She slaps my shoulder gently and tsks. “Lee, no need to thank me. I’m super excited for it!”
“Me too,” I tell her. And that’s actually true. I feel like it’s a new chapter in my life.
Lara presses her weight on my back as she massages the conditioner into my scalp. “There, you big baby. Is that gentle enough for you?”
“Yes,” I pout as I turn on the faucet to rise out the conditioner. The echo of my phone ringing fills the entire apartment and I nod to Lara, giving her the okay to answer it.
Lara beams brightly and walks toward the phone. I wrap a towel around my head and start toward my bedroom, listening to the sound of her voice as it trails down the short corridor. In my room I fall back on my bed and sigh. The bland white walls blur in my vision and anxiety sloshes around in the pit of my stomach. Maybe these self-defense classes won’t be that bad after all.
Even though Wednesday is going to be difficult I know that it's about time I took a step in the right direction.
You were boozing two nights ago!” I’m not even through the door of the tiny gym and Joe is already scolding me. “Don’t bother lying about it either!”
I give him a sly grin and shrug my gym bag off my shoulder, letting it fall on the floor. “Who told you?” There’s no way I can deny it. The man can read me like the Sunday paper.
Joe’s eyes bug out and he raises his eyebrows in a like I’m going to tell you, gesture.
He doesn’t need to tell me.
I get this uneasy feeling in my gut and I know who told him. “Damn it, Murph,” I mutter under my breath. “You rat fucking bastard.”
“Don’t get pissed at the big guy!” Joe calls from over his shoulder as he walks into an adjoining, carpeted room with floor length mirrors. I follow him and drop trou, only wearing a pair of basketball shorts. “He’s not a rat bastard. He’s not out to get you. He’s looking out for you.”
Half of that is probably true. The other half, well, I get an idea that Connie probably put money on my next fight and placed Murph in charge of making sure his investment pays off. It’s not Murph’s fault. Everyone knows that if Connor Doyle tells you to take a dump in the middle of Cedar Rd. You take a dump in the middle of Cedar Rd.
Joe puts pads on his hands and takes his place in front of me. “What did I tell ya?” I groan and roll my eyes. Joe whacks me upside of the head and repeats himself. “What did I tell ya? What are the three B’s? The three no-no’s before a fight?”
I let out a frustrated sigh. “No broads, brawls, or booze.”
Joe whacks me on the head again. “And how long is it going to take for you to get it through that thick, Irish head of yours, that those three B’s also apply to you?”
A long damn time.
I’m good with the no brawls part. I’ve learned to hold my temper when it comes to throwing punches at the random assholes of the world who piss me off.
Just last week I had to hold back because some twat in a pearly mafia caddy was scamming on Connie’s turf. Do you believe the bastard was trying to sell blow that resembled fucking laundry detergent? Everyone around here knows Connie’s got the purest shit. And this piece of shit thinks he can upstage Connie with his Dreft? I had to regulate. At first I was nice about it. I said, “You can’t sell on this corner. Connor Doyle owns this corner. Scat.” And trust me, that’s nice for me. I could have been a dick and pulled the gat out from the back of my jeans and pistol whipped the bitch.
I come back the next day and he’s there again. First off, driving a mafia caddy around and selling drugs out of it is like a red flag for the five-o. Either this cat was dropped on his head as a baby or he was the epitome of stupid. I told him to bounce, this time with a little more force and he calls me a worthless Irish prick. Do you fucking believe that shit? A worthless Irish prick? It took all three hundred pounds of Murph to hold me back.
Even though, with Murph’s help on most occasions, I’ve kept the street scrapping under wraps. My two weaknesses are the broads and the booze.
The broads because I love females and I love to fuck. And for some reason I can’t explain, the females love me…
And my doggy style.
The booze, well, Jamison…
Need I say more?
And usually when I have one of the two remaining b’s another one follows.
Joe whacks me a third time and I scowl at him. “You need to cut this reckless behavior out, Sean.” He puts both hands up. The red pads blur in my vision. Joe squints through the crack in his hands and lowers the pads again. It’s like he’s trying to read me again or be all parental and shit. “You need help, kid? You know you can come to me if you need help.”
I’d like to ask him if there’s a miracle time machine out there somewhere that could somehow help me rewind, and then erase the last seven years of my life, but I decide against it. Instead I say, “No Joe. I’m good.”