Her voice was barely a whisper as she bent her head and continued in a whisper: "I'll take good care a you,"
"Non sei il mio tipo, ragazza,"
["You're not my type, girl."] I leaned into her with a furrowed brow and responded in a deadpan voice.
She looked confused as she smiled. "Well, whatever that means, I know you love me,"
"The Impressions are out front," the recording studio engineer waved from his place. "Send them in?"
As I removed the cigarette from my ear, I responded with a nod.
"I have work to do sweetheart," I tapped her leg.
"Do the honors?"
She placed the fedora on my head before putting on my Ray-bans.
With the cigarette in the corner of my mouth, I then searched the pocket of my trousers and finally emerged with a match.
"The one and only, Mr. Jaydex Theodore!" The Impressions burst in with excitement.
"How are you gentlemen," I stood to greet the men, while I cupped my hands around the cigarette flame, and shook the flame from the match before tossing it into the astray.
They settled into nearby chairs.
"The boys are dirty, we can't get anything. We haven't performed in six months...our manager managed to secure a link with Frank Sinatra, and he sent us over to you," Fred Cash from the Impressions spoke.
"Yeah, you know...Frank was telling us that you look out for us black folks," another member chimed in from the wall.
"I'm glad you gentlemen came to see me. But I have a venue set and reserved in Miami-" I snapped a finger.
"So Nothing for us?" the men began.
"Hea me out gentlemen, I got somethin' for you, I wouldn't send you back to Chicago empty handed," I sniffled as I paced the room.
"But we have to play smart and get you back up on those charts. There's a high school In Miami, Booker T. Washington. You'll perform there Monday. Remember, once you have the teenagers going wild, the adults will follow," I drew on the cigarette and let out a stream of smoke.
The men agreed in a murmur.
"You can expect a call soon," my assistant Monieva announced at the door.
The men left and I went back to the office. Just a door away from the studio. When I got to the chair, I buzzed Monieva.
"Talk to me, babe, what's for me?"
"She'll be calling in five," she replied.
Three days. I was proud of me, I'm doing good without it. I told myself.
As long as she called without any questions.
My stomach closed in tight, and In an instant I ran to the bathroom. Emptied nothing but liquor.
"A Withdrawal," I heard what seemed to be Mario.
Mario and I met as teenagers when his parents moved beside our house. My pa ended up corrupting his father, so from then we've been inseparable.
"Here," he smirked down and threw it in front of me.
With my left hand on the toilet seat. I used my right hand to push it away.
"Jaydex!" someone called from outside.
"Mario...?" I made a dizzied turn towards the door.
"Yeah, come on," he pulled me to my feet and walked me to the sofa in the office.
"Ava's on the phone," he stood over me and ran a hand through his hair.
Saliva ran down my chin as I laid Sprawled on the black sofa. Mario went in search of a tissue I assumed.
He handed me a shoe rag.
"That's how grown men play, boy," he looked down on me.
After I sat up, I grinned up at him.
"Bring the phone," I told him.
"Ma, you called me, will you talk or not?...Christo," I finished wiped my mouth with the rag.
"My boy...how is things. You told me that you were coming to see me," I could almost hear the smile in her voice.
"Things are fine,"
"...Are you home, Theo?"
"He hasn't called you...has he?"
"It's been a while," Mario's eyes and mine met simultaneously.
"You made me a promise, Theodore," she shuffled on her end until she hanged up.
My legs Began to shake. I needed to fix.
With a fix, I could think straight.
“That’s it! “
"Shut, up!" I roared back, and threw the telephone against the wall.
"Where's what?" Mario responded.
"You threw it in front of me in the bathroom," I began to search the office drawers.
“You tried withdrawing...” he strode to the window.
"You got some on you?" I then started to pace the room.
"I barely use it, no," Mario searched his person.
He was right. I introduced him to it, but he knew how to control himself. I didn't. We were different in many ways.