It 3 months ago to this day, at least I think. The heat was making my brain function at less than full capacity. I didn’t want to be there, but I had to be. When you owe The Crapper money, you’re obligated to be his friend. Truth is, the guy’s a nerd, and if he wasn’t rich, he’d have no friends, but everyone’s heard that story before. It was hot there in Florida too. Muggy, and the wind that blew was heavy. We were in the outskirts of Tallahassee, and it was dreadful. The Crapper had loaned us money to start up our business- me and Tommy Pachino, my best friend. Well, at least that’s what we told him. I actually bought my Firebird with it, and we gambled and drank the rest away. By the way, we lost our shirts to Big Don Flubs in Jersey and needed to hide from him, so this little getaway was an unwelcome welcome change of scenery.
“$25,000 gone and what do we have to show for it? A couple tropical shirts?”
We were decked out in typical Floridian gear: breathable button up shirts with light colors and palm trees, khaki shorts that sat comfortably above our knees and thonged sandals, like the Romans wore. We both had on gas station sunglasses and straw hats that were more apart than together. We had just got that stuff on the way to Crapper’s place.
“You see, Crapper, the problem is….”
“No excuses. It’s beneath us all.”
I was glad he stopped me because I had no clue what I was going to say. Tommy’s a much better liar than me, but a bee had stung his lips two days before, so he was my “silent partner” down here.
Crapper had a decent pad: an open terrace filled with the most lush and realistic looking ferns available. The guy even, I know this is hard to believe, had a monkey that hung out with him. It was like a little brown furry monkey, a real one, and it actually climbed around on his shoulders and shit. It was playing on the side of the terrace as we walked to the edge of the balcony. He had a great view out to the middle class homes below.
“Guys, I have a bad suspicion that it’s gone with nothing to show for it. Possibly gambled away,” he said with his smirking face.
“We-id-knot-loo-ou-momey!” Tommy let out, even though we couldn’t understand him.
“Trust me, Crapper, we have a plan. Our customers are loyal to us. We are going to get your money back. I’ve, we’ve never lost a sale.”
“Until now,” he completed a thought I wasn’t going to finish. Then, he paused and seemed to be in thought. I was used to this. Whenever he was about to make a decision about money, he stood completely still and twitched his moustache. I found it ironic his name was Crapper because his moustache looked like a shit-stain on his upper lip. He just moved it left and right, as he pondered whatever he was deciding on. He did this for a few minutes. Finally, he whistled for his monkey to come to him (which he did a lot) then he stared blankly at us in our local attire.
“Okay, deal is, you have 30 days to pay me the money or else.”
“Or else? Or else what?” I asked.
“Or else, that’s you all need to know right now. The “or else” Is bad, trust me, but I don’t tell you the “or else” right now. It leaves a certain…..mystery to the consequences, wouldn’t you agree?”
I exchanged a look with Tommy and we gave each other a look that said “Sure, why not?” This silent exchange seemed to satisfy Crapper. We shook hands with him, God, were his hands sweaty, and turned to leave, but alas, he still had one more thing to say
“Have some of those Treats on the table. My little Gumdrop doesn’t like them, so I have many leftovers.”
There they were: sticky, sweet and full of Snap! Crackle! Pop! under a glass serving tray on his dining room table. Tommy couldn’t eat solid foods right now, but me, for some reason I really didn’t want one, but just to make things as smooth as snot with Crapper, I took one. I held it up for him to see, smiled, and took the smallest bite possible and chewed slowly. It was okay, but I’d rather have it less sticky and more surrounded by milk in a bowl. We left out the front entrance where Crapper had the coolest thing ever: a real life moat, like a king protecting his castle from warring nations. It surrounded his whole house. Tommy pointed out some movement under the water, as we were leaving, so we moved closer to get a look. Unknowingly, I held out that sweet little treat a tad too close to the edge and little Gumdrop, who happened to be like 6 feet long, jumped out of the water and took it from me. Not to mention my middle finger from my right hand. It hurt; real bad, worse than I would’ve imagined. It was like air blowing through the crevice where it should’ve been hurt even. It bled all over my nice khaki shorts and Tommy took off his tropical shirt to tie around my hand to try and stop the bleeding. I flipped that damn gator off with my other middle finger and felt better. Crapper was horrified…..that Gumdrop wouldn’t take food from him but he did from me. What a tragedy.
He paid for my trip to the emergency room. He took it off my debt to him. So, now we only owed $23,950. The doctor requested the missing finger, but Crapper refused anyone to touch his little sweetie. I wanted to make boots out of Gumdrop and make a necklace from that damn Rice Krispy treat.