Monday, October 31, 2011

Boardwalk Empire “The Age of Reason”

The main characters are confronted by religion, and the part it plays in their respective lives. Make no mistake, none of these people are beyond reproach, they are all corrupt. The characters struggle to make peace with themselves and their actions, and they all end up falling short of that goal.

Margaret prepares her son, Teddy, for his first confession, and is surprised during her meeting with the priest to find out that she, too, must make a confession. Of course, this concerns Nucky, as he does not want her revealing sensitive information (i.e. his criminal pastimes) to a priest. He needn’t worry, though. Margaret skirts the issue and confesses instead to having a crush on Nucky’s new driver, Owen.

After last week’s barn explosion, Agent Clarkson is hospitalized with third degree burns, and is sure to die soon. Deeply religious Nelson, who doesn’t realize that Agents Ziwicki and Clarkson were only at the barn to track him, prays to God to heal Clarkson. Mid-prayer, Nelson is interrupted by Clarkson, who says, “I know what you did”. Now, most people would chalk a comment like this up to the ramblings of a dying and deeply sedated man. But, most people do not have a pregnant actress stashed away in an apartment waiting to give birth. Nelson is sure that this is a message directly from God. Guilt-ridden, Nelson calls his wife, admitting that he’s a sinner and not worthy of her or his job as a Prohibition agent.

Jimmy, the only character who seems to be comfortable with his inner demons, has a busy schedule this episode. After making a deal with the Yiddish butcher, Horvitz, last week to traffic alcohol, Jimmy sets his plans in motion. What he does not realize, is that Nucky is also transporting alcohol, with the help of Jewish gangster Arnold Rothstein. When Jimmy spots one of Horvitz’s henchmen with Nucky on the boardwalk, he’s sure that Horvitz has betrayed him. They both find out, however, that Horvitz is the one who was betrayed. The whole affair plays out in Horvitz’s meat locker, where Jimmy gets the information he needs before making short work of the unfortunate turncoat. Jimmy, Horvitz, and the gang ambush Rothstein’s men and Nucky’s liquor mid-transport in the woods. Rothstein’s associates, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky, talk Jimmy into letting them deliver the first shipment, with the agreement that they will work together in the future to betray Nucky.

Throughout the episode, Lucy is giving birth in her secret apartment to Nelson’s child. While he is tied up elsewhere receiving supposed messages from God, Lucy endures labor alone, and eventually gives birth to his daughter. By this time, Nelson has realized that Agent Clarkson is indeed rambling on his deathbed and comes home to find Lucy with his new child. Unfortunately, his wife Rose concerned by his confession call, has come looking for him. She also discovers Lucy and the baby as a result. How’s that for divine intervention?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Last night after I watched “Boardwalk Empire,” on HBO I dreamed that my father’s body was up there on the screen with the other murdered bootleggers.
     He had vanished without a trace of the ordinary clutter and detail of a life, leaving not a shadow nor footprint. There were no letters or insurance papers. Not a watch or drivers’ license or birth certificate.  No marriage license or diploma. It was as if my mother had wiped away my father’s existence like a teacher with an eraser. Or that during the 29 years of his life on earth he was already a ghost.
     When I was old enough to ask my mother about his death, she told me he died of pneumonia. I was four or five years old but I knew it wasn’t the truth.
     So when I was twelve, I did what I always did when I wanted to know something. I went to my brother. I looked up to Kenny at his advanced age of sixteen. Tall and street-smart, he could drive a car and work after school and figure skate at the Elysium and yell at our mother. He had already answered my questions about sex, but the answer I sought now seemed more dangerous.
     “Why won’t Mom ever talk about our father?” I asked him. He was in the kitchen opening a can of chicken noodle soup.
     He shrugged, dumping it into a pot.
     “All she ever told me was he died of pneumonia,” I said.
     He stopped and looked at me. “Pneumonia? That’s a good one.”
     “What do you mean?”
     “He died of murder. He was a bootlegger in a turf war with the Mafia and they killed him. You can read about it in the newspapers downtown in the library. It’s all there, everything that happened.” He said he remembered the night, the screams, the police, the reporters, the commotion.
     “How do you look it up?”
      “By the date. They were killed on your second birthday.”
     “They? What do you mean, they?”
     “Uncle Addie was killed with him.”
     I didn’t know what to think about two murders on my second birthday. And who was this Uncle Addie? I had never heard of him.
     “Was Uncle Addie a bootlegger too?”
     “Naw. Poor guy, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
In the Cleveland Library I got a ten-year-old copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer . There was a picture on the front page of a handsome young man with full lips, dark hair and deep-set eyes, captioned Louis Rosen.
     “That’s my daddy! That’s him!” I tell the librarian, who barely nods, as if children find their lost father on the front page every day.
      Reading the article I learned the truth:
     My mother and Aunt Della were upstairs, sleeping, when they heard shots. Rushing to the window, they saw two bleeding bodies in the driveway, and dashed outside.
     Two or three neighbors came running and pulled the sisters in their bloody nightgowns off their husbands’ bodies as their howls reached the star-lit sky in a grotesque duet of high C’s.
     My father and uncle lay in the driveway, still bleeding; my father from a sawed off shotgun blast through his heart, uncle Addie from two 32-caliber bullets through his throat and head; both bodies brutally slashed, cut down in the moment of their blatant confidence in themselves—their blood thick and fast; their muscles tight and hard; their groins ready at a moment’s erotic memory or thought or flashing sight of some random feminine leg or nape of neck; their futures untested and their minds full of the grand dreams of youth. Now, shot and slashed to death they were frozen in their heyday, old age transcended, to be passed in years by their own children.
     They had fought bitterly, valiantly. Stabbed, slashed, bleeding, they got up again and again, fighting back, arm wrestling the killers for the knife, dodging, ducking, side-stepping in a macabre ballet of death. Finally, still alive, they had to be shot.
     Subdued at last, dead at last, the sudden silence was so powerful it seemed to paralyze the earth’s very rotation.
I do not like watching  “Boardwalk Empire.” It is too violent and ugly. But I watch it anyway, trying to find my father.

