Security Guard Blues, Part 3

By the time you read this, hopefully all talk of a government shutdown will be history. Last I heard, Trump said he was going to sign the compromise bill because he could “Executive Order” the rest of the money.  Then why did he shut down the government in the first place? (Meanwhile, thanks to Trump, the self-proclaimed “King of Debt” and his $2-trillion tax cuts for the rich, the national debt just hit $22 trillion!)

Since I can’t bear to write about Trump this week, I’m harkening back to 1975 and the 3rd “chapter” of  when I was a $4.25 an hour security guard at the Shores. One of my duties was, with a push of a button, to open the heavy steel underground garage gates at 5 p.m. so that tenants, coming home from work, could just zip in.

At 7 p.m., after the rush, I was to close the gates. I was supposed to stand nearby to warn any incoming cars but I didn’t see any. So I pushed the button and started to walk back toward the security office. Suddenly I heard an alarming noise.

I turned and was stunned to see Mack O’Reilly, an elderly, often crusty lawyer, who lived in the North building with his wife Margaret, stuck with the gate on his windshield. Apparently, Mack was so inebriated he hadn’t seen the gate which kept crushing. I raced over and hit the button so the gate finally retracted.  But by then, Mack’s old, 4-door was essentially an old convertible.

Panicked, I asked Mack if he was okay and if I should I call 911 but he insisted he was fine. (Certainly better than his windshield.) He kept repeating it was “nothing,” and I shouldn’t even write it in my report. He casually drove what was left of his car into his parking space and hurriedly went upstairs. It took me an hour just to clean up all the glass.

All night I was so rattled, I needed a drink.  Thankfully, the next day a sober Mack took full responsibility. Since he wasn’t seeking any compensation, management just had the gate repaired.

The next I heard about Mack, months later, he and his wife Margaret who were known for loud arguments, got divorced.  No surprise there, but what was a bit unusual was Mack took an apartment in the South building! Only at the Shores. Unfortunately for me, Mack and poor Margaret, worse was yet to come.

As they say in screenplays, cut to a year later. I’m at the security office and I get a call from a Mack’s neighbor who reports newspapers are piled up in front of his apartment and water is seeping out from under the door. Put it this way, not good! The neighbor thinks Mack is dead and implores me to use the master key to find  out.

Talk about spooky. Everything is completely dark but water is running in the kitchen sink causing the flood. I immediately turn it off.  I call out his name but there’s no response. It’s eerie. As I tip toe into the bedroom, I see him propped up in bed, seemingly staring at me with a frozen horrified look on his face, dead as a door nail. (I’m thinking I need more than $4.25 an hour for this job.)

When the police arrive they want to escort me to Margaret’s apartment in the north building where I’m to break the news to her. Why me and not them? They say I know her so it won’t be as big of a shock.

On the walk from the south to north building, I’m frantically rehearsing how do you diplomatically break it to someone their former husband of many decades is dead. I even think of a dark joke, “All those with a living ex-husband, please raise their hand. Not so fast Margaret.”

When Margaret opened the door and saw the police on either side of me, she blurted out, “Mack’s dead, isn’t he?”  “Uh, well, yes,” I mumbled. “The son of a bitch wouldn’t take care of himself, come on in.”

The police thought she was in shock and said I should ask her if she wanted me to stay the night. Reluctantly, I asked if she wanted me to stay. “Why?” she asked in puzzlement. Then the cops whispered to me to ask her if there was anything I could do.  “Yes,” she said, there is one thing.” “What?” I asked dreading her answer. “My TV Guide is out of date. Do you have one you could spare?”

I rushed to my apartment, got my TV Guide and happily gave it to Margaret. As we left the cops couldn’t stop laughing. I’m glad they had a good time because I was a wreck.

Jack is at:, and


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