StoriesLarge Print - 2009
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Roger fired twice, hit nothing, but succeeded in changing the strategy of the gang shooting. Aggie’s Dodge was immediately sprayed with bullets from an assault rifle.
But the woman took the shot well and counterpunched with an unbelievable combination. She threw a right cross that busted the man’s lips, then went low with a left uppercut that crushed his testicles. He squealed like a burned animal and fell in a heap ...
“Fifty bucks a pint.” To Calvin, with $6.25 in his pocket, the price meant a cover charge, three watered-down beers, and another memorable lap dance with Amber. To Aggie, with $18 in his pocket and no credit cards, the deal meant another quick visit to the strip club and enough gas to get home.
“They make you lay down because most people pass out. The damned needle is so big that a lot of folks faint when they see it. They tie a thick rubber cord around your bicep, then the nurse’ll poke around your upper forearm looking for a big, fat blood vein. It’s best to look the other way. Nine times out of ten, she’ll jab the needle in and miss the vein—hurts like hell—then she’ll apologize while you cuss her under your breath. If you’re lucky, she’ll hit the vein the second time, and when she does, the blood spurts out through a tube that runs to a little bag. Everything’s clear, so you can see your own blood. It’s amazing how dark it is, sort of a dark maroon color. It takes forever for a pint to flow out, and the whole time she’s holdin’ the needle in your vein.”
Wayne, Calvin and Roger set for a road trip:
“I’ll send Roger,” an older gentleman offered, and this was met with silent skepticism. Roger, who wasn’t present, had no job to worry about because he couldn’t keep one. He had dropped out of high school and had a colorful history with alcohol and drugs. Needles certainly wouldn’t intimidate him. ... The great question was, Is he sober? Roger’s battles with his demons were widely known and discussed in Box Hill. Most folks generally knew when he was off the hooch, or on it. “He’s in good shape these days,” his father went on, though with a noticeable lack of conviction. But the urgency of the moment overcame all doubt, and Aggie finally said, “Where is he?” “He’s home.” Of course he was home. Roger never left home. Where would he go?
A hero quickly emerged. His name was Wayne Agnor, an alleged close friend of Bailey’s who since birth had been known as Aggie. He ran a body shop with his father, and thus had hours flexible enough for a quick trip to Memphis. He also had his own pickup, a late-model Dodge, and he claimed to know Memphis like the back of his hand. “I can leave right now,” Aggie said proudly to the group, and word spread through the house that a trip was materializing. ... “I’ll go too,” another young man finally said, and he was immediately congratulated. His name was Calvin Marr, and his hours were also flexible but for different reasons—Calvin had been laid off from the shoe factory in Clanton and was drawing unemployment. He was terrified of needles but intrigued by the romance of seeing Memphis for the first time. He would be honored to be a donor.
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