Pawn Takes King Part 20

The present-day storm finally stopped dumping snow upon Cedar Rapids. What about Global warming? Donny would prefer a sweltering environment than a winter nightmare. Even if the oceans rose, Donny would enjoy it. He'd just have to learn how to surf.
    The toaster was useless now. Even with the constant replacement of aluminum foil, it couldn't hold up to the constant heat. The metal frame of the toaster was actually warped from the extended cooking. The two slots on the left fizzled out, then the ones on the right. At least it had stopped snowing, though. Donnie could no longer hang out in the laundromats. The management got word of bums sleeping inside, and now the cops patrolled the area regularly. Loitering, they called it. Opression, Donny called it.
    One by one, Donny's improvised shelters were taken away. The gas stations, the laundromats, etc, etc. The only place he could frequent now without hassle was the library. He headed there now, bundling up in the second pair of pants he owned. There was also a red striped pair of black gloves, but one had a hole in the palm.
    The library was warm and inviting. Giant paper mache books were standing on display, with their pages open, and poetry inscribed inside. Donald paused to read one, while he basked in the flow of air from the heating ducts. The library was filled with stillness. Donny grabbed a copy of Wired magazine and settled into a red leather recliner by the window. Donny still carried a fascination with electronics, although all his college books had been sold back to the book stores. His knowledge was given away, and he had nothing to show for it. That cash most likely was lost in his bloodstream.
    Donny read about the cutting edge equipment he could never afford. He wouldn't even be able to procure the cardboard box from such a computer, to sleep in. Donny wished there was an algorithm to combat poverty and homelessness. Better yet, why not an app to treat addiction? It would be far more useful than those tacky applications that made stupid noises, or distracted you from work.
    Donny waited patiently for an opening on one of the internet computers. Once he got on, though, he discovered a library card was needed to login. With a sigh of frustration, Donny makes his way over to the information desk. His spot is already taken by another user.
    "May I help you?" an older lady asks him. Donny detects the disdain in the woman's voice, as well as her questioning eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses.
    "I need a library card," Donny says.
    The woman grunts as she bends over and opens her desk drawer. Donny can see the top of her gray hair is thinning on her head. She rises with a library card application in her grip.
    "Fill this out, please," she says in a droning voice.
    Donny can feel her eyes on him as he scribbles. He pauses at the address portion. Feeling flustered, Donny writes down the first street address that pops in his head. The woman glances curiously at the paper before proceeding to laminate a plastic card with his information on it. She grips it in the tip of her outstretched fingers, like she doesn't want to even come close to touching his hands.
    "that will be 50 cents, please," she grumbles. Donny pauses. he roots around in his pocket and finds only a quarter, dime, and nickel. 40 cents in total. She waits impatiently.
    "I don't suppose you'd have 10 cents, would you?" Donny mumbles. It pains him to part with the quarter. The bigger the denomination, the less Donny is inclined to spend. He might be able to get a gumball, or some other cheap piece of candy, when other food is scarce. Maybe he should duck out of this transaction, as small as it was.
    With a groan, the woman plops her purse down on the desktop. She fishes out a dime from a compartment and adds to the total. Feeling embarrassed, Donny skulks over to his red recliner, and resumes the wait for an available PC. Donny shouldn't be impatient. He had nothing else to do. Surfing the web was just a temporary distraction from his icy prison outside. The rolling 1s and 0s swept him away into another existence. He read the news. It was still bleak in the larger sense out there. Third world dictators kept being overthrown. Chaos was everywhere, not just in Donny's city. Ever the nihilistic one, Donny hoped the wars would strike home in America. Donny wouldn't mind watching the cities being razed to the ground. Let the fuckers burn.
    Ironically, a cop approaches Donny as he continues his destructive thoughts. Donny pretends not to notice the imposing figure standing behind his shoulder. It's not like Donny is porn surfing, or anything. He would never do that in a public place. A hand falls upon his shoulder. Donny is forced into interaction.
    "Excuse me," The cops gruff voice says, echoing in the space of the library. A few people turn their heads in surprise. Donny can feel the librarians eyes boring into him. She has evidently alerted the cops, for some reason.
    "Yes?" Donny asks innocently. Donny looks especially disheveled today. The long hibernation under the gazebo left him chapped and hairy. He must smell something awful, although Donny can no longer even detect his own odor anymore.
    "Do you know it's a crime to forge a public document?" the cops says directly. Donny reads his badge. Wynzinger. Donnie tries out the pronunciation in his head. WIN-ZING-ER??? WHINE-ZI-JER?
