Monday, December 18, 2017

Dollar Sign on the Baby by Paul Greenberg



Dollar Sign on the Baby

“Excuse me, Mother Superior,” said Lolly as she elbowed her way past the Nun. “No need to push.” Said the Nun to Lolly, who elbowed her shopping cart through the mass of humanity flooding the parking lot of the Market Basket Grocery Store.

Lolly, at 5’3” barely fit behind the wheel of her 2009 Toyota Corolla. Once a petite 120 pounds, she had managed to put on an extra hundred over the last few years, thanks to a diet of Mountain Dew, Pop Tarts and vodka.

Her trip to the grocery store yielded a trunk load of crap food and cigarettes for her boyfriend, Jimmy LeBlanc, but also something she had picked up while pushing through the parking lot. A two-year-old boy.

Lolly had decided to call him Henry, after her father, despite the fact that Dad had tossed her and Jimmy out on there ass's back in Plantation, Florida.

***

Lolly didn’t know why she had plucked the kid from the woman’s carriage. The conditions seemed right, so she did it. An impulse purchase you might say. Something in her subconscious was screaming, “dollar signs.”

When she pulled into the driveway of the trailer park, Lolly could hear Jimmy in the middle of a coughing jag. He was already asking for his carton of Camels, as she was walking through the door.

“I got your cigarettes and your cheese curls and all the other shit you eat. She said as she popped open a can of Mountain Dew.

“Look what else I got you, Daddy.” She sang playfully as she walked into the TV room. Lolly held the boy in front of her swinging him gently back and forth, his legs dangling, dirty diaper sagging from his tiny pants.

“What the fuck did you do now, you stupid cow?”

“Jimmy, this is Henry, but you can call him Money. Do you know how much his parents will pay to get him back?”

***

“No, I don’t know. Did you ask them my sweet cookie jar?”

“No.”

“Do you know who the parents are my lovely potato chip?”

“No.”

“Then how the fuck are you going to get any money out of them ya ignoramus?”

“Cause Henry is going to give us their phone number. Isn’t that right, cutie?”

“He’s a fucking baby you stupid clam plate. All he knows is; I got to eat, shit and piss. Now find Sesame Street on the fucking tube and put him down, so we can figure this thing out?”

Jimmy paced the room wondering why he didn’t haul back and smack her all the while congratulating himself for not doing so.

“Where’s the food?”

“In the bags, dumb ass.”

Jimmy rummaged through the three plastic bags looking for anything resembling red meat. “We could eat ‘em, I suppose.”

“By now the cops…” He smacked his hand to his forehead and flicked on the radio, near the kitchen sink.

“An Amber alert has been issued for Simon…”

“Simon. Who names their kid, Simon?” Lolly said.

“Who names their kid, Lolly? Now, will you shut the fuck up,” said Jimmy.

“Simon Chalmers is two and one half years old, has brown hair, brown eyes and was wearing a Tom Brady T-shirt, blue pants and white sneakers. He’s the son of Mary and Anthony Chalmers. If you have any information or were at the Market Basket in Middletown this afternoon around 2:00 pm, please call…”

Jimmy looked at the boy. “That’s him all right.”

“Simon Chalmers. Sounds rich,” said Lolly.

Jimmy knew that he was in a world of shit that he never asked to be in, and his choices were few. He had to move fast. Come up with a story. Get the kid to safety and put a thousand miles between him and Lolly.  His window of escape was closing fast.

“Honey, here’s twenty bucks. Go down to the CVS and get the kid some diapers, milk and baby food. A kid shouldn’t be eating Doritos and swilling the Dew. OK?”

“Sure Jimmy. I knew you would figure it out. You want me to take the baby, with?”

“No, no, no. Let the boy sleep, I’ll be fine.”

While Lolly made her way to the CVS, Jimmy made his way to his closet where his 7MM Remington long-range hunting rifle was stored. He loaded it and stuck it behind a trash barrel in front of the trailer.

Jimmy LeBlanc spent the time he had alone revisiting the past seven years of his life. Leaving Florida, stealing cars, the booze, the coke and the meth. Pan handling and petty theft, odd jobs and now the God forsaken New England winters. This life if for shit. Now kidnapping? And for what? A once nice looking broad that turned into a cow overnight? A whining, never happy with anything I could possibly do, including trying to go straight?

This, he decided, has got to end.

When Lolly pulled back into the park, Jimmy was pacing out front, chain-smoking Camels, coughing and spitting up phlegm. He hurried Lolly out of the car, suggesting that she “get in there and change that kid’s diaper and feed him and shut him the fuck up so no one hears him crying.”

As Lolly entered the trailer, Jimmy opened the trunk of the car and wrapped the rifle in a blanket. He closed the trunk and hurried into the trailer before Lolly poked her head out to see what he was up to.

***

“Lolly, I spoke to my friend Dan Comeau, you know the guy I did construction with for awhile? He said that he’ll get us ten grand for the kid, but we would have to get it to him tonight, cause the heat is really on and he’s got to flip the kid to someone who wants to adopt and so on.”

“Ten grand, that’s awesome,” she said.

“So, tonight at nine we gotta drop the kid off behind the church on Lowell Street.  At 9:15 Danny will come by, leave our money in a bag and take the kid. Sounds easy enough, huh?”

When 8:30 came around, Simon Chalmers was wrapped in a blanket and sleeping in a big blue plastic recycling bucket. Lolly got in the back seat with him and Jimmy drove down to the Saint and Angels Church. He parked at the back of the church parking lot by the Donate Books bin, about 50 yards from the church.

“You go up there by the exit door and lay the bucket down. Then we take a little drive. Danny will pick up the kid and drop the cash by the door. Then we come back and pick up the money. OK?”

“You think Simon will be safe?”

“He’ll be fine. Now go. We have a schedule to keep.”

As Lolly waddled the length of the parking lot, Jimmy slipped out of the car, popped the trunk and grabbed the rifle.

He looked through the scope as Lolly walked up the stairs to the door. She was moving the bucket around like a shaker of salt over corn on the cob.

Lolly kneeled down to gently place the bucket on the top step. She adjusted the blanket around the boy and as soon as she straightened herself up, Pop, Pop, Pop. Jimmy got off three shots in a group, around her heart.

“God damn, that’s some good shooting.”

He got in the Toyota tossed the gun on the passenger seat and Pop. The Remington went off sending a round right through Jimmy’s neck. He fell forward on the horn.

The blaring of the horn alerted a Nun, who was working in the church. She came out the back door to find a dead Lolly and a sound asleep Simon Chalmers. “I’ll be freaking damned.” She said. “It’s that pushy girl from the grocery store.”  Sister Winnie Patrikas pulled out her cell phone and called the police.

She was about to become famous.

-End-

Bio Paul Greenberg’s crime and flash fiction can be found at Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, Thrills Kills and Chaos, Near to the Knuckle, Horror Sleaze Trash, Yellow Mama and his story Next Stop, Hell is in Issue 2 of Switchblade Magazine (available at Amazon). He lives on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts. 

Paul blogs at pgreenbergcrime.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter at pgreenbergcrime and on Facebook look for Paul Greenberg. Not the Paul Greenberg that wrote the book about fish.
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