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Let’s Hang Out With Parker This Weekend

Statham ParkerYou might know Parker as Jason Statham, from the new movie Parker, which I haven’t seen yet. It’s based on Flashfire, the 19th Parker novel. I can tell you from the preview that it looks a bit like the book, but that it looks nothing like Parker. It’s had some sort of protagonist transplant.

Which is fine – you shouldn’t go around making movies out of Parker novels, because Parker’s too dark to appeal to a wide enough audience. Parker does not, for instance, live by any dumbass “code” like the preview for Parker says he does. Apparently this incarnation of Parker never hurts innocent people and never steals from the poor, which might make you like him more, might make it more likely that you’ll buy some movie tickets, but it isn’t Parker.

Parker’s assessment of whether or not he should kill you or steal your money is entirely risk-reward based. He is a sociopath. In the first novel, he breaks into a beauty salon right around closing time, ties up the woman who runs the place, and uses the window to watch some mob guys he’s interested in. Later he goes back to check on her and she’s dead. Parker doesn’t care.

I’m not saying – “Go Parker!” But I am saying, if you’re wanting to pretend you’re a criminal, you can do it Ocean’s Eleven-style, where they’re not actually bad people, just hot, lovable scamps. Or you can be grittily realistic. There’s no correct way, now, settle down – literary morality is not a race.

I AM saying that’s the character, he’s completely amoral, and that’s who he is. Very quickly in the series, author Donald Westlake softens the character up, but if that entails knocking off the accidental murder of innocent hairdressers and getting him a steady girlfriend later on, well- you’re really overreaching when you claim he’s Robin Hood.

The only reason – the ONLY reason – Parker isn’t killing you right now, is that it’s a pain in the ass and there is no compelling reason to do it. He doesn’t care who you are or what you did or whether or not you’re nice.

Here’s another modern incarnation of Parker:

Payback

In Payback, Parker’s name was Porter, and they softened him up in hilarious ways, like they made him goof around with a big, silly puppy dog and made him a former driver for a Super Hot Prostitute named Rosie, whom he was apparently in love with, because that makes sense, driving a prostitute from John to John and thinking, if only me and her could skip through the park together eating ice cream.

That movie was based on The Hunter, the first of the Parker novels, and so yes, that’s the one where he killed the hairdresser. Did you see Porter kill any hair dressers? Me neither, and Parker is to be clear, MUCH larger than Mel Gibson.

Rosie, who is Mel’s love interest in the movie and runs off with him at the end, is in the book for approximately seven pages, as a chubby, drug-addled prostitute who Parker knocks around a little bit until he gets some information out of her. I think she tells him she hates him when he stomps away with the name he needed, and we never see her again in twenty-three novels.

I actually like Payback. They kept it pretty dark, and it’s all retro-technology, since the original book was written in 1962, and this was before Mel Gibson parked a fertilizer truck in front of the Crazy Town Courthouse and started threatening the Queen and getting his Anti-Semite Groove going. Before that, he was very mainstream and the ladies dug him. Going dark was playing against type, and it worked for him.

It was as close to actual Parker as I think we’re likely to get on screen, but again – that’s okay. The books were practically designed to be read with a six pack of beer. They’re short, and they’re lean, and they come in two categories.

Either Parker is planning a job, and at the end they’ll execute it and we’ll see how it goes, or we join him in mid-job, and something goes horribly wrong, and we’ll watch him get clear.

The Usual SuspectsThat’s it. We’re just sociopathic criminals for a few hours, without hurting anybody and without going to jail. We don’t have to watch him fall in love with a beautiful and brilliant safecracker, or a beautiful and brilliant stunt driver, or a brilliant and beautiful police detective or anything like that. There’s no mute kid who says something at the end, making it really meaningful and softening the grizzled heister’s cold heart.

No. You’re going to pull off a heist, and you get to leave your conscience at home, and if you don’t like it you get out of the car.

So here’s why we’re going to hang out with Parker this weekend. Of the twenty-three Parker novels, I’ve read twenty-two of them, missing the tenth simple due to being unable to find it. There are more coming out, from what I hear, but Donald Westlake is dead. The last Parker novel, Ask The Parrot, was very clearly the result of a stooge being handed the beginning of a first draft which Westlake left behind, and being told to write a Parker novel out of it. I guess it isn’t terrible, but I know when Westlake’s writing and when he’s not. That wasn’t him.

