An apparently changed man is trusted with his past forgiven. But will it hold up?
|The man was psychotic. And I was petrified as he trapped me in front of my own house in the streetlight at night. I pleaded for my life. He just laughed in my face. “This is what you get for putting me in prison Bob!” he said to me. He was ready to explode. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.
I trusted this man as an outstanding, devoted worker. I was aware that he had bouts with alcoholism – in the past that is. I can speak calmly now that it is over. As I stood, I thought I done for.
Then he pulled out a pistol. But when I expected to die, the assailant dropped to the ground holding his chest.
When the following forensic investigation was unfolding, it was confirmed the gunman died of a heart attack brought on by an overflow of adrenalin due to a heart condition. His name was Don Chambers. He worked for the company I managed for two years. But I he was incarcerated for a good reason. I will start from the beginning.
A friend of Don told me he had a drinking problem. But I told Don I did not care about it as long as it did not interfere with work. But after sometime he began to slip up here and there. Three times in five months he was late due to being pulled over for A DUI ticket.
I reprimanded him after each incident but he was uncompliant for a time. But after the third “talk” he shaped up and showed up early to work for six months straight. I was delighted. I thought him a dependable worker. He excelled in his tasks. I trusted in him than my other employees.
It was December 8th and I had not seen my parents in three years in Boston. With the holiday coming soon, I hoped to spend some time with them. But for that, I had to put someone in charge. And the first person on my list was Don.
“I’d be delighted!” Don exclaimed.
“Perfect then! I know I can trust you to run things. I’ll be leaving on the 22nd.”
Don patted me on the back. “Don’t worry at all, go have fun!”
So, three days before Christmas I boarded a plane to see my parents. When I arrived they were overjoyed. We watched Christmas movies on TV, drank eggnog and enjoyed a nice ham. We got caught up with each other.
“So how’s being in charge like?” asked my mom, Beth.
“It has its pros and cons. It’s a bit stressful; the respect is nice.” I chuckled. “I actually let an employee cover me while I’m gone.”
My dad raised his eyebrows. “Are you sure you can trust anyone to keep things in order?”
“I have absolute faith in him.”
Just as I spoke my cellphone range; it was work. “Boss! It’s a madhouse here!”
“What! What’s going on?”
“Don’s gone nuts! He’s drunken crazy and is assaulting people and destroying everything!”
“I can’t believe it! How in the world could… have you called the police?”
“Yes, but I’m afraid he’ll do too much damage before they come.”
I was livid and amazed. I ran my palm down my face and exhaled with a trembling breath.
“What’s wrong son?” said my mother.
“Everything has gone south at the company! My job cover is going on a violent rampage. I’m helpless!”
I had no choice but to wait for my flight home in five days. When I arrived home, it was a news fiasco at the office area. I couldn’t see Don anywhere. I saw John, the one who called me. “If you could have seen it Bob. He was nuts.”
“I feel like an idiot.”
John placed a hand on Bob’s shoulder. “No one could’ve known boss. He’s sure to get time in prison.”
The court hearing came early. I recall how Don feigned a decent man who was a simple victim of alcohol. “I’m so sorry…” he said sobbing. “I just turned to alcohol when I was a kid when my parents divorced.” More sobbing. “I try so, so hard!”
He was a pathetic charlatan and the judge and jury saw right through him.
“We find Don Chambers guilty,” said the jury.
He showed no fear or remorse. He was red-faced with rage. And he glared at me.
“I sentence you to seven months in prison.” With the loud clank of the judge’s gavel, Don was hauled out. His foul look struck my eyes.
The damage of important files, both on paper and computer were destroyed. It took months to sort things out and to forget Don’s heinous tantrum.
On my way home at night after work, I was on the road ready to hit the sack. The news was on in my car. I listened intently and then I heard it. Don Chambers, who was put in prison for destruction of private property and assault, has escaped. Officials say he will not get far and that that is a promise.”
I turned of the radio. A ball of anxiety swelled inside my stomach. My heart rate quickened. My apprehension continued all the way home. I got out nervously. Just as I was approaching the front door, a cold, seething, harsh voice came from behind me.
“You fool! You put me in prison! Do you know what prison’s like!”
I was frozen with a trembling lip.
Don pulled out a pistol. “I should kill you!” he said wobbling and teetering to and fro.
“Don, you’re drunk. Put the gun down.”
“Don I’m begging you! Please! If you shoot me it will be the loss of both our lives.”
“Ha, ha ha! It will be worth it.”
This is where I began, when Don was on the floor. It may sound callous, but his lifeless body gave me comfort. As I reflect, I should have realized “Once a drunk, always a drunk.”