Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Steal At Twice
"Hey! You want a home theater?"
He was hollering at me from the parallel lane on Grand Avenue. We were idling at the red light for Mannheim, a few miles south of O'Hare Airport. He drove a red Blazer and wore a white wifebeater and a backwards baseball cap. He looked like a hockey fan.
"I don't care! I got it from a job today." He looked over at somebody riding shotgun, and then back to me. "I'll take anything, man. We need to offload this shit for titty bar cash. I'm pulling into the Rio Valley shopping center up there. Follow me."
He was undoubtedly referring to All-Stars Gentlemen's Club in Northlake just a few miles west down Grand. In his perfect world, I'd follow him into the strip mall parking lot, fork over $500, then he and his buddy would cruise over to the titty bar in their skidmarked basketball shorts and score a knob rub or two before getting tanked on cheap beer and Jagermeister shots.
I drove into the parking lot and pulled into a spot. I ambled over to the red Blazer and asked for a peep at the goods. He popped the hatch open.
"I'm Eddie, an' that's Sal. Some rich old broad upgraded her shit and doesn't want this anymore. It's ours! But we don't need anymore fucking TVs, man. We work in A/V, you know? We just wanna hock this shit and go see some tight little asses wiggle. Know what I mean?"
He prodded my ribs with his elbow, apparently a signal of comraderie to indicate we're both members of a worldwide titty appreciation club. Which we are. Still, I found the forced friendliness suspicious.
"So what do we got here?"
"This big ass TV, speakers, stereo, pedestal, the works man. Even the wires. Name the price."
"Well, Eddie, I got a problem. See my car? No way can I haul all that. Plus, I live on the third floor. I also got no room for this stuff, even though I want it. And there's no way to test it all out first. You guys don't exactly offer a warranty, am I right?"
"Aw, come on bro, it's good shit. If you live close, we'll bring it there, help you haul it up, and help you check it out before we'll take your money. Square?"
Eddie glanced back at Sal, who was rubbing his fat chin, eyes flitting between me and my car. Sizing me up. Appraising my worth. Guessing how much liquid assets could be lifted from a dude like me. I looked from Sal's dubious facial hair and gold chains back to Eddie, who was clasping his hands and smiling like a used car salesmen.
"Sorry fellas, but it's not worth the trouble to me. Find yourselves somebody in a nicer car than mine. I live in a hot little shitheap with no space and noise sensitive neighbors. This stuff looks great, but it just ain't practical for me. Thanks anyways."
"Your loss, bud."
I left, wondering which elderly woman had been duct taped to a wheelchair while these fuckers stole her appliances, jewelry, and checkbook. I wondered what vacationing couple would return to a ransacked home, furniture torn and strewn. I wondered what gambling addict saved a few broken fingers by handing over his toys to his bookie's thugs.
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