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We're going to talk. I'm going to tell you something.
((Anyone in this office lives on their wits.))
There exists a school of thought--a way of doing business--which involves taking a prospective client out for drinks, engaging in small talk, then sitting back and waiting for the drinks to do their work before urging a proposal. Get your target good and liquored up, and the job's twice as easy. There exists also a similar school in dealing with women. From what I have seen, both approaches work in some sense of the word, but I ask you, what's the fucking point? That sort of method is lacking something, some spark. There's no fun in it, no interest.

I'm not saying don't take 'em out for fucking drinks. It's a way to get over their uncertainty, make them feel welcome, like you're talking with a certain understanding. Like you're getting intimate with them, almost. By all means, have a drink, have a few drinks, so long as your prospective client can handle his liquor; you don't want him vomiting over your goddamned pants. And for fuck's sake, make sure you've got a handle on your own capacity; none of my business, but if you can't drink, don't.

A couple of drinks can loosen any target up, open his eyes to the possibilities--past financial difficulties, a fear of change, the unavoidable presence of some nagging woman--that the world has blinded him against. It allows him to begin to think that perhaps he might just own a piece of property, that he might make some money of his own. Fine. A drink is acceptable for that much. The main factor, however, is the discussion. It's what you tell the guy to whom you're selling the property, the words by which you bring him around. I'm not fucking with you--I am not--when I tell you there's almost an art to using these words. You've got to know how to put them together, how to speak them with force or instead as a side note.

How to use these words to create images, to create possibilities. It isn't hard to purchase a piece of land. It isn't difficult. And once the land has been bought, there will be money. A return. Just imagine the things you can do with this money. Buy yourself a nicer car. Take the wife and kids on a long, relaxing vacation. You know that house you've always wanted, the one set right on the waterfront, your dream house? You can have that. The money can get that for you. You've just got to purchase the land.

Give a guy enough possibilities, relate them in the right fashion, and he won't be able to resist. You've only got to watch for his quirks, feel what makes him nervous, what makes him comfortable. Read every movement he makes, and know what to do with those. Part of it's instinct--not to say you're fucked if you don't have the instinct; you might be, but that's not my problem--and you've got to be open to learning as you go along, picking up something different every time. You refuse to learn, you're stuck, and it's your own fucking fault. The game's always changing, and you'd better be ready to move with it.

What I'm saying is I don't need to get anyone drunk. It's not about honor, it's not about morality; none of that means anything. You come down to it, it's a goddamn immature method, and any man uses it isn't worth his profession.


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What am I looking forward to? Let's see. There are many hypothetical situations that I would like to see. I would like to see Mitch and Murray finally make that offer of an office of my own. I would like to see Williamson get his ass fired. Some prime goddamn leads. I would like to say that I'm looking forward to getting laid tonight... What the hell. Near future? Near future, as in maybe tonight, maybe some time later this week? I'm sure I'll get myself laid by then, so there's one. There you are.

Something else? I'm looking forward to picking up my Cadillac, and don't tell me I won't, because I've got news for you, fella: I'm getting that car. That was the fucking deal, and they are severely fucked in the head if they think I'll just walk away without it. I'm not the man to step back and take these matters lightly, just let them slide... We made a deal. Yes, a deal. When two parties make a deal--a verbal agreement, a signed contract, whatever it is--and particularly when these parties are supposed to cooperate--When these two parties make a deal, and when one side fulfills his end, something is owed to this man who has been so dedicated. He has earned his payment, and so he must receive it. This is the way the world works.

That Cadillac is mine, I closed the deals, end of story.

And I've got a few days away from the office coming up. Call it my vacation if you want. I don't like taking off for too long, never know what you're going to miss or what Mitch and Murray'll try to pull on you when you're gone--not that they'd try anything with me, oh no, no, but that will serve by way of an appropriate example--or when that sucker of a client you've been waiting for might come blinking into the office. It's a crazy goddamned life, and you can afford to miss too much of it.

A couple of days, though... A couple of days can't hurt. Hell, I don't even need to do anything, maybe just sit back and fucking enjoy myself. Do what I want, don't even bother thinking about property. And maybe I will get the hell out of here for a day, maybe I won't. That's my business, and I'll figure it out when I get there. As I like it. And don't get me wrong, here. It isn't that I hate my job--I may dislike some of the people with whom I work, but that would be another story--but a man needs time to himself once in a while. Yes, he does.

