I took a corner seat in the bar near the door like I always do when I go into a neighborhood bar that I have not been in before. I always figured I could study the whole place, see the action, and, leave without much fanfare when necessary.
It was a very hot August day in San Antonio, so I quickly ordered a cold bottle of Lonestar beer. God, that first long swallow out of the frosty bottle was pure joy. The bartender,a large fellow with a pleasant look on his face smiled briefly as though to let me know he understood my obvious pleasure. It was about five in the afternoon and there was already a decent crowd. They appeared to know each other for the greetings were made up of backslapping, handshakes and good-natured curses directed to one another. I am right at home in this atmosphere because I am employed by a company which makes and installs specialized piping for Oil rigs all over the world. I have worked in Alaska, Saudi, Mexico and Nigeria as an installation Engineer and I have found that men and bars are interchangeable worldwide. Actually, I have always wanted to settle down and own a nice, cozy bar and grill like this.
Right now, I am on my way to Houston to meet with our management group. I generally stay in one of the major hotel chains but they were full so I found a locally owned motel, which was quite near this establishment. I stayed in the bar for about three hours and had a great time. I ate a damn good burger complete with cheese, onions, and hot mustard, some fries and bar pretzels. All of that was washed down with four cold beers. After eating, I played half a dozen games of pool and, in general, enjoyed myself. I then made my goodbyes to my pool partners and went out to get into my rented car, which was half a block from the bar. It was GONE! I could not believe it at first and walked around the area in vain search.
I then called the police and they were there in fifteen minutes. They took all the information on the rented ford from the rental papers which fortunately I had in my inside coat pocket. They said the car was probably being chopped up already, but they would get right on it and contact me at the motel or on my cell phone as soon as they had more information for me. While we were talking, one of the men with whom I have been playing pool came out and offered me a ride to the motel. I accepted his offer and went to get in his car, which was parked right in front of the space where my car had been. When I went to get in the car, I saw a battered old wallet next to his passenger side rear wheel. I bent over and picked it up. It was empty except for a few scraps of paper. There was no identification such as a license or name card. It occurred to me that it could have belonged to one of the car thieves, since they might not have carried identification. It really didn’t matter. There was no waste receptacle there so I put it in my pocket with the intent to throw it away at the motel, which I did. I made the calls necessary to have a car delivered the next morning and went to bed.
I got up in the morning and showered, shaved and went to the motel office to get coffee, a doughnut and the paper. I then went back to my room to wait for the car to be delivered. When I was finished with the paper, I took it to the waste can to throw away. When i did so , I saw the old wallet. For some reason I picked it up and examined it again. I then noticed that one of the slips of paper was a folded over lottery ticket. It looked like it was dated for yesterday, the day I found the wallet. I got the newspaper and checked the winning numbers. The ticket was worth three million dollars! I checked and rechecked it over and over! It was the number all right. The other crumbled piece of paper was a receipt for gas. There was nothing else in it , absolutely no identification at all.
If you ever get down this way, stop in at the Shamrock Bar and Grill and ask for the owner. That will be me. Incidentally, they got the men who stole the car. They are now serving time in the city jail. They are probably wondering why they receive gift packages periodically from an anonymous friend. It is the least I can do.