    "What do you mean, officer Wynzinger?" Donnie replies, trying his best to play stupid. But Donny knows what this is about. He put down a false address on the library card. Wynzinger is a short, stocky man wearing all black. Even his hat is black, a baseball-style cap that seems to hide his bald head. HE has no sideburns. He is shaved as bald as a cueball. Since the cops hair has retreated to male-pattern baldness, it wouldn't be much more of a step to shave it altogether.
    The only trace of color is the gold of his badge, and the insignia of Cedar Rapids on the breast.
    "I was informed," Wynzinger, "that you put down the address of the Kwik Mart as your residence? Is that right?"
    Donny sighs deeply. All he wanted to do was browse the internet, and keep warm. Wynzinger's cold gray eyes are beady. They squint, making evident his heavily-wrinkled frown lines. It was an expression he must use quite a bit. Wynzinger waits for an answer.
    "I'm homeless, okay," Donny says, too tired to make up a lie. It was pretty evident, anyway.
    "Stand up," Wynzinger says.
    "I'm not doing anything wrong," Donny says defensively, "I can fill out a new card, that's fine."
    Wynzinger laughs.
    "I don't think you even have enough money to afford another card," he says.
    Donny feels an anger rising within him. The librarian bitch obviously had a stick up her ass about something. That menopausal cunt. She went into elaborate detail when she spoke to the cop over the phone. Donny's pride was wounded by this focus on his lack of money. Wynzinger was looking down at him, in thought, if not in his short stature. Wynzinger probably couldn't look down at anybody, but a dwarf.
    "I'll just leave then," Donny says with a harsh exhale. He was angry. But he wasn't threatening anybody. Least of all, a cop.
    Wynzinger hooks around Donny's right arm. Donny supposes the guy meant to just grab him, but the cop is awkward, and they end up looking like they are holding hands, walking down the aisle. Donny shakes this oaf's grip off.
    "Let goah me!!" Donny yells. Wynzinger unsnaps the leather holder for his mace. Donny heads quickly towards the door.
    "Freeze!!" Wynzinger shouts, brandishing the mace.
    Fuck, Donny thinks, as he hurls his body against the exit door. Wynzinger fires a strings of spray. It coats Donny's neck and his shoulder, but avoids his face. Wynzinger steps forward, still dousing with his mace bottle. The stream leaves Donny and coats the door. Donny can already feel the sting, itching at his eyes, making his vision blurry. It was like a fur carpet was being rubbed harshly against his corneas, pupils, and iris.
    Donny attempts to run, but his shoulder collides with a parking sign directly outside the exit.  Donny pitches awkwardly, and his arms pinwheel for balance. His left elbow raps upon the corner of the metal sign atop the pole. Donny turns in mid-step, nearly falling. His hand outshoots, grasping for anything, his knuckles finding the concrete. He hitches a breath as the skin is scratched away from his hands by the pavement. As Donny twirled, he caught sight of Wynzinger again, and sees how stupid the cop actually is. Wynzinger had sprayed the mace indoors, and now was reaping the punishment for such an act. The terrible burning cloud had rebounded some, and hit Wynzinger as well. Wynzinger's paunchy face was beet-red, the eyes narrowed to slants. His stupid hat was on the ground, and he kicks it blindly. It wasn't just the officer and Donnie that were affected, either. Library patrons were filing out in small groups, choking and coughing.
    What a day to visit the library. it must be some kind of strange promotion: come check out a book and get a free sample of mace!!
    Donny takes off his jacket, tucks it under his arm, and runs. The crowd of unwilling mace participants help to cover Donny's escape. Donny can see better once his jacket was taken off, although his vision is still watered with tears. Donny would need to wash the jacket. Or, maybe the mace was enough to kill many of the germs that Donny had cultivated over the years. It was a stupid joke, but it made Donny laugh, as he ditched down by the highway biketrail to evade the cop.
    There was a few hot babes jogging by the river. Donny hardly got an eyeful, with his limited sight as it was. But the slim babes in the spandex shorts and sports bra surely got a unique sight; wIth Donny chugging along, struggling to catch his breath in his smoke-scarred lungs, and tears pouring from his face. Donny did not think he would get a phone number from these hotties if he tried.    
    Donnie laughs again. The chuckle jars loose a clot of phlegm and he hawks it beside the path. Another brunette babe running by has perfect timing, and sees the lugey hurtle through the air, and hang from the side of the trashcan. Donny's aim is off. The woman grimaces and turns her head away from him.
    Donny laughs even harder at that. It's all he could do to laugh anymore. It would drive him crazy otherwise. Greg's charity seemed to bring back some humanity in Donny. It may be a madman's laugh, but a snicker is still a snicker.

Uploaded 11/06/2012
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