THE REASON I chose Ally Pawn Shop is cuz no pig would patrol that sleazy-ass joint. My hole of a home is Vermont, so it'd be easy to run through the ally if some shit went down. Ally Pawn Shop's got a back exit, so if it started smelling like some bacon, I be gone before they knew shit. It gone be easy. I done small jobs here, done small jobs there, but with Jimmy about to cut my throat over 5 grand, I knew I needed somethin bit bigger. So I chose St. Anthony’s, because it was to be so expected that no one would guess. That old man runs it and the guy has no clue. Doesn’t even have the mind to know what his shit is worth.
I’d stopped by there before. My girl wanted something to flash around in front of the ladies, so I figured I’d get a necklace – so long as it was cheap. I hustled the sucker, convinced his ass to sell that shit half price. Shit, I knew it was the place to go to get rid of that debt. The old man's a moron, but I knew he had enough mind to keep a loaded gun in the place. So I rolled in with my .45, but with no intention of bloodying up those walls. Just for protection, you know? In case shit got uglier than it was supposed to.
So I stroll in and the old fool’s doing a crossword, and I think shit, I got this made. And he’s got this smile, like this is the best shit he’s ever done. Didn’t even look up when I walked in. So I start strolling around, you know, looking half interested and shit, not attracting attention. And this guy only looks up once. The whole time. Shit! I walked out 2 minutes later with this ring, a 4 karat, right on my fucking hand! I walk down to the pawnshop a block away, and sell that shit right then and there. The little fucker tried to give me less than that shit was worth. But I got him up to where it was supposed to be, took it over to Jimmy and it was done. Easiest money I ever made.
It started like a normal day. Washed some punk’s puke off the sidewalk before I could even unlock the place. I looked at the crumbling bricks seasoned in graffiti and prepared myself for another day. And it was just another day, though it coulda been different if I had tried to be the big man. Put up the open sign and just sat, waiting for a con. You know, if I had just stuck to the right hustles, it woulda been different. Never shoulda learned to bet on those horses. And I’d never have met the whiskey if I hadn’t lost so much on those damned tracks in Santa Anita. Coulda got out of this shit hole. The only good thing about the jewelry shop was the profits. People don’t know nothing about jewelry. They know as much as I know bout the horses.
This tough looking thug walks in about 9 o’clock, and I think, this hood aint buying jewelry at this hour. I seen him before too. Sold him a necklace for two bills and it wasn’t worth ten bucks. Put a smile on my face, remembering that easy money. This time, he wasn’t buying nothing. Thieves, they all got the same tell. They stand there looking at a piece, but they’re not looking at it. They’re looking through it.
He thought he was smooth. Picked up two rings, put em on the same hand, then only took one em off. I’da said something – made him pay, but he had a gun. Got a bookie after me, so I been keeping the gun at home, for protection. So I was sitting there like some chump, figuring out what to do. So I decided not to be a hero today, cause the hero always dies at the end, you know? I asked myself, your life worth risking over that 5 dollar ring? Probably isn’t, but at the time it felt like it. Plus, I’d already swindled him for two hundred.
-- Carey Uhl
*Photo via http://www.city-data.com/businesses/477671853-ally-pawn-shop-los-angeles-ca.html