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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2158479
Rated: GC · Fiction · Crime/Gangster · #2158479
Several related short stories in Second Person POV. 2nd puts the reader into the story.
These related stories are an experiment in Second Person POV.
It is very graphic. Second Person attempts to put the reader right into the story.
-----------------------

You wake to a horrible stench, opening your eyes to the remains of a black sock rubbing your chin. By dim but harsh lighting, you see it was originally white, now showing black skin through a large hole in the ankle.

"Cough!" Ah, that felt good, bringing on a half-dozen more followed by a pint of stale alcohol mixed with stomach acid.

Shoving the offending appendage away, you swing your head from the pool of vomit, trying to string thoughts together into a cohesive image. "Damn!" and a, "Mother."

You see a ceiling. No. Not a ceiling. A grillwork of heavy bars above your head. Gotta get up. You place both hands against a cool concrete floor, one in another pool of puke you hope at least is your own, and jerk upright.

Yep. The drunk tank in the Pleasentville Jail. You recognize patterns of graffiti on a wall. You've been here several times before. As your head fights for equilibrium, you feel a rumbling in your stomach, remembering they serve a pretty decent breakfast before releasing you.

At least you hope you're to be released. Sure you will, you think. If you were in for anything serious you'd be in a two-man cell.

Of course you don't remember last night, at least not after ... no. That was last week. What the hell did you do last night? Dunno.

Ah. A portion comes back. You were at the "Drop In a Bit" last night. Yep. That redhead. Yep.

Getting to shaky legs, you stagger more than walk across comatose bodies to drop onto a metal toilet with no lid. It's the only place to sit except the filthy floor.

In the distance, between echoing clangs as metal doors are slammed, along with half-heard shouts reverberating against concrete walls, you hear a radio.

"A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows o'er lullaby bay.
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the key."

You can't help a smile. Sure, and I missed my fucking boat.

Pepper. Yep. Pepper. That's her name. Pepper, like in "salt and." You remember. Pepper.

Strange. You weren't all that drunk last night. She must'a slipped you a mickey.

"The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain.
Wave good-bye to cares of the day. "

And not your fucking mouse, Disney. In my drink, mouse.

"And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from lullaby bay."

Bitch. Wait'll I get out. I'll sink your fucking boat. Must'a slipped the mickey in that third drink, a one what tasted funny, like.

You shake your head. Not chloral hydrate. No after-taste with that, and no headache this morning. Somethin'.

The staccato sound of wood on iron bars breaks your introspection.

"All right, you drunken bastards ... on your feet."

It's a small skinny cop. As you watch, he unlocks the door with a large metal key. Reminds you of Barney Fife. The little guy has a hard time swinging it open. "When I call your name, step out here. You're going home to the wife ... if she'll have your sorry ass."

It takes a while, but all but two of the prisoners manage to stand. You step over the others on your way out. Nobody thinks of helping the drunken bastards. Let the fuckers sleep. Three others aren't called. They must be in for more serious offenses. At night, no matter what the charge -- short of extreme violence -- if you're drunk you're likely to go in the "tank" to sober up. It's easier than hosing piss and vomit out of two cells. You should know. You were once a cop.

Breakfast is alright. You eat at a long table, one of three in a large room. It reminds you of an army mess hall. Just as cheap, too. Powdered eggs, two -- not three -- strips of burnt bacon, toast and coffee in a tin cup.

There are three choices when drinking from a tin cup. You can wait for it to cool, add cold water, or drink it like a man, ignoring a burnt lip. You add water from a jug on the line.

After that, you're taken to the desk and given a bag of possessions. Your's contains a wallet but -- surprise -- no money. Pepper, Pepper, Pepper. Bad girl, Pepper. I'll find you, Pepper.

"And your boat waits down by the key.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea."

When I do, Pepper, your troubles will be beginning.

***

After going home to clean up, you go back to the hotel, knowing she won't be there and that they never heard of her.

She made two mistakes last night. First, you were found in an alley a block away. She's too small to carry a guy like you that far. Also, the night clerk greeted her by name. Not only that, but asked her about her kids. Of course he didn't want you waking up at the hotel. These short-time hotels don't like cops around. Angry drunks attract more fuzz than a vacuum cleaner.

