By Dick Johnson
I needed to get some money coming in, so I could quit working at the hardware store once I got off parole.
I had several hustles in the works. One of them was debt collections. Which can come from several places. Legit companies, had debt collectors, well illicit people, needed them too. That included forcing people to make their child support payments since the government didn’t do so hot. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support women stealing money from their baby daddies. But, it works out for me to make a little scratch, so there it is. I think we should have 50/50 custody, no child support. Women can work the same as a man, it’s ridiculous that I and other guys have to pay extra.
But, I gotta make money. I got kids, and myself to support. I’m gonna do what I can do to get by.
That being said, I went to see Julie’s ex to get the ball rolling. Yeah Julie is her name. I found that out the next morning. Not that it really matters.
The first thing I needed to do was find the guy. Julie said he works as a short order cook at a diner. He had a criminal record so his choices in jobs is minimal.
I parked down the street from the place, and when it was near closing time. I walked over and hid in an alley nearby so I could keep watch.
He and a waitress were the last ones to leave. The lights were out and he was locking the door, while she went to her car.
“Good night” she yelled as she walked away.
“Good night! See you tomorrow.” He said.
I started walking toward him keeping my eye on him, but not looking like a threat. I did not want to spook him. My hat was pulled down so the bill would give some concealment to my face.
He started walking toward his car.
“Hey are you Travis?” I asked.
“Who wants to know?” He said, turning around.
I punched him in the face knocking him flat on his ass. Then, I stood over him, but to the side protecting my groin area. I was close enough to him that I could stomp or kick him if he mouthed off.
“You’re gonna pay your ex, the child support you owe her or I’m gonna make your life miserable.” I said.
“Fuck you!” He said.
So, I put my foot on his chest and shoved him down on his back.
“I’m serious. You’ll pay her what you owe. You do it in payments as best you can. I think that’s fair.” I said.
“Which fucking ex?” He asked.
I never really considered that there might be other ex’s, but of course there would be, with a guy like Travis.
“Fucking Julie!” I said.
“She’s a bitch! Why are you helping her?” He said.
“It’s business.” I said. “You won’t say anything to the cops or anyone else, you’ll just pay what you owe. If she complains, I’ll be coming for you. Got it?”
He struggled to get up and I shoved him back down.
“Got it?” I asked with my foot pressing on his chest.
“Yeah!” He grunted.
“What do you have on you right now?” I asked. “Empty your pockets or I’ll shoot you in the head.”
I didn’t have a gun, because I’m a felon and I’m not in the habit of walking around carrying one. I only use one for a job if needed. But, he didn’t know that.
He emptied his pockets, and I took $20.00, leaving him the rest. He also had a bag of heroin.
“Where’d you get that?” I asked, pointing.
He looked up at me from the concrete.
“I got it from Randy in Veterans Park at the pavilion. That’s all I know. He rides a bike. A shitty green bike with a bell on it.” He said; still struggling with my boot on his chest.
“Ok, get that money to Julie, like I said. Your kids need it.” I said.
I took my foot off his chest and jumped away quickly in case he tried anything. I would still be able to kick him in the face.
He struggled to get up as I backed away and turned to leave.
“Are you fucking her?” He asked.
“Not any more.” I said. “But, she might be real happy when you pay her, and give me a call…”
(Bio: Dick Johnson is a writer from St. Louis, Mo.)