Well. He’s a “Wanker,” that’s for sure!
© 2012 Steve Hathcock
A Tale of Spring Break on South Padre Island
“Now don’t screw me. I waited for an hour for the last guy, and he never showed up! I only left for a minute to go to the agent that rented me this dump and when I came back they said he was already gone.”
I studied the young man in front of me. He stood about five feet seven and weighed in at approximately one hundred and fifty pounds. He was dressed in typical college jock fashion. Gaudy T-Shirt advertising some kind-a imported beer, (Having a split personality has served me well in selecting Miller Lite as my beer of choice, I can truly say “less filling AND more flavor”!) baggy floral shorts that hung to his knees, flip-flops, ROTC haircut and an attitude. As owner of the oldest locksmith business on the Island, (Almost Always Available Locksmith) I am usually on call for the late night emergencies. His was the latest of a dozen calls I had received on the second night of so-called “Hell Week.” This is when all the Texas colleges celebrate Spring Break. South Padre Island, noted for its great beaches, close proximity to Mexico and a fairly tolerant party atmosphere, has traditionally been a Mecca for college students needing a bit of a break from exams. Throughout the month of March, the Island will host one of the longest running parties in existence to over several hundred thousand-college students. Don’t get me wrong folks; South Padre is not wide open when it comes to partying. We don’t allow speeding, drunk driving or fornicating in public. The fact is, the major beer distributors are known for addressing safe drinking issues and routinely hand out literature promoting safe driving and designated driver programs. A half dozen taxi companies are licensed to operate on the Island. The Town of South Padre’s own public transportation, “The Wave” is supplemented by the addition of several buses sponsored by local nightclubs. An enormous fleet of vans, courtesy of Baptist churches from around the state, offer free rides throughout the evening hours.
The security guards at the condo complex seemed familiar with the young man, (his driver’s license revealed his name as “Jesse”) and several followed us into the elevator. Someone had pushed all the buttons, so there was plenty of time for Jesse to tell me the following story.
“I got back four hours ago and realized I had lost my key. So I called my rental agency and demanded a new key and they made me drive over to their office to pick it up. For as much as I’m paying for this dump, you would think that someone would have delivered it for them, but No’ooohh!” (Here the youth’s voice warbled in a high falsetto as he mocked the rental agents’ Tex-Mex accent).
“Yes sir, we can cut the key tonight, only you must wait until tomorrow when someone is here to bring it to you!”
“Right, as if they could be counted on to cut me the right key. Before I left, I called this other locksmith, and he said he would be right over. What a butt munch! I told the security guards to tell him to wait because I wouldn’t know if I needed him until I tried out the key. Of course, that was asking too much for their limited intelligence and he was gone when I got back!”
I glanced at the two guards that had followed us into the elevator. One of them fingered his flash light in a vaguely obscene manner while the second of the two, a Barney Fife look-a like contented himself with glaring at the arrogant college student.
Unimpressed, the kid continued, “I broke a window and then I found out it was the wrong one. Then these “Dill Weeds” (here he made a gesture of contempt towards our uniformed escort) go and call the cops on me. I argued with them for an hour and a half.” Both guards were grinning now at the memory.
After eleven stops we finally arrived on Jesse’s floor. I glanced at the broken window; it was easy to see how the kid could have been confused into believing the window led into his condo. Jesse took a key out of his pocket, inserted it in the lock and turned it to the right. I could hear the solid thunk of the bolt moving and waited to see if the door would open. Jesse actually sneered as he turned to me and said, “Here, you open it, and remember, all my money’s inside and you don’t get paid unless I get in, you got that?”
I stiffened, the arrogant little bast…… A movement caught my eye and I glanced over at the guards. The larger of the two security guards, face as red as a beet had turned and walked back towards the elevator while Barney Fife contented himself with slapping the heavy Mag flashlight into his own palm.
I tried the door and could tell that a dead bolt was still thrown. I remembered installing keyless deadbolts in this complex several years back. (A keyless deadbolt can only be operated from one side; thus, someone had to be inside to turn the lock.) Either they were still there, or…….
I glanced at the unbroken window. A tower of beer cans rose to within inches of the top of the casement. I grinned when I saw that the window was unlocked. A quick upward tug…
Jesse looked and sounded like one of those fake monsters crushing skyscrapers in downtown Tokyo as he kicked his way through the wall of empty beer cans. Once inside, we could hear his raised voice shouting curses. A moment later, a very angry Jesse flung the front door wide. “My idiot roommate locked the door from inside! I didn’t need you at all!”
Uhmmm well, I guess he’s a bit of a “Wanker” ain’t he; I said as I extended my palm. It took a second before Jesse, who evidently was too dumb to be embarrassed, caught on and reluctantly handed me a couple of crumpled bills from a huge roll of twenties and fifties. Giggling mirthfully, the two security guards high-fived each other. All of Mudville rejoiced as we rode the elevator back to the ground floor.
Steve Hathcock is owner operator of Almost Always Available Locksmith