There's another guy at the desk. A fat turd watching tv.

"It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the key.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea. "

That same song again. It must be the big hit of '68 or something.

"I was rolled here last night," you tell him. "I need a name."

"Get lost. I wasn't working last night."

"No shit. I need a name."

"They come and go. I don't ask for names. They pay by the half-hour."

You reach over the counter, clicking the television off.

"What'a hell." He tries to jump to his feet but it's like moving a mountain of suet with a teaspoon, slow and ponderous. As his head rises above the counter, you grab his collar and slam a fat chin against the edge.

"Then, an address."

"Lemme go, asshole. How'm I gonna know any fuckin' address? For Christ sake, I don't even know her name."

You pull his chin closer, tweaking that fat nose with the index finger of your other hand. "Not hers, his. The night clerk."

"I can't give you that. Company poli--"

"You wanna clean blood, yours, off'a this floor? A name. Ain't your ass ... or is it?"

"Yeah, yeah. Leggo so's I can get it."

When he gets and writes it down for you, you drop a double-sawbuck on the counter.

"This ain't for the name. This, this is so you don't get antsy and call him. You do, an I find out, I'll be back ... and I'll be packing." You pull your aloha shirttail up, showing him the butt of a .38 Police Special. The holster sports an embossed picture of a badge.

"You a cop? Why the fuck you didn't say so?"

"Why the fuck didn't you ask?"

Let him believe what he wants to believe. The idiot. It's your old service revolver. You bought it with your own money and didn't turn it in when you quit. The holster was stolen, but fuck them.

***

Getting out of a taxi a couple blocks from that fucking clerk's address, you walk the difference. Things go wrong, you've learned long ago not to leave trails. It's second nature, done without thought.

A cheap residential area, you cautiously pass a gang'a teens. Careful, you think, no eye contact. As when in jail, eye contact means one of two things, you want sex or you want to fight. No eye contact. You ignore them, walking quickly and firmly along the outer edge of a cracked sidewalk and ignoring pleas for cash. "Man, ya got a buck'a two ta spare, man?" And, "cheap asshole, ain't he?"

The building's old, covered with a simulated-brick facade, popular in the fifties. Your parents fell for the con. "See," the salesman said, "We'll give you a really good rate for the work. Then, whenever anyone else on this street sees how wonderful it looks, you refer them to us and get $1,000 cash, instantly." Course, several other homeowners bought it the same fucking time we did and we got diddly-shit.

No lock on the front entrance. You go in to find the bottom floor has been cut into small cubes mixed with narrow walkways. The partitions stop three feet from the ceiling. You, being tall enough to look over the tops, see they're each about seven-feet-square inside. Stairs in the rear lead upstairs. Prolly the same up there. A warehouse for lost souls.

You see an old white-haired Asian in one of the first small rooms, door open, sitting in his underwear and watching a tiny tv. The television, a narrow bed, a few cardboard boxes and a small table are all you can see inside. As he turns, you can't miss a wizened pecker peeking from a hole in dirty jockey shorts. "Hey!" you ask, "where can I find this Adam James?"

"Him? Jamesy? Room 15, left rear. He's probably asleep, though. Worked last night."

"Prolly is."

Thank God, you think, the rooms are mostly numbered, a few with plastic digits, some with a magic marker.

You don't bother knocking. There's no knob on the door, only a handle like on a cupboard. You grab it with one hand, the top of the door with the other and yank. With a screeching and shaking of plywood, a cheap sliding bolt comes loose and the door jerks open.

The hotel clerk is in there, eyes open in fear as he sees you standing, hovering over him. There's also a very young fluff, maybe fifteen, half on top of the bastard. Her dark ass reminds you of a pair of tacos waiting for that first delicious bite.

"Hit the road, senorita," you say, grabbing a taco and pulling the entire meal onto the floor. "I gotta bone ta pick with lover-boy, here." When she hesitates, looking back at her lover, you growl, "Beat it, honey, and I do mean now."

"Now look here, man. What'a hell you think--"

A slap across his face shuts him up.