Adapted from the author’s memoir:
             “Lost And Found”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

THE SCARF, Chapter Two

Coming into the cafeteria after my 11 o’clock history class I see Fairfield standing in line. I turn my back and move over to the salad bar station with my head down. Stupidly, I hadn’t figured on running into him like this. Stupidly, I thought after leaving his class I’d be safe. But there he was behind me like an apparition or spook. Putting some lettuce on my plate, I tell myself to calm down. He can’t make me talk.           

I note out of the corner of my eye where Fairfield is eating, move to the other side of the room and sit down with my tray. There are three girls and two boys at the table.
I say hi. They say hi, and then continue their chatter. I feel uncomfortable at this table with these kids. I feel uncomfortable in this place of learning with or without Adam Fairchild. I don’t know why. Isn’t it what I’ve always wanted? To be in college? Even before I met Ben? Wasn’t I smart in high school? Didn’t I even get a scholarship to Ohio State that I was too broke to use? So what if I do like my classes here? So what? After living with Ben Gold, the four-year age difference between my classmates and myself feels like an abyss. Toying with my salad I feel sick and tired of always being the other—a misplaced college student, a misfit in Ben’s lavish house, an escapee from my mother’s booze—but have no idea what to do about it. Newly widowed, newly out there on my own after going from my mother’s bed (a double bed costs half as much as twins) to my husband’s, fenced in by poverty, then by marriage to a dangerous man, I am as new in the world as a paroled convict or a recanted nun, trying to find my place.

The next day as I leave my ten o’clock psychology class I see Fairchild standing in the hall, smiling at me.
“Miss Brady,” he says, “you left some papers in my office.”

I stare at him. I left no papers in his office.
 “Room 321. Twenty minutes,” he says, and vanishes down the corridor as I stand there, confused.

I know he’s trying to get me into his office for another interrogation. I also know I want to go. What is wrong with me? Later, I understood  I was lonely. Later, I understood  I wanted a connection with someone. Later, I understood I only thought I had resisted that face and magnetic field.
So telling myself that I can handle whatever Fairfield dishes out, I proceeded to room 321 after ducking into the Ladies to check my hair and lipstick.

He opens the door to my small knock.
"Thank you for coming,” he says.

I step inside. “Mr. Fairfield, I didn’t leave any papers here.”
"How else could I get you to come?” he says, smiling.           

I want to wipe that infuriating, exciting, smile off his face. What does he want of me?
“What do you want of me?”

"Please sit down,” he says.
I stand. “I’ve told you everything I know.”

He settles down behind his desk. He clears his throat. “I confirmed what you told me last week.”
 Curious, I sit down. “How?” I ask, remembering my lies.

