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The next day, while Steopa laid in his stupor, Teodor took some of the money that Amanda and him had been saving. They left the base, very careful that they were not seen, and went shopping.
As they walked down the line of shops, Teodor noticed for the first time, the amount of children on the street. Just like the bums that begged for change, it was easy to ignore the children as well. As Teodor and Amanda went into a clothing store, he saw Gunner across the street.
Gunner sat on a bench, slightly bend over. Another younger child from the night before, sat next to Gunner. Gunner straightened up and replaced a shoe on the younger one's feet.
Teodor turned his head away. This was not right, he could feel that. Not the fact there were kids on the street, but fact there were so many of them. Even when Leningrad was being bombed, there were not that many children on the street. Or perhaps, this is the first time I really see them, Teodor thought.
They bought some clothes and changed in a public bathroom at the bus station. At the station, Teodor noticed at least two more children. These two begged for money. Teodor walked by them and dropped a dollar in the one kid's hand.
Afterwards, they stopped at a butcher shop and bought couple of steaks. The hard part was finding a place to eat them, without anyone seeing them. They ate behind a movie theater.
They found The Pit. Inside, Bilge put a pitcher of milk on a table. Trucker shoveled cereal into his mouth. Trucker's head snapped towards Teodor and Amanda as they entered. Trucker jumped off his chair and ran towards Amanda. He put his arms around her and gave her a tight hug.
“What's that for?” Amanda asked, smiling.
Trucker didn't answer, he held on to Amanda.
Bilge chuckled. “Trucker, you should let her breath.”
Teodor ruffled Trucker's hair and walked over to the bar. “Are you glad to see us?”
“Surprised,” Bilge said. “Most people that come in here for a night's work, don't come back.”
“That sucks,” Teodor said.
Bilge smiled. “Not really. Most of them I wouldn't want back.”
“What do you want us to do?” Teodor asked.
Amanda sat down with Trucker. Trucker looked his age, right now. The tough kid act dropping as fast as the regular kid came into focus. Teodor smiled.
“I need to do some shopping for the bar,” Bilge said. “I could use some help.”
“Sure, whatever you need.”
Bilge looked over Teodor's shoulder. “Amanda,” he said. “Can you stay here with Trucker? Watch the place?”
Amanda laughed at something Trucker had said, she nodded her head. “Sure.”
“Great. We are going to go get some supplies,” Bilge said. He motioned Teodor to follow.
They left out the back way. Teodor climbed in the passenger seat. The small cab held two bucket seats. Bilge got into the driver's seat. The truck smelt new. Yet, the wear and the tear on the inside, made it look like it had been used quite a lot.
“That band last night almost wiped out my beer supply,” Bilge said as he started up the truck. “And my distributor can't come by for two more days. So we are going to his competitors.”
Bilge pulled carefully out of the parking area. “Where are you and Amanda staying?” he asked.
“We have a place,” Teodor said.
Bilge watched the road intently for a moment. “Trucker followed you two last night. He told me that you went into an old factory.”
Teodor did not answer.
“You two are on the streets, correct?”
“Winter's coming, that place is gonna be colder than a witches tit in a steel bra. When we get back, I have something that will help you out.”
“What?” Teodor asked.
“I do own the entire building,” Bilge said.
Bilge drove down to an old area of warehouses along the river. He pulled in front of one. On the side of the building was the sign “Gwendoline Spirits.” Bilge got out of the truck.
“Come on,” he said. “I need another strong back.”
The door to the warehouse opened. An old man walked out. He nodded to Bilge.
“How you doing today, Mr. Sansard?” Bilge yelled.
“Okay,” Mr. Sansard said. His voice hushed and forced, as if he had a stroke.
“Your daughter in?” Bilge yelled.
“Yeah, yeah, Carol's in the back.” Mr. Sansard stared at Teodor.
“This is one of my helpers.” Bilge yelled. “Teodor Navarro.”
“Navarro,” Teodor said. “But you can call me Teodor.”
“Teodor.” Mr. Sansard said, with a sharp nod. He still had not taken his eyes off Teodor.
“We are going to see Carol, now.” Bilge said. He opened the door.
When they got inside, and closed the door behind them, Teodor recognized Mr. Sansard from the photo at the Pit. He looked much older than he did in the photograph. Teodor shook his head. “Who was that?”
“He used to run this place,” Bilge said. “Now, his daughter does.”
They walked along a concrete floor, with two white stripes painted on the floor, marking the walkway. Pallets of liquor bottles lined one side. A walk in cooler hummed. The whole place smelt of stale hops, old alcohol, and gasoline.
Bilge walked ahead to the office in the back. It looked as if it had been built as an after thought. A middle aged woman sat inside, her head in one of her hands, as she worked an adding machine with the other hand.
“Carol?” Bilge called, as they got closer.
Carol looked up. Her gray streaked black hair fell over her face for a moment. She reached up and quickly did it up in a bun, securing it with a couple of pencils on her desk.
“Bilge!” She said, pushing the last pencil in. “What can I do you for, today.”
“I need beer,” he said.
Carol nodded and left the office. She wore stained jeans, and blue T-shirt. “You have a helper today.”
“This is Teodor. His girlfriend and him are working at the Pit, now.”
“You guys can do better,” Carol said, winking at Bilge. “Give me your list, I'll see what I have.”
Bilge handed her a piece of paper. “Where is everyone?” He asked.
Carol took the paper. “Most are out on deliveries. There's no trucks coming for a few hours. Take a seat by the office.”
“You sure you don't want help?” Teodor asked.
“No, honey.” Carol said. “My insurance company is quite certain about that. Besides you are too cute to be running a forklift.”
There were folding chairs by the office. Bilge took a seat, stretching his legs out in front of him. Teodor sat down on the next one. Carol started up the forklift.
“I wish I could use this place more often,” Bilge said. “The Sansard family have had this place even during prohibition.”
Teodor only half listened. Mr. Sansard came back into the warehouse, carrying a white bag from a take out place. He stopped for a moment when he saw Teodor. But then continued on. The old man started to get on Teodor's nerves.