Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Burning of "Loan Shark Bob" 's Bicycles...
Jimmy had a good bit of anger and bitter resentment for the local shylock and fence "Loan Shark Bob" . He had enough of both to galvanize him to act against L.S. Bob and get his revenge :on this night he chose to burn L.S. Bob's bicycles which were perpetually chained to the parking meter next to the phone booth outside Ray's Candystore .
Bob was a shylock and fence that most in the Tompkins Square Park neighborhood knew. Bob was to many quite useful , indeed necessary :if you needed that first drink in the morning to stop the shakes or that first bag of dope of the day to end the sickness then you went to Bob and he loaned you the money you needed to get staight for just 100% interest .Most paid him back with interest without complaint later in the day because ...there was always another morning tomorrow .
Some days Bob had a bottle or two of fortified wine or cheap vodka and a paper cup from which he sold dollar shots to those who really needed a drink but just not a whole pint to get their day started straight . I recollect that his enteprise was quite profitable and as well provided a needed service.
One of his most profitable shylocking operations involved exploiting recently de-institutionalized individuals who inevitably ended up downtown in TSP . When Bob found such an individual he right away be-freinded the confused and not-fully competent fellow and shortly ,in a matter of a few days usually, offered him a couple of hundred dollars . Not realizing the consequences that this gift led to our needy friend was , for a time at least ,quite happy with his new friend and his new-found wealth .
When the first check came to Bob's recently de-institutionalized prey , Bob demanded that he be the one to cash the check , charging a fee of $50 and also subtracting the $200 loan and the $200 worth of interest from the value of the check he left the lendee a total of approximately $200 to live on for the rest of the month . Of course no one ever made it through the whole month on just $200 so it was back to Bob in the middle of the month for another loan and .....
Bob had a number of such lendees that he regularly plucked for long periods of time ,usually until they were taken back to an institution of one sort or another . I once saw him at the EAB bank with a huge stack of bills that he was depositing in his bank account . He recieved a Social Security Disability check monthly but that could not possibly account for the size of the "cabbage" in his hand as he stood at the teller's window .
Bob fenced stollen items of all sorts from bicycles to cameras ,anything that he could somehow sell for a profit .Though not a dope dealer , one day I saw him on avenue A trying to sell a bag of heroin that he had somehow come to possess .Other days it was just watches ,bicycles ,cameras etc. that he sold on the avenue . Once in a while when he had a large number of cameras and watches on his hands he took a trip out of town to sell them .
When an individual was not able or simply unwilling to pay what Bob claimed he owed him , Bob engaged another lendee who had sizeable debt with Bob ( for an assumed reduction in this lendee's debt ) to make it clear to this uncooperative and recalcitrant individual that Bob meant bussiness and that he wanted his money .The method for providing the clarity varied but was usually threatening and was occasionally actually violent .
Here is where we come to Jimmy and his caustic act . I recollect that Jimmy claimed that Loan Shark Bob had had some one , probably one of his lendees , cut the tires on Jimmy's bicycle because Bob felt that Jimmy wasn't making a sufficient effort to pay what he owed Bob.
Jimmy set the fire next to the bicycles in a stack of "Village Voice"s that no one wanted and had been stacked next to the phone booth . As the flames grew a man from Leshko's tried to extinguish the fire with several buckets of water but with no success . A police RMP drove up and two cops got out , looked at the fire and recognizing who the bicycles belonged to they started laughing and then drove off as the fire trucks arrived . NYFD extinguished the fire quickly .
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