We All Have Regrets

A great man once sang, Regrets, I have a few...

But hes dead. And I hear he wasnt very nice to his mother. And when you dont got nothing, manners can mean the world.

We All Have Regrets by Daryl McKenzie

My name is Terence Plumber. I’m twenty-four years old, but I’ve seen so much in my life that I feel as though I’m eighty. We all have regrets. I have mine and I’m sure you have yours. I should have joined the Navy after finishing high school instead of becoming the neighborhood drug dealer. There’s one regret. Too bad it took me three years and two felony convictions later to figure it out. Oh well, Granny said, “If it’s the truth you can speak it.” That’s one of a few hard facts that haunts me.

My Granny Becka and I lived in a small three-bedroom block house nestled in a little rural town called Campbellton, Florida, twenty miles outside of Marianna. The small dwelling sat on a dirt road, surrounded by thirty acre of land that hadn’t been farmed in over forty years. The house was in need of a new roof, the foundation starting to crack, and rats had infested the old barn my granddaddy built fifty years ago. I had to buy rat poison by the pound just to keep them from taking over the house. But that didn’t stop the bank from wanting their fifteen hundred dollars every month. While most were starting to recover from the financial meltdown of ’08, Granny and I were still underwater. Every month was a struggle. I could have worked two minimum wage jobs, thrown in my Granny’s SSI, and we’d still fall short. Over the years, I’d seen many people lose their homes. I watched as the Sheriff Department nailed plywood to the doors and windows leaving families nowhere to live. I felt that I had to sell drugs to make ends meet. I’d promised myself that as long as I had breath in my body those things would never happen to me and Granny.

My mother died of cancer when I was twelve and my father was doing life for killing a man in a bar fight a few years earlier than that. Thank God Granny was able to take me in. Of course over the years we’d seen our share of hard times, but our financial situation hadn’t always been so dire. Everything was different when I was hooked up with Diaz.

Diaz was from Dallas, Texas. He’d relocated to Jackson County in 2010 to work for his uncle on his watermelon farm after his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. I guess he needed a change. But in memory of his family he wore a wedding band engraved with Aztec writing that he never took off. 

I met Diaz at a club in Dothan, Alabama, one summer night. He stuck out like a black man at a Nascar race, being the only Mexican in the place, standing there, smoking a fat blunt minding his own business. Smelled like Kush. There was a very bad drought in Florida so I had to ask him if he had some for sale? He said yeah. That night he sold me a pound of some of the best weed I’d ever smoked—for a mere four-hundred dollars. We became instant best friends from that night on.

To be a drug dealer, some would argue, that you’d have to be part human and part animal. Diaz never really had the animal part down. I doubt it if he’d ever sold a ten sack on the street corner. I thought of him more as a drug broker. He might as well be selling curtains. He just made plenty money doing it. But no matter how much money he made there was always a pain in his eyes. He still missed his family. I really grew to like the guy.

Soon after that Diaz graduated to bringing in pounds of coke from Dallas every two to three months. I went from being just the nickel bag weed man to the Birdman. I remember trying to count my take of more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of dirty ones, fives and twenties, and losing count at one-hundred-fifty with much more cash to go. (Boy my thumbs were burning!) Then slowly it all started to fall apart.

First I got popped leaving Graceville carrying an ounce of coke. My bond was one-hundred thousand. Twenty-five thousand for the lawyer. I beat that case. Two months later I was stopped on 231 with two ounces. Another hundred thousand twenty-five to the red. Before I knew it I was down to five grand. And then the unthinkable.

I got a call one morning saying Diaz had been shot. He and I used to stash our coke behind our homes, far enough to deny knowledge. That was where he was found dead. They didn’t take anything but the dope he had stashed in the yard and his wedding band. Someone was watching my buddy. Rumor was this dope fiend named Dave killed Diaz.

One night a month later Dave gives me a call saying he had ten dollars and a ring for sale. All he wanted was a quarter gram. I told him no problem. He said he needed somewhere to shoot up. I thought about it a second, then said that he could use the old barn out back. When Dave arrived and placed the ring in my hand I knew it was Diaz’s. I gave Dave the coke; he proceeded to the barn out back.

A few hours passed. I crept in the old barn and saw Dave lying on the floor. He was dead. There was some coke in that pack I sold Dave. But it was mostly rat poison. Like I told you, I have a lot of regrets. But this wasn’t one of them. 
Daryl McKenzie was born 1969 in Rockledge, Florida. Following a tumultuous upbringing, Daryl found himself in a whole bunch of legal trouble that landed him in jail for almost five years. It was during this time that he developed an insatiable appetite for literature, immersing himself in all types of books. It was also here that he decided to write a novel. After all, he had the time. It wasn’t easy, but twenty years later, Daryl published two novels in 2014, The Boys of Dozier and The Forgotten Acorn. Find his work here: http://tinyurl.com/jegfsds