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by Brammy
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Young Adult · #2128395
Robbie Part 6
         Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving was an unseasonably warm seventy degrees. All fifteen registers at The Marketplace Supermarket are open and have lines. It's a quarter to three and Robbie is at register seven ringing out customers. The sleeves on his light blue T-Shirt featuring the store's name are rolled up, showing off his muscular arms. He had lost twenty-five pounds. As was normal his bleached blonde hair was spiked and he had a diamond stud earring in each of his ears. He also resumed DJing at Club Cosmic after serving a two week suspension at the beginning of September. Roland, who had been promoted to Assistant Customer Service Manager after Lisa Loveland decided not to return from maternity leave was bagging for Robbie. He too had spiked bleached blonde hair. He had a gold hoop earring in each of his ears and glasses with black frames. The customer, who appeared to be in her mid-thirties finished unloading her groceries onto the conveyor belt and pushed her cart down to Roland.

"How are you today? Did you find everything you were looking for?" asks Robbie, as he continues scanning the customer's groceries.
"I sure did. I was surprised, considering it's the day before Thanksgiving. I normally don't do things last minute, but something came up and I found out yesterday I had hosting duty for Thanksgiving Dinner."
"Good to hear." Robbie rang up the last item - a twenty-two pound turkey, which he double bagged. "Your total comes to two-hundred-fourteen seventy-nine."

         The customer took her wallet out of her purse. She counts out eleven twenties and hands them to Robbie. He quickly double counted the money.

"Out of two-hundred twenty?"
"Yes."

         Robbie types in the amount. The cash drawer opens and he puts the money into the slot. He takes out a five, two dimes, and a penny. He closes the drawer and gives the change and receipt to the customer.

"Five twenty-one is your change. Thanks for shopping with us and have a nice Thanksgiving."
"You too."

         Roland finishes bagging the customer's groceries, while Robbie takes a sip of water from his New York Giants tumbler. The customer leaves. Robbie switches off his light, grabs his tumbler and walks into his office. Roland follows him.

"All set for the big party at Club Cosmic tonight?" Roland asks Robbie.
"Yeah. It's going to be great, bro."
"Ryan said he'll drive me. Are we meeting you at your house or at the club?"
"We'll leave from my house around 5:30."
"What time does the party start?"
"Around eight. The doors open at seven."

         Robbie takes off his name tag, tosses it on his desk, and leaves the office. He clocks out at the time clock and takes off his work shirt, revealing a white wife beater. Walking towards the exit Ryan passes him. They fist bump.

"We're leaving from my house around 5:30."
"Cool. I'll see you at the house then."

         Robbie continues walking out of the store and crosses over to the Dunkin' Donuts. He gets into his SUV and fastens his seat belt. He starts the SUV, makes a right onto Stanwood Drive. At the traffic light he makes a right onto West Main Street and puts on his sunglasses with blue tinted lenses. He was making good time until he got to the intersection of Route 10 and Townline Road. It took him another thirty-five minutes to get home.
         Inside his house, Robbie decides to take advantage of the nice weather. He takes off his boots, socks, wife beater, grabs a bottle of Mountain Dew out of the fridge, and sits on a chair on his deck. He opens the bottle and takes a few gulps. The sun was just beginning to set. He puts the bottle down. His neighbor Tiffany Caputo walked across his backyard around the pool, and up the stairs to the deck. She's attractive with long black hair.

"Hi, Robbie."
"What's up, Tiffany?"
"Joe and I want to invite you and your friends to Thanksgiving tomorrow."
"What time?"
"Joe has to work til two, so we're having dinner around five."
"I'll send Joe a text later and let him now."
"All right Robbie."

         She walks down the stairs. Robbie takes a few more gulps of soda and goes inside to his bedroom. He shuts the door and ponders his reflection in the mirror on the back of the door. He definitely thought he was a good looking guy. His arms were showing definition again, but his belly didn't look any smaller. Granted he only lost half of the weight he had gained, he thought his belly would've gotten smaller. He jiggles it a few times, grabs some clothes out of the closet and boxers and socks out of his dresser. He goes down the hall to the bathroom.

         Twenty minutes later Robbie comes out of the bathroom freshly showered. He wears a purple Club Cosmic T-Shirt, ankle length blue denim shorts, and white socks. His hair is damp. He walks to the family room, where he finds Roland and Ryan seated on the couch.

