Charles Frank rolled another long putt across the vast expanse of sand-colored carpet towards the Eagle Super-Power electric golf cup. The ball rolled perfectly into the plastic target and was spat back with a solid thwacking sound as the little electric piston was triggered by the impact with the Titleist. God, I have such good touch! I’m going to clean Arkavarian’s clock!
The phone rang.” Oh, hi, Greg. We good to go?”
The question was rhetorical. The deal was done; it was just a question of a little cash. You never know with guys like Harry and Ace, they could be minor sticklers, though Charles had found it to be generally true that the less money someone makes, the less likely he is to be a bear on the issue of money. The rich were the tough bastards.
“Yeah, they went for it.”
Good, I would have gone to a hundred grand each, but why spend money you don’t have to spend?
“Great, so I have some good news. The Super Bowl is done. It only cost me one testicle and four memberships at Desert Ridge for Zerekis and his family. That’s over half a mil. But it’s worth it to kick this off right.”
“Fuckin’ fantastic! I’ll tell Joey.”
“It’ll be just like old times.”
“Only way fuckin’ bigger.”
“You got that right! But not as big as the implant’s going to be!”
“Shit! Easy, honey; that’s a little too rough.”
“Ok, Joey, sorry, but ‘ju know I have get down deep enough to make the bloods flow.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Shit, that Brazilian accent really turns me on. Joey lifted his head up as far as he could and reached out to the ashtray and grabbed his Cuban. He played out a bit of smoke from the dark stogie, enough to give him the rush that a good cigar gives. Then he let his face drop back down onto the supports of the massage table. The sunlight coming off the pool underlit the table. From where Jasmine lay in the water, Joey’s face looked pale blue, like that of a drowned man. She smiled at that thought.
He had his eyes closed and couldn’t see her for the moment anyway.
His cell went off again. Joey had his own ringtone he had recorded, a spiraling interwoven guitar thing, half classical and half metal. Magical, really.
Joey lifted himself up on his elbows and looked to see who it was. He groaned a little and sat up. He waved off Celina the massage therapist, who picked up her little plastic basket of oils and loofas and padded away toward the bathhouse at the far end of the pool enclosure. Jasmine stayed where she was, her elbows pulled back on the top step of the pool. Her bare breasts floated just at the water line, her perfect nipples made hard by the collision of water and air temperatures. The tiny waves created by the light breeze lapped and died gratefully on her goddess- like curves. That’s how it is when you’re twenty –six, she thought. Ain’t life grand?
Joey listened to the metallic voice coming out if his cell phone.
“Hey man. Um hum. Super Bowl, very cool. I love Tony Riggs, man.”
Jasmine could hear the deep voice of Greg Horn coming from the cell phone even from across the pool. She looked at Joey. How did he stay in such good shape for an old guy? He was tight, except for those little stringy bits below his triceps. She guessed the martial arts counter- balanced all the booze. Some guys have all the luck.
She found him interesting, but Jas had few delusions about Joey Lowe. He was a fun older guy to hang out with. His spontaneity went well with his money. They would fly down to Mexico or off to London on a whim. He knew people everywhere. People with money. Shit, I’m just a very pretty girl who managed to end up in the right place at the right time. She knew he’d get tired of her. He didn’t have three ex-wives and countless ex-girlfriends because he was the commitment type. Joey liked his stuff and nobody was going to interfere with that.
At least he wasn’t such a big hypocrite as Greg Horn, the guy with the soon-to-be –ex- wife and the four kids that were as old as Jas. She was with Joey; that didn’t stop Greg from hitting on her. He was really disgusting; so two- faced. Joey was an asshole, a real spoiled brat, but he was what he was. Greg was devious. She wouldn’t want to be on his bad side.
“Yeah, well, shit. I guess I’m going to have to do this, then, right? As long as I’m getting sixty percent of net. We’ll need to tell Stone that I can cut with him in January, before the AT&T.” Pause. Joey winked at Jasmine. He held his hands up like he was holding a glass. She got it.
Jas got out of the pool, toweled off and slid into a deep blue silk kimono. She poured a glass of Falcon’s Blood Pinot Noir from the poolside bar and brought it to Joey.
What a beautiful girl, he thought. That Ukrainian thing: Slavic beauty with just a hint of Genghis Khan lurking in there somewhere, making her dangerous and hot. He grabbed at her ass as she moved away from him. She gave him a look that said, you naughty old man. Well, that he was; that he was.
