crook Takes Pawn part 88

    Greg was even more nervous than he had been when phoning Rebecca for the first time. In that case, Rebecca was waiting with arms wide open. Now, Greg was taking a shot in the dark. He dialed Diane's number. It rang four times, then went to voice mail. Greg checked his watch. It was 5:30pm now. Given the Pacific standard time, it would be only 3:30pm on Diane's clock. Of course she wasn't home. She was probably just picking up Raymond from school, or Ray might even be shuttled off to daycare until his parents got off. Greg hangs up the phone.
    "What are you doing?" Rebecca asks with surprise, "Why didn't you leave a message?"
    Greg pauses. He knew it was weak to even ask a girl out through a recorded message. What about trying to reconcile with his long-lost son over a recording?
    Nonetheless, Rebecca encouraged him adequately to try again. Another 4 rings. Greg clears his throat to leave a proper message when someone comes on the line.
    "Hello?" the voice asks.
    "So leave your name and number--" the message continues. The voice utters an annoyed groan and disengages the taped message. It is a women's voice. Diane.
    "Hello? Who is this?" Diane asks.
    "It's me, Greg Jefferson, your ex-husband."
    There is a long pause. Greg's balls shrivel in correlation to the wait of that break in talking.
    "Greg?" Diane asks shrewdly. The tone is one of utter amazement.
    "Yeah, Diane. I was--"
    There is a click. But first, there is the slam of the telephone coming down on the receiver. Greg closes his eyes and sighs deeply. This does not bode well. 6 years pass, and there first conversation ends in about 6 seconds. Greg powers off his smart phone and tosses it on the table. He throws his hands up in defeat.
    "Well that went about like I imagined," Greg mumbles. Rebecca is frowning, her eyebrows hooked towards sympathy.
    "Well," Rebecca starts slowly, "at least she has your number now."
Greg laughs bitterly. He is a realist. Most women were not like Rebecca. They could and would be dangerous adversaries. Unlike the cold, logical center of a man's mind, a woman was unpredictable, and severe. Emotions did not operate with careful, plotted thinking. Anger was vented in a haphazard way, and the repercussions be damned. Greg wonders if this is the first of many moves in a chess game now spanning across half of the united states.

    Greg knocked on Donny's door, and the no-longer homeless Donald answered. Apartment 301 was much cleaner than last Greg explored this bachelor pad. Greg found he didn't have to watch his steps for loose trash or wrappers.
    "What's up, Greg?" Donny asks, revealing a dazzling smile. Donny is clean-shaven, and wears a smart-looking blue polo shirt. His blue jeans look unimpressive, which is to say they do not have holes in them, but qualify for standard jeans.
    "Where's Gus?" Greg asks, looking around the tiny abode and finding noone.
    "He's got a job now," Donny says with energy, "Working for a construction outfit."
    "That's great!!" Greg exclaims, "now the weirdo can afford porn now!!"
    They both laugh at the expense of the deranged old-timer. Had Gus been there, he wouldn't take offense, anyway.
    "You wanna smoke some weed?" Donny asks immediately. Greg was one person who would never have to pry for a chance to smoke marijuana.   
    As they puffed on the reefer, Greg brought up his reason for stopping by.
    "Listen Donnie," Greg says, exhaling a cloud of evergreen-like smoke, "I'm gonna be leaving town in a few days possibly."
    "What's the occasion?" Donnie asks, taking a turn to hit the gonja.
    Greg pauses. Is this any of Donnie's business? Well, telling him won't hurt anything. It might even make Donnie more eager to help, if he knows what's at stake.
    "I'm trying to get in touch with my son," Greg says, "I gave up my rights to him when he was little. Now, I'm doing my damnedest to make it up to him and my ex-wife."
    Donny nods and passes the flaming J to Greg.
    "That's noble of you," Donnie says seriously, "how do you think it's gonna go?"
    "Oh fuck, Donnie," Greg says with a tired exhale, "Not good. I managed to get her on the phone, but she hung up in my face."
    "Women are feisty," Donnie says sadly, "sometimes I don't think even women know what the hell they are thinking, in their own heads."
    "I would tend to agree," Greg says, passing again, "but I have half a mind to just go out there, regardless, to try and see my boy Raymond."
    "It's worth a shot," Donnie says thickly, thorugh his smoke, "but what are you gonna do with your store while your away?"
    Greg perks up at this question. "That's where you come in. I need you to watch after the store while I'm gone, Donnie. Make sure nobody fucks with anything."   
    Donnie is silent at this. The joint streams a cloud of THC merriment. It does a slow burn, like Donnie now.
    "I don't know if that's a wise call, Grego," Donnie says bluntly. He passes to Greg.
    "Whatya mean?!?!" Greg asks, "Why not?"
    "I'm a thief, man," Donnie says casually, "and a drug addict, I don't think your stuff will be safe around me.
    "You do realize you're talking yourself out of work, right?" Greg asks coldly, "or are you content to just meek your way through life, halfway starving?"
    "The truth is, Greg," Donny says, leaning forward, "Your girl Rebecca would never allow that. She hates me, dude. She found out about the Oxys I stole off of you, and now she's got it out for me."
    Greg chews his lip, thinking over his options. There's no reason to reveal Greg's knowledge about what Rebecca said to Donnie one-on-one. Its enough to let the truth be as it may.
    "Rebecca is not as trusting anymore," Greg says, "that's true. That's because of what Jessie Baxter did. But the Pawn and Payday is my store, and I can have whoever I want running it while I'm away."
    Greg hopes his explanation to Rebecca will sound as half as confident as it does now. Donnie shrugs.
    "Let me put it this way, dude," Donnie says with a smirk, "I'll be more than happy to help you out. But if it's gonna get you in bad with your girlfriend, I'd just as soon not be involved. I have nothing against Rebeccca, but I don't want to come between your happiness with my bullshit."
    Greg starts, as if slapped. To hear Donnie repeat Rebecca's own words has an odd effect. Greg knows how passive Donnie is. Whether or not Rebecca's suspicions are grounded or not, Donnie does not want to interfere with Greg's life. The path of least resistance is the trail Donnie prefers to follow.
    "I'll run it by Rebecca," Greg says, puffing again, "but it's just an afterthought, really. An eventuality. It's my store, I told you."
    "Whatever you say, Greg," Donny says, but the twinkle in Donnie's eye says otherwise.

Uploaded 07/10/2012
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