the heat is on

At home the heat is on, at work I've had to call the heat.

On Monday morning, at about 5 AM, I had to call the cops. Somebody had driven off without paying for $106.53 of gas. He wasn't even out of sight when I called, and stayed on the main road to toward the next town. I gave a good description of the person and his truck, and they caught him a few minutes later.

The cops brought him into the store, where he attempted to make good on his debt, but we had already changed shifts by then and I had cashed out the drive-off. He tried to use the ATM to get cash, but that didn't work. And so he called his father, evidently a respected builder in Asheville, who showed up eventually with cash, allowing me to avoid having to pay for the drive-off myself.

I told the cop that, in my opinion, anybody can make a mistake. I made one by turning on the pump, and he made one by driving off without paying. As long as the money arrived to cover the gas, I was happy. And so I was.

Last week I had to call the cops to run off a pest. This guy has been barred from entering most of the convenience stores in the county, because he is a pest, a panhandler and petty thief.

He came into the store at a little after 3 AM, just as I was getting busy preparing coffee and breakfast for the customers. The first thing I said after "Hello" was, "I thought you were barred from this store." He said no, "I was just in court and the judge didn't say anything about this place." He asked for a cup of coffee and I asked if he had any money. Nope. Soon I ran out of patience and told him, "I'm the nicest guy in the world, so take it seriously when say GET THE FUCK OUT!"

Eventually he did leave. I gave him a pack of matches so he wouldn't pester me for a lighter, and he went outside. A few minutes later the town cop, Dean, rolled through without stopping. Chris (the pest) must be gone.  My regular 3:30 AM coffee-gas-and-smokes customer pulled up in his truck and I turned on the pump for him. Suddenly, Chris appeared from the shadows and started hitting up my customer for money. I called the police dispatcher and said, "Dean just rolled through here. Could you send him back? Chris Franklin is pestering my customers and I want him gone." Dean came back, picked up Chris, and took him to jail.

The cops tell me that Chris actually wants to go to jail. He's comfortable there. I was glad to help him get there.

When I was homeless, I avoided asking people for money, and I avoided spending a lot of time at any one store. Sometimes I'd get with somebody who pestered folks obnoxiously, and that was my cue to move on. I was never arrested for panhandling (though I did get a verbal warning once for flying a sign, something I never did again) and only barred from a couple of places; both were drinking establishments rather than stores as such.

Oh well.

The weather has been cool the last few days, down into the 40's at night and not reaching 70 during the days. No frost yet, but I'm keeping my eye on the forecasts. Several of my houseplants are very sensitive to frost and I don't want them to get burned. The dragon wing begonia was badly damaged last spring - almost destroyed - by a single frost, and one that wasn't all that cold. All of the leaves looked and felt like fragments of shredded rubber balloons. I cut the stems back to about 12 inches in height (the plant had been over 2 feet tall) and kept it watered. Now the plant looks healthier than ever, bushier and with larger leaves than before. I got lucky.

On a related note, I thought - until a few minutes ago, when I looked it up to provide a link - that my begonia was of the angel wing variety. Turns out I was wrong; it is clearly a dragon wing. And that's cooler anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment