A tickering of cell phone keys breaks the silence of a drab office. Inside, the room is bleak, the shades were drawn to a close with soft light barely chiseling Timo Bolamba’s features from the darkness. His eyes seemed to shimmer with the flashes, and in his younger days, he might very well have been playing some stupid game like Angry Birds. Now, however, after calling Lindsay Troy’s real estate contact he was scrolling through a local listing of penthouse condominiums. Each seems to be a bit more resplendent than the last.
Things had been alright since the incident that had happened outside of his gym. A meeting with the local doctors proved fruitful, after all. Years of worry and doubt were now replaced with hope. Dr. Hannerman said that, all things considered, it would be a miracle; but for a man who was used to fighting seven and a half foot tall modern Rus Vikings that took ALL their “vitamins”, a miracle was always just a spinning heel kick away.
“This couch sucks. There, I said it!” the Samoan harrumphed as he tried once again to get comfortable. He stood up and walked across the room, navigating by the light of his screen to make sure his shins did not receive any surprises. After he flicked on the light switch and shoveled away his phone, Timo turned to a pair of old cardboard men holding wine coolers that stood in the corner of his office like solemn guards.
“I see, well, despite the fact that you’re inanimate objects, you make a valid point. We have to get out of this office and find a place to live; sooner rather than later.”
Timo knew Bartles and Jaymes weren’t going to speak to him. This wasn’t some weird blurring of realities where it isn’t made clear whether or not the mannequin exists as a sentient being or is just a mannequin and for some reason everyone but Joe Fontaine is in on the joke. The truth is, sometimes you just have to talk to someone.
Only the Strong by Flaw played, muffled, from his pocket and The Samoan Silencer opened his cell phone with a quick swipe. “PRIME, Number One by Definition. This is Senior Officiant Timo Bolamba speaking. Uh-huh. Yes, I did. Okay, I can come out there any time this morning. Yes. Oh, hah, They make us say that first part. Yeah! I’ll be out shortly, thanks!”
Timo grabbed a keyring that had a Pontiac Trans Am Firebird logo on it from a keyring that hung near his office door and took a quick look around before he flicked the light off again and stepped outside. Several bolts and locks tumbled, and an alarm activated in the office as he walked down the hall. No doubt a deterrent for any more pudding based shenanigans.
Shortly later at the Turnberry Towers, Timo found himself meeting with real estate agent Chad Chatterton, lovingly named by his parents with perfect teeth and an eight-hundred plus credit score. There is no way to explain to a man who rolls up in a starlight black BMW 3 series sedan why a Samoan fell in love with Smokey and the Bandit at eight years old. Still the smirk that gradually escalated his chin strap and soul patch at the sight of Timo and his Trans Am did not go unnoticed.
“Talofa, Uso!” Chad bellowed behind a false baritone that was clearly compensation.
“Yeah, don’t do that.” Timo responded.
Chad retreated. “Ok, brother, you got it! Besides, we are here to see a condo right? Why don’t we head on up?” he gestured and the pair walked through a door held open by a doorman. “Unit 4307? Great view up there. You can see the whole Vegas skyline.”
Timo followed the salesman, hardly believing this was the guy Troy sent him to. Maybe she was still mad about his active dislike of Elon Musk. Or Taco Bell. Or well…it could be a lot of things, really.
The realtor and Timo shared an elevator ride that was probably just barely more tolerable than watching Cancer Jiles spew his timorous yoljk like some sort of misguided bukkake show. It was certainly quieter than Jiles.
“Ah! Here we are!” The elevator dinged open and they walked down the sumptuous hallway. He opened the door and gestured for Timo to step inside, which the Samoan obliged. Inside, the condo was bright, spacious and by Tagaloa, Chad had not undersold the view. This was absolutely palatial.
“Wow,” Timo allowed to escape his careful reserve.
“Eh? I TOLD you brother! Chad knows his spaces, and they might come bigger, but they don’t come better.” He spun in a circle holding his arms out to gesture to the room that Timo would have available. “Color matched tile, off white paint, beautiful honey pine cabinets, top of the line appliances, and a full balcony. Nine picture windows, completely sheltered from the surrounding tenants. Hey Timo,”
The Samoan was still taken aback by everything around him. As wealthy as he had become, he had never really considered owning anything so luxurious. “Huh?” he responded in a mottled tone.
“You can walk around buck-ass-naked in this place all day every day in broad daylight and swing that BIG DICK ENERGY like Pete Davidson.” Chad raised his eyebrows.
“What the fuck is a Pete Davidson?” asked Timo.
“Nobody knows, brother. But you know who Kim is don’t you?”
“Well, yeah. I have eyes.”
“BIG. DICK. ENERGY. BRO.”
Timo walked around slowly, trying to take in his surroundings. He stopped after opening a door and looking in the proposed office space overlooking The Strat. “Yeezy wouldn’t stop calling me and leaving sad voicemails after they split,” he finally responded.
“That’s …wait, you know Kanye?” Chad asked.
“Yeah,” replied Timo, matter of factly. “We used to do two-a-days before he dropped Graduation. Said it helped him focus. How much is this place anyhow?”
