The Super

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“You didn’t go to the store, did you?”

“Shit! No, I didn’t. I went straight from class to my AA meeting and forgot.”

“You forgot? There’s nothing in this house to eat, Chase. Here, look!” Sarah opened the refrigerator showing him a box of baking soda.

“We can go out for dinner,” he said.

“Oh, sure! Then what do we do for the rest of the week?” Sarah slammed the refrigerator shut then said, “So are you going or not?”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll take the bus and go buy groceries. It’ll take me an hour, but…”

The phone rang and they let it go to voicemail. “Um, hello? Yeah, this is me again in number 214. I’ve called three times in the last hour and my sink is still leaking. I’ve got an inch of water under it and I have to make dinner for my daughter. Can you please get someone up here to fix this? Today?”

“She’s called three times and you never picked up? What the fuck, Sarah?”

“I’m not talking to that psycho bitch, Chase. That’s your job!”

“Yes, it is, but you know how to call a plumber, too. Jesus, Sarah!”

He went to grab his toolbox, but Sarah grabbed his arm and said, “Hey! Where do you think you’re going? We still need groceries around here.”

He picked up the toolbox and stuck it in her chest and said, “Then you go fix the leak.”

“Okay, fine. I’ll go buy the food.” The last thing he heard was Sarah mumbling something about not being able to count on him for anything.

When he knocked on 216, the woman came to the door, her three-year daughter in tow. “Thank God! It’s about time.” She picked up her daughter and carried to the kitchen were Chase could see water all over the floor. He found the cutoff valve and shut the water off.

“If this ever happens again, just turn this off, okay?”

“Me? Are you kidding? That’s what I pay rent for. You’re the super. You’re supposed to do ALL of that kind of shit…” Her voice trailed off as she remembered she was holding her daughter. “That kind of…stuff. And where were you all day? I’ve called 3-4 times trying to get you.”

“I’m sorry. I go to school during the days.”

“School? Are you kidding? Then who’s answering the phone?”

“My girlfriend,” he said. “Well, my ex-girlfriend really. It’s…complicated.”

“I don’t really give a shi…a darn…about your personal life. My daughter’s hungry and I can’t do anything in here because of…that,” she told him pointing at the sink.

Fortunately, this one was a simple fix and he had her water back on in about 30 minutes. “What about all this water on the floor? That’s not my fault. You’re cleaning that up, too,” she told him in no uncertain terms.

Chase was reaching his boiling point but he counted to ten then said, “Fine. Do you at least have some old towels I can use?”

The woman threw three faded green towels at him which Chase used to sop up the mess then wrung them out in the sink. “Could you at least hang these up to dry yourself or do you want me to do that for you, too?” he said snidely.

“What an asshole!” the woman said as she grabbed the wet towels and took them into the bathroom.

“The pleasure was all yours,” Chase said as he left, the woman just glaring at him all the way out the door.

By the time he got cleaned up, Sarah came in carrying several bags in both hands. She plopped them on the counter and said, “You’re putting them away and making dinner.”

Chase felt himself starting to boil again and tried counting. “Deep breaths,” he told himself. When he was calm again he said, “Okay, sure. God forbid you take an hour out of your busy day of doing nothing to buy groceries then also have to help make dinner.”

Sarah glowered at him and he asked himself again what he ever saw in her. The answer was always the same. A pretty face and a great rack. He’d been the handsome high school running back and she’d been a cheerleader. She was a walk on the wild side and Chase was…yummy. At least that’s what Sarah had told him several times in the past.

The following morning, he repeated the serenity prayer when woke up, thankful for another day where no one was trying to kill him. Chase Edwards loved the mornings. It hadn’t always been that way, but since he’d quit drinking almost a year ago, he appreciated them greatly. He’d rarely been tempted to drink before noon no matter how far down he’d gotten and now he knew he had at least six hours free of temptation. After that, he only had to make it six more before going to an AA meeting and that always gave him the strength to make through the night. In fact, he’d be getting his one-year chip later this week and after white-knuckling the first three months before getting some sense of control, he had no intention of blowing all the hard work and effort by ever taking another drink.

