Tony and Luis were sitting in the basement of the house with $20,000 worth of Colombian cocaine ready to be packaged when Tony’s cell phone rang; it was his friend Kevin on the other line. Tony answered, “Hey, what’s up buddy, what’s goin’ on?”
“Hey, nothin’ much,” he replied, “we have to get to Twin Oaks in like an hour, have you left yet?”
“Nah, I just got caught up in helping Luis. I should be there in about 20 minutes though. I’ll leave right now.”
Kevin warned him, “All right, but you better hurry, we can’t be late again.”
“Yea don’t worry about it, you know me… I’m always on time,” he said reassuringly and hung up. Tony looked at Luis, who was measuring out one-gram amounts of white powder and placing them in little baggies, “hey listen buddy, I gotta go pick Kevin up for work,” he said to him. “We’ll get back at the usual time so be ready when we get back so we are not late.”
“All right, no problem. I’ll just be waiting outside in the truck when you come by,” Luis replied.
Tony walked out the door toward his bright red Porsche 911 Carrera 4, a gift from his father for high school graduation. He got in the car and threw his gym bag with a change of clothes in the back seat and started up the engine. Deciding to show off to some girls across the street, he revved the engine and spun the rear tires of the car so as to make a lot of tire smoke and left two fat skid marks on the pavement. The three girls didn’t appear to be that impressed at all with Tony’s showing off and glared at him with disapproval. He disregarded the girls’ admonishment and sped off to pick up Kevin.
Tony arrived at Kevin’s around 5:30 and stopped in the house for a bit. Kevin’s mother was sitting in the living room watching a re-run of Martha Stewart and munching on a sandwich, “Hi Tony,” she said, not even looking away from the TV. “Kevin is down in his room and will be up shortly, go and make your self something to eat in the kitchen while you wait, okay.”
Tony smiled, “Ok, thanks.” and went to have a bowl of cereal.
Kevin came upstairs into the kitchen a few minutes later. “Hey what’s up buddy?”
Tony slurped up the milk in his now empty bowl of Cheerios, “nothing much dude. Y’all set to go?
“Yea, let’s move.” And they both left the house and hopped into Tony’s Porsche.
After a short five-minute drive down route 1 they pulled up to the large 5 story brick Twin Oaks Nursing Home just in time to punch in for 6:00 pm.
“Oh lord, I wonder what they are gonna have me do today?” Tony asked as he stretched and yawned.
“Well it’ll probably be better then scrubbing pots down in the kitchen for 4 hours,” Kevin replied in a bewildered tone as he waited for the elevator to come up.
Tony’s boss, an old nun named Sr. Gertrude, came down the long dark hallway to meet him and give him his assignment for the evening.
“Anthony, I’m going to have you go upstairs to the fifth floor tonight and keep Mrs. O’Connor company. She is a very nice woman; I think you will enjoy each other’s company. You can find her in room number… 505 I think, her name will be on the door in case I am mistaken,” the little nun said softly.
“Okay sister, I’m sure we will have fun. I’ll see you when I’m done.”
“Very good Mr. Verdarelli. Hurry now; don’t keep Mrs. O’Connor waiting.”
“Yes ma’am,” Tony said as he got into the elevator with Kevin.
“So what’d you doin’ tonight?” Kevin asked him when the doors shut.
“Ah, just seeing some old bag on the fifth floor… should be a great time.”
“Sounds like fun; I’ll meet you by the car when I’m out all right,” Kevin said as the elevator stopped at the kitchen.
“All right kid, have fun down here, peace.” And the elevator doors closed. Tony thought about the last person he had to keep company on the fifth floor. It was this blind Russian lady who could not stop talking about how she thought she could see angles and talk to her dead cat named Fluffy. Four hours of that was just too much for one person to handle so he just left periodically to talk to Kristy, a young and attractive nurse down the hall.
The elevator doors opened on the fifth floor and Kristy, who worked there every night, noticed a fat lady in a wheelchair plus an equally large nurse blindly moved in to cram the minuscule elevator as Tony barely made it out with his life. Kristy and Tony briefly exchanged smiles and then he walked down the hallway to room 505.
Tony knocked on Mrs. O’Connor’s door, “Hello, Mrs. O’Connor?”
“Yes, who is it?” a woman with a strong Irish accent answered.
“Good evening ma’am, my name is Tony. Sr. Gertrude sent me to come see you tonight, may I come in?”
“Oh why yes, of course; come right in,” she replied.
Mrs. O’Connor was in her late 80’s and had come over to the United States from Northern Ireland only a few years ago. She came to live with her son who lived in Boston in order to escape the fighting going on but she got sick soon after moving over here and had to be put in a home. Despite being lonely most of the time she still seemed to be in good spirits. She was happy with her Lifetime channel and her tea. Tony looked around her small room and studied some old pictures of Ireland and her family crest that hung by the only lit table lamp in the room. Her TV was muted and she was listening to some old music that sounded like it was from the 1930’s. Time went faster as they started a conversation about how life was in Ireland and about how things were in the past and soon it was time to leave. On his was back to the elevator Tony talked to Kristy a little more, still trying to convince her to dump her boyfriend and go out with him. After getting shot down again he brushed it off and smiled while walking away toward the elevator’s open doors. He then went to the locker room to go and change into some different clothes and met up with Kevin.
