I live in a rough part of town. I’m not kidding, it’s really bad. There’s so many muggers here the muggers mug muggers. See what I’m saying? The police won’t even enter the 64th Street barrio in anything less than an armored car. I used to have a gun for self-defense…but somebody stole it.
The one highlight of the area was Jarood’s Deli. He made the best shawarma in the city. He also sold curios from the Middle-East and Asia. While I held a freshly made shawarma in a little bag, I noticed s green ball, about six inches across, laying on a velvet cloth. Signs piled up around it read: “Do not touch!” “Stay Away!” “Dangerous Item!” So I did what most people would do when faced with a curiosity you’re supposed to avoid.
I touched it.
“Finally!” shouted Jarood from across the deli. “I knew a sign saying do not touch would make somebody touch it.”
“What is it?” I said as the green ball hovered and bobbed happily around my head.
“I don’t know,” spat Jarood. “All I know is it rearranges the whole store every night. It’s driving me crazy!”
“Well, take it back!”
“Uh uh,” grinned Jarood. “You touched it. It’s yours now. I’m free of it!”
I left the store with the green ball floating behind me. I didn’t walk more than a block before the inevitable happened.
I sighed, “What up, Mick.”
“Time to feed the kids.”
I handed him my wallet. He removed the twenty inside and returned my wallet. It’s good knowing your neighborhood mugger personally.
Mick said, “That a shawarma from Jarood’s?”
“Not my shawarma, Mick!”
“But it’s valuable. It’s a Jaroods!”
Mick held up a switchblade, “Ain’t askin’ again, Sean!”
A bolt of green light shot out of the green ball. Mick aged about 70 years in an instant. He huddled against the wall, a wrinkled, feeble old man. It was easy getting my twenty back. I found three other wallets. I guess he didn’t know those guys. I decided I should return the wallets at the police station. Unfortunately, that was eight blocks away in the next neighborhood. I’d have to walk through a veritable combat zone to get there. Still, I had a feeling.
By the time I arrived at the cop station, I was calling the green ball, Jones. After twelve attempted muggings, and Jones blasting every bad guy who threatened me, I collected twenty-two more wallets and a bag of money from a drug deal. I turned the wallets in to the cops and the money too…mostly.
Weeks went by and Jones eradicated crime in the neighborhood. I started visiting other rough neighborhoods and Jones wiped out every crook there. They all aged differently. One tattooed guy became an infant. I guess tattoos are seriously permanent. Never seen a tattooed baby before. One guy turned to dust before my eyes. An anthropologist later claimed he found 1500-year old bones there.
I expanded my operations and before long, the city was laying off its cops. With violent crime eradicated, they weren’t needed anymore. With nothing to do, I started staying home. In the mornings I started finding the furniture rearranged, my spice cabinet re-ordered, my DVD collection in order by ISBN number.
I finally realized what Jarood had done wrong. He wasn’t keeping Jones busy. Tire him out and he won’t mess with your stuff. I needed to move somewhere to keep Jones busy for a long, long time.
I understand Oakland California has mighty good shawarma.
According to this post, Oakland is the #2 city for violent crime in the US. Glad I don’t live there anymore. http://kdvr.com/2015/05/08/by-the-numbers-here-are-the-most-dangerous-cities-in-america/
But there’s good things in Oakland too. I really miss the Oasis Market which made the best shawarma I’ve ever had: http://www.yelp.com/biz/oasis-food-market-oakland
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here to see what other folks wrote: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/sunday-photo-fiction-september-13th-2015/