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Chapter 27

Can I Have a Cold Beer

“Sorry, you must be twenty-one.”

A reality came over Kyle. Like night over day, I can fight and kill for my country, but I cannot have a cold, foaming beer. Welcome home, soldier!

Kyle was feeling sorry for himself, sitting at the bar, staring out the window, wondering what he was going to do next. An elderly man was sitting at the end of the bar and overheard the conversation.

“Captain, you said you were a captain, didn’t you?”

Kyle looked over at the gentleman. “Yes, I did say that. Why?”

The elderly man told the barkeep to get him two six-packs, and then he paid for them. With beer in his hands, he said, “Captain, follow me outside, would you?”

Kyle got off his barstool and walked outside as told. The gentleman made a motion, and a limousine pulled up in front of the bar.

“John, this is Captain Stone. He is just back from Vietnam. Take him wherever he wants today, and make sure he has plenty of cold, foaming beer.”

Kyle just looked at him with a big smile, and the gentleman motioned to the limo. “Welcome home, Captain Stone!”

With a smile on his face from remembering that gentleman’s kindness he said to Driver, “Let us now talk about the unfinished business at the restaurant. I want you to get Stan again to help you, and this is what I want you to do to the one who placed the call.” Kyle went on to tell Driver how he wanted it done and to report back to him when completed. Driver gave Stan a call, and they met up before driving to Sausalito for their appointment with a busboy. Driver explained the plan and answered the questions he had so everything would go as planned. Once they get the busboy in the bathroom, Stan would watch the door as Driver took care of business.

Stan said, “Okay, he is heading to the bathroom as he was told to do by the server.”

“Good, I want him in a stall as soon as he comes in.” The server had told the busboy that there was a problem in the men’s room, and he needed to help. He entered the empty bathroom except for Stan and Driver.

Stan said, “Hey, buddy, welcome to the men’s room. The problem is over here in this stall.” The busboy looked concerned as he did as he was told.

Driver said, “Come on in. I have been waiting for you. We understand you like to make money on the side. Is that right?”

“Money on the side? I don’t know what you are talking about,” said the busboy as he looked around.

“Did you not make a call for someone to make a dollar? Did you not tell someone that someone was leaving the restaurant? Was that not you?”

“Yes, I made the call, but I did not know what it was about. I was just told that when the party on table 1 leaves, to call this number, and I did as they said. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”

“Cause any trouble? Did you know that you were setting someone up to be killed, huh? Did you know that?”

“Killed? Are you fucking kidding me? No, I am just a busboy.”

“You are a stupid busboy to have made a call and not ask why you are doing that. Due to the seriousness of this, we need to make an example of you and to make sure you do nothing stupid again, so give me your phone.” The busboy reached into his pocket to pull his phone out and handed it to Driver.

“Thanks, oh shit, I am sorry I dropped it right in the toilet. Now what are we going to use to get it out?”

“I will reach in and get it.”

“Yes, I know that you are but probably not the way you think.” With that, Driver, a much taller person than the busboy, grabbed him by his shoulders and muscled the busboy’s head to the toilet and then pushed him into his neck. The busboy gasped for air as he came up, drenched in toilet water.

“Oh no, you did not get the phone. What is wrong with you? Let us try that again.” As the busboy tried to say no, he was driven back under the water and then back out again.

“Stan, bring me the bag out there with our stuff in it. Thanks. Now you see, you have been what we call a rat, and do you know what we do with rats?”

“No, I don’t know. Maybe I do. I don’t know.” The busboy really messed up and was scared at this point.

“In my little bag here, I have a couple of things for you. Here is the first one. Put this sign over your neck.” The sign said Drowned Rat, and Driver pulled the second item out and gave it to the busboy.

“This one is for you to wear on your nose. Of course, we want you to look like a rat, and this rat mask will do the trick.” The busboy was now wearing the mask and the sign.

“Okay, you are a drowned rat, and most drowned rats don’t live, but we are going to let you this time, so learn your lesson well. Now, Stan, have him go outside, and I want him to wait for his tables as he would usually do until someone stops him, and then we are done. Mission accomplished. Stan, let’s go, and I will drop you off in the city. You said Van Ness and California, right?”

“Yes, Driver, that would be great. I have to ask you though, who thought of this last plan? I could not help but laugh my ass off when he came out of the stall. I hope you did not mind, but I couldn’t help myself.” Driver now drove to the top of Sausalito to catch the 101 south back across the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I will give you three guesses about who made this one up, and they all have the initials of KS.”

“Damn, this guy is good. How does he come up with this stuff so fast?”

“Well, they say he is royalty, and so it is his upbringing, not sure, but I am really enjoying being there for him.”

“I guess, he has a beautiful woman and, of course, the famous Mr. S. What is not to be excited about? You are one lucky guy.” Driver dropped Stan off and thanked him again for his help and headed back to the hospital and gave Kyle his status report, and he was feeling good for he had taken care of both problems in two days and happy he could do it. Kyle has had some quiet time to himself, a good chance to reflect on his new responsibilities and now the danger that was involved. He had determined that the perks were great, but any actions against a person or entity can have consequences, as he had just learned. He felt good though. He knew now that he had a good team underneath him to make sure everything goes well and that he is somewhat safe. It was a wake-up call. He knew now that he had to be careful and aware that these kinds of things can happen at any time, and that he must be aware.

Kyle said, “Come on in. I was just lying here, thinking about the past few days and all the excitement.”

Driver said, “It has been busy, that is for sure. Let me tell you about what happened at the restaurant. It seems that the busboy was someone who was just there and did not know Comish. He was just doing what he was paid to do.”

“Well, that is all well and good. His actions, innocent or not, just about got me killed, and that was the intent, maybe not his, but just the same.”

“Well, I did as you instructed, and it all went well. When he came out of the stall with the rat mask on, a sign saying he was a drowned rat and dripping with toilet water, it was hard for me not to start laughing. Stan could not help himself. He busted open when he saw him.”

“That is good. Was he a little humiliated and aware of what he did and why he was receiving this punishment?”

“Yes, he knew why.”

“I always want to be sure that if we initiate any punishment to anybody, I want to make sure that they know why, and our efforts are not wasted. Got it?”

“Yes, I understand and feel the same way.”

“Good, and thanks, Driver, for all that you have done. You did a very good job. I also wanted you to know that I had decided not to keep this a secret from Woody. I don’t want to start that, and I don’t know the consequences of doing so.”

“I am glad to hear this. I did not want to keep this a secret either, but it was up to you, and I take my order from you, I guess?”

“Yes, that is true. I spoke with Woody this morning, and that is one of the things he said, how we have gotten along so well and was able to contain a serious problem without any press or cops or anything else that could cause us problems.”

“What did he say about your plan of making the Comish confess and tell all?”

“He cracked up when I told him about how we hung him upside down, and he started to pee all over his pants. He gave me his compliments on a job well done, so you and I will continue to work together.”

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