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crook takes pawn, part 62

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Rebecca dropped him off at the Pawn and Payday. She didn't have class today, but Greg said he would be busy till most of the afternoon. He said he would phone when he got finished unloading, and rearranging all the computers Ben was bringing over. Greg decided to allow himself a brief respite of additional sleep.
    Greg awoke to the banging on his storefront door. He checked the clock. It was 8:30am. His store didn't open for another hour and a half. If it opened at all, that was. What with the exodus of Ben's computers, a whole day might be devoted to just hauling and rearranging.
    Greg warily get out of bed and put on his bathrobe, obscuring his aged undies and flapping fat. He briefly considered getting the pistol back out. The cops had confiscated it for use as ballistics, but they had returned it since then. Greg almost got the gist that the cops thought Greg might have shot Robert. Althought they didn't come out and say it, it wouldn't surprise Greg to be implicated as a conspirator. Cops were paranoid.
    Greg leaves the pistol in a case under his bed. He hoped never to use the gun again, for any reason, other than more target practice at the range.
    The rapping on his shitty entrance door was insistent. Nothing grinded his gears more than obnoxious knocking. It was a cop knock, or sounded like one, at least. It was unceasing in it's repetitive noise.
    Greg undid all locks and swung the mammoth door open. Donny was standing there, grinning like a fool. Greg had forgot entirely about Donny coming over with Gus. They had something to show him, or so they said.
Donny had another outfit, this one looking new. It was a bright yellow hoodie, with Green pipping and trim along the arms and waist. Donny's pants were a stylish bluish black, with a white dissolving bleached color that accented them nicely. Donny still had the sneakers Ben had given him.
"What's up, Grego?" Donny greets.
"No mucho," Greg says.
    Gus was fumbling around in the back of his Blazer with something. Greg could hear him grunting, accompanied by the whine of metal dragging on metal.
"Are you gonna help him, or what, Donny?" Greg asks.
Donny trots over to the Blazer and Greg follows. The tailgate was down and Gus was yanking something from the bed, with a face reddened from effort. Gus wears a Green John Deere hat, which topples from his head as he struggles. The metalic frame of the object is digging into the sleeves of Gus' plaid flannel coat. Donny grabs the opposite end and the two men swing it upwards vertically.
"Ta-Dah!!" Donny says with vigor. It was a wrought-iron door; a residential model, from the looks of it. There was a decorative frosted glass in the center, with a curvy detailed border of black metal. The design twisted and looped throughout the entirety of the glass, doubling as reinforcement for the pane.
"A replacement for yours," Gus explains, nodding towards Greg's current bulky monstrosity that served as his entrance.
"Really?" Greg asks with awe.
"Really, really," Gus replies, sparking up his cigarette. He offers one to Donny, who shakes his head.
"Nah, I quit smoking," Donny says, "now that my methadone has built up, I don't need anything really."
"Except the occasional joint," Greg corrects. Donny shrugs, conceding his pothead status.
"It was my idea to buy the weed, by the way," Gus pipes in, "I bought it with the money you gave us, Greg. I'm sorry. I just wanted something to make me feel better. Donny didn't have anything to do with it."
"don't worry about it, Gus," Greg says dissuasively, "It's all water under the bridge now."
    Donny and Gus set to work. Donny did most of the heavy lifting; Gus, the measuring and drilling. Taking down the old door was difficult only because of the sheer weight of it. Greg's junkyard buddy had did an exceptional job welding the door together, and it took all three men to move it. After that, it wasn't hardly any trouble at all. Donny helped jockey it into position, while Gus corrected him, screws lodged in his mouth for easy access. Gus sounded funny when he spoke with those bits in his lips.
"Mowv it rover hwear," He would say, to Donny's dismay, "I Shed, mowv it rover hwear,"
"YOu sound like Astro from the Jetsons," Donny says, cackling. Gus made sure the door both latched, and locked properly before securing it to the frame with screws.
"There," Gus says, after opening and closing the door several times to make sure it fit. Greg was pleased. These two bums really could help a guy out.
"How much do I owe you for this, Gus?" Greg asks, opening his wallet.
"You don't owe me a dime," Gus says, "my friend Randy hired me, to remodel his house. You met Randy, didn't you? Red-headed fella, worked at Jerry's Remnant business? We put in a brand new security door for his condo, and he sold this one to me for $20."
    Greg withdraws two twenty dollar bills from his money pouch and stuffs it into the front of Gus' plaid shirt pocket. Gus relents, laughing and trying to step back from Greg's generosity, and creeping hand.
"Don't, Greg," Gus says between chuckles, "I won't have it!!"
"Just take it, King," Greg insists, "I searched around, and the cheapest door I could find was $300. And that's not even installation included. I'm still getting a good deal!!"
    Finally, Gus succumbs to Greg's prompting, and stuffs the greenbacks into his velcro billfold. Donny is still grinning dopily.
