It was around three a.m. on a cold February night. Lying on my back, as the melting snow seeped through the fabric of my jeans, numbing my backside, I watched intently as the flame warmed my face. There were sparks flying as I shielded my eyes against the combination of rust and dirt that was raining down on my face. The torch went out again with a quiet pop and a sharp hissing. "It's not doing a fuckin' thing," my partner told me. As he begin to slide out from under the car, I firmly grasped the converter with both hands, bracing my legs against the undercarriage. I jerked with all the strength of my body to no avail.. I slid out and stood up, dusting my body off, and reached for the door handle. Unlocked. I jumped in, closed the door, and had my hands over the dome light in less than two seconds. Once the light had faded off, I looked around at my surroundings, discovering the vehicle was littered with beer cans. "Let me in," he said pulling the door open, giving me no warning and once again flooding the area with light. As he climbed into the back, I searched around and to my pleasant surprise, found several six packs of Miller High Life, each with a can or two missing from the plastic rings. Wasting no time, I got out and organized the beer into one bag just in time to realize that my collaborator was now hauling what looked to be a case for some type of power tool out of the back seat. He opened the case revealing it to be a heavy weight floor jack, which was phenomenal considering we had just two days before, lost our own in a catastrophic turn of events not too different from what was soon to be taking place tonight. But, this was currently unknown to me and as a possibility, was not even on my mind.
I was so relieved to have found the beer that not much else was of importance to me. It wouldn't do much for my nausea or the cold sweats but, it would definitely ease the aches that were trembling through my body and would probably help me to get to sleep tonight, despite my body's cravings. "Think you should go get some bricks?" shook me from my distracted thoughts before I replied "No, let's take this loot home." The guy whose name is not so important as his actions seemed a bit distraught before replying, "Well, how about we stash the jack a couple houses down and come right back?" Not one to back out of a situation because of fear, I agreed before we began the short walk towards what we commonly referred to as our base of operations.
About ten minutes later, I was standing back at the same place, watching as the man who used to be called Blue started to work, removing the lugs from the back passenger side tire. I jogged down the alley, crossing the road into the adjoining segment and sprinted, feet sinking five or six inches into the snow with every step. I realized that I was a block away from where I had previously believed I was and took a shortcut between two houses, activating the motion detector on some flood lights as I went. In the next alley, I found what I was looking for. It was a simply constructed housing unit for some civilian's garbage cans that was composed entirely of narrow, half-sized cinder blocks. Grabbing one in each hand, I turned to a brisk walk doing my best, and failing, to not trip over the ruts in the snow created by whatever traffic had traversed this alley in the past couple days. It was probably the second time that I fell face first when I looked inches away from my nose to see the two smaller, lighter, blocks I had ditched two days before as I saw the cop car rolling to a stop. Wondering how the officer had walked right past them without raising alarm, I dropped my load and grabbed the new one.
Turning out into the street and walking right down the center of the road, I was reminded how easily an onlooker could come to a correct conclusion about my intent of criminal activity. But, it's my experience, that more often than not, if one just acts as if there is nothing out of the ordinary about what they're doing, it will be perceived as exactly such.
Walking up the hill with my newly recovered bricks, I saw my shadow stretch out in front of me. I threw the bricks to the side of the road and waited for a car to pass. I hauled the bricks back to the vehicle to find Blue currently engaged in a strength testing battle with the four-way attached to the tire of this Blazer. Little did I know, that as he freed the tire from it's former position, we had gained an audience..