A week later Veronica still hadn’t called. Jimmy’s connection had been busted. He was jonesing on the couch, watching the tape of a recent championship bout. The contender had bitten off a piece of the champ’s nose. They showed it again and again on the replay. Jimmy was shuddering.
“Hey, man,” he said, “you got any…beer?”
“No, Jimmy,” I replied. “I drank it all.”
“Go buy…thum,” he suggested.
“Can’t,” I said. “Just spent my last fiver on a new typewriter ribbon.”
He moaned a little as his options began to run out.
“You muth got…thumthin,” he said, as he stumbled into the kitchen.
The peanuts were too much to ask. I heard breaking glass. I had pushed him too far.
There was a bottle of cheap white wine that I was saving for later. I needed to act fast. He was sure to find it. I heard the fridge opening.
“While you’re in there,” I mentioned, “pour us each a glass of that wine that’s on the bottom shelf.”
It was a gallon I had started the night before. I heard its deep, resonant thunder as he popped the already loose cork.
“Aw man, thith thit’s…thkunky,” he said.
Hesitation, then I heard two glasses tinkling.
“Bring some peanuts too,” I said.
The peanuts were too much to ask. I heard breaking glass. I had pushed him too far. I had forgotten how sensitive Jimmy was to authority. He appeared in the hallway, trembling.
“I’ll bring you thum wine,” he whispered, trying to contain himself, “but thum goddamn…peanuth? Uh-uh, no way. I ain’t your goddamn…thlave. Get your own fuckin’… peanuth.”
With that, he stormed out the door and into the night.
I went and got the bottle from the kitchen counter. I chose a glass from the cupboard and sat back down in my easy chair, holding the bottle close in case I needed it.