“Right Greggo. OK. Shit, yes! Later, man”
Joey reached up and felt his smooth skull. So I’m fucking bald on top; I’m also fuckin’ rich!
“Hey Jas. Sushi?”
The phone rang. Roberta looked up from the woodpile. Leave a message, please. She swung the axe down and split a nineteen- inch- long piece of lodgepole clean. Lodgepole burns like paper, but it sure is easy to split, she thought. The phone went off again. Ok, that’s enough wood for now.
“C’mon Ringo” Her old lab woke up and stretched old his front legs and slowly got to his feet. He followed Roberta up the side of the house to the back door. Roberta pushed it open with her boot and Ringo trotted inside to the fireplace and his bed. He dropped down and made himself comfortable. No need to be unnecessarily awake.
Roberta dumped her armload of spit logs onto the holder next to the fireplace. The phone went off again. Hold your horses, for heaven’s sake, she thought. Must be important.
“Hey Roberta, it’s Ace.”
“Ace. “ The way she said his name she sounded like she had just found her favorite pair of cowboy boots under an old tarp in the garage. She sat down on her plump couch in front of the fire. The fire’s warmth and the sound of Ace’s voice made her feel comfortable. “How the hell are you, stranger? She said.” How are Sheel and your baby?”
“Oh, we’re fine, you know, crazy; being an old dad and all that. How are you?”
“You know, good.” She said, knowing that Ace knew the qualifications behind such a bland pronouncement.
Ace went on, “Well…but listen, I have a little good news for you. Big One is going to be in an ad. If Joey’ll go for it, we’re gonna recut it. It’s for Charles’ goddam penis implant. Thirty grand for you if it happens.”
“How appropriate! Wow, thirty grand would be great. My truck is dying. Penis implants would be good. Maybe all those guys with little dicks could get over themselves”
“I think brain implants would be more useful.”
“That’s because you don’t need the dick implant.”
“Jeez, my little wiener’s gotten me in enough trouble as it is! But as far as the money goes, I need it; Sheila’s always putting the pressure on me to go to work at Kinko’s or something. How’s Montana? Shit, I miss the west, big time.”
“It’s just getting cold. We had four inches of snow last week, but it all melted off. You guys should come out here and see me.” Roberta paused.” Or maybe just you should come” Oh naughty girl.
“Right” said Ace. “I’m sure Sheila wouldn’t mind if I came out there and visited you!”
“How’s my little Molly?”
“She’s good. Sheila’s got her in Uppends Hall, a fancy-schmancy school. Second grade, which is the like the first year of high school socially. You know, all the right kids. She fits right in, unfortunately; that whole social thing. She’s got her mama’s good looks and her daddy’s lack of money. It’s tough on me, two women. God, one is too much for me, always has been!”
“You are just too sweet a guy to be left alone, that’s your problem, Ace.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t know about that. That’s not what I hear around this house! So how’s your love life treating you? Those Montanans must be howling like wolves outside your door on these cold nights.”
“I’m keeping ‘em at a distance Ace. I’m an old broad who’s set in her ways. There is one guy I see from time to time. He’s a bit younger.”
“I know you, Rob; that means he’s twenty- four.”
“Well, maybe not quite that young. What can I say?’ Roberta said.” You live all the way down south in Nashville, what am I supposed to do when I get lonely?”
“You’re a crack- up, Roberta!” Ace grinned into the phone.” I’ll let you know about the ad as soon as I hear something. It all depends on you-know-who.”
“I’ll light a moose on fire and pray. Tell him I’ll blow him if he’ll do it.”
“I think that’s his problem; you never blew him.”
“Well, there’s another guy in the band I didn’t blow either, no fault of mine.”
“I hear the girls arriving; talk to you soon.”
“I love you and miss, you Ace”
“I love you too, Rob. Gotta go.” There was hint of anxiety in Ace’s voice. Roberta knew Sheila would want to know who he had been talking to. Ace would be deleting her number so the phone only showed Harry’s.
Roberta hung up and sat on the couch, absorbing the heat. Ace. A picture of Danny came to mind. God, it’s like that was all somebody else’s life or something. Ace is a good guy. He deserves to be cut more slack than Sheila cuts him. Those two are from different planets.
She sensed movement outside her big window and got up slowly. Full rack Moose in the yard. Don’t wake up, Ringo. She watched the big fellow pluck willow leaves for a while. Finally the moose wandered off.
Ace would like that. Roberta thought. But Sheila wouldn’t.