He was going to college on the GI Bill and he’d just managed to land a job as the super in an apartment complex near campus. He didn’t have a lot of home repair knowledge, but he had a list of plumbers, electricians, hd porno and repairmen and he knew how to dial a phone. That said, he could pocket any money he saved doing a repair himself which is why he spent a lot of time watching repair videos and reading do-it-yourself articles on the net. However, if he botched it, he was responsible for any damage that might result from his mistake and then he still had to call in a professional.

The only thing not going so well for him was in the relationship department. He was sharing his apartment with his former girlfriend, Sarah Kenning. They’d been so in love in high school, or so he’d thought. Like him, she was an excellent student. So much so that she’d graduated a year early and went off to college during his senior year. They talked on the phone several times a week and texted each other throughout the day, every day.

Being from a poor family, there was no money coming from his parents for him to go to college, so Chase had decided to enlist in the Marine Corps for the GI Bill and he was scheduled to leave for boot camp in February, a month after graduating from high school a semester early himself. He had no idea Sarah had been seeing someone else for over a month when she came home just before Christmas. When he met her at her parents’ house, she’d seemed distant. When he told her he loved her she told him, “I like you, Chase.” Even now, nearly five years later, he could still recall that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach when she told him there was someone else. He’d asked if he could kiss her goodbye. She said ‘yes’ and with that he left and hadn’t seen her again since getting discharged a somewhere around fifteen months ago.

Chase’s drinking had gotten so bad he was almost involuntarily held on active duty to go to rehab, but somehow he’d found the strength to go three straight days without a drink between his attempt to check out for discharge when a corpsman smelled alcohol on his breath at 1500 or 3pm. He called a doctor in who ordered a liver enzymes test and based on the results, referred Chase to Balboa Naval Hospital for evaluation. His bried hiatus from drinking somehow got him through the eval and he was indeed sent back to the civilian world. Within two hours of being released, he was shit-faced again and didn’t stop drinking until the accident.

The drinking started his second year on active duty following his eight-month deployment to Afghanistan. With just six weeks to go, his vehicle had hit an IED, a roadside bomb buried under the ground. Chase had walked away with a mild concussion from having his head slammed into the steering wheel, but his best friend, Lance Corporal Tom Reynolds, had been trapped inside. The seat pan had been deformed by the blast and wrapped around his lower torso making it impossible for the three Marines pulling on him to get him out. He’d had to sit there and helplessly watch his best friend burn to death before the ammunition inside exploded with Tom’s body still inside. That memory had haunted him every waking moment since. There was no alcohol in Afghanistan, but the day he got back to Camp Pendleton, California, he got drunk and he stayed drunk every minute of every day that he wasn’t on duty since.

Alcohol was the only thing that gave him any relief and even though it was only temporary, it was relief. Well, it was the only drug he could legally take and not find himself being court-martialed, and he kept right on drinking when he got home. He drank so much his parents told him he either had to stop or get out of their house. He had no intention of quitting so he moved in with his younger brother who worked construction locally. Then out of the blue, Sarah, who was home on Spring break during her fifth year of college, called him. She’d long since broken up with the guy who ended her relationship with Chase and had burned through several other relationships leaving her single and available. She wanted to get back together and Chase had no other prospects so they began hanging out again.

At first, his drinking didn’t bother. After all, she’d known plenty of guys in college who partied—a lot—so she wasn’t worried about the fact that Chase did the same thing. But what did concern her was the way he’d changed. There was something about him that bothered her deeply and one day she finally said something about it. They’d been out at a bar and as usual Chase had had several drinks too many. Her questions soon turned into a heated argument which continued all the way outside after Chase got angry and stormed out. When they got to his car, Sarah asked for his keys. Still fuming about her ‘inquisition’ over his moodiness he’d told her to get the hell in the car or walk the fuck home. As afraid as she was to ride with him, she was even more afraid to let him by himself.

Less than five minutes later, Chase blew through a red light and hit another car broadside. When we woke up, he was handcuffed to a hospital bed with his younger brazzers porno brother sitting next to him—the only family member who’d shown up. His first question was how Sarah was doing. “She’s okay. She broke her nose and her collar bone, but she’ll be fine. The driver of the other car’s in pretty bad shape though, Chase. He might not make it.” He looked right at his brother and told him, “You’re being charged with felony DUI.”