"Hey guys. How was traffic?"
"Awful - especially on Queen Street," said Ryan. "It took us forty-five minutes to get here."
"Same here."

         Roland walks down the hall. Robbie sits on the couch next to Ryan and puts on his work boots.

"Tiffany and Joe invited us to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night. Are you interested in going?"
"Maybe. Kyle and I are still waiting to find out what our sister has planned."
"How the hell did she manage to get Thanksgiving off?"
"She's starting a new job at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury on Monday."
"She quit New Britain General Hospital?
"Yeah. St. Mary's pays better and the hours are better too. No more working twelve hours a day, five days a week. She's going to be working twelve hours a day, four days a week. Three days off and only forty-eight hours a week instead of sixty. 7AM-7PM. No more overnights."
"Nice."

         Roland walks to the family room. He wears blue jeans and is shirtless.
"Robbie, have you seen my Club Cosmic shirt?"
"It's not with your stuff?"
"It's not here. I also looked all over my house this morning and couldn't find it."
"Get another one when we get up there."

         Roland goes back down the hall the guest bathroom.

"Robbie, is it just me or is Roland getting fatter?" asked Ryan.
"What a horrible thing to say about your friend."
"You're not worried about his health? That makes you a bad friend."
"It's not my place to say anything. Besides haven't you noticed? Roland's weight always goes up and down."

         Ryan goes down the hall to the guest bedroom. Roland comes back out to the family room. He has put on a New York Giants T-Shirt and a pair of flip-fops. His bleached blonde hair is now spiked.

"Robbie, I got a text from Larry Sweeney."
"How is he? I haven't seen him at the club in a while."
"Five of his coworkers got fired because of a heroin overdose death."
"He wasn't one of them was he?"
"No, Robbie. You may think he has many flaws, but he doesn't mess with that heroin shit."
"I believe you. You know him better than I do."
"Whatever they were doing involved an employee of The Liquor Emporium. When he fell unconscious they just left him there to die."
"They left him there to die? That's completely fucked up. Who found the body?"
"Val, the owner of the liquor store found the body when she went to the store at 5AM to do inventory before the store opened. She checked the surveillance cameras."
"I know Val. She worked with Greg and me at Shaw's. When they closed she used money she had saved to buy the liquor store."
"Larry will be up at the club around 8:30. He's working til 7."

         Ryan comes back to the family room. He has changed into a Yankees T-Shirt. Robbie puts a Giants hat on. The three friends walk outside and get into the SUV. It was just after six when they arrived at Club Cosmic. Robbie parks next to a white Jeep Patriot. From the center console Robbie takes out a plastic bag containing three blunts. He takes one and gives the bag to Ryan. He takes one and gives the bag to Roland, who shrugs it off. Robbie puts the extra blunt behind his ear. He takes a lighter and lights his blunt and takes a hit. He coughs and passes the lighter to Ryan, who lit his blunt. He takes a hit and coughs.

"I'll see you guys inside," said Roland as he gets out of the SUV. He walks up the stairs and into the club.

         Robbie takes a second hit coughs and said "Can you believe five people at Stop and Shop got fired after an overdose death?"
"Yeah, I saw that on Facebook. That's shit you don't mess with." He takes a second hit and coughs.

         Five minutes later they had finished smoking their blunts and walked into the club. Wendy, the owner stands behind the bar.

"Hey Robbie. Hey Ryan."
"Hey Ms. Swanson. Where's Roland?"
"I put him to work in the kitchen tonight."
"Cool. Can you send a triple bacon cheese burger, large order of onion rings, and a pitcher of Mountain Dew up to the DJ booth?"
"Sure Anything else?"
"That's it for now."

         Robbie and Ryan walk across the dance floor to the DJ booth. Robbie takes a can of body spray out of a drawer and sprays himself with it. He gives the can to Ryan who does the same to himself. He puts the spray back in the drawer and sits on a stool in the corner of the DJ booth. Robbie flips some switches turning on the equipment. He logs onto the laptop that contains the music library. He opens up the DJ program, clicks on a folder labeled Sixties Music. He clicks play and A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles began playing.

"Kyle texted me. We're going out for Thanksgiving tomorrow with our sister."
"Cool. Where you guys going?"
"He didn't say."