That's what I'm looking forward to, that is what I desire. I'll take my time off, drive my goddamn Cadillac wherever the hell I want, and pick up a broad somewhere. That's what we call a dream, isn't it? I'll take it.


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1. Laugh if you will--that is your prerogative--but I enjoy selling real estate. There's something about dealing with these people that keeps me thinking, keeps me on my toes. Makes life interesting. This is not to say that I enjoy all parts of my job. You want to spend more than five minutes in that office, tell me you enjoy it, that's your business.

2. Okay, all right, I can't say I don't like anything about the office... Some days, there's nothing more satisfying than setting Moss off on one of his shit fits. My God, you ought to see him. That guy can throw a tantrum like no other, almost makes an art form of it.

3. Having a nice drink with a semi-intelligent women. Yes, they exist, but they are rare. In the absence of intelligence, I'll settle for a quick drink and a trip to the nearest motel.

4. Driving, when I'm not stuck in Chicago. Assholes there take all the fun out of it. Got to have open roads, got to be able to drive as fast as a damn well please. And here's something you probably don't know: Yes, I confess, I sing in the car. Poorly. And now you have something on me. Congratulations. I also sing in the shower, in case you were interested.

5. Sitting on the goddamned porch and having a glass of lemonade.

6. Bullshitting, given the right circumstances. There are times a man is better of telling the truth, and there are times he'd damn well better know how to bend it. You see number six? I don't have a fucking porch, and I sure as hell don't drink lemonade. It's almost incredible, the things people will believe. You've just got to know how to say it.


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"What, George?"

He didn't have time for this. He was trying to be patient--with George, he usually did try--and he was succeeding, being very still and scarcely harsh, but it wouldn't last long. The longer George groped to find some phrase that might actually make its way out of his throat and into a coherent conversation, the more sharply aware Roma became of the time. He had leads to follow, clients to meet. Work to do. And George "Can't Put Three Words Together" Aaronow was keeping Roma from getting any work accomplished.

George was waving a hand again, wildly, trying valiantly to make those words fit. "This contest... Where'd they come up with this contest? What right do they have to...?"

All right, all right. Be calm. The man had a point here, somewhere. He usually did, so long as you knew where to look for it. Yes, this contest bullshit was ridiculous. Degrading, even. Sell these shit leads or you're fired, just like that? Bullshit. There was no denying that. Roma, however, had accepted the fact of its existence and moved on. Not that he had much to worry about; Roma was safe, Roma was at the top of the goddamned board, and Roma wasn't going anywhere.

Still, the answer was not to reiterate the unfairness of the contest or bemoan their terrible, terrible fate. George seemed to be set on that particular solution--which wasn't a solution at all, so much as it was a very real pain in the ass--but it wasn't an answer that would get anyone anywhere. The real answer was to get out there and sell. Do something about it, for Christ's sake.

"I just--I--Why do they...? This contest..."

He'd heard enough. Roma moved into his expression of grave impatience, giving an accustomed look that clearly communicated his intent: 'You have exactly ten seconds to say whatever it is you're trying to get out, and when I say ten seconds, I mean five.' Let George read of that what he could.

Apparently, George missed the meaning. Oh, he was looking, all right, but that didn't hurry him any. He only continued on as before. "Look, I can't, I can't--I don't know what they expect me to..."

There it was, enough as enough, and the time was up. Roma broke in, grabbing his briefcase and already heading toward the door. "Okay, George, you know what? You can tell me later. Later. I'll buy you dinner, something. I'm sorry, I've got people to see, I've got to go. Later."

And that was it. That and a few quick steps, and George was left behind, still blinking, while Roma walk down the hall and out the door, free. Free at last, to get to his goddamned work, do his goddamned job. And if that left George put out or confused, so be it. He'd work it out, eventually.


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This is just one more reason to steer clear of any long-term relationship. I'm not just talking marriage, here. I mean living with a woman, I mean staying with any woman for a couple of months. You do that, you give her a chance to get her claws into you. Big fucking mistake. You are very much mistaken if you think she won't use that opportunity, and I would suggest that you take a step back, breath deep, and reconsider your situation. Do it. You'll thank me.

What I'm saying is, you keep a woman around too long, she gets comfortable with her situation. She begins to think that she owns everything in sight. What's hers is hers, what's yours is hers, and if you wait long enough, you might as well tie a rope around your neck and hand her the other end, because she will consider you to be something that she can handle. That belongs to her. Seems to me that any guy with half a brain is going to stay away from that situation.

