“You’re a ruthless mother fucker, I’ll give you that Bernie. Next to you, the midnight strangler looks like the “Morning Snuggler”. You gotta settle down before you piss Tony off”. Bernie’s beetle-black eyes sparkle in the lamp light as his smirk becomes a grin. Gapped tooth filled black by shadow giving him a comical look as he opens his mouth,l. His tooth like he’s just bitten into thick, chocolate cake, “Yeah but I get shit done. Tony has a soft spot for my work. I’ve never let him down”. Just then the door clicks behind their soft, leather recliners.
A gruff voice scarred with cigar smoke cuts through the now silent room like a boot on gravel, —Bernie, the name sounding like marbles rolling over fine sand, “Nice work as always” Bernie glances sideways and smiles at his scowling companion. “You always get it done. Like everyone says. How about you join my payroll? We could work out a handsome agreement, one that compliments your looks and the quality of you work”. Bernie’s jaw drops as his ears decipher the obvious message just delivered to him. “Yes sir” he beams, “until I die, or you find someone better”. “Alright, alright haha, settle down. Be here first thing tomorrow. We have to go to The Diamond. You’re driving. Be sober. Be respectable. I’ll have your balls if you fuck up. You’re my golden boy for now, but in the mean time. Get the fuck out of my office.”
After Bernie and his unnamed companion leave tho office, Tony flicks his phone and taps a brief number into the set. Three short rings before it answers and the excited pitch of a woman greets his ear, “Mr Tony, how wonderful to hear from you sir. What may I help you with today?” Chirped the singsong voice through the speaker. Tony clears his throat, “Yes hello? Mary? I’m very well thank you, my dear. I need to ask a favour if I may be so bold…” —Yessir? What do you need? Asked the warm voice. “I need you to book me a room for one at in Bedford, as close to The Diamond as you can get. Book it for the name Terry and I’ll pay cash when I get there.” “Yes sir, that can certainly be arranged, is there anything else I can do for you?” No thank you Mary, you’ve been wonderful as always. If you feel under your desk towards the back, you’ll find a small package taped to the underside. Unstick it and open it, I’ll stay on the line.” “OK,” a nervous chuckle comes through the set, he can hear the phone being put down and the chair’s wheels, moving along the carpet.
A few seconds pass when he hears a delighted laugh and the phone on the other end scrape back up the way it came down, and back to Mary’s excited voice. “Mr Tony, it’s simply too much. I. I. I don’t know what to say” stammered the stunned PA. Tony chuckles into the phone and tells her not to mention it. It’s a gift from him to her for the approaching Christmas season and she is a valued member of his team. He tells her he must be going and for her to take her Christmas break now. Spend the time with her family. Mary sounds flustered and excited, she blurts out another bout of thanks and love before hanging up. Tony smiled. He liked Mary.