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STAN THE MAN



I must have lost head when I agreed to go shopping with my wife this morning. Am I so retarded and is my brain so small that I have forgotten the never-ending circles she always travels, looking at hundreds upon hundreds of items which we cannot even afford to buy? Most are things we would not even buy even if we could afford them.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Judy.

“Well, since you asked. Several days ago I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t realize that this was going to turn into a life time ordeal.”

“Jesus, then go to the bathroom.”

“You already know that if I do that I will never find you ever again in this store. I was twenty three the last time we came to Wal-Mart and I turned forty-two by the time I found you again.”

“Oh, grow up and go to the bathroom. When you get done you had better not page me like you did the last time.”

Shaking my head, I turned and headed to the bathroom, located at the back of the store.

Entering the restroom, I saw an elderly gentleman who looked to be about ninety years old. He was standing at the sink washing his face and hands. Next to him was a young teenager standing against the wall. I nodded, walked to the urinal and began taking care of business. I looked when I heard someone laugh who was in the stall located to my right. I leaned back from the urinal to see the teenager handing a pair of sunglasses to someone in the booth. Thinking nothing of it, I finished and walked to the sink to wash my hands.

“Excuse me, have you seen my sunglasses?” asked the old man.

Shaking my head “no,” I looked over at the young boy.

He shrugged his shoulders and twisted his arms in an outward motion.

“I think this young man might know something about your glasses,” I said, pointing at the boy.

A muffled snapping pop like sound came from behind the stall door. The stall door opened and another young teen appeared. I looked down at the toilet and saw one half of a broken pair of sunglasses swirling around in the toilet.

The boy made a quick movement toward the door.

I pressed my hand on the door handle and said “You reach for that door and I kick you in the ass so damn hard it might turn you inside out.”

The two boys just stood there, eyes wide open.

“You boys want to tell this gentleman what you just did?”

Neither said a word.

I pulled my cell phone off my belt and replied,” Maybe you two can explain it to the police.”

“It was just a joke,” one of the boys replied.

“It’s okay. Just let them go,” the old man told me.

“NO. There was no call for this,” I replied.

“It’s okay,” said the gentleman again.

Slowly, I opened the door and allowed the two boys to exit. The taller boy gave me somewhat of an evil look and it took everything I had to not slap him up side his pimply-faced head.

When I turned back around I noticed the old man appeared to be crying and was wiping his eyes with a paper towel.

“Are you okay?”

“It’s just an allergy problem. No big deal”

He reached over, grabbed his three legged walking cane and headed toward the door. I held the door open as he left.

I walked around the store for more than fifteen minutes but the wife was no where to be found. I walked to the grocery department and exited so I could have a cigarette while waiting for her to appear in the next few days or so. Standing by the coke machines was the old man, tears now streaming down his cheeks.

Not knowing what I should say I walked over and stood with my back toward him.

“Those glasses belonged to Stan the Man,” he mumbled.

“You mean Stan Musial?”

”You know who Stan Musial was?”

“Of course I do. I played baseball with him.” I replied.

“You must be mistaken. I am talking about Stan Musial the baseball player.”

“I know.”

“You’re not old enough to have played ball with Stan.”

"No, no, no. I didn’t play professional baseball. I was raised in an orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida. Stan Musial and several other players came to the orphanage one day and we all played baseball together. I must have been eight or nine at the time."

“You know, I believe you. Stan was that kind of a fellow. He would do something like that.”

“One of the lenses was still in the toilet. I can go get it for you if you like.”

“Don’t bother. It just wouldn’t be the same now,” he replied.

I watched him as he headed across the parking lot, climbed into an old Chevrolet Van and slowly drove away.

As a young boy I was quite a handful. First there was fifteen years in the orphanage, then the reform school, jail and finally to prison for several years. But in all that time, I never physically, mentally or verbally ever hurt anyone like those two boys hurt that old man.



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