Poor Tommy. Laid up in the hospital. He should’ve been dead. He needs to go pay his mother a nice visit. I caught a cab out to the country to see her. Told her the story. Every detail. I’d never been that honest in my life. I vented to her like she was my priest, and truthfully, after it was over, I felt exalted. I felt this release of pressure from all the wrong doing I was doin’. She didn’t believe a word of it. She kicked me out, threatened to call the police. But, I didn’t give up. I begged her. I told her I would show her. She finally agreed, but I had to take her to Bonanza for dinner. I tried explaining we only had 24 hours but she insisted. So, there we were, in line at the buffet, low dim lights hovering over our heads, while the smell of lit cigarettes mixed with burnt meatloaf. It was the longest meal of my life.
Finally, after cherry cobbler, we headed back up to Tut’s place. You could see the Pharaoh in his backyard from the freeway, so we pulled off and got out. I brought binoculars for her old eyes. I looked into them and peered at it’s head. I saw Tommy , laid down, probably tired, hungry and bloodied. I gave them to Mr. Pachino and she gasped when she saw him there.
“Take me to the ATM. How much do you need?” she asked, in a worried tone.
“$20,000, I think, give or take.”
She gasped and replied “Screw him. He can hang.”
“Please, Mrs. Pachino, don’t let him die. He’s my business partner,” I begged.
“Is that one of those new age terms for gay boyfriend? Is Tommy a pickle puffer?”
“No! He needs your help!” I was frantic.
She sat and stewed, as the wrinkles in her face sagged to her chin. Then, she looked at me sincerely.
“He has to promise to pay me back, and you have to take me to Bonanza every week or no deal.”
Now, I was ready to let him hang. I had no choice, but God, did he owe me big.
“Deal. I swear.”
“I know you do. That’s the first of your problems. You and Tommy need to go to church with me.”
I avoided all religious conversation with her and got the 20 G’s, then I dropped her back at home. I hauled ass back to Tut’s sex palace and parked out front. I ran with two pockets full of money, wanting to turn around with every step. I could have a great week with this money. All my character told me to take the dough and get on a plane to Vegas, and just get trashed and gamble it away. But, something was different, in me, because I didn’t do any of those things. I kept running towards the pharaoh , where I saw Tut standing with his porno posse, and as soon as I reached him, I threw all his money at him and fell to my knees, out of breath. He smiled and then gave a hand gesture and I watched as my best friend’s lively body dropped and hung until all the life was squeezed out of it, like a wet towel.
He was so still. I screamed loudly and abruptly, my lungs at full capacity and all Tut could do was laugh. I looked at him in lost fear and anger, and he gave me a look back that said “Oops.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t Tommy. That was his friend that scammed me. I’ll get Tommy down.”
Tut signaled to his goons up high on the pharaoh and then I looked over at a short, balding guy in a brown business suit crying on the ground. Wow. Could’ve been me, but now I’m indentured for a lifetime of vegetable soup and old lady chatter. But, Tommy’s safe. That was what’s important.