Charlie knocked on the door to 2F. They better be gone, he thought. After a short wait, he fit his passkey into the lock. He unlocked it, and then the door was pulled open, the key yanked from his fingers.
"Jennifer, what are you still doing here?" Charlie asked.
"Waiting for my husband."
She left the door open and walked back inside. Charlie removed his key from the lock and followed her into the small studio apartment.
Jennifer picked up Bo from the playpen and sat down on the couch. Charlie thought he was a cute little fellow, about six months old, with downy blond hair and bright blue eyes. Jennifer lifted up her blouse, adjusted her bra, and began breastfeeding. Charlie turned away.
"Jennifer, the Marshall is going to be here in a few minutes."
Bo made sucking sounds, fidgeted, and then quieted down.
"I thought you were going to move out over the weekend."
Out of the corner of his eye, Charlie saw her breasts were covered, and he relaxed.
"So did I. But Brian didn't show up. He also missed my birthday. I was 18 on Saturday."
Charlie looked around. Nothing was packed even though there wasn't much to move. An old wooden dresser, a mattress laying on the floor, a torn couch, a tv, a playpen, a crib, and some dishes and clothes. I should have never rented the apartment to them, Charlie thought. Fooled me with all that young love in their eyes. Brian was 21, optimistic and energetic, working as a carpenter's helper, and Jennifer was 17, pregnant and looking she was ready to pop any minute. Oh shit, Charlie thought, why does it have to be this way? Why can't they just move out when they can't pay the rent, and let me get on with my business?
"Have you got a place to go to, Jennifer?"
When she started crying, the tears seemed to fall out of her eyes. Bo fussed, so Jennifer switched sides and fed him from her other breast.
"You got any family around here, Jennifer?"
"Only Brian's Dad."
"Well, we better call him."
"Can't. His phone's out." She wiped her eyes with her sleeve.
Charlie studied her. She looked smaller than he remembered. And thinner. Barely over a hundred pounds. Her skin was too pale, probably from not eating right. He opened the frig. There was a jar of ketchup, an open can of Coke, and a wormy looking apple.
They were interrupted by a knock on the door and the announcement, "City Marshall."
Marshall Chiacetta was dressed in his civies. He looked like a working stiff, except for the bulge on the side of his coat where the Glock sat in its holster. He nodded to Charlie and Charlie nodded back. The marshall walked in.
"Are you Jennifer Silano?" the marshall asked.
"Would you please step outside."
"Can I finish feeding my baby?"
"Ma'm, you'll have to feed your baby outside."
The tears flowed down her cheeks again.
"Now don't act surprised, little lady. You've had plenty of time to leave. I told you Thursday I would be back Monday morning at 9:30. Didn't I?"
"Well, then step outside please."
Marshall Giacetta reached for Jennifer's hand, and she pulled it away.
"Little lady, do you want to do this hard way, or the easy way?"
She didn't answer.
"Well, then take your baby and step outside."
He reached for her hand again.
"Don't touch me!"
When she yelled, Bo started wailing.
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© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
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