Dealing for Mr. B (Short story, pulp style)

The boys were running late and that was dangerous. Mr. B expected them to be there at a certain time and they were running late because of Eddie. They’d gotten halfway across town before Eddie turned out his pockets, showing they hadn’t brought the money. Jim called him an airhead and a slacker, always too high to know what he was doing.

“Mr. Bilgewater expected us to be there at 6:30 p.m., SHARP!” Jim shouted. “Now it’s 6: 33, and it’ll take us at least 20 minutes to get there!”

“Relax, dude,” Eddie replied. “We’ll get there.”

“Of course we’ll get there you idiot!” he screamed. “Problem is he’s going to kill us!”

Eddie waved his hand at him, blubbered his lips. No big deal.

“We were going to be famous in this town,” Jim said. “Everybody at school was finally going to respect us. Now we’re going to be what we’ve always been, Eddie. Nuthin’!”

Eddie rolled a joint, lit it, inhaled.

“Put that shit away!” he scolded.

“Huh?”

“I said put it away, you slacker! We’re on a professional run, not some half-baked road cruise, you lousy—”

“Jeezus, alright!” Eddie cut him off, stabbing out the joint. “You need to take a chill pill, man.”

Sweat stung Jim’s forehead as they approached the toll bridge that led to the Bilgewater mansion. The dirt flung from beneath their tires as they drove down the gravel road, over the bridge, screeching to a hault in the smoothly paved drive. They sat in the cab.

“Give me the dough,” Jim snarled.

Eddie shrugged, handing him the envelope. They jumped out of the truck, sprinted up to the large front porch, and rung the doorbell. Eddie gazed up nonchalantly, spotting the security cam zooming in on them from one high corner. He waved.

“Knock that off!” Jim grunted, slapping his hand down.

Dude,” Eddie said. “That hurt!”

“Shut up.”

The oak double-doors opened to a grim faced butler with piercing blue eyes and a pale, wrinkled complexion. “You’re late, boys. Master Bilgewater is most disappointed,” he said.

Jim gulped and let out a high-pitch giggle.

“Sorry, dude,” Eddie shrugged. “It wasn’t our fault. We got caught in traffic. Right, Jim?”

Jim smiled wide.

“This way, please.”

The butler turned and walked into the entryway, then up the large, red carpeted staircase. They followed, glancing at one another with expressions of apprehension. Eddie reached into his pocket, pulled out a roach. Jim slapped his hand again. He put the roach back in his pocket.

The staircase led them to a long, wide hallway. Doors flanked each wall. If they had numbers on them, Jim would have thought the Bilgewater Mansion nothing more than an upscale motel. Eddie glanced at the doors and wondered what may lay behind them. They both stopped in their tracks when they heard a scream behind one of the doors. It came from behind. They turned, looked.

“No cause for concern, boys,” the butler said. “Merely one of Mr. B’s partners. They love to scream. It’s what we pay them for.”

He continued down the hall. Jim and Eddie started at each other dumb founded as the woman let out another scream. Was it a scream of agony, or pleasure? It was impossible to tell. Eddie began to tremble.

“I’m freaking out, man” Eddie whispered.

“Me too,” Jim whispered back.

They followed the butler up a second flight of stairs, then a third, until they reached yet another hallway, and at the end of it, a metal door with an EXIT sign above it. The butler held the door open for them, nodding once. Jim and Eddie walked out into the blinding sun on the roof of the Bilgewater mansion. The sun was beginning to set, shedding piercing rays from the horizon.

Then their eyes fixed on the swimming pool; a long, wide rectangle with half-naked women jumping in and out of it. Jim gasped. Both of the boys’ mouths hung slack.

“Whoaaaa,” stated Eddie.

A short man, balding, wearing a black and red robe with dragons on it stood to one side, each arm around a supermodel waist. The women were much taller than the man. They towered like giant goddesses. The man’s fingers delicately slipped in and out of their bikini bottoms, occasionally reaching around and pinching their behinds. The girls giggled. The man laughed.

“Master Bilgewater. Our company has arrived, Sir.”

He turned and eyed the boys through a pair of aviators.

“So they have. Thank you, Hanson,” he said. He turned to the girls. “Feel free to go for another dip girls. I’ve got some business to attend to.” Both of them leaned down, kissed his cheeks. Then they stripped, unclasping their tops and shimmying out of their bikini bottoms. They jumped into the pool with a dozen others, making a great splash! Bilgewater laughed, ambled over to a poolside table and sat beneath the shade of a large green umbrella. He motioned to the boys with his index finger. Come hither.

They came hither, sitting in the shaded chairs opposite of Bilgewater. The pool girls screamed and giggled. Jim’s eyes kept returning to the pool, feeling something stirring in his shorts. Hanson glided over with a silver tray. Another Guinness, Sir?

“Thanks, Hanson,” Bilgewater nodded.

“My pleasure, Sir,” the butler replied, setting the tall, sweating glass in front of him. Hanson disappeared as Bilgewater looked at his watch.

“I told you boys to be here, 6:30 sharp,” he said. “It’s 6:54 according to my watch. Not very professional.”