“I have my ways,” he says.
“Well, well. Good for you.”

“I don’t blame you for being upset,” he says. “It’s my fault. I handed the interview badly. Please accept my apology.”
“No,” I say. I’m beginning to enjoy myself.

“Look, Miss Brady—Kate--I was just doing my job—nothing personal.”
On my guard, I get up and head for the door.

He stands up. “Coffee? Please? Danny’s Deli at 5? I’ll wait for you.”
I run for my life.

But I show up at Danny’s. Of course I do.
Fairfield rises from his table and holds a chair out for me. The room smells of pickles and pastrami. Coffee.

And then somehow, mysteriously, I feel as if  I belong somewhere. Even if it is a dinky deli with a man I’m afraid to trust.
He sits down. “Thanks for coming. I didn’t know if you would.”

“Either did I, “ I say.
“Coffee? A sandwich?”

“Just coffee.”
He signals the waitress as I wait, absurdly content.

He sips his coffee and looks at me. “So can I lure you back to my class?”
“You’ve already lured me here.’

“Yes. Absolutely. But I’d really like to see your lovely self in the last row of my classroom.”
“So you haven’t given up.”

“Given up?’
“Information. Trying to get information.”

“You’re wrong. This is not for information. You checked out. I told you.” He flashes that irresistible smile. “My dear Kate Brady, can’t you tell when you’re being flirted with?”
I look at him. “Yes, usually, but not by you,” I say, thinking, bad cop in his office badgering and insulting; good cop in the deli flattering and flirting.

“Why not me?”
“I think you know why not you.”

He folds his arms. “Okay, you just won’t believe me. And that’s the way it is.” He signals the waitress for the check and pushes his chair back.
I don’t know whether his anger is real, or another strategy to get me to talk. But If  I’m getting set up, I don’t care. After all my caution, suddenly, I don’t care. I look around at the smattering of people sitting around the tables—grown-ups talking quietly, regular people I could understand. I reach across the table and touch his hand.

He takes it and leans forward. “So are you free for dinner Saturday?”
“I thought professors can’t date students.”

“I’m not a professor, I’m an instructor sent here for public relation purposes by Hoover. Dean Conroy agreed to hire me on the condition that enough students sign up. So many kids enrolled he’s considering getting a permanent criminal justice professor for next year. But it won’t be me.”
He stops and clears his throat. “So what about dinner?”

I sip my coffee. Stalling. Thinking. Well, why not? So what if he is trying to get information. Adam Fairfield underestimates me if he thinks his looks and charm and apologies will get me to talk. The truth is I am twenty two years old and tired of  being a recluse. The few dates I’d had so far were disasters. I had to fight off the swimming coach who licked my ear like a friendly puppy; a student from my history class who bored me to death; the boy I met in the cafeteria who took me out for jazz and beer and seemed so young, too young. With Adam Fairfield I feel something like gravity pulling  me in. I felt it in the classroom. I felt it in his office even when he made me mad. I feel it now sitting across the table from me in Danny’s Deli.
“So Kate? Dinner?”

“Okay,” I say.
Seven thirty?”

But don’t I know better than to allow an F.B.I. agent into my life? What’s wrong with me? I feel as confused and fragmented as one of my mother’s messed-up jig saw puzzles.
I sigh and give him my address.

I dress for the date feeling again that my life is in pieces, that Ben Gold, invisible and vicious, is like some buzzing fly that you keep swatting and missing, swatting and missing, that keeps circling back and back and back. I don’t believe in reincarnation—and anyway, even if I did, I’d expect Ben to come back as a vulture— not as a big buzzing fly that’s beginning to drive me crazy with nutty fantasies that it’s him.
I look in my closet among the beaded chiffons and close fitting, low-cut gowns that Ben bought me, searching for something quieter to wear. Fairfield needs to be reminded that I am not some gangster’s moll.

