I read Hiaasen’s line about enduring and durable stereotypes again and thought, you know, I have tons of stuff that will never see the light of day. Like how I originally got the matchstick men (arsonists) to Louisiana to burn out Bobby B.
Anthony “Big T” Gallanti, a florid, cigar wielding man and Anthony “Little T” Mursko, Big T’s thin, dark, Hitler mustached sidekick stepped off the curb in unison. Big T and Little T, both sported identical slicked-back black-from-the-same-bottle hair, old school Wayfarer shades, and air travel rumpled linen suits.
The Lincoln driver smiled to himself. “T for two” Sammy’d called them. A pair of classic, straight out of the movies crime family errand boys dripping sweat in the unfamiliar cut-it-with-a-knife Gulf Coast humidity. They tossed their bags in the open trunk of the aging salt and sun ravaged Lincoln. The curbside back door swung open. Tony put his foot in, got his knee slapped.
“Do ya mind?” The yellow with green palm foliage Hawaiian shirt clad driver tossed several Le Canard Boueux beach towels over the backseat’s expanse, leaned over, started straightening them.
“C’mon, Bumblefuck,” Big T fanned himself with a week-old Times-Picayune sports section he’d liberated from the plane’s library. “It’s fuckin’ hot out here.” Big T stuck an unlit cohiba in the side of his mouth, patted himself down looking for a light.
“Yeah, well,” Hawaiian shirt was saying, “I just got my velour steamed, see? An I don’t need no sweaty ass monkey butt Yankee hotshots screwin’ it up a’ready. Maybe I got a date or somethin’, don’t want my ride smellin’ like pits an man whore deodorant. An don’t even think about lightin’ that thing. Got it?”
“Got it.” Big T stuck the cigar in his shirt pocket slobbery side up. “What I don’t got is how come none of yous Gulf Coast guys get regular haircuts? Or shave when you meet family from outta town?” Man whore. Dude wasn’t Sammy’s cousin I’d cut his balls off right here.
“No point in either. Wind and humidity…Can’t put enough man whore shit in your hair to stop it havin’ a mind a its own. An it’s not that hot, either,” the driver went on. “Like 93, 94. But the heat index—”
“Save the meteoroctology lesson and get happy with the fuckin’ towels. Soon.”
The driver appraised his drape and tuck job, fell back into the front seat. “I was just sayin’, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
“Will ya shut the fuck up about humidity?” Big T flicked sweat off his eyebrows, dropped into the back seat, slammed his door. “Gimme snow any fuckin’ day.”
“Never heard a nobody throwin’ their back out shovelin’ humidity.”
“I tole you,” Big T stuck a pistol over the seat and his hand went numb. So numb maybe it was cut off. Worms were crawling up his arm, through his body, his eyes went in and out of focus, his earlobes, a body part he never thought about, throbbed. Steel balls wobbled up the backside of his legs, convened at his rectum, and continued on up through his bowels in a helix pattern. The driver turned around, held what looked like a long butane grill lighter an inch from Big T’s nose.
“Eighty-six million volts, ‘Bumblefuck’. Modified. This thumb dial here? Milliamps.” He poked Big T in the nose, “They’re the killers. I run it up halfway? Cooks your brain, inside your fuckin’ head. You’re sittin’ there, I’m sittin’ here, you look like you only your brain is boilin’, starts runnin’ out your eyes. Once you smell that shit? Trust me, you will never forget the smell of brain cookin’.”
The driver turned back to feed his ticket to the automated parking lot attendant. “My nephew built it. He’s thirteen. It charges with my phone charger.” He swiped his credit card, took the receipt. “Pretty fuckin’ amazing.” He tossed another towel over the seat. “Stuff this down the front a your pants. You won’t feel it when you piss yourself an I told you already ‘bout my seats.” He checked both his passengers in the rearview. “Start feelin’ the urge to drop a deuce, sing out, I’ll pull over.” In acknowledgment, Big T vibrated side to side, his shoulders up and down like a see-saw.
“Good.” The driver turned his attention in the mirror to the Hitler ‘stached shadow. “Questions?”
“What’s the range on that thing?”
“Fixin’ to find out you don’t take your hand outta your jacket.”
“We’re good.” The hand came out. “So, amigo…gettin’ the seats steamed. That a regular appointment thing, like women and their fingernails? I might could use a connect, you know. The old lady, she’s always spillin’ some shit in the car.”
“I take it on a as-needed basis. Too often, an the cleaner they use rots the foam. This is my third set a seats, an this color’s gettin’ hard to find. Why I’m so picky.”
“Good to know, about the rot.” Little T watched his partner’s spazzing go from rapid to a slow wavy undulation. “Maybe you got another towel?” Little T held an empty hand over the seat. “Y’know, case he don’t really know when the turd that ate Manhattan’s gonna cut loose.”