Dougie: A Character Study

Dougie: A Character Study

Dougie walks ’round with a shy grin, because he hates his crooked teeth. And you can always tell he’s getting close, because of the shadow. A big guy, Dougie. Despite the dental genetics, he’s fickle and fashion conscious. Well dressed—a real prima looking for his GQ thing—but he’s still wearing the rogue state, the East End swagger. You never lose that. When he talks he exposes a little of his past. A crude fellow with expensive hair, and he’s always flushed—too much anger. And too many big beef dinners. If you forced him to run a hundred yards, it would take four minutes and he’d be whining the whole way. Squeaky for somebody weighing 325. Not a fast mover, but a fast reactor. Sure, he’s packin’. His boys move the cash, and like slick. Wham. In and out, buy low/sell high. Doesn’t matter what it is, Dougie looks after his own business. And the boys do mop up—mostly. It’s a herd in motion thing. Until some grievous error in planning, like right now, when it all goes wrong and the herd crashes. Everybody stands around looking at Dougie to say what we’re gonna do next, say who’s gonna get their ass kicked. Which is where we’re at now, standing around, waiting, stupefied. Dougie is huffing and puffing across a big mental mile trying to make a decision.

“I dunna care bout you, do I?”

Here we go, Dougie’s pissed off. His eyes are rolled down shut. Yeah, he squints, like he’s focusing, determined on your situation. And you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh no, this big, red haired, middle-aged, metro-sexual is gonna pound the living crap out of me.”

Then he squeaks.

“I dunna care bout you, or anything bout you, you little piggy.”

See, Dougie’s standing in the middle of us, in the pleated light pants, jacket, overcoat, nice green-gold tie, his happy tie. He looks sharp and his bling’s on (it’s not even collection day) but unfortunately, Dougie’s just been paint rolled—in blood. And not his own blood, but the poor bugger’s who’s lying in front of Dougie, the guy sprawled out in busted packing crates against the south side receiving dock at T-Arch Discount Home Supplies.

Dougie was negotiating. There’s shipping container business coming off port to receipt holders along trade routes and Dougie hitches a ride, expediting freight for various product lines and their interests. Except, Dougie’s not registered with anyone. Sometimes product gets through. Sometimes it doesn’t, but most times it gets through. The legitimate operator on this end can get a nice handling fee, off the books, if Customs doesn’t seize the shipment and the broker shows unhindered travel. Then the deal runs like snap. On the outside, it looks like a regular transaction and all go away merrily. Unless an operator gets curious, looking for a little free product. Then we get into explanations and justifications, and excuses. They’re so foolish. It’s so easy to find out. Dougie does write-offs differently.

Now we have the late Mr. T-Arch, who could have had a full calendar of factory meetings, family get-togethers, and travel plans, but he’s been indisposed due to his insistent tendency towards greed. That and Dougie threw him into a stack of boxes that seem to have contained long, spiky things, perhaps solar garden lamps.

This has become a messy situation, but it’s not a hard fix. Another industrial accident and definitely a case for the coroner. Yet, who doesn’t hear about the odd forklift mishap? This won’t even make the news. Maybe a little bit of news.

The problem is that the big guy’s been pasted in Mr. T-Arch’s phenomenally unplanned over spray. The boy’s are still rewinding this one: Dougie grabbed the smaller businessman, to lift him up, waggle him around a little bit and create some fear. Yell in his face, shake him down, but then Dougie let him go with too much velocity and Mr. T-Arch landed into the packing crates. All for effect, I’m sure. The operator was fairly trim and caught lift; he hit pretty hard. However, something didn’t give way in all that foam packing material and plunged itself straight through Mr. T-Arch. He popped like a stuck water toy. That’s what it was—-a pile of garden accessories. Maybe a barbecue rotisserie.

The flamboyant leader stands, soiled, but no longer perplexed.

“What are you doofs doing? Bring the car around to the loading bay!” Then he leans over the expired Mr. T-Arch. “You stupid—look what you did to me—you idiot. This is all messed up!”

Dougie’s back in charge, turning on the crew, “Set this up, Skotes—and bring over Clarence. Let him take a look and make sure this gets cleaned up. But fast, mind ya, dunna be waitin’. Tell Clarence he’s got till at least six am tomorrow. Does anyone know when this place opens up? When do the warehouse guys get in here?”

Clarence is extraordinarily thorough in janitorial services.

Skotes moves up for closer inspection, grimacing. The dead operator’s still bubbling gas somewhere.

“Aah, this one’s pegged, Dougie. You want us to deal with him in here, or we take him out somewhere?”

“You just dunna listen, do ya Skotes?” Dougie’s pulling the overcoat outward, surveying himself, deciding if he should get out of the blood spattered wool, “I dunna give a care on anything you do. I told you what to do. Now get Clarence and he’ll tell you what to do.”

Dougie pauses and then mutters, “I’m into this sorry loser for five hundred, and now he decides to take up dying. I’ve never seen anything like that—hey, Petey, you ever seen anybody spray like that before? Look what that bugger did to me, he gushed all over me. This is ruined.”

“He just went flying through the air…” Petey muses.

“Hey, don’t look at me, you analyzing bugger, he fell into that on his own.” Dougie is quick to set the story early, so we know exactly what happened. “Unsafe business practices—that’s what it is. Who the hell stacks a bunch of deadly death knives in a high traffic area. That weasel prick’s screwing me, and here he was screwing the poor workers. Imagine some unsuspecting bugger falling into all that—maimed, that’s what he’d be.”

Everybody looks at T-Arch again.

“Faaack,” says Petey.

Skotes let’s out a low whistle.

Suddenly, there’s two, sharp chirps and reverse lights maneuver into the loading bay. Dougie walks down the access steps and to the rear of a European town car.

“And Skotes,” Dougie squeaks once more before he lowers into the ride,”tell Clarence if he finds where that prick stashed my product, I wanna look at it first. You got me?”

But Dougie didn’t wait for an answer. He’s too upset to question whether anyone is questioning him. This is action time, not discipline time. Somebody is screwing him over and the big guy is shifting priorities. But first, shopping for new clothes.

 

(The Character study is helpful to get the voice of the narrator, and because I must now write scenes to justify the claims and rumors made about the character. g)

Dougie © 2011 Gaboo. Click Gaboo’s tag to read more stories and observations.

 

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