Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 8, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 11, Pt.2

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

Jack limped into the parking lot at Tommy’s about three hours after he had suggested that a maximum of two would be sufficient. Halfway to Rockton, he had run into a whiteout. It had started with those huge white flakes, hypnotic flakes that parachute towards you, kind of like a one-color kaleidoscope. The beauty had turned to beast when the wind had picked up and the snow attacked sideways from the west. In a heartbeat, a leisurely Sunday drive had turned into a white knuckle test – trying to stay on a surface that had no apparent boundaries, one that instantly became inhabited by the knee-jerkers who slowed to ridiculous speeds, and those who saw conditions like that as some kind of macho challenge to exceed the limits they had already been exceeding. As was so often the case, the storm cell had abated about ten miles north of the city and the remainder of the drive had been quite reasonable.

Tommy greeted Jack warmly, gave him a man hug, and a punch on the arm, perhaps just to underline his sense of self, and invited him in. What a spread! Not the penthouse, but a corner suite in a condo that sat above the ring road and overlooked the downtown with city and Christmas lights a-twinkling.

Sheepishly, Jack offered his brown bag purchase. Running late, he had stopped at the nearby mini-mall where he knew a small liquor store existed.

Tommy accepted his gift, pulled the bottle from the bag, and then pulled a face. “So, whiskey is it. Whiskey with an “e.” Says here this fine Isle of Islay single malt is now being distilled in that modern Scottish site they call Alameda, Californ. . .”

In the midst of Tommy’s chiding, Jack had been avoiding eye contact and looking anywhere but directly at his friend. He had been caught out and he knew it. But when his eyes fell on the take-out bags emblazoned with “Santorini Greek Taverna,” Tommy seemed to notice. In mid word, Tommy’s chiding turned to a conspiratorial affirmation.

“Yes, Alameda, I know it well. Near the coast on the western shore. Great single malt. The kind good friends are sure to enjoy.” He gave Jack a wee smile, pumped his eyebrows twice, and looked off to his left.

The two laughed and headed for the kitchen. Tommy fixed up a plate of pita with satziki and anginares while Jack got the drinks. Once they had settled in the “soft seats” as Tommy called them, Jack began.

“It’s great to be here. It looks like this is going to turn into a sleepover so we have lots of time – if that’s still okay?” Tommy nodded his assent. “We can catch up later on life, love, and all that but this Dougie Dymans situation is really bothering me. If it’s okay with you, can I get that out of the way first?” Tommy nodded again. It seemed that the tone of Jack’s voice and his demeanor were sending the message that this was important stuff.

It took over half an hour, the entire plate of appetizers, and several refills for Jack to share everything he knew about Dougie Dymans. He had added the part about rearranging the sign letters, and it was this explanation that had seemed to pique Tommy’s interest more than the other information.

Tommy’s first remark was, “So when you messed with the sign, were you just wearing coveralls and enough of an outfit to make yourself look like a workin’ man? If you were, my friend, you could be in some very deep ka ka. There’s a technical name for the kind of person you’ve just described, but the vernacular of the streets would label him one twisted, vengeful, dangerous psycho. I’m serious, man. Guys like this don’t understand that a line even exists, the kind of line between sanity and the other side. You could . . .”

Jack interrupted. “Relax. You know I used to do this kind of thing for a living. It hasn’t been all that long. I am not ‘all hat and no cattle’ as our buddy Clee would say. I’m not even near the turnip truck. Remember how we used to get guys out when we played baseball as kids. I’d pretend to throw you the ball from first base. You’d go into your stare at the catcher routine, as if we actually had any signs back then, and when the dufous on first base would lead off, I’d tag him out. And the snowball routine. And when you pretended to be blind and we tried to hook you up with that babe in college. You were the original trickster, man, and I just loved that stuff . . . and since those days, I’ve made up a few moves of my own . . . and I use ‘em when the need arises.”

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