A bottle of Jack tilts slowly, a trembling hand causing the amber liquid to pour out in uneven spurts.
The sound of the liquor burping, as the last bit of alcohol pours out of the bottle and onto the top of a head stone, echoes in the night sky as Tony Gamble reads the words etched into the light gray stone in front of him. He watches as the last few drops trickle out of the bottle before throwing it against the tombstone with enough force to have it shatter upon impact.
The name Arthur Higgins may not have meant anything to anyone except the child or widow mentioned being left behind, but even that was more than what Tony thought he deserved.
“You took everything from me, you son of a bitch.”
It didn’t matter that Arthur’s widow had remarried, and only visited his grave once in the last four years.
“Pretty soon though, I’ll be the only one left that even remembers who the hell you were.”
He didn’t care that Arthur’s son, Darryl, had received a scholarship to play baseball for some small University in South Texas and called the man that raised him his “father” even before he married his mother.
“You’re never going to stop being a part of me.”
It was a special kind of hell to know that the person that flipped your life upside down and caused you to walk away from the only thing you had left in life that you loved, was losing everything that loved him and you still couldn’t let it go. It was what he had wished for so long, even going as far as to pray for it at times, and yet that feeling that had moved into that room in his mind thirteen years ago still refused to open the door. It has lived there rent free for so long, why would it want to leave now.
“I wish I would have never heard your damn name.”
Tony drops down to his knees and presses his forehead against the cold granite finish, pounding his fist against it as the tears start to trickle down his cheeks.
Tony looks up from his cell phone, lifts his hand and replies, “That’s me.”
“If you follo…” The officer’s voice fades off when she looks up from the clipboard in her hand, and sees that damn grin staring back at her. Clearly not one of the many PRIME fans that had attended last night’s Revival, but still a trooper that quickly caught herself fixated on the scar that pulls Tony’s face into a devilish grin. She pushes aside her initial surprise and continues. “If you follow me, Sargeant Dickson has some paperwork for you to sign.”
Tony stands up and makes his way over to the door the female officer is holding open, glancing at the name on her badge as he does so. He notices the awkward way she attempts to avoid looking at his face, which only causes the grin to widen.
“Took me a while to get used to it, too.” He whispers with a slight chuckle. “What does the D stand for Officer Simmons?”
“I see,” Tony laughs. “Guess your parents had a different career path laid out for you.”
“Excuse me,” she turns to face Gamble with anger in her eyes. “Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Whoa,” Tony lifts his hands and backs away from the office slightly. “No reason to get your panties in a bunch. I doubt many parents picture their little princess growing up to join law enforcement, but even more so with a name like that. Diamond… Mercedes… Candy… let’s not play stupid here, those are stripper names.”
She wants to call him an asshole – or a prick – but there is a standard that needs to be upheld while wearing the uniform.
“Or hookers, but with that body you probably wouldn’t make much at either.” Tony continues through the door and turns his back to her, which infuriates her even more. “Still, I would think you need to stay in better shape for this job. I’m sure it’s hard when you’re required to eat so many donuts, but you should at least try to have somewhat of a beach bod living in…”
She grabs him by the arm and turns him back to face her. “Are you always such a prick?”
“No,” Tony pulls his arm away from her grip. “Most of the time I’m just an asshole.”
“Well I don’t know who the hell you think you are,” she gets closer to Tony. “But I don’t appreciate the disrespect. Believe me when I tell you that I will put your ass on the ground if you do it again.”
“She’s not joking either,” Tony turns toward the voice coming from behind him. “I’ve seen her put down guys twice your size.”
“Sargeant Dickson,” Gamble’s grin widens. “Long time, no see.”
“I got it from here, Simmons.” She nods and walks away, giving one last sneer in the Permascar Superstar’s direction as she does. “Follow me, Mr. Gamble.”
Tony takes another glance at officer Simmons as she walks away, then jabs his thumb in her direction as he starts to follow Dickson. “You tapping that, girl is thicc.”
“Do you ever quit?” Dickson motions for Gamble to have a seat, shaking his head as he speaks. “I thought you guys just did your acts on camera.”
“Acts?” Tony laughs. “We don’t do gimmicks in PRIME. Most of the time, what you see is what you get. So about my shirts.”
“I have a few forms for you to sign.” Dickson grabs a few papers and puts them in front of Gamble. “My son appreciated the autograph.”
“Always happy to meet a fan.”
“You wrote that damn G of yours on his palm,” the Sargeant’s lips curl into a snarl ass his fingers curl into fists.
“Did he wave hi at you like I asked?”
“Awesome,” Gamble replies cheerfully without lifting his head up. He signs the last paper and slams the pen down on top of them. “He seems like a really great kid.”
“He is. Said he’s never washing his hands again, so my wife hates you now.”
“The two of you have so much in common,” Tony smirks. “Must be fate.”
“Well, she hates you for a completely different reason,” his face turns a slightly darker shade of red as his eyes narrow. “All they know is that The Grin is one of my friends, and he came by to catch up on old times.”
“We should do it again next time I’m in town, you can grill us some steaks.”
“How about you never come around my family again.”
“How about you don’t give me a reason to,” Tony leans forward. “Because next time I’ll be giving them my condolences.”
“You’re going to threaten…”
Tony lifts his hand when his phone chimed, palm in Dickson’s face as he pulls it out. His eyes widen as a genuine smile sneaks out from behind the wicked grin that normally adorns his face. “Sweet. Hey, it’s been fun, but I need to reply to this. Shweta just confirmed my invite to dinner in New Orleans.”
“You son of a bitch, I don’t appreciate…”
“Make sure my shirts get delivered to my hotel before we check out,” He waves nonchalantly as he taps on his phone screen. “Thanks again!”
Not sure who you are, and not really sure if I care.
Truth is, I will look at a few of the matches you’ve been in, but that really isn’t going to give me anything to really work with.
So yeah, see you soon.