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Dollar Joe Chapter 7
The End Cap
Edward was hoping to see Mercedes running the register. One good thing about the ’vid was that the strip clubs were still mostly shut down and you had hot young babes on the register again like when he was young. He had moved here as a retirement plan to coach at some local gyms, but all that got shut down. He did at least have his social security.
“Hello, Sir,” she smiled, “Let me double bag this for you, since I know you're a walking man.”
“Thank you, Darling.”
Stripper-based hospitality did over qualify one for register work at the dollar store. He never took change from this pretty hand and tried hard not to stare. Though a failure to glance at least once would have her questioning her charms—and a man couldn't rightly be the cause of a young lady’s distress when she looked in the mirror.
Three Antifa sympathizers in Kool-Aid hair, including two fat girls and a big mop-headed youth, all of about 18, were doing some shoplifting and strutting and the girl knew better than to start a fuss, what with defunded police responses being slow to no-go in small affairs.
Then in walked a rough-looking, but not dirty, homeless guy, a specimen of about 30, in his prime. He had terrible orbital and nose breaks on the left side of his face, like someone had hit him in the eye with a bat or put the boots to him while he was on the ground. This guy looked like the white Rodney King with blonde hair and it pissed Edward off that that eye had not been set, nor the nose. If that had happened in a sanctioned fight the kid would have been insured at the local hospital and if Edward had been his coach he’d have gone with him in the ambulance and then driven him home two days later. As a boxer who had washed up by 1992 due to training injuries and spent the next 30 years until the ’vid helping young men avoid such punishment he was caught by an immediate flame of injustice in his heart.
Oh, the guy had no mask and Mercedes said, “Sir, you have to have a mask.”
The man was a long-fuse type by his walk and smiled and pointed at the end cap 15 feet to Edward's left, “Sorry, miss, that's why I am here. I’m buying a pack of these masks right after I put one on.”
He then glanced at Edward with some respect, as if old Eddie “Hands of Mud” Jub would have been able to do anything to chastise him for dis-respecting the young lady, pulled his shirt up over his nose and went to the end cap and selected a pack of mask and began to break open the pack.
Just then the three Anteefa types walked by and the smallest girl said, “Mask up or move out, motherfucker!”
The man ignored her and was patiently opening the mask pack as he held a dollar in his left hand, demonstrating his intent to pay in such a way that it was obvious that he was homeless and used to being accused of petty crimes.
Mercedes had him checked out and all he had eyes for was the building confrontation as the three militant leftists surrounded this homeless kid with the small scaling pack and the worn and plain olive drab BDUs and very expensive looking climbing boots.
The larger girl slapped the man on the shoulder as he took out a mask and yelped, “Mask up, shithead!”
His bright blue right eye clouded and he looked over his shoulder out of the damaged left eye which was not dead but seemed to have a detached retina and could probably see very little from the left and he snarled, “Get lost, bitch!”
“Oh, lucky me, I get to see a fight,” Edward said absently as he stepped away from the register with his bag of groceries.
Then the big mop-headed boy, a pale, soft light-heavyweight snarled, “Don’t call her a bitch,” and charged at the harder-looking middleweight, catching him blind and plowing him through the entire end cap which was not bolted to the aisle shelving and just collapsed. In two seconds people were screaming, the men were flopping on the sheet metal and Mercedes was on the intercom, “Manager to the front—manager to the front.”
The bigger younger mop-head—it actually looked like a natural afro that had been colored crimson—tried to ground and pound the home-less man, who scrambled and was getting an easy reversal on the mop-head's back. The backpack was gone. Then the bigger, fatter bitch screamed and started kicking him in the back while he was securing a rear-naked choke on the mop-head.
The smaller woman was screaming for two men and their wives to intervene, screaming, “Antivaxer attack—science-denier, he’s attacking my brother for wearing a mask.
A large, bodybuilder-looking man looked like he wanted to get involved, but his wife was holding him back. A little, skinny man was shrinking over by the candy display and his wife was picking up a whiffle ball set and stripping off the ball and seemed to be looking for an angle to mob-up on the defender.
A big burly construction worker stopped to watch, wondering if he should get involved.
Edward had drifted closer and had a ringside seat. The stud had the grapevine hooks in and was easing into a choke, ignoring the now twenty-plus kicks planted into his back by the crazy, fat woman in her clogs.
The smaller fat woman was now on the phone, “Darlene, this is Emmy, we have an antivaxer right winger attacking people for wearing masks at the dollar store. All hands on deck—Allen is in trouble—this guy’s like a commando—probably a military contractor.
The big musclebound man now wanted to get involved but there wasn’t room. The woman with the whiffleball bat was all but frothing at the mouth.
Edward blurted, “Those are lies. This man showed restraint when assaulted and now he’s being mobbed. He was buying a mask!”
That was enough to take the construction worker out of it. But the wife of the soy boy and the big gym rat were hovering around and asking questions of the blue-haired girl who was all of a sudden an expert on this homeless kid’s crimes.
The fact that most of these people were believing lies against the evidence of their eyes made Edward shrink back some as Mercedes told her manager, “Those three attacked the blonde man. He was buying a mask.”
“Liar,” screamed the fat little blue-haired girl. “He called me a bitch for making him mask up. He’s a science-denier, and an antivaxer!”
Mercedes had enough street smarts to back away from the budding mob and shut up, as did Edward, as the growing mob started cheering on the mop-headed kid who had no idea what he was in for. Edward said to Mercedes, “The blonde kid is still showing restraint. He could break this kid’s neck.”
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book of nightmares
supplicant song
the first boxers
the gods of boxing

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