The breeze blew and this time everything stayed white.
“Why is everything so…um… white?”
“Because you are in heaven. You are about to die because from drinking and driving and making bad decisions.”
“I’m not dying. I’m just dreaming,” said Steve.
“No, you’re not dead yet. The “Big Man”, as people like to call him, will make his decision about you anytime now.” said the Guardian Angel. After waiting a few minutes the Guardian Angel announced, “I guess that time is now, goodbye Steve.”
“Wait! What’s going to happen to me?” screamed Steve. Just then Steve felt a shock throughout his entire body and woke up to the sound of a heart monitor and tubes all around his face. “Where am I now?”
“Steve? Can you hear me Steve?” asked a blurred yet familiar voice. “Steve it’s me, Sarah.” Everything cleared and Steve saw his ex-wife standing above him in his hospital bed. “Steve you were in an accident and got extremely lucky. You could’ve died! The Big Man upstairs must like you for some reason.”
“The big man? You mean I’m alive?”
“Yea, you are alive; you’re just in the hospital. The bad news is that your Porsche did die.” They both giggled and after a long pause and a lot of staring at each other Sarah sighed, “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too. I’m sorry for everything. I’ll go to AA and be a responsible dad and…husband?”
“I’d love that Steve.” The two hugged and talked about the last three years and agreed to start working everything out. After a couple weeks in the hospital Steve got released to go home to his reunited family.

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