Gun Trouble

Lew Goddard
Edited by Ann Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a pistol.

And there 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.

He looked down at me and said,” Well, what do you think?”

What am I suppose to think? It just looks like a bigger cell to me with a few things to play with.”

Remember 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.

That should get you some vittles to meet your needs until you get a job.”

We had 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.

Furniture 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.

Pop sat down at the kitchen counter, (there was no table), and opened a file.

I’m 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 face.

Number one—you cannot possess any kind of a firearm.”

I really didn’t listen to the rest of my limits in my abode.

He listed 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.

Finally, he stood up, all six and half of him, and said that he was leaving.

I said, “All right. Do I contact you every week or do you drop in? “

He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and mumbled, “Whatever works. You are on your own.” And he was out the door.

Well, that 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.

I closed 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.

That 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 him.

I’m hungry so will have to go to Walmart and get some grub.

I returned 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.

Part of 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.

Eating 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.

I awakened 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.

Since I 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.

In 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.

What the Hell?’ I spoke out loud.

The bag 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.

I found that I was sweating.

Realizing 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 bag?

After 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.

Jeez”, I yelped, what if Pop should pop by? I’d be on a fast track back to jail.

Holding in 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 the gun.
Before I 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.

Think dumb head, where could it be hidden?

Hello! I 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.

Another problem!

A search for a tape yielded none so, I took my key and went down to Walmart to get some strong tape.

When the 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.

I left 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 patter.

With my 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.

We talked 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.

Another 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.

The 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 worked before.

A knock 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?

My mind cringed thinking about the gun and happy that it was well hidden.

He looked around and, in the cupboard, he saw the abundance of puddings. The look on his face said that I was queer.

He raised his hulk from the wooden chair and said good bye. What a relief.

Back to 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.

Before 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.

Back to 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.

When they arrived with lights flashing, they were accompanied by a fire truck with lights flashing. Excellent!

Quickly, I 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.

While he 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 identify me..

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.

Hey Kid, he yelled, don’t you have a job yet?”

The answer I wanted to say was not one that Pop would find amusing so, I replied, “Been working at that.”

Well, 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.”


I’ll 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 then.”

I heaved a huge breath when he went out the door.

Looked a 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.

After 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 here.”

This was 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 five.

By the 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.

Walmart 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.

My recliner prompted my body to sleep. It was really comfortable with the voices.

More 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.

First, I 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.

The gun felt quite comfortable on my right side near my groin. It was heavy though.

On the street, I waved down a cab and asked him to take me right downtown. That cost me about thirty bucks.

My choice 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.

With sexy 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.

When I came back to reality, I apologized and said I must be in the wrong store and rushed out.

Outside, I just wanted to get home and flagged another cab and spent another thirty bucks.

The door 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.

It was 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.

He hadn’t uttered a sound.

What the Hell are you doing in my place? I swore at him

I was lookin for ---”


Let me up, he said. And I let him sit up on the floor.

He looked at me with a curious look on his face and asked, “Are you still living here?”

Why would I not still be here? I questioned.

Sheepishly, he looked away, “I wanted to play a trick on you and I left that gun in your grocery bag.”

So, you were looking for the gun. And you thought that Pop would find it and I’d go back to prison.”

He looked away, “well -----.”

I thought for a moment because I still had the gun on my belt and covered with my jacket. What should I do?

I chuckled, “I just threw it in the dumpster at the back of this apartment yesterday.”

He looked like he had lost his Mother.

Then he 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,

Well 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 find out.”

Then I added, “Get the Hell out and don’t come back!”

He disappeared.

I walked to the back entrance where I expected see Hank crawling into the waste bin. He was.

I knocked on a door of a man that I had met before and asked if I could use his phone.

Sure,” he said.

I called 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.

Thanks, Jerry, don’t be surprised if the cops show up here.”

The gun was placed in my hiding location and I heard a siren in the distance.

EPILOGUE:  The next day, I did discard the gun in the dumpster.

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