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datatime: 2022-10-08 03:13:02 Author:VvLnwuqx

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

Bobby tried to look into the newcomer's mind and saw only dim shapes. His ability was fading again, as it had on the day Mrs Gerber took them to Savin Rock; shortly after they left McQuown's stand at the end of the midway, it had been gone. This time the winkle had lasted longer, but it was going now, all right.

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

As he went, he tried to tune his mind outward and pick up some sense of Ted, but there was nothing. Bobby wasn't all that surprised. If he had been Ted, he would have gone someplace like the Bridgeport Public Library where he could hang around without being noticed. Maybe after the library closed he'd get a bite to eat, kill a little more time that way. Eventually he'd call another cab and come to collect his money. Bobby didn't think he was anywhere close yet, but he kept listening for him. He was listening so hard that he walked into a guy without even seeing him.

Bobby tried to look into the newcomer's mind and saw only dim shapes. His ability was fading again, as it had on the day Mrs Gerber took them to Savin Rock; shortly after they left McQuown's stand at the end of the midway, it had been gone. This time the winkle had lasted longer, but it was going now, all right.

'Not this one,' Dee said. 'I know him. He's my compadre.'

'Little boy,' the fourth guy almost sang. He reached out a hand, gripped the bristles of Bobby's crewcut, and pulled hard enough to make tears well up in Bobby's eyes. 'Little muchacho, what you got for money, huh? How much of the good old dinero? You have something and we going to let you go. You have nothing and we going to bust your balls.'

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

'You got any money, to?' asked the third guy. 'Cause this a toll-road, you know.'

Bobby pulled free, but the fourth guy pushed him back at the second. The second guy grabbed him again, not so gently this time. It was like being surrounded by Harry and his friends, only worse.

'I'm sorry,' he said in a dry voice. 'Really, I . . . 'scuse me.'

'I was just there,' Dee said. 'I didn't see no guy like Boris Karloff.'

'You got any money, to?' asked the third guy. 'Cause this a toll-road, you know.'

'It's still too early. I think he'll be there between nine-thirty and ten. I have to be there when he comes, because there's some men after him. They wear yellow coats and white shoes . . . they drive big flashy cars . . . one of them's a purple DeSoto, and - '

'I can't help it,' Bobby said. 'I have to find the guy I was with yesterday. His name is Ted. He's old and thin and pretty tall. He walks kinda hunched over, like Boris Karloff - you know, the guy in the scary movies?'

Bobby looked up and saw four young guys, what his mom would have called corner boys, standing in front of a place called BODEGA. They were Puerto Ricans, he thought, and all wearing sharp-creased slacks. Black boots with pointed toes poked out from beneath their pants cuffs. They were also wearing blue silk jackets with the word DIABLOS written on the back. The I was a devil's pitchfork. Something seemed familiar about the pitchfork, but Bobby had no time to think about that. He realized with a sinking heart that he had wandered into four members of some gang.

'I know Boris Karloff but I don't know no fuckin Ted,' Dee said. 'I don't ever see him. Man, you ought to get outta here.'

He pulled back from the hands holding his shoulders and started around the guy. He made just a single step before one of the others grabbed him. 'Where you goin, to?' this one asked. 'Where you goin, to? Mo?'

'Hey, cabrn' the guy said-laughing, but not in a nice way. Hands grabbed Bobby's shoulders and held him. 'Where was you think you goin, putino?'

Bobby tried to look into the newcomer's mind and saw only dim shapes. His ability was fading again, as it had on the day Mrs Gerber took them to Savin Rock; shortly after they left McQuown's stand at the end of the midway, it had been gone. This time the winkle had lasted longer, but it was going now, all right.

'I'm sorry,' he said in a dry voice. 'Really, I . . . 'scuse me.'

'What you doing down here, amigo?' he asked, gripping Bobby's shoulder with the tattooed hand. 'You stupid to be down here alone and you fuckin loco to be down here at night alone.'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

They all laughed and moved in closer. Bobby could smell their spicy aftershaves, their hair tonics, his own fear. He couldn't hear their mind-voices, but did he need to? They were probably going to beat him up and steal his money. If he was lucky that was all they'd do . . . but he might not be lucky.

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