His head was still foggy and he needed a drink—bad. “Felony what? What does that even mean?”

An hour later his court-appointed attorney showed up and explained it to him in detail. “So I could go to…prison? For how long?”

He gave the ballpark figure of 1-3 years then said gravely, “And if the man dies…it will be longer, Chase. Possibly a lot longer.”

Fortunately, the man didn’t die. In fact, once he was well enough to leave the hospital he came to visit Chase, who was released on bond, at his brother’s place. As fate would have it, the man was a retired Army colonel named Dennis Brant, who was himself a recovering alcoholic. Rather than wanting a pound of flesh, he took an immediate and personal interest in Chase and pleaded on his behalf with both the prosecutor and the judge. In the end, the case was reduced to a misdemeanor with Chase losing his driving privileges for a year and having to do 200 hours of community service.

Colonel Brant had also managed to get Chase to stop drinking for one day. That evening, he took him to his first AA meeting and Chase had been sober ever since. Brant also gone above and beyond and helped Chase find his current job.

Sarah’s parents hadn’t been so magnanimous. In fact, they were so distraught over the accident they forbade their daughter to see Chase again, but being 23 and on her own, she chose him over them and moved out. She decided to postpone finishing college, and she’d moved in with him to the apartment where he now worked as the super.

But the new Chase—the sober Chase—wasn’t a lot of fun when he wasn’t drinking. He was often somber to point of being stoic and Sarah liked to have fun. She was already planning on going back to school in the summer but for now, she was as stuck with Chase as she was with him. They weren’t at one another’s throats, but there was always an uneasy tension between them and they most definitely were not sleeping together.

The evening from hell with the crazy women in 214 behind him and his latest battle with Sarah over, Chase had had a pretty good day at school. He hadn’t thought about drinking too often and he’d actually enjoyed his classes. He’d even met a girl he thought he might ask out, and he was on his way to the bus stop to head downtown for his AA meeting when the phone rang. It was Sarah.

He was tempted to ignore the call but knew there’d be hell to pay if he did so he swiped ‘accept’ and said hello. “Where are you?” she asked. She was clearly already very annoyed. Before he could answer she said, “My car won’t start. I need you to come help me.”

Rather than count to ten, Chase started laughing. “What’s so funny?” Sarah said. “There’s nothing funny about this, Chase. My car won’t start and I need to get to a job interview. You know, to earn money and go back to school…and get the hell away from you.”

Chase wasn’t about to tell her that his platoon’s unofficial motto had been taken from George Castanza’s dad on Seinfeld. “Serenity Now!” was repeated more often than he could remember. Anytime they got word to do some new, idiotic thing, at least one of them would mock Mr. Castanza’s version of calling it out. And ‘serenity now!’ was exactly what Chase was thinking at that moment.

“Okay, I’ll there as soon as I can,” he told her. Twenty minutes later he was at the apartment building and saw Sarah standing next to her car with the hood up.

“It won’t start,” she told him. She turned the key and it made a grinding noise and then just clicked.

“Your battery’s dead,” he told her. He knew she had jumper cables in the trunk so he just had to convince someone to give her a jump. He looked around and didn’t see anyone and was about to give up, when his favorite tenant came downstairs with her daughter.

“Looks like someone needs help,” she said as she walked right on by. “Maybe you should try calling the super. I hear he’s very helpful.”

“Serenity now!” Chase thought as she walked passed them.

“It’s not for me,” he said.

The woman turned and said, “Oh, well maybe I can help out then. Is that your car, hon?” she asked Sarah. The woman was maybe 35 or possibly even a little younger and Sarah bristled at being called ‘hon.’ Even so, she needed her help and ‘psycho bitch’ had no idea Sarah hated her.

“Yes, please!” she said smiling brightly. “If you wouldn’t mind.”

The woman came back and walked right passed Chase and said, “No problem. We girls gotta stick together, right?” She agreed to back her car up so Chase got hook the cables seks filmi to her battery and in less than five minutes, Sarah’s car had enough of a charge to get going.

Chase warned her she needed to go straight to a shop and buy a new battery or she’d have to get another jump when she went to start it again. “How are you gonna get to your meeting?” she asked him.

