Chapter 16: Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Mike used his laid back Wednesday to study for a psychology exam and put the finishing touches on his high school girls’ basketball preview. He also finished up a feature story he had been doing regarding a shelter for abused women that had relocated to a neighborhood in nearby Welford. He took the bus to run those up to the paper, and he hoped he would run into Phil Snider, so they could perhaps exchange information regarding Flynn. Snider was out, but Dan Davis was there.
“You know, Mike,” Davis began, “this paper relies mostly on advertising and really doesn’t make a profit. It has existed from week-to-week and year-to-year because there are people in the community who believe in it. I’m getting great feedback from Jerry St. Armand at the RAP Center regarding your approach and solid questions. He’s looking forward to your feature article. I know a couple of the girls’ basketball coaches at Central and Northern, and they tell me no one has ever been as thorough in terms of getting these girls some coverage. I just want to say that there’s a place for you at the paper once you graduate. Let me know if that is ever of any interest to you.”
“Thanks, Mr. Davis. I certainly want to keep my options open, and it’s good to know that I have made a positive impression. I really appreciate the opportunity here.”
Back on campus, he looked out his window at Brew Pond. It was approaching mid-October, and by recent afternoons, the temperatures had begun to dip to uncomfortable levels. The ducks and the geese might need to consider getting the fuck out of here a little early this year, he thought. Despite the temps, one man braved the elements and was feeding bread to the birds at the summit of the bridge. He looked disheveled and out-of-place given what appeared to be advanced years even from Mike’s vantage point. He saw the man raise his right arm to throw a morsel and noticed a patch on the elbow. Fuck me. If that’s who I think it is, then we’re going to need to talk. Mike bolted out of his room and skipped waiting for the elevator, opting to take the stairs.
“I know you’re not here just to feed the ducks,” Mike greeted Phil Snider upon his arrival to the bridge.
“Nah, I’ve got the fucking geese covered too. So, hey, good looking guy like you, how many of these coeds have you banged?” Snider asked as he continued throwing bread.
“I’ve got a girlfriend, Phil.”
“So you’re stupid!”
“But seriously, Phil, what brings you to this side of town?”
“We may need to talk, Mike.”
“I think you’re right. The quietest place I know are the dorm rooms, and my coed floor will be a great place to see if you can still get a hard-on.”
“Yeah, you’re real funny, you little dick! I actually was meeting with the dean of the business school this morning, but as you know, there are other things that interest me here.”
“So this is how you spoiled fuckers live,” Snider said as he surveyed the dorm room and looked out the window. “So you’re going to need to go first.”
Mike started, “The guy you’re tailing is Flynn. I don’t have a last name, but I can tell you who he is seeing here. He’s got a girlfriend who lives on my floor; she’s the resident advisor, R.A. He may have brought a girl named Tatiana to this floor, so she can turn tricks. He knows a very sketchy guy named Little John, an ex-con who is the world’s oldest college student. Most importantly, he is fucking with one of my best friends, a baller, who doesn’t know any better and already accepted some money from him. Your turn.”
“So Flynn is his last name. His first name is Carter, but he uses those interchangeably depending upon where he is and who he is with,” Snider revealed. “He fucks a lot of girls besides your R.A. because he basically is a pimp and a drug dealer, but he disguises himself well.”
“What do you mean?”
“He has campaigned with the city commission as a guy who wants to revive Sylvan. Think about it; the Jewel is about to close down, and Flynn comes in to find a purpose for it. He keeps it open two weekday nights for Amateur Night, and keeps the old people happy with Saturday and Sunday old movie matinees for $2.00. Funny thing is you should see all the old farts that go to Amateur Night.”
“How would you know?”
“I’m one of them.” Snider's wheezing laughter moved the clouds in his lungs like a strong breeze. His shoulders shook, and his face turned red.
“What else does he do to sell himself?” Mike smiled out of courtesy but found his patience thinning like Snider's hairline.
“The Railroad Inn has been a neighborhood watering hole, but it has seen better days. It was about to close down a couple months ago. He has put a little money into it, so the locals still have a place to go, but rumors are that he’s running some illegal card games and some sports betting out of the back room.” Snider bummed a Merit and a light off of Mike and continued. “He’s a clean cut college boy who is doing some student teaching at Northern High, but he recruits talent for select clientele out of both venues with the high end escort talent coming out of Hillview and some barely-legal dark meat coming out of Northern. That old 25-unit dump of a motel by the Railroad Inn, can’t remember its name, is his, and don’t think his street walkers aren’t making use of it.”
“But where’s his money coming from?”
“His old man is Donald Flynn, a personal injury attorney out of Lake Pointe. Mommy and Daddy got divorced when Carter was two, and his dad’s involvement with his son has been setting him up with anything and everything.”
“How old is this guy, Phil?”
“Maybe 24 or 25, but he keeps busy around the clock. I’m pretty sure he deals coke, but it’s mostly weed that keeps him popular at Hillview. He should have been a business major, but he’s getting cocky, and it’s just a matter of time before he slips up somewhere.”
“What do you know about Little John because he’s shared with us some things?” Mike went into the bio that Little John provided for them during the show.
Snider digested the question for a few moments and said, “Can’t say I know anything about Little John other than shit has a way of attracting shit. Carter Flynn is a user of people, and I’m sure Little John serves some purpose for him.” Snider looked out at the pond. “I gave you as much as I’m willing to for now.