Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Streak - 22

Kyle was dressed to the nines: Alexander McQueen blue flannel dress pants, Rag & Bone French-cuff shirt with light blue stripes, navy and white pinstriped seersucker jacket by Michael Kors and dark brown Ferragamo wing-tips. Gelled hair. A tangy waft of cologne to herald the presence of the king. He sat down on the sofa next to Evan and called the limo.

"You look like a Yankee," said Evan.

Kyle flipped him off without a hesitation or a glance. He told the dispatcher to pick them up and put his iPhone back in his jacket.

"The bullet," he said with a gimme-gimme gesture of the hand.

"Don't get greedy," Evan said, tossing it over in a little arc.

"No, no, trust me. This is for both our sakes," Kyle explained, putting it in his inside pocket. "I have a method."

"Does the method involve drawing cocaine into one's nose? Rinse and repeat?"

"It's a little more complicated than that. You'll see. Where we goin'? Cop bar?"

"Cop bar."

They went down when the driver called and took the crosstown ride to Cassidy's. They liked to start the evening there, and sometimes end it, too. The cops made them feel safe. But not the way cops are supposed to make you feel safe. They made them feel welcome to their sanctum, protected from the riffraff. Their fraternity with the cops, while dubious in some respects, was never questioned. Maybe it grew out of their relationship at the Stadium - the game of subtle nods, of monosyllabic, weary sympathy; the unspoken kinship of those in uniform. Cops and professional athletes, of course, were each living a version of boyhood fantasy, complete with codes of honor, secret rituals and vows of silence. Could be, too, that they shared a view of the public: demanding, erroneous, uncouth. The pukey multitudes. There were lots of reasons for ball players to hang out with cops. One thing's for sure: it had nothing to do with being on the right side of the law.

"You said you had some ideas about drugs," Evan said.

"What?" said Kyle, distracted.

"Some interesting ideas or something. Some insights or revelations."

"Oh yeah, yeah. I think we should take some ecstasy."

"Right now?"

"Yup, yup, yup, yup." Kyle fished around his pants pocket. Suddenly his iPhone rang, that cloying marimba melody. Dah dah dah dah dadedah dah dah dah dah dah.

"Hey!" said Kyle, eyes alight.

"I thought you kept your phone on vibrate—"

"Nope! Nope! Something else. This is what I was talking about—"

"What?"

Kyle stopped the alarm and retrieved the bullet. He held it up between his thumb and finger, like exhibit A.

"See?"

"See what? Of course I see—"

"It's time!"

"Time?"

"Yup!" Kyle was smiling genially.

"Time for what?"

"Time for cocaine!"

"You..."

"That's right!" said Kyle. He put the bullet to his nose and took a good, hard snort. He handed it to Evan.

"You have an alarm set for when it's time to do cocaine?" Evan took a big pull too and pinched his nose.

"Not an alarm. A timer." Kyle glowed with pride and satisfaction.

"Why don't we just do cocaine when we feel like doing cocaine?"

"No, no, no, my friend. It's time for us to be disciplined."

"What is the interval and can you change it if necessary?"

"Ah-ah-ah!" Kyle chided.

"I have to wait some indeterminate period of time established by you before I get my next blast of cocaine?"

"That's fucking correct. Now take this ecstasy." Kyle handed Evan a lime-green pill. Evan popped it in his mouth and swallowed it with some water from the bar.

"I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that."

Kyle was smiling like a madman and looking out at Lexington Avenue.

"You're going to thank me one day."

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