“I don’t know,” he told her. The woman sitting in her car was smiling.

“Oh, look who else needs my help. This is just so…rich!” She smiled at him just taunting him waiting for him to ask.

Chase put the jumper cables away and forced himself to say to her, “I could really use a ride if you’re heading anywhere near 6th Avenue.”

“Oh, really? You need me to give you a ride. How interesting. Tell you what. How ’bout you ask me three more times and then I’ll decide. Does that work for you?”

“Serenity now!” Chase told himself again. “Lady, if you don’t want to give me a lift, just say so. I’ve got a meeting to get to so…”

“Fine. Get in. I’m feeling very generous today. I’m actually heading to 6th Avenue myself. I just have to drop my daughter off at my mother’s house on the way.”

The little girl was in the back so Chase sat up front with psycho bitch. As he buckled his seat belt, he looked over at her and managed to say, “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

The woman put the car in gear and told him coldly, “You’re welcome.”

She’d no sooner finished telling him that then her daughter said, “Mommy? That’s the mean man you hate, right? That man right there.” She was pointing to the back of Chase’s head.

Chase could see the woman was embarrassed in spite of her caustic remarks just a few minutes ago. “It’s okay. I wasn’t exactly there for you when you needed my help,” he told her.

The woman smiled half-heartedly and said to her daughter, “Well, sweetheart, Mommy doesn’t hate this…nice man. She was just having a bad day and said something she didn’t mean, okay?”

Her daughter was playing with a little toy and said without looking up, “Oh, so do you love him?”

The woman looked at Chase and laughed. “Um, no…not hardly, honey. I’m just giving him a ride.”

“Oh, okay,” she said and that was that.

“Out of the mouths of babes, right?” Chase said trying to smile back. She flashed a genuine smile at him this time and he realized she was actually a very nice-looking woman. She had short dark hair, a very pretty face, and a great smile. He tried not to stare, but he’d gotten a pretty good look at her when she walked by and like Sarah, she had a very nice set of knockers, a tight little ass, and a great body.

“I’m Penny, by the way. Penelope actually, but everyone calls me Penny.”

“I’m Chase…Edwards. Nice to meet you, Penny. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Penelope before.”

“Well now you have,” she told him. “So you just started as the super, right?”

“Yeah. Just this week. Have you been living there long?” he asked her.

“Not really. My divorce just became final last month but I’d had to move out of the house I thought I’d be allowed to keep a couple of months before that. At least I have my daughter.” She looked back to see if her daughter was paying attention before saying quietly, “If my prick of an ex-husband had gotten his way, I’d have lost her, too.”

Chase wasn’t sure how to respond and Penny could tell she’d shared too much too fast. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lay all that at you. It’s just that the day you came up to my apartment, I’d been in a custody hearing for most of the day. I was tired, frustrated, and angry and I took it out on you.” She looked over at him briefly and said, “Again, I’m really sorry. I’m not usually that much of a bi…a pain.”

The woman pulled into a parking garage and said, “I’ll just be two minutes taking her inside, okay?”

Chase waited and sat there looking around at the rundown parking area of this rundown building and vowed he’d get out of this kind of place someday. He wasn’t sure how or when but getting his degree was the first step. After that, he’d figure it out.

“Okay, all set,” she said as she got back in. As she pulled out of the garage back into traffic she asked him, “So whereabouts on 6th Avenue are you going, Chase?”

“The exact address is 5507. Is that anywhere close to where you’re headed?”

“You’re going to an AA meeting,” she said with a sense of disbelief.

“How did you know…”

“That’s where I used to go. I went there for a year before I moved. I’ve been going to a different location, but I know exactly where you’re going. I wanted to stop by and let my friends know why I wasn’t going there anymore and that I’m still on the wagon.”

Without turning his head, Chase looked over at her again and this time he not only thought she was attractive, he actually felt something. It was a kind of instant connection and any feelings of animosity he might have felt melted away.

“I’m an alcoholic,” he volunteered.

“Same here. Alcohol was my drug of choice for years after I found out my husband was sleeping with my former best friend.”

“Do you mind me asking why you stayed with him? I mean, I’m kind of assuming you did if your divorce was just finalized.”

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