And now a public service announcement from Kenny Black: Hey I know the Rogues have been slacking with their blog posts lately—and that includes me—but they’ve just wrapped up final edits and pagination for both their Kindle and print versions of The Method Writers, and have also submitted the manuscript to a writing contest, not to mention other preparations to market and promote the book. You can even catch some of the details on Jeff Swesky’s website. So give them a break already, they’ve been busy. I said give them a break!!! Much love, Kenny Black
It’s an ideal Florida day, sunny but with a steady cool breeze. Seagulls squawk around my head as waves crash down below. I’m near the end of the pier, only me and a few others are out there this weekday afternoon. I lean against the wooden railing close to a big, tall and out-of-shape older man, who’s watching his rod intently, probably wondering if a fish is about to hit his bait or if a crab is just screwing with him.
“What’s up, Skinny?” I say.
“You don’t look so pretty in daylight, Kenny.”
I laugh. “But you haven’t even taken a good look at me yet.” He takes a quick sidewards glance without the change of expression. All business. He’s called Skinny, because he can get the skinny on just about anything illegal going on in this town. I’ve known him and used him for a good deal of years.
“That’s about as much as I can take without shooting my lunch into the ocean.”
I laugh again. “You’re quite the charmer. Any luck with the cowboy?”
“Did you bring something for me?”
“Yeah, here’s the bait I promised to bring you,” I say and hold out a small, rolled up paper brown bag to him. “Don’t waste it all on the fish now.”
Skinny reaches out a hand and accepts the bag. Then tries to judge the weight of it.
“Don’t worry—it’s all there.”
“It better be, Kenny.” He inserts the bag into the inside pocket of his fishing vest. “The cowboy is one of DC’s enforcers. Bill Mancini. Goes by the nickname, Billy the Man.”
“Billy the Man?” I ask while cleaning my sunglasses.
“Yeah, as in he’s much tougher than Billy the Kid was.”
“That’s about the dumbest nickname I’ve ever heard. Dumber than Puff Daddy even.”
“That maybe,” Skinny says while reeling in his line. “But he’s supposed to be one tough son-of-a-bitch.”
“We’ll see about that. Anything else?”
“Yeah, he drives a black Harley—”
“Instead of a horse?”
“You should really try a career doing stand-up,” he says with the same serious expression on his face. “So if you’re done joking around, you can let me finish and then get the fuck off my pier.”
“Goddamn you’re in a foul mood today. Please, finish.”
“He likes to hang out at the Angry Pig Tavern. Familiar with it?”
“Yeah, I’ve been there a time or two. Maybe I’m overdo to revisit it. Thanks, Skinny.”
“Don’t mention it.” He examines his empty hook as I begin walking back the way I came.
“Oh and Kenny….”
Skinny gives me a good look this time. “You be careful, ya hear?”
I feel a wide grin spread across my face. “I knew you loved me.”
It’s his turn to laugh.