The Who # 7

by Regis Boff

It was probably San Fransico and near morning.
Jim says, “He wants to see you, better your case.
I put on a starched white shirt, jeans, shoes, and a leather sports coat then pulled my briefcase out from under the bed. I headed out the door toward the elevator and the drummer’s suite.
I palmed a few hundred-dollar bills to please any local off duty police who might be still chasing girls around the hotel.
A half a dozen teenage girls were disappointedly using the wall to stay upright near his door.
Like chickens alert to flying corn, they cocked their heads when I got out of the elevator then disregarded me because I was an adult.
One of Jim’s guys was standing at the suite door being muscular and grave.
“What’s he doing?” I asked. “He’s been calling up hookers for the last couple of hours with Jim, Tiny, and Dougal,” he said.
Inside the suite living room, Tiny was standing guard at Moon’s bedroom door. All around him were coats and clothes, shoes and bras, in neat little piles.
Tiny was our four hundred pound ex-cop. According to his legend, he was shot and partially disabled in the line of some duty. He worked for Jim.
He carried a gun, keeping on his ankle, where he could not reach it in an emergency without a chiropractor. He carried a bag of coke rolled in his sock on his other leg.
Tiny had shoulder length oily black hair, an uncut testicle sparse beard and Buddy Holly glasses. He looked like a fat black bear beaten methodically with a filthy wet long-handled high school custodial mop.
Tiny bathed only he admitted once when scheduled for surgery.
He was naked except for his shoes, socks and gun; I crossed the room to him.
“You’re a picture,” I said to him and knocked on Moon’s door.

Even at his middle age, Jim’s eyebrows still seemed to be auditioning for a resting place on his face.  English men, in my experience, never conclude an equitable truce with their facial hair.They don’t trim or cut it from birth to death. Jim’s were in such a muddle that he had to arch his neck to see out from under them.
“ No clothes,” he says to me. “Orders.” Then closed the door.
I did not argue much that tour. I was new. I left my clothes with Tiny and walked in naked except for my case.
More than twenty naked women smell a certain way.
Moon had the tour Scrabble board in the center of his “king” bed. There were eight women on the bed surrounding the game. They all looked like cats watching a toilet flush. This did not seem like an unfamiliar position for them.
“You better be winning,” I tested him.
“We are finally here, are we, took our time about it, didn’t we?” he says to me, as his head bobs up from his private forest of breasts.
“ I had to get more cash,” I lied, knowing that this answer always dazzled him.  It was years before Moon understood that I was only giving him his money. I was more a magical cash fountain than man.
Even hardened whores fell easily under Keith Moon’s atmospheres, they all seemed to be having a great time, not one even looked up at me from the board.
“I may need to buy a vowel,” he loudly confused our two most important American letter games, “Scrabble”, and “Wheel of Fortune.”
“Sit,” he says to me. “My team has them on the run, but the field of play is very condensed.”
I glanced down and saw that five words have found their way into the game so far, but none of the wooden squares forming them were touching each other.
“You guys ever play this game before?” I said.
A stunning black girl with bruise blood-colored hair and shoulder-length bone earrings heaved out in a molasses-thick voice, (it reminded me of a lonely cow’s “moo”), “I got one.”
She carefully laid down “hat,” forever astonishing four of the other girls who I judged to be on the team pitted against Keith.
Moon sullenly pushed himself up to the puffed pink silk headboard. He motioned me to sit beside him. I don’t sit next to naked men often.
He pulls my head to his. “Can I hold it?” He carries my eyes to him with a lecherous gleam, and I hand him my case. He flattens it to his stomach and balls and says brightly, “Does it have lots of money tonight?”
“You bet,” I said.
He tossed my case onto the Scrabble board. One smallish girl, in her surprise, spits out three letters she was hiding in her mouth onto the bed. The rest of them lunged. They began rubbing themselves over my bag like it was some jungle musk puppet.
Moon puts his mouth on my ear again. “I have my eye on that little brunette down there; you’re good with numbers, what do you think of my chances?
My job expected at least two strengths; the first was being trusted with money and the second was that my reality was not easily overwhelmed by the unreality of anybody else’s.
I answered. “She has not taken her eyes off you, even with her mouth on my case”.
Jim and Dougal know their call girls, the girls looked like movie stars.
“Ladies, the case please,” he ordered as he put his arms out like the prongs on a forklift.
” I believe I will need quite a bit tonight,” he said, now back to me.
I open the case.
He stared at the money for a long time. It is difficult to figure if this was a pause to calculate or simply a new drug inopportunely kicking in.
“Twenty-thousand might cover it,” he said. He brightened considerably with the relief that the mathematical stress was over.
As I counted out the money, I could hear the breath whistling through the open mouths of his girls. I handed the cash to Keith, and he signed for it. He tossed it to Dougal. Dougal, busy with three girls, missed most of it.
I told Jim to could drop off anything not spent to me on the plane. I went back to bed. Reminding myself to order up disinfectant for my bag from housekeeping.