In fact, it was him, for the first sixty pages. Then suddenly all the characters decide, let’s think of a whole new plan, these last sixty pages aren’t doing it for me, then Parker does something else, acting nothing like Parker at all.

Parker why do you suddenly sound like a thirty year-old English major with a second glass of whiskey in your hand? Sigh.

So anyway, the one Parker novel I haven’t read is The Green Eagle Score. It comes right after The Rare Coin Score, in which Parker meets Claire and she becomes the greatest criminal girlfriend ever, asking zero questions about what Parker does, putting zero requirements on when he should and shouldn’t be away, and being able to use her brain if the shit hits the fan and the cops show up. You know what Claire knows, officer?

Nothing. Beat it.

Green Eagle ScoreSuddenly, back in my world, it was 2013, and I realized that instead of combing local used bookstores for the remaining Parker novel, I could use Amazon Technology and have it in my hands overnight. Fair enough – that’s what I’ve done. Now I’m off to sit on my ass, drink a few beers, and read it. There’s a good chance you’ll get to hear all about it tomorrow, because what else am I going to write about if that’s all I’ve been doing all day?

And if you are wondering about Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, I’m still going to finish it, but Parker doesn’t like to wait in line, so he gets to go first. You can take it up with Parker if you don’t like it.

That’s the best thing about Parker novels – you don’t have to wait for stuff to happen. Westlake – who writes the novels as Richard Stark – drops you right into the shit from the very first sentence. In fact, my favorite opening line ever is from Firebreak, a 2001 Parker novel:

“When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.”

I’ll tell you the first line to this one tomorrow, once I’ve finished it. Until then, blogosphere.

 

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Don’t Drink And Drive Through This One Specific Intersection

Drunk driving is a huge problem, sure – but if we were serious about it, then it wouldn’t exist.  We have it in our power to marginalize this behavior to just a sliver of the population, but we don’t do it, and I think I know why.

Seatbelts are mandatory.  You have to put them on as a safety measure – it’s the law.  That law is among other things about protecting you – not even other people, just you – and I don’t know how much money it costs to install the seat belts, but you’re sure not allowed to build or sell a car without them.  Most people consider it a reasonable public safety policy.

So if you want to get rid of drunk driving – which is more about protecting other people, than protecting the actual drunk driver – and you want to get rid of it permanently, then require all cars to be fitted with a breathalyzer on the ignition.  Every single one of them, and yes, even yours.

Problem.  Solved.

Okay, not quite – you’d be able to buy a Breathalyzer Beater from Waterbeds and Stuff in no time, a little air compressor which would mimic clean breath, so the problem would really only be marginalized.  So on top of that, make the punishment for a single DUI very serious indeed.

Listen, I’m not even necessarily advocating this course of action.  I’m just pointing out that all we have to do is really, seriously outlaw it, instead of “outlawing it.”  There’s a reason why people don’t rob banks but they feel pretty cool about hopping in the car half in the bag and ripping down the road.  One of them carries serious punishments, one of them carries serious inconveniences.

Bank robbery equals jail.  A DUI equals a few thousand dollars.

And wait a tick, I wonder if that few thousand dollars is exactly what is so ineffective about the way we deal with DUIs today?  If you made thousands of dollars every time someone got caught driving drunk, would you want people to stop doing it?

The drunk driving problem is either as severe as we’re told it is, or it’s not.  If it is, then I would expect a serious response to it, like the one I just outlined.

If it’s not, then I would expect a bunch of hot air and ambulance chasing.  I would expect a lot of solemn, tearful soapboxing every time someone dies in an alcohol-related crash, followed by NO significant changes in the law.  I would expect constant, straight-faced dramatization of the topic by troopers on television.  And I would expect completely asinine, revenue-generating, transparently posturing attempts at publicly addressing it.

Like DUI checkpoints.  Check out this story – 7 Arrested At St. Patrick’s Day DUI Checkpoints – in which we learn that 727 cars were stopped at a checkpoint in Hilliard, Ohio.  And they caught 7 drunk drivers.  On St. Patrick’s Day.

Listen to me.  I can find you seven drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day in a half an hour.  You can even do it like a scavenger hunt – I’ll find you a drunk soccer mom, a drunk college student, a drunk real estate agent, a drunk old man, a drunk attorney, a drunk bus driver, and a drunk midget.  All of them driving cars.

Give me a full hour for a specific order like that, but I’ll be back with ’em all right.

One percent.  You’re telling me that one percent of the drivers on the road were drunk that day.  In Hilliard.

Listen – I’ve driven around in Hilliard on many average Friday nights, and I can assure you – a solid one third of my fellow drivers are typically good and hammered.  You can feel the Angry Driving and the impatience and the artificial confidence, hanging around you like a fog.  On St. Patrick’s Day, I’d have to think it’s at least as bad.

Seven of them.  How many cops were there, working overtime?  And suppose you guys just drove around on overtime instead, pulled people over?

Surely you can tell when a dangerously drunk person is driving a car down the street, right?  I mean, if they’re indistinguishable from sober people, then what’s the problem?

It’s very clear to me that our laws are not designed to curb drunk driving, or even stop it.  If they were designed for that, then the punishments would be much more harsh, and it would be illegal to start your car without proving you’re sober. 

The truth is, drunk drivers provide a ton of revenue to every state and local police force in America.  They’re like enormous, wheeled cheeseburgers rolling through your town.  Just think about the wisdom of a DUI checkpoint and tell me that’s all about stopping drunk drivers.

I mean, they announce it beforehand.  There’s going to be a DUI checkpoint at Leap and Cemetary roads, so don’t drive drunk through that specific intersection, or State Troopers Will Nab You With Electric Guitar Music Playing, Because They’re Crackin’ Down.

These seven people who were caught at the announced DUI checkpoint – I don’t know, I have to think that folks with that level of criminal skills, well, they were probably going to get caught pretty soon, anyway.  And then 23 others were cited, mostly for “driver’s license violations.”

Good work, boys.  People driving around town without their paperwork in order, flagrantly defying the expiration dates on their licenses – WHEN WILL THE MADNESS STOP?!

The checkpoints always lead to more non-DUI arrests than actual DUIs.  You might want to employ air quotes – “DUI” Checkpoints.  The main function of these things is to use the public’s knee-jerk passion against drunk driving to allow cops to pull people over for no reason at all, and check their papers.

Devices in our cars which force us to prove we are sober before we start them – might sound a bit draconian to you, might not.  But stopping citizens for no reason at all and then arresting them for whatever you can find, well that sounds a bit draconian, too.  So if we’re going to be draconian, howza about we do it my way.

You know, the way which will actually result in a drastic reduction in drunk driving around the entire country, nearly eliminating it within just a few years.  We can even require that the devices get made in America, throw up a few factories, put some Americans to work making them.

Instead, they’re fishing for money.  That’s absolutely all they are doing.  One percent of drivers on St. Patrick’s Day?  Let me tell you – that was the soberest sample of Ohio drivers anywhere in the city for most of that day.  We’re always hearing that the departments are having budget problems – what on Earth would they do if next year, nobody drove drunk at all?

I’m very serious about that – wouldn’t that cripple them? 

And while fifteen cops were standing around peeking into sober people’s cars, wondering why nobody was coming to their DUI Checkpoint Party when they’d gone to all the trouble of throwing it together, every single alternate route around them was no doubt pulsing with grinning, green-clad carloads, singing that one cab driver song with beer cans flying out the windows.  “Oh baby you…. you got what I need…  You say he’s just a friend, you say he’s just a friend..”

Let me ask you something – are you MADD enough to breathe into your ignition every time you start your car?  Or do we only want to stop drunk driving to the extent that we can do so without inconveniencing ourselves in the slightest?

These checkpoints are great for making us all feel like we’re MADD as hell.  But I can assure you – serial drunk drivers laugh at them.  Literally laugh.  And sometimes it feels like the cops and city treasurers laugh, too – all the way to the bank.

 
 

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The War On Christmas Gets Ugly

You know how I feel about Christmas.  It’s a single Christian holiday on the 25th of December, and that means that at no point in the entire month should you ever say anything to anyone that can even be liberally interpreted as a wish to enjoy a different holiday.

Christmas owns December.  If you’re some other holiday, then screw you, cause this is America.  And don’t try any of that all-inclusive Happy Holidays crap either, because that’s just like slapping Christmas in the face.  Christmas is serious and insecure and all-powerful.  If you even tell your pal Charlie Happy Birthday three weeks before Christmas, then you’re at War with Christmas.  So like, shut up.

But sometimes, Christmas hits back.  Like for instance on actual Christmas day, when a lot of stores are closed.  And it’s that time of the morning when you just realized that you’re out of beer, and you think, man, I never should have said Happy Hanukkah to that dude with the funny hat last week, cause now Christmas is mad at me, and it’s making it so no one will sell me beer.

Maybe you’re unfamiliar with that particular type of Christmas wrath, because maybe you live in a city, where there are plenty of gas stations and Kwik-E-Marts where you can go and buy all the beer you want from a colorful nose ring guy, or a Muslim, or a robot, or an ex-convict.  This futuristic world we live in rocks, even if the cars don’t fly and the air is orange and nobody lives on Mars.

But see now I’m losing my whole train of thought.  If you were out in the middle of Oregon and there was only one store, and you went to get your traditional Christmas Morning case of Keystone, and you found the store locked up tight, then I guess Christmas kicked your ass that year – and you probably deserved it, saucy.

Unless of course you are the type of Christmas warrior who – like Captain Kirk – doesn’t like to lose. 

Well these guys from Oregon certainly weren’t going to sit there and take it, that’s for sure.  Watch who you’re smacking around, Christmas, because some guys out there will hit you back.

These particular guys – in this article right here – approached it more like a problem than a denial.  They said, well, the beer is in that building behind a locked door, and we’re out here, and exactly how much crap are we supposed to take from Christmas, anyway?

So they looked around and found a forklift nearby with the keys still in it – a War on Christmas Miracle!

I know that my old pappy used to tell me, son, you can solve an awful lot of logistic problems with a stolen forklift and old-fashioned gumption.  And he was right.  These guys simply blasted open the wall of the store and helped themselves to some festive, stolen beer – take that, Christmas!

It was nothing veteran Detective Sgt. David Kempas hadn’t seen before.  The article quotes him as saying “I guess it was a Christmas Day beer run.”

Top notch work, right there – that’s why he makes the big bucks.  I wonder if there’s a number for that, like an eight-forty-two or something.  Yeah, looks like an eight-forty-two, Hank.  Sure does, Dave.

Detective Kempas also went ahead and rounded out the moral/philosophical side of the story for us, too, letting us know that the lesson to be learned here is that you don’t want to leave your keys in your forklift.

You really don’t, either.  I know it seems like no one’s going to start it up and drive it through any walls, but you never know, do you?  What with Obamacare?

Anyway, I think that it was most likely the work of master housebreaker Santa Claus, though I’m not going to turn him in because I know how it is when you get off work and there’s no beer and the carryout doesn’t have a chimney. 

I know, stealing is stealing and just because you’re Santa Claus doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.  But really, what exactly do you have to do to get a beer around here if Santa Claus isn’t already doing it? 

Now, of course a good solution is to secure all local forklifts, but there are other ways to break into a carryout, like you have your eight reindeer trash the place like a bunch of mobsters.  Or you can simply employ a large rock to blast out the front window, if your reindeer are tired.  And there’s no way to secure every single rock.

So the solution is of course for all carryouts to start leaving out a case of beer for Santa Claus in case he gets a hankerin’ for a cold one at the end of his shift, like the rest of us.  I do understand that there’s no way to verify if it was actually him who came by and took the beer and not, say, me – but you know, there’s no way to verify he’s the one who ate the cookies by the fireplace, either.  Stop making it more complicated than it needs to be.

Either the beer goes to Santa Claus, which is a win-win for you, cause he keeps track of that stuff.  Or it goes to me or several problem-solving badasses from Oregon, which is still cheaper than a new wall and so also, again – a win-win.

The only way to lose is to keep locking up your beer, Scrooge.  How’d that work out last time again?

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in News/Commentary

 

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The Doors Swing Wide For Mister Pancake

Alert reader and biological sibling of mine Dave “Chocolate Thunder” Chalfant brings this story to our attention, a Cool Hand Luke-type story of freedom, existential anguish, justice, and revenge.

Meet Heriberto Rodriquez, also known by his government-given nickname Mister Pancake, a fella down on his luck who got caught with his hand in the till at a Cincinnati Reds concession stand.  I don’t have the details on how much he stole or how he got caught, since the article Dave emailed me is considerably shorter than this blog post about it, but I think we can assume that he was stealing the money to settle an old score.

Well, the law caught up to Mister Pancake, even though that wasn’t his name yet, and he was sentenced to jail time.  Yes, jail time.  BP executives are still eating caviar right in front of all of us in broad daylight, but there was no way we were going to tolerate concession stand theft.  The gavel came down, and he was off the streets, looking for any angle he could find to survive in prison.

