Bobby B – Way Too Much Fun

Long read- two episodes. Apologies, but they need to go back-to-back. Should have been out on Christmas Eve, but…

“It’s not right, Junior. Nothing is right.” Carrie Louise turned, looked over her shoulder from her seat on Bobby’s porch steps at the empty-but-lit-up-for-Christmas house.

“You’re right.” Eldridge Junior turned to look with her. “About all this, anyway. Never thought we’d get to here. Bobby not being in this house, us scattered all over. Like one of those movies where everybody grows up, gets different, moves away. Maybe they have a reunion twenty years down the road, people cry or get drunk and show their asses. If that happens I’m stayin’ wherever I am, lettin’ it all alone.”

“I saw one on TV like that. Bobby ‘n me were eatin’ his momma’s Christmas pecan cookies buried in ice cream, the year before she left…And all these people were at a reunion or a wedding or something and they got snowed in and it messed up everything. All the snow, and…Shit.” The tears came, Eldridge waited. “It was so cold on TV, and the ice cream…I thought I was cold and stuck my feet up under Bobby’s leg…What was I? Twelve maybe? He was it, you know? My whole world.”

Eldridge put his arm around her, let her cry in silence.

“Junior…Do you ever hear from him? At all?”

“Couple of times a week. Texts, mostly. Some email, not much. You know him. Short and sweet. With the phone he can say ‘here’s my apartment’ or ‘burned the shit out my hand’ and send a picture along. He uses the computer for keeping up with business, doing research, taking online business classes. He says the Internet is the biggest university in the world when you filter the garbage.”

“Why did he just dump me, Junior. What’d I do?”

Junior pulled his arm back and his phone out. “Nothin’, CL. He wonders the same thing.” He scrolled his texts, showed her ‘tell cl hey if she’s not dead’. Here. Nothin’ to it, take a look.”

Carrie thumbed through Bobby’s texts, paused on some, huffed about others, stopped on a few about her and the tears took over.

“See, he couldn’t get you to say anything back to him all summer long when he texted you. When he called, your phone rang into forever, no voice mail. He tried email. Even called that dorm place and some girl said ‘I don’t know you, fuck off’, called him a perv and hung up. The next time he tried to call, the number was out of service.”

“Land lines are extra money, for nothing. So we did shut it off. The other stuff is impossible. He just didn’t try. Aunt Liz says he hates me for being smart and —”

“Last I looked he was paying for both of us to get college educations, get even smarter. And leaving it with us in his no bullshit, I gave my word way. Sure as I’m sittin’ here I watched him, CL, right where you’re at, try to text and call. He figured you just decided he was a dumb redneck and the hell with him and Houma. Just like his momma. You know that’s never set right with him, his momma leavin’. Figure that’s why the lights are up, for you and her. The angel there in the window? That was hers. Bought it when Bobby was a baby. It’s just like the one in your momma’s window. Bobby can act like nothin’ bothers him, but he wouldn’t let a Christmas go by without those two angels.”

“You know that to be certain sure true, for a fact?”

“I do. Bobby called the house, asked Senior to hang the lights for him the day after Thanksgiving. Senior said Bobby told him he didn’t care a damn about the rest of it, but Senior had to find the angel, and it had to go in the window. Senior found a picture in one of the boxes of lights and Christmas goings on that Bobby must’ve used to remember how it all went up, Christmas to Christmas. Senior figured it out like he would do, havin’ told Bobby he’d light the place up. Here we sit.”

“It still ain’t right.” She snuffled, wiped her nose on the sleeve of her hoodie. “Empty and all.”

“Nope.” Junior handed her a Jack in the Box napkin from his windbreaker pocket. “It ain’t. Can future lawyers say that? Ain’t?”

“At home in Houma with friends, and friends who should be here, they can.” She turned to look at the empty house dressed in empty holiday cheer, the angel in the window. “It’s starting to look like everywhere else they can’t. That’s where Aunt Liz and them are trying to keep me, though.”

Carrie Louise pushed herself up, walked across the veranda to the angel glowing in Bobby’s front window.

“What am I gonna do?” She slowly ran her index finger down the glass where the angel had warmed it. “He’s off out there in California and all, driving fancy cars, being around way too many of those pretty girls and having way, way too much fun…”

***

Bernie was laughing when she answered the knock on Bobby’s apartment door. Monterrey Mick pushed her and the door into the wall, lurched into the small living room.

“Mick, what the —”

“Shut up.” He reached across himself with his left hand, dragged her around and shoved her at the round kitchen table littered with wadded up Taco Mejor wrappers, her purse and several open file folders. Bobby and Creighton sat on the far side of the table with three opaque plastic glasses and an open bottle of champagne.

