A couple of days before Christmas, this guy I used to know back east calls me and asks to meet me for a drink. He’s been traveling a while and he’s in Frisco for a few days. He needs a place to stay. Sure, I tell him.
We meet. He looks like shit. Hasn’t been able to sleep. Thinks he’s being followed.
Seems he’d been living down in Red Hook and he gets this call from his ex. Her daughter, a nice looking girl, graduates from high school and breaks up with her not-too-quick hockey player boyfriend on the very same day. She’s going to college and he’s not.
According to the girl, it’s sayonara; “end of story”. Not so, according to the kid, who clearly does not like the sound of that tune. So he takes to cruising their street at 2 AM. Leaving stone cold “see me or else” messages on her phone.
The mother sends the girl out of town somewhere and now mom has to deal with a boyfriend with anger issues and way too much time on his hands. The kid calls her and threatens her with what he’ll do if the girl doesn’t come back to him. Not likely to be very good for the mother.
Turns out the kid breaks into her house while she’s at work, trashes the girl’s room, smashes the family picture over the piano, and leaves a note on her pillow saying, “Next it’s your face.”
So here is where my friend comes in. The mother calls him and says she called the cops, they look around, and say there is no proof the kid did it but they’ll have a talk with him.
Well, apparently the kid was pissed that mom sicced the cops on him and now he threatens to get grandma too.
That afternoon, he kicks through grandma’s kitchen window, climbs up on the sill, and dumps her geraniums into the sink.
So now mom calls my friend at 2 AM. She’s with grandma, and the kid just drove over their lawn. When my friend shows up, Mom hands him a loaded twenty-two. Where and how she got it, he has no idea.
Now he’s riding shotgun by the living room window until dawn. The kid doesn’t show. He has no idea what he would have done if he did.
So, one thing leads to another, and now the mother sends the daughter out of the country to stay with relatives in some Mexican town with no electricity and no running water, which may be a little exaggeration.
The kid, none the wiser, keeps pulling more and more threatening crap. You can only imagine.
Now mom calls my friend again and says, with the girl safely out of the country, it’s time to put an end to all of this. She has a plan and she needs his help.
And all he, my friend, has to do is call the kid and tell him he’s the lawyer and they’re ready to make a deal. No more threats. No more cops. And when the kid shows up he’ll get handed twenty-five grand in small bills in a plain envelope to do with whatever he wants. He just has to leave the family alone.
But the kicker is that when the kid and my friend meet, just the two of them, by the garbage shed out behind the high school, my friend is to hand over the cash and, while the kid is counting it, mom, who has been hiding under a pile of discarded graduation decorations and Captain Morgan empties, jumps out, shoves a chloroform-soaked rag in the kid’s face, and jabs him in the neck with a syringe she filled with Nembutal. Then, they’ll load the kid into a heavy duty trash bag and roll him down the hill into the Kensico Reservoir, not to be seen again. End of story.
I digress here for a moment; My friend is no thug, he’s a good, hardworking, reasonable guy, a shlub of sorts, but no one remotely capable of doing this. So much for what I think I know: he agrees to it.
The evening of the little party behind the shed arrives. Midnight comes and the kid doesn’t show. They leave.
The next morning my friend is at the mom’s house with coffee and doughnuts on the table, when there is knock at the door. “Holy shit!” they think it’s the kid. My friend peeks out the window.
It’s two cops. Now my friend is really pissing in his pants. They are done for, he figures. He’s thinking he’ll be spending the next fifty years doing time upstate on a conspiracy-to-commit rap.
The cops knock again. Harder.
Mom opens the door. “Ma’am,” the cop’s kind of looking past her into the living room. “I think we got your guy,” he says.
Turns out, they picked up the kid for loitering near the high school last night around 10, and they find a bag of Mary Jane and an unlicensed Smith and Wesson in his car. He’s now being held without bail on a couple of warrants and probably won’t be seen around town for a good long while.
“And, Oh,” the cop says as he’s leaving, “you haven’t spoken to him lately, have you?”
“Me? No,” she says and the cop comes back with, “Know a guy name of Bernard Milanowski?”
So my friend, who is hiding behind the clothes dryer, hearing his name, remembers he’s got this train to catch and he is out the back door. No forwarding address.
So I say, “End of Story?”
He looks at me, puts his head down and his face screws up like he just ate a lemon and’s about to cry.
“No,” he says. “The kid fingered me for pushing him the dope and selling him the gun.”
I take his arm. “Let’s go,” I say. “I need help with the tree.”
You can’t make this stuff up.