Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Quest: Feeling Froggy

“There is nothing I like better than kicking the shit out of mouthy little pricks like you” Donnie Pink said.

Donnie gave the impression of a gnarled, old Bur Oak...right down to the green moss growing on his teeth.

“Well, if you better start jumping if you are feeling froggy” Grant encouraged him.

Grant looked like an aspen sapling next to Donnie’s bulk.

Donnie rushed in, swinging a massive fist in a looping, right roundhouse.

*

Grant and Hanna listened to Rick’s proposal. Then they talked it over. They could use the money, especially now that Mama had joined the family.

Grant had told Rick he needed a week to think it over.

Grant went to see Sergeant Smith, an old, retired State cop.

Smith shook his head. “Shit, son, you are talking 1950’s style policing here. No radios. No back-up. Just gonna be you.”

“You reckon you are up for that?” Smith asked.

“Somebody has to do it and I don’t know who can do it better” Grant admitted.

Smith grudgingly admitted that Grant did not lack for self-confidence. Then he shared what he had picked up in locker-rooms from the veterans who had been long-in-the-tooth when he had been starting out.

Hanna wanted him to be successful. She found a pair of carpenter’s jeans that fit him and she dyed them black. Then she bought a hundred feet of brown paracord and a few other items and working from Sergeant Smith's description, made him an accessory every 1950s cop carried.

The storekeepers had agreed to send their personal “frequent fliers” notices that they were banned from their stores for a period of one week. That family could travel the extra distance and shop at another store or they could wait for the week to expire.

Grant’s first job was to serve the families with their notices.

Nobody had figured out what the next step was going to be. They would figure it out as the went.

Rick handed Grant the stack of notices the night he accepted the job. It was just after a three-day work stint in the swamp. Grant was going to serve notices on his “off” day.

Sorting through them, he saw that three of the stores were banning the same family: The Pinks

It may be different in larger cities, but in small towns it seems like one family is inexorably tied up in a many of the 9-1-1 calls that get called in. Domestic disturbance in Eaton Rapids Township? The county guys could were writing down the address before the caller gave it to them. Somebody got bent, folded, mutilated and spindled at the local watering hole? It was even-money that it was done by one of the local frequent-fliers.

Even the ambulance runs. One of the Pinks made national news in a backhanded kind of way. After getting kicked out of Charlie's Bar in Windsor Township an hour after closing time, Romeo Pink decided to end it all by jumping off the Dimondale bridge into the Grand River.

Lucky for him, the little girl walking to school the next morning had exceptionally good hearing. Romeo's legs had javelined into the sand-bar and his over-center trunk had snapped both of his femurs. He laid on his back in six inches of water, crying like a baby for six hours, his compound fractures sticking up, through his jeans.

The extrication made one of the reality TV shows that were popular at the time.

It was said of the Eaton County Pinks that they were as big and tough as they were stupid.

“Is that the Donnie Pink family?” Grant asked.

“Yup” Rick said.

“They still live over on Bunker, just west of the river?” Grant asked.

“Yup” Rick said.

Grant decided the first notices he would serve would be to the Pink family. There were many miscreants who were closer but Grant decided the Pinks would be a good test of whether he could do the job or not.

*

Grant had been on the baseball team all four years of high school. They had been invited to the Capital Diamond Classic every year and had made a deep run in the tournament every year except the year Grant was a senior. That year, they had been bounced in the second game.

That rankled.

Grant attributed it to having been paired against a super-weak opponent in the first game. It had been a blow-out.

The team had been over-confident in the second game and had give up multiple runs in the first two innings. Sloppy errors had been their undoing. They had been unable to recover and had lost to a team that they should have beaten.

That experience was instrumental in the formation of Grant’s thinking. There is no point in tackling easy jobs and thinking you are hot shinola.

The other part of Grant’s thinking on serving the Pinks first was that the family was noted for boozing and brawling and….sleeping in. Grant would be at his best a half-hour after sunrise. None of the Pinks would be.

Grant opted for the one hour walk. It was just like cutting wood in the swamp. He started a half hour before sunrise. The walk stretched his muscles and was calming.

