Skinny didn’t need to turn around to know who was standing behind him, but he turned anyway and stood up to face me on his broken ankle. We were about the same height. He wasn’t a bad looking kid. He had long eyelashes that any woman would have envied. He also had high cheekbones that gave him an exotic look. His downfall was his perpetual sneer.
“I knew this day was comin,” he said quietly. “I have a rep, old man. You planing to step on me?”
Our noses were almost touching so we were virtually privately engaged in our conversation.
“Not today,” I replied, “I want you to keep your rep, so no, I won’t stand on you.”
“That be cool,” he said and relaxed noticeably.
“I’m interested in making a deal with you,” I said. “Care to hear me out?”
Skinny looked around Tin Man’s. Several of his peers were having coffee and trying to keep their pants from falling all the way to the ground. They were oblivious to our confrontation.
“Shoot.” Skinny said.
“I’m offering you a high paying role in my new venture,” I explained, “It involves being a leader. I need one.”
Skinny looked at me perplexed.
“You’re a natural,” I said. “You have what it takes. You have charisma.”
“Don’t know much about none of that,” he said. “Besides I already got me a job.”
“I ain’t offering you a job. I’m offering you a life.” I said emphasizing life.
His eyelashes twitched. “You want me to be an actor?”
“You’re already one of those, so no, I want you to be yourself.”
Again that puzzled look. I hoped that I hadn’t overstepped myself with my sarcasm.
“You want me to be myself? What kind of BS you talkin here anyway?”
“Not BS, I just need you to be yourself,” I said. ‘You interested?”
Skinny stared at me with his sneer in place. “This high pay, how much you talkin?”
“If you are in, I’d say $1,600.00 a week to begin with.” I said.
“You deal’n drugs or what, old man? I’m not into being served up as jail bait.”
“This has nothing to do with selling drugs or anything else against the law.”
“What is it I got to do for this money?”
“Meet with my partner and I. We’ll fill you in. I know it’ll be a bit cumbersome with your foot in a cast, but we’ll work it out.” I extended my hand.
Skinny stared at me long and hard then tentatively shook it.
“You have a bank account?” I asked him.
“Of course,” he said.
I pulled out my checkbook and wrote him a check for sixteen hundred dollars.
“First week’s pay in advance,” I said. “We’ll meet this Friday. Be here at noon and I’ll come and get you.”
Skinny almost gave up his perpetual sneer and snapped the check. He stuck it under his nose, took a long whiff and kissed it. Then in a flash it disappeared into his pocket.
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®