We'll call the guy Mr. Perfect, football hero. Mr. Perfect's guys would call Billy, and Billy would call me and he'd say what he always did.
The regulation stuff-the tee times, the comps at casino, the cigars that tasted like they'd come straight from Castro's own humidor, the reservations for the shows-that was as easy for me as lying is for the President. But usually with stars, even ones who had an image as squeegee-clean as a sitcom dad, there'd probably be a nanny in the package somewhere.
Nanny is the polite way of describing what Billy just calls discreet pussy, in Vegas or anywhere else.
It worked this way for jocks, for politicians and movie stars and CEOs and university presidents and presidents of your favorite sports teams, even the Secretary General of the U.N. one time. It's also how I worked, at least before pro football car-jacked me.
So let's say that in addition to trying to break par and break the bank at Billy's tables, Mr. Perfect-even with Mrs. Perfect back home, organizing another charity auction-also wanted to get laid. Most of the high rollers did. Even the God guys.
Especially the God guys, if you want to know the truth.
A few years ago, when the whole world was in town for a Tyson fight, I accidentally walked in on a famous Christian quarterback just as his nanny finished up with something that seemed to fall under the general heading of an oil change. When she'd left the room, I said, "If you don't mind me asking, how does what just went on here fit in with your religious beliefs, exactly?"
The quarterback shook his head sadly, and sighed.
"Jammer," he said, "we've all got needs."
If my latest football hero was feeling needy that weekend, I was supposed to help him out. The real trick was getting the girl into the hotel and around the hotel and finally out of the hotel, keeping her discreet while still making sure she enjoyed her free time. That way she wouldn't end up feeling like a love slave who'd sell her story someday to the National Enquirer or The Star and eventually end up as a featured selection on Oprah's Book Club.
If the drill went the way it was supposed to, and it usually did, the only people who ever saw the quarterback and his nanny together were his guys and my guys and me.
The drill went like this: She'd register at the concierge desk with one of Perfect's security guys. The two of them would check into their room, which the security guy would end up using. There'd be an adjoining room next door, which would stay empty. And on the other side of that would be one of Billy's Temple of Gold-type suites, which are equipped with everything except a helicopter pad and indoor rain forest. That's where our perfect hero was waiting. The suite would have a private elevator, outside phone lines, even a personal chef on twenty-four-hour call, one of the more versatile guys from what I called my A Team.
The only guys working that floor would be from my own Casino Host staff. Jammers in training, I called them. I'd also have alibis set up in advance, around the golf and the gambling and the fight, even a log I could produce if I had to, one that would show my star at God's Acre between noon and five o'clock, say, then eating dinners with friends-all male, of course-at a certain time. Then at a particular blackjack table from the time the fight ended until four or five a.m.
All in all, it would be a timeline that would make O.J. hot, just in case a suspicious wife or some asshole reporter came around looking to ask questions afterward.
Maybe you're starting to understand the irony of my nickname now: I didn't get you into jams, I kept you out of them. Unless, of course, you rubbed Billy or me the wrong way and a compromising situation-another of my specialties-was required.
Reprinted from Bump & Run by Mike Lupica by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Mike Lupica. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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