He had to knock repeatedly on the door before he got a response. He got the missus.

Rick had given Grant a spiel to go through when serving the notices.

He had not counted on the missus starting to screech. Apparently having to go a week without shopping was going to be a problem

Then the twins woke up. At sixteen they were clearly on-track to grow into enormous brutes like their father. Each of the twins out-massed him but Grant figured he out-meaned them both put together. They were aimless, goofy teenagers who were still malleable enough to turn out well, or turn out like their old-man Donnie.

Donnie, who was the next to wake up.

Donnie did not respond well to having his beauty sleep interrupted.

Everything about Grant irritated Donnie, including Grant's ad-hoc uniform. In addition to his black carpenter jeans, Grant was wearing body armor outside his winter coat. That had seemed most expeditious because otherwise, Grant would be swimming in the vest and his coat would not fit over the top.

And Rick had given him a tin star.

Of course, it could have been the hang-over. Nothing looks good when seen through blood-shot eyes.

Donnie took exception to Grant being on his property.

Donnie challenged Grant, “And just what the hell do you think you are going to do when I tear these up and then tear that store apart?”

“Well, then I reckon I will have to stop you” Grant said. “I don’t see any point in wasting time, if that is what you are planning on doing. We might as well sort that out right now.”

“There is nothing I like better than kicking the shit out of mouthy little pricks like you” Donnie Pink said.

Donnie gave the impression of a gnarled, old Bur Oak...right down to the green moss growing on his teeth.

“Then you better start jumping if you are feeling froggy” Grant encouraged him.

Grant looked like an aspen sapling next to Donnie’s bulk.

Donnie rushed in, swinging a massive fist in a looping, right roundhouse.

Against a foe who had been power-drinking in a dimly lit bar for six hours, Donnie’s rush would have been overwhelmingly fast and his 270 pounds unstoppable.

But Grant was not a drinker beyond the obligatory wetting of his upper lip with champaign when ringing in the new year. He wasn’t a prude. He just did not like how it made him feel.

And Donnie’s rush was laughably slow for a shortstop who easily fielded a half dozen, smoking-hot grounders a game.

Grant slid to his right and pulled the blackjack, Big Jim, out of the pocket on the right side of his jeans. Stepping inside Donnie’s swing, Grant swung Big Jim downward at Donnie’s right ear.

Donnie saw the incoming blow and obligingly tilted his head away from it.

"Officer Jim" was 5/8" in diameter and a foot long. The 18 ounces* of lead shot shattered Donnie’s collar-bone and the rest of the momentum crushed his tensed trapezius muscle, tearing and bruising it to the bone.

The boys on the porch watched their dad bore into the little man. They fully expected their dad to pulverize him. Both of the twins had been on the receiving end of their dad's wrath and they knew it to be a fearful thing.

Then, from their perspective, the saw the small man deliver a “karate chop” that dropped their dad to his knee.

Then the small man said in a conversational voice. “We can stop fighting now or I can break your left arm too. Then you won’t be able to pee or crap unless somebody unzips your fly and holds your pecker. How do you want it to be?”

Grant had slipped Big Jim back into his right-side pocket so swiftly and so smoothly that none of the Pinks had seen it.

Grant was not even breathing hard. He had expended no more effort than fielding a grounder and firing the ball to first base. Clearly, he could do this all day long.

Grant served many hundreds of notices over the course of his career and he never had to pull his Glock.

*Incidentally, the weight of a fungo bat.

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4 comments:

  1. Great character development, Joe. Your stories are often highly informative and at the same time highly entertaining, which is a rare talent amongst aspiring fiction authors. Informing, Entertaining, and Keeping It Real is how I would characterize your writing. Your literary efforts are very much enjoyed and appreciated out here in Phoenix AZ. Keep up the good work !

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  2. Not sure why but this came up after the 1st reply "Blocked by Content Security Policy

    An error occurred during a connection to www.blogger.com.

    Firefox prevented this page from loading in this way because the page has a content security policy that disallows it." Just a heads up. It may be nothing, it may be my puter but...

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  3. A crushed collarbone in the Post-Ebola world is likely a crippling injury. No wonder Officer Grant didn't need a pistol.

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