I decide on the dress I had bought for Ben’s funeral, dressing it up a bit with a pretty scarf and high heals. No jewelry except for my emerald earrings—the rest of the jewels Ben had given me are in the Safety Deposit box at the bank, along with the million dollars I discovered when the Probate officer had opened Ben’s box and discretely left.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THE SCARF, Chapter One

September 6, 1935

It is the first day of my criminal justice class at Cleveland College. Waiting with the other students for the professor to arrive, I try to look innocent. I have taken the precaution of sitting in the back row between a boy with acne and a chubby girl with a pretty face and too much makeup. I wish I were like them. I wish acne and weight were all I have to worry about. I wish I could shake the plump girl until her teeth rattle. I want her green life.
           Someone has carved initials in the wood of my desk. Does “H. R.”  belong to the wood carver? Or to the wood-carver’s spouse? But that’s
silly-- eighteen-year-olds aren’t married. As I was. To my regret. And surely to my former husband’s, who is now safely buried with the other dead Jews in Mayfield Cemetery.
           Now the door opens and the dean arrives with a man so handsome I am aware of a collective intake of breath from the girls in the room. Who is he? I knew Dean Conway from his boring speech to the freshman assembled last week in the auditorium, but would have remembered if I had ever seen the other one. You don’t forget a face like that.
           “Good morning, students,” Dean Conway says, with his pasted-on smile. “I have a swell surprise for you. The professor in your class will be a real-life F.B.I. agent Adam Fairfield,” he says, gesturing to him grandly. “Before joining the Bureau, he taught law and criminal justice at Ohio State University. How about those credentials? How lucky can you get?” Someone starts to clap, the dean joins in and then the rest of the class.
Fairfield is standing a bit to the side, his hands in his pockets, looking like Tyrone Power or maybe Douglas Fairbanks without the mustache.
I slide my eyes over to the door. Too far away.
“I leave you now in the capable hands of Special Agent Fairfield,” Dean Conway says, pausing and lifting his chin as if posing for a photograph.
“Thank you, Dean. I only hope I don’t disappoint after that introduction,” he says, grinning as if he knows better.
He takes a sheet of paper from the desk. “Please stand as I read your name so I can get a look at you.” As he reads the names, each student stands, saying, “Here.” Waiting for him to call my name, I start to sweat. When he does, I rise, manage a mumbled “Here,” and slide back down in my chair. His eyes linger on me. Or am I imagining it? No. I am not imagining it. He knows who I am. I thought I could disappear among hundreds of college students. I thought by using my maiden I could skip the part when I became Mrs. Ben Gold. I was wrong. I should have packed up and gone as far from Cleveland as I could get—California. Oregon. Anywhere but here. Well, it isn’t too late--this is my first day in Special Agent Fairfield’s class. It’s a big country.
I see that he’s dressed for the part of charming professor in one of those tweed jackets with leather on the elbows, a blue shirt and neatly knotted brown tie. It’s hard to tell his age—30’s? 40’s? Even though his hair is cropped short, I can see the grey starting.
After the roll call, he looks at me again. I make myself  return his stare as if that will make him drop his eyes. It does not. I drop mine.
He looks at his watch. “There’s still time for me to tell you a bit about the F.B.I,” he says, sitting down on the edge of the desk. “Before J. Edgar Hoover became Director it was just the Bureau of Investigation. But Hoover got it federalized so we could cross state lines to chase the bad guys. How many of you have heard of  Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde and Machine Gun Kelly?”
A bunch of hands shoot up.
“I can tell you that we know Nelson’s in San Francisco, a source has Machine Gun Kelly in Chicago, and we’ve spotted Bonnie and Clyde in Des Moines. Believe me, their days of robbing banks and killing people are numbered.” There is a sudden gravity about him with that grim look you see on agents in the movies. 
The boy with acne raises his hand.
“Mr. Flemming,” Fairfield says, nodding.
“So how does a person get in?” the boy asks.
“You want to be an F.B.I. agent?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, son, you’ve got some years to go—you have to be twenty five. And before that, you have to have gone to law school. You have to be a lawyer. And come from a good family.”
Good family. That lets me out.
The boy sits down. 
A skinny girl in a navy blue dress raises her hand.
“Miss Sawyer,” Fairfield says. But he is looking at me again.
I feel the familiar blush of redheads and look down at my white schoolgirls’ blouse to check on buttons.
“Does the F.B.I. take women?” She asks.
“Not any I know of now,” he says. “Although there were a few. Emma Jentzer back some twenty years or so. Also, Alaska Davidson and Lenore Houston in the old bureau.” He stops, as if searching his memory. “And oh, yes, Jessie Duckson.” He lets go of his charming smile. “Maybe by the time you’re twenty-five Hoover will let women in. So go to law school, just in case. And if you can’t be an agent, you’ll have a back up. You can be a lawyer.”
“I don’t know any women lawyers, do you?” There was a nice edge to her voice. I liked her.
“Well, no. A great injustice. But perhaps you’ll change all that and be
the first woman agent in modern times.” The girl doesn’t look convinced. Another hand is raised.
“Mr. Linsky,” Fairfield says.
I am impressed with his memory of names after only one hearing. More to worry about.
“So how come Mr. Hoover can’t catch Dillinger?”
“Well, Mr. Linsky, we have it on good authority he’s in Dayton, Ohio. As we speak. He moves around a lot but we’ll get him. Sooner or later we’ll get him.” He narrows his eyes. You can imagine him wearing sun glasses, a fedora, and that serious expression, moving silent as a cat, stalking Dillinger, ready; you can imagine him shooting. No questions asked. Just the Springfield Armory Model M 14 machine gun with 20 round USGI—like the gun that laid under my husband’s side of the bed. Or the Smith & Wesson 22, with a clip that holds 12 rounds. Small enough to fit in a pocket. Small enough to fit in a woman’s hand. Like I used. I feel a small thrill.
           The boy sits down.
Fairfield looks at his watch again, opens a notebook, and recites the course agenda: Intro to Criminal Justice; Criminal Law; Criminal Investigation; Intro to Forensic Chemistry; Human Relations. I dutifully write the list in my notebook with a shaking hand, now convinced that he knows who I am
