I was so happy with how the meeting with my dad went, that I could have floated all the way back to the hotel. Funny how perspectives change when you get older. I used to be so afraid of him. I remember that clear as day. I didn’t remember hiding his ties or ever not wanting him to leave. As a matter of fact, I remember being happy when he walked out the door. When he wasn’t there Mom had no one to yell at. That was always a plus.
I shook my head then, just thinking about my Mom. How could she willingly miss out on this? I mean I can understand why she wouldn’t want to see my dad again, even though she was the one who threw him out. But Mike? Did she really not care if she saw her eldest son?
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe Mike was the one who got a better deal. He got dad and I got stuck with Mom. I suddenly felt the urge to call her if nothing else to start an argument or something. Bob hated when I did that, but I did it often. So did she though.
Bob…funny how after only one meeting with my real Father, I had already resorted to calling my adoptive one by his first name already. Was I that ready to make a change? Sometimes change is good.
I picked up my phone and dialed my Mom’s cell leaving our argument in fates hands.
As luck would have it I got her voicemail so I decided to not even bother leaving a message. I noticed as my fame grew, her absences did too. She seemed to be around me less and less, opting to do fun things that we could have only hoped to do when we were poor and nobody. Not that I’m complaining. I want my Mom to have nice things. She deserves it too but maybe just once I would have liked it to be me that went to Italy with her and Bob. Let me have a vacation with no worries. Just a family that loves me.
God I probably sound like such a sap when I say things like that but to me family is so important; it really is. If you can’t tell that by now then you are just not paying close enough attention to this story.
“Hey turkey butt whatcha doing?” I rolled me eyes at Brian and ran over to him and stole the ball he was dribbling in his right hand.
“Hey! Not fair I didn’t see that coming”
“I guess your mind is not as sharp as it used to be huh old man?”
“Who you calling an old man?”
“Uh…see what I mean?” I walked over and tapped him on the head with the ball, “I am calling you an old man Rok!”
Brian just laughed and of course while he was laughing I got distracted, so he used that as his chance to steal the ball away from me. “Well I may be old Nicky my boy but I still got it! Let’s go find us a hoop” I nodded and just started following him as well as our barrage of security.
“Tell me if you think this is stupid” I said catching up to him and once again stealing the ball.
“I’m thinking of giving my dad some money to start a business”
“What kind of business is Bob starting?” Nice to know that at least one of us still considered Bob my dad.
“Not Bob…my real dad” There was slight hesitation in his step, “Oh”
“He wants to open some kind of thing for troubled kids”
“That sounds awesome. How much are you thinking of giving him?”
“I was kind of thinking a blank check” That made Brian slow down again almost to a halt.
“You think that’s wise? I mean you only just met him”
“I know, but he’s my Dad Bri…and he’s been through so much. I just want to help”
Brian smiled at me, “I know you do but a blank check? Maybe you could go into business with him instead”
“Uh sounds like too much work”
“What about Mike? What does he think about it?”
“I can’t tell him”
“My dad doesn’t want Mike to know about the new business just yet” Brian came to a stand still, “That sounds a little sketchy baby, don’t you think?”
“No not really, would you think it was sketchy if your dad told you something and not Harold?”
“No but that’s different”
“How so?” I knew what he was going to say, I guess I just needed him to verbalize it. Looks like I was going to have that fight after all. He wouldn’t do it though, like he sensed I was just waiting for it or something; he changed the subject on me.
“So, when is your Mom coming home?” I shrugged. “I don’t know and I don’t care”
“Nope, I don’t want to talk about her, she will put me in a lousy mood. Let’s go find that basketball court” Now I picked up my pace leaving Brian just standing there but eventually he followed.
Mike was working his ass off lately at the record store. It seemed like he was always being asked to work overtime or asked to cover for someone when they called in sick. He was convinced that maybe his boss was just waiting for his opportunity to fire him. Maybe the first time he said no that would be it, he would be handed his walking papers.
The only thing good about that was Melinda, she seemed to be working late right alongside of him. That he didn’t mind, even though he was anxious about not getting to spend enough time with his brother, she made things okay. He blushed just thinking about her.
“What are you thinking Spanky?” He turned to her with a questioning glance, “Spanky?”