After work they drove to their house in Providence to meet up with Luis. They had VIP passes for Club Xtacy that night and there was a special performance being put on by “dj PHAT Joe” out of London so they didn’t want to be late. Luis was waiting in his shiny black Escalade. The light from the Porsche’s headlights twinkled on the Caddy’s polished rims as Tony pulled up next to Luis.
“Hey are we gonna take two cars or just yours?”
“We’ll take my ride,” Luis responded, “go ahead and pull around back, the garage is open.”
Tony parked and got in Luis’ truck with Kevin. It was 10:45 and the show began at 11 so they sped down the highway into downtown Providence. Luckily the majority of the traffic had dissipated by the time they arrived in the heart of the city. Indeed most of the people who normally would have clogged the streets in their cars were coagulating in front of Xtacy. At least 1,000 people were crowded in the street. The police had the whole block closed off and were riding on horseback to keep the crowd in order. Luis showed his VIP pass to one of the police officers and was allowed to drive through the crowd to the front of the massive club. The trademark red neon “X” stretched vertically 4 stories to the top of the building, casting a red glow on Tony and his crew as they exited their vehicle parked in front of the club.
Velvet ropes parted as VIP passes were flashed and the trio became immersed in the ocean of pounding bass and beautiful people. Multi colored lasers lit up the inside of the expansive club as they penetrated the smoke that filled the main room, and rhythmically pulsated to the beat of the overpowering music of the sound system. They walked up to the main bar and paused to watch two girls, almost nude, dancing suggestively with each other on the elevated mini stage in the center of the circular bar. Tony ordered three shots of Bacardi Limón and gave one to Luis and one to Kevin.
“I want to make a toast to the success of our business over these past four years gentlemen,” Tony said as he raised his shot glass.
“Cheers,” they all responded and took down their shots.
After having a drink they went to their reserved section toward the back of the club. It took several minutes to plow through the sweaty mass of people already inside the club and on the dance floor. Two bouncers stood at the entrance to the roped off section and checked their VIP passes in order let them through. Once inside the private lounge they closed the purple curtains to the room and looked for any cameras or false mirrors. When the coast was clear they sat down on leather easy chairs around a table with a chilled bottle of champagne sitting in an ice bucket.
Kevin helped himself to some bubbly while Tony and Luis went for the nose candy.
“All right kid, you know what time it is,” Tony said while rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
“Yea, hold on.” Luis took out a slim silver case and placed it on the table. He opened it up to reveal a small amount of white powder wrapped in plastic wrap. He took out the little package to reveal a small spoon and a razor blade resting on top of a mirror.
“Nice dude, nice. How much this time?”
“Just fifty I think.”
“Sounds about right,” Tony said, handing Luis a rolled up fifty dollar bill.
Luis cut up a nice line and snorted it up with vigor. “Here ya go,” Luis said, wiping his nose clean. Tony did two lines and passed it back to Luis. He wiped off his nose and took down a half glass of champagne as Luis snorted the last bit off the mirror and put everything back into the case.
“Some good shit right there kid,” Tony said, leaning back in his chair with his hands clasped together behind his head. Almost instantly the drug kicked in and a cocaine induced rush of self-confidence whisked Tony and Luis to the dance floor to find some girls. For a at least and hour they were grinding with any female with in sight, periodically returning to their VIP booth to do another line or to get a blow job from the girls they had brought back with them. Kevin was enjoying his champagne quietly during all of this but still managed to get a lap dance (a complimentary service of the club for VIP members) from some German girl named Nadine; he managed to see more of Nadine later that night after she got off her shift at the club.
Club Xtacy was not a strip club, but it sure seemed like it tonight. The guest DJ had girls getting up on the stage in front of his booth; making out and taking one another’s clothes off for free drinks and CD’s. Tony managed to push through the crowd of horny men gathered around the stage and got one of the girls to come back to the VIP with him by flashing his pass to one of them and motioned his hand in a come here fashion. Surprisingly Tony didn’t see Kevin when he returned to the booth and figured he must be off on the dance floor somewhere. He closed the curtains to the entrance once again and took out some more coke that Luis had given to him, placing the baggy on the table. Then he moved toward the girl, whose name was Stacy, and slowly pulled off her shirt and told her to lie down on the couch in the back of the room. Almost obediently she did as he told and sprawled out as instructed. Tony walked over to her and placed a small amount of snow-white powder on her naked torso. Meticulously he formed a single line of coke that stopped just inches from her navel and snorted the line and then proceeded to kiss her the rest of the way down. Luis and Kevin conveniently burst into the room just a few moments before things between Tony and Stacy got too intimate.
“Hey dude you should have seen this kid,” Luis said with his arm around the totally drunk Kevin. “He was dancing with these two girls on by the bar and then all of a sudden this big black dude comes up and taps him on the shoulder and says, ‘those girls are with me cracka, get the fuck off!’ and then Kevin just ran like a little girl, all scared and shit. Dude it was the funniest thing!
