One thing for sure, Uncle V’s business—as business, now—was as money as a business can be. Its revenues were pure profit and customers killed one another to give him his fees. He expended no effort to provide his service; in fact, the less he did to control the flow of product from the manufacturers to their distributors, both of whom paid him handsomely, the more richly was he rewarded. The product itself he never handled. Nothing did he handle but details, the politics and cash. As for his uncling—as business, now—that was exemplary too. Uncle V had plenty of time for me, and resources to lavish on my attention. I didn’t know why he was taking me instead of his friends, but whatever he was given tickets to see, we never looked over anyone’s head to watch the show. The one time someone tall did sit in front of me, Uncle V paid him to move to a higher row, but let the man’s date stay and later talked her into his car. Once at his beach house, I met an undersecretary from the drug enforcement agency whose girlfriend Uncle V had kidnapped from the agency’s Christmas party; I don’t think he meant metaphorically. He got me my girl too, but he warned me she was on loan; eventually he took her back. I see now everything was on loan, the favors and the loyalty. He didn’t name me to the grand jury, but I’m sure that won’t be cheap. He’ll probably make me pay him back for the MBA, maybe even the law school. I guess I don’t have a complaint. She was a very loving girl for the time she was with me, better than I ever would have gotten on my own.

Copyright © April 25, 2008 David Hodges

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