Chapter 17

“WHAT are you doing out HERE?” I cried.

“And what part of guardian ‘watch over you’ angel do you not get exactly,” said Fred almost snippily.

“I ‘watch over you’ ALL the time.”

I pulled out the breakfast bar stool and started to sit down and paused to give Fred a not so friendly, meaningful look.  He wisely drifted away toward the patio door.

I opened the bottle of Jim Beam and pored a couple of inches into my glass.  I took a sip…TERRIBLE!

I got up and walked over and opened the freezer.  I scrounged around and found some ice cubes in a bowl and tossed them into my glass.  I returned to perch on the stool.

“Livin’ the dream…” I said and I raised my glass in a toast to Fred.  He swayed a little.  I nodded.

“If I go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow…will I remember any of this?  Will you still be here?” I asked.

Fred didn’t say anything for a minute or two.  But then he said, “I don’t know, maybe.  And yes.”

I took a bigger sip.  Not too bad now with the ice.  I swirled it around a little more.

“I’m not sure I can handle this,” I said hesitantly.

“Oh…you’ll be fine.  You’re tough.  Remember I’ve seen you in action…good times and some very bad times…”

“…I held you when you cried…helped you create new swear word combinations when you were furiously angry…tried to steer you away from people who were not good to you or for you…even let little words of encouragement and love from your mom and dad seep into your subconscious when you were sleeping.

“I even helped you get this job and this apartment.  I could go on but I don’t want to brag.”  Fred swayed from side to side…obviously proud of his accomplishments.

“Wow!  That is impressive!  And you didn’t need any permission for all that, right?”

“Oh, no,” Fred said confidently That falls totally under my job description.  I can do a LOT of stuff.”

My glass paused on its way to my mouth, brain engaged in full speculation mode…