Category Archives: Jed Power

All That Green

It didn’t bother me at first. Matter of fact, I didn’t really even think about it. You see, Harry had done it before.
+++++I know it’s hard for some people to believe, but a guy like Harry, who’s into a little of everything, legal and illegal, occasionally has more money than he knows what to do with. So it wasn’t too unusual for Harry to call me every so often and ask me to help him out. Hold some money for him. Stash it. That’s how I ended up with the sixty grand, in ziplock bags, buried in a dirt corner of my cellar.
+++++Harry said he was flying out to California for a few weeks. I knew he had some action out there. What, I didn’t know. And it didn’t make any difference because I really didn’t care anyhow. So I forgot about it–or at least I thought I did.
+++++When I got into work the morning after burying Harry’s dough, Gail, the battle-ax that runs the Hampton Beach bar I work at, had a burr up her ass. Now Gail isn’t the easiest person to get along with, though I really hadn’t had much of a problem with her. And I wanted to keep it like that. So I kept my mouth shut, started setting up the bar, and kept my ears open.
+++++It didn’t take me long to pick up on what was causing the tension. You know waitresses–they love to talk. And stuff like this is right up there alley.
+++++It seemed Gail came in early and found Randy, the chef, dicing carrots for the day. Now usually there’d be nothing wrong with that, except today was Monday. Monday was green beans day. I know that might sound ridiculous, but Monday has been green beans day for as long as anyone can remember. Even the old-timers, who still drink whiskey with a beer chaser, couldn’t recall a Monday without green beans.
+++++And there also wasn’t a soul who could remember a time the place hadn’t made money. And Gail probably figured that green beans on Monday could have been the reason for that fact as well as anything else.
+++++Well, they had words, Gail and Randy, and one thing led to another as it often does with owners and chefs. And before it dawned on Gail what ranting and raving over green beans might cause to happen, Randy was out the door, and she was in front of the kitchen grills with a tall, white chef’s hat plunked on her head and a stained white apron wrapped around her ample middle.
+++++Now none of this type of stuff is usually any skin off my nose. I come in on time, tend my bar, and leave. No problems, right? Wrong. At least today wrong. I barely had stuck that first order slip under the little wooden sliding door that the food orders are shoved through from kitchen to bar, then the little door slams open.
+++++Gail’s fat head fills the opening as she glares out at me standing behind my bar. “Can’t ya write so somebody can read it?” she screams. “Whattaya, five years old?” And then she bangs the little door closed.
+++++At my age I need this like a hole in the head. Besides, it’s embarrassing. The regulars are all squirming on their stools, pretending not to notice, waiting to see what I’ll do. What can I do? I need the job. I’m not like Harry, with more money than I know what to do with. About this time I start thinking about Harry’s sixty grand buried in my cellar.
+++++I got through the day–barely. I was hot and I didn’t speak to Gail all day. When I left the bar, I thought that was the end of my troubles. But I should’ve remembered–trouble always comes in threes.
+++++I no sooner walked through the door of the house than Gin, that’s my wife, starts in. “You said you were gonna leave shopping money,” she says, steamed. “How can I do shopping without money?” Before I can answer, “Whattaya think, it’s fun shopping? I have to count every damn penny. Everything’s so expensive and you give me peanuts. Now you don’t even leave it and I could’ve done it. It’s food money, you know, not mink coat money.”
+++++When she starts like this, there’s no turning her off, so I don’t even try. I take out the few dollars I got (checking accounts been empty for a while) and drop them on the kitchen table. “All I got,” I say.
+++++She looks at the bills like they’re the makings of a rancid sandwich. “Oh, just great. We got kids and this is supposed to be enough? Whattaya crazy? Have you seen prices today? No, of course not. You don’t go shopping. I have to.”
+++++With her words still chasing after me, I walk through the cellar door and down the stairs. I got a little office over in one corner and as I head for it, I see the dirt area over in the corner of the cellar. That’s when I start thinking about Harry and the money again.
+++++Now when you start contemplating something like I was, it isn’t too hard to justify it. I used the old standards: job I hated, wife nagging about money, and Harry having more than he needed. It was easy.
+++++It was also easy to figure how I was going to do it. Especially as I saw it–I only had two choices: take the money and tell Harry somebody ripped it off, or take the money and kill Harry and tell him nothing. Now Harry’s a good guy, and besides, I never killed anybody anyhow.
+++++So I waited till Gin went out. Then I dug up my money. It was all in hundreds, which was good because I knew I’d be able to fit it in a safe-deposit box at the bank tomorrow morning.
+++++I knew Harry’d want to know how the rip-offs got in, so I took a hammer and smashed a bedroom window from outside in the backyard.
+++++I knew it was dumb, but I was so nervous I wiped the shovel and hammer clean of fingerprints. Who knew how a guy like Harry’d react with sixty grand of his history.
+++++Then I called Harry and told him the story. My voice was shaking but I figured if I’d really been ripped off, my voice’d be shaking anyhow. All Harry said was he’d catch a flight and be back by tomorrow afternoon. It didn’t surprise me; I knew Harry moved fast.
+++++The next day I stashed the sixty in the bank box and gave Gina a couple hundred for food shopping and a couple hundred for herself. I wanted her out of the house when Harry showed up. I also got on the horn with Gail and told her what she could do with her restaurant.
+++++When Harry did show up that afternoon, he looked grim. I tried to look grim too. I told him I’d come home and found the break and the money gone. I showed him the broken bedroom window and then the dirt hole in the cellar.
+++++Harry didn’t say anything. He just shook his head, hands on his hips, and stared into the empty hole. I was nervous and getting more so. Then, finally, I was amazed to see Harry start to smile.
+++++“Well, good luck to the chumps,” Harry said. “They were lousy quality anyway…those counterfeits. At least now I don’t have to worry about how I’m gonna move the damn things.”
+++++That word Harry said–counterfeits–was anything but to me. It hit me real hard. I tried to swallow, then spun my head as I heard a car pull in the driveway, doors slam, and someone shout, “Police. Open up.”
+++++I figured Gin had done her shopping.