Understanding and maturity often arrive late in a boy’s life. Like youth, dreams are hard to leave behind.
But when dawn comes, and he finally grasps his life will never involve Big Money; that $500,000 European sports cars, million-dollar yacht parties, and famous beauties like Shania Twain are forever beyond his reach...well, that’s when a boy becomes a man.
At least I sure the hell hope so. Because it’s about time I grew up. Way overdue, in fact. See, worrying about my testimony tomorrow before a special state grand jury, it occurs to me, were I rich like I always figured I should be, I’d have a hotshot attorney postponing my appearance, or otherwise devising some totally legitimate loophole to excavate my ass.
But no, Big Money is not mine. I can’t afford an unbeatable mouthpiece. I never will. Nice things like top-shelf defense attorneys are forever beyond my reach. So is Shania Twain. I believe I understand this now. The Fast Lane down Easy Street is closed to Austin Carr.
Tomorrow, I can either identify Mama Bones and make Franny happy, or I can somehow not identify Mr. Vick’s gray-haired mother and make Bluefish Mr. Smiley Face.
The consequences of both are obviously the subject of some concern. If I please Franny, Bluefish might kill not only me, but probably Beth, Ryan, Susan, Susan’s friends and neighbors, not to mention everybody's lawns, dogs, and goldfish. On the other hand-job, if I fulfill my verbal agreement with Bluefish and refuse to point the finger at Mama Bones, Franny has promised me jail-time for perjury and conspiracy to commit murder.
Why can’t one of my options be careful and supervised use of a reliable time machine? Why can’t I go back to that afternoon in Luis’s restaurant and tell Bluefish “fine” when he first mentions doing business with Shore?
At least it’s nice to know I’ve reached maturity.
I take my mattress off the bed in my Trooper mansion bedroom and lean that sucker against the wall. I start with a few kicks, then step closer and start punching, right, left, right, left, until my arms are tired and I go back to kicking, kicking, kicking until my legs feel like wet cement.
I take up punching again.
I go on like this for, I don’t know, half an hour. When all four of my limbs are numb with exhaustion, I crumble to the floor. My mouth is open. I’m panting. Sweating.
Tears slowly fill my eyes. When the water finally overflows and tickles my cheeks, I stand up, fists trembling, and bellow like a wounded bear for all my lost dreams.
Next Friday, Another Chapter of BIG MONEY