         Robbie sits in a chair and moves it away from the laptop. Roland comes up to the DJ Booth carrying a tray with Robbie's food and pitcher of soda. He sets it on the counter next to the laptop.

"Thanks, Roland."
"No problem, Robbie." He leaves the DJ booth.

         Robbie opens a cabinet and takes out a red solo cup. He pours some soda into the cup and takes a sip. He cuts the burger into four pieces. He picks up a piece takes a bite, and is instantly reminded why he will never get his abs back.

"That is so good. Help yourself to a piece."

         Ryan takes a piece of burger. He takes a bite. "Thanks Robbie. I was going to get my own food later."

         Through the window of the DJ booth Robbie notices Adam Dutkiewicz walking across the dance floor towards the DJ booth. He wears white shorts, a light blue T-Shirt, a New York Giants hat, and grey sneakers. He enters the DJ booth.

"DJ Robbie," says Adam.
"Adam Dutkiewicz, what's poppin' bro?"
"I saw on Facebook that you were DJing here and I had to come see you in person. I was coming to Connecticut anyway. Then I got a call from my manager as I was driving here. As of Monday I'm the new full-time CDH at the Pine Street Stop and Shop!"
"That's terrific! I know you mentioned you wanted to return to Connecticut some day. That's a decent store. My friend Larry is a full-time Produce clerk there."
"There was a major shake up there. Five people got fired. Something about an overdose death."
"Yes, very sad situation. Do the crime, do the time."
"Damn straight. I plan on whipping that store into shape."
"Good luck with your new venture, bro. We'll get together soon."
"Either of you guys want a beer?"
"Not right now."
"I'll pass," said Ryan.

         Adam leaves the DJ booth and sees Kandi the bartender setting up a table for the raffle prizes.
"Hey beautiful."
"Hey yourself.
"It's my first time here, but I've known DJ Robbie for years. Is there a way I can buy him a beer even though he doesn't want one right now?"
"There sure is. Come with me handsome."

         Back in the DJ booth Robbie sips his soda and eats his food. He sets the basket of onion rings aside and says "Ryan, you can finish these. I'm not as hungry as I thought I was." Adam comes back to the DJ booth. He gives Robbie a poker chip.

"The bartender said to give to you, so you can get your beer later."
"Thanks, Adam."
"When does the party start?"
"Eight."

         Robbie finishes his burger and takes a couple sips of soda. He glances at his watch. It was a quarter after seven. A small crowd entered the club. He wipes his hands on a damp towel, and brings up the song list on the laptop. He clicks play and The Fox by Ylvis begins playing.

"Robbie, I love this song. It's so hilarious," said Adam.
"I know, right?"

         The song begins to wind down. Robbie grabs the microphone and turns it on.

"It's DJ Robbie! Welcome to The Club Cosmic Thanksgiving Eve Party. Make sure you buy a raffle ticket for your chance to win some awesome prizes. Two tickets for two dollars or ten for eight dollars. We've got awesome food and drink specials and off the hook music til Midnight. If there is a song you want to hear come up to the DJ booth and let me or Ryan know. Now enjoy The Black Eyed Peas."

         Robbie clicks play on the laptop and The time begins playing.

         Four hours pass. It has been an incredibly busy evening. Adam left at a quarter to eleven. Good Vibrartions by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch begins winding down. Robbie turns on the mic.

"Wasn't that some kickin' throwback hip-hop? It's the Club Cosmic Thanksgiving Eve Party. I've got one final raffle prize to give away." He reaches into a can and takes out a ticket. "And the winner of two tickets to next week's Giants-Cowboys game at Metlife Stadium is Eddie Lopez." The crowed cheers loudly. "Eddie, go see Wendy at the bar to claim your prize. We've got about thirty minutes left tonight and it's going to be straight fire! Oh yeah!"

         Robbie clicks play on the laptop and Diamond Girl by Nice and Wild begins playing. The crowd cheers and he switches off the mic.

"Ryan, we're doing a freestyle mix now, so when this song ends play another from the freestyle category. I'll be back in a few."

         Robbie leaves the DJ booth and makes his way through the crowded dance floor. He reaches the bar, where Greg Peterson was standing. He wears jeans, a New York Giants jersey and hat, and sneakers. They fist bump.

"Sup Greg? Having a good time?"
"Yeah for now. I'll tell you more in a little bit."
"I'm going out for a smoke. You wanna come with?:
"I'm down with that."

