Take my GPs help out a little, please.
|A loud siren squawked from behind caused me to swerve toward the sidewalk. Red and blue lights flashed in the mirror of my rusted out Oldsmobile, stabbing into my head like a knife. Two cops strutted up to the car, one on each side, one demanded, "Proof of insurance and registration". I already had my papers before he asked. From each side of the car the cops shone their lights around the car. Discreetly I held his ribs and tried to hide my pain from the cops.
The one cop strolled back to the squad car.
The pain from the brutal beating I had just received was excruciating. Tears welled up in my baby blue eyes. Still the pain from being kicked around was nothing next to the pain in my heart.
This was by far the worst day of my life. Because of the pain from the beating I decided to visit the hospital. I needed to clear my head as well. Ten over the speed limit in this part of town was proof of a foggy head.
The cop walked back up to the car, and shined a light in my eyes. "Are you hurt? From the way your holding your ribs it could be serious."
I lied, "No, just gas."
With a small laugh the cop replied, "Just get them looked at. I see you're having a bad day. So, I'm going to let you off with a warning. Pay attention, next time it won't be a warning." After one more look around the car they turned and headed back to their blue cruiser.
On the way to the hospital I cried out, in mental anguish, "What should I do! I can't talk to Mom. She's already on the verge of a nervous brake down." I had good reason for not sharing my grief. My twin sister had gotten into deep trouble, because of drugs. I couldn't talk to anyone who would tell mom. I needed to sort it out. While getting my ribs wrapped, an idea formed in my mind. I decided to talk to my senile grandfather, after all he couldn't tell anyone. Mom said he couldn't even tell what year it was, let alone the details of a conversation.
I had never visited the nursing home. I arrived as aunt Sandy was bolting for the door. She shoved me aside, jostling my ribs in her rush. "He's crazy I tell you." she huffed.
With a pained look on my face I turned to grandpa, "Hi Grandpa. How are you today?"
Wary of a repeat of the last visit, the old man looked out the window. He seemed to be absorbed with the birds in a tree, but still gave a civil, "OK".
I immediately started to rant. "I can't believe she just went and moved in with him! She is so stupid! He's the worst person I know and she moved right in with him!"
A nurse looked in the door to see if there was a problem.
A quick nod from Grandpa reassured her, all was well.
John interrupted, "Can't be that bad."
I winced as I sat on the end of the bed. white bandages peeked from under my kaki shirt. "Sarah's using drugs. She started out with marijuana and has definitely moved up from there. She's getting that thin, pale look. Can you imagine your twin so mixed up? She ran out of money and places she could steal it. After all, drugs are expensive. So, guess what, yesterday she moved in with her supplier." Tears welled up in my eyes, but I manfully held them back. "Who knows what she's doing in there? Then again, being so cute, I know exactly what she's doing." The tears slipped loose. "My sister has shacked up with Mr. Tailor, a notorious drug dealer. Mom can't quit crying and she doesn't even know about Sarah's move." I painted the pathetic picture of life as I knew it. "This low life is a major supplier in town. He has convinced some of my classmates to deal for him. The methods he used to convince them range from large gifts and promises of more money, to cruelty, and even a murder. The cops can't, or won't work hard enough, to prove it, but everyone knows. Now he's after me!" I gestured to my black eye and ribs.
The old man didn't say much during this tirade. He simply nodded his snow covered head.
I knew Grandpa wasn't paying attention, after all he was senile. After winding down I said, "Thanks Grandpa," and felt better having shared.
After school the next day my cell rang, "Hi, this is your grandpa. Pick me up after school tomorrow."
I tried to get out of it and asked, "Will it be alright? You're supposed to stay in the nursing home."
He reassured me, "It'll be alright as long as I'm picked up at the front desk. They'll let you check me out. You have the same name as your dad and he's on the list."
I still tried to squirm out of it, "Why should I? It's a big imposition and I have other things to do. I have way too much on my mind."
Finally the old man said, "I'll tell your mom."
I gave in, "I thought you were senile."
"Sometimes yes and sometimes no," grandpa John replied.
The next day, after several nerve wracking minutes, I picked up Grandpa and we pulled off an uneventful escape.
Out of his prison the old man did the obvious silly things I expected. He ate out at McDonald's, and put his head out of the window whooping at the top of his lungs.
Suddenly his entire aspect changed. A serious old man emerged, "Lets visit some of my old friends."
"Whatever," I dejectedly replied.
At the first house I was instructed to stop and stay inside the car. Grandpa entered a green double wide trailer that sat on cement blocks. Squirrels played in old cars with the windows smashed. They provided a little amusement. A minute later Grandpa emerged carrying a plastic Walmart bag.
When I asked I received a gruff, "None of your business".
