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Crook Takes Pawn Part 14

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Greg stood staring at the TV. the hole in the screen was surely no larger than an inch in circumference. But still, it was an expensive hole. Greg had gotten the LCD television for a steal, at almost wholesale price, for an electronics liquidator. It was such a great deal, he figured he would make a killing on the sale. That was over 4 months ago, and the TV was one of his final purchases he made before cutting back on buying altogether. Any hopes of selling it for a profit (or even to break even) were dashed to pieces with a single bullet from Jessie's gun.
    Donny had been dropped off about an hour ago, at the park. Greg had returned to his store, wandering thorugh the aisles, wrapped up in his thoughts. He rounded the corner of his DVd section and caught site of the wrecked TV. He had been staring at the hole for a few minutes now, as if mesmerized. With a blank face, Greg fished his multi tool out of the counter drawer and climbed a stool to reach the TV. having unplugged the TV several days before, Greg intended to rip out the bullet from the guts of the TV. It definitely wasn't something that topped his priority list, but it was another thing to occupy himself from the gravity of his predicament. To his astonishment, the bullet had actually exited the TV and lodged in the back wall. Greg stretched his arm with great difficulty, and managed to retrieve the bulllet from the cracked plaster. Seeing such a puny object, it was hard to believe something so small could kill. Mankind's prowess never ceased to amaze Greg, especially when it came to implements of death and destruction, like the common firearm. 
    Greg dropped the bullet into a glass jar with a plunk, and stared once more at the hulking TV. What the fuck was he gonna do with it??? He couldn't put it by the curb, the garbage men would simply not take it, instead just leaving it outside for the rain to pour onto. He didn't' want to take it to the dump because they charged per pound for whatever junk you dropped off. Maybe it was simply because of boredom, but Greg took out the laptop once more and logged onto his free internet connection. he did a search for TV disposal, and the closest location he could find was a TV repair shop 20 miles away. Greg did some quick calculating. He had a van he could borrow from his friend to haul the ruined TV. The cost of gas would equal a little less than he would be charged for using the dump. Greg dialed up the TV repair place and they informed him of their hours. He did not need an appointment, just stop by and drop the TV off. As Greg hung up the phone, he saw a man enter his store.
"What can I do for you?" Greg says, greeting the stranger. Greg is already contemplating the possible reason for the man being here. Is he from the bank? Is he a collector?
"I was in the neighborhood" the man says, "and I need to buy a new TV."
Greg is stunned. Of all the reasons for this man being here, the thought of him being a customer never crossed his mind. Greg felt his brain shift into that seldom used sales mode. He grinned broadly and gestured all around him.
"you've come to the right place!!" Greg says enthusiastically.
    Greg spent about an hour with the gentelman, going over his inventory and pointing out various features. The man was deadset on buying a TV, but his credit had taken a blow during this prolonged recession. Greg nodded his head energetically and agreed that the economy was certainly tanking, with many men and women losing their jobs. The customer had swung by because he figured he could afford a TV without having to get a loan, or use financing. The man worked for an insurance company, and Greg listened intently to the boring description of his job and duties. Greg acted as though the man was reciting Shakespeare, instead of a tedious laundry list of what his employment entailed. Greg simply hoped his desperation would not show through when it came time to haggle on the price.
    Soon, the conversation wound down, and the two men stood in front of a line of second hand Televisions. Sales was like romance, and Greg knew he had to close, much like an eager man on a date with a woman.
    "So, I've shown you several diffent brands we have to offer," Greg says propping up one leg on a speaker box meant for a car,"Which one can I send home with you today?"
    It always felt corny when Greg went for the assumptive close, but once again, like love, confidence was important. For a few agonizing moments, the man stood with his finger pressed against his chin in thought. Greg was about to rephrase the question again, to continue the interaction, when the man pointed to the most expensive TV Greg had on display.
"I'll take that one" the man said simply enough. Greg felt a burst of joy from within himself, from a place deep inside he long thought was vacant.
"Ah the Sony" Greg says, trying to hide the shakiness in his voice, "An excellent brand, and an excellent choice."
As luck would have it, Greg had started to take down the various posters advertising his 50% off sales, and rock-bottom deals. Greg figured he would ease into the breakup of his store little by little, and taking the tags down seemed like the first step in doing so. the original price of $400 was still taped onto the lower corner of the TV. Greg opened a drawer containing all the remotes to every TV in the place. After a few moments of searching, he located the proper remote and handed it to the customer. The man pressed a few buttons, and went through a few menu options before nodding his head again.
"Allright, I"ll take it" the man said,"It's $400 right? Is there anyway you can come down in price?"
Greg searched deep within himself on that question. This was exactly the kind of inquiry that might turn a deal to shit all at once. If Greg stood firm on the price, the man might lose interest and walk away. Greg resolved at that moment that he could let the TV go out the door for $350. Before Greg could make this offer, the man pulled out his wallet and offered his credit card.
"Where can you ring me up?" the man asked with a smile.
Greg walked behind the counter, taking the man's card. It took a second to remember the process for swiping a credit card. It had been so long since Greg had rung up anything, especially a payment by credit.
Greg swiped the card, and for one fleeting second, he was afraid the machine would respond with a "Declined" message across the LED display. the man did mention he had credit problems. As long as the card went through though, Greg figured he was in the clear. Surely the credit card companies had procedures in place to ensure payment to a vendor, in the situations of credit issues later down the road.
    But the purchase went through, and the machine printed out the receipt easily enough. On one last inkling, Greg asked to see the man's ID, just as a precaution. Greg could not afford to let the TV leave if it meant he would not be paid because of a stolen card.
The man's name matched the card, however, and Greg's fears were put to rest. Greg gave the copy to the customer and the transaction was completed. Well, almost, anyway. there was still the matter of loading the TV into the car. The TV was a 32 inch, but it was a flat panel and the man was able to carry it to this car without much fuss.
After shutting his car door, the man walked over to Greg and shook his hand. The smile on Greg's face was certainly genuine.
"Thank you" the man said warmly, "It was a pleasure."
Greg raises his hands and gives what he hopes is a modest look.
"The pleasure was all mine, sir" Greg states, "I'm sorry, what was your name?"
"Ben" the man replies easily enough.
"I hope you come back soon, Ben."
Ben nods and digs his keys from his pocket.
"So, how do you know Donny?" Ben asks suddenly.
Greg is slightly taken about.
"Donny?" Greg asks, "He's a regular around here. I hired him for a few odd jobs here and there. How did you come to know Donny?"
"We used to work together" Ben explains,"at our old computer store, Initech. I started the company 10 years ago. Donny was the second employee I hired."
"Small world," Greg says, shaking his head.
"I saw him at the McDonald's down the road." Ben recalls, "I felt bad about how things happened. I usually give Donny a few bucks whenever I see him."
Ben walks over to his car, and opens the door. Ben pauses a moment, with his arm resting against the top of the roof.
"Donny wouldn't take any money from me" Ben said, "he told me, 'Don't give me any charity, I know someone who needs help. He is a good man falling on hard times. Please buy from him, he is honest and will not rip you off. Save your change.'"
Greg is amazed by this revelation.
"He gave me your name and address," Ben said,"and here I am."
There is nothing more said as Ben swings his door closed and backs out of the parking lot, the proud owner of a "new" TV.

artman4444 Uploaded 01/07/2012
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