Omaha Motivations #2
I wasn’t in a blurry haze this time.
This time I felt like I’d shifted into another dimension or something. A reality that looked a lot like the one I’d just been in… only in this one, my frantic tizzy was gone. My cool friend Fred had cajoled me out of it. It didn’t last long, but in this other dimension… there was only me and Fred.
“What am I going to do now?”
Fred was there for me. In this other dimension. Any suspicions I’d had about the rock band were far from my mind now. Those suspicions had not yet affected my belief that Fred was a friend… certainly didn’t affect the obvious fact that he was older and more experienced than me.
And of course he was still cool.
My adult self has now made up a little story about who my cool friend Fred Berdine really was.
See… George Heaton had built up his small army of predators and scammers over some time. It must have taken several years. Most of the gang were true believers and completely loyal (or new recruits still in training) but a few were more like partners with their own style. They wielded scheming and scamming skills nearly equal to his.
Fred was one of these.
These “partners” were all in agreement to work “the great” George Heaton’s time-tested system. A system populated with a well-established market of marks. A market that was consistently paying off. These “partners” all marched in line with the big man’s system.
As long as it worked.
What went down in Norfolk caused Fred to make his play against that system. No doubt he’d been waiting for something like this. Fred’s play was a gamble. No doubt he knew he could just as easily lose everything. No doubt he’d expected to catch George while the big man was vulnerable, and go for a big payoff. He’d probably expected some of the other “partners” to join him.
Apparently, any others he’d tried to get onboard… did not.
Obviously, George’s quick response… his master manipulation of the Norfolk cops, had completely thwarted Fred’s plan to get his own crew. A small but quality crew that could have made a decent attempt at taking some of George’s territory. But Fred didn’t get any others, and so he lost everything. He lost everything and was left with only Maria and the kids.
And then I knocked on the door and he saw that he also had me. MAN did he have me!
My adult self can see now that (unlike my position in George’s operation) I wasn’t in training with Fred… and I certainly wasn’t a partner. I was a mark… a stooge, and once he saw he had me, Fred had some kind of new scheme in the works that now included using me.
But 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 next. 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 Oklahoma so why should I expect I’d make the practical decision there in Norfolk?
Fred must have seen that I was beginning to get skeptical about the band. That I suspected 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 was (ironically) the very thing my adult self is now sure he most wanted to use me for.
Fred had needed me to have a good job to help with the financing of his scheme, but now he 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.
Fred 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. No doubt I’d then get my own place and… well that would be the end of Fred’s plans for using me to improve HIS hand.
That Saturday, in that other dimension with me… Fred got exactly what he needed. He 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, you, me 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.”