           “Class, please read chapters one through four in your ‘Intro to Forensic Chemistry’ by the next class,” he’s saying. My classmates begin noisily scraping chairs, murmuring, moving toward the door. A couple of girls almost trip as they turn for one more look at Fairfield.
           I close my notebook and gather up my books.
I am almost at the door when he calls from the front of the room, “Miss Brady.”
Pretending not to hear him, I put my head down and keep on walking.
“Miss Brady!” he calls. “My office, please. Room 321.”
Three or four of the girls look at me. I see envy in their eyes.
Caught, I find my way to room 321, four or five doorways down the hall. I hear him hurrying behind me. He doesn’t speak as he unlocks the door, and I cannot. He politely holds it open for me--I enter and pause in the middle of the room. I think he can hear my heart pound. I stare at my hands. No blood. In fact my fingernails are painted an innocent shade of pink which I had applied the night before as I listened to Amos & Andy on the radio.
           His office is bare, as if he is just passing through. A desk, a couple of chairs, a few books—no plants or pictures on the wall. I see that there are no photographs of a blond wife and adorable children. Could he be single?            I lower myself carefully into the chair he is offering. Through the window I see luminous clouds drifting by; I want to be out there with them. I want to be anywhere but here with this stranger who is staring at me with knowing eyes.
He sits down at his desk and gazes at me. He’s actually better looking up close than from the back row, if that’s possible.
I clear my throat. “What did you want to see me about?”
“Let’s just say I want to welcome Ben Gold’s widow into my classroom.” He smiles at me. “It isn’t often that I have the pleasure of teaching the former wife of a notorious gangster.”
           “How did you know?” I ask. I can’t help myself.
           “I saw you at your husband’s funeral.”
           “You were at Ben’s funeral?”
           “Hoover always sends agents to gangsters’ funerals.”
           I wince, thinking how the Mafia  had sent its members to mourn Ben Gold. Where police mounted on chestnut horses had to hold back the crowds. Where peering down from their handsome horses they knew which mobsters supplemented their meager Great Depression income for looking the other way. The City of Cleveland is broke, paying its employees in play money called script, making the police more than willing to be corrupted.
The gleaming black coffin was covered in gardenias and roses emitting a sickening perfume as if to cover Ben Gold’s rot in life and death. But people were respectful, clad in proper black suits and fedoras; the few women in dark-colored dresses. It could have been a funeral attended by bankers putting a colleague to rest.
           “Given your background,” Fairfield is saying, “I can understand your interest in a criminal justice class.”
I’m getting mad. What does this complacent man know of my background? How I had lost my job at Shapiro’s Bakery. And then lost my scholarship to Ohio State for the simple and terrible reason that there was no money for room and board and books. How after a while—a long while—of looking for a job that didn’t exist I just stopped looking. This arrogant know-nothing professor-man has no idea what it is like to be eighteen years old with no future and then have the handsome, magnetic and rich Ben Gold come into your life. An older man of 26 or so. Who took me to fancy restaurants, to the movies, for Sunday drives, his hand on my knee in the car, his proximity emitting heat.
Then after work one day, still in her maroon uniform, still smelling of permanent wave solution, still sober, my mother said, “You probably should get married.” She said it smoking her Camel, picking a bit of tobacco off her tongue. She said it sadly, as if I was a hopeless case with no other chance of a future. Which, of course, I had already thought of because the truth was that it was true. So on my next date with Ben Gold I wore my halter top cut low and tight skirt that showed off my backside—and then pushed him away when he got on top of me on the couch of his fancy living room. I figured by holding out I’d get him to marry me. My strategy worked—we were married by the Justice of the Peace at City Hall, attended by his bodyguard and accountent. Later, my plotting made me ashamed, but back then I thought I was so smart. Maybe I got what I deserved. Maybe I outsmarted myself. Maybe clever girls who use their sex to get what they want wind up getting punished. Or punishing themselves. As I did. So I blamed my mother for putting into words what I already figured out. I blamed her because it was easier to blame her than myself for screwing up.
“ Mr. Fairfield, I am also taking English, History, and Psychology. I’m going to be a writer.”
“A writer! Well, well. Ben Gold must have provided you with plenty of material.”
I get up. “I resent being subjected to this.”
           “You’re a person of interest to us.”
           I sat down. “What does that mean?”
           “Look. We have a file on Ben Gold thick as a book. Robberies and murders going back to 1920 when he was fifteen--sixteen.”
           “I didn’t know him then.”
           “No, but you knew him when you married him.”
           “He told me he was in the insurance business.”
           “Mrs. Gold. Come on.”
           “My name is Kate Brady.”
           “Okay, Kate Brady. You really expect me to believe you lived with him for two years and thought he was in the insurance business? Please.”
           “Well, I did,” I lie. “Anyway what do you want of the man? He’s dead. And what do you want of me?”
           “Information. Names of his associates. Conspiracies. Mob conflicts. Any bit of information you have, no matter how small, can be significant.”
           “I have nothing to tell you. I married Ben Gold when I was 18 years old,” I say slowly, as if he is dense or hard of hearing. “I married him because I lost my job. I married him because I couldn’t afford money for room and board and lost my scholarship to Ohio State. I married him to get away from my mother and her drinking problem. Do I have to pay for it the rest of my life?”
My eyes fill with real tears, I fish in my bag for a handkerchief and blow my nose. I stand up and gather my books and handbag, feeling as marked as if Ben Gold had written his name on my forehead.
“All I want is to do is forget I ever laid eyes on Ben Gold.” I look at him. “Or you.”
He rises from his chair and stands, shifting his weight, looking uncomfortable. “I’m sorry you’re upset, but if anything does occur to you about Gold or his associates—again, no matter how small--we’d appreciate your cooperation.”
           He opens the door for me. “See you tomorrow in class.”
           “No you won’t.”
“But I apologized.”
“That’s not an apology and even if it were, I wouldn’t accept it,” I say. I leave the office slamming the door behind me. Hard. I am more than relieved. I am pleased.

