Mark Trenton sat at his desk as the sun was setting on the horizon. Another busy day was ending in its usual manner as he sat trudging through paperwork. Soon things would be different, he thought, as he leaned back in his chair to look over another of the forms he snatched from his inbox. His chair jerked forward with the knock on the back door.
He turned down the radio and called out loudly, “Who is it?”
“Kenny. Kenny Sparks.”
“Be right there.”
Mark tossed the form aside with a feeling of relief. Not relief that his work was done but the relief of knowing that the evening’s monotony would be interrupted. He undid the lock and opened to door to find a young Kenny Spears grinning back at him.
“Well look at you. You’re the spitting image of your old man, you know that?”
“Everyone says that.”
“The last time I saw you, you were yeah high.” Mark held his hand about 3 feet off the ground. “Well come on in.” He paused a moment then commented, “The bounty you seek my good boy is over here.” He pointed to a late model refrigerator in the corner then walked over to it.
“Never had any trouble with it. It’s only about 5 years old. Your dad says you need it for the frat house?
“Sure do. We can always use an extra refrigerator if you know what I mean.”
“Do I ever. Live it up son. One day you’re going to wake up with a houseful of kids and a full time job.
“That’s what everyone keeps telling me.”
“Well it’s true.” Mark went around to the side table and motioned for Kenny to grab the other end. “Here help me move this so we can get at the fridge.”
They moved the table up and over into the hall, then loaded the fridge onto a dolly. They then wheeled it outside and hoisted it into the back of the truck Kenny came over in.
Slamming the tailgate Mark said, “Well that ought to do it. Want some water or something?”
They went inside and moved the table back. Mark poured out two glasses of water and sat down across from Kenny.
“Can I interest you in anything else around this place? A table, some chairs? How about a gently used microwave?”
“Really? You’re just gonna just give it all away?”
“Yep. Like I told your dad. I’m closing the whole place down. Don’t want any of it. Take what you want, seriously.”
“Well since you’re asking I’m sure the guys could find a use for this stuff. So why are you closing down? I never heard anyone in your line of work going out of business.”
“A lot of people say that. Truth is I never thought it could happen myself. When I went into this business it was different. There was respect, prestige and a code of honor. You paid your dues and had a job for life, to save lives. Sure it was always a demanding job but at the end of the day you went home gratified you helped people and put in an honest day’s work. And it used to be a good living.”
“And that’s not true anymore?”
“Nope. The bureaucrats have taken over. All they care about is whether or not you file the proper forms. Then they cut the pay down so much I can barely cover my expenses. By 6 in the evening I’ve barely covered my overhead and still have two hours worth of paperwork to justify my keep. “
“So what are you gonna do?”
“Don’t know. Thankfully my kids are done with college. I always thought I’d grow old here helping people out and seeing them through their ups and downs. But like I said no one cares about that anymore. “
“It’s still hard for me to believe. When I was a little kid I thought Doctors had it all.”
“So did I my friend. So did I.”
Mark took one long last swig of his water then stood up. “Well young man, let’s load up the rest of this stuff. Whatever you don’t use feel free pawn on EBAY for some beer money. I’ve got to get back to my paperwork so I can hopefully see my wife before she falls asleep.
“Thanks, I appreciate it.”
“No problem. I don’t envy you young guys. I don’t know what to make of the future for you. It’s a different world...”