After we spent all afternoon moving his equipment across the street, Gideon took a wad of money from his pocket and handed $100 bucks to each of the other guys in the crew. They promptly headed to the Fiddler to blow their money on liquor, leaving Gideon and I alone in the new studio with the boxes, furniture, and music equipment.
Gideon licked his thumb and swiped $300 from his still substantial ball of dough.
“And these three bills are for you, Danny.” he said.
“No, Gideon. I can’t take money from you.”
“Sure you can. You worked hard. You spent all Sunday doing this for me.”
“You know me. I didn’t have anything better to do today.”
“Listen, I wouldn’t have asked you if I thought you wouldn’t take the money.”
“I was just helping you… as a friend.”
“Did you see any other friends here?”
“So, I’m just like these other guys you hired. Are you saying I’m not a friend?”
“Of course you are a friend. And that’s why I asked you. I know you’ve been out of work. So when Jill suggested…”
“So, Jill told you to call me to give me a job. Like a charity case.”
“She’s worried about you.”
“I would have rather you just called me as a friend.”
“Just take the money,” he said, as he tried to shove the $300 into my shirt pocket. “I know you need it.”
I slapped his hand away.
“Just take the fucking money,” he yelled.
“I don’t want your fucking money.”
Gideon grew red-faced. He was not the type of man who liked no for an answer. He grabbed me in a stranglehold, tightening his arm against my throat.
“You’re going to take the money,” he said, as he pushed the money down the front of my pants, into my underwear. I pulled away, removed the bills, and ripped them into shreds, spilling it on the floor like confetti.
“No wonder you can’t find a job,” said Gideon. “You’re an idiot.”
“I should have been the one who married Jill, not you.”
“Well she chose me. That’s life in New York City. Winners win, loser lose.”
“Good. Well, tell her I’m not fucking her anymore when you’re in LA for months on end.”
Gideon jumped me like a hungry lion smelling meat, and I elbowed him in the face, breaking his nose. Gideon tripped me and I fell, my head slamming against the edge of a synthesizer. My vision grew dark and I needed to vomit. I grabbed Gideon’s leg and he fell on a pile of framed photos stacked on his desk. Portraits of rock icons destined to decorate the studio walls. Crash! The glass pieces flew through the air like tiny knives.
For the next twenty minutes we beat the shit out of each other, until we were too bloody and exhausted to continue. Using my last ounce of strength, I rallied myself to stand, and limped over to the front door.
“I have to go,” I said as I entered the gray day outside. “I have to look for a job tomorrow.”