Friday, August 19, 2016

Alice's True Adventures







October 1975.  Alice Allen holding our  newborn Rocky.  

Alice was my co-worker at the Postal Source Data Center in Atlanta.  We were born either on the same date or a day apart, I forgot which.  She was a devoted friend.  She died shortly after I transferred to the Marietta Post Office.
Alice's life-style would have made a good soap opera.  Bizarre things seemed to follow her.  She reminded me of the soap opera "MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN".

Alice drunk a lot and seemed to complicate her mistakes.  When I would see her at work with her red wig tilted and a cigarette hanging sideways I knew she had one too many.
She was having an affair with a fellow named William.  One night at 11:30 pm I was walking into work - the Federal Annex was next door to Rich's.  There was a little parking lot for special delivery vehicles outside the door.  We normally walked through that little parking lot to go to get to a back door.  The parking lot was a kind of social setting.   Maybe four to eight postal workers either on break, lunch, or just hiding there to have a "snort".  That night no one was in sight.  As I got closer I saw the "usual party people" stooped down behind the postal vehicles peeping up over or round it.  They told me three people, a lady and two men just ran by and inside.  The last man was taking aim and shooting at the man and woman ahead of him.

I found out later that night it was Alice and her boy friend William were leading the run and her husband Alphonza closely behind them had the gun and doing the shooting.
They ran inside with Alphonza in too in pursuit.  There, inside, in the middle of a large number of people working Alphonza left quickly.  He was not caught.

The Post Office needed the employee's nearby parking lot for expansion.  They made arrangements for several other parking lots, some as far as 5 or 6 blocks away for us to park.  Which can be scary walking in downtown Atlanta, sometimes alone, near midnight.  (that is another story).  So, some of us would cruise the little small side streets closer to park on.

Alice, Santes, and I found a little street, next to a fire station,  only a block away.  We parked there for a while until:  One morning after work our cars were not there.  I forgot the details of how we found out, but we knew they were loaded to an impounded car lot.  We had to pay a fine then pay the wrecker service for the wrecker service and the storage fee.  Our friend Chuck Watson (also dead) helped us go to the Atlanta Police Station to pay the fine and pay the wrecker service.

What I am leading up to is one of Alice's unpredictable statement.  Before going around to the bank and police station we asked the man behind the counter at the wrecker service how much he said, "A release from the police and $258. and 89 ₵"

Alice screamed to the top of her lungs, "Two hundred and fifty-eight mother fucking dollars!?!"
Without blinking an eye with her  he added, "and eighty-nine cents."

That was an inspiration to me.  I used that punch line many times in the few years following: "and eighty-nine cents."

She had so many incidences they all blend in.

For no apparent reason she joined the Army Reserves.  I think it was just a chance to take a break from her normal life.  Which even complicated her life more, there is where she met William.

I remember one time period Alice was coming late every night.  She just couldn't make it there on time... she was leading a unpredictable life with emergencies always popping up.  Management was building a case on her, and she was helping them document it, every night.

Our immediate supervisor, off the record, got with Alice and me.  He had a plan:  Since I normally came in 30 minutes or more early every night, to help my friend Alice why didn't I help her out - call her at home and make sure she was awake, and if not wake her up.   I said OK.  And I did exactly that and her attendance improved.

Then, after keeping up her improved attendance she received a cash $100 or $250 incentive award.  I hit the roof.

I asked my supervisor why should she get the award and not me?  After all, if wasn't for me she would continue to be late and be fired.  My boss, W.  Wright told me it was like this:  "She showed improvement in attendance, you didn't" 

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