Bernie recovered, shoved Mick’s shoulder. “Look, asshole, I get enough of your shit on the clock.” She started to shove him again, and he pushed her back.

“No, you look.” Mick pulled a ridiculously long barreled, nickel plated wild west revolver out of his jacket. He wavered for a few seconds, like the weight of the gun had altered his balance. “All of you look.” He leveled the TV gunslinger special on each of his targets, moved it back and forth between them. “Two million. That’s all I want. All I ever wanted. Two mill and I’m out of here, nobody gets hurt.”

“That line is beyond stale, even in Hollywood.” Creighton took a sip from one of the plastic glasses. “Christmas Eve, Mick. Money like that is three days away, best case. Besides, you’ll just blow it on hookers and coke and be done inside a year. If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll be homeless somewhere they have zero pity for broke Americans.”

“Fuck that, and you. I stay here and I’m a restaurant? I’m a fucking artist. I turn rusty iron into dreams and you fuckers want to put empty, painted shells of muscle cars in an over-sized gas station with my name on it? Where mom and dad and their greasy-fingered little screamers can watch junior college mechanics slap Bondo on some yokel’s Ranchero? That’s somehow better than killing myself with hookers and blow?”

Bernie shoved her hand into her purse, lifted it off the table and pointed it at Mick. “No you don’t. No, no no. Not this time, buddy. I’ve waited five years for my chance out of cutoffs and off the TNA wagon. No way do you fuck this up for me.”

Mick laughed. “What the hell, Bern? You got a loaded tampon in there?”

Bernie shifted the purse a few degrees to the right and it barked like a Chihuahua being muffled in a fat lady’s arms. Just behind Mick and little to his left a framed starving artist print of rain slicked streets in Paris dropped to the floor and shattered. Mick jumped and the cowboy gun boomed a shot into the floor. When Mick looked up the purse was gone and Bernie had both hands on the grip of a pink Ruger 380 that was pointed straight at him.

Mick checked Bobby and Creighton, couldn’t decide where to point the king size cowboy pistol.

Creighton held up his hands. “We’re unarmed, there’s no money, so you two shoot each other or work it out before Santa and the pizza get here.”

“You don’t get it. None of you.” Mick looked like he was about to cry. “I just want the money. No restaurant, no custom cars, no TV show. No fucking grief. I want out the pile of shit my life’s turned into, and two mill isn’t too much to ask. I made people happy. I fucking deserve it. If it’s a year long funeral procession, I don’t care. Hear that? I. Don’t. Care. Two million doll—”

BAM, BAM, BAM, loud and sharp rattled Bobby’s front door.

“BOBBY B? FBI. WE NEED YOU TO OPEN THE DOOR.”

“Way too much fun now.” Bobby shook his head, raised his voice. “It’s open.”

The door banged into the wall again. Two men stepped inside, one black, one white, both in jeans, t-shirts and blue windbreakers, their badges on lanyards around their necks. They spotted the pink Ruger and Mick’s long, shiny cowboy special, pulled their handguns and modern danced a slow, bowlegged cross step around the room. A tall man in dark slacks walked through the middle of all the guns like they weren’t there, set a briefcase on the table in front of Bobby and offered him a small, relaxed smile.

“Agent Hyland, Bobby.” He scooted the taco wrappers out of the way with the briefcase, dropped it to flat. “You have pizza on the way?”

“Yes sir.”

“Perfect. I’m originally from outside Omaha. Bum Fuck USA. Out where they say boredom breeds excess? And I thought we knew how to cut loose come Christmas time.”

Briefcase man hooked his sunglasses on the lanyard that held his badge, looked around the room. He took in all the players, the guns, the taco wrappers, the champagne bottle. “But I have to hand it to you, Bobby. You throw one helluva Christmas party.”

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Bobby B – Money Pit

This is in-line backstory to get us to the end of season one in a couple of days. If you’re dying for some action, I just killed off two bad guys here –

Creighton DeHavilland’s office wasn’t the usual lawyer-y set up. Upstairs over a liquor store and a hair-nail salon combo in a Sunset Beach corner strip center. No sign other than C. DeHavilland on the door below the suite number. Nothing on the small center’s marquee. The office was neat, had an expensive any-way-you-want-it coffee maker on a stainless steel cart. The reheat and eat kitchen / wet bar opened up out of a closet like an efficiency apartment. The desk, at an angle in the corner, was modern and not too large. The centerpiece, and what owned the office, was a large hexagonal table. Where Creighton and Bobby were drawing on tablets that projected on two walls.

