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Kent Johnson, 23 Dec '17

Courage in the New Year

        Two days before New Years Eve. I was hunched under a bush watching the door of the liquor mart open and close. A never ending line of people walked in, then out, holding bottles of champagne, whiskey, vodka, anything to bring in the New Year. I shivered as a snow flurry hit my face and the wind whipped under my threadbare jacket from the back. I smelled the effects of living on the street as the cold wind pushed warm body odor from under the jacket up and into my nostrils. Hopefully tomorrow night, I'd be sleeping in a warm bed with a full stomach and I'd be clean.

        Every hour, a thousand or so dollars must be spent buying booze for the holiday. The plan was simple: a quick in and out with a shotgun. I'd have enough cash to make it a couple of months. 'Everyone on the floor and don't move. I'm a dangerous son of a bitch.' I couldn't help but chuckle at that. Dangerous, sure, the accounting clerk who let himself get fired for pointing out embezzlement and then failed to stand up to the boss because he threatened a defamation lawsuit. He said I'd never work again so I backed down but that didn't stop him. He told his network of business associates that I stole from the company, and yeah, I hadn't worked since then. Three years now, the last year on the streets, 'cause nobody's going to hire a thief.

        Time to move. I put a nylon over my face, and made the shotgun ready, I moved quickly towards the door, towards my payday. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him, and I heard her. The thump of a fist and the scream of a woman, the crying of a girl. I heard another slap.

        “Bitch, I told you not to leave me.”
        The voice was deep and I couldn't resist. Screw the liquor store and help that woman and her child.

        “I'll give you a lesson you won't forget. Get in the fucking car and shut her up.”

        The woman's nose bled, her eye was black and tears streamed down her face. “No,” was all she said before he hit her again. The little girl wailed.

        It felt good putting the barrel of the shotgun hard against his temple.

        “I'll kill you, you son of a bitch,” I told my adversary. “Get on the ground.”

        “This is my business,” he started to say when I pulled the hammer back with a loud click.

        “Belly down, assbite.”

        He quickly fell to the ground. I turned to the bleeding woman and her daughter. The little girl was probably seven years old, her face wet; eyes swollen and her chin trembled.

        “Get out of here and find some place safe to stay,” I told the woman. “You were lucky this time, but I won't be there next time. Go to the police station, ask for help, but get out now. Pronto, quick, ASAP.” I stared at her through my nylon mask. The woman and kid jumped in a car and left.

        I hit him in the back of the head with the rifle butt, lifted his wallet and ran off. I scored enough cash to last me a week in a cheap hotel. Richard was his name according to his drivers license, Richard Allen Diversa. I sold Richard's credit cards and identification to some street people. Serves the bastard right as far as I'm concerned. I'm no fucking saint, but a woman beater, I'm not. I'm no hero either, except to a little girl that watched her mother take a beating from who knows who. Once upon a time I wasn't a thief either. Hard times.

Comments · 1

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  • Ross Tarran said...

    Nicely written. Some deserve their misfortune more than others!

    • Posted 5 years ago