Crook Takes Pawn Part 17

"So," Greg says somewhat loudly, to be heard over the roaring engine, "Are you sure it was the cops that beat you up???"
Donny turns his head and stares silently at Greg. Greg returns his gaze, not backing down, but suddenly sensing conflict.
"You think I'm lying?" Donnie asks simply.
Greg shrugs, one hand relaxed on the steering wheel,"I just find it hard to believe. I don't think the cops would do that." Greg responds.
"You think this is the first time I've been beat up by cops?" Donny counters, raising his voice a little,"I think his badge number was a pretty good clue as to what his job is."
Donny proceeds to recite the number, down to the very letter.
"So they did this in uniform?" Greg asks doubtfully.
"Yeah", Donnie says,"No one was around. They get off on, I think authority and breaking rules and shit."
"Look man" Greg interjects, wanting to quell this argument before it begins, "I know--"
"You don't know what it's like to be a bum" Donny snaps back,"not really. To sleep on the street. It's like you're nothing. You don't matter. If you get your ass kicked by some police, it won't make the news."
Greg remains silent. He knows that is a jab at Greg's channel 9 bullshit. This is the first time he's seen Donny even approaching being upset.
"I don't mean to sound so pissed off" Donny says, as if reading Greg's mind,"But this kinda shit gets to me. I probably feel a lot like you did when you first got out of the hospital."
Donny turns and looks out at the passing landscape. A flurry of snow-covered trees and cornfields whisk by the van's window.
    "This country isdifferent now," Donny says forlornly,"I see on the news, all these protestors in the USA. And I see al these cops, pushing them around, hitting them, cracking heads"
Donny looks down at his worn hands. He had taken several bandaids from Greg's medicine cabinet, and applied them to the countless cuts and scratches he had.
"It used to be, Police were here to help us," Donny says, deep in thought,"and now the cops are run like a business. Its about how they can slap fines on you, or what they can bust you with. They aren't working for the people anymore. they're pretty much hired goons."
    The two men ride in silence for a brief span.
"You know" Greg says, initiating another conversation,"I think you're right, in some ways. I don't agree completely with what you say. Cops do serve a purpose, they maintain order and respond to crimes."
Greg hits his blinker, and switches lanes for their turnoff.
"But" Greg says, checking his blindspot,"I will say this. There's a difference between calling a cop, and calling a fireman. If you call a fireman, that person will help you. They may even run into a flaming building for you. If you call a cop, that officer will start nosing around, looking for reasons to bust you, even if you were the one who called for help in the first place."
Donny nods in agreement at this statement.
"Sometimes, I get the feeling some of these guys have a power trip." Donny says, hypothesizing,"Maybe they didn't fit in with the cool kids and high school, and now the whole world has to pay."
Another bump rocks the shocks with a squeak. The TVs sway, as if they are a silent audience to their conversation.
"sometimes, they hassle me when they're in plainclothes" Donny says, "they like to push me around trying to get leads, or because they had a bad day maybe. Its usually the same few guys who give me grief. That's how I was able to recognize the badge number on one of them."
"A cop being a repeat offender" Greg says aloud. Donny and Greg look at each other and laugh heartily."
"Yeah, I understand that maybe not all cops are bad," Donny concedes,"But it's those few jerks that stick out for me. I'm thinking about reporting them."
"You should" Greg says supportively,"They're a menace. They need to be reminded what their job really is."
"Yeah" Donny says with a sigh, "But that might make them harass me that much more."
Greg reflects upon his experience with cops in his old home town. The townie cops did seem to be selective of their targets, and would not let up once they had an axe to grind.
"Yeah, its a crazy world we live in now," Greg says, shaking his head,"It's like we forgot how to talk to each other, and it's all about violence now."
"Yeah," Donny agrees,"One day you're minding your own business, and the next thing you know, you're having a shootout with a crackhead and meth junkie."
"Yeah, it's funny how that works," Greg says sarcastically.

