Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Protocol: A Death Down by the River Part VII

(For Part I go here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here, Part VI here)

Gremlin was a small, thin homeless man with a large shock of longish hair and beard that seemed to shoot out of his head like he'd been electrocuted. All of 114 pounds, he'd been homeless for about a dozen years and had spent most of those years living in the area on the other side of the levee from Basler Street, a lot of the time in a small ravine area called the Snakepit. He was well known in the community there, friendly, talkative and helpful to people. That morning he had been released from a few nights in jail, and his friend Paul was coming for a visit. Paul had been homeless for awhile, and the first night he found himself in the area, Gremlin had helped him with clothes and some protection from the elements. Paul never forgot that kindness and they became friends. Several years previous, Paul had gotten his act together and was now living with his girlfriend Lola in a modest house a few miles from the river. Paul would periodically return to the river, bringing food, clothes, beer and other things to Gremlin. That afternoon, Lola dropped Paul off at the river, where he asked about Gremlin. He was told that Gremlin had been released, but was gone at that moment. So Paul went to the store and bought a case of beer, which he brought back to the river.

He met up with Gremlin and a few other people about a quarter mile from the Snakepit. After a few hours, most of the beer was gone. Paul put one in his back pocket and Gremlin grabbed the last few. They said goodbye to the others they were with and set out walking to the Snakepit, where they hoped to say hello so some other friends.

Around 6:00 PM, as Paul and Gremlin were approaching the Snakepit, Randy returned to the street in front of Danny's house. He again began riding in circles in the street in front of the house, this time screaming at the house, "Why you wanna fight an old man, motherfuckers, if you wanna fight someone come on out and get some of this!" Danny, Mark, and Jay all looked out the kitchen window. Was this Tommy Duke? The guy looked like him, the guy was acting like him - but the guy wasn't making any sense with what he was saying. They couldn't be sure. Jay was livid - he thought it was Tommy and he was ready to make sure this stuff stopped once and for all. Mark decided to get a better look, and went out the front door. He told Randy to wait a minute, and came back in the house.

Randy thought the guys responsible for harassing Old Man Dan would just come out and fight him. What was this about? Randy wasn't quite sure what to make of it - was he getting a gun? If so, Randy would be a sitting duck out there. So he turned away and rode across the street to the levee, where he had to dismount and pull his bike up the hill, over the levee, across the bike trail, and a little bit beyond to a shady area by the Snakepit, where he met up with Bandana and Bugeye, who were sitting under a tree.

To Be Concluded

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