Bobby sighed, wiped his electronic etch a sketch. “POS is done? That’s what you’re saying?”

Creighton swiped the screen on his tablet. “Not done. Different concept. A straight franchise repair shop and esoteric used car lot.”

“Bernie said the car lot was her idea and it belonged to the restaurant.”

“And I said that would be a permit, zoning and liability nightmare. That’s why she’s not here.” Creighton leaned back, interlaced his fingers behind his head. “We’re already looking at a body shop with a diner on the front end. EPA will be an obstacle course. And our demographic doesn’t go out to eat with their families where used car lots line the streets. This project can’t be every good idea we have, mashed up like a German version of a Madonna song.”

Creighton stood, took his coffee to the microwave, waited for the four note chime. “We both know Bernie’s so hot to get this project off the ground we could say ‘Here’s the kitten drowning pool by the hostess station’ and she’d sign off on it. No car lot, she’s still on board. The car lot is a POS banner on Internet marketing with real estate investment brick and mortar outlets.”

“How ‘bout we build the Mad Mods diners, put a POS in the same market and contract all the paint? We don’t paint anything at Mick’s anyway. We take them down, send them out to get bead blasted and painted. All we do is wrench and weld and open boxes and wrench some more. Mick does his hand trim work and takes the credit.”

Creighton seemed to be out around Mars for a while, tapped his index finger on top of the microwave at an incredibly slow tempo. Thump…Thump…Thump…He came back from wherever he’d been, sat down and started scribbling on his tablet with his finger.

“For Bernie. We do the parking lot up like a clean used car lot. The strings of flags say happy. We do her diner on the front end like an old Route 66 gas station, only five or six times scale. Not huge, but not 1926. The back wall is plexi or whatever they use in car washes the EPA will agree with, and we put wrench and weld in full view behind it. No paint, no chemical issues. We build a POS or contract with a Mercedes-class body shop or the local hot dogs for paint. We take it’s temperature a couple of years in, test a larger, sports bar version in one or two major markets.” He sat back, looked at the wall. “Yeah?”

“Hell yeah.” Bobby was surprised at how well their grade school collages and a week’s worth of talk had morphed into a ragged reality. “Unhook that bad boy, toss it in the bucket and brag.”

“Done. I’ll call Bernie and get a mock up artist on this.” Creighton tapped his tablet, sent the grade school scribble on the screen to a printer behind his desk. “As of now Monterrey Mick’s Burgers, Babes and Mad Mods Body Shop is real. I’ll go see Mick, explain his future. Show him pictures of homeless, or a willing franchise partner or a bought-out retired nobody who can’t use his own name.”

“Names. Cray…Man, are we gonna leave ‘Babes’ in the name?”

“In this climate? Are you fucking nuts? We keep ‘Babes’ like Bernie’s going to keep wearing cutoffs after she gets her first paycheck as Director of Marketing. More name discussion. POS. Bobby, are you sure?”

“Yeah. I thought on it some more. ‘Proud Of Something’. Come in with a beater and leave with something to be proud of. Everybody needs to be POS. Proud of Something.”

“I knew you were golden. You can play dumb redneck kid all you want, I’ll be your paperwork Huckleberry.”

“We haven’t talked about money.”

“Talking money in Hollywood is crass, Bobby, because it’s always someone else’s. Let the documents roll out and then we can make money noises. Right now I need to spread some holiday cheer before the end of the year with some Christmas present phone calls. About a money pit with cachet that might turn a profit some day.”

Looney Lunes #125

 Merry Christmas?

HOLIDAY HOURS

To allow our team members to celebrate the Holidays with their families, please note the change in restaurant hours:

TIM HORTON’S

Tuesday December 24: open 24 hours

Wednesday December 25: open 24 hours

Thursday December 26: open 24 hours

NEW YEAR’S HOURS:

Tuesday December 31: open 24 hours

Wednesday January 1: open 24 hours

sign, Tim Horton’s restaurant

Someone

Someone broke my heart today
Again
Thought I was past all that by now
All at once I was young again
If only for a while
In a song where snowflakes turn to rain
Pictures of my foolish innocence
Scattered all to hell
Bits of a treasured ornament that fell
So very long ago
Somehow pieced together
Hanging where it belongs
Shame and regret and all the things
We never got to say
Back among the lights and tinsel and memories
That never fade away
Thank God someone broke my heart again today

Bobby B – Shangri La

Bernie slammed the door on Monterrey Mick’s non-TV office, glanced between Mick and the director and lit up the room.