That instance of sleeping on the goddamned couch is just one example of what a woman will do, given the opportunity. It shows what a woman will do to you. Sleeping on the couch is just a sign a guy's had too much of a broad. Any man finds himself in that position needs to see it for what it is, a sign that it's time to get the hell out. As soon as you start feeling uneasy being in bed with a woman, get the fuck out of there entirely. You stick around, hanging out on the couch, letting this woman have the bed to herself, and what the hell are you?

Fucking nuts, is what I say.

And I tell you again, don't believe the shit she'll feed you about being yours forever, doing what you'll say, because it's bullshit. I've heard it, and I've seen other men up against it, and it is bull fucking shit. They'll conveniently forget as soon as they think they've got you, you remember that.

Let me tell you a story. Consider it an example. I know a man--I work with him--who starts talking one morning about how he had a rough night, a real hell of a time, and so he didn't get much sleep, and he was feeling like shit twice over, his back was sore and blah blah blah. All because he was kicked out to the couch for the night. And this son of a bitch keeps moaning, looking for sympathy, like we should all give a good goddamn. Me? I just fuckin' laughed. You want sympathy, you don't start talking about how some woman forced you to sleep on a couch. You sound like some sort of spineless asshole... Of course, Moss is a spineless asshole. He was just proving it, by telling this story to us.

My point is, anyone who lets some broad walk all over him like that deserves what he gets. Any broad you let stick around is going to give you hell, and if you don't deal with the problem, then you can goddamned well take the consequences, yourself. Not anyone else's problem. You want to end up like Moss, that simpering son of a bitch, that's your business. But don't even fucking try saying you weren't warned.

As for me? I don't sleep on any goddamned couch: that's me. That is how I live, yes, thank you.


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You've got to be fucking with me.

You want something, you go out and get it yourself. Magic potion? No, thank you. No goddamn way. You think I'm going to trust some sort of "magical potion," you're out of your goddamn mind. Yes, please, hand me that magical drink you've got there, and everything'll be swell. I'll have that Cadillac, I'll have more money than God himself, Moss'll drop dead, women will be crowding my doorstep, and--of course--I'll be the happiest man in the world. Uh-huh. Right. See this? This is me, not believing a word of it.

There's no point in talking about this, anyway, because there's no such thing. You want to talk about fairies and pixie dust while we're at it? Magic spells and wizards? All right, fine, you go ahead and talk about these things, but I'm through. Don't waste my time with shit that ain't real.

Look, I've met plenty of people fucked up enough to think they could rely on magic. Like if they just sat back--all nice and easy--and just waited, it'd come to them. Somehow, in some mysterious way, everything'd be solved. The bills will pay themselves, a brand new job will walk right up and grab 'em by the nose. Those guys are just fucking themselves over.

Which isn't to say that I particularly mind these individuals. So long as they do have money somewhere, and so long as you can work it out of them--sometimes, I swear to Christ, sometimes it's just as easy as telling the stupid bastards you've got a secret about the property you just can't reveal, it's so goddamn valuable--there guys can make pretty desirable clients. So I suppose I owe a big thank you to all the suckers in the world, only what the hell do I care? They can't hold onto reality and take care of themselves, that's their problem.

And that, my friends, is what believing in magic gets you.


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Mike's car wasn't in the drive.

Mike hadn't yet made it--Good Christ.

Rick usually made a point of arriving after his brother. Once Mike and his family had piled into the house, the possibilities of distraction were endless. A kid would run by, or there was something in Sheila's hair, or Mike might be forced to tell some story about patients of the neighbors or his finances. Fine. Those distractions--obnoxious as some of them might be--made the entire experience that much easier.

He'd fucked up this time, though. Rick could have sworn he'd calculated correctly, left the city when he should have, hadn't driven too fast... What the hell? The fault was with Mike, wherever he was, and there just might need to be words about that, once Mike managed to get himself over to the house. For now, Rick had the indisputable pleasure of dealing with their mother alone.

He braced himself before walking toward the house, muttering a brief, "God fucking help me."

It was the attack first...Collapse )


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Two words for you:

Bull. Shit.

((OOC-note says it comes in response to this picture, ye-es.))


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He'd had one hell of a night. Hell of a morning, too, spent in the best possible way. The woman he'd picked up had proven to be a worthwhile endeavor, displaying more skill than he had honestly expected. Not that she'd be sticking around; he'd directed her out shortly before leaving for the office. She'd been good looking, Christ yes, but between the voice and that vacant look that kept creeping into her eyes, he'd had enough. Time to move on.

