The Adventures of Billy and Bobby
Book 3, Chapter 15
Adventure at the Grocery Store
by Greg Wright
The sudden change of weather startled Felix and Reggie as they walked outside towards his truck. Reggie's hair blew straight back, like a red mop head. Felix pointed to the top of his head and chuckled. "The last time we had a wind this strong, it blew all my hair away."
Reggie laughed. "I think I'll put my hat back on just in case."
Once they were on the road, Felix decided to ask more questions about Reggie's uncle. "What about this uncle you mentioned last night. Do you think he might have an idea about how to get in touch with your mother?"
"Maybe. His name is Max. But, I don't know his last name. He is my mother’s half brother, and his last name is different from my mom's maiden name. Plus, I've never been to his house in Tallahassee, so I have no idea where he lives."
"Yeah," Felix observed, "it would be hard to find him, not knowing his last name. Do you know where he works?"
"No, I've no idea."
By the time they arrived at Albertson's, the rain was pouring down in wet sheets. "Let's wait a little bit," Felix suggested. "There's no point in us getting soaked. It'll probably let up pretty soon."
Felix continued. "Weather like this reminds me of a very close call I had, once, when I worked as a policeman."
"Where did you work as a policeman?"
"Northern New Jersey. It was a stormy rainy day, just like this. And, you would think that in bad weather, the thugs and gangsters would take a break. But there they were, two older teenagers, trying to break into a building. When I ordered them to stop and raise their hands, they turned around and fired at me. Of course I returned fire and wounded one of them. Then, I heard shots coming at me from everywhere. Bullets were bouncing all around me. The streets were animated with the shots of gun bearing youths. I ran for cover and dove into the nearest dumpster. Once inside, I radioed for a backup."
"It's good that you found a dumpster," Reggie observed.
"Well, it was better than nothing, but my heart dropped when I realized that the shots were not bouncing off the dumpster, but rather, were going right through it. By the time help arrived, the youths had already fled."
"When they saw no one, my fellow officers teased me and asked me what kind of ghost I was running from. Then I showed them the holes in the dumpster; there were fifteen. Three of them were where I had been positioned. But all I had to show for it were small metal and paint particles from where the bullets had blasted through."
"God must have protected you," Reggie suggested.
"Mrs. Pasquali had no doubt that my guardian angel worked very hard. There were many nights when she bandaged my cuts and scrapes, and I would ask myself why I was doing this."
"Why did you continue in that kind of dangerous work; why didn't you do something else?""Well Reggie, do you see that lady over there, walking out the door holding groceries?"The rain was coming down so hard that Reggie could barely see. But from what he could see, the figure seemed strangely familiar.
Felix continued. "She would be easy prey for anyone who would rob her. Look at those two guys off to the right. They're watching her like vultures. The only thing that stands between her and them are a few brave citizens and the local police. That was my job, to risk my life taking the shots, the cuts, and the bruises so that people like her could live safely."
Felix closed his eyes as he continued. "Now my job is to protect people from the greatest villain of all, to warn them about the deception of Satan and to plead with them to repent and turn to Jesus."
Suddenly, Reggie heard a muted scream as one the guys lurched forward and pushed the lady down to the sidewalk. The other guy grabbed her purse and ran.
"No!" Reggie shouted as he opened the truck door and raced towards them.
"No, Reggie, wait! They might be armed," Felix yelled. But Reggie was already out of earshot and Felix's windows were closed.
Reggie looked ahead towards where the guys appeared to be running, and he ran ahead to cut them off. He had guessed correctly, and when the guy carrying the purse passed by, Reggie surprised him, tackling him like a linebacker, sending his head crashing against the pavement. Without looking back his accomplice, coward that he was, ran away. The guy on the ground appeared to be unconscious; Reggie had no way of knowing he was faking it.
As Reggie picked up the purse, he turned around just in time to hear Felix running up, out of breath. "Reggie look out!"
Reggie turned sideways just in time to avoid being stabbed in the back. He belted his assailant in the jaw, startling him and causing him to drop his knife. It fell through the grating into the drain below. Then the guy started to run. Since Reggie had the purse, he decided to let him go.
Reggie looked up at Felix. "Do you think I would make a good policeman?"
Felix sighed and smiled affirmatively. Then slowly, against the driving rain, they walked over to where the lady had been assaulted. They were relieved to see that she was standing up.
"Mam, I hope you're okay. We got your purse back."
"Oh, young man, how can I thank you. I wish my son could see you; he... Reggie?"
"Reggie! Oh thank you thank you Jesus."
"Mom, are you okay?"
"Son, I'm fine. They destroyed everything: the TV, the microwave, the furniture, and there's nothing left. And, I thought they got you too. But, Jesus didn't let them take you away from me. Oh Reggie..," She cried and hugged him tight. The rain continued to pour, but they were oblivious to it. The spilled groceries on the ground formed their own unique mixture: cracked eggs, a broken jar of ragu sauce, trampled boxes of twenty five cent macaroni, pending indigestion for the fire ants and the alligators."
His mother continued. "I was afraid to stay at the house, so I left a message with the police and drove to your Uncle Max's house. This is your Uncle Max."
"Reggie, I'm pleased to see you again, but let's all go inside, we're getting soaked," Max pleaded.
"Sounds like a good idea to me," Felix agreed.
"Oh Mom, this is Pastor Felix. He fed me and let me stay at his house. We tried to call you but the neighbor didn't answer."
Reggie’s mom looked up at Felix. "Sir, how can I thank you."
"By letting me know how we can help you further. To start with, it looks like you're going to need some new groceries. But for tonight, why don't you all come over for dinner. We can talk there. Now, can we please go inside? I'm catching a chill."