He was abrupt with people. Many people didn’t like him because he was so abrupt. He answered questions with a hatchet. His name was Karl and he was seventy-six years old and he worked as a greeter at the local Walmart. He was abrupt with the customers. He had a metal plate in his skull (he’d incurred a serious head injury in Vietnam) and had been struck by lightning four times in his long life. He blamed the metal in his head.
“Does it hurt to get struck by lightning?”
With deep rich sarcasm, “No.”
Karl died on the job. Cerebral hemorrhage. He expired in the store. Those that saw him collapse swear that sparks shot out of his eyes. Dave, a nearby cashier still maintains that his wristwatch stopped the second Karl’s brain misfired. Dave likes to tell his coworkers his dreams. He dreams a lot. The night after Karl’s collapse he dreamed of meeting a beautiful woman in a grocery store. “I like my men tortured,” she told him.
“I’m tortured,” he said.
“Then you’re for me, sweetie.”
He woke up feeling jagged pangs of loss and futility.
He went to work anyway.