Just when things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Borrowed to the Bone. Chapter 20

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Willy had put the incident with the motorcycle out of his mind by the next morning as he concentrated on how he was going to keep his legs from being broken by a loan shark.

But Willy had picked the wrong motorcycle to run over. The new Harley belonged to a lawyer—a shyster whose clients occupied the lowest rung of society—a lawyer with a broken leg and arm caused by a collision with a bridge banister. And a witness had taken down the plate number of Willy’s Ford.

When Willy walked out his door two days later to head for work, two cops were examining the scratches and black paint on his baby blue Ford. His temper flared. “Stay away from my damn car.”

The officers put their hands on their weapons and turned to face Willy. When they saw he was unarmed and of non-threatening size, they smiled as if they looked forward to his resisting.

The biggest cop stuck out his hand like he was directing traffic. “Stop where you are, sir. Where did that black paint and those scratches come from?”

“Clumsy guy scraped it with a forklift on a construction site where I’m working.”

Willy’s mouth dropped open when a burly, menacing man rolled a wheelchair from the other side of the Ford.  The man in the wheelchair had a cast on one leg and the opposite arm. He pointed at Willy with his good arm. “That’s the bastard that ran over me.”

The smaller cop stepped forward. “You’ll have to come with us down to the station.”

Willy turned to flee and the smaller man threw his baton and tripped him. The bigger one was on his back in an instant. “Go ahead, bad boy. Make it tougher on yourself.”

Ben Tom called in all his chits and favors to gather together bail money for Willy. But he just could not come up with the upfront money required for a lawyer. The loss on Scott’s house had tapped him out. Willy settled for a public defender whose heart was not in the case, especially after Willy repeatedly threatened him. He was sentenced to a year in the county jail and a five hundred dollar fine.

Willy was paranoid about leaving Colleen alone, fearing not so much for her safety as for her fidelity. His first call after starting his sentence was to Ben Tom, asking him to keep an eye on Colleen. With no money for rent, she asked to return to her mother’s house, but her mother had already rented her old room and turned her away. Ben Tom and Penny took her in.

Willy’s paranoia about Colleen grew with each day he spent in jail. His imagination about suitors pursuing his new pregnant wife took flight and rage began to build, exacerbated when Colleen refused to visit him. She said she could not bear the thought of taking the baby in her belly into such a dangerous and filthy place. Penny even expressed sympathy for her position.

So Willy was reduced to speaking with her only by phone. And as the new inmate, he was last in line. On his third Sunday, he paced as he waited for a large black inmate to finish using the phone. The inmate put his hand on the receiver and spoke to the pacing Willy. “Sit your white ass down over there, honky. I can’t concentrate on what I got to say to my lady.”

Willy thought his head might explode as he explored the somewhat dark hall for a weapon of some sort. Nothing. When the inmate began to work into Willy’s allotted phone time, he panicked and tapped him on the shoulder. He tried to keep his voice firm and not to say what was racing through his mind. “Time’s up. Hang up, or I won’t have any time to make my call.”

The inmate turned to him and sneered, then chuckled. “Guess you gon’ just have to wait till next week.”

Willy bit his lip and tapped him again. “Look, man. My wife is pregnant. I can’t wait till next week.”

The inmate turned, smiled and held out the receiver. “Well, I be sorry about that. Here you go.”

When Willy reached for the phone, the black man drew back the receiver and rapped it hard against the side of Willy’s head, then pulled it out of the base and began to hit him across the face. Two guards heard the commotion and pulled Willy’s tormentor off his back.

Willy rose to his knees and spit out a tooth. The guard chuckled. “That second tap you put on Junior was just too much for the big man. You got a lot to learn, kid.”




Chapters of the serial are published on Friday.

You can learn more about Borrowed to the Bone and other titles by Jim H. Ainsworth on his Amazon Author Page.

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