Den of the Beastly Bear
The other day I was having a discussion with some friends on the vagaries of that most fickle of mistresses, Karma.
Most often when we feel a wrong has been done us, we cry out to her for satisfaction...though she seldom seems to hear.
Oft times her machinations are far too subtle for us mere mortals to comprehend...but oh there are times!
I've told you all of my after school job at the Sporting goods store, that became my full time employment once I graduated.
I learned many thing in those early formative years...and one was taught to me by a fellow employee named "Zac".
I will again remind you all that "Zac" was not his real name, and in these stories true names are seldom used.
Zac, was a ladies man...that's all I can say! He was a good 5 years my senior, taking college classes and working at the store for spending cash. Tall and blonde, blue eyed and handsome...he had that kind of "surfer dude" vibe; tan and active, outdoorsy and healthy. The girls loved him.
For his part, Zac loved them back...a "player" before the term was common!
One November day a young woman came in, she caught my eye as she walked over to the gun counter. Tall and lean, dressed in jeans tucked into brown knee high boots, a soft cowl necked white sweater with a knee length coat belted over it. She looked like she stepped out of the pages of Vogue. Long blonde hair and big blue eyes, a small nose and lush full lips! She walked in that way that women should...
As fate would have it I was tied up with another customer, when she pinged on Zac's Hottie radar! While I was busy, I was not too busy to surreptitiously listen in...
"Well Hello," said Zac "What can I help you with today?" favoring her with that megawatt smile of his.
"I'm looking for a gift for my husband." she replied, I saw disappointment flash across Zac's face but he soldiered on.
"Alright," he allowed "what are you looking for?"
"My husband was talking to one of his friends and I heard him say that he wanted a new deer rifle...a Winchester I think it was...and two numbers, like 20/20. Does that make any sense to you?"
Zac gave a little chuckle and told her "It sure does...I think what he was talking about was a Winchester Model 94, in 30/30 win., I have one right here..." He took the rifle off the rack, checked that it was empty and held it out to her.
"Oh, no thank you," she said waving a gloved hand "I wouldn't know what I'd be looking for..." I had noticed her brown leather gloves and handbag both matched her boots...this woman was put to-geth-er.
"I'll take your word for it...that that's the one...how much is it?"
"$189.00..." Zac told her.
"Wow, I didn't think they were that much...." she said, looking concerned. (that was a sum in the early 80's)
"We have a lay away plan," Zac explained "10% down and as long as you keep paying on it, you can have it in layaway."
"Let's do that then...but I'll need it by Christmas." She smiled...and oh what a smile!!!
Zac wrote up the paperwork, walked her up to the cash register...waited while she paid, shook her gloved hand before she left then strutted back to the gun counter wearing a Cheshire cat grin.
"Her name is Sarah, and I got her phone number!" he crowed to us once the other customers moved on.
"No you didn't," I ribbed him "you only got it for the layaway form! Besides, she's married...buying a gun for her husband, remember?"
"Doesn't matter how I got it..." He replied, holding the paper like Charlie's Golden ticket. "being married doesn't bother me, just means she won't want a commitment!"
We all laughed at him, called him a dog....and forgot about it.
Next week mid-day she was in again, asked for Zac by name to make her layaway payment. Any of us could have done it, but she asked for him.
Zac was his flirtatious self...and asked her if she'd had her lunch yet? When she said she had not, he told her he was about to go on break and maybe they could grab something together.
Against my belief, she said "Sure"! I was dumbstruck....how did he do it?
Every week the pattern repeated, right up to the week of Christmas when she made her final payment and took her gift home.
"Well buddy," I told him, putting a hand on his shoulder "Guess that's the end of that...huh?"
He heaved a mighty sigh..."We'll see...."
When you work retail, the 2 weeks prior and the 2 weeks after Christmas are your busiest time of year. As the new year get's into full swing...things slow down...a lot! In sporting goods, sure there are a few intrepid souls ice fishing...but until spring Baseball and regular fishing, we were dead.
So when Miss Sarah reappeared, we all noticed...
She no longer came in once a week, her visits were far fewer...but whenever she appeared Zac would ask to take an hour lunch. We were dead, so the boss didn't care!
I asked him on a couple of occasions just what was going on, he'd laugh and tell me not to worry about it....
This went on for a few months.
Until one bright spring day not long before Easter. Sarah appeared again, dressed to kill in skirt and heels...and as usual her and Zac were off to lunch.
One hour passed, then another half...2 hours...no Zac!
Mind you this was a time before cell phones or pagers or GPS, he just didn't come back, and we had no way to contact him.
The manager, having a fit...allowed that Zac would have a lot of explaining to do when he showed up again...if he didn't fire him on the spot.
About 4 hours after Zac had left for lunch 2 Oakland County Sheriff's Deputys came into the store and asked for the manager.
When my manager had introduced himself, the Deputy's explained the reason for their visit.
It seems Miss Sarah's husband had come home unexpectedly in the middle of the day. Upset to find her, in his bed with someone other than himself, he availed himself of a gun and shot the fellow in the ass...that fellow being our employee Zac!
"Oh My GOD!!!" replied my boss "What was he shot with?"
The Deputy consulted his notes "A 30/30 Winchester rifle....a Christmas gift from his wife."
Ah Karma...you can be so cruel.
Zac survived, albeit with a bit of a hitch in his giddy up for a while...
He never returned to the store, and I never saw him again. He wouldn't let the police tell us what hospital he was in and said he would refuse all visitors. What happened to the husband, or Miss Sarah for that matter I never did learn.
But what I did learn: Never date a woman that buys her husband guns!!!
Be Well Folks!!!