Crook Takes Pawn, Part 51

It was David who asked Greg to talk about the shooting. They had been chatting ardently about whatever topic they happened upon. Then, out of nowhere, David had lifted his sunglasses to get a clear view of his brown eyes.
"Tell us about that day, Greg." David asked in a soft-spoken voice.
    Greg wasn't normally the story teller, but this saga had been recounted so many times, he was now quite adept at it.
    "Well, I was standing there at my counter. No customers were around, which was unusual. It looked like it was gonna be a quiet day."
    The tale unrolled as Amy and David sat there enraptured. Rebecca sat beside Greg, but quickly grew flustered. She adorned her sunglasses, and sat with hands folded by her mouth. Her eyes were scrunched tight beneath the shaded lenses. It always made her sob. She grew displeased by the epoch of the narrative, when Greg turned from victor into victim.
    "That's enough!!" Rebecca says, popping up from the bench, "I really don't want to talk about that today. It upsets me, I'm getting pissed off now!!"
    Amy, David and Greg stare at her blankly. Rebecca grumbles to herself and marches inside. The front door is slammed after she enters.
    "Touchy subject," David says, mystified by her reaction.
"She's really a sensitive person, Greg," Amy says apologetically, "Even when we were kids, she always was the one to cheer everyone up. People were over at our parents house all the time, just to talk to her."
"I can see it," Greg replies, "she must've been quite the heartbreaker. Probably had guys falling over each other to speak to her."
    "yeah, and Rebecca always kindahow can I put it?" AMy says, tilting her head back and looking up into the corner of her lids, as if searching her brain by category. "I wouldn't say she bottles stuff up, butShe lets stuff slide, without confronting it, know what I mean? Nothing really bothers her, so she just dodges conflict. Kinda passive-aggresive. She might need to see a counselor, for post traumatic stress disorder."
    "Amy, that's enough," David says, cutting off her string of theorem, "Please don't psycho-analyze your sister, it's not polite. Especially in front of her date. No offense, Greg."
    "My father had Post-Traumatic Stress," Greg says not the least bit insulted, "He was in the service, in 'Nam. He used to have nightmares and a buncha awful shit."
    "Did he ever get help?" Amy asks gingerly.
"Nah. The army tried to get him to see a few counselors, but he always went the bare minimum. Once he didn't have to go anymore, he never went back."
    "Oh." David says dully. That wasn't the best conversation-starter: Here's a list of mental problems my family has, oh did I mention that I'm a neglectful father who uprooted and severed all attachment with my boy? Funny how you can see the patterns when you say it side by side like that, huh?
Greg grew diffident as the married couple sipped their drinks and avoided eye contact. Where was Rebecca?
"I'm gonna go check on her," Greg muttered. He wished to escape this ill-at-ease by relocating to the house.
    "Rebecca?" Greg's voice almost echoed in the empty house, it was so vast. "I'm up here," Her voice dwindled from upstairs. She appeared to be walking and talking. Greg could trace her faint footsteps across the ceiling.
    Greg grabbed hold of the expertly crafted banister and trudged upstairs. He was out of breath at the top, a symptom he was all too familiar with. Fat men had greater wind resistance, he thought sourly to himself.
    Greg stepped in her general direction, unsure where exactly he should go. Then he heard the slam of a metal door. The laundry room. The smell of detergent chemicals was so thick it made Greg momentarily light-headed. As his nose adapted to the scent-shock, it quickly became pleasant.
    "You left the party," Greg says blankly. It is not a question.
"yeah, I had to switch loads," rebecca says with a grunt, as she heaves a mass of clothes into a white basket. Greg spies some of her white cotton underwear spread across the top of the pile. The shuddersome urge to grab them and sniff  deeply summons within Greg. He once heard that a guy thinks about sex every 6 seconds. That sounded about right to Greg. He manages to abstain from the creepy inclination.
    "Why don't you take off your shirt?" Rebecca suggests.
Greg misunderstands her intentions. A lewd grin appears on his face.
"What did you have in mind?" he asks, with legitimate intrigue. After their expedition on the couch, Greg was always alert to the possibility of getting down and dirty.  Rebecca looks at him with misgiving. She may be still upset.
"Uh, I was gonna wash your shirt?" Rebecca says, as if the question should be obvious. Greg had already forgotten about the black blemish from the spatula. It seemed to ignite the Obsessive Compulsive side of Rebecca, however. The patchy mark of ash had different importance to them. Greg balks temporarily. He didn't want to show his rolls. Fat rolls, that is. But he decides it will happen eventually, might as well get it over with.
