October 23, 2014, Thursday
Dennis sat on the loveseat and played with the remote. He wore a decent wool suit but didn’t want to work that day. He flipped through the channels but mainly watched Brandon sitting at his desk reading articles on his computer.
“You don’t have cable?” Dennis asked.
“Ain’t set up, yet.”
“How do you not have cable? I need my ESPN.”
Brandon poured a glass of wine, but he didn’t want to tell his friend about his ambivalence for sports and pop culture.
“Did I tell you about the house I’m showing?” Dennis asked.
“Aren’t they all the same?
Dennis changed his mind and decided not to tell Brandon this was the actual house he had planned on buying for him and his ex-fiancée, so he asked for a beer instead. “I have three families bidding on it, so I think it’s pretty much sold.”
“Should make for a nice commission,” Brandon said. “Fridge is open. You can get a beer yourself.”
Dennis remembered how he would have set up the nursery.
James and Andy watched Kao at the grill while they talked. He had his back to them. A bystander might be upset by the setting, since they were talking about business, but both of them knew he was paying more attention to them than to the steaks and mushrooms over the fire.
“Why do we still do this?” Andy asked.
“We don’t really have to,” Kao responded.
“Have has nothing to do with it,” James said.
“Look, this is the thing,” Kao said looking over at James. “We made promises a long time ago. Well, at least I did. But that was a long time ago. I’ll talk to him about what he wants to do. I think he kind of knows either he goes in completely with us or he keeps doing what he’s doing by himself.”
Tony Chao walked through the back door and the whole mood changed. He had a bottle of Hennessy and a carton of Newport. “Just for you, James.” He was not serious.
“Nigga, please!” James said.
Tony, who had more street cred than anyone at the table, put his phone on the table and it played some old Tupac song, “…you don’t want to fuck with me…”
And before anyone knew it, Tony dumped chicken feet from a white plastic bag onto the grill.
“Erica! I need the food processor!” Tony yelled. He planned on making a dipping sauce with Thai chili peppers, limes and cilantro.
Tony handed each of the men thick envelopes full of cash.