“The hell you two think you’re doing? I turn on the television Thursday afternoon, what do I see?  Boudreaux and the welcome cake and no sooner does he have on a logo work shirt than you two creative giants are doing cut and paste bullshit in post production that makes me look like an easy piece of fuck-me queenie for a drooling hick! Nowhere was any of that in any shot sheet I saw.”

She slammed both palms down on Mick’s desk. “Punch ins of my ass? I get it, even if the other two are the resident skanks. The kid wearing the season dunce cap scaring me shitless with the fuck ups? Okay. All the candid shit you pulled up? That can’t be contractual, shooting me eating roach coach breakfast with your mark like we’re standing on top of each other. In this shit hole I’m a parts delivery girl with a sweet ass, not half of Mad Mods love sick Hillbillies.”

Mick pulled out the worn manila envelope the director had dropped a few weeks earlier. “Five grand make you feel any better?”

“Hell, no. You offer me five then you got ten times that.”

Mick tossed the envelope back in his desk. “Technically he’s your mark, too, Bern. Unless you do have feelings for him.” Mick leered, cocked one eyebrow. “And then, well…Let the wedding bells ring, pay off your Uncle Mick for keeping it shut and bye bye love.”

He let Bernie steam over that for a few. “You haven’t had any luck, Bern. Some of the barely legal porn business you’ve thrown at him that should have blown the top of his head off hasn’t stuck. Is there a reason?”

“He’s used to an attractive, normal tomgirl type who can carry on a conversation and spar with him. You can’t hire those girls.”

“We hired you. You’re an opinionated, over educated ball of tomgirlish eye candy.”

“I’m fully dressed, unfuckable tomgirlish eye candy. Eye candy I can hire. Eye candy that can talk and turn his head? What do you want me to do, post an ad at USC, ‘Needed, hot pre-law female to con rube out of two mill with your blowjob and convo skills. Keep the wardrobe’?”

“That would be a good start.”

“Get over that, to-day. He’s too young for what we had planned. Weddings, phony DNA. He’s a gee-whiz teenage shoe-gazer in a big-time hot rod shop. Your idiot phony suspension man isn’t doing any better than I am. He’s blown an easy five, six grand on topless bars and a weekend in Vegas with nothing to show for it. Even the PCP loaded joint backfired. Read my lips, you two assholes. I’m done with your bullshit. Bobby and me as a con and mark game or an ‘item’ on this series are both over. As of now.” She slammed the door again on her way out.

Mick pulled up his logo golf shirt up, shot his pits with a can of aerosol deodorant from a desk drawer, glanced at the director. “Can she do anything about how you apply the cut shots?”

“She gets paid and whatever we shoot of her on-site and in uniform without going into the ladies room is fair game. We post it however you and me and the Louisiana directorial contingent want.”

“I needed some good news. That lawyer bitch from Baton Rouge calls me once, twice a week to make sure we’re with her program, and the season just opened.” Mick leaned back, exhaled, pulled his man girdle around his waist, ran his thumb down the Velcro strip. “Fucking women with standards and dumb fucks who’ll never be anything but guest stars. Losers, all. I knew separating the kid from his money was going to be up to me.”

“Looks like.” The director stood, reached for the doorknob and it fell off in his hand. He checked the top of the door, judged it for clearance. “The other two women find out you offered Bernie five grand to play the kid’s girlfriend and it’s still on the table? You’ll have to give it up twice or go out in the shop and find a real mechanic, have them put a hydraulic dampener on this door.”

“Maybe I should turn them and everyone they can bring loose on the damn kid, all at once. He’d cave.”

“Could be. Or they’d all end up like Bernie. Boiling shrimp and working for him instead of you.”

“Perfect. Me gone with his money and no worries, him here with my estrogen and overhead headaches? Sounds like Shangri fucking la to me.” Mick adjusted his girdle, pulled down his shirt, popped a Xanax and a thumb-sized vitamin. “I have to pull this gig off, man. Eating rabbit food and listening to women talk because I can’t afford to rent quiet ones is killing me.”

Looney Lunes #124

I’m Sure The Drivers Were Distracted

The crash occurred near George Square in the central part of the city midafternoon, when the thongs of Christmas shoppers filled city streets.

Newspaper story, Glasgow, Scotland

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Bobby B – Like Brisket Tacos

Bobby’s mornings in California all seemed to run together. The faux suede couch in his furnished apartment sagged no matter where he sat, and he didn’t want to know about the stains. He’d been making his own coffee since he was twelve, and to save his life he couldn’t figure out the load for the motel size coffee pot that had made asphalt or dirty water every morning he’d been in L.A.

