Private: Nicholas Pfefferman
“Look pal, you look like you could use some lead in your pencil…”
Mr. Pfefferman was inside of one of the many gas stations inhabiting the out regions of the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. If you haven’t had the pleasure this is the part of Vegas with the sad casinos, the local corner stores…
.. Mostly where the locals live. Others may have had accommodations closer to the strip, in the MGM Grand, or have had enough money to buy one of the many palatial mansions dotting the hillsides and area spreading towards the desert.
Nick Pfefferman? Not exactly.
Now, as he was cradling a jug of milk, seven Clif bars of a variety of flavors,
(SPOILER: ALL CLIF BARS TASTE LIKE SHITTY CARDBOARD)
Two Frozen Pizzas, a can of beef-loaf knock-off Spam, a packet of sour gummy worms, and several bottles of potable water. With a brand name that has spelled water… warter. To say that the local convenience store wasn’t convenient might be something of an understatement.
Behind the stiff anti-bullet glass, the greasy, both in looks and actual sweat to pork fat extruding from his pores content, with a combover so laughable, everyone was in on the joke. Leered through sunglasses. A necessary precaution against the pre-world war 2 era lighting of the building.
“Just got these in, seee..”
His s’s slithered from his lips and across open space, coiling around the would-be marks.
“All-natural, none of those chemicals of the other pick-me-ups. Straight herbal blend, specials herbs, secret blends from the Tunguska region of India I’ve been told.
My sources go directly to the region where they use phosphorescent lights to harvest these herbs, can only be done on the 15th of a month under a new moon. Light scares ‘em away… See what I’m sayin’?”
Mr. Pfefferman was bagging his own groceries, which he hadn’t paid for as of yet.
“I.. Well… What?”
The man behind the glass waved a logoed baggy, the colors and the logo kaleidoscoping into the type of thing you might see in a movie about Hunter S. Thompson, which we can’t reference because we can’t afford the copyright.
“A little pep in your step when you get home to the missus…”
Mr. Pfeffman blinks repeatedly hoisting his groceries, in a paper bag that doesn’t bear the logo of any particular grocery store, but the large blue three letters certainly represent the punitive removal of many such bags from such an establishment.
“Lookee here, I’ll give ‘em to you for seventeen dollars. Like I said, ALL NATUEREALL.”
His pencil-thin mustache twitches idly, allusions to rats perhaps a little heavyhanded. Mr. Pfefferman smiles broadly and nods and backs out the door, still not having paid for his groceries.
He backs promptly into two gentlemen in black suits, shaved heads, and clearly stamped from the same mold.
“So is he still slinging those gas station boner pills at twice the price?”
Pfefferman looks up and down at the two men, their black SUV, small MGM grand logo on the door.
He sighs. But his desperate and confused smile turns into one of vague concern and a distant look.
“Yeah, something like that, anyways gentlemen, I have some papers to…”
A friendly, firm, yet friendly, yet still firm hand is placed on Pfefferman’s shoulder.
“Or, I suppose …”
Pfefferman looks at both men, pondering carefully, rubbing his chin with his free arm. Doing a quick once over of his chances of bailing on the whole scene, he concedes before trying to raise a hand.
“…I could go with you gentlemen, and maybe get a comp card for the Buffet, as I will be missing an exciting meal of frozen pizza and watching what passes for television at the motel…”
He points at a Motel with the “o” unlit, and the “l” flickering with the desperation of the deck lights on the titanic.
“… down yonder.”
A broad smile spreads across the man whose hand is on Pfefferman’s shoulder, which he gives a generous clap.
Pfefferman tries to straighten up in his bathrobe and board shorts, tank-top completing a look that says “Dinty Moore Dad”.
“So… about that Buffet Ticket?”
Mr. Pfefferman gets a hearty chuckle out of one of the big guys as he, sans groceries, is placed in the same gentle and firm manner into the back seat. Greeted with sumptuous leather, and other finery
The drive was uneventful.
There was no drinking, but for the third time, Nicholas Pfefferman arrived at the MGM Grand Casino, though this was a better ride than the bus, in wrestling gear, to the MGM Grand. Pulling around the back, Pfefferman thought about letting the men, he was aware of the service entrance…
.. But in the instance of this trip, he was gifted with getting to use the employee’s entrance, resplendent in its blandness, beautiful beige on beige on beige, hallways with carpets, lighting that exceeded the OSHA Minimums, and walking in fuzzy bathroom slipper flip flops came the Mathematical Wrestling, Student of the Sweetest Science, Nicholas Pfefferman, looking every ounce the part of some Bockwellian Nightmare dragged out of cryo chamber and given his aunt’s left over garments.
