ABSENCE OF COLOR – Chapter 5: GREEN
Leif Green was part of the cleaning staff at the bank which he greatly abhorred, he was bitter about his station in life as he glared at the loans officers, cashiers, and yes even the security guards had a better job than he did. Growing up his family was so poor that they lived in a two bedroom shack in bad need of repair with no basement and no backyard in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city, in the north-east end. Many of the homes were over forty years old and needed an overhaul, the walkways were cracked, and the back alleys were full of garbage like old tires, junk cars that didn’t run, and lots of glass from teenagers smashing their beer bottles. Since both his parents were unemployed and receiving welfare checks his family relied heavily on the food bank to bring them the staples and on the Salvation Army for free second-hand clothing. Leif and his brother felt like social rejects at school because they were part of the free-lunch and sports programs. The fact that over half their classmates were in the same situation didn’t make him feel any better. To Leif it just proved that his parents couldn’t afford to live in a better neighborhood or let him go to a better school.
To make matters worse when things were at their gloomiest their mother ran off with some rich guy who was a middle-manager in broadcasting making $100,000 a year and although a large part of Leif hated her for deserting them he had to give her points for moving up in life whatever the cost. Two kids and a deadbeat husband who couldn’t keep a job were baggage she just couldn’t afford and Leif envied that she had escaped. Leif never finished high school it didn’t occur to him that continuing his education would be beneficial in securing a better paying job he was too enraged at his life. In Leif’s opinion there were no options or opportunities for the poor and it was this attitude that cost him.
At first when Leif got a job at the bank he considered himself lucky but it didn’t take long for anger and resentment to swell up inside him; it burned Leif’s ass that so much money was finally within his grasp but in reality was a world away. Money makes the world go around, what’s green is gold; whatever the sayings Leif Green barely had any, always came up short, dreamed of it every waking hour. He was green with envy and in a desperate bid for what he felt he deserved, what he felt others always had and he didn’t he took his lucky four leaf clover and bet his whole pay check plus a small fortune he borrowed from a loan shark on Leprechaun to place first at the track. When he lost it all he asked his boss for an advance on his salary who said no, so he asked for a small loan from the bank but was flatly denied, the bastards, the misers! Visions of the loan shark’s enforcers breaking his arm gave him nightmares as he slept in an alley to avoid the big apes. But he knew that he couldn’t avoid the goons forever so he approached the loan shark with a plan in mind to save his sorry ass, he made a deal with the devil.
Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson