Edited by Ann Goddard
Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard
we stood, Pop and me. Pop had just fumbled in his pocket and found
the key to where I would be living, hopefully for a long time. Well,
living was the key word because my first impression of the “suite”
was not favorable.
Pop was my
probation monitor. I don’t know what his real name was but my
former inmates and I just called him “Pop.” His name was
related to his occupation, because he had the audacity of “popping
in’ without notice. He was a monstrosity being well over six
feet tall and almost as wide, He was not fat. His solid build
radiated strength and we all knew how strong he was.
down at me and said,” Well, what do you think?”
suppose to think? It just
looks like a bigger cell to me with a
few things to play with.”
this, he pronounced, I pulled a lot of strings to get you a place to
live. The rent has been paid from your earnings while you were in,” and
he reached into his back pocket and handed me one twenty, one ten, one
five, one tooney and thirteen cents.
should get you some vittles to meet your needs until you get a job.”
entered the apartment while he instructed me. It had been two small
bedrooms where the intervening wall had been removed. It was now a
fair-sized single room with what appeared to be a bath room in one
corner and the makings of a kitchen in the opposite corner. Half of
the floor from the entrance to the middle of the room displayed a
thread bare carpet in a grass green color. You could follow the
footsteps toward the bathroom where the floor was linoleum and to the
kitchen where the floor was covered with pseudo tile in a dark brown.
Walls were gyproc painted white. I noted that the ceiling was
constructed of what they call drop T bar panels. They probably didn’t
know how to repaint the stippling and covered it up.
was a tacky looking recliner in chipped black leather, a small wooden
chair and a single bed with a grey blanket from the Army and Navy.
down at the kitchen counter, (there was no table), and opened a file.
going to leave a full written copy of these rules but let’s go
over them so that you know how to behave, “a half grin on his
one—you cannot possess any kind of a firearm.”
didn’t listen to the rest of my limits in my abode.
them in order. No booze. No parties. No noise. No long-term visitors,
(and he explained that a visitor had to be male), no association with
known criminals and any other buddies.
he stood up, all six and half of him, and said that he was leaving.
“All right. Do I contact you every week or do you drop in? “
at me out of the corner of his eye and mumbled, “Whatever
works. You are on your own.” And he was out the door.
part was over and I tried the recliner. I pulled the little lever
with my right hand and I pushed back and stretched out. Not very
comfortable but I could get a cushion.
my eyes and enjoyed the feeling that I was out of jail and on my own.
Six months ago, I had been caught in a robbery of a Seven Eleven. I
grabbed a whole fifty- seven dollars from the cash register when the
clerk wasn’t watching. I was out the door in a flash but
unfortunately, I hit a cop in mid stride as he was coming in. That
caused me to lose my balance and crash to the concrete. I could have
survived the fall but the money fluttered all over the step and that
caught the cop’s attention and I was collared.
caused a three-year stint in jail. If that incident had been the
first, I probably would just have paid a fine and would be on
probation for a period of time. But my sheet had a few things on it
and the judge took that into consideration. But someone must have
reviewed my file and they dropped the sentence to about a year. They
probably said, he isn’t much so why should we feed and water
hungry so will have to go to Walmart and get some grub.
with three plastic bags of various items, including a small ham,
instant coffee, buns and of course, the snack puddings of lemon
flavor. I swear that some day I am going to eat so many of those
puddings until I’m full. They are so delicious.
the perishables were transferred to the refrigerator, if you could
call it that. When I opened the door, I’m sure that the
temperature was near room temperature, so I turned it on cold high.
supper at home all by myself was indeed another perk that I have been
missing. Patting my stomach, I adjourned to my recliner and snoozed.
My dream said that I should have a TV.
a short time later and reached into the remaining grocery bag on the
counter, sat down on the wooden chair and entertained my taste buds
to a couple of lemon puddings.
was next to the kitchen counter, I decided to store the rest of the
puddings in the miniscule cupboard. There are two puddings attached
together and they are fastened together with four items in cardboard.
Because of their importance, I placed them on the lowest shelf.
reaching to discard the grocery bag I was somewhat alarmed that it
still contained something and that it was quite heavy and hard. I
stood there for a minute or two and was hesitant to look into the
bag. Carefully, I opened the top of the bag and peered into it.
the Hell?’ I spoke out loud.
contained a hand gun and it was in a leather holster. Both were
black. Unbelievable! How did that get into my shopping bag? The only
time I left my groceries was just before I left the store, I used the
bathroom. That took no longer than three minutes. Somebody had to
have slipped the gun into my bag at that time. I tried to remember if
anyone was close when I entered the washroom. No one was really close
and there were six or seven people within ten feet of me.
that I was sweating.
that I was still handling the bag, I dropped the top down and sat
down. What does this mean? Is somebody playing a trick on me? What if
the owner comes here to retrieve his gun? Should I take it out of the
several minutes, I gathered enough courage to open the bag again and
view the weapon. Slowly, I put my hand into the bag and touched the
holster, then the heel of the gun. It was real all right. When I
brought my arm out of the bag, the gun was in my hand.
I yelped, what if Pop should pop by? I’d be on a fast track
back to jail.
gingerly, I withdrew it from the holster and having some knowledge of
guns, I confirmed that it was fully loaded. It appeared to be a 38
calibre Police Special. I’m not sure why they call it a
special, it will kill like any other revolver. The regular 38 is
fatter with a shorter barrel.
I have to
hide it quickly, but where? This is one room and anybody could find
did that, I withdrew it from the holster to see what it felt like in
my hand. I’m sure that most people like myself have thought
guns were exciting.
head, where could it be hidden?
put the gun back into the holster and stood up on my bed. I could
reach the ceiling tiles and I moved one carefully but it fell down
and ripped a corner. It didn’t look like I could put it back
the way it was.
for a tape yielded none so, I took my key and went down to Walmart to
get some strong tape.
tape was installed on the upper side of the tile and the corner was
well fitted so that it didn’t show very much, and the gun lay
on one of the metal supports, I started to breathe again.
home and ended up at MacDonald’s in Walmart. The thought was to
see how many faces that I normally saw and perhaps engage in the
coffee I sat down with a couple of guys that I had conversations
before. One of them, Hank had been in the slammer for break and
enter. I didn’t know if Casper had ever been in jail.
about a dozen things and I managed to get them to talk about guns.
Both of them seemed to be well versed in the matter and they extolled
each other about their adventures. Didn’t look like there was
any relationship to the gun I had.
older man joined us. He said that he was lonely and hoped we would
chat with him. He wasn’t surprised when Hank and I told him
about our incarcerations. At one time many years ago, he had been a
murder suspect regarding a young woman that he was fond of. Tales of
his past were most interesting and we visited for a couple of hours.
As soon as
I let myself into my apartment, I checked to see if the ceiling was
still intact. It was.
puddings called me again and I had a couple while wondering what I
would do next. I needed money so planned to exercise a scam that had
sounded and in walked Pop. “Hey kid, he said, anything
different? Are you behaving yourself?” He didn’t think I
would object if he just walked in?
cringed thinking about the gun and happy that it was well hidden.
around and, in the cupboard, he saw the abundance of puddings. The
look on his face said that I was queer.
his hulk from the wooden chair and said good bye. What a relief.
the plan. I slipped my jacket on and went down to the area where
there was a mini mall. From across the street, I sat against the
ledge of a brick building. There was a small restaurant, a
convenience store and a few other businesses. As I watched, the
convenience store seemed to serve the most customers. This could be
relatively simple for my plan.
that I walked several blocks before I saw the kind of store that I
needed. It was a chain hardware store and I bought the hook to move
the logs in a fireplace.
where I had been, I looked each way and noted there was no one close
by so walked across the street. When I was halfway, I leaned over
with the hook and moved the manhole cover about six inches. That left
it on an angle and if a vehicle went over it, the wheel would likely
drop into the opening.
Back to my
observation post, I waited for some unexpecting driver to have an
accident. An hour and a few minutes passed and it happened. A small
mini car had dropped into the opening. That was my cue to wait until
someone called the police.
arrived with lights flashing, they were accompanied by a fire truck
with lights flashing. Excellent!
walked across the street again and walked into the convenience store.
I commented that someone was in trouble with the cops out front. The
clerk moved up to the front window and stared.
was doing that. I managed to pull the cash drawer out and I grabbed
the biggest bills and left the store. The kid had not seen me do
that. In fact, I don’t think he had any reason or memory to
At home, I
counted my loot. Four hundred and twenty dollars. Not a bad haul.
A few days
later Pop came in. Without knocking, of course.
Kid, he yelled, don’t you have a job yet?”
I wanted to say was not one that Pop would find amusing so, I
replied, “Been working at that.”
he bellowed, if you intend to live on the outside, you are going to
have to get a job even just to stay here. Here’s a couple of
newspapers to look up jobs.”
be back next week and you had better have submitted some applications
or I’m going to report you and you know what would happen
I heaved a
huge breath when he went out the door.
bit cold out there so I put my jacket on, stepped out and headed
south. The opposite direction from Walmart. It felt good to be on the
street and nobody was bothering me. That dream I had about a TV, was
going to come true today.
walking over hill and dale, I couldn’t find a Pawn Shop. So, I
stopped at the Esso station and asked if the clerk knew where one
was. “Yeah, he said, there’s one about six blocks west of
becoming tiring but, I found the joint and went shopping. He had a
few TV’s so I had my pick. A flat 32 inch looked good to me.
The price marked on it said $119.95. I told him all I had was a
hundred and after some negotiation, he settled for a hundred and
time I got back to my apartment, I was totally exhausted. I plugged
the unit into electricity and at least it rendered sound. It needs an
antenna. It was certain that I didn’t have one.
had wire coat hangers and tin foil. With that I connected some
hangers and covered them with tin foil. Got a terrible picture. Then
I hung a hanger on one of the ceiling supports and wired a few more
down to the machine, and lo and behold, I had sound and a picture.
Clear enough anyway, to see.
recliner prompted my body to sleep. It was really comfortable with
puddings were ingested after I awoke and started to think about the
gun again. If I disguised my self and hung the gun on my belt, maybe
I could conduct a quick heist.
went to a novelty shop and got a stick-on black mustache, some black
tooth covering plus a pair of sun glasses. With my cap pulled low and
a single black tooth and mustache, no one could recognize me.
felt quite comfortable on my right side near my groin. It was heavy
street, I waved down a cab and asked him to take me right downtown.
That cost me about thirty bucks.
was one of those chain stores that sold ladies gowns for a couple of
thousand. There may not be much cash in that store because the rich
just use plastic but, I was going to practice and see how it felt.
looking mannequins in the window, it appeared to appeal to females
only. Oh well, I stepped in and was immediately surrounded by two
gorgeous women with so much make up that it must be heavy. I think I
stopped breathing, one because I wanted to hold up the store and I
couldn’t take my eyes off the dolls. Their countenances looked
like they were going to ask me what I was doing there.
came back to reality, I apologized and said I must be in the wrong
store and rushed out.
just wanted to get home and flagged another cab and spent another
to my apartment was not quite closed. I knew I had closed it tight
when I left. There was no sound and I peered through the small crack
and couldn’t see anyone. I moved the door a bit, it didn’t
make any noise. Then a bit more and I spotted a guy bent over looking
under my bed. With his back to me I didn’t recognize him and it
really pissed me off that he had broken in. So, I quickly and quietly
crouched over him and yanked him back by his collar, rolled him over
and put my right knee in his back.
Hank! I almost released him because I knew who it was but, I stayed
on his back and twisted one of his arms around his back.
uttered a sound.
the Hell are you doing in my place? I swore at him
was lookin for ---”
me up, he said. And I let him sit up on the floor.
at me with a curious look on his face and asked, “Are you still
would I not still be here? I questioned.
he looked away, “I wanted to play a trick on you and I left
that gun in your grocery bag.”
you were looking for the gun. And you thought that Pop would find it
and I’d go back to prison.”
away, “well -----.”
for a moment because I still had the gun on my belt and covered with
my jacket. What should I do?
chuckled, “I just threw it in the dumpster at the back of this
like he had lost his Mother.
started to tell me that he had broken into an apartment on the fourth
floor. It was actually a condo, he said and whoever lived there had a
lot of jewelry and I got a pile of cash too. He said he had checked
this out several time and since I lived here, he would have a place
to hide if he had to,
s---, I stammered, I don’t need you around here with your loot
and all the trouble it would cause if Bobby or anybody else should
added, “Get the Hell out and don’t come back!”
to the back entrance where I expected see Hank crawling into the
waste bin. He was.
on a door of a man that I had met before and asked if I could use
911 and advised them that there was a man in the garbage dumpster at
the back of this apartment and he was looking for a gun and I know he
has stolen jewelry and money on him. “No, I do not want to
leave my name,” and I hung up.
Jerry, don’t be surprised if the cops show up here.”
was placed in my hiding location and I heard a siren in the distance.
next day, I did discard the gun in the dumpster.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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