Chad pulled open an envelope and looked over some numbers quickly. He snapped the information packet shut quickly again and smiled a covetous grin. “They have it listed at one point one-five, but I think we can move them down to one.”
“Correct. Is that…a problem?” Chad implored, hoping his time wasn’t being wasted on a tip from Lindsay Troy.
The Samoan shook his head. “No, not really, I just don’t understand why. It’s nice, but it’s just an apartment. I have an entire gym, a house, and I am building another two gyms here in Vegas and it just seems like such a waste.”
Timo sat down on the staged white leather couch. Something about it felt off, forced. He thought about his recent struggles and what he was going through internally, and wondered if this was a decision that he was making without really thinking it through.
“I need to call someone, Chad. Can I step out on the balcony a bit?”
“Of course,” Chad motioned to the door.
Timo stepped through the glass portal and as the latch clicked behind him he felt the dry desert wind whip up and caress his face. He turned around and already Chad was on the phone, probably with the next client looking at this condo. Timo pulled out his phone and dialed a Pennsylvania area code tenuously.
“What do you want?”
“Well, OK, hello to you too, Ria.” Timo replied.
“Meh, you’re fine. Did you lock yourself out of your office again or something? I told you already just throw a brick through the window and tell Boss Lady that one of the other idiots on the roster did it.”
“No, it’s…wait…you never told me to do that.”
“Uh, shit. I gotta call someone quick.”
Timo held his thumb and middle finger up over his closed eyes. “Ria, I need your help with something. Can you drop the act for a few minutes?”
“Act? Not sure what you mean, but whatever. Go on.”
“I am looking at a condo and I know earlier when I was talking about it on Jabber you took umbrage with the price. Tell me why.”
“I don’t understand why anyone needs anything that expensive just to live. I mean…i know you have money and I don’t really care where it came from, but what the fuck Timo? Is that really you?”
He thought for a bit before replying. “No, it isn’t”
“Okay, so why then?”
“I guess I just feel like I should do something with my good fortune and why not have something nice for myself?” The Samoan Silencer responded. “I guess that I can…”
“Okay, sure, but should you? Like think of what message that sends people on the roster who bust their ass. To people working, or worse, not working. You know what I think?”
“Tell me,” he said quietly.
“I think you want this to validate something inside, the same reason you’ve been talking in jabber about your jet and building new gyms with top line equipment.” Ria paused and continued when she didn’t hear a response. “I think you’re bored and want to remain relevant to the roster.”
It stung, but it was dead-on the nose.
“Ok, so maybe there is some truth to that,” he admitted. “I still need somewhere to live. I cannot keep sleeping on the couch in my office.”
“I think if you get creative with your wealth, you will come up with something,” she replied. “Later. I’m gonna go break stuff in a back alley. I have a quota to fill.”
Timo laughed and he swore for a second before Ria hung up that she laughed a little too. But probably not. Because it just didn’t fit her idiom. Or something. Who really knows with kids these days anyhow?
As The Samoan opened the balcony door and stepped back inside, Chad pocketed his phone quickly and turned to greet Timo. “Timo, what do you think? Is this what you’ve been looking for?”
Timo waves a hand in the air. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Then, maybe another place? I have a few that are in this price range, but if you know Ye then you should be able to step up a little.”
“Nah Chad, I think I am going to go in a different direction.”
Chad looks taken aback. “Bro, is it the cologne? I picked it up this weekend because my second old lady loves Pit Bull and recommended his fragrance.”
Timo raised an eyebrow. It must be genetic for Samoans. “No, it isn’t your cologne. It’s just all of this. It isn’t me, and let me tell you something “bro”, nobody likes M3’s except cock’s and shallow women. Maybe that’s good enough for you, but I’m more like that Trans Am out there.”
He paused and imitated Chad’s earlier spin around with his arms out. “I’m old, I creak and I’m sure not as fast as I once was. But I am a mother-fucking classic, and I gotta do things my way.”
“Well, Ok then,” Chad answered. “A thanks, but I will pass would have sufficed.”
Timo laughed a little. “It comes with the job, man.”
As Timo descended the elevator on his own he thought about what Ria told him. He thought a lot about what his father, Rufan, would have told him to do with his fortune. He thought about his uncle, Lou. His mother. His Grandfather. His sons.
Coming up he had nothing, his father worked everyday to get ahead. He traveled, he wrestled hurt. He wrestled sick. He barely paid the bills for some months. The absolute glut of wealth his son had come to possess would probably make him lulu lona ulu i le faanoanoa. (Shake his head in sadness)
The Samoan Silencer exited the building and as his classic Pontiac was pulled around by the building valet, he thought about the words he spoke to Chad, and how his one treasured possession from before the money and fame direly needed a refresh. Maybe there was something to that notion. Maybe if this was true of the Trans Am, there were buildings near his gym that could also use some work. Most of the area was a little run down, and the people surely had seen better days. Part of the charm was what drew Timo into the neighborhood in the first place.
As he pulled away from Turnberry Towers, Timo thought about not just where he had been, but where he was going to go and who he wanted to be. As his Trans Am screamed into the distance, the aureate logo embossed on the hood seemed to glisten and catch fire under the lights of the Strip.
(Special Thanks and credit to Ria for her contribution to the dialog)