Pawn Takes King Part 22

A hand has grasped tightly onto his shoulder, and shakes him continuously. A harsh scent hits him, and Donnie comes to. Officer Burrish has waved a smelling salt under Donnie's nose. It's an ammonia smell, like strong cat pee, or something similar. Donny's head swims. His elbow howls with throbbing heat.
    "Donny, are you okay?" Burresh asks. Donny doesn't know what surprises him more: being out cold in a display of snacks, or the fact that Burresh remembers his name.
    "I'm sick, man," Donny says feebly, "I've got a fever, I can hardly stand."
    "Well then maybe you shouldn't be drinking at 11am on a work day." Buresh says sourly, pointing to the alcohol mess on the floor. The store cashier is mopping it up, while another employee sweeps the glass into a dustpan.
    "I'm sorry for messing up your store," Donny says, biting his lip, "I'm in bad shape, and just needed something touh, fight the infection."
    "That's enough." Buresh says, scowling, "They've said you don't have to pay for the beer, but you can no longer set foot in this store again. You understand me, Donny?"
    "Yes, sir," Donny says subserviently. Will there be charges?
    "Have you been drinking today, Donny?" Buresh asks sharply, "Before this bottle, did you pound a few down?"
    "No," Donny says.
    "Come out to the car," Buresh says, hooking Donny's arm.    Even though Donny is swaying on his feet, hardly functioning, he knows Buresh is pissed.  Donny is alarmed. the antenna from Buresh's walkie talkie waggles back and forth, like the tail on a labrador retriever. Cuffs, keys and equipment all jangle as Buresh leads Donny out. Donny senses the dread he associates with being around cops, but knows Buresh is a decent man. Buresh will not hurt Donny unless he must be apprehended. Oh well, if Donny has to go in, at least Buresh would be the one to do so.
    Donny takes another breathalyzer test, and passes this one, just like the first time he met Buresh.
    "Okay then," Buresh mumbles, as he discards the removable mouth piece from the breathalyzer. No one would want to use a piece that was in the insipid mouth of Donny.
    "So, you're sick then?" Buresh asks. Donny nods.
    "Are you dope-sick?" Buresh asks. Donny shakes his head no.
    They walk back inside.
    Donny had also not eaten anything today, or the previous one either. Normally he could withstand the anorexic-like hunger, but today his body was burnt out. His cells couldn't battle an infirmity without fuel.
    Buresh asks the clerk for some water, and hands the cup to Donny. He slurps the water down rapidly, which is a bad idea. A brain-freeze starts the thumping of vessels, leading to a viscous headache. Donny squints his eyes against the discomfort.
    Buresh slowly hefts Donny to his feet.
    "Lets go outside, and get some air," Buresh suggests. The store's sensor chimes as they open the front glass door, alerting to their exit. The wind has begun blowing, reviving Donny with refreshing gusts.
    "Just sit down on this curb, and take it easy for a second," Buresh says, heading back into the store. Donny briefly wonders if Buresh is preparing an arrest. Being too tired to elude anymore, Donny lowers his head and awaits his fate. After an unknown period, Buresh nudges Donny. The cop has 2 capsules in his hand.
    "It's aspirin," Buresh explains, "take it."
    Donny swallows the pills with his last shot of water. Buresh hands him a steaming slice of pizza. Donny stares at it hungrily.
    "Take it," Buresh says impatiently, "eat it, ya bum."
    Donny sees a receipt crumpled in Buresh's left hand. The cop had bought Donny aspirin and food. Unbelievable. There really were honest officers out there.
Buresh seemed to balance out the indignities Wynzinger thrust upon Donny. If only all coppers could be like Buresh.
    Donny devours the pizza in 4 huge bites. Buresh laughs.
    "You should try chewing sometime, dude," he says.
    "Thank you, officer," Donny says appreciatively.
    "I can take you to the hospital," Buresh offers. Donny shakes his head, and feels the world spin.
    "No, no doctors," Donny says, "I don't trust them."
    The truth was that the doctors may do drug testing, and in that case, would certainly find illegal substances swimming around in his blood. Donny didn't want to face possible arrest, or detox. It was mostly weed, but he had taken some Xanax a while ago, too. He didn't want to answer questions about stolen prescriptions and such.
    "Donny, how long do you suppose you can survive out here?" Buresh asks with honest worry.
    "I've been doing it for years," Donny says, "I can make it a little longer. Why do you care, anyway?"
    Donny would like an answer to that. Even if it meant rescinding Buresh's politeness, Donny is beside himself with curiosity. Buresh sighs and strokes his chin.
