OK. What is clear is that a very expensive automobile that is very near me is in trouble. It is at the end of being on fire and mostly is in an upside-down position, Cadillac Ranch-style. On the bright side, the good news is that this vehicle will not be causing any more drunk-driving damage. Not today at least. This open-top danger box might have spent its last day out on the road. Out on the road, in backyards, on sidewalks, on rooftops…
In living rooms…
How did this happen? Must trace thoughts backwards…back before Atlantic City…back before pending trial…sometime after the birth of disco (but how long?). Must be a reason for what it was that went wrong—or at least someone to blame for part (ideally all) of the troubles.
Slowing it down, I remember back to a very fast-moving car that I was either driving or sleeping inside of or both. There was the gambling game with a big round thing—a wheel?—and before that I must have stumbled across or stolen or been delivering—yes, hold on a second, I almost have a clear thought taking shape!
I was on a run for the Fat Man. My relationship with the Fat Man sometimes confuses people. Considering his unscrupulous so-called businesses and unsavory bad-underworld dealings, they ask me why I even know him. I don’t know, maybe because I have the luck of an Irish cat with three lives left! Or luckier!!!
In defense to reason, it is not like I know him all that well. He simply asks me to do things (think: duffel bag, brown paper bag, Nike shoebox). I give him my full 65%, deliver a strong 35%, then come back home. Eventually. You could say I’m like Ghost Dog only without the passenger pigeons. And the ninja swords.
It must have started when I was waking up in the cocktail lounge at Port Authority bus terminal. After eleven Surly Temples (gin, triple sec, capers, grenadine, bitters), in comes a page from the Fat Man. Those requests of his offer a little flexibility, but only if living and dying are interchangeable variables to you. Me, I don’t mix those. Royhypnol and Windex, sure (for anyone keeping tabs on my approaching birthday, thanks in advance!!!). So I steal the purse next to me with one of those two-way pagers inside and call Tony.
His assistant answers it and tells me to come to the office. It’s an old hang-out in the back of that legendary sandwich shop where they do their business—what’s the name of it again? I forget. Vinnie’s? Lucciano’s? No, wait…
Being in a hurry, I only had time for three or four more drinks, then I filled my lucky flask and went across the street to meet them.
Talk about a mistake! Pinned to the back door (restroom door, whatever, same thing) was a note that said:
Again you are late, Again you will
be dead if you do not pick up the 22
kilos. Exit 33. To the Taj Mahal.
Service door, 12:00 tonight.
Needless to say, there are a whole world of mistakes with that note (disrespect in the greeting, never mind family-name misspelling, kilos of what? 12:00 tonight? AM or PM? You actually wrote this down on paper?) but let’s get to the thick of it:
Problem #1: must get a car.
Problem #2: must learn how to drive a car.
Fortunately I worked it out in that order, so by the time I arrived at problem #2, I was already halfway down the turnpike. As to how I got the car… you got me there. I do know that I arrived at a car rental agency and can remember some yelling and the throwing around of office supplies, but answer me this: no matter how much one is threatened or assaulted or bound with electrical tape behind the counter, who in their right mind would rent a car to someone in my state, as obviously drunk as I was? Besides that, did it ever occur to the car-renter person that he could have prevented this entire situation by not coming to work at all? Again, whose fault is it?
At some point I finally did arrive at exit 33 to pick up the package, but was it assumed that I would go straight down to the Taj and give Trump his goods just like I was asked? Considering that I did not actually hear anything like that with my own ears, or with my lucky rabbit’s ear (rub it twice and then put all your and/or your table-neighbor’s chips on green double zero!!!), you will excuse me for assuming that that was not what was being assumed. In any case, by the time I got to exit 34, I was jonesing like Indiana to find out what is the stuff I’m delivering.
It didn’t take long, that’s for sure. As soon as my travels were underway again, things were happening. I was happening. Powerful shit. Eyes spinning. Head spinning. What in fuck’s name was it that I was bringing down to AC? Does the government know about this stuff? Is that the source of this? Also, am I also in trouble for asking questions like this? (If so, I strike the question, your honor!!!)
Faster and faster and faster and all of a sudden…blam. Out.
And now here I am. Whatever that is. Most of the fire is gone, but the dust is far from settled. I’m going to need a place to stay. Might have to go a little further underground this time, Argentina-like. Is there still that hostel outside of Penn Station? My room at the Taj is not going to be comped, we know that at least.
In life, just as in love, there is legal and there is illegal and then there is everything else. Like Switzerland. Can’t lose if you refuse to fight. Am I at fault here, Fat Man? I did not hire myself, you did. Also, you have to understand that it’s really hard to uncut something that’s been mixed with that much sand. Maybe we can take a broader view of the whole situation, even learn something about ourselves. Share the blame 40-40? I’ll call you.
Greg Bennetts is a writer living in Brooklyn.