Filled with curiosity, I snuck up to the door of the next house Grandpa stopped at. It was a run down shack with more junk than grass on the lawn. Grandpa appeared to have interesting friends. I stopped to listen. Grandpa said, ”Do you have them?"
A husky woman's voice answered, "Yes, I do."
With a curt, "I have to go. I have a busy day planned. Thank you," H turned and left.
I scurried back to the car, and tore my new jacket. I was sure that this day couldn’t get any worse. I said, "I can't believe this!"
After one final stop Grandpa asked. "As you may have noticed it's very annoying not being told the whole story. How is your mother really doing?"
I looked at my passenger, "How do you expect she is!"
Grandpa changed the subject, "Your other sister, is she still at college?"
"No, Sarah forged checks and emptied her college fund."
Grandpa told me to show him where Sarah lived. On the way he looked over the condition of the old neighborhood. "The people out there are faded copies of the ones I knew." At the request of the old man, the car squealed to the curb in the most run down part of town.
I had chosen a spot to look, through an alley, at the place my twin lived. He pointed to a brick house with bars on all of the windows. "Over there."
The old man got out.
I whispered, "If you get out now you're dead! Stay in the car!" Grandpa calmly reached back into the car and grabbed his collection of bags.
I reached out to pull Grandpa back in. I called out, "Get back in the car! It's too dangerous in this neighborhood! These guys are after me!"
The old man turned and said, "I just need to say hi to my little girl. Come back in two hours."
I pleaded, "They'll kill you if you get involved. Please don't stay. If they find me here they'll mess me up good."
"What can these punks do to an old man that cancer can't do ten times over?" He flippantly replied. "You just come back in two hours. If I'm not here call the cops."
After I pulled away from the curb I continued around the block. I snuck back up to the corner by the alley to watch grandpa. Grandpa set the first bag on the ground and opened it. He carefully hid the contents of the bags except one. Using loose bricks and small overhangs, he put one in every spot he could find. Fascinated, I slid closer to watch. I watched him emerge from the other end of the alley.
Grandpa kicked a Pepsi can across the litter covered street. A showdown had started complete with everyone getting inside. They seemed to know someone would die. The can landed by one of the large guards who stood in front of the house. Grandpa hollered, "Sarah, Sarah, come out and talk to your grandpa! They can't keep you in there. Come on out." Both guards laughed at the old man's naive antics.
A pair of smoke yellowed blinds were shoved aside and Sarah's blond head was pushed against the bars. She quaked in fear. A bald man's head appeared and he licked the side of her face.
The old man screamed, "I'm going to kill you for that!" and started up the steps.
Both bulging muscled gorillas stepped into his path and one of them laughed and pushed John's chest so hard he fell on his butt. From the ground he called up to the window, "Guards can't stop what I have in mind for you punk."
Responding to this threat, the guards showed the guns under their coats.
Grandpa lifted the hand in his sweatshirt just enough so they could see the metal already in his hand. He said, "I don't think so boys," this is for Mr. Tailor up there."
Sarah was slapped away from the window. "I'm not impressed by you old man," came out the window.
The old man taunted, "I'm going to take care of this before I die and that's soon. Do you want it in the back? Everyone will know what happens here before the day is over. I'm going to wait over there so no one can see us."
Tom pushed himself deeper into the shadows.
As Grandpa started to round the corner he broke open the saran wrapped role of nickels 'the gun' he had taken from the case.
He pulled his arm back and put all his remaining energy into throwing them right over Tom's head and out of the back of the alley. He was sure the local children would quickly scavenge the inconspicuous evidence.
Then he stepped into the view of the cameras he had concealed in the ally.
The guards and the man in the window, Mr. High as a kite Tailor himself, had been roused from their castle.
The drug lord was covered in so much gold that it might serve as armor.
John waited for them to get into camera range before he spun around as fast as he could with his finger jammed into his shirt pocket.
Like lightning, Tailor whipped his gold plaited pistol out of his waist band and unloaded it into the old man. He stepped up to John to make sure the old man was dead. Half a dozen red stains were growing in Johns white sweatshirt. The murderer stopped to reload and then put two more into his head for good measure.
I was so surprised I didn't even notice the shots going over my head.
The drug lord was so high one of his guards had to remind him to run before the cops came. They took off and hid in their self made prison complete with bars.
I checked grandpa and wasn't surprised to find no pulse, and called 911.
Half an hour later the cops finally arrived. While investigating, they found Grandpa’s gift of eighteen small cameras covering the entire ally. Every camera had over lapping coverage of where Mr. Tailor and his guards stood, one for every year his little girl was old.
I’ve lived in some rough neighborhoods. In these blighted places the dealers and pimps are careful of old men. They know that with little to live for but pain, to the point of screaming for death, a worthy cause would be welcome relief. They are called
crazy old men.