posted on December 3, 2011 by fractalbob
So I drew the short straw and had to drive Johnny Stompanato to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston earlier this week. His flight was delayed, so Johnny and I ended up in a bar in the vast terminal, where we each ordered a brandy.
Johnny sat on the edge of his seat in the airport lounge, feet planted widely apart, balls hanging over the seat and leaving no doubt that the answer to the question “boxers or briefs?” for Johnny Stomp was “neither.” I tried not to look, but it was hard to ignore stugats the size of Johnny’s dangling over the side of that naugahyde chair. Quite intimidating to a sheltered and insecure Irish lad such as myself.
“So what’s your beef with Bill Baine, kid?” Johnny said with a piercing look into my eyes. “Why you got such a hard on for the man?”
“Things he said about my family,” I said, gazing at the overpriced brandy swirling around the fat-bottomed glass in my hand.
“That was before,” Johnny said, “with them that hired him. They hired a monkey. We turned him into a gorilla. You don’t have to worry about him no more. He’s not gonna be talking trash about anyone but the tin-foil-hat-wearing loonies on the other side. The club and art league ladies like your ma got nothing more to worry about from him.”
Then Johnny leaned forward, stugats almost hitting the floor. “We got something on him so good he won’t even think about fucking around.”
What could you have on Bill Baine, decorated military officer and brother to bank presidents?
“We got him smiling his ass off with those left-wing loonies posing in front of George Russell’s fucking hearse, champagne glasses hoisted toasting the death of the TIRZ.”
“You put anyone next to George Russell and they are fucked for life. They might as well be a lesbian Arab college professor on welfare with an ACLU and an AARP card. And they did that to themselves, not us. You listening to me, kid?” Johnny Stomp said. “We got something on everyone.”
But I was checking my watch. Johnny was in no hurry to finish his brandy, and he still needed to get through security, where some unsuspecting TSA agent had a surprise waiting for him when it came time to pat Johnny down.
“What have you got on Don Johnson and Keith Olson?” I said.
“Don’t be flip with me. You know what I mean,” Johnny said. “We’re on the verge of creating a boom like this town’s never seen, and you and your family will be some of the first in line to thank the Johnny Stompanatos, the Don Johnsons and the Bill Baines.”
Johnny leaned forward again, his green eyes alight with glee. He was bringing me into the fold. We were now two collaborateurs talking about big plans in the works 100 miles away in a natural gas- and land-rich town now under our unchallenged control. And Johnny felt nothing but pride about this because the Machiavelli in his gene pool had him convinced there was a worthy end in sight.
“Those other guys, Davidson, Ray, Wagamon, Forbus, Cole and those broads, Mahaffey and Zender,” he said, “they’re not all crazy. But they are losers, and most of them have tiptoed off like the losing losers they are. And you know why, bright boy? Because they made this a whatchoo call zero sum game. Us against them, winning or losing, who’s got the bigger stugats.”
“Well, you showed them,” I said, averting my eyes as Johnny shifted in his seat.
“First thing we got to do is shut down those fucking fake Peep accounts,” he said, “and pull the plug on those anonymous asshats in the no-growth sleeper cells. If those smart-asses can’t watch Council meetings on their little laptops at Starbucks, that shit stops, because they don’t have the balls to sit in chambers with their iPhones out yucking it up.”
Indeed, I said, but is that a good idea? Won’t it look like you’re trying to limit public access to a democratic process?
“Look, government’s been running for two hundred years without fucking video cameras, and if you ask me, a lot more got done. You think Jack Wagamon would have pulled half the shit he did if there weren’t no fucking cameras broadcasting his every move?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Did it stop Mickey Evans? Wagamon didn’t invent City Council Theater, did he? If anything, the video can be the tool to inform the public about new programs and initiatives and show how dec —”
“SHIT,” Johnny said as he jumped up and gathered up his carry-ons. “I gotta go!”
I got up, too, and helped him with his bag and briefcase. “You’ll make it,” I said.
“Always do,” Johnny said and gulped the last of his drink. “Thanks for the brandy.”
I watched him walk away. He was light on his feet, treading briskly and confidently through the terminal, not a care in the world and his balls swinging free.