Crook Takes Pawn Part 1

Greg lay on the ground, holding the gushing wound on his neck. He could feel his vitality dripping down his torso, seeping into his cheap blue workshirt, and pooling on the similarly cheap checkered floor. His cellphone lay in his outstretched hand, which felt remarkably distant from himself. 911 had already been called...or had they? It was getting hard to think clearly. The room was flaring with light, obscuring his vision.  The hand against his wound felt tacky, and sticky, as if slathered in paint.
    Gazing down at his denim jeans, he grew amazed at the amount of dark red coating his lap. Did all that come from me? Greg thinks to himself in a daze. Swallowubg hard and felt a fresh trickle of blood drip through his bloody hand, frightening him badly. His stomach turns with naseau. Scrunching his eyes shut, Greg rests his head back against the wood paneling covering the section of wall in his office. Smoke wafts through the bars of sunshine beaming in through the window.
    The gun lay beside him, with three spent shells ejected from the chamber. It was a Beretta 9mm, 14 bullets in the spring-loaded clip. Greg had found it within a storage shed of miscellaneous belongings. It was one of the few possessions he couldnt part with. There was something about the way it felt when he had it his rough hands. It was surprisingly heavy, not what you expected after watching those crime dramas on TV. Hell, on those lame shows, they fired those guns while jumping around, doing somersaults and shit like that. Greg could barely shoot a paper target at the range when he tried.
    However, it still became something of a comfort to him as he drolled away countless hours behind the rickety store counter. It was a security measure, much like the security cameras he installed as a way to protect his investment: a measly pawn shop, passed down from father to son, almost as quickly as a pawn transaction itself. The transfer of ownership also had about the same emotional impact as someone pawning a used VCR. Now the gun lay beside him, smelling of cordite and sulfur. It was a nasty smell, almost as sour as his feelings towards this pawnshop-turned tomb.
Dizziness carried his head away with whirling sensations. Before the blinding light gave way to darkness, and Greg passed out, he muttered to himself ,Goddamn that fucking crackhead
    Had it been only that morning that he opened his business for the day? It felt like an eternity ago. He had emerged from his rusty Chrysler Lebaron to eek his way through another miserable 9-5 schedule. Greg was a bit big for his two door vehicle, and grunted with effort to squeeze out of the car door frame. He was currently pushing 250, and his mobility was getting more and more limited. With a little extra push, Greg slams his car door with one of his meaty hands. taking a sip of his cheap coffee, Greg ambles to the door in his scuffed workboots. The coffee stains the whiskers of his black mustache and combination goatee. He wipes the foam away with the practiced routine of someone who checks his facial hair regularly for food particles. Turning his dejected green eyes toward the cracked pavement, Greg lumbers forward toward his place of business. As he wrangles his keys free, Greg unconsciously adjusts his Cleaveland Indians hat. Greg was a hat guy, and unfortunately his remaining graying black hair bore the brunt of years of baseball support, and was now thinning. Greg muttered to himself as he approached the front door. Mumbling was connected to his financial situation. The less money he had, the more he mumbled. It makes sense, considering that more things piss a person off when a lack of funds is in the forefront of their minds. He relished the petty enjoyment he got from berating his surroundings.    Stupid fucking doorGotta have so many damn locks. He said under his breath as he wrestled with an assortment of jangling keys. He had 4 separate locks on the door. After one break-in, he upped the ante and had them installed. He would have shelled out for a mesh security door that comes down the front after closing, but his budget was hampered by the installation of those security cameras. They were hardly top of the line, but it was the installation itself that was most expensive. He can still recall the conversation he had with the technician over the phone.    How much was that again? Greg asked in disbelief. The technician gave the figure again to Gregs disbelieving ears. Jesus Christ, pal! Greg exclaimed ,the last time I got fucked over a price that high, a hooker was involved!! No, its a joke, wise-guyYeah, very funny    The technician suggested Greg could hang up the camera and not get it installed. The presence of the cameras by themselves would be a deterrent. Greg quickly mulled this over in his head. It sounded ridiculous, but maybe he could pay for the cameras now, and wait for another month to bear the expense of getting the damn things online. ButGreg couldnt afford another robbery like the last one. Whoever had stolen from him knew what they were doing. They broke in through the front door, and went right after his high-quality items. They had obviously cased the joint before they made their move. Any number of creeps and losers could be a likely suspect. They all walked through there day after day, take your pick who mightve done it. Against his cheaper judgement, Greg opted to have the damn devices set up.     As for the door, he scrounged around his friends salvage yard and found a steel grating that he later welded against the frame of the front door. It wasnt pretty, but it would keep out any potential thieves, and the door still worked (albeit with some extra effort needed to close the heavy bastard)
    If one thing could be said about Greg, it was that he was resourceful. Perhaps thats why the job held such an interest to him. It was definitely not your typical work environment.
As the owner of the pawn shop, Greg saw himself as the end of the line for many people.  When rent came due, and nowhere else to turn, the begrudging task of hawking ones possessions began. Christmas especially was an interesting time for Greg.  Most people received presents during the holiday season. However, in Gregs world, people were looking to givefor money of course.
    The look of Gregs customers always told a story, even if the person barely spoke to him. A tired face can reveal more in a span of seconds than people will divulge in conversation. It was a skill that came with the job. You had to read people properly in order to survive in this rats game. If Greg received stolen property, he could be liable just as much as the asshole pawning the junk. And you cant go by their word, they lie right through their teeth. Greg learned real quick you couldnt get the whole story from the person offering their crap.  Self-interest is a form self-preservation, and as soon as the money was in their hand, Greg would most likely never see them again. So he had to be careful what he would accept, less his failing business finally shut down altogether.
    For one, he didnt buy computers anymore. The damn things cost an arm and a leg, only to be worthless a year down the road. Fucking technology. Greg learned the hard way on that count, and still housed a half a dozen computers underneath the front counter. Also, Guitars and speakers seemed to float through the store more often than any other item. It became amusing to see the same guitar he sold be pawned back and forth throughout the years. He would offer less money each time he bought it back of course, but still, the cyclical cycle of wannabe artists showed no signs of stopping.
    Greg only bought purses from women. Any man walking into a pawn shop with a ladys purse could only be a mugger or robber.  The lame explanations of sisters or mothers cleaning out their garage no longer held sway. Other pawn shops did not hold such rigorous standards. Those other shops would take pretty much anything, as long as it didnt have a blood stain on it. Those lax policies began to take away from Gregs slim line of potential customers. 

Uploaded 12/21/2011
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