"Grippers" (how to get homeless without even trying #12)

Episode # 12  “Trick or Treat” (click on the “grippers” tab and scroll down for the previous 11 episodes)

Summer and the balance of September were gone and October had taken the time baton and charged forward. It was Halloween and the Sliders were  now full fledged “Grippers” financially drowning and just barely “treading water” as they tried to avoid being sucked under and lost in the abyss of abject poverty. They had been tossed one lifeline which Tracey grabbed onto. Through her friend Judi’s recommendation she had been hired as a part-time cashier at the local supermarket. She was working 20 hours a week and being paid $12.00 an hour. Her first bi-monthly paycheck had come in and she had received $390.00. At $780.00 a month they were now $256.00 a month better off than when receiving unemployment. The extra good news was that the possibility of being promoted to full-time was very real.

Bob, unable to collect unemployment, was moving around very slowly because of his injured back. He had qualified for medicaid through the Department of Children & Families and he was going to physical therapy three times a week. He was also taking oxycodone pills three times a day and had  been prescribed xanax to help him “relax” . It had taken less than two months for him to become addicted to these pills. The once happy-go-lucky, vibrant, hard working husband and father had turned sullen and quiet and was absorbed in his own personal “pity party” telling his wife, “You just don’t understand. You have no idea how much pain I’m in.” He was wrong. She understood much more  than he thought she did. She realized the pills had changed him dramatically and that  all he seemed to be concerned about was having enough of them.

It was 8 p.m. on Halloween. Tracey was next door at Judi’s and they had been greeting  all the little “trick or treaters” since six o’clock. The onslaught of monsters and ghouls and super-heroes and various other creatures was almost down to a trickle so they went inside to have some coffee and chat. Tracey thought she heard Bob’s truck start and hurried to Judi’s front door. She was just in time to see his  truck going down the street. Wonder where he’s going, she thought. Hope he’s all right.

He wasn’t all right. Having taken too many xanax along with his oxycodone had caused him to “fall asleep” as he pulled into the convenience store a half mile from the house. He proceeded to unceremoniously  smash into the side of a new Toyota Corolla. By 9:30 Bob was in handcuffs and on his way to jail. Charges were DUI with property damage. Tracey would not hear from him until 11:30. By then she was frantic about where he might be. When she heard her husband tell her that he needed to be bailed out of jail her mind went momentarily blank and she almost fainted. Fortunately, Judi and Tommy were both  there. Judi, standing next to Tracey,  quickly put her arm around her and helped her to sit down. She took the phone and began to gather the information from a nervous voiced Bob. Tommy quickly sat next to Jake who had started to cry. More dark days were ahead.

Next time: Episode # 13  “Now what?”

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