“We’re so sorry, Mr. Bilgewater, Sir,” Jim blurted. “We were halfway to your place when—”

Bilgewater held up a hand and lifted his glass with the other, gulping down the beer.

“No excuses,” he said, wiping froth from his lips. “If I say be here at a certain time, then you’d better be here. Normally I’d be very upset. But today, boys, be grateful I’m in a generous mood. Besides, what can I expect with a couple of lousy high school kids? Now. The money.”

Jim fumbled around his right jean pocket. At last, he pulled out the envelope, handing it to Bilgewater. He immediately began counting the bills.  After a few minutes, he dropped the envelope onto the table, looking up at the boys, grim-faced.

“A grand short, kids,” he said.

Jim and Eddie looked at one another, wide eyed. Eddie turned pale.

“B-b-but, we were s-s-sure it was all there!” Jim started.

Bilgewater leaned back in his chair and laughed.

“Just messing, boys,” he said, grinning ear to ear. “It’s all accounted for.”

Jim let out a sigh of relief.

“Oh, man! Thank Christ,” Eddie said, shaking his head. “I thought we were dead meat for sure.”

Bilgewater let out a cackle. “Hey,” he said. “You boys are alright. Wanna beer?”

“Sure, Mr. Bilgewater. We’d love one,” Jim smiled.

“Mind if I toke up instead?” Eddie said, bringing out the roach from his pocket.

Jim face-palmed.

Bilgewater smirked. “Whatever, kid.”

“Thanks Mr. B,” Eddie said, lighting the spliff.

“Hanson! Another pint of Guinness!”

Hanson was old, but swift on his feet. He nearly levitated over, silver tray over one arm, the tall delicious pint beading wet. Hanson set down the glass, bowed, floated away. Jim took a sip and grinned. He’d never had a Guinness before, but it was a hell of a lot better than the Budweiser and PBR his dad kept in the fridge.

“Aside from being late, you two did fine,” Bilgewater smiled. “Here’s your cut for selling the cocaine.”

From out of the pockets of his robe, he pulled out a thick roll of bills. He handed $200 to Jim, and $200 to Eddie. “Don’t spend it all in one place, boys,” he said. They grinned at each other. Two hundred a piece! What would they do with it all? As his spliff burned down to the nub, Eddie already had a pretty good idea what he’d buy with his cut.

“Now,” said Mr. B. “How are the prospective clients looking?”

“Pretty damn good,” Jim replied, feeling relaxed. “Ronny and Stew in my biology class are already asking for another gram. Half of the jocks on the football and wrestling teams love the stuff.”

“I’ll bet,” Bilgewater chortled. “Eddie? Prospects?”

“Yeah, Mr. B. Sold some to Mr. Kieps down at the Gentleman’s Lounge. Said he’d be interested in buying more than a couple grams.”

“Just what I wanted to hear. Now what I’m going to need for you boys is a list of names, numbers and addresses of clients. This list, along with everything else we ever do, is to be kept very secret and private. Got that?”

They nodded.

“I want you to bring this list along with you next Saturday, along with the money.” The Bilgewater gazed up and shouted, “Yo, Hanson! The bag!”

Hanson brought over a paper bag, with the “Rubin’s Café & Bakery” logo printed on its side and set it before Jim, who peeked in at its contents.

“This is a little more than last time,” Jim observed.

“That’s how we do business,” Bilgewater said. “You show me you can be responsible, I give you more product to sell, which means a bigger cut for you both.

“Now, boys,” he cautioned. “I want you back here next Saturday at exactly 6:30 p.m. Tardy slips will no longer be acceptable. I ain’t your god damned school principal. Got it?

“Yes, Sir,” Jim nodded.

“You’ve got it, Mr. B,” Eddie said.

“Finish up that pint, Jim, and I’ll see y’all this time next week. If you don’t mind, boys, I’ve got some other business to attend to.”

Bilgewater got up from his chair. He walked over to the poolside and stretched out his arms. The women surrounded him, wet bodies shimmering in the setting sun, breasts brushing his robe as they tittered and kissed his lips.

“Man,” Eddie shook his head. “If only we could be that lucky.”

“We will be,” Jim smiled. “As long as we keep dealing for Mr. B, we’re going to end up just as filthy rich, with just as many girls.”

“Really?” Eddie asked.

“Really,” Jim confirmed, drowning the rest of the beer.

Hanson led them back inside, past the strange hallways of doors emanating screams and sighs and then down, down, down the crimson flights of stairs, to the front door. Jim gripped the paper bag in his hand, delighted that Bilgewater hadn’t sentenced the both of them to the iron maiden after all.

He split the product down the middle with Eddie in the cab. Eddie would spend the week selling his half, and Jim the other. It was going to be another great week, building report with customers, thereby gaining cash in their pockets and fame among their peers. Jim started the rusty Chevy pickup and grinned.

***

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Tylor J. Mintz 2019.

 Using James Scott Bell’s random plot generator, I construct eda story with a swimming pool for a setting, a slacker for a minor character, drug dealing for a villainous act, and fame as the motive for that act. There is also to be a twist of “bridge is out”, which I’ve yet to write. This story is, therefore, a work in progress. 

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