Just now, Roma felt damned good. He'd showered off, gotten himself around, driven in, and he could still feel the woman, could see her clearly in his mind. Not a bad image to be carrying around, at all. And it was almost a shame that he hadn't brought her with him, just to show around the office... Hell, Moss would be furious, and there was something tremendously entertaining about a furious Moss. Would have been worthwhile. Then again, there were ways to bring it up without having the woman there (and that was probably better, with the way women tended to complicate actualities).

It was fortunate that Dave had a habit of making these things very easy. The moment Roma entered the office, he could feel Moss watching him, could feel him bristling already. Big goddamn surprise. "Fuck’ve you been, Mr. Roma?"

"Busy." Roma only brushed his hair back, heading directly for his desk.


"Uh-huh." Rick paused, looking up to see the look that Dave was shooting: half-confused, half-contentious, and already more than a little envious (whether he knew what of or not). Well. If Dave was going to press the matter, Roma wasn't about to step aside. "You remember the broad from the Chinks last night?"

"What? Yeah. The blond?"

"No, the redhead. Of course the fucking blond, the only one I was speaking to. The only decent-looking broad in the place. She decided to join me for the night, keep me company." Another quick glance up as he shuffled through a file. "You understand? I’ve been occupied, Dave." He didn’t need to say any more; the significance of his glance had told the rest.

There was a moment of silence, and then Dave spoke in that particularly negating way of his, as if by his own refusal to believe, he could make a fiction of the god's own truth. "You’re fucking with me."

"No, thank you."

"You had that?"


"Bullshit." Another glance upward, and now Moss was glaring daggers. Almost frightening, if he didn't do it all the goddamned time. "Bullshit. She wouldn’t do that. She wouldn’t touch you. No fucking way."

Roma just kept looking at him, watched in silence until Moss shook his head violently, breaking away and throwing a final sneer of a shout. "Fuck you, I hope your dick rots off."

"It does, I’ll be sure to send it to you, pal." Roma didn't laugh, didn't crack a grin, but goddamn, it was funny. A little easy, maybe, but that's how it was with certain forms of entertainment. Just set Moss off and watch him fume. Fucking hilarious, in its own way. And the bastard deserved as much. As if it had been such a goddamned shock...

Fuck him, anyway. It'd been a hell of a good night.


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He was ten minutes late. Fuck.

It wasn't a hangover--if he had one, he didn't notice it--and he hadn't overslept. He'd left enough time, the way he always did, to drive to the office, providing for difficulties with traffic... And for all of that, he'd still been fucking delayed, because some jackass had gone and gotten himself into a head-on accident. Good job. Fucking great. And since God knew the cops were useless, they'd all been crawling--

On this day, of all days. Most times, it didn't matter whether he came in at eight or ten of one. So long as he was getting his job done, he didn't need to be at any one place at such and such a time. The one time Williamson--that jagoff--decided to call them in for a meeting (and a morning meeting, no less, fuck knew what the hell that was about), or a discussion, or whatever it was, some asshole decided it'd be a lot of fun to drive his very new-looking Buick straight into some piece of shit old scrap. Life was one goddamned joyride.

By the time he made it to the office, he was, indeed, ten minutes late. Ten minutes. What--What was ten minutes? Who gave a shit?

Williamson would. Williamson who would give a shit. Ahhhh, fuck. It shouldn't matter that Roma wasn't there at such and such a time, but Williamson would pretend that it did, or think that it did, like it fucking mattered. Didn't mean a damn thing. Thing was, Roma didn't appreciate having anyone hold anything over his head, and he'd be damned if he let Willamson get away with anything of the sort.

The moment he strode into the office, Roma could see the look Williamson was giving, the eyes narrowed just enough to accuse (of WHAT, of fucking WHAT, so it was a few minutes, big goddamn deal), hands on the hips. Goddamn schoolboy fairy. Standing there like the situation was his, like he always did. And maybe, maybe at some other time, Roma could have appreciated Williamson's control. Just now, however, it stood between Roma and his own control--more importantly, his desk and his work--and that was entirely unacceptable.

Wait. Wait. ...Williamson's control stood? No. No, it was trying to stand, and Roma wasn't about to allow this. Just as Williamson started to speak, opening that mouth of his for a lecture, Roma cut in, voice unassailable. 'Don't fucking start with me, John. Don't even fucking start.'Collapse )


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