“So how did that work? Breakfast at a bank?” John asked with a smirk.
“Well, maybe ‘breakfast’ isn’t the right word,” Loki replied with a shrug. “Dad may be a ‘tard but he’s crafty. I was amazed at how much money he has in the bank. For somebody who didn’t graduate high school he’s done pretty good for himself.
“Anyway,” she continued, “he has this routine. Gets up in the morning, hops on his bike and rides to the bank where they have popcorn. He says good morning, grabs a bag, munches it either outside or in the entryway depending on the weather and then he pedals over to Mildred’s nursing home. He’d stay there through lunch and they’d feed him. They weren’t supposed to but what are you going to do when it’s lunch time and you have a retard who’s being a good husband and it’s time for lunch? They started feeding him and then he came to just expect it I guess. What are they gonna do now; throw him out? So that’s got two meals taken care of.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “There was one thing the home had a problem with: The staff refrigerator. Seems that Daddy was going in and taking food out of the lunches employees had brought. They tried reasoning with him but he’s kind of like a big five-year-old so good luck with that. They finally jut put a padlock on their break-room fridge.”
“You’re kidding me?”
“Swear to God,” she answered, holding her pinky with her thumb and raising the other three fingers in the air. “That’s what Uncle Bob said, that’s Daddy’s brother.
“Anyway,” she continued with a wry smile, “the home sure as hell wasn’t going to feed him dinner too but he’d already figured out a scam for that. Grocery store samples. He makes the rounds of half-a-dozen stores: Walmart, Aldi, Big Giant, Cash Saver, Buy for Less. He mixes it up and knows where to go on what days. He don’t eat much, skinny little thing. I kinda take after him that way.”
“Yeah, I bet,” John snorted.
“I’m little but I’m mighty,” Loki answered.
“I thought you said you were half retard?”
“Can’t I be both?”
“Point taken,” John conceded. “So he doesn’t pay much for food?”
“Lord no! And Christmas dinner? First time I was married me and my brothers would go to Dad’s? It was a can of spaghetti and can of corn; and not really big ones either. We learned early on not to expect much.”
“And your mom? What happened to her?”
“She left,” Loki said, nodding.
“Oh, wow. Sorry. Did you see her much?”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Well, you said she left? Did you see her much after that?”
“Oh! I get it! No, no. She left him, not us. She took us with her. You sure you’re not part retard too?” she asked with a wink.
“Lord, that’s a scary thought. Living in a house with Daddy. I’m afraid he’s gonna want to come live with us in Crime Hills. Ain’t gonna happen.”
“Uhmm, indelicate question but why did your mom marry him? I mean, well, did she have to?”
“What do ya’ mean?”
“Well, you know; was she pregnant?”
“Oh! I get it! No. She just had to get out of her house. Grandad used to beat her and such. Daddy was a way out and she took it. They were married for over eight years.”
“So you lived with your mom? Where was that?”
“Place called Edmond just north of the city. Mom was a cleaning lady at a college. We saw Daddy a few times a year. How about you? You see your folks much?”
“I used to until I moved away. Wish I could but visiting is expensive.”
“And how about your wife? Joni; right? You said you don’t see her very often?”
“No. I mean, right,” he replied, eyes downcast. “Not very often at all.”
“Sometimes life really sucks, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, you can say that again.”
“’Sometimes life really sucks.’ Hey, you got any food? I’m a little hungry.”