Here’s the thing, Raftman said. What if we were to knock over a place or two and see what happens.
I don’t know about that. You think people would think it was someone else? You think people wouldn’t straight put two and two together? Vinnie said. He reached to the inside pocket of his jacket. He felt for the lighter and took it out. His thumb striking at the flint.
Maybe. Raftman said leaning back. He steepled his hands. Thing is, he said. I’m a man running out of alternatives. I’m taking on water and I don’t like it. There’s nothing good to be had out of all this. You think any of the business boys are going to help me? Look around. This line of work does not exactly come with a pension or nothing like that. If anything they’re going to hang me out to dry. They’ll suck away until there’s nothing left. Don’t think they won’t come after you either. They will. Look what happened to O’Connor.
O’Connor got sloppy, Vinnie said.
Whadda you think made him get sloppy? He was worn down to the hilt, Vinnie said. They kept him running until one day he said, you know what no more. You say he got sloppy, I say he stopped giving a fuck.
And what’s this gotta do with us, Vinnie said.
That’s what waits for us if we pick up where we left off, Raftman said. Look we had our chance to do great things. To ingratiate ourselves with the busniss boys but let us not kid ourselves. The game was rigged. No matter how well we played we were never winning. They knew that. Erybody watching knew that. The only suckers who didn’t know was you, me and Eric. Now is it fair. No, no it is not. But whos fault is that. I’ll tell you who. It was ours, we didn’t even have the excuse of saying we was younger. We wasn’t we should have known better. We didn’t. And we paid the price.
You know, Vinnie said. It wasn’t that we didn’t know it was going to work.
Yeah maybe so but that’s no excuse for people like us. The more simple something is, if the ones at the top haven’t done anything then you know that it’s because there’s something up or they like to let small fry like ourselves take the bait and see if we spring the trap.
There was a knock at the door.
Come in, Raftman said.
That’s me going to clock off for the day, a woman said.
Sure thing Vanessa, Raftman said. See you, when you next in?
Tuesday, Vanessa said.
Tuesday it is, Raftman said.
Vinnie watched as she dissappeard behinf the door. He turned his head to see Raftman’s gaze transfixed on the door.
Holy shit, Vinnie said and laughed.
What? Raftman said. What?
You fuck her yet?
No I did not and fuck you for saying that.
Why, she looks good to go, Vinnie said.
She is good to go.
And you ain’t done nothin bout that yet?
Why the fuck would I?
You’re the boss.
I am the boss but the rules are different, said Raftman.
That’s what some people say.
That’s what I say, Raftman said. Look, those days you could goose a bitch, they’re gone. Which when you got to get surrounded by tight young asses it’s. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s just the fucking worse. But no, they don’t like that so they don’t and no matter what they say, you gotta respect it.
Jesus Christ, they slipping pussy pills in your water cooler? Like I know I’m pretty but you try and suck my dick, you better believe I’ll be mad as all hell after.
No, what, no, Raftman said. These bitches are clued in. They know lawyers numbers. Hell some of them even are lawyers. Ever hear about that?
I try not to think too much, Vinnie said.
Must try that myself, Raftman said. Look I don’t know what to do about this. I see where you’re coming from with this. I can’t go on like this. It’s killing me, I can feel it. And I’m taking, you’re not working?
Where da fuck Imma supposed to work? said Vinnie. Everything so fucking far away, it either costs me to go or it starts so early I have be up at 4am. Fuck that. As long as I hand in a CV or some shit every once in a while they lay off.
Look, Raftman said. I gotta think about this. There’s something, I don’t know. It feels wrong but I have to follow protocol, the rules, whatever you want to call it. I mean I’m just out and the next thing you know, I’m trying to jump back in. It may have to wait a while, you understand.
I do, Vinnie said.
He nodded and put his feet back on the ground, slid off the desk and stood up straight. If we haveta do things by the book then that’s how its gotta be.
Then that’s how its gotta be, Raftman said. He flashed a short close mouthed smile, brought his glasses down over his eyes, uncrossed his arms and picked up a pen.
Vinnie watched him for a moment. Raftman looked up from his desk saw Vinnie still standing there, arhed his eyebrows then reached out his hand. Vinnie took Raftman’s hand and shook it.
Vinnie turned and walked out the door. Vanessa was still packing up her things. She took out a compact and checked her makeup. Vinnie approached her. Vanessa looked up.
Yes, Vanessa said. Vinnie stopped in his tracks.
It was, Vinnie said. Vanessa stood still. Never mind, he said.
He exited the building out into the cool air of dark night. He walked.
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