Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Ham Loaf Luncheon

Unspecified Support Group Meeting. Van Buren Elementary School. Basement. Wednesday Night 9pm. November. Present are Henry, a white 44 year old male, Yan, an Asian 39 year old male, Aaron, an African-American 53 year old male, and Janice, a white 88 year old female who is pretty sure she knows what the hell she's talking about, no matter what the hell she's talking about.

Henry: Okay, there's something I need to get off my chest. The other day I read in the paper that some ladies at the Episcopal church were getting together to have a Ham Loaf Luncheon to raise money for the homeless to help them through the winter. We're only, (holds up one finger expecting a debater) arguably, a few weeks into winter, and it showed up in a pretty brutal fashion. Hell, the city hasn't even picked up my leaves yet, and they're already frozen under a layer of snow on my curb. I think it's very nice that these ladies at the Episcopal church are trying to do something for the homeless. I think it's nice particularly because I've been homeless, and I know how bad it sucks. I know about shivering through the night trying to sleep on a picnic table in a city park and having the cops show up and tell me to go somewhere else. That sucks. And these ladies at the Episcopal church are trying to help. That's great. Problem is, in my opinion, to have a luncheon where something called “ham loaf” is served makes me think that the homeless are gonna stay real cold and real homeless over the next few months.

Aaron: I'd give my left kidney for some ham loaf. Wish I had a left kidney left.

Henry: Now, you all know I have some problems. I don't have a smart phone, a luxury car, health insurance, or a laptop computer. I'm pretty much a joke. I have very few teeth, a little bit of faith in Jesus Christ, a crappy job I am very proud I haven't lost yet, seventeen days sober, and stage two cancer. I do not dispute that I am an utter and complete failure.

Yan: Not to us, Henry.

Janice (mutters): Jesus Christ and all his angels don't care if you gotta smart phone.

Henry: I will most likely die within 8 months from now from my cancer. I will have been a drain on society for most of my life when that day comes. My father beat me relentlessly when I was a kid. My mother was a prostitute who molested me, and I am screwed up on levels your average Joe doesn't even want to consider while they are trying to pay their bills. I am an alcoholic and an addict. I acknowledge that. I'm not making excuses. I'm just sayin'. I've made my peace with all that. I've done my best to make amends on all that. What I have not made peace with is this Ham Loaf Luncheon. This thing pisses me off! I learned about it last Tuesday. I needed to take some action about it. After I got off work on Tuesday I hauled ass down to the city library and got on the world wide webernet. I done some research on ham loaf. I googied it.

Janice (correcting him): Googled it.

Henry: You did too?

Yan: I like ham loaf. What's your problem with ham loaf?

Henry: No one with money is gonna eat ham loaf! Who's gonna support the homeless when they're serving ham loaf at a fund raiser?

Yan: It's not gross. It's really good. I had it for lunch two weeks ago. Do you like meat loaf?

Henry: Yes. A lot. I like meat loaf...a lot.

Yan: Ham loaf is just like meat loaf instead it's ham instead of beef.

Henry: Well, I think they need to serve something else. The homeless ain't gonna get any kind of decent help if the Episcopal ladies serve ham loaf!

Yan: I disagree. How much are they charging per plate?

Henry: Three bucks.

Yan: I'm going.

Aaron: Ham is good. I would eat it in a loaf or not in a loaf.

Janice: Ham loaf is damn good eatin'. Saint Peter ate ham when God told him to.

Aaron (to Janice): You got any ham at your apartment?

Janice: Gonna eat a whole bunch of it when we get done here.

Aaron: Can I come over?

Janice: Yeah. I think you all should come over when we get done here. I got thirty two dollars to my name. I'm gonna spend it on you guys. I'm gonna stop at the grocery store then cook you guys a ham loaf. You'll see. Them Episcopalian ladies know exactly what they're doing. Ham loaf is gonna make a pretty penny for the homeless.

Later, at Janice's.

Janice looks at Henry. He cleaned his plate and can't keep his eyes off the scraps of ham loaf left in the serving dish.

Janice (to Henry): You want seconds, go ahead.

Henry (sighs): You were right, Janice.

Janice: I just saved you from getting arrested, didn't I?

Henry: Yeah, probably.

Janice: You were gonna go to that Ham Loaf Luncheon, weren't you?

Henry: Yeah, probably.

Janice: You were gonna holler and make a scene.

Henry: Yeah. I made a picket sign and everything.

Henry glances at Aaron and Yan, slightly embarrassed.

Yan: That's what we're here for, Henry.

Henry nods.

Henry: Thanks guys.

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