         The two friends walk outside and get into Robbie's GMC Terrain. Robbie takes the blunt from behind his ear. He lights it, takes a hit, coughs, and passes it to Greg. He takes a hit coughs, and passes it back to Robbie.

"Lana and I are getting divorced," said Greg.
"Really?"
"Yeah. She says we don't spend enough time together and she doesn't like me smoking weed."
Robbie takes another hit coughs and says "You've been smoking weed since high school and you went on a couple dates back then, so it shouldn't be a surprise that you smoke." He pass the blunt back to Greg.
Greg takes another hit coughs and says "I smoke weed a couple times a week. She has the nerve to tell me we don't spend time together when she spends upwards of fourteen hours a day at that damn cupcake shop! When Corrina said she wasn't interested in the cupcake shop anymore she should've closed it instead of turning it over to her sister. I work 7AM-4PM as the manager of the supermarket. I make eighty Gs a year. I'm doing well for myself at twenty-eight years old." He takes another hit, coughs, and passes it back to Robbie.
Robbie takes another hit coughs and says "At least you didn't wind up married to Annabelle. She has been married and divorced twice. He takes a final hit and coughs. The blunt is finished.
"That's true. Seems like I dodged a bullet there."
"Did you see Adam Dutkiewicz earlier?"
"No, I missed him. How's he's doing?"
"Starting Monday he's working at the Pine Street Stop and Shop as a full-time CDH."
"That's cool."
"You, Ryan, and Roland want to join me at Denny's after this?"
"I'm down."

         They get out of the SUV and walk back into the club. Maria by TKA is playing. Greg sits at the bar. Robbie goes back to the DJ booth. Ryan stands in front of the laptop.

"We're going to Denny's with Greg after this."
"Cool."

         Friday the day after Thanksgiving is slow at The Marketplace. It's ten minutes to One. Robbie and Roland sit in their office. They both wear special green T-Shirts that read The Marketplace Supermarket - Voted Best Supermarket in New Britain.

"The Freestyle Mix at the club Wednesday night was a surprise," said Roland.
"Glad you liked it. I got a lot of positive feedback about it on Facebook.
"The throwback hip-hop mix was good, but what was that weird sounding Reggae song?"
"Which one?"
"The one with the lyrics that went Kill 'em with the hit.
"Heads High by Mr. Vegas. Truthfully I don't like it either."
"Then why did you play it?"
"It was a request."
"Who the hell requested that?"
"Some fat White dude with glasses and a sideways Yankees hat trying to act all thug."
"What do you have against fat White dudes with glasses?" asked Roland as he took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
"Nothing. Speaking of which, you never said why you're wearing glasses anyway. I was surprised when I saw you on Wednesday."
"I dropped my contacts into the toilet when I was getting ready for work Wednesday. Anyway, I'm going on break."

         Roland leaves the office. Robbie rubs his own eyes and leaves the office. He walk over to the podium. He takes a sip of water from his New York Giants tumbler. A young man dressed in blue jeans, a green hoodie, and sneakers approaches Robbie. He's about six-two and two hundred seventy-five pounds. He wears glasses and has an earring in each ear. His hair is shaved off.

"Are you Robbie?"
"Yes."
"I'm Danny Bickford, the new Cart Guy." He extends his hand.

Robbie shakes his hand and says "Nice to meet you, Danny. Put on an orange safety vest and head out to the parking lot. Make sure you don't hit any cars. When the vestibule is full of carts line up the extras on the sidewalk. Any questions?"
"Yes, but not about the job. Didn't I see you DJing at Club Cosmic Wednesday Night?"
"You did. That's my side gig."
"Cool. Do you remember me? I was the guy who requested Heads High.
"Yes. Very weird song."

         Danny goes outside to begin rounding up the shopping carts. Robbie walks to the food court, where Roland is sitting at a table, eating from a bag of popcorn chicken. An open bottle of chocolate milk sits on the table.

"That's gross, bro."
"What?"
"Popcorn chicken and chocolate milk."
"So, what's up?"
"Remember just before you went on break we were discussing that guy who requested Heads High?
"Of course."
"He's here now and he's our new cart guy. His name is Danny Bickford."
"He's our new cart guy?" Roland repeated.
"Yeah."
"How'd he find you at Club Cosmic?"
"He must've looked me up on Facebook."
"Sounds a little stalkerish to me."
"You didn't look me up on Facebook before you started working here?"
"No. I didn't look you up until I worked here a while and got to know you."
"If you say so. I've gotta get back to the Front End."