"What's the deal with you, ya bum?" Greg teases, "Are you high, or what?"
"ONly on methadone, but we can smoke if you want," Donny says, pointing over to Gus. Removing the John Deere hat from his head, Gus pulls out a marijuana cigarette from behind his ear.
"Nah, I'm gonna give up smoking," Greg reveals, "I don't really need it anymore, since Rebecca and I started dating. I'm happy enough just with her."
"Did you fuck her yet?" Gus asks straight-forwardly.
"We've done things," Greg says cryptically.
"Like what?" Gus asks, leaning forward imperceptibly.
"Like, nunya," Greg says, "nunya bizzness!!"
"if I had a banging hot chick like that," Donny says wistfully, "I wouldn't talk about it either. There's no need to brag, if she's that fine."
"C'mon, Greg!!" Gus pries, "just between us guys!! I thought you said she was wild?"
"You have no idea, Gus," Greg said, and left it at that.
    Gus really was sex-crazed. It might even be his achilles heel. Gus' zeal with his ex-wife had proved disastrous. Once sex was denied to him, what else occupied Gus' mind? Apparently, sex, sex, and more sex.
    "Well, there's another piece that can fit over the front of this door," the Carpet King says, "I didn't have room for both the door and the security bar that goes with it, but I can swing by tomorrow, or even later today."
    "No rush," Greg says, thinking to himself that these streets weren't as dangerous now that Jessie was pushing up daisies.
"Ben said to tell you to expect him at about 10am." Donny informs.
    They pack up the Blazer with Gus' scant selection of tools, and leave. Greg is antsy with anticipation. This was it. Ben was counting on him, as well as Donny, and others. From the sounds of things, Donny and Ben were joined at the hip in their exploits. Success would help all parties involved. Failure would decimate.
    Greg couldn't go back to sleep. He began gathering up all of the broken monitors and TV's that needed to be disposed of. Greg stacked them on a rickety pallete he found on the rear loading dock. Neither the pallete, nor the dock had been used in quite some time. There was a sliding garage door that had been covered over with wallpaper and loose insulation. Greg's father had apparently tried to seal the place up, and prevent heat loss. It was a pitiful effort.
    Greg felt conflicted as he tore down the paper and exposed the rear door. On one hand, he felt a smart-alec type of spite towards his dad. Ha ha, George, you left me high and dry and now I've surpassed you. At the same time, however, a distant ache inside Greg wished he had seen George one last time before his passing.
    The dock door had peepholes of glass, which were smeared with dirt and grime. Grabbing a bottle of Windex, Greg dutifully cleansed the windows until they shined. Greg figured Ben could simply back up his van, or truck, and they could unload it directly to this back room. The door refused to raise on it's wheeled tracks, though. He scratched his bald head. there was no motor. What could be the problem?
    Greg soon discovered that George had attempted to seal off the edges of the door with a noxious sealant compound. It was like fix-a-flat for gaps in your windows and doors. After about half an hour of jabbing at it with a screwdriver, Greg freed the door from it's suspended animation. the bearings whined and squealed. He would need to oil them, but at least the door was operable.
    Standing on the rim of the concrete slab, Greg gazed out into the rear of his property. The blacktop was old, and crumbled. In some areas, grass had poked up through splits in the ground. Greg was about five feet above the pavement, feeling the steady spring breeze flowing into his store. Taking care of business, everyday.
    Ben had a work truck, in addition to his Jeep. The Digital Dreams logo was sprawled across the colossal hood of the Red Dodge Pickup. It was a 4X4, Greg could tell by the numbering stamped across the outside rear fender. Greg was no mechanic, but he knew the truck was diesel, judging by the raucous engine. It had to be a V8, if not a V10 even. It struck Greg as somewhat funny that a nerd like Ben would require such a powerful pickup.
    It turns out that Ben was also a gearhead. He backed the truck up effortlessly after Greg briefly explained his unloading strategy. Greg boosted himself up to Ben's seat, using a runner board that was actually part of the exhaust pipe. Donny had waved from the passenger seat absently. From the looks of both of them, Gus had shared his joint openly. ben had a silly grin on his face, and mirror shades (to perhaps hide a pair of red-rimmed eyes?) As Greg hopped away from the vehicle, Ben floored the Dodge, and peeled out heavily. Greg winced at the acrid stench of burnt rubber and smoke. Still, he didn't complain about it to Ben. The guy had lots of other things on his mind. It probably felt good to cut loose a little bit.
