"You seen Jimmy lately?"
"Yeah," said Carbone. "He talks about you once in a while."
"Makes sense. I called him a month or so ago to ask about something. Some kid came in throwin' his name around."
"Who gives a shit?"
"I don't," I said, "but I wanted to let the guy know."
"What'd he say?"
"Nothin'. Just left him a message, an' he never called me back."
"He don' give a fuck," Carbone said. "Was prob'ly bullshit, anyways."
"Yeah, that's what I figured."
Jimmy lost his job at the club a few months back. Lost it, you could say, for losing it. It's easy doing this shit one, maybe two, nights a week, but working someone's door four, five, six nights a week? When do you sleep?
Of course, Jimmy figured he could catch his sleep on his bouncing gigs, finding a place in back, maybe in a locked office, or a storeroom, to close his eyes for an hour or two. Place this size? Who the fuck's gonna notice? Well, nobody, for a while, but there comes a point, like in any other job, where there has to be some accountability, and in running a club, that means making sure all your bouncers are where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there.
And that don't mean the broom closet.
"So what's he doin' now?"
"Ah, you know," replied Carbone. "It's tough on the guy, all that financial shit comin' down on his head all at once like that."
"I couldn't even imagine."
"Hit him hard."
"Y'know," I said, "I didn't even mind the way he worked. The sleepin' and shit, and the not showin' up to fights. Bothered me when he first started doin' it, but it was like I just stopped dependin' on the guy, right? Like you knew he wasn't gonna fuckin' show up anyway, so why bother with him?"
"Man, that's no way to work."
"I know, but you know what? He wasn't on my fuckin' dime, an' as soon as I figured out he was sittin' in there takin' charity, I didn't give a shit no more. This fuckin' place can afford it. Better than gettin' handouts from the fuckin' state."
"He had to go," said Carbone. "Had to. You can't keep a guy around, workin' like that. No job's gonna keep somebody like that."
"You never answered my question. What's he doin' for work these days?"
"I dunno, man. I really don't, but it's gotta be somethin' shady. They start garnishin' your wages, it can make you get kinda stupid."
Doesn't stop them from dropping the name at the door, though. Girls, even. Jimmy's stable of hoovers, the ones who'd blow him for drink tickets back in the lounge bathroom. They all want in, all the time. All that work, all that praying, and it's gone to waste now that he's gone. The Italian bouncer, what straight-shooter Guidos can aspire to be, once they slick back the spikes and let the eyebrows out a touch.
"You know," said Carbone, "I got a guy on my door who's always tryin' to use Jimmy's name over there."
"Thing is, he knows I know, and I ain't gonna do shit for him now."
"Why not?" I ask.
"Why the fuck should I do Jimmy any more fuckin' favors. He's lucky I still take his fuckin' calls after the shit he pulled."
"So why do you?"
"You know how it is," he replied. "We were friends, you know? I helped get the guy his fuckin' job here."
"And then he treats it like a fuckin' toy. The guy's jerkin' you off, you know."
"Yeah, I know. An' I wish he'd finish up, 'cause I'm just...about...there."
"Thanks," I said, "for the company."