Tommy. You wouldn’t believe this guy. I mean ‘Karl.’ Whatever, Tommy, as I know him, calls me up last week and bitches me out. Why? Because I haven’t done anything with this ‘blog’ and this book I put together for him hasn’t exactly sold like hotcakes and so on and so on.
But Tommy, I said, where the hell you been all this time anyway? Because I think the last time I laid eyes on him was last June, almost a year ago.
Welp, you know I had to take care of some business in Mexico, right?
(I don’t know if I’ll get it all in here, but it turns out Tommy’s been trying to help his cleaning lady get her green-card, so she can stay in the US, so Tommy can have her keep his apartment clean and apparently she cooks for him, too! But that’s all. She has taken the goofy bastard on to atone for some sin she thinks she’s committed.
OK, how do I know all this? Because I met her at his place once and then a couple days later ran into her when she was with her son, who is about twenty and a totally good guy. He works in one of the locals as a welder. A week or two after that I run into the son when I went out to have some beers with a friend who is, god help him, a Mets fan. That’s right, beers were on me.
So, the son tells me this whole story about how Tommy’s helping his mom and to be perfectly honest I didn’t believe a word he said. I was polite about it as well, but I told him as much. I know Tommy and of the things I know about Tommy helping his cleaning lady is just not in the realm of things that would ever even occur to him. Unless he was being blackmailed but if you ever met ‘Maria’ you’d know that’s not happening either.
Life is full of mystery, right?)
Yeah, that’s that ‘condo deal’ you were telling me about?
Yeah, that’s the one. Welp, my business partner double crossed me and I was in jail.
I don’t believe a word you’re saying.
Let me show you.
He pulls up the sleeve of his shirt and on his forearm he’s got a tattoo. A tattoo of a wall.
The hell is that?
Hand-ball! The hell you think?
What does that have to do with jail?
I got it inside.
Tommy, seriously now, if that’s where you’ve been for the last six months, maybe you should go see a doctor, or. I mean, I have to be honest with you and you don’t look like you spent any time in any kind of jail. In fact, you maybe even look a little bit better than last time I saw you.
That’s the thing. See, in Mexico if you’re in jail and you can still get your hands on some scratch, you can live like a king. I mean anything you want to buy, you can. You just got to have the right contacts.
But I thought your business partner screwed you.
Yeah, that motherfucker did. But ‘Maria’ has a cousin down there and he heard about the spot I was in and I gotta tell you, I had three hots and a cot in a perfectly dry cell with this only slightly crazy Swiss guy.
Wait, Swiss guy?
Yeah, he’d been down there bumming around for a couple years, he’s a Fado singer.
Fado. Jesus, Portuguese blues. Man you are square sometimes.
And you shared a cell.
Wasn’t so bad. But damn, I never knew the Portuguese could get so down. And I never knew a Swiss guy could sing like that.
(I haven’t found out yet if any of what Tommy’s telling me is even vaguely related to the truth but I’ll let you know if I do. In the meantime, Tommy’s hired me back on to do something with all this. But don’t call it a comeback.)