“Yeah I think that’s going to be my new nickname for you, Spanky”
“Is that all you can come up with? What about something like stud muffin or Adonis!” She laughed, “Now you’re hallucinating Spanky” Then she tapped his butt. He liked that.
“I am actually getting off early tonight” He said winking at her gesture.
“Yeah, I have worked late the last two nights so they are letting me go home early, which is good because I am afraid my dad is up to no good”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because he’s my dad”
“How trusting you are. Did you ever think that he might have changed?”
“I want to think that but I’m used to being let down when it comes to him”
“How’s he getting along with Smiley?”
“Yeah my nickname for your brother”
“Man why does he get to be Smiley and I get to be Spanky?” She smiled and shrugged.
“Alexander!” Mike looked over to his boss who yelled his name from clear across the room, making heads turn as he did it.
“Yes sir?” He asked making his way over to the man before he caused anymore of a scene.
“You have a phone call” That was s surprise to him. He shook his head just imagining what exactly his dad needed from him now. Maybe he had finally burned the house down or something.
“Tell him I’ll be right there”
“I’m not your secretary Alexander and it’s not a him”
“No, she says she’s your Mother” Mike couldn’t breathe just for an instant. “What?” He asked losing his voice as he said it. His boos stared at him angrily and purposely over emphasized every word as if Mike were ‘special’
“I s-a-i-d, it’s y-o-u-r MOTHER” The man held out the phone to him and Mike hesitantly took it.
“Hello?” He asked with a trace of anticipation on his voice.
John paid the hooker $1200 for his time spent with her. It had been a long time since he had been with a woman. He didn’t understand how the straightest guy in prison within time could become a sissy. It was beyond him. He would never stay in prison that long but definitely long enough to miss the affection of a woman. The lady looked at the money and shoved it down her bra all the while popping her gum. “You’re a good customer, come back and find me sometime”
Then she left, John looked around the extremely dirty hotel room and wondered how he could make love in such a place like this. “That wasn’t love that was just nasty dirty sex” He laughed, “Thanks Nick”
He put his clothes back on and ventured out of the hotel room to another poker game just up the street. He decided to buy Mike something for his apartment; he would make up a story how he got a job doing work for random older people. He already paid about three elderly women to say that he was hired by them. He knew Mike was getting suspicious of the money that was coming in. The last thing he needed was for Mike to blow things now. He was so close to all the money he wanted. He could taste it.
We ended sitting up on our hotel room sulking over the fact that we wouldn’t have time to play basketball after all. Seemed like at the last minute our management decided to give us something else to do, so in the 45 minutes we had left we opted to play some Nintendo. Video basketball was almost more fun than the real thing anyway.
Kevin came in with one of those looks on his face. I hated those looks, sometimes he was too serious. I can just picture him as an old man, “you know if you keep pouting like that your face will stay that way” I blurted out. Brian laughed.
“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”
Please be talking to Brian…please be talking to Brian…
But of course when I finally decided to look up it was me he was staring at. “Can it wait? I’m kind of in the middle of a game here”
“I talked to your Mom”
“God Kevin why don’t you just marry her? You seem to talk to her more than my dad does” Again Brian thought that was pretty funny but when he laughed he was given the dreaded look of death from Kevin. That made him want to make an abrupt exit.
“I’m gonna go find AJ and Howie, see what they are up to”
“Good idea” Kevin said. I made sure to mouth the word coward to him as he left.
“So did you call her this time or did she call you?”
“She called me”
“Oh how very nice of her. Ask me when the last time she called me was” I sounded hurt and he felt bad. He came and sat next to me on the floor.
“It wasn’t like that. She called because she was worried about you”
“She could have told me that”
“She wanted Mike’s number” Okay he had my full attention now. “She did?”
He nodded, “I didn’t have it but I gave her the store he worked at”
“Well good, I hope they get to catch up on stuff”
“She doesn’t think he’s for real Nick. She thinks he’s trying to milk you for money”
“Well that just proves how little she knows her own son”
“She also said your dad was in jail”
“She said that he has been put in a jail a few times. Just be careful okay?”
“This is bullshit Kevin. I’m not listening to this anymore” Now I was ready for my fight. I picked up the phone and called my Mom with Kevin sitting right there.