Crook Takes Pawn, Part 54

Donny arrived at a quarter to 9. Gus stayed in the car as Donny went inside. The King's royal carriage backed out quietly and left. Greg had to say one thing: Gus took swell care of his vehicle. The blazer ran smooth and solid. Gus took great pains to change the oil and maintain the fluid levels. It didn't leak antifreeze, and didn't overheat, which was more than could be said about the Lebaron.
    Greg didn't have time to do the whole pissy cold-shoulder routine. He needed Donny drastically. Greg opened one of the last visages of boxes they had cleaned out. It was a Pawn and Payday company shirt. Greg had them printed off shortly after taking over the shop. Greg's belly had long outgrown the sizes, but it should fit just fine on Donny. Without a word, Donny threw on the green polo shirt over his tee, and straightened the yellow collar, which had piping along the edge.
    "Fits good," Donny remarks, "I used to work fast-food. Kinda looked like this."
"I have to show you how to work the register." Greg explains. It only took about 10 minutes. Donny was sharp as ever. They practiced a few transactions, and Greg voided them out. Greg refused to have any money put in Donny's cash register. Greg told him to ask for change, and Greg would remove it from his own drawer. As an afterthought, Greg allowed Donny to put 2 rolls of change in the drawer, for smaller transactions.
    It was just as busy as it had been the previous day. A sea of people crowded the floor. Greg flipped on the radio, turning to a pop station to suit his clientel.
The first thing to be sold was the last refurbished monitor Greg had gotten from Bill, the repairman. Greg was a little annoyed that the customer went directly to Donnie instead of himself.
"I can help you over here," Greg speaks up. The customer shrugs and goes to Greg. It continued throughout the day. People would automatically angle towards Donnie's register. Conceding defeat, Greg puts a stack of bills into Donnie's register, allowing him to break fives and twenties easier.
    And still the sales continued. It was mostly electronics, but Greg even sold a tool set, complete with a utility belt. It was a city worker who had broken one of his hammers while nailing in a tie into an electric pole. The worker was clad in a hot-orange shirt, as a requirement from the city. The workers darkly tanned face contorted with worry as he stood at the back of the line. Greg had helped the man pick out one of the fancier hammers he had in stock. It had a tuning fork built into the grip, so it absorbed most of the shock. Greg didn't want to let that sale slip away, and he knew the city worker was on his lunchbreak to buy it.
    "Do you mind if that gentleman goes ahead of you?" Greg asks the next person to step up to the counter. It is a hipster-looking girl, with black hair frosted pink on the tips. The girl's eyes are half-open as she ponders this question.
"Sure. That's fine," the chick says through a marble-mouth. Apparently she had waked and baked, from her posture and coherency. She held loosely to an incense holder, which had a skull to place the stem while burning. The ash catch was ornately designed to resemble a rib cage and bones trailing back the length of the piece. This seemed to confirm the suspicion she was a stoner.  Greg  waved his hand above the throng of people.
"Henry," Greg shouted, recalling the man's name. Henry raised his head as he is addressed. Greg waves him to the front of the line. Henry smiles, obviously pleased.
"I appreciate it, friend," Henry says warmly.
    A little more than half of the customers paid with plastic. Greg neglected to show Donny how to ring up a credit card, or debit card transaction. Every time someone offered to pay with one, Donny had to turn to Greg in order to ring it up. This slowed things down tremendously. Greg did so because of a paranoid delusion that Donny would counterfeit the numbers, or steal. Donny feigned ignorance at first, but soon his exasperation came to a boil.
    "Greg, just show me how to ring up the cards, would ya?" Donny says irritably. Greg meant to play the fool, but the reasoning was apparent. Donny learned the motions with uncanny speed. It had taken a painful process of trial and error to both install, and operate the card-readers when they were first implemented. Donny grasped any technology with ease.
    Donny was a wiz. He even flirted slightly with some of the female customers. Greg would normally feel covetous of any female success a guy might have around him, but Greg had Rebecca now. Donny had done well. Things had slowed. Let him chat with some chickie-pies.
    Greg was inwardly celebrating. He had kicked ass and taken names. He would still act petulant around Donny today for appearance sake, though. Leverage. The day was done. Time went to warp-speed when it was busy. Greg had languished too long with the march of seconds in an unbearably empty business. It was now time to pick up the pace.
    At closing, Donny stood outside and smoked a cigarette. Greg uneasily stepped out and stood beside him.
"Hey," Greg greets. Donny does not reply, unless a cloud of exhaled smoke is a statement.
"I was figuring your pay today, or what you owe, I should say," Greg says sternly, "I figure minimum wage is $7.50 an hour. Let's say I pay you $8 instead. you worked an 8 hour day'--"
"Without breaks, or lunch," Donny says smugly
"I offered to buy you something, but you said you were gonna stay in the store," Greg reminds, "I may be a penny-pinching bastard, but I'm not heartless."
Donny blows smoke through his nostrils.
"Eight hours, times eight. 8X8 is $64." Greg figures, "If you work for me one more day, we're square."
"Allright," Donny says, taking another drag. And that was that. Just then, Gus pulled up in the blazer. Greg raises a hand in hello. Gus does the same, in a timid wave. Donny hops in and they're off. Greg felt much better now.
    But his heavy sales created a new unique problem. Most of Greg's gear was gone now. Everything profitable was bought up. He would have to talk more seriously to Ben about the whole computer sales idea. Perhaps Greg wouldn't be as ashamed to talk turkey with his new carpeting installed. Ben would see that Greg was seriously motivated. It was time to slide across the chessboard, time to make moves, and be castled.


Uploaded 04/11/2012
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