I wasn’t in a blurry haze this time… but it had the same effect. This time I felt like I’d shifted into another dimension or something. It served the same function for Fred (once he’d cajoled me out of my frantic tizzy) anyway. Anyway… my “cool friend” Fred was basically pulling the same con as our former boss George Heaton had done. Only on a much smaller (and thus more controllable) scale.
George had a small army of predators and scammers. Most were in training but a few (like Fred had been) were more like partners. They had their own style, wielding scheming and scamming skills nearly equal to his own. They were all working “the great” George Heaton’s time-tested, well-established market of marks. And they all marched in line with the big man’s wishes.
Once Fred had gone against those wishes, he just had me. But, MAN did he have me.
My adult self can see now that I wasn’t in training, and I certainly wasn’t a partner. I was a mark and Fred had some kind of con in the works that included me only as far as Omaha.
My adult self has a hard time believing that even a naive, good boy youngster like me could be so completely thrown off balance as to do what I did though. To leave a perfectly good and stable situation and follow this “friend” and my quickly fading dream. Of course I’d already shown how well I could do this in Enid, Oklahoma so why should I expect I’d make the practical decision there in Norfolk?
No doubt Fred had seen that I was beginning to wonder about the band. Whether his promises of rock n roll excitement and adventure was all the pack of lies that it most certainly was. But the biggest threat to his control over me and what he must have seen as my ability to facilitate getting him most comfortably into the city of HIS preference, was my job.
Fred had to get me to quit, and since he must have known how much I was beginning to like and trust my new boss, he had to get me to simply leave without going back on Monday.
My adult self has now concocted a pretty good theory that Fred had planned this whole thing well in advance. Including what he would tell me I should do once he had me out of my tizzy and giving him my complete attention.
The potential for security that my job offered had no doubt gotten HIS attention. Fred needed to discredit the idea of staying in Norfolk, and he had to nip the trust I was developing for my new boss in the bud. And nip it quick. He knew that if I showed up at work on Monday, all disheveled and confused with my story of losing my wallet and needing help, my boss would quickly put me at ease. He would help me replace my ID and probably even advance me money till I could get back on my feet.
If that were to be allowed to happen, Fred was fully aware of how I would no longer need him at all. With my new boss giving me a hand like that, I would be in HIS debt. I’d no doubt then get my own place and… well, that would be the end of Fred’s plans for using me to improve HIS hand.
But that Saturday, Fred had the upper hand, and the first thing he did with it was to put some of “his” cash into MY hand.
“What’s this?” I said sheepishly. Fred looked me in the eyes and spoke calmly and steadily.
“Brain, I just want you to know that I’m here for you man. We’re all in this together. Me, you and Maria and the kids. I know this is a big kick in the head, but together we’ll get through it and so I got an idea… wanna hear it?”
“Yea… I do.”
To be continued…