Dee woke with a start. He flinched, looked around the shitty and cluttered trailer he called home. He had fallen asleep --passed out-- on the couch sometime during the night. Dee blinked the sleepiness from his eyes and reached out for the table next to him. The table was covered in 10-13's, a little inside joke the force had when it came to empty beer cans, and fast food bags. He grabbed the clock resting on the table and checked the digital readout. It was a quarter past eleven. Sighing, Dee sat up and leaned against the couch.
He had been dreaming about Denise, his first wife, and that time they had had a picnic in Alamo Square back in San Fran. In reality, the picnic had been the high point of their marriage, they went there a week before they moved to Vanitas. While they had been young, happy, and full of promise in the actual picnic the dream was a bit different. He spent most of the dream arguing with Denise. They argued about shit they argued about after they moved. Dee's heavy drinking, the bad neighborhood they were living in, Dee's cheating. Then, as it always is in dreams, the arguments began to meld with the arguments he and Meg, wife number two, had. The arguments were pretty much the same, except he and Meg would argue about Michael, Dee's only son.
Dee grunted to himself and picked himself up off the couch. He was still dressed in yesterday's clothes, his body smelling of old sweat. He padded through the trailer in his socks and peeked his head into the makeshift dark room he had set up in the trailer's spare bedroom. The photos he had been developing were dried and ready. He made a note to call Berkley's office and set up a meeting. Conrad Berkley was a mid-level businessman in the Vanitas area. He owned a chain of electronic stores in the city and county. Berkley had paid Dee a week ago to tail and follow his son. Berkley was convinced that young Cameron Berkley was a drug addict. Dee's photos showed that he was, but the truth was more than Berkley had expected. Cameron had been stealing anything -- VCRs, microwaves, stereos-- from his dad's company in order to pay for his smack. Dee had the young man dead to rights with the photos. Now it was just a matter of handing the proof over to Berkley and getting paid.
After checking on the photos, Dee hit the head and pissed for what felt like a solid minute. Once he flushed and washed, he went to the kitchen and pulled a beer from the the fridge. He cracked it open and took out half the bottle in two gulps. Swallow it down, he wiped his face. Off in the distance, Dee heard the sound of a motor. He put his beer down and walked to the front door. A black car was rolling down the long gravel driveway towards his door. Dee cursed under his breath and grabbed some shoes. He was coming off the front porch steps when the car door opened.
"Johnny," said a little man in a white suit as he came out the car.
George Economos, as he was known by most people Greek Georgie, ran book. He was mostly independent, but Dee knew he got protection from some mob people. He couldn't remember if it was from the Cartigos, the Russians, or those redneck assholes that called themselves Dixie Mafia. Georgie would take bets and make book for anybody who were either too dumb or too in debt to put down bets with the casinos. Georgie took bets from only those who were desperate enough. Poor people and the addicts were who Georgie prayed on.
"What do you want?" Dee asked curtly.
"Need some muscle," Georgie said as he ran his hands through his curly black hair. "You see the Bulls game last night? They got upset by Denver, only the fourth game they lost all season. Not only that, but they didn't cover the spread. Guess who was smart enough to bet against both?"
Georgie chuckled to himself and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
"So, you need a bagman?" asked Dee. He suddenly wished he had brought his beer with him out to the porch.
"For the most part," said Georgie, lighting up a cigarette. "I don't expect any of the guys who owe me money to put up a fight, but in this business you never know what to expect. I'd say keep a blackjack handy just in case."
"How much to run bag?"
"Fuck you," growled Dee. "Three hundred for this shit? Go to hell, you little Greek asshole."
"Dee," said Georgie. "Look, I'm trying to do you a favor here. I'm throwing you a bone. I could easily get some muscle to do it for free."
"Then why don't you? I don't want your fucking charity."
"Because," said Georgie. He took a dramatic pause to suck on his cigarette and blow smoke into the air. "I use that muscle to collect, then I don't need you. Suddenly, I feel like collecting on that eight grand you owe me. Maybe I get my new muscle to come over here and fuck you up? You want to be an asshole, Dee, fine. Just remember it's a two way street."
Dee stood in silence while Georgie looked at him with that smirk Dee wanted to wipe off his face so badly.
"Five hundred," said Dee.
"Four-fifty," said Georgie. "You do this, that's four fifty you owe wiped off your ledger."
"Deal," said Dee. "Give me a list and I'll get to it."
Georgie smiled and pulled a piece of paper from his jacket pocket. He handed it to Dee and nodded.
"That's a good boy, Johnny."
Dee stayed silent while Georgie got back into his car and drove away. Dee waited until the car was out of sight before he flipped it off. He tucked the list into his coat pocket and went back inside. He flopped down on the ouch and sighed. Six years ago, he was a goddamn lieutenant on the fast track to being a captain. He was one of the PD's comers, and he would break bread with Don Cartigo almost as an equal. Now all he rated was this rundown trailer and acting as Georgie Economos' goddamn lapdog.
Dee shook his head and went back into the kitchen. He took the beer and polished it off in two more gulps. He sat the empty down on the counter and pulled out the list from his pocket. Six names and addresses written in Georgie's chicken scratch writing. Six deadbeats he might have to make bleed. Dee took another beer from the fridge and downed it just as quickly as he downed the last one.