         At four, Robbie clocks out at the time clock and walks out of the store. As he approaches his SUV, Danny is pushing a row of shopping carts.

"Bye, Danny."
"You working at Club Cosmic tonight?"
"Yeah."
"If I can get a ride, I'll see you up there. I promise not to request anything weird."
"If you need a ride, I might be able to give you one. Where do you live?"
"Southington."
"I live there too. Up near the high school. Can you meet me at the Days Inn at six?"
"I'll there."
"Great. See you then."
"Thanks, Robbie."

         Robbie gets into SUV and drives home. When he arrives, Ryan's Honda Civic is parked in the driveway. Inside Ryan is asleep on the couch and the TV is tuned to a 2 Broke Girls binge-a-thon. on TBS He's barefoot and wears black basketball shorts and a New York Giants T-Shirt. Robbie sits on the recliner and takes off his work boots.

"How was work, Robbie?"
"Quiet. I'm surprised to see you asleep on my couch."
"I wanted you to see me as soon as you got home. I need to ask you something."
"What's on your mind?"
"Charlene kicked Kyle and me out. I was wondering if I can crash here for a while. Kyle is staying with Larry Sweeney, who ironically caused this problem."
"Stay here as long as you need to, bro. That's what friends are for. What did Larry do now?"
"Charlene asked him not to smoke weed in the house and he blatantly disobeyed her. She threw Kyle and me out because we invited him over."
"What a fucking, brat. Anyway I'll be in the shower."

         When Robbie came out of the shower he had on an Eli Manning New York Giants jersey, blue jeans, and white socks. He sits on the recliner and puts his boots on.

"Am I giving you a ride to the club?"
"I'll drive myself. I want to stop by my house and get some of my things."
"See you up there. Don't do anything to get yourself arrested."

         Robbie grabs his Giants hat off the door knob, puts it on, an walks outside. It's at three minute drive to The Day Inn. He parks the Terrain near the the Laning Street entrance to the motel. It's 5:55PM. He takes a bag out of the center console and takes out a joint. He lights it and takes a hit. Then he coughs. He takes a second hit and coughs again. He then takes a third and coughs again. Danny comes walking across the parking lot and gets in the SUV..

"Hey Robbie."
"He Danny." He takes a forth hit and coughs. "Do you want a hit?"
"No, I'm good. I haven't smoked in seven years."
"Let me know if you ever want to." He takes a fifth and final hit.
"Maybe," said Danny sheepishly.

         Robbie makes a left out of the motel parking lot and then a right onto Queen Street.

"Your're a Giants fan too?" asks Danny.
"All my life, bro. There's a bunch of us at the store who like Giants football and Yankees baseball - Roland, Ryan, Kyle, Greg, and myself."
"I met Roland today and of course Greg hired me. Who are Ryan and Kyle?"
"Ryan is an Assistant Customer Service Manager and Kyle is his twin brother."
"Cool. Can you tell them apart?"
"Truthfully, after four years of working together and being friends - no. They like to take advantage of that. A lot of times they when they're not at work and we're hanging out together they will dress similarly just to confuse me."
"How long have you been working at The Marketplace?"
"Since it opened four years ago. Before that I was at the Bristol Shaw's."
"I've been around the block a few times. I worked at the Shaw's in Waterbury for a few years until they closed. Then I worked at the Waterbury Price Chopper until they closed and were bought by ShopRite. Price Chopper offered me a transfer to their Berlin Turnpike store, but it's to far. Then I worked at Walmart in Southington. Got fired from there and then worked at the ShopRite in Southington stayed there until one day I got fed up and walked out."
"Wow. I just met you today, but you seem like a nice guy and not the type to do something to get fired."
"My boss Patty had it in for me and a few others. It was a bullshit reason that I got fired - something I should've just gotten written up and suspended for. Then she fired this girl Renee because she missed work three weeks straight. I know what you're thinking - that someone like that is a bad worker and she deserved to get fired, but the reason she missed so much work is because she's a single mother and one of her daughters got really sick and was in the hospital. Her daughter almost died."
"That sounds so fucked up, but I wouldn't put it past any company (except for ours) to do something like that. Especially after what KMART did to Roland."
"What happened to Roland?"
"His fiance, also worked at KMART died in a motorcycle crash about six weeks before their wedding. They wouldn't give him bereavement time because he wasn't part of her family. Seriously? They were six weeks from being married and they told him he wasn't her family. So he told them off and quit."

