The Stockbroker – 12

When they pulled into the parkinglot Wes drove to the back of the lot and parked and cut the engine. He took out the gram bag and they passed it between them taking key bumps and after a while Wes put on some cologne and put a piece of gum in his mouth and checked himself in the mirror. He held out the cologne bottle.

No thanks.

Suit yourself, Morris. At least take the gum.

He did and then he got out of the car and checked himself in the side mirror and Wes followed him out and they walked up toward the Rose as they could have been took for madmen.

The building was an old masonry construction. Before it in time a jailhouse. Bare of windows or where there once were they had been laid over with concrete. Affixed to the stonework was a lone neon figure of a female nude. Wes hollered at the figure and then he hollered at the doorman. Howdy, Ed, he called.

Wes, quit shoutin and git inside.

They labored up toward the door and he handed Ed the covercharge. Go easy in there, Wes, he said. He let them inside and called into his headset for the host to come upfront and a minute later a squat man in a suit appeared in the foyer. Hey Wes, he said. You back, Morris?

I never left, Ron.

I thought you up and moved back North. Figured once a Yankee.

Howdy, Ron. Lay off him alright.

Well. You boys want your regular table I suppose.

We do. Alicia workin tonight?

She is.

He handed over to Ron twenty dollars and he led them to their table. The club was halffull and there was a girl on the main stage and two on platforms. Bette Davis Eyes was playing. The DJ was making a two-for-one announcement over the music. I love this song, Morris, he said.

I know it, Wes.

They sat and Ron shook their hands and he left and after a minute a waitress came with a tray and handed them down two whiskeys and perched the tray on her shoulder and looked down ruefully.

What, he said. You still mad.

You say you’re gonna call and then you don’t call.

I’ll call, darlin.

Sure you will.

You wanna sit for a minute.

I’m workin, Wes. Who’s this?

This is my oldest friend, Alicia. Meet Jon Morris.

Howdy, Jon. Whiskey, okay. Ron said whiskey’s okay for the both of you.

He nodded.

Well, you mind, Wes. Giving me a handoff.

He reached into his pocket and slid the bag into her palm and she hurried off somewhere into the back.

They lifted their glasses and drank quietly and watched the stage.

After a few minutes he said: You and her a thing?

You know how it goes, Morris.

I don’t know, Wes.

Well. That’s how it goes.