    "It's a lot cheaper to keep the homeless in shelters, than jail cells," Buresh comments, "and county jail is a cheaper stay than the cop shop, too."
    "I didn't know you were looking' out for the taxpayers," Donny says sarcastically.
    Buresh folds his hands on top of his squad car roof and looks off into the distance. The slushy snow will freeze tonight, creating jagged ripples and tiretracks on the pavement.
    "I had a brother who lived on the streets," Buresh says distractedly, "we had a sense of duty in our family. I became a cop, and he joined the service. After coming back from Iraq, he was never quite the same. It started with booze, then he got caught up into hardcore drugs, and that kinda life always leads to the gutter. And the gutter leads to the grave. I visit his burial site every year, on his birthday. I think of the times we used to ride bikes as little kids, getting into trouble. Then, trying to get laid, just two stupid, horny boys that didn't know any better. Now, he's in the ground, and that's that."
    "What did he die of?" Donny asks quietly.
    "He was shooting up," Buresh confides, "and was sharing needles. The autopsy said he had Hepatitis B, and a slew of other diseases. Maybe even AIDS. He died of  liver failure. Once his liver went out, his blood went bad from inside out."
    Buresh rubs his eyes. He is crying, or near tears, at the very least. Donny looks away, not wanting to embarrass him. Donny can not relate. He has no siblings.
    "You remind me of my brother. Maybe, in some twisted way, if I help you, it will make some of the guilt go away. I dunno. I don't want to be the one to fish you out of the river. Or do a well-fare check to find out you've been dead for three days in some room, doing drugs."   
    Donny's heart goes out to Buresh. Why should this man be cursed to watch over Donny? He is not his brothers keeper. And yet, this man wants him to live more than Donny himself does. As if communicating through telepathy, Buresh turns towards Donny with an intense look.
    "If you want to die, Donny," Buresh says with a suddenly hard voice, "tell me right now, and I'll just leave you be. I can't help you if you don't want to take it on yourself."
    Donny sheds a single tear. It is a small droplet, from the desert of lost hope that is his soul. Donny has done so many bad things. He is undeserving of forgiveness. If Buresh knew half the truth of what Donny is really about, Buresh would slap the cuffs on him right then. Speaking of which
    "I've committed a lotta crimes, officer," Donny says, addressing him by title, "and I should let you know, I was involved in an incident at the library two days ago. Your old pal Wynzinger got a little trigger-happy with his mace. I wanted to let you know, so you don't get into trouble with your Seargent, or Leautinet, or whatever. Seeing as how you responded to this call, you might get in hot water if you didn't arrest me right here and now."
    Donny holds out his hands, palms out. He cannot straighten his elbow much at all.
    "Arrest me," Donny says, "put me in cuffs."
    Buresh rolls his eyes and waves a dismissive hand.
    "I already know about that," Buresh says placidly, "it was broadcast on our radio. I think it's bullshit. I don't like that Wyninger. There's something about him. It could've been handled differently."
    "So, you're not gonna take me in?"
    "Not unless you want me to," Buresh says, raising his eyebrows, "Shit, I've never heard anyone so hard to persuade out of jail."
    Donny pulls up his shirt gingerly. He winces at the pain of the scratching fabric.
    "This was a present from your pal Wynzinger," Donny proclaims, holding out the abcessed pocket of skin. Buresh takes one look and grimaces.
    "Jesus, son!!" Buresh says, "it looks like a vagina with a yeast infection!!"
    Donny laughs.
    "It looks kinda like Bursitis," Buresh says, leaning forward to inspect the infection, "I had something similar to that during academy training. It's a pocket of fluid built up around the sac in your elbow. It'll be serious if it goes untreated."
    "I don't need a doctor, Donny assures, "I was gonna do some amateur surgery. I think if I drain it of fluid, it'll be okay."
    "Dammit, Donny," Buresh says with frustration, "Just hop in, we'll go down to county hospital. i'll make sure they patch you up, whether you're insured or not."
    Donny shakes his head, gets up and rolls his sleeve back down.
    "Thanks for the food, officer Buresh," Donny says, "but if you don't mind, I'll be moving along now."
    Donny walks away. Buresh hits the sirens. the mounds of snow from the plow are painted red and blue. The blurt of the police horn makes Donny flinch, but he keeps walking. Donny detects the anger in Buresh as the car is started, and slammed into drive. The car lurches forward, cutting off Donny at an angle. Donny pauses and looks at Buresh through the cruiser window.
    "If you're gonna arrest me, then do it," Donny mutters, "otherwise, lemme go, please."
    Donny walks briskly around the front of the cop car. Buresh does not follow. As Donny increases the distance, the cherries on the car are turned off.

Uploaded 11/13/2012
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