“So anyways the black guy is trying to find us and the club is clearing out so we better bounce, okay.”
“Shit son, can’t you see I was in the middle of something!” Tony replied in a frustrated but somewhat understanding tone.
“Oh yea, I bet you were about to get in the middle of something, if you know what I mean,” Kevin said jokingly.
“Yea, well… I know, god damn it, you guys have the best timing you know that,” Tony shot back. “All right lets get out of here.” He gave Stacy a kiss on the cheek, “Thanks babe, call me sometime all right.” And he left with his friends.
Upon leaving Kevin caught up with Nadine, who was waiting for him at the coat check. She walked him to the back of the club where her car was parked outside. “Get in,” she said, “we’ll go to my place… oh and this one won’t cost you anything either.” The drunken Kevin obediently sat in the passenger seat and they drove a few blocks to the Renatta apartment high-rise. They went up to her room on the twelfth floor and wasted no time getting to their nightly activities. After an hour of getting down they decided that they needed some food. Kevin called Tony on the cell and arranged to meet them at Denny’s where he was already waiting with Luis.
The cold night air was a refreshing feeling as Tony and Luis left the intense heat of the club. Sweat from their forehead dried up once the frigid air hit their faces as they walked down the streets. There were taxis parked all down the street waiting for the other clubbers who needed a ride after parting too much. Car horns were blaring because a car stalled in the middle of the busy street. Hundreds of people were pouring out of the clubs and bars, all inebriated from a night of fun. Police on horse back were riding in pairs down the main street in front of the brightly lit theater, and the hypnotizing sound of the horse’s hooves clip clopping down the cobble stone streets of Providence. All the sounds around of the city were stifled and seemed muted to Tony and Luis. Their ears had been punished for hours by the thumping and unrelenting bass of the sound system in the club.
“Hey we’re going to Denny’s, right?” Tony asked.
“Is that you wanna go?”
“Yea, definitely. It’s the one in Warwick, like fifteen minuets from here; but it will take at least an hour to get through this traffic.”
Luis retrieved his SUV from the valet and made his way out of the city. An hour had passed and Tony and Luis had finally pulled in to Denny’s parking lot. Kevin called just as they left the vehicle and arranged to meet them with Nadine at the diner.
Tony burst through the double doors, “Cassie!” he yelled. Cassie was a waitress there who had known him for some time. They went to high school together and even dated for some time before they broke up. She cheated on Tony with another guy from school and ended up getting pregnant as a result. After that they lost touch shortly after Cassie dropped out of school. Several years later they met again through a friend of his who had re-introduced them while eating late at Denny’s. Tony felt bad for her after he had heard what her life had become after she dropped out and decided to be friends with her once again.
“Hey guys… back from another night clubbin’?” she asked from across the counter.
“Oh hell ya babe, just had a great time.”
“Good to hear,” she said as she grabbed three menus from under the counter, “follow me boys, I’ll give you the best seats in the house tonight.”
Twenty minutes later Kevin walked in with a tall brunette, presumably Nadine and found Tony’s booth. Kevin was still pretty drunk but at least could walk straight at this point. Nadine had a strong German accent and told them all about how she was only 18 years old and had just come to America as an exchange student. She was studying culinary arts at JWU in Providence and was also a dancer. She did not work at the club because she needed extra money but just because she loved to dance (all of which the guys didn’t buy for one second).
After they finished their late night munchies Tony sat and chatted with Cassie while Kevin sat in the SUV with Luis, telling him about his time with Nadine. Nadine went home and left her number with Kevin; but he threw it in the trash on the way out the door. Tony finished up with Cassie and they also exchanged numbers so they could keep in touch.
Luis drove them back to their house in Providence once Tony joined them in the SUV and they all slept until late in the afternoon on Saturday. When they pulled them selves out of bed they had to do some major cleaning before they left for the weekend. Luis was going up to visit his girlfriend in Boston and Kevin had work on Sunday night so he was going home. Tony was Kevin’s ride home because his car was in the shop and wouldn’t be ready until Monday so they left for North Attleboro once the cleaning was finished.
It was dark by the time they reached Kevin’s house and both of them walked up the dark driveway toward the quaint house. Suddenly, a man yelling, and glass breaking shattered the silence and Kevin’s father stormed out of the house, slamming the door and got into his truck and sped off. Kevin and Tony were both tired and didn’t really want to deal with what ever was happening but never the less they ran toward the house, stunned and intrigued to find out what had just happened. The two opened the door and looked around the dimly lit kitchen. Kevin’s mother was face down on the kitchen table crying, a half empty bottle of vodka at her side. By her feet was a broken highball glass with vodka and ice spilt on the floor. Kevin noticed a broken beer bottle and several empty beer cans on the counter amidst a mess of dirty dishes and more broken glass. His mother, still crying put her head up to reveal a large cut on her cheek. There were dried tears and smudged mascara all mingled together underneath her eyes. A bruise was starting to form where she had been cut with a broken bottle.
The emaciated, red headed woman tried to speak, but only burst into uncontrollable tears and walked over to her bewildered son. She put her head on his shoulder as they embraced one another.
. . .
to be continued