Driving home, I calm down, deciding to simply drop Fairfield’s class. Besides, I tell myself, even if Fairfield has me under surveillance, I really have nothing to hide. I have no contacts with anyone from my life with Ben, in spite of calls from his hit man, Sam Bernstein. His last call was just a week ago telling me he’s out of work, complaining that none of the Jewish outfits trust him because of his long association with their rival Ben Gold and that the Mafia won’t have him because he isn’t Italian. He said he wants to be my driver and bodyguard.
“Sam, I’d love to hire you,” I said, carefully, knowing full well of his lethal temper. “But I’ve learned to drive and since Ben’s gone, I really have no need for a bodyguard. Do you need anything? Money?”
“I can always use a few bucks. Especially since I aint been workin’.”
“I’ll send you a cashiers check for a thousand dollars.”
“Thanks, Kate. You always was a good dame.”
“But Sam, it’s better if you don’t call me. Okay?”
“Yeah, okay, I get it. You’re done with the life, you’re gonna be a college girl now. Your mother told me,” he says huskily. “It’s just that I miss Ben.”
“I miss him too,” I lied.
“Okay, so I won’t call you no more. Anyway, thanks for the dough.”
“Oh, Sam, you’re so welcome! And I appreciate your understanding. Take care of yourself. I’ll call if I get any ideas for you, or if something turns up.”
“Well, thanks. Like I said, you always was a good dame.”