Here’s a story that Robert Stubblefield of Tales From a Godless Monkey had sent me for posting quite some time ago. I, the fickle blogger, never posted it. Now that I’ve made a plan–a real Official Plan–I’ll be posting flash fiction on Wednesdays. I have one for next week, but after that, I’ll be scrabbling to find flash fiction to post.
If you like this story, visit his blog (link above in this post, and over on blogroll). He is a prolific writer, and one of his fictional strengths is irony. I like irony. It’s the kind of humor that works for me. Anyway, here is Lenny and Me:
Lenny says I’m stupid. He says it all the time. Artie, he’ll say to me, you know what your problem is? You’re stupid. Then he laughs like a drain. I, of course have to laugh too. Lenny don’t like it if I don’t laugh.
Now me, I don’t think I’m so dumb. I got ideas, see? I just keep most of them to myself. I think to myself that it’s not good to be showin’ your cards all the time. I figure that’s part of the reason Lenny thinks i’m dumb.
Take last April, for instance. We were at this strip club in the East End and we’re havin’ a few beers and stuffin’ tenners in the girls’ g-strings. We’re havin’ a good ‘ol time, like we do. Lenny is gettin’ kinda loud and, you know, obnoxious, and the bartender is giving him the evils. Lenny don’t like it when he gets the evils. I’m thinkin’ there’s gonna be trouble, so I tell him, hey, let’s flush this toilet and find another joint. Now Lenny thinks it over and decides, yeah, what the hell, we can do that.
Is that so dumb? We avoided trouble. It was my idea. Anyway we pile into a cab and head down the strip for some more action. I’m always lookin’ out for Lenny. Maybe it’s because we go way back. We’ve known each other since high school, see? We even left together when we’d had enough of all that. That’s when we started dealin’ dope and such. We never was ones for the nine to five life. Besides, you can’t make no money at that sort of thing. Especially if you ain’t got no education.
I love Lenny. I really do. He’s my mate. Lemme tell ya about another time. We were doin’ this deal with this guy we’d been introduced to. Said he was a real stand up guy. Me, I had a bad feeling, but Lenny says it’s okay, we can do this thing. So we meet up at this abandoned warehouse he tells us about. We bring the money for the buy like the regular guys we are. We get there and he’s got two other guys with him. Lenny says where’s the stuff. He says where’s the money. Me, my bad feeling is getting worse, but Lenny says show him the dough
I walk over to this table and I open the case and show them. The guy reaches under the table like he’s bringin’ out the stuff, but I’m not buyin’ it. I whip out my piece and ice him and the one on the right; Lenny takes out the one on the left. The sons of bitches didn’t even have nothin’ on ’em, they were gonna do us and take the money.
Some times I like to do things on my own. Lenny don’t like that sort of thing. Tells me I’m no good without him. I’ll screw up, you know, like that. So I have to keep it on the down low when I step out on my own. If Lenny asks me where I been, I just tell him I had to take care of my mother. Lenny, bein’ old school don’t give nobody grief about seeing after family.
One time I bought him this really nice suit for his birthday. Lenny likes pinstripes, you see, so I tell the tailor to do something with that. I threw this big party for him. Everything was goin’ great until he opens my present. He looks at it and then throws it in my face. It’s brown, he says. I don’t wear no friggin’ brown suit. I just told him how sorry I was, and that I’d make it ok
The reason I’m tellin’ ya all this is because I want you to understand. Lenny and me, we’re like this. I’d do anything for him. Other guys tell me I take too much from him. I thought it over for awhile. I decided maybe they were right, you know? So I got an idea.
I had done one of my deals on the down low. I’ve dealt with these guys before and it ain’t never been a problem. It all went well and on the way back to my place I make a decision.
I knew Lenny wanted to play some poker that night in the back room of this club we like. A guy I know told me a couple of days ago the cops were onto the operation and it would be a good idea to lay low on all that for awhile. Says he thinks a raid might go down that night. I told him thanks. I asked him if there was a quick way out if the place got raided while we were there. He told me about this door behind a curtain at the back of the room that was supposed to be alarmed but it wasn’t.
So we go to the club to play some poker. Me, I can’t concentrate. I’m thinkin’ hard. I tell Lenny I gotta take a leak. Lenny had taken off his jacket and hung it on the back of the chair. When I came back to the table, I slipped a little something in his pocket.
Well, sure enough, the place gets raided. Me, I ran for the door at the back. I wanted to grab Lenny, but Lenny needed time to think. So I left him there. With an ounce of China White heroin in his jacket pocket. Lenny is doing ten years. He’s not happy with me, he swears I did him.
I just want to make it all square between us. That’s why I did it. I’m gonna visit him every week. I’m gonna tell him how it’s gonna be when he gets out. H can’t do nothin’ to me while he’s in there. I’ve got ten years to make him see the light. I’m doin’ this for Lenny. Because we’re like this.