         The first Sunday in January was unseasonably warm. It got up to a high of sixty. It was six p.m. when Robbie walked into The Marketplace. He was dressed in baggy black jeans, a dark green T-shirt with a Derek Jeter jersey over it, his work boots, and his Yankees hat at a slight angle. Just by looking at him you could tell he was stoned. The store wasn't overly busy. Four registers were open. Roland was bagging at one of them. Robbie walks over to him and they fist bump.

"What's up my dude?"
"Not much. Not long after you went home, Jon Gleason caught a shoplifter."
"Jon's the man."
"What do you have going on tonight?"
"Danny and I are going to Denny's."
"I think he's a good worker."
"Yeah, he is. By the way, thanks for coming in tonight on your day off."
"No problem. Have a good time."

         Robbie walks down to the HABA aisle and grabs Visine off the shelf. He carries it to the checkout and gets in line. The female cashier looks at Robbie. Then she looks at the Visine. She does this two more times. She rings up the Visine .

"I thought you a good guy Robbie," but I guess I was wrong.

         Robbie takes out his wallet and hands her a five. She gives him back a quarter and his receipt. He takes the Visine along with the receipt and goes into his office and closes the door. Roland sits at his desk.

"You should've heard what Cassie said to me as I was going through her line," said Robbie as he puts a couple drops of Visine into each eye.
"What did she say?"
"When she saw how I looked and that I was buying Visine she said I thought you were a good guy, Robbie, but I guess I was wrong.."
"That was rude of her. What are you going to do about it?"
"Figure out someway to get her fired."
"And what about how you look? I didn't notice anything about your appearance."
"I guess I look stoned."
"I guess I've seen you stoned so many times I don't even notice anymore."
"I've gotta page Danny."

         Robbie walks out of the office. He picks up the phone and presses page
"Danny Bickford to the front end please. Danny Bickford to the Front End please."
         Robbie hangs up the phone. Soon Danny came to the Front End. He had on blue jeans, a green hoodie, sneakers, and a Yankees hat. He carries a plastic bag.

"Hey, Danny. I was wondering what happened to you."
"Sorry, bro. I had to change my shirt."

         They walk out of the store and cross the parking lot. Robbie takes his key fob out. His Camaro is parked in the middle of nowhere. They get into the car. Robbie starts it and revs the engine. Robbie pulls out of the parking lot, making a left onto North Mountain Road and then a quick right onto West Main Street.

"This is a cool ride, Robbie."
"Thanks."
"Can I drive it?"
"Do you have a license?"
"Yeah."
"Maybe later, bro."

         Robbie turns on the radio to the AM Oldies station. Ten minutes later Robbie made a left into the parking lot of Denny's. He parks the Camaro. He and Danny get out of the car and walk into the restaurant. They are seated immediately and Robbie is relieved that he doesn't see Annabelle anywhere. Each of them open a menu. A waiter approached the table.

"Hi guys. Welcome to Denny's. Can I get you something to drink?"
"I'll take a Sprite," said Danny.
"Same," said Robbie.

         The waiter leaves their table. Robbie and Danny continue to study the menu. A moment later the waiter returned with the sodas. He puts them on the table.

"Are you guys ready to order?"
"Yeah. I'll have a Slamburger and for my side I want seasoned fries," said Danny.
"I'll have the Moons Over My Hammy," said Robbie. "I also want an order of Zesty Nachos."
"No problem guys."

         The waiter leaves the table.

"Danny, after this want to come over and watch football?"
"Sure."

         Forty-five minutes they were done eating. Danny gave Robbie $20 towards his meal. Robbie puts the $20 in his wallet. They get up and walk to the cashier stand. He gives the bill and his debit card to the cashier. He rings up the order and swipes the card. He hands the credit card and receipt to Robbie. He signs his name.

"Have a good night guys."
"You too," said Robbie.