He sighs lightly as he pulls the polo shirt over his head.
    Greg hated his ogreish body. there were zig-zagging stretch marks across his stomach. Countless fatty meals had spread across the roadmap of his belly, and the stretch lines were like longitude parallels across the globe of his gullet. He felt like a carnival show on exhibit. It was beyond exposition, it was a broadcast of exactly how overweight he was. There was a sore-looking patch of purplish flesh, where the button of his shorts was continually pressing. The fullness of his meal made his stomach protrude all that much more. Greg self-consciously lay an arm across his hairy ballooning naval, as if to hide such a large sight.
    This was his first time with his shirt off in front of her. Two nights ago, he had laid bare his male organ, but felt nowhere near as distressing. It was different. You could rock out with your cock out, but once the spare tire was revealed, the sexiness died away.
    Rebecca stands hunched over the running washer. Both thumbs grip opposite sides of the dryer, while her fingers rapped the metallic panels.  Pinky, ring, middle, index. They all had their turn tapping. She is obviously overwrought. Amy was correct. Rebecca is so lively and sweet, it must require constant energy to keep upbeat. It seems her batteries were drained when it came to the rehash of that violent altercation. Misery wasn't stingy. There was plenty to go around on that occasion.
    She had been injured also that day. Her forehead and eye were thumped pretty good. Violence may be more atrocious when experienced by women. On average, women were more prone to flight than fight, in their reactions. Greg got a deep furrow paved into his neck by a round, but it didn't much bother him anymore. Rebecca's inures may be longer-lasting than the actual physical.
    "I've never seen anyone die before," Rebecca says in a flimsy voice. Greg can barely hear her over the whirring of the washers motor. Greg steps forward to hear more clearly.
    "You know what I mean?" Rebecca asks in that same debilitated tone, "I've been to funerals plenty of times, but never actual saw the instant somebody passed on."
    The washing machine's agitator continues to do just that, stirring up the laundry like Rebecca was stirring up the past now.
    "And to see that man end so violently, I have nightmares about it still" Rebecca said, voice wavering above tears, "It's not something that just slips the mind, there's no forgetting. But all the things he did to you and me, and might have done to JulieI was glad to see him die."
    Greg frowns and shrugs. "So was I" Greg says matter-of-factly,
"But isn't that awful?!?!" Rebecca's puny voice whimpers.
"He deserved what he got," Greg says determinedly, " I told you before, don't put in any emotions or guilt about him. He was a fucking piece of shit, and the world's better without him."
    Rebecca turns around, her sandals scraping upon the grits of laundry particles. Upon seeing Greg shirtless, Rebecca's lip curls up from her teeth. It looks as though she tasted something bad, something not to her liking. It is only a split second but Greg saw the reaction. Well shit, Greg never laid claim to be a supermodel. He was stuck with this body, so he might as well accept it. There was no use berating himself about his appearance. He knew the score. Still, Greg finds himself crossing his arms across his chest and wishing the t-shirt would hurry up and wash already. In their impending relationship, Greg just hoped his penis size would make up for what was lacking in other departments, like general attractiveness...
    Greg encircles her with his lengthy arms. Her cheek presses against his hairy nest of chest. Greg ponders if she can whiff his sweaty odor. She does, but it has an opposite effect than Greg imagined. It had been too long since the smell of a man had occupied Rebecca's home. Although she couldn't put it into exact words, a guy seemed to even out the equation. Her home needed a touch of tarnish, a bit of sweat to counteract the cleanliness, and varied designer scents. Without stench, things wouldn't smell as aromatic. Men were messy on average, it was just the way of things. Her biological clock was programmed a certain way, just as Greg's was. When this opposing machinery assimilated, it just seemed to work. Nature's apparatus could combine, upgrading her own solitary routines. Even now, the mix of Tide and and his body odor coalesced in a strangely comforting cocktail.
    It was good to have her emotions quelled. If Greg wasn't here, Rebecca might obsess over her thoughts, escalating her worry. She could do this all day, easy.
    "You think too much, Rebecca," Greg says simply, "Time to move on, you know?"
    As Greg stood there embracing this goddess of a woman, the washer finished it's cycle. The wheel inside continued to spin, revolving with fading rotations until it stopped completely. Greg thought of the advice he had just given. It was easy for him to dispense. Moving on was a simple matter for Greg. Just look how he escaped from ever having to know his son Raymond.
    In the silence of the laundry room, Greg wondered if he was a hypocrite...

Uploaded 04/07/2012
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