The Enabler, p.1Dante D. Ross / Thrillers & Crime
By Dante D. Ross
Copyright © 2013 by Dante D. Ross
“If you say you’re gonna do it, then just do it.”
My name is Cyrus Tatum.
“So many people go through life telling themselves, ‘Once I get this much money I’ll go back to school. When I lose weight I am gonna sign up for dance lessons.’ And you know what?”
People call me lots of things.
“They never do it. They get the money and stay stupid.”
“They lose the weight and never take a step on the dance floor.”
“Then they spend the rest of their days thinking of what a loser they are.”
“Don’t be that guy.”
“Are you gonna be that guy, Jim? Are you?” I’m talking to one of my many clients. His name is Jim Phillips. He’s short on cash and has bills to pay. Mainly the one he owes me for the past two months. Jim is at the bank with a loaded 45 Magnum. He has always fantasized about robbing a bank but never had the balls to do it. I gave him the balls. Now all he needs is that extra push.
“No, I’m not going to be that guy” Jim tells me. I can hear him breathing hard into his phone. I hear the ping of the tellers window calling for the next customer. “I have to go” Jim says as he gets off the line. Good luck to him.
I see that I have eight new messages in my voice mail. The holidays are a busy time of the year for me. People need motivation. I see that one of the messages is from my former fiancé. I have consulted her far too many times. There is nothing more sobering than being paid to convince your ex to have sex with her unattractive, yet horribly rich, husband. I’ll call her later. I’m hungry so I head out to lunch.
“Hey, Cyrus” Ira says to me. She works here at Tony’s, a Chinese restaurant. Yeah. I know. Ira is attractive for 45. It's rare. She calls me a man-child. I’m 32. She says I never grew up. I say I never got old. She is one of the few people that knows what I do for a living and still decides to talk to me. You'd be surprised at how many people will stop talking to you once they know that you have talked Senators into retiring with three words. I’d say she sticks around for my looks but I know it's for the stories I tell her.
“As always” I tell her. She doesn’t hand me a menu. I always get the same thing.
“Sure” she says as she looks around the empty restaurant. “I’ll be right back with your rice and wine,” she tells me, and heads to the back. I get out my phone and call my ex. Her name’s Madeline. I call her Maggie. She answers on the first ring.
“Oh, God, I don’t know how much longer I can do this!” she whispers into her phone. I can tell she’s covering the phone with her hand. Her husband must be nearby.
“Yes, you can” I remind her. “You have to.”
“Why?” she asks.
“Because you signed on for that,” I say. “You left me for that mutant, remember? Now tough it out. It can't be that bad.”
“Yes, it can!” she hissed at me. “You’ve seen the tape!”
Yes, I did. About six months ago she sent me a tape of her and who we refer to as Baby Bigfoot having sex. It was the opposite of great sex. It was like watching a nature special. As if a tiger had captured an antelope but instead of killing it began fucking the poor thing. Even with the night vision camera I could see the disgust in her eyes. I couldn’t feel that bad about it. She made her bed and now it is up to her to lie in it and be fucked.
“Just get through tonight and tomorrow I can meet with you around 1pm,” I tell her. She sighs heavily. “Look. Don’t get pissy. Be happy that I can squeeze you in at all. You know how busy I am right now. So just lay there and let him have his way with you. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Maggie doesn’t say anything. She just sighs again, not as heavy this time, and hangs up. Ira returns with my rice.
“Here you go,” she says as she sits across from me and lights up a long, black cigarette. I don’t mind. I’ll be smoking as soon as I’m done with my meal. Tony’s is one of the few places left on the planet where you can smoke indoors. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons for the C rating that sits in the window. Either that or the parade of roaches that occupy the back exit.
“You look upset.”
“Not upset,” I tell her. “Annoyed.”
“Maggie?” she asks.
“Of course” I say. “I don’t get why she is the only person that can still bug me.”
“She did leave you for, what was it?” she asks.
“Baby Bigfoot” I remind her.
“Right” she says. She pauses and takes a deep drag from her cigarette. It smells like chocolate and mint. She continues while I eat. It's nice for once to sit quietly while someone else talks. “It sounds like my relationship with my second husband” she says. “Even though he beat me and it took me four years before I left him whenever he called me I would sit there and listen even though deep inside I knew that I shouldn’t be talking to him. It made no sense but I did it. I still miss him sometimes but all I have to do is look at the pictures from the last time he hit me and it reminds me that the world is a better place without him.”
Ira doesn’t know it but I had her ex husband taken care of. A client had always wanted to kill a man and I, well, pointed him in the right direction. Sometimes I call what I do God’s work. I work faster than prayer and there’s a one-time fee, not a weekly tithe.
“That guy was an asshole,” I say as I wipe my mouth. “Maggie is not. She’s just…stupid.” I’ll meet up with her tomorrow and see what I can do. I’ll always help her. Well, as long as her checks never bounce. I need to get to my next client soon so I finish my meal, thank Ira, and head back to the office to see Mrs. Stewart.
“I can't make you do it,” I tell Mrs. Stewart. She’s a 39-year-old vice president of a modeling agency. She is not close to attractive and uses the anger from her youth as a reason to make or break the careers of beautiful young women. She wanted to get surgery to become what she hated most. Pretty.
“I know,” she says. Why am I wasting my time with this woman? No amount of surgery was going to help her. It’s strange but she reminds me of Courtney Love. A while back she had surgery and for a moment actually looked attractive. But her inside came out. Her attitude somehow reversed the surgery she had gotten and she now looks the way she once did. Knowing Mrs. Stewart she would last a month before asking for her money back from the surgeons. “I’m just tired of looking like…this.” Funny how most people with physical issues have no idea that most of their problems are mental.
“I see” I say to her. I don’t tell her that she looks fine. I don’t get paid to lie. I don’t tell her that everything will be fine. I’m not a therapist. I’m a realist. I reach into my desk and hand her a business card for a surgeon I know. He’s no Jesus but he can perform miracles. I notice that Maggie will be here soon. I need to speed this up.
“When I was younger they all…” Mrs. Stewart begins before I cut her off. Time for some tough love.
“Look” I say while placing my hands flat on my desk and leaning forward. It’s a threatening posture but it works. She leans back a few inches. “You came to me for help. I know that you want this surgery. You’d kill for this surgery. You will call this number and you will get this done tomorrow morning at 11am.”
“I will?” she asks me. I nod. “Okay. Thank you.” Mrs. Stewart leaves with a slight bounce in her step.
As soon as the door closes I run to the bathroom and give myself a quick shave. Why do I do this to myself? Maggie was a gold digging bitch but whenever I know I'll be seeing her I do things like this. Wear the cologne she liked. A shirt she bought. I check the time and I have about five minutes. My phones rings on my desk and I rush to grab it like some silly school girl with a crush on the quarterback of the football team that doesn’t know I exist.
“Hello?” I ask.
“It's me,” Maggie says. “I don’t think I’ll be making it today.”
“You ‘don’t think’?” I ask her. “Either you’re coming or you’re not. Which is it?”
“I don’t know,” she says. I hate indecisiveness. “I want to but I’m starting to feel bad for John.”
She used his name.
“Fine” I tell her.
“Really?” she asks me. She’s very shocked.
“You can do whatever you want,” I tell her. Nothing but calm and ice in my voice. It’s the voice I use for high-level executives that like to play hardball. “Tell John I said hello.” I hang up before she can respond. She calls right back and I turn my cell off. She leaves a message. I’ll check it later. I head into my waiting room and turn the television on. I