          Robbie and Danny leave the restaurant. They get into the Camaro. Robbie starts it. He makes a left onto Queen Street and then a left onto Laning Street. Two minutes later Robbie pulls into his driveway, parking the Camaro next to the Terrain. Robbie takes his stash of weed out of the center console. He gives the $20 back to Danny.

"Danny, go to the store and get some snacks. I'm going to let you drive the Camaro."
"Cool. Thanks, Robbie."
"Be careful."
"I will."

         They both get out of the car. Danny gets in the driver's seat. He adjusts the seat and the mirrors. He backs out of the driveway and takes off down Pleasant Street. Robbie goes inside his house. He puts the extra weed in a drawer in the kitchen. He then goes into the family room and turns the TV to NBC 30. He sits on the recliner and reclines.Twenty minutes later his cellphone rings. He checks the caller ID and answers it.

"What's up Adam?"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Why?"
"A Camaro just like yours was involved in a bad accident here in the Stop and Shop parking lot!"
"I let my friend Danny borrow the Camaro."
"Oh-no! What does Danny look like?"
"He's overweight and tonight he's wearing a green hoodie and a Yankees hat."
"Shit! That's him, Robbie! Holy shit!"
"What the hell is going on, Adam?"
"I came outside to smoke a bowl. I see two cop cars and an ambulance in the parking lot. Then I see the Camaro upside down."
"How's Danny?"
"I think he's dead."
"What?"
"Yeah. They pulled him out of the car. They put him on a gurney and they covered him up completely with a blanket."
"Shit!"
"The cops are going to be contacting you."
"Tell them, I'm on my way."
"Okay, Robbie."

         Robbie decides to quickly change his appearance before going down to Stop and Shop to talk to the police. He takes off his hat and Jersey. He takes his earrings out of his ears and takes off his boots. He goes to his bedroom and takes a pair of white sneakers out of the closet and puts them on. He takes a comb, dampens it, and combs his hair. As a precaution he puts two more drops of Visine in each of his eyes. He leaves the bottle on top of his dresser. He grabs the can of body spray and sprays himself with it. He goes down the hall and walks outside. He gets in the Terrain and takes off down Pleasant Street.
          Ten minutes later Robbie's pulling into the parking lot of Stop and Shop on Pine Street in Bristol. He parks by the gas station. He walks the length of the sidewalk that runs in front of the store to the accident scene. There is a cop standing on the sidewalk near the bottle redemption room. Robbie sees the name on the officer's uniform says Hernandez.
"Excuse me, Officer Hernandez?"
"Yes?"
"My name is Robert Mullens. I own the Camaro."
"How are you acquainted with the deceased who was driving the Camaro? His driver's license says his name is Daniel Bickford."
"We're friends and co-workers."
"Did he have anything to drink tonight or do any drugs?"
"Not that I'm aware of. We had dinner at Denny's on Queen Street in Southington. Then I let him drive me back to my house and then I told him to go get some snacks for the football game."
"So he had permission to drive your car."
"Yes, sir, officer."
"Was there anything wrong with the car mechanically?"
"No, sir."
"That's it I have for you."
"All right."
"Wait a minute. Robert Mullens. That's not really your name is it? No. It's Robbie. We went to high school together. Jimmy Hernandez!"
"Holy cow! Jimmy Hernandez! You know my legal name is Robert. Anyway. How have you been? When did you become a cop?"
"Eighteen months ago after Teresa died. I needed a legit job to support my daughter."
"Teresa Lopez died?"
"Yeah. In that arson fire at the Day's Inn in Rhode Island."
"No kidding. I remember that fire. Sorry for your loss."
"Thanks. Look, Robbie take care of yourself. Life's too short."
"Sure, bro."

         Robbie goes inside the store. Adam is sorting returns.

"Adam, one of those cops out there went to high school with us."
"Who?"
"Jimmy Hernandez."
"Jimmy Hernandez is a cop? That's hilarious."
"Strange, but true."
"He was one of the biggest drug dealers at our school."
"People change, bro. He had to get a legit job to support his daughter after his girlfriend died."
"What happened to his girlfriend?"
"She died in that big arson fire at the Days Inn in Rhode Island eighteen months ago."
"Damn."
"I'm going to head home. I've got to process all this. If you want feel free to drop by after you get out. I'm not going to be able to sleep anyway.
"Sure thing Robbie. Be careful and safe."
"I will bro."

The End.





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