"The girl. Pepper. Where the fuck she live?"

"How the hell should I know?"

Again, you show your holstered weapon. Shit, how people see that simulated badge and think, "Cop!" Nothing illegal at all. You have a carry permit and don't actually say you're a policeman. "An inquiring mind would like to know."

"So? You ain't got nothin' on me. Fuck off."

"What about little Chiquita, there. Her momma know she's sleeping around?"

"Fucker. You can try the 3,000 block of Elm. On'a corner."

"Be more specific, uh?"

"I dunno, really don't. I drove her home a couple times, never been inside. Her, two kids, no man at I knows of."

You grab the bastard by the throat, almost rubbing noses like'a Eskimos. "Go find your little Mex breakfast, if you can. Don't, whatever you fucking do, even think of calling Pepper."

Seeing fear in tearing rapidly-shifting eyes, you drop him onto the bed and leave.

***

3201 Elm. Just your luck. A four-story walk-up and guess which floor is hers? Cheap bitch.

As you tromp onto the landing, you hear a radio playing through an open doorway. There's a kid sitting outside on a bare wooden floor, playing with cardboard soldiers.

"...your boat waits down by the key.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain.
Wave good-bye to cares of the day.
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from lullaby bay."

That damned song again. You're getting sick of hearing it. Brushing past the kid, you go in. A six or seven-year-old girl's in there, coloring in a book. You reach over and snap the radio off.

"Where's your mama?"

The kid doesn't even look up. She's probably used to seeing strange men around. A hand raises and she points. "Bedroom. I gotta go, huh?"

"Yeah." You peel a few ones off your roll and hand them over. "Take in a movie, kid. And take your brother."

You watch until they're out of sight down the stairwell before going back in, then closing and locking the door with a slide-bolt.

There's a woman sleeping in the bedroom. Her head's half under the pillow, so you grab her by the hair and turn it. It's Pepper. Her eyes bug out at seeing you.

"You." Not very original. "What you want?"

"My money."

"Jesus Christ. How the hell you find me?"

You grab a dirty-gray blanket and pull it off, giving yourself a cheap porno shot of her in pink panties.

"The money," you repeat. "Only the money."

"In the dresser. Top drawer. You ain't gonna beat me, are you? I got kids to feed."

"No. All I want is the cash. Now get up and get it."

"All right. Just don't hit me. I ain't got any other way to pay the rent and all three of us gotta eat."

She pulls out a drawer, reaches in and comes out with a metal box. You see it's half-full of cash, much more than was stolen from you."

As she starts counting it out, you reach over and grab the box. The entire contents go into your pocket.

"You bast--" Screaming like a banshee, she comes at you, only to be bitch-slapped into a wall. Shaking her head, she comes back for more, getting it in the form of a fist in the gut. Folding over, she slumps to the floor, crying. "Please. Leave me something. For the kids."

"Tough shit," you tell her, walking out of the room. On the second-floor landing, you hear music.

A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows o'er lullaby bay.
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the key.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--

"Keep on dreaming, baby." You shake your head.

The End.

"Hushabye Mountain," song by
Robert and Richard Sherman

-------------------
A continuation of my second person story of a man robbed by a hooker tracking her down and revenging himself. "Tough Shit, Pepper."
----------------------------

Pepper the whore taken care of, you check your watch. Damn. Only a couple hours before you have to be at work. Enough time for a meal.

Grabbing a cab, you settle into the backseat. "Sixth and Main."

A hard night and still hungover, you nod off for a few minutes. When you wake, you find a fucking cow pasture zipping by between poles. "What'a hell," you shout, "we doin' here?"

"Shortcut," the driver explains.

"Bullshit." You look over his shoulder at the meter. Seven-plus miles. It's a two mile trip. It's your city. You know the streets well.

You grab the bastard around the neck, using one hand. Your other shoves a corner of your Zippo lighter against the back of his head. "Guess what, cocksucker. You better hit that meter. You're taking me there for free. Aren't you?"

He says nothing but you can feel him quivering. He turns left at the next corner, you sitting back, hoping he's not too nervous to drive.

