From last time ...
"Your boys are going to have to build schedules for all of 'em. Can they do that in a year?"
"Yes. I think so. I'm sure of it."
"Good. Let's do it then. Mackey. You go see your girlfriend. And give her my love. I have some painting to do."
And now ...
Victor Giamatti was sweating again. Only this time he was sitting in his office, his cool and comfortable office. The reason he was sweating was sitting on the desk in front of him. A small box, lined with cotton, filled with bullets. Blanks. Frangibles, actually. The ones he had had made, special, a long time ago. Each of the bullets had a name painted on it. Not just one, this time. It's every guy from the old days. What the fuck is going on here? Who's doing this to me? It can't be Jake. He's dead. It MUST have something to do with The Kid and that last job ... that girl from the casino ... but who? Who? WHO?
Victor closed the box, took a key out of his pocket and unlocked the bottom left drawer of his desk. He placed the box in the drawer and then carefully locked it again, placing the only key in existence that opened that drawer back in his pocket. Nobody goes in there ... it's safe in there ... until I can figure this out it's going to stay in there. He spun his chair around so it faced the big picture window. He sat there, fingers together in a fleshy tent pressed to his lips, brooding.
"Hiya, Sarah. How was your trip?"
"It was great, Mom. I leased the mineral rights to the land that Jake left me and I looked over the house that the contractor built on the property and it's all good. How's Jerry? In fact, WHERE'S Jerry?"
"Oh, he's out playing, I guess. He made a friend that lives down the hill, across from the Presidio, and they go to some playground on the base. I expect he'll be back shortly, though. That boy doesn't miss a meal and it's just about lunchtime."
Just then, Jerry opened the door to the apartment and walked in, his eye swollen shut and blood dried under his nose.
"Jerry!! What happened to you? Who did this?"
"It's nuthin' Mom. Jeez."
"Don't tell me "it's nuthin'". It's something. Now what happened?"
"Aw ... some guy keeps chasin' us off the playground. Says we ain't got no right there cause we ain't Army. But he's wrong. We kin be there. We play with them kids all the time."
"Don't say "ain't" Jerry. You know better. And of course you can be there. You can be anywhere you want to be on that base as long as the signs don't say "Restricted". So who is this guy?"
"I don't know. Some Private from base housing. I think he works in the billeting office."
"Do you know his name, Jerry? Doesn't he wear a name tag on his shirt?"
"Nah. He never wears utilities. He's always dressed in UOD."
"Uniform of the Day. Jeez, don't you now that, Mom? No, well, you're a girl so's I guess you wouldn't, huh? But guys know. Yeah, guys know that stuff."
"Oh, I'm sure you do. Now let me look at that eye."
Jerry stood and held his face up so his Mom could look over what he was sure was gonna be a shiner and the guys were gonna think that was swell when they saw it.
"You'll be fine, Jerry. You go wash your face and we'll put some ice on it."
Sarah followed Jerry to the bathroom and spoke to him as he splashed water at his face from the sink.
"So this 'guy' hit you?"
"Yeah, he clipped me a good one. Never saw it comin'. Didn't knock me down though. Almost. But I stood there. Hand me the towel will ya, Mom?"
"I will when you wash. Splashing water at your face in not washing. Get some soap on those hands and wash your face. And be careful of that eye."
Sarah's mother came into the room with a handful of ice cubes.
"Here, Sarah. Wrap these up in a wet washcloth so he can put them on his eye."
"Thanks, Mom. Get his lunch ready, okay. I think our young hero, here, is going to be especially ravenous today. It takes a lot of energy to stand up to a bully, and that kind of thing makes you very hungry. Right, Jerry?"
"Yeah, Mom. I'm hungry. Let's eat."
"Sure. And Jerry? If we go down there, later, do you think you could point this guy out to me?"
"Aw, Mom. Don't make no trouble, please? I can take care of myself."
"I know you can, Jerry. I just want you to point him out so I know what he looks like, that's all. That way I'll know to stay away from him, okay? I mean, I wouldn't want to run into him, somewhere, you know? And be nice to him or anything ... I mean ... he doesn't deserve being nice to ... you know what I mean, Jerry?"
"Oh, sure Mom. I understand. You just want to make sure you don't meet him or nuthin'. 'Cause that would be weird."
"Right, Jerry. That would be weird."