Monday, October 02, 2006

shouts opus infection

"And then, when Troy Ludlove got into his Mercedes, everyone just laughed and laughed," said Mickey Henkle.

Mickey was holding court again. Who could put up with his preposterous stories? It made Sammy Johnson wonder if maybe Mickey was hiding something, something dark and juicy, something that smelled like old gym socks, something that smelled like a story.

Sammy was a journalist.

Mickey had grown up on the questionable side of the railroad, his lushious lifestyle the product of questionable dealings with criminal elements.

Or that's what people said.

Sammy sipped his Pol Roger and wondered whether Mickey knew he was having an on again off again affair with Mickey's fiance, Julie Smalls. Julie had been an off-broadway actress when Mickey met her. She had been frail and innocent.

By the time Sammy met her she had turned hard. Like concrete, like steel. In bed he called her his Iron maiden, she liked that. She saw in him a way to escape. Mickey was always on the edge of trouble, that's what she said, although always on the gleaming edge of respectability as far as the equally rich and paranoid neighbors were concerned.

But Julie knew better. She knew Mickey from the old days. From the big pipe days. She'd confessed as much to Sammy.

Mickey ranted on and on about Troy Ludlove, from across the room, Sammy felt his cold fishy stare.

"And then, we put his feet in cement and sent him to the bottom of the Hudson!" he said. In a tone signifying hilarity, pretense, not-to-be-taken-seriously talk.

But his eyes were all on Sammy.

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