A half-block from the diner, you tell him to, "Pull over," and get out.

"Thanks for nothing," you mutter.

As you walk, you hear tires squealing and see a gray streak as the taxi spins out of sight.

"Bastards."

As always, you stand back, looking through the front windows of the eatery before going in. Nothing but tourist and worker types. Nobody seems to be looking around, as if for someone. No eyes shifting right to left, or the reverse. No one sitting slumped over coffee, hats pulled down. No cops in civies. Good.

Going inside, you take your regular corner booth near the left-end exit. Expecting you, Max has stacked a couple of empty boxes on it to keep customers away. No need. Plenty of empty seats around.

You nod at Max, the owner, standing behind the counter, itself extending most of the length of the narrow diner. He points upward, over his head, at the daily special and you nod. Swiss steak. Better than yesterday's stew, a composite called refrigerator stew including any leftovers from the week before. It's Max's way of cleaning out his icebox.

A few minutes later, he comes over with a tray containing your meal, gravy sloshed from the meal to a saucer containing a couple slices of bread.

"I'll get you more bread," he says.

"Don't bother." You smile, in familiar territory. You know that in case of trouble the ex-marine stores a sawed-off under the counter. You gave it to him. Taken off a clumsy mugger.

"Jimmy was here, looking for you."

"Jimmy talks too fucking much."

"That he does."

As you eat, you casually keep an eye on other customers, subconsciously trying to tell if they're doing the same with you. You recognize most of them. Several factories in the neighborhood, the same workers routinely eating there.

A couple of teens sit in one booth, eyes on each other. They wouldn't see you if you were on fire.

It's one of the few places you can relax. Except, possibly, for that one last time. The time you want to avoid.

Finished, you stand and nod at Max. No need to pay. He has you on a tab. You leave by the side door, hearing it slam behind you.

Down an alley and over two blocks brings you to an abandoned house, boarded up with plywood over windows and doors. The panel on a side door is on hidden hinges. After looking around you go in.

"Twinkie? It's me." The words echo through empty rooms, bouncing back at you. You wait.

"Come on in," comes from a side room.

Twinkie, all simpering six-foot-six 230 lbs of pure muscular homosexual, is lying on a ratty couch, watching tv. Seeing you, he snaps it off.

"Johnny and Simms brought the shit in last night," he says. "I admit, I'm nervous as hell having it around."

"When's it going down?"

"Buyers are due across the street at three. Pete's outside watching for them. After they been there a while, sure it's safe with no surprises lurking, he'll bring them here." He stands, stretching to rub both hands across the ceiling. "Joe's up with the product."

"He gonna be in'na wall with me?"

"Yeah. Least Pete will. Soon's he lets them in." He waves hands, indicating both sides of the room. "One'a you on each side.

You make small-talk with Twinkie for a few minutes, then go into another room, the one on the left of Twinkie's.

One reason for the empty house is that there are firing ports in three of the walls leading into the selling room. The buyers will know that one or more of those holes shields a man with a gun, but not which one or how many. That arrangement certainly keeps hijacking down. In this case it will be you and Pete.

You're still carrying your old SW Police Special, but don't want to use it unless necessary. The ballistics can be traced back to your cop job. Instead, you find a Mini-Uzi lying on a table, along with thin-plastic surgical gloves. Putting them on, you light a cigarette and go over to the firing port to wait.

"Shit." You smell burning plastic as the coal gets too close to a finger. Christ. You can't help being a little nervous. But it pays well, which is what counts.

A cellphone buzzes. Twinkie answers, listens a minute and calls out, "They's coming. I'll tell Pete to bring at shit down."

The Uzi's greasy cold metal is hard to hold onto with these gloves. You mentally curse yourself for not noticing earlier. Small and light, that 9mm has a good enough kick on auto without taking a chance of it slipping out of your hands at a crucial moment. You look around, not finding any rags in the room. Newspapers in a corner won't do. You use your handkerchief between metal and fingers.

Almost simultaneously, you hear a door opening in the selling room, as well as footsteps coming down from the second floor. A silhouette that must be Joe passes your doorway.

