Crook Takes Pawn Part 7

Once his large body became accustomed to the painkillers, Greg's situation did not seem so rosy anymore. He did not have health insurance. The painful reality hit him that he was racking up costs minute by minute. He was not to going to be able to make those bank payments this month, that much was certain. Yup, American healthcare was one last expensive nail in his coffin.  The doctors had saved his life, but also engineered his financial demise. Greg supposed he should be grateful, but nonetheless it was one step forward, two steps back.
Greg left his hospital stay three days early, against his doctor's advice.
Greg felt a doctor's advice would always lean toward a longer stay, more medications, more procedures. After all, wasn't Greg paying the doc's salary? Greg didn't need anymore expenses to fuel his almost certain bankruptcy. Greg had left the hospital with only the single pair of pants he had on when the shootout occurred. Greg's shirt was torn to shreds when they patched him up. Greg tucks the hospital gown into his jeans, and ties the rear closed. He doesn't suppose anyone will miss one little old gown. After putting his shoes on, Greg suddenly notices there are 2 holes in both buttcheeks of his jeans. The bullet had made an exit wound, when it bounced off his ass bone and through his other cheek. For some reason this made Greg laugh. Perhaps it was the absurdity of it all, him playing hero and narrowly escaping with his life. Perhaps he laughed because otherwise he would go crazy from the stress of it all.
Greg signed out as quickly as possible. He didn't want any further interactions from anyone. All he wanted was to get home, and sleep in his own bed for a day straight.
For a moment, the admitting nurse gave him an odd look, glancing up and down at him, and especially giveing the hospital gown a close look. For a moment Greg thought she was going to give him a hard time, asking him to remove the gown and then surely the impatient Greg would start a verbal altercation. When Greg's patience wore thin, it was easy for him to snap back, especially for inconsiderate, petty requests. Thankfully, the woman seemed indifferent and let him on his way.
Greg hailed a cab in the chilly winter afternoon. The driver seemed friendly enough, but Greg did not say much to him at all, other than turning up the heat in the car to warm himself.
The cab driver stopped outside his store. In a moment of panic, it dawned on Greg that he may not have his wallet on him. Greg could feel the cabbie's eyes on his as he searched through his pockets. Thankfully, against seemingly all odds, Greg's wallet was still in his jeans where he left it.
Greg quickly paid the cabbie and hauled his big, tired bones from the cab.
Greg surveyed the outside of his shop. The yellow caution tape was still there, like some strange, fragmented webbing from a giant spider. Greg was told by the detective he could venture back into his place without worry, the case was pretty much open and shut.
seeing his store like this, empty and shot-up made Greg's stomach sink. What little value he had built up within the pawn shop now seemed moot. The shop looked deserted, a place where dying things came to expire. Much like the rest of the city, it was rotting away.
Greg marched slowly through the snow, which came up to his ankles. He could feel the loose bits of snow falling into his socks, where rawness and cold would gnaw at the skin, turning it red.
The police had returned his ring of keys, whic alleviated much of Greg's fears. Greg had tossed and turned those first few nights in the hospital, thinking of all the looting that might be occurring at his store.
But, no one had stolen anything. The thought came to him that maybe Greg's stuff wasn't as cool as he once imagined. Having useless junk is it's own type of security deterrent. Boy, the jokes and philosophies were really rolling out of Greg today.
After severing the police tape from much of the door, Greg unlocked it and entered. The first thing Greg noticed was the blood. It seemed to be everywhere, drops of it leading inside, smeared into the wall, and on the door handle. Every drop of blood was a step closer to death. That notion made Greg shiver to himself. He walked up the corridor. That path would never be the same, Greg knows with certainty. Much like that day, events were now scarred into his brain that he would associate with certain parts of the store now. A man had died in his place of business. Were haunting real? Could a soul in misery continue to stray after events cut them from this life forever??? I guess Greg would find out in the coming days.
After unlocking the inner door, Greg paused a few moments. The door continued it's swing unencumbered, and bangs against the wall. The room was a tomb of silent electronics, and tacky gadgets. TVs stare at him with blank eyes of pixels. A draft sweeps through the room, twirling several of the tags attached to items. The tags indicated prices over 50% off, so there were a lot of them twirling in the room at that time. Everything must goGreg follows the draft to the front display window of his store. It is the final resting place of Jessie. 5 jagged holes pierced the glass, a close cluster of Greg's final shots. the cardboard display case that Jessie collapsed against is still there as well. the rumpled display has an indent near the bottom corner, which could only be the outline of Jessies ass.
Everything must go
    At that moment, a fresh gale of wind poured through the store, ruffling Greg's hair back from his forehead. The wind screams through the bullet holes like a banshee, sending fresh tingles through Greg's spine. He can't have this. The sound alone will drive him to the looney bin. Greg quickly snatches up a roll of duct tape from under the check out counter. Tearing a strip loose, Greg spreads the sticky tape across one of the holes. The sound immediately lessens. Two more strips and the horrible sound is stopped altogether. Greg tosses the roll of tape onto the counter, where it wobbles onto its side, growing faster and faster till it finally putters out.
Greg has some sense of satisfaction. He is trying, at least, trying to patch his stupid life back together. Even a small action taken gives him a sense he is trying to improve his situation.
    This small action is about all he can muster on this day, though. Already he feels it to be overwhelming. Everywhere he looks there is something to fix, or get rid of. he can't handle it now. He needs rest. Sleep never sounded better to him. Fighting his way through his "storage", (which amounted to basically boxes and boxes of stupid crap thrown everywhere) Greg took inventory on a life filled to bursting with junk. Greg grasps the fact that he has never even opened the majority of these boxes. Things just kept piling up, to the point where Greg didn't even buy items anymore. He had acquired so much, he would never be able to sell half of it, much less all of it.  It clearly showed the true failure of his business. If Greg had been selling, he eventually would have to bring these older items back on display. But they are stagnant, like Greg's salesman ability. His life, his goals, his businessAll had stalled. And now it was caving in on him, unable to shoulder the burden anymore. It was all coming down.
Everything must go
    On a whim, Greg opens the last box closest to the back staircase. He sifts through the contents briefly, and pulls out a book. He reads the title and laughs. His laughter proceeds to a chuckle, which finally becomes an all-out side-splitting laughter.
The name of the book is "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. Boy oh boy. A fortune cookie couldn't have been as dead-on right at that moment. The title of the book really summed up his future. Everything must go
Greg lumbered up the stairs, still howling with bitter laughter. The uncheery sound filled the store with fleeting life, before once again falling silent. The cameras continued to buzz their electronic heartbeat, as lone sentries for a failing business, and failing man. Greg didn't even bother to brush his teeth. He collapsed headlong onto the bed, with the ominous-titled book clutched to his weary chest. A priest surely never held his bible as tightly to his chest as Greg did to that story by Mr. Arthur Miller

Uploaded 01/05/2012
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