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17:39:29 - 2000-03-29

THIS AIN'T HOW DONALD TRUMP GOT STARTED

Don't ever loan a friend money.

I know...I know...that's a fact Mama tried to tell me when I was a kid. Yet, every freakin' day I went without lunch because my buddies needed the money worse than me.

I loaned my buddy Mike $120 a month ago.

"I'll pay you back on Friday," he assured me.

...The boy just never said WHICH Friday...

I didn't need the money at first, so I let that first Friday slip by. No big deal. I had a kitchen stocked with food, the bills were all paid, and I had no sudden urges for Filipino mail order brides at the time.

The second week, I saw a few CDs I wanted and couldn't live without. I coulda charged them. I coulda used the ATM card and drew money outta the bank.

But I just thought it'd be best to wait for that $120 to come rolling back in.

I feel like the asshole at the Statue of Liberty, still naively waiting for the Titanic to sail in.

I approached Mike after that first Friday had passed and I hadn't received a penny. I wanted to make sure he remembered the transaction.

"Oh man...I'm sorry. I'm going to be getting a check from some people that owe me money, and I'll have you paid off by Friday."

No money on Friday. Hell...no Mike either. I think he went to the beach.

The third week, I was kinda stern.

"Look Mike," I tried to explain. "I really need that money now. You've taken in roughly 500 dollars in the last few weeks with your various side projects. I've got things I need to take care of. Show me a sign of good faith or something."

"Oh man. I'm sorry. Times are tight. I'll have that money to ya by Friday, I promise."

Friday rolls around. I decide not to say anything.

And consequently...I don't get any money.

Thank God I'm not a bookie.

Saturday afternoon I call him.

"Hey Mike...how about twenty bucks? You got twenty bucks??"

"Oh hey man...I'm sorry, I'm broke. My band's playing tonight. I'll get your money to you on Monday."

This past Monday marked the beginning of the fourth week.

By this point, my wife knows I lent Mike the money, which I was trying to keep her from knowing. She doesn't like me loaning money. And she reminded me of that fact numerous times over the last few days.

"So uhhhh...Mike....uhhh...you got my money??"

"Oh man...lemme tell ya...by the time we got paid Saturday night, I only made $43. I'm never playing in that shithouse again."

"Ummmm...I'll take that $43 off yer hands, my friend."

"Oh. That's already gone."

Mm-hmmm. It wouldn't have been spent on anything like POT would it, Mikey?

Just now I called Mike. I made a little small talk, but he knew what I called for. I finally got around to asking, just like a doctor works his way up to the rectal exam during a physical.

"You got that money, Mike?"

"Oh man. I get paid on Friday. I PROMISE I'll get you your money then."

So.

This time, I ain't playin'.

Guess who's riding with Mike to the bank on Friday and watching him cash his paycheck??

I love the guy. I really really do.

But if he EVER cons me into lending him money again, please take me out behind the barn and shoot me in the head.

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