By Dick Johnson
(This is number 3 in a series. You can find the others here.)
That $400 wasn’t much, and I feel bad for cracking my boss like I did. At least that was until he complained about my being late. I’m seriously tired of him. I might destroy something in the store or steal something. Employers just don’t realize that a disgruntled employee is really really bad for business. A little respect for the working man can go a long way. Always remember, happy workers, make happy customers, and helps the bottom line.
I had to drop money off at the ex’s house, and then listen to her complain about everything. And she wonders why I don’t come around more often. I love my kids, and do what I can, but she does what she can to keep me away. Well, maybe the kids are better off without me. Maybe I am a bad influence. But, don’t treat me like I’m the bad guy, when you are the one secretly causing it.
The cops came to talk to me again, about the robbery. This time I snapped, and said they were just harassing me because I’m a felon. I told them I was done talking and would get a lawyer.
They had no real proof I did it. Yes, I had a flimsy alibi, but honestly they had nothing. This is what ticks me off. I commit a crime, and I know they have nothing. But, they show up and give me a bunch of lies, trying to get me to slip up. It’s maddening. I have to continue to play dumb, while I listen to them make stuff up just to try and get me to mess up or confess. There’s just no justice anymore. They are violating tons of rights, by harassing me. Seriously, if they had proof, I could accept them doing their job. But, they are just fishing, and only because I have a record. It’s crazy.
After work, I went down the street to Jimmy’s Downtown Pub to have a beer. Yes. I’m back to drinking again. That didn’t take long. It’s just another failure in a long line of failures in my life. I’m on the downward slope to rock bottom, and I’m gonna ride that bitch like a cheap whore in a candy store, while sucking a lollipop.
I’m on parole, and I really wasn’t supposed to be in a bar. That’s also why I had to keep the hardware store job, for now. But, I had plans, and right now those plans involved getting to know the cute redhead, at the end of the bar.
The trick is you gotta strike up a conversation without coming off as a creeper. I saw she was wearing a concert t-shirt, so I asked the bartender if he knew of any concerts or bands playing in town. I said it just loud enough for her to hear, and since the bar was practically empty at this time of day, it wasn’t too hard.
“I’m not sure, man. I haven’t heard of any.” He said.
Well, the redhead decided to pop up and be helpful, like I figured she would. She knew all about the local music scene. I was impressed with her knowledge to be sure, but equally impressed with those shiny teeth. I’m not even going to say, what thoughts crossed my mind.
I moved down the bar a few seats to get a little closer to her. Not too close mind you. But, just close enough to keep the conversation going. I didn’t want to seem eager.
“I gotta take money to the ex.” I said, fishing around to see if she was seeing anyone.
“Yeah, at least you pay! Mine hasn’t given me anything in months.” She said.
Bingo! I was going to cash in on this in more ways than one.
“How much does he owe you?” I asked.
“Too much. And the cops won’t do anything about it.” She said.
“I’m sorry about that.” I said
“Why should you be sorry, he’s the asshole?” She said.
I took a long drink of my beer and thought for a moment.
“I just wish I could help. Maybe there’s something I could do.” I said.
I was making sure the bartender was far enough away to not hear the exact details of our conversation. Not that this guy was a snitch, he seemed pretty stand up, but you never know.
“What could you do?” She asked.
I stood up from my stool and asked the bartender to set us up with another round of drinks, and then I moved to the seat right next to her, and sat down. I finished my beer in one swallow, and waited for the bartender to finish his task, and move away, and then I leaned closer to her. I could smell her perfume, and it got me going.
“I’ll get your ex to pay you regularly, and you give me 20% of what he gives you.” I said.
I dropped the bomb and took a drink of my beer.
“I’m not giving you 20% of nothing.” She said.
“Well, 20% of nothing is nothing. At least you would be getting paid regularly and that could really help your kids.” I said.
I took another drink to cover the smile forming on my face.
“Yeah, that’s true.” She said.
“Give me your number and where I can find him at. Then, I’ll give you a call when it’s done.” I said.
She didn’t hesitate.
“Ok sounds good” she said.
I punched in the number she gave me and immediately called it to verify it was real and to give her my number. The phone buzzed in her purse.
“Now you have my number.” I said.
“What name should I put you under?” She said with a smile.
“Just put me under ‘Money guy” I said.
“Does money guy have a name?” She asked.
“You can call me ‘Money” or ‘Guy”, but if the cops come to ask you anything, you don’t know me or anything else. Just play dumb, and stick to it.” I said.
“You’re not going to hurt him are you?” She asked.
“Maybe” I said.
“Good!” she said, laughing.
“I’m not really going to hurt him. I might threaten him a little, or possibly give him a slap or two. He might call the cops, but I’ll make sure he thinks twice about it. If the cops come, play dumb. They can’t prove anything.” I said.
“Ok” she said.
I leaned closer.
“Now let’s get down to real business. What are you doing tonight? You want dinner?” I asked.
She smiled, flipped her hair and looked at me with those sharp eyes,
“I’m hanging with you, and getting drunk. I’d love to get something to eat.” She said.
(Bio: Dick Johnson is a writer from St. Louis, Mo.)