The old man said he’ll pay for it. I’m glad to take him.
He’s an old fool.
Who’s the Ernie he keeps talking about visiting?
You know. His best friend in the war. He was killed at St. Lo in 1944. You must have heard the story a hundred times.
The one where his buddy got shot while going over a wall? The one that makes the old man cry?
That’s the one.
Well, if he needs to see it one last time, I don’t mind going. Never been to France.
Did you know he was only sixteen when he enlisted?
We called them doorman buildings. We dreamed of them, but they was always out of reach. No way you get past the lobby, let alone onto them high floors where the really rich people live.
The blackout changed all that. Them doormen scattered like cockroaches, left their lobbies wide open. We just strolled right in like we owned the place. I pushed the highest number in the elevator. Start at the top, work my way down.
You’d think them rich folks have things worth stealing, but you’d be wrong. What fence in his right mind takes antiques or oil paintings?
“Gimme that horn, yo.”
She was hogging bad. It was my fucking money, even if she was the one who scored.
“Wait your turn.”
The lighter was almost spent, the flame so tiny it was lost in the daylight.
“You better not snuff all that up,” I said, knowing she wouldn’t. For an addict, she was pretty thoughtful. She just hated going second is all.
“Here,” she said, handing me the pipe. I’d made this one from a Bic pen, the clear plastic that don’t melt.
Smoke rolling, everything better, nothing ugly no more.
Just what I was looking for.
“You’re calling this a setback?”
“Temporary. Look, you know how these guys can be.”
“Who, Neil? The IRS? Or the fucking DEA? And no, I don’t know how they can be.”
“Like you never chiseled anything in your life.”
“Jesus. That’s your approach? Blaming me for this fucking train wreck?”
“I’m not blaming you. It’s my fault.”
“Obviously. You’re the one with the subpoena.”
“I really need your help, Jules.”
“My help. Jesus. You’re really something, you know? It’s galling.”
“My back’s to the wall. I’ve nowhere else to turn.”
“You need to work on your persuasion skills.”