CLOSE ENCOUNTERS – zuki runs into son of sacajawea

Good Morning Patrons of Serendipity,

Trying not to sound like Andy Rooney, have you ever on pure chance, met up with someone you knew many years before? Although both lives have moved on, the brief encounter can either be enjoyable or uncomfortable. In a twinkling of an eye one is transported to a time and place each shared oh so long ago. In my 50 plus rotations I’ve probably had three such encounters. Each time plans were changed to accommodate the act of fate. The first such rendezvous happened while AWOL from the Army. In my attempts to be discharged I’d walk off the reservation and after partying with my friends a month or two, I’d turn myself in hoping to rid myself of the internment. It was 2:00AM on a foggy fall morning in Sacramento. I was headed up El Camino Ave to catch the freeway in hopes of hitch-hiking to the airport to fly standby. I had heard the military judges at Ft. Lewis, WA were throwing draftees out by the dozen! So I walked. The San Joaquin Valley is constantly beset by fog. It was impossible to see beyond a few feet so I had to use the traffic signals to dead reckon my way along. Out of the blue I heard the voice of my best friend who had been drafted a month before I had. While in Vietnam he became addicted to the abundant Heroin so easily obtained there but had the where-with-all to know he couldn’t take the addiction back to the states! He literally went through withdrawals on the flight back to Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA. where he was immediately hospitalized then released a week later. On leave he was making his way back home. I yelled out to him and there was a pause of uncertainty so I called his name again. This time he immediately replied, “Oh my God.” I crossed the street and embraced my good friend. We found a 24 hour Sambo’s Pancake House and caught up.

Last week I had another visit with happenstance. After leaving curmudgeon corner sometimes I’ll run into the Bonefish for a meal and a glass of good wine. It’s nearly impossible to find a seat on Friday so I was surprised to see an open seat between two attractive women and knocked over a waiter to get there before an older couple; they were no match for my speed and adroitly planted myself. I was having a lovely conversation with the woman to my left waiting for her husband but none-the-less enjoying myself when some asshole poked me in the ribs. I turned to face the rude bastard and was prepared to give him a piece of what’s left of my mind, when I saw the cheesy smile pasted on the “Son of Sacajawea.” Twelve years ago I worked with SOS who managed the survey division of my beloved LTI. The poor bastard was trying to keep up with ole zuki but the division never was nor ever will be a major contributor to the company’s bottom line. Our caustic relationship culminated at the company picnic. In a supposed ‘friendly’ game of touch football I had caught a short pass and was going to simply run out of bounds when Daniel Boone smashed into me sending my lifeless body 20 feet out of bounds. I couldn’t walk for a week. In spite of the cheap shot my sales team kicked his team’s ass. This ongoing fruitless rivalry caused him to continually lash out at me and create those awkward moments of silence when passing in the hallway.

We both had essentially been forced out of our respective jobs when stock was suspended from trading for a minor dalliance discovered in the books. We made fun of others; I flirted with his wife, and actually had a great time.

SOS has found the diatribe and I know he could contribute. This New Yorker does possess a modicum of wit and intelligence and pray he’ll gird up his loins and post a story. For the two or three of you reading this lodestone it’s important to understand that he’s had to live in the shadow of zuki’s dynamic personality and skill harboring feelings of resentment all these years. Also please use caution should you feel the need to lampoon him, because if he doesn’t take a liking to you it will most likely result in physical harm.


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