Soon, he was given a job in the prison kitchen.  I guess the thinking was, there’s no way a guy who just got popped for stealing from the concession stand he was working at would ever steal from the prison kitchen he was working at.  What possible motivation would he have for such a thing?

Plus it was a pretty sweet deal.  Every day he worked in the kitchen, he got three days credit for his sentence.  I had no idea that there was a commodoties market for time served that one could manipulate, but apparently this is common practice.  And I’ve never been to prison, but I’ve watched some brain-splitting HBO shows about it, and you can bet your ass I’d be the first in line to go work in the kitchen, where it just seems like it would be safer and considerably less bugger-y.

Well, I think the problem probably was, once he had his mitts in the pancake tray, the other inmates noticed it.  Pancakes are probably very similar to cigarettes, when you’re on the inside, and I’ll bet the more generous he was with the pancakes, the less he had to worry about horrifying, graphic prison violence.

I’m of course a little surprised that Mister Pancake thought he’d be able to get away with it.  After all, I’ll bet I could send my youngest daughter into the concession stands at a Cincinnati Reds game with instructions to clean the place out, and I’ll bet she’d get away with it.  We’d be sitting pretty at Coldstone Creamery counting our money that very night – and yes, it would be “our” money.  She’s a minor – Sheesh.

Point is, this guy had already bonked up against possibly the mildest form of security there is – concession stand security – and fell right on his butt.  Why did he think he could steal under what one would assume is tighter security, in the prison kitchen?

And he was given very specific instructions to give only two pancakes to each inmate.  Apparently it wasn’t a guideline – they were counting the pancakes.

But you just know the sorts of conversations he was having in the prison yard.  Very large men asking him if he was their friend or their enemy – you can see how that relates to pancake distribution and prison violence, without bringing either one of them up, yes?

It was a tightrope act.  He knew he could get out early by working the kitchen, but working the kitchen put him in the position to get leaned on for pancakes.  It’s a story as old as incarceration itself.

Mister Pancake probably decided, there is no way I’m going to re-enact the fade-out scene from The Shawshank Redemption, with Morgan Freeman doing the voiceover full of sadness and regret, all to save the prison system some pancakes.  Here you go Big Charlie.  Have at it, White Power Bill.  Would you care for some more pancakes, Enormous Abraham?

Well, the prison management caught on to him, and said wait a minute.  We said two pancakes each, that’s stealing.  You’re stealing pancakes, you selfish bastard, all to avoid a horrific fate worse than death.  Now your sentence is 180 days longer.

Now keep in mind, if he were able to keep working in the kitchen, that would only be sixty Metric prison days.  It must not have worked out that way, because he went and asked Judge Melba Marsh to release him after only 78 days, and she said, okay.

But not before renaming him Mister Pancake, and also not before making a hilarious Aunt Jemima joke, a joke that seemed to suggest that Judge Marsh thought he was keeping the pancakes to himself the whole time, instead of giving them away like a Pancake Robin Hood. 

I think that whether or not Mister Pancake found the Aunt Jemima joke to be funny probably depended on how that last 78 days went.  Was he a prison hero, protected for his selfless pancake distribution?

Or was he just another dude with no pancakes to hand out?

Either way, the doors have swung wide for notorious food service master thief Mister Pancake, and like Keyser Söze he no doubt stepped out into the Cincinnati night, becoming a myth, a nightmare, a fairy tell concession stand owners tell their kids at night.

After today, my guess is, we’ll never see Mister Pancake again.

 
 

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The Lunch Money Job

I have to pass another school every day, on my way to drop off my girls, an elementary school right around the corner from theirs; they’re in Junior High.

The first few times I notice the armored car parked in front of it as we drive past, I think, maybe the guy who drives it drops his kid off on the way to work. Then a few weeks later, we’re driving by it again, and there he is, a uniformed driver, carrying a bag of money right out the front door.

He’s about fifty and half skinny, half fat – definitely not a first stringer. He has charcoal hair, too long and worn in such a way that it always looks like he needs a shower, and his skin is pale and pockmarked, wide, cheap glasses straddling a lumpy nose. But he’s on duty, that’s for sure – his eyes are narrow and they dart around. Somebody try something, his demeanor says, and yes, he’s got a gun.

“What is up with that guy?” I wonder aloud.

Two daughters in the car – Ellen riding shotgun, Chrissy in the back seat.

