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Dollar Joe Chapter 8
The End Cap Continued
She touched his shoulder with concern and he wished he was younger, as she said, “This shit is just getting stupid. Can you believe these people?”
He quipped, “Well, now I don't have to reread the Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
“Well,” she said, “everybody is watching, even the Chinese, so I've got nobody to check out.”
Then the fat woman who had kicked the man in the back some thirty times, slipped and cracked her head and began to wail and the woman who was holding her beefcake husband back called 911 for an ambulance, spewing the same antivaxer attack mantra even as this innocent and courteous man was being attacked by three people. The smaller woman had begun hitting him in the back of the head with some metal shelving and the crazed wife of the sissy was smacking him in the face with the whiffle ball bat.
Something in the man snapped and he roared, grabbing the little fat bitch behind him by the arm and throwing her into the crazed soccer mom with the bat. He flattened out the mop-headed boy, posted up cruelly, popping one of the boy’s hip rotators or adductor attachments, crippling him right on the floor, grabbed him by his eye sockets with a reach over, posted one knee in the thoracic spine, and did the lion kill with a roar, pulling that head back until the attacker’s neck snapped. A shudder went through Mercedes and he put his left arm around her shoulders as her hand went to her mouth, now devoid of a mask and he counseled, “Debts are coming due, Darling. You might not want to watch the rest.”
But she was a natural fight fan. The manager, a middle aged woman of no appeal, threw up on the sales floor and Mercedes hugged him and said, “Oh ma Gawd!”
He would have to thank this young fella when the police were throwing him in the paddy wagon.
All hell broke loose, now. The big meat farm of a gym-built goon tried to punch the man with a glacial left hook and the stud ducked, popped up, and ripped a back leg round kick into the man's knee—shattering it on contact. Then, as the man folded backward in agony, the blonde Quasimodo leaped in the air in a savage exultation, doing a Kevin Randleman gorilla leap and came down with both booted heels on the skull of the beef cake husband, crushing it like a water-melon and flattening it out.
Mercedes’ buxom breast was heaving into his sunken chest as she exhaled, “What is happen-ing?”
“This guys a pro—hypertrophied shin bone and all. Reminds me of a kid I coached—cleaned out an entire redneck bar in under a minute.”
“Really—you a real old school daddy ain’t you?”
Edward, you just caught your last nubile pass—do not fumble it!
Now the big fat girl with the pink hair, received a chin stomp that broke her jaw and her squishy neck.
Mercedes winched with her body but made a fist. She liked the underdog, a sign of good character.
The soccer mom with the whiffleball bat was screaming and swinging the plastic bat at the stud—and to Edward’s amazement, this guy was now on full auto and did a spinning back fist and broke her neck—dead before she hit the floor.
The fat, little blue-haired girl who started the whole thing was standing there screaming at him, “Antivaxer, murderer,” and that got on video because a young black dude was now filming the scene, already trade marking it as “White Zulu Dawn,” as he booted up a livestream commentating feed like a hip-hop Howard Cosell.
The wife of the beefcake was screaming at the construction worker for vengeance, a big bearded masculine guy, and Edward was saying under his breath, “Don’t do it, brother, don’t do it!”
Mercedes thanked him for his humanity with her questing hands.
But even then, the manic blonde man, with a badly cut scalp dripping blood down his back, a shirt entirely torn on the back from clog stomps on top of his already maimed eye and nose, was picking up the short, fat blue-haired bitch, turning her upside down, and pile-driving her head into the tile floor, cracking it and shattering her neck.
That froze the construction worker in his tracks as he was coming up behind the man—which was too bad as the man’s one good eye narrowed and he jumped up and came down with a superman punch directly to the throat, which caved in the windpipe of the big bearded fellow, who staggered semi-standing as he gasped for air only to be pushed to the ground by the fiend. The stud again leaped six feet in the air in an ecstasy of sanguine retribution and came down with both feet on the sternum of the just-fallen man, causing a gout of blood to well into the ruined throat which swelled like a balloon though only a little gore seeped out through the dying mouth.
“No brutha, no—you ma hero!”
And with a hard cranking back leg round kick the producer of the new hit livestream sensation, White Zulu Dawn had his head kicked so hard that the spine snapped like a chicken neck in a slaughter house.
Mercedes pranced a bit at that and hugged him tighter, “Noisy negro deserved it—puttin’ dis shit on da internet!”
And now, other than jabbering Asians, curious and stunned children, a wailing hipster wife, a pissing and gibbering hipster husband and a vomiting manager, it was just Old Edward “Hands of Mud” Jub and tonight’s hopeful date, standing arm and arm.
The man picked up his dollar, rescuing it from the spreading gore, along with the pack of masks, walked up to Mercedes and handed the dollar to her, mumbling, “Sorry, miss—ain’ no thief—Pops,” and he walked out the door, leaving Edward in charge, who turned to the remaining customers and declared, “The store is closed. Mercedes is done working for the day.”
“God bless you, Son!”
Mercedes trembled, “Mister Eddie, I can’t afford to lose this job—I got two babies at home, but I do not wanna wait around for the poleese!”
Old Eddie was daddy on the spot, hell, he had not even dropped his groceries!
“Your children come first. I’ll walk you home, Darling—we’ve got pizza rolls, microwave pizza, burritos and ah, napkins for dinner.”
As they walked out the door, circling politely around the retching manager and her spreading pool of vomit as the rampaging man stalked like a caged tiger across the parking lot, Mercedes was still holding his hand, having reached behind the register and snagged her purse and speaking with a whispering shudder, seemingly afraid, “Pops, huh? You sure cool over all that mess Mista—ah, I mean My...Eddie Baby—you carry yourself like a man who’s kind of set up—You don’t really need to shop here do you?”
It’s the tenth round and a split decision, Jub, and this ain’t your home town. Do not leave it in the judges hands.
He could hardly believe how smooth he sounded, what with stage three throat cancer and all, “Baby, after I stopped in there to grab lunch and I saw you, I couldn’t shop anywhere else. As long as Eddie Jub is around, you will not have a concern in the world.”
And he wasn’t lying, he was cashing in his pension, his life insurance and canceling his medical at 8 am tomorrow, looking forward to the last six months of a once miserable life.
“How many bedrooms you want in that house we’re buying, Baby?”
“Oh, Eddie—I knew you was fo real!”
Finally, after 62 goddamned years, a knockout that went my way.
“Thanks son.”
It was a shame it wasn’t at sunset—but noon would have to do. Eddie had always prided himself on his strong heart—but now found himself hoping that in three months it would fail at full sail.
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