In the last story of Jerome, I picked him up on a corner after receiving a phone call. He was frantically going on about how “They’re out to get him…”
Jerome looked like the last 15 years have been pretty hard on him. He had a backpack with a few possessions and some clothes, he said that was all he needed.
Once we get back to my place, I get him settled in our basement which is a fine guest room. A bed, dresser, closet space (not that he needed it), and separate front room area with a couch, recliner and a TV.
After he’s settled and cleaned up (he really needed a shower), he tells me his story.
“I really messed up this time, man. I really messed up.”
“Maybe I can help, start from the beggining.” I encourage.
“I stopped by this convienent store to get a bottle of asprin, see? I take an asprin,
then I see the cooler with sodas, so I grab me a coke to wash it down. Then I think, I shouldn’t take asprin on an empty stomach, so I get a salted nut roll. Then I remember I’m out of bread, so I grab a loaf of bread. Then I thought chips sounds nice. I got an asprin, soda and bread in one hand, and the candy bar in the other. I pick up the chips with the hand with the candy bar and head towards the cashier.
While I’m waiting in line I figure I should get my wallet out. My left hand has asprin and soda, and the bread is balanced on my arm and body. So I put the chips on the bread in a clever balancing act and temporarily put the candy in my coat pocket so I can get my wallet out.
Once I’m up, I spread all the goods on the counter and pay.
I didn’t mean to do it man, I didn’t mean too…”
“So what’s the problem?” I ask.
“Don’t you get it!”
“Not really.” I reply.
“THE CANDY…THE CANDY! The salted nut roll…was in my pocket, I didn’t pay for it. IT WAS STILL IN MY POCKET! It was still in my pocket.” He was shaking at this point and just kept mumbling, “It was still in my pocket, it was still in my pocket…”
He dropped down to the ground and rolled up in a ball softly crying, “It was still in my pocket.”
I went upstairs and came back with a few beers to help settle his nerves, and he continued. “Then like a fool, I went back. I just wanted a cup of coffee, but the same guy was working. He was giving me that look, he knows…HE KNOWS!”
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
This is big!
BIG TIME STUFF!
If Jerome gets caught, the judge will throw the book at him and throw him in a cell with Mr. Big who’s got in good with the warden.
I calmed Jerome down, and went upstairs to start putting together a plan that would clear his semi-good name!
COMING NEXT: The plot to get Jerome off the hook all comes together!
Song in my head: