Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 29, 2009

“Dealing With Dymans” Chapter 6, Pt. 2

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

“After that he attacked his neighbors, mostly the guy across the way, you know, the sunglass place. I mean, gimme a break, what was he s’posed to do – spend 24/7 watchin’ to see that nobody messes with Dougie’s sign? Then I guess he headed to his own store to find someone to blame.

“Jeet had called right after the tornado blew out of the office. I arrived to hear that pretty young clerk take a verbal beating. Hell, everybody heard it. He was screaming, stuff like gettin’ paid to sit on her ass and do her nails, not a clue in the world about what was going on right under her nose, the reputation of the finest jewellery store being sullied (whatever that means). And then the clincher, if that was all he could expect from a stupid bitch (word for word, Jack) like her, then she could take her sorry ass and get the hell out, get whatever crap she had in the store and go home, go away, get lost and never come back. He fired her, right there on the spot.

“I just stood there at the store entrance and watched it happen. I didn’t do a damn thing. She was in tears, just grabbed her coat and purse from the back, and walked right past me. I didn’t do a damn thing. Just stood there like a useless . . .”

Leo’s voice trailed off. He looked down and then away. Jack could see the moisture in his eyes. Leo took a few deep breaths and then looked right at Jack.

“And then, as I stood there, not knowing what to do, Dougie marched up to me and asked what the hell I was doing standing there, wasn’t I that overpaid, under worked excuse for a night watchman, and suggested this “crime of the century” had probably happened on my shift and on and on.

“You should have seen him. The look in his eyes alone was scary enough but he was almost spitting, and in my face like he wanted to kill me. I mean, I’m just a night watchman, too goddam poor to retire, used to dealin’ with rotten teenage graffiti artists, and homeless people, and the odd shoplifter. Just cuz I’m big, like physically, is usually enough. And I wear this stupid uniform – don’t even have a gun – and that seems to work.

“All I managed to say was our company would look into it, you know, the sign thing, and we’d get back to him. I just walked away.

“As you can tell, I’m ashamed of how I reacted – or didn’t react. That’s something I’ll have to deal with. But what about that poor girl? I knew her a bit, fairly new in town, single mom, cheerful and bright as a new penny. What’s she gonna do?”

Jack was ready to blow. He felt awful for what he’d done to the young mother – and to his friend, Leo. But he was mad, boiling mad – and when Jack got mad, he got quiet.

Over a second cup of coffee, Jack did the best he could to soothe Leo. He tried to explain how he, too, got caught short on those spur of the moment occasions when you’re surprised by some turn of events, how you don’t react immediately, how you seem to think of what you should have done when it’s too late.

He wasn’t sure his soothing worked. He apologized again about the furor he’d unleashed – and he promised to make it right. He looked Leo right in the eye and said, “Trust me, Leo. I’m gonna fix this. I swear.”

He thought Leo believed him.

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