Looking through a hole, you see Pete entering, two men in casual work clothes behind him. He nods and leaves your sight. You hear a door close on the other side of that room.

Now is the time to be nervous. The transaction is going down as planned. Not so, though, as you feel adrenalin course through your veins, calmness and a lack of time-sense settling over you as you keep your eye to the hole, Uzi hanging by your side.

One of the strangers carries a large plastic grocery-bag which he sits on the couch next to Twinkie.

That's when things begin happening.

You're alerted by a strange sound at the staircase. Against orders, you take your eyes from the firing-port, raising the gun to cover your own doorway. It's a sixth sense. Something isn't right.

When Pete comes in, a pistol raised, you give him two taps in the head. He shouldn't be there. He should be in another room, eyes to firing port. At the same time, you scream out, "Twinkie."

A moment later, shots come from the selling room. You don't bother to look as you jam your Uzi into a hole and blast across that ceiling. When you do look inside, you see the strangers lying on the floor, Twinkie crouching, half-seen, behind the couch.

Stepping over Pete's body, you rush in, across to the door to look outside. Two men are getting out of a green Ford. When they see you, with your weapon, they get back in and speed off, leaving rubber behind.

Twinkie's unhurt, though Joe's dead, his throat slit ear-to-ear.

"Thanks for warning me," Twinkie says. "Gave me enough time to draw first."

"What happened?"

"Someone must'a got to Pete."

"Proly. Now what? You need me?"

He stoops to where the bag has spilled cash across one corner of the couch. At least they did bring the money. Probably in case the hijack had to be abandoned. He grabs a good-sized chunk and hands it to you.

"Na. The Wops got a cleanup squad I can call on. They's pros at that shit. Looks like we came up on top, both product and money."

"Yeah." Twinkie likes it, but it was too fucking close for you.

You pocket the cash and leave. In that neighborhood, it's not likely cops will be called. If they are, it takes time to get six volunteers to respond.

---------------
A continuation of my second person "Tough Shit, Pepper," story about a hardboiled criminal type. Now, there's a third:
-------------
It's cold. Collar pulled up to the max, padded cap covering ears down to your chin, you stand, hands jammed inside a furred jacket while watching the rear of a dark Holiday Inn parking lot.

You stayed there once, noticing a change in shift at eleven pm as desk clerks rotated. It's now 11:22 and you're still waiting in the shadows in a small alcove of a maintenance shack.
"What's keeping the bastard?" you mutter to yourself, eyes roving, constantly roving.

Jimmy dropped you off a half-hour ago and you've been waiting ever since for a gray four-year-old Ford to show. You're on a tight schedule, a package waiting for pickup.

Just as you see headlights circling around the building in your direction, you also see the flashlight of a uniformed security guard making rounds. You hope to hell this shed isn't on his route. Not being a guest, you have no excuse for being here.

Oh, you have no doubt you could take him out, but it would be a loose end, to be avoided. You don't want to kill him and when he wakes or gets loose the car will be hot. With a body waiting, you can't abort. Your only way out is to steal that fucking car, belonging to the midnight shift desk clerk. The nearest town is too far away to walk and calling a taxi would screw up your mission.

An oncoming vehicle's lights flash past you as the car pulls into a parking space at the rear of the lot. Most such businesses insist employees park at the rear to leave closer spaces for customers. A man gets out of the Ford, your target vehicle, the new desk clerk. Slamming the door, he hurries toward the rear of the building.

The guard turns, light flashing over a woman wearing a dark coat bringing a suitcase out of a parked vehicle. Christ! How did you miss her? You're slipping.

The two talk for a few moments, snatches of conversation and a few laughs reaching you as you wait, shivering. Then, thank god, the guard continues, walking the other way. The woman follows the clerk through a back door into the hotel as he holds a door open for her. Nervous, you look around carefully, finding you have the lot to yourself.

Within a minute, you're in the clear and testing the doors of the Ford. A rear door is unlocked, giving you easy access to crawl over the seat and sit in the driver position. You have a battery-operated vibrator that makes quick work of the ignition.

