Junior's Game

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
What do you do when you find yourself all alone with a some sort of Goodfella?

Submitted: March 14, 2010

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Submitted: March 14, 2010

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JUNIOR'S GAME

Back when I used to work alone all the time, any visitor was welcome. In those days, the mold making business was good, and I was always busy. Lonely, but busy. I worked sometimes eighty hour weeks, and made myself some good coin. One night, I was finishing a hot job, all alone, singing along with ZZ Top on the radio, when a man in a silky, pinstripe suit and shiny shoes walks in the door. He was clearly not one of the tool salesmen I was used to seeing.

Glad as always to see someone, anyone, I put on a smile and held out my hand to shake.

“You got a phone, buddy?” he said, ignoring my gesture.

I showed him into the office, and pointed out the phone. He wedged the receiver between his ear and his shoulder and dialed with his left hand while his right hand swept at air telling me to leave. I had been so excited to see another person, that hadn't picked up on how anxious the man seemed. Him kicking me out of my own office after I so graciously let him use my phone, did much to clear my mind. When he walked in, it didn't occur to me that he might be in trouble, but thinking back, I was sure that he looked scared. His black, greased hair was messed up as though he had been running frantic fingers through it. I didn't think by looking at him that he was the sort of man who's hair was usually out of place. I went back to my machine. I kept an eye on him though the picture window between the office and the shop. He was pacing frantically and running his fingers through his hair just as I had pictured. I couldn't tell if he was arguing or pleading. When he hung up, I snapped my attention back to my machine.

“Hey, you're hooked up, right?” he said walking towards me from the office.

I shrugged.

“C'mon, man, all you printers are hooked up. I need a ride.”

“Printers?” I looked around at the machinery in the shop, which was clearly not for printing.

“Yeah, everyone knows you guys are hooked up,” he said, “Who you with anyway?”

I was starting to get what “hooked up” meant. This guy thought I was somehow associated with organized crime. I didn't know what to say, and he was shuffling his weight from foot to foot, making me nervous. What do you do when you find your self alone late at night with an agitated Goodfella? I decided that I didn't need company after all. “You can use the phone again to call a cab if you want,” I said. “The phone book is on the shelf next to the desk.”

He stopped shifting, and pulled his head back as if dodging a blow.

“Do I look like the kind of guy who rides in fuckin cabs to you?” Then he waved a dismissive hand at me. “Fuhgetabahdit,” he said. His nervous shifting resumed and worsened. His eyes kept shifting from me to the door and back. His presence was becoming overwhelming. He seemed to grow taller and heavier before my eyes, but I know it was only a trick of my mind. I was coming around to the fact that it was not a friendly stranger who walked into my shop a few minutes before, but a strange, and possibly dangerous individual. He was still flicking his eyes frantically between me and the door. I tried to decide what to do. I could just tell him to leave, it was my shop after all, but I had a feeling that that would only make things worse. I could call the police, but what would I say? That there was a man in my shop with shifty eyes who was asking me if I was hooked up? They would just tell me to ask him to leave, and I already covered that scenario. Could I have fought him if I had to? I didn't think so. Now that I had Tony Soprano on my mind, I didn't want to go there.

He must have seen me weighing my options. “Relax buddy, every thing's gonna be--” His eyes widened and looked over my shoulder at the door. I heard the door open, and saw a look of sheer terror on my new friends face. He bolted to the office, and I followed instinctively. After ten sprinting strides, we went through the office door, and quickly dropped ourselves beneath the bottom ledge of the picture window that looked out into the shop. We sat silent, listening.

“Junior?” a voice called. It was an old mans voice; throaty and raspy. “I seen you come in here Junior. Now cut this shit out.”

Junior gave me a pleading look, and whispered, “Tell him I'm not here.”

Again, I didn't know what to do. Having come to the conclusion that the man sitting beside me was at least a few steps short of a waltz, I didn't want to argue. On the other hand if I was afraid of him, and he was afraid of the old man...well, you do the math. The old man just said that he saw Junior come in here. If I walked out there and told him that he didn't see what he just saw, I might be the one running into some strange place looking for escape. Or worse, I might end up sleeping with the fishes, see. I lapsed into self pity. Why me? I thought. What did I do to deserve this?

“I can't tell him that, didn't you hear him say that he saw you come in here?”

“You're right,” he said, “Time for plan B.” He reached into his pinstripe suit coat and pulled out a semi-automatic pistol. “Cover me.” He crawled past me on knees and elbows toward the door.

I grabbed his shoulder and stopped him before he got to the doorway. “Cover you? I don't have a fucking gun.”

“Hello? Who's in there?” The old man's voice. He was walking towards the office.

Junior sprang up with his back against the wall next to the door. He held the gun like a cop; raised to his shoulder, pointed at the ceiling. The old man was within ten feet of the office by the sound of his shuffling feet on the concrete floor.

He spun into the doorway, leading with the pistol, and fired. I cringed, expecting the percussion of a gunshot, but when he pulled the trigger, the only sound was that of a tightly coiled spring letting loose. It was a freakin' toy gun!

“Ow!” said the old man. A yellow, plastic BB bounced into the office, followed by the old man himself. “Goddamit, Junior that really hurt.” He cuffed Junior upside the head, further messing up that greased hair. “No more Scorcese movies for you young man,” he said, waving a scolding finger. He snatched the toy gun from Junior's hand. “And is that my good suit? You got the knees all dirty.”

Junior's shoulders went slack, his head hung in shame. “Sorry, dad,” he said. The apology of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

I burst out laughing.

The old man looked at me for the first time and said, “I'm sorry if he scared you, he has...well...problems. He likes to...pretend.”

“You have problems,” Junior muttered to his father, head still hung in shame.

I laughed harder, my stomach muscles pained, my eyes watering. It was just too much. It was the joy of being alive, mixed with the obviously hilarious nature of the events that had just unfolded, mixed with the thought that I had been thinking not twenty minutes before how bored and lonely I was. The old man apologized again as he ushered his son out of the office, and I was still laughing.


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