Through the open window he could hear the guys his age with no families or plans laughing when they raised the garage door on the transmission shop behind him. They’d take a technical day off like Thanksgiving to burn a few, open a few and wrench on their personal rides. Bobby knew he’d waste more time today himself at the gas station 7-11 combo on the corner, deciding between a green chili chicken burrito or the two-pack of wasabi egg rolls. Since he didn’t have anywhere to be he might even entertain one of the gut-bomb super size ‘supreme’ burritos.

He watched his Happy Thanksgiving text to Carrie Louise animate itself off the screen of his phone, absently tapped the phone on his thigh and wished he knew why she wouldn’t answer him. That was something he’d work on when the Mad Mods season wrapped. Right now he was living a rental life in a rental world with his suit of armor and radar on 24/7, and it was wearing him down.

Bobby grabbed a light jacket off the hook on his front door, took a casual stroll down the steps of his second floor apartment in the Nineteen-Forties shotgun style eight-plex, daydreamed the way to his car. He almost tripped over the guy in sunglasses and a silk Hawaiian shirt leaning against the car parked behind Bobby’s.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. B. Heard you were looking for an honest lawyer.”

Bobby checked the guy. Prematurely bald, or older than he looked, and the car he was leaning on was a cream-colored classic 1956 Porsche 356 convertible.

“Mick did a car like that a couple years ago.”

“This is it, bro. I went back to stock on the wheels. Those TV car guys, they all fuck up a classic with ghetto rims, even when they don’t flare the fenders. Lunacy. Classic design is classic because it was right the first time.” He watched Bobby like he had him under a microscope. “The car would make you think twice about me being honest. Mitch Gellert, your background man? He sent me. I don’t lawyer like most lawyers, I’m more of a financing matchmaker. I put deals together for lost causes without getting the wrong people involved, do the paperwork, watch the investors’ money.” He waited for Bobby to rub his eyes, wake up some more.

“Mick is hopelessly upside down, Bobby. He bankruptcies, takes a walk, cashes out the last deal and runs, cons you into buying his debt. Who knows? Regardless of his exit strategy, he’s done after next year’s season. Maybe this one. Unless our conversation goes the way I hope it does.” Silk Hawaiian shirt lifted the sunglasses, held out his hand. “Creighton DeHavilland. No relation to the movie star.”

Bobby shook the offered hand, leaned on the trunk of his rental. The man wasn’t too slick, or too calm or too pretty or too soft, didn’t smell too good. Wasn’t any of the things Bobby had come to expect from Los Angeles or the boat show posers, business thieves, con artists or any of the damn lawyers he’d met.

“That sucks, about Mick. I had a plan for Mad Mods. A partial plan, anyway.”

“That’s why I’m here. And why you’re done with Elizabeth Vernier rubber stamping your business ventures and cutting you loose to run them out of your pocket. She’s a bitch with a long term agenda. One that doesn’t involve you.”

“How do you know —”

“We’ll get to that. Are you tangled up emotionally, real or imagined, with the lovely not-a-real-parts-girl Bernadette Evrard?”

“No. I mean, I don’t know if we’re friends or if she’s a misdirect or even authentic. I’m trying to play it flat, like Mitch told me. See it all, and wait.”

“She is who she says she is. And she’d like to like you, as a friend. Something about you cutting her some slack, being a sweetheart instead of a dick. Could you work with her?”

“If it was straight, hell yeah.”

“Good. She’s smart and has half a plan herself. If she’d fuck her way into the entertainment business she could start in prime time. She doesn’t want screen time, though, short or long term. She wants management.” He pointed finger pistols at Bobby with both hands. “For that desire to benefit us all, I need to redirect both of you to an entertainment vision beyond the ends of your noses. Let’s go eat breakfast.” He dropped his sunglasses back down, stepped around the side of the Porsche. “Been to Malibu yet?”

“Nope.”

“You can eat sting ring chili and fire starter fart tacos for Thanksgiving breakfast?”

“Sheee-it,” Bobby snort laughed. “No reason for today to be all that different.” He ran his hand across the vanilla colored leather with red piping that covered the seats of the Porsche, whistled softly and opened the door.

“I had high hopes that you were a man with an open mind. Serious about the food, bro.” Creighton checked over his shoulder for traffic. “Top is down because it makes me fart just thinking about it.”

“You fart in these?” Bobby poked the side of his seat for emphasis.

“Good as anywhere. Like brisket tacos, you know? I figure if the cow is past worrying, so am I.”