Mike knew that he would have to meet with his boss Gary to explain his sudden drop in production and his surprising outbursts from time to time in his office. Gary knew that Mike had experienced personal problems and that his marriage was going south and down the toilet. Gary simply needed to talk to Mike and see if he could offer some advice and resolutions. It was also time to find a place to live. He received a phone call from his brother asking if he would like to move into his partially furnished house in the city, place a For Sale sign on the property and live in it until it sold. Mike knew the area well and it was a pretty, modern bungalow. He thought for a few minutes, accepted and thanked his brother for the kind gesture and assured him that he would do his best to get it sold. Mike picked up the keys to the house at his brother’s office and immediately went out to see it. He packed what belongings he had and stuffed them in the trunk of his car. He drove out to the suburb and thoughts flashed through his mind about being alone. How would he handle it? He missed his kids terribly and knew that would be the hardest part, to be without his children.
He pulled into the driveway and parked the car. He walked up the manicured pathway, unlocked the front door and stepped into the foyer. It was open, bright and empty. He went from room to room. His brother had not exaggerated; the place was sparsely furnished. The master bedroom had a double bed, one night stand and a highboy dresser. Along the far wall was the entrance to a half-bath with a shower stall. The second bedroom was totally bare as was the third. The kitchen had a round wooden table and four chairs. All the cupboards and drawers were empty. The kitchen overlooked the family room, which thankfully had a sofa and chair and coffee table. A large, brick fireplace made it seem more welcoming. He purposely ignored the sliding doors that led to a unlandscaped back yard. The house was only two months old and there was still lots of finishing touches to be done by the developer. Mike picked up his suitcase and wandered into the bedroom. He hung up his suits and ties and filled up the dresser with his underwear, socks and shirts. He placed his toiletries in the bathroom and had a hard long look at himself in the mirror. He didn’t like what looked back at him. He looked very tired, with dark bags under his eyes. Mike went to the bed and flopped out on it and fell fast asleep.
He met with Gary the next morning. They carried on some small talk about business and goals and numbers to be reached by the branch. Gary knew that Mike played a big role in the branch target every month. Mike also knew that at present, his production was the lowest it had ever been. Gary asked him point-blank if he were going to resolve his personal issues and get back on track. “Mike, you need to get a grip on things. We need your selling skills to stay sharp and continue to be part of our winning team.” Mike looked Gary straight in the eye and told him he had to resign. “Sorry Gary, but I just can’t function properly. The separation from my family is killing me slowly and I think I need some medical help or I am going to go mad.” Gary understood where Mike was coming from as he had gone through two failed marriages, but somehow he managed to keep his business life out of his personal life and he still shot to the top in his profession. Mike was not cut from the same cloth as Gary, nor did he even want to feel motivated in his job. He wanted to go hide and lock himself up in a room and stay there. He told Gary he would give it another week but if he were feeling the same way as he felt at this moment, he would pack it all in and make arrangements with another agent to take over his accounts. They could come to some monetary arrangement after he had resigned in order to at least be able to pay his rent and obligations to creditors and to feed himself. Little did Mike know that his bank accounts and assets would have to be liquidated and split with Susan.
It was a harsh reality when another letter appeared from her lawyer, demanding that he make arrangements to split their remaining assets. He was on his own and the costs were mounting daily. The days went by quickly and by the end of the following week, he drew up a letter of resignation and turned it into his boss. He met with another agent and together they signed an agreement that would at least allow Mike some income in the way of split referrals. This arrangement would help him survive until he was able to decide what he was going to do with the rest of his life. He knew he could not sell anymore. He did not want to be around people, helping them and seeing their happy faces and their children laughing and playing in the background. It brought too much sadness. Besides, he was burnt out. His two oldest children tossed him out of their lives by simply not wishing to see or speak to him again. Susan had made sure of that. Mike was torn apart when he could not reach his two oldest children. They refused to take any calls and would not reply to any email Mike sent to them. It was devastating to Mike and he was beside himself with remorse and pain.