Chrissy says, “He comes to our school, too.”

“Yeah,” Ellen agrees. “I’ve seen him in the morning, when I go in early for Math Club.”

It’s a school zone, so we roll on by nice and slow and I get to take a look in the empty cab of the armored car. When they send these things out to banks, there’s always a guy who stays in the vehicle, and one who transfers the cash, and sometimes there’s even a third guy, locked in the back, a guy trained and sworn to refuse to open the door even if there are guns to his partners’ heads.

Whatever this third stringer is doing, they don’t expect any trouble. The last thing an armored car company should do, not expect trouble.

“What is that thing?” Chrissy wants to know.

So I explain what an armored car is, how it’s bullet-proof, and explosion-resistant, and how security protocols like the one I was just thinking about contribute to its usefulness, for companies with a lot of cash to move it around.

“What doesn’t ‘make sense,” I tell them. “Is what on earth is it doing at schools?”

“Lunch money,” Chrissy says, and I look up at the rearview mirror. She has dark hair and freckles and eyebrows that look pretty sure of themselves. Her tone is like she’s answering a math question, and in a way, she is.

“You’re kidding,” I insist, but then I start checking the math.

There are close to two thousand kids in their middle school, maybe another two thousand in the elementary school around the corner. How much does lunch cost these days? Three bucks?

And that guy isn’t there every day – twice a week, near as I can figure. So let’s see, three days, four thousand kids, three bucks each.

Why not go ahead and say it out loud? “That third string security guard is walking out of there with forty thousand dollars, every time we see him.”

Ellen says, “Guess that’s why they use the armored car, since they’re impossible to rob.”

“Well, not quite, sweetheart. You just have to think it through, step-by-step. Watch the patterns, look for holes in the security. Put together the right string of guys, with the right equipment. There’s nothing that can’t be done, silly.”

“What?”

“You heard me. You see, Ellen, it’s all about having the will to do what other people won’t. Rules are for suckers, and money is for stealin’, you know what I’m saying?”

“You’re a freak, Dad.”

“You’d want a solid wheel man, someone who knows the area like the back of his hand. And at least one really big, intimidating bully, with a shotgun.”

“Dad!”

“No, no. You load it with bean bag rounds, try and avoid the Chair, in case the score goes sour.”

She’s cracking up now, shaking her head, like I’m joking around or something. Does she think this is a game?

I look up in the rearview mirror, and Chrissy doesn’t think it’s a game. Her eyebrows are horizontal, jaw working a little bit on something, probably thinking, the elementary school is the second one he stops at, so that’s when he’ll have the most cash. But he won’t have it on him. If we’re going to do this thing, we’ll have to crack that truck open.

“We need a bomb,” she says.

“That’s right, Chrissy, good job! We do need a demo man, and I think that would round out the string. I’d want to run the job, of course – planning and calculation and dominion over guilt, that’s what I bring to the table right there.”

“Oh my god,” Ellen says. “You guys are crazy.”

“Are we? Or is it YOU who’s crazy, for eating what the Man’s cooking all the time?”

“No, Dad, it’s you.”

We pull up to the right school, and get in line behind a few dozen cars – other people dropping off their kids, not discussing felonies with them, not noticing armored cars.

“Well, that’s awesome, Ellen, I guess you better get on inside then, knock out those grades. You got a whole legit life ahead of you, outside of the Family. Maybe you could be a veterinarian, or an accountant, or a nurse!”

“We’re not a crime Family, Dad.”

“You keep punching that time clock, Squaresville. One day you’re going to wake up and realize it’s been punching you.”

“For Pete’s sake,” she says – her favorite phrase. “I love you, Dad.”

And she gets out of the car, and Chrissy gets out with her, but as they walk up to the door Chrissy cocks her head back at me, gives me a squint, and the subtlest of nods – she’s in.

Yes, and Ellen’s in, too, whether she knows it or not, because this isn’t the kind of Organization you can just clock out of like a factory job. Everybody’s got to paddle the boat, and I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not going to jail for Ellen, or anyone.

Every time her mom buys a five hundred dollar dog and claims it was forty bucks, or picks up some Klondike bars and hides them under a pile of frozen vegetables in the back of the freezer, every time she does something like that, it’s pretty clear – Ellen’s not a very tough nut to crack. Lean on her even slightly, and that bird sings.

Oh, she’s in all right. We can’t have any loose ends.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Ghost Hamster Chronicles

 

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