    The owner of the repair shop was named Bill. It was stitched in blue lettering on the red company shirt he wore. A shirt that seemed stretched to capacity on Bills hulking upper body. Bill was a tall bear of a man, at least two inches taller than Greg.
"Hi" Bill greeted. His voice was deep and masculine, which matched his hairy arms and brown beard. He nodded to Donny, who was wearing a pair of sunglasses from Greg's dashboard. Greg figured it was better to obscure Donny's bruises, just to avoid any awkwardness or confusion. Bill turns his lantern-jawed face toward Greg's direction.
"You must be Greg" Bill says in a booming voice,"We spoke over the phone."
"Yesir," Greg greet politely, shaking Bills gargantuan hand. Yikes, this guy had quite the grip.
"How many TVs are we talking here?" Bill asked, walking with long strides toward the rear of the van, which was backed up to their loading dock.
"Oh, about 15," Greg says, opening up the back. The TVs seemed to span the entire rear of the van. They were mostly those bulky wooden home consoles, but there was also a few LCDs and small kitchen counter-sized sets.
Bill's shaggy brown eyebrows raise in astonishment. Then Bill begins to laugh in a deep, hearty chuckle. It is an infectious sound, and soon Donny and Greg both share in the light hearted laughter.
"boy oh Boy," Bill says, wiping a tear of hilarity from one of his blue eyes,"You boys sure don't fuck around."
Bill quickly produced a hydraulic jack, complete with a wooden pallet. His long trailing arms easily swung the heavy jack into position. The three men begin stacking the TVs in a careful order onto the pallet jack. Donny couldn't hold a candle to Bill, who worked eagerly and without pause. Greg helped unload his fair share, but if it were a contest, Bill had won hands down. Wow, I really am out of shape, Greg's inner dialogue comments. Greg huffs and puffs, with his big belly rising and falling. Sweat stains were forming in the pits of his shirt. Thankfully Greg still had his winter jacket on, and the offending pit stains were not visible. Bill meanwhile didn't even look slightly out of breath.
"I can write you up a shipping receipt of delivery for tax purposes." Bill says, shouting over the steadily increasing wind. It seemed there was another storm brewing.
"Thank you sir," Greg says, folding the pink slip into his pocket,"Do you also dispose of computer components?"
"That we do, sure thing," Bill says nodding,"If you can bring in a mess of equipment, I can give you tax forms for it all."
After giving a carbon copy of Greg's inventory, Bill bid them adeau, walking away with a clipboard tucked under one of his meaty arms.  Greg looked forward to doing business with such a go-getter.

Donny slept on the ride back, which was fine with Greg. It was soothing to drive through a snowfall, and Greg enjoyed the ride back. It somehow made him feel safe and cozy, to have heat and light at his control while hurtling through the torrent of wind and snow.
    Greg glanced over at he sleeping Donny, who had his thin hoodie placed upon him backwards, to serve as more of a blanket. such a thin article of clothing would be little protection from the winter cold, especially if staying at Greg's wasn't permanent. Greg was still contemplating that one. Although it seemed a charitable gesture, it wasn't really feasible to have Donny stay there permanently. Greg had put some thought towards taking Donny to a homeless shelter. That seemed like a plausible idea. It wasn't too much to buy Donny the occasional meal, but Donny had to become self-sufficient. He needed to get a job. Maybe Greg could call Ben, and try to persuade him to give Donny his job back. The only thing wrong with that is that Greg didn't know the reasons why Donny was let go. Was it the drugs? Donny mentioned that most of his worst problems started when he was hooked on the Oxy. What to do, what to do?
    the errant whisps of snow flakes darted through the vans headlights, and against the windshield. The snow resembled Gregs's scattered thoughts. Greg once again looked over at the dozing Donny. I bet I have an old coat I can give him, Greg thinks, making a mental note.

Uploaded 01/10/2012
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