This is a short story from a brother who wishes to remain anonymous, who said we could use the name Loyal Brother.
Surprisingly, I got voted to go out to a Center House at Cleveland from the Manhattan Training Center and I lasted there one week. Got back to NYC and I had no apartment, so I slept on old carpet rolls and had no way to wake up to be at work which started there in the loft, so I ended up late every day, so didn’t get my “dollar a day.” And because I didn’t live in an apartment, I got no bag lunch and I had no money. We worked until all hours and when we did come back to an apartment building, there was no food left, and there was never any in the loft. Then eventually, when I was questioned first thing in the morning at the brothers business meeting about why I wasn’t more zealous, I told Rick J. I hadn’t eaten in 3 days, and he was amazed and took me to Munson’s Diner to get a cheap breakfast.
One time, in the late 1970’s, the Loyal Brother and the Artist were doing a carpet-cleaning job in a seedy neighborhood in NYC. They got done and were paid with a check. They were carrying the machine, crates and buckets down to a mail truck, parked near the dilapidated building. It was dark, they were tired and hungry, hoping there was still food left at their apartment. The last thing they wanted was adventure.
A gang of about four guys started milling around the truck. The Artist, (who is really a sort of genius in terms of human observation), noticed them, and started, of all things, to sing.
“I’m gonna lay down my burdens,” he sang out (and the Loyal Bro. did the “bum, bum, bum” base-line), “Down by the riverside,” (“bum bum bum,”) “down by the riverside,” and they glided into the truck loading the equipment, just sort of sashaying to the song, while the gang watched them.
The Artist got into the driver’s seat, the Loyal Bro was standing at the back, arm up, ready to pull the overhead door down, when the gang leader stood at the back of the truck on the ground to address him.
“Hey, I’ve heard about you guys. You’re those Christian Brothers. You guys are supposed to be ‘kind,’ right? You got any money to help us out? You guys get paid in cash? We need a little cash. Hey even Jesus drank wine, right? He was ‘kind,’ right?” the guy said to the Loyal Bro., in a snake-like voice. In the meantime, another gang member was trying to get into the passenger side door, and another was approaching the driver’s side of the truck.
“OH YEAH? WHO TOLD YOU THAT?” yelled the Loyal Bro, and in one motion he slammed down the door. “Gun It!” he yelled, and the Artist did! The old mail truck lurched forward, screeching, throwing the guy trying to come in the side to the ground, and loosening the guy`s hand from the driver`s door handle. The Loyal Bro. flew backwards, up to the front of the truck, the two friends laughing at the riff they’d pulled off.
They zoomed off with the gang running after them on foot for several yards, cussing to no avail! They had been paid by check anyway! It still brings a smile to the Loyal Bro’s face whenever he hears that song, and re-admires the Artist brother’s street smarts.
More to follow…. And in the meantime, Loyal Brother and his wife brainstormed up some old FF words, which they say open up a whole concept just to hear.
Covenant of Death
Say what you see
Remember your purpose
Encourage our hearts in Christ brother (as they looked at their watch)
The food room
The garage brothers
Cleaning the machines
The art show
The Haitian brothers
Am I speaking loud enough?