Hope You’re Happy, Too

Dennis woke up lying face-first in a field in the middle of the day. His car sat twenty feet away with the driver’s door open, engine running, and headlights on. A half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels stood upright on the ground directly between him and the car, and the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” was playing on the radio. He couldn’t remember how he had gotten there, nor could he remember what he had done the night before.

He pulled his iPhone from his pocket to check his messages. There were four. The first one, from his friend Gino, said, “Hey, it’s a good thing you got drunk and left fast with Deborah. Whatever you told Johnson sure riled him up. He cussed out Gomez and got fired! Ha! About time! Anyway, I’m glad Deborah was driving. Gotta run. Talk to you Monday. Stay safe, champ!”

With raised eyebrows, Dennis checked his next message. It was from his boss, Bill Gomez, who slurred, “Dennis, congratulations. You’re the new distribution manager of the Rocky Mountain Region. Come see me on Monday morning at 8 o’clock sharp. I know this is sudden, but we have to do something about office morale. It’s essential to the future of the company, and you’ve always been a good worker, a good company man. You can handle it. Besides, you’d be a fool not to want the promotion. We’ll see you on Monday.”

He rose to his feet slowly and unsteadily. In a state of shock, he checked his third message. It was from his girlfriend Deborah, who said, “Baby, I’m sorry I left you there with the car running and you passed out that way, but I was so pissed! You were acting so stupid! I just walked home. It wasn’t that far, and I needed to burn off the anger. Anyway, maybe it was good that things worked out that way, as weird as that sounds. At least you were honest and open with me. And you’re right. I’ll admit it—I do need to find a job, and right away. I’ll start looking on Monday. I’m also going to loosen up, like you said. I’ll call you tonight, OK? Thank you for being my sweetheart. We’ll work everything out. I know we can. Let’s get together on Sunday. I have something special planned. Love you!”

Dennis reached into his back pocket and noticed that his wallet was missing. He checked his fourth message, which said, “Mr. Wheeler, this is Dick Weston, the manager from Gordon’s Bar. You left your wallet here. The good news is, your server found it right after you took off, and she turned it in intact. And believe it or not, the winning ticket from our evening lottery is in your wallet. You scored 250 bucks. We’ll be open at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. You’re welcome to stop by and pick up your wallet and winnings then. Take care.”

The day was shaping up nicely. Dennis gazed across the field and saw two deer staring at him. He shouted, “Hope you’re happy, too!” He walked past the bottle of Jack Daniels, climbed into his car, and headed home, figuring he would use a portion of his lottery winnings to buy himself a burger at Gordon’s Bar.