I didn't always keep an entirely tidy home. I was never the tidiest of people, I'll admit. But I did have my moments. It is a fact, however, that it's much easier to keep a clean place when you are the only person making messes.
One day in my life, Chef Steve thought to be an exceptionally kind soul and gave me a Zippo lighter he happened to have. Just before that, I had found a very small Zippo which had eventually run out of fluid. I didn't know anything about lighters and how they required fluid, where to find it, or just how cheap it was to purchase, and especially how to go about refilling a Zippo.
I, for some reason, don't recall the terms of receiving this lighter, but it must have been agreed upon that one day Chef Steve would come calling for it, because eventually he did. I really don't remember this being the case, but I imagine I would have put up a bit of a fight, if this were not the case. The etiquette of gift giving would definitely have been a defense, otherwise.
Eventually the fluid ran out, but this was hardly a large issue. I'm sure I could have eventually figured out that it needed to be refilled and how to do so. But, at some point, I lost the golden Zippo, and had no idea where it was.
At some point, my home was a mess, and I decided to clean it up in a "spring cleaning" fashion. At the end of the day my home was impeccably clean, and I was proud of it. It turned out that the Zippo was found under my bed, and I placed it on my kitchen table, even though I was not able to use it at the time. It sat there, shining, being the only thing worth looking at in my entire home.
Jared, after Krystal had left, decided to visit on just this day when I was proud of my exceptionally clean home. I was happy to have some company, and I treated him to one shot of my stash of vodka, of which I also partook. Yes, just one shot.
I then said, "What the hell, let's go have a good time," and decided to take him to a new favorite dive of mine. Knowing he was nearly 10 years older than me (and he looked it), I didn't think it was an issue, but it turned out he had misplaced his ID at the time. When he ordered his drink, it was understandable that he was denied, not having his ID, but when I ordered mine, I was also denied. She thought I was already intoxicated. Sadly, this was a common occurrence of mine. Having only one eye, at that time my bad eye had a way of making me look quite loopy. I could have just taken it out and explained that this wasn't the case, but that thought didn't occur to me very often, and instead, I would become quite confused by the circumstance.
Since I had Jared with me, I figured we'd just leave and go somewhere else, and we did.
Something incredibly sad and somewhat ironic happened a week later. Vickie, the bartender just mentioned, died a week later from an accident involving a suicide victim jumping from a bridge above a freeway. I happened to be traveling on that freeway when it happened and it took two hours for me to make my way out of the situation. I was on my way towards an appointment to have a new and better eye painted and made. I had to call and reschedule the appointment since it took so long to leave that freeway. Since that particular eye was made, I never again had the issue of bartenders thinking I was drunk when I was in fact sober. It was a strange circumstance, and while she was a bit of a cold, hard kind of lady in general, I still liked her, and I attended her wake soon after. I don't believe Jared ever knew what happened.
After Jared and I were refused at the dive bar and had enjoyed one drink elsewhere, I decided that we should just hit the liquor store, since I was due to replenish my stash, anyway. We walked there since it was somewhat close, and I liked to walk to places when I could. At the time, I had a dog named Tibet, which I took along for the walk, and about seven or eight blocks away, we ran into another dog which we recognized as belonging to a house across the street from our apartment complex.
We knew who the dog belonged to, but he just wouldn't return home. He decided to simply follow us wherever we went. So, Jared took his belt off and used it as a leash for the dog, so we could bring it back home. About ten blocks from home was the liquor store, and I bought my glass bottle of vodka to supply me for the next few months. Jared was kind enough to offer to carry it home for me, but I shouldn't have obliged, because he managed to drop it in the parking lot, and it broke. Not having been a very cheap bottle, I was quite distraught over the situation, and I returned to the liquor store explaining the situation. Since they provided the plastic bag that the bottle broke though, they were ever so kind as to replace the bottle at no charge, warning against carrying the bottle carelessly. I decided to carry the bottle back home myself, and we managed to make it back with two dogs. We returned the labrador back to our neighbor and enjoyed a few drinks at my home.
Strangely, almost as though it were a test of honesty, Chef Steve asked if he could have his Zippo back, just the next day. I had this Zippo in my care for at least three or four months. It was odd that he would just then ask for it back. And, like I said, I don't recall if this was part of the arrangement or not. But, it must have been, because I was more than happy to oblige. I knew where the Zippo was. . . right in the open, on my kitchen table.
When I went to retrieve it, however, it was not where I left it. I couldn't have used it and misplaced it, because it was out of fuel. I never touched it, and the only person who had been in my home since I had found it was Jared. So, I assume that Jared had stolen it. I would never in a million years put it past him. Jared was that kind of man. I believed he did steal it, and still do to this day. But, he denied it when I asked, and all I could say to Chef Steve was that I was positive that Jared must have taken it. I offered to buy him a new one, but he declined the offer. He just wanted the one he gave me. But, goodness! What kind of a person asks for such a thing? They're not that expensive!
The Zippo was never found.