    Greg waved his arms, trying to guide them back, but Ben had it well in hand. Ben and Donny leapt into the back of the pickup and began to plan their offloading procedure. Greg was impressed by the sheer volume of product crammed into the back of the truck. Ben had attached a series of thick rubber bungie cords that interlocked and steadied the stack. Greg began to unload, grabbing a single box at a time. Once they cleared a corner out of the truck bed, the job got much easier. they did something similar to a fireman's carry, Ben handing it to Donny, then Greg. Greg then walked the box over to the far corner and began stacking them. Greg was actually doing the majority of the work, but it didn't bother him. It was perfect exercise, and that breeze felt amazing on his sweaty body. And by the looks of it, Ben and Donny had spent precious time loading the shipment and securing it.
    In all, it was a total of 40 computer towers. Greg handed them sodas and they all drank and rested a few minutes.
"How much is all this worth, do you think?" Greg asks, with amazement.
    Donny looks at Ben, and the two computer technicians tick off the numbers in their brains.
"Well, it's about $200 per computer, to assemble and build," Ben says thoughtfully, "so that's about $8000,"
"And if you sell them for the retail price of  $400," Donny says, "that's a total of 16 grand right there, my friend."
    Greg whistled. "That's worth more than my life right now,"
"It's all insured,' Ben says, "even when I was struggling to make bank payments, I never had a single late insurance premium."
    "Well that's good," Greg says appreciatively. Ben planned for extenuating circumstances.
"Which reminds me," Ben says, belching after a deep gulp of pop, "My insurance agent needs to come by here to inspect you place. They need to make sure you have a properly locking door, as well as a security system."
    "Well, I have a camera system," Greg assures, "Which records onto my computer back there."
    "Cool dealio," Ben says, smiling and holding up the devil horns rockstar gesture.
    "But I've noticed lately it has problems with memory, or something," Greg says, trying to describe the symptoms of his afflicted monitoring setup.
"Well, it's a good thing you have two huge geeks here," Ben says, motioning to Donny. They all get up and go to Greg's office to examine his issues.
    The fangled machine kept locking up, and said there was not enough storage space left. Greg hadn't been able to record for the past few days, and it was starting to worry him.
    "Well, the footage is just taking up too much room on the HDD." Ben explains.
"HDD?" Greg asks dumbly.
"The hard-drive," Donny explains, "all you need to do it delete some of the older footage you don't need, and you're problem is solved."
"Or, you could burn it all," Ben says.
"Whattya mean burn? Like, burn a CD disc?" Greg asks, lost in the techno babble.
"Actually, you have a DVD burner on here," Ben points out on the labeled drive of the computer, "I'd say if you burn maybe 6 discs, it should free it up."
"You can buy the discs for like 50 cents a piece at the store," Donny says reassuringly, "they're dirt cheap now."
    This was stupendous. Greg thought there was an issue with it, but it simply required preventative maintenance. Greg decided to gather more aid from these guys.
    "Do you know how to make a template?" Greg asks quietly. He knew he sounded like an idiot novice.
"For what?" Ben asks, "you can have a template for a lot of things. Whatchya working on?"
"I need to design a company logo, as well as a bunch of coupons and deals," Greg says, "It's for the Chamber of Commerce. I need to turn it in soon, before summer, when the CC prints off their booklet."
    "Donny knows how to do a lot of that," Ben says, scratching his chin, "We can work on it tomorrow, but I was really wanting to focus on the tasks before us right now."
"Don't worry, Grego," Donny says, repeating the spontaneous pet name, "I'll hook you up. We'll get 'er done."
    Donny glances over at the haphazard pallete, stacked with monitors and shattered Televisions.
    "Another big haul for Bill, huh?" Donny asks.
"Yeah, they've been piling up for awhile now," Greg comments, "Bill will have to take them off my hands, as soon as I can borrow the van again."
    Donny's eyes light up. "Ben should really meet our pal Bill."
Ben raises an eyebrow with faint interest behind his heavy shades.
"WellHe lives about 40 minutes away," Greg says, "maybe I can give you some gas money, Ben, and we can move this junk over to Bill's using your pickup, so you guys can talk."
    It was agreed upon. Greg had found an old pallete jack in the far closet, underneath the stairs to the second floor. Greg also found an old picture frame with a portrait of a whole sales crew. Apparently, the Pawn and Payday had once been a small grocery store. It was Called Missy's, judging by the logo in the lower right hand corner. Strangers that Greg would never meet stared back at him with perpetual grins. They were lined up in front of shelf after shelf of goods. Hooded fluorescent light fixtures hung from their rectangular housings. Greg recognized the glazed tiled floor. He caught sight of it as they peeled back the old rug.
    Greg owed it to great luck that the rusted pallete jack still worked. He cranked up the height on the skids, pumping the handle up and down repeatedly.
Greg swung the pallete onto Ben's flatbed, then hit a clamp on the handle, releasing the hydraulic pressure enough to remove it.
"Let's roll, good buddy," Ben says, clapping Greg on the back.

LINK TO PART 63: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/blogs/view/82496592/
artman4444 Uploaded 04/27/2012
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