“Right this way.”
The two men, escorting Pfefferman were as much a precaution based on previous encounters.
Call it a sign of respect.
MGM Grand Head of Security
The door placard read, ignoring the name of the nobody in charge of the strong-ass-men of the Casino.
Walking in, a man in his middle forties, hair buzzed short, balding with more salt than pepper at this point, face smoother than a roulette ball, wearing a black polo shirt, with the MGM Grand logo on the breast, smaller in stature than Pfefferman, he rose and walked around his desk, short of adornment, the desk of a man who is almost entirely all business.
His two strongmen take their accustomed places next to the door on either side.
“Call me, Mr. Black. You must be Nicholas Pfefferman.”
Pfefferman looked around the rest of the office, a few perfunctory photos on the walls, less a statement and more to accommodate having an office one never actually spends time in. A steel file cabinet, also black, silver lock shining in the upper right-hand corner.
Selection of creamers.
Like the kind of Diner you really don’t want to spend time in.
Pfefferman lets the question hang in the air, shrugging and unused to the intrigues of the Vegas, just answers.
“That’d be Mister dot Pfefferman. Mister Black.”
Pfefferman moved towards one of the two arbitrary chairs opposite Black’s Desk.
The order is followed by the cracking of knuckles from the two large men, used to a certain dance and routine in these situations. Black waves them off. Probably not necessary is the unspoken phrase passed between the three men.
“Do you know why you are here
Pfefferman turns to face the man, about to answer.
“You have done a thing, which can not be repeated, haven’t you?”
Pfefferman grins impishly.
“If this is about my feet on the ropes, sir, I can assure you that I had no such idea that it was…”
“This isn’t about wrestling you educated Boob.”
Mr. Black’s fake calm has evaporated.
“What has HAPPENED. Mister. DOT. PFEFFERMAN.”
He turns, leveling an accusing finger and marching towards him.
“Is that you have placed hands on one of my security personnel. PRIME is here at the request of the MGM Grand. We don’t need PRIME. PRIME. NEEDS. Us.
Even worse, you placed hands on my security personnel in a public space on camera, and now is being used as lead footage to promote you on local television as some kind of…
Pfefferman attempts to tut-tut a man who has never been tut-tutted in his life. Mr. Black ignores this. Pfefferman, having spent most of a shitty month in a hotel waiting for a paycheck that hasn’t come, preparing for another match he isn’t projected to win. Training in what was maybe a YMCA around the time of the War of 1812, can’t help but prod the other man.
Mr. Black looks ready to turn the several shades of purple that from Nicholas Pfefferman might elicit being shown a Crossface Chickenwing, instead, the back of his head must’ve been the equivalent of green light because the two looming security guards had started moving towards Pfefferman with all the subtlety of a house cat attempting to stealth a ball.
Mr. Black quickly, however, regains his composure raising a hand, his two golems stop living again, inanimate clay acting only on his orders.
“Boys, that won’t be necessary, and word from on high is that Mr. Pfefferman here is going to just get a warning.”
Pfefferman looked ready to dive out the office window into the hallway, having done his best big trouble in little china, holding a flip flop and the bathrobe belt as weapon akimbo in his grasp.
“So you listen, and you listen good, you soon to be unemployed…”
“Well, I am actually still a coll…”
“YOU SOON to be unemployed, homeless, nineteen seventies knock-off. If you ever put your hands on my security personnel again. You aren’t going to be given a ride and a warning. We’re gonna break those hands, and you can Stephen Hawking to your remedial Math students for the rest of your life.
You understand me, bucko?”
Pfefferman has already dropped the bathrobe belt, planning to reinsert it later into his bathrobe, still brandishing the flip-flip… For security. Pfefferman would nod sheepishly if he did anything sheepishly.
Instead. He dropped the flop on the ground, kicked back over its inevitable butter side down flip, and slid it on his foot, walking up to Mr. Black, he patted him amiably on the shoulder.
“I was told that I’d get a comp to the buffet?”
Mr. Black attempted to turn the same color of his name in rage…
“I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…”