Heart beating fast, you use a penlight to check over the controls. Many car thieves make the mistake of stealing a vehicle and not knowing such simple things as how to turn on window wipers or even lights. You don't make that mistake. Besides, you want to give the guard plenty of time to make his rounds and settle into a comfy chair inside.

Slowly circling the lot, you make it around the building and enter traffic on the highway. You figure to have up to eight hours before the car hits the hot list. Of course you're wearing gloves in this weather. All your clothing is new, right out of the package and disposable. In these days of micro-forensics, you want to leave nothing of yourself behind. Not hair nor sweat.

***

"It's your garbage, you put it in," you tell a black-skinned youth. Although he and a Mex companion glare at you, they load the bodies of Marcello Antipasto and his fluff into the trunk of the Ford. Your job is to drive, not fuck with the trash.

"Not very friendly, are you, man?" the Mex asks. You don't bother answering. In this job, friendly might mean dead.

"The gun?"

The black dude hands you a Glock, barehanded. You take a package of new hankies out of your pocket. Tearing them open, you stuff all but one back into the pocket, wipe the weapon carefully and put it into the plastic hankie bag. The now-oily handkerchief goes back into your coat pocket.

You don't give a damn about those two being caught by prints, but police catching them might get that much closer to you. You can't help wondering about all the traces they've left on the corpses. Tough shit. You're not about to screw around cleaning bodies, nor have the time to do it.

"What you goin' ta do with 'um?" the Mex asks.

"Is there a reason you have to know?" you answer, testing the trunk lock and returning to the front of the vehicle."

He shrugs as you get in and drive off. As you enter the highway, you toss the gun under your seat, putting the bag back into your pocket.

***

All goes well as you return to the highway. You drive for hours, really needing a smoke but not daring to light up. Forensics goes ape-shit over discarded cigarette butts.

"Damn," you exclaim, noticing the fuel gage nearing empty. Nothing for it. You have to stop for gasoline. You do have enough to wait for the sun to come up. It's already near morning. You know that most stations have security cameras. As well as the Ford might be reported as stolen already. What can you do?

Only one solution. All that prior planning going to waste. You'll never make it to the dump site unseen or recorded.

Wait! You see a 24 hour discount store. Going in, you buy $50 of miscellaneous items and groceries, including two 5-gallon gas cans. Later, you see a gas station with its lights on off of but close to the highway. You park a block or so away from it and walk over to fill the cans.

Sighing with relief, you're soon back on the highway but with another problem -- the cans and junk from the store. If you simply dump them, police might be called. Nobody dumps $50 of new items and groceries. A perfect example of how one simple mistake can lead to a dozen more. Usually, you're more thorough.

As the sun comes up, you realize you're behind schedule. That desk clerk must be off work by now and have reported his Ford being stolen. That was hundreds of miles away but the police are efficient. And, of course, you've got two bodies in your trunk.

Choosing to go through the next city, you pull off the highway to look for a place to get rid of the trash from the store. An apartment complex is inviting but you know they also use security cameras. Newly purchased items in the trash are suspicious, as are strange cars circling around that early in the morning.

You know from television shows that the most mundane items can be traced. Such as in police checking out gas cans bought along your route from the pickup point, which, incidentally, has been in a fairly straight line along the same highway. Not too many of them will have been purchased along that route during the night. You can't leave them in the vehicle. Police can trace them back to the store ... and its security cameras.

Stopping at a series of store dumpsters, you find them all locked.

Finding yourself in a low-income area, you're becoming desperate.

At last, you find a street containing filled trash cans at the curb. You have to take a chance. Stopping along the street, you shove a few items each down into a series of cans.

Turning into a business district, you park in a convenience store parking lot then walk a few businesses down to an open fast food place. After screwing around all night and being already late, you're starving. And you still have to search for an alternate place to dump the stiffs. Damn, a once simple task becoming ever more complex.

Finished eating, you walk back while enjoying a welcome smoke, looking carefully for unmarked police cars. To your surprise, you find the Ford gone.

Christ, you think, someone stole the damned thing. You have to laugh. They're in for a surprise.

There's nothing further you can do. It's out of your control. Later, you'll hear of a trio of teenage gangbangers being held on murder charges, and laugh again.

The End.
Charlie
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