He again found comfort with a bottle of Jack and drank himself into a stupor, often finding himself passed out on the floor. He knew he had to find help. It was eating him alive. Mike arranged to meet with a psychologist. Mike was told he needed to take time off, gather his thoughts, make a plan and work that plan. He was also told to consider changing professions entirely and finding a different line of work. Maybe something in travel or working in an entirely different field than selling. Mike left his office a little more confused than when he had arrived there. He headed home and the first thing he did when he entered the house was going to the bathroom and throw up in the toilet. Mike pulled himself together and put on some music to try to kill the silence in the house. It was overwhelming him and driving him nuts. He went downstairs with a glass and the half bottle of Jack in his hands, set the glass and bottle near the pool table, grabbed a cue off the rack on the wall and racked up the balls. He lined up his shot and let it fly, cracking the triangle of balls and sending them all over the slate velvet covered table. Every time he shot, he felt anger and the more he felt angry the more Jack he would knock back.
He caught a whiff of a familiar smell in the basement. He looked across the room at a door that appeared locked with a padlock on it. He walked over and moved the padlock with his hand and lo and behold it opened in his hand. He slowly opened the door and fumbled for the light switch on the side wall, he was startled at what he saw in front of him. Three long tables with grow lamps over and underneath sitting on the tables were marijuana plants. Wow – a grow op was staring him in the face. He approached one of the plants, popped a bud from one of them and left the room, this time he locked the door. He now wanted to find out all about this grow op in his brother’s basement. In the meantime he would crumble up the bud and roll himself a joint and see how good this stuff was. Mike got higher than a kite, danced and laughed with himself all over the basement floor. He had a party with himself and nobody else was invited. All thoughts of his life disappeared as the euphoria took him to heights he had never been before. He now knew what getting high felt like and understood why cannabis was in such demand.
Mike woke up without a hangover, I guess the smoke must have subdued Mr Jack and both got along well. Mike showered, threw on a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt and slipped on his runners. He grabbed a cup of coffee as he headed out the door. Mike had now set himself free from the pressure of selling to survive. He was off to meet with a head hunter to discuss a change in career paths. His options were limited as he had been in sales and marketing most of his career. He came home from the interview more confused than ever. The options they suggested to him were more stress related jobs in management and sales, something he was trying to avoid. The head hunter said how about becoming a blue-collar worker? Mike looked at him and said as long as it’s an honest profession, he would be open to something completely different. More to think about, but he knew he had to do something for a living. Money would start to become a serious issue in the upcoming months.
The question of Family Maintenance surfaced between Susan, her lawyer and Mike was not going to be a dead beat dad and wanted to provide for his children. They agreed on an amount based on Mike’s current gross income and would calculate it out based on paying support for four children. He knew it would be a lot of money. He would have to pinch and budget to meet the payments every month. Unless his income drastically changed, he knew the monthly amount of support would be considerable and prepared himself accordingly. Because Mike was unemployed, Susan decided that she would have no part of worrying about where or how Mike would come up with the sizeable support payments every month so she refused post dated cheques from him and called Maintenance Enforcement to deal with Mike. They didn’t hesitate to send him a letter announcing to him that they wanted payments made directly through
them and they would send the cheques to Susan when they were received at their office.
Mike was upset but not surprised with Susan’s decision. She wanted to wash her hands of Mike and ensure that he keep away from the house and the children and pay her through a third-party and so he did. I can go on and write about the many hurdles Susan made Mike jump over before he finally fell apart in the spider web of state enforced support payments. It would haunt him for years to come and he would be in and out of court with Susan over issues of the children and calculation of incomes to make it fair for both parties. As it would turn out, Mike’s income changed dramatically when he made a HUGE DEVIATION on his career path. It would totally alter his future career choice and send him on a winding road and adventure of his life. More to come……….
© Copyright 2010 by Vincent Moore. All rights reserved