Inches Nitely and the Lizard’s Id by Tim Rocks
If you missed part one of Tim’s awesome story… click HERE or continue below for part two…
Bobby, the one with the stylish facial hair, stepped from the car and burped. “So… This where the great cartoonist lives?”
“This is it,” said Inches (full name: Inches Nitely. Best not to ask.)
Nice place. Guy drew funny pictures for a living and lived better than some bosses he had worked for. But this cartoonist owed El Racha 250 grand and was past due big time, which wasn’t funny at all.
The door opened almost before they knocked. Must’ve seen them drive up. Smart guy, not playing games. Be cool. Except that his knees were practically knocking together, so cool was no longer an option for this particular underwater mope.
They brushed past him with a few friendly words, taking in the foyer with its impressive staircase, crystal chandelier, and fresh red tulips in a vase that looked like something a museum would bid on. Ditto the marble-topped side table thingy. A sculpture of the cartoon lizard character added a more playful touch, along with a half dozen framed comic strips that looked about a million years old: some were the Dad’s strips no doubt, others from friends in the biz, with signed dedications and little doodles in the margins. Mostly the walls in this entry were white and bare of art though, all that
fucking WASP good taste and restraint, lots of subtle wood molding and a light airy open feel.
Bobby good-naturedly elbowing the guy in the ribs- “You’re living it up here, ain’t ya, Doc?” They moved on into the living room, picking up photos and commenting as he followed them, laughing nervously and trying to keep up with their banter. Sounded like some little kids were upstairs, their mother shushing them, probably trying to listen in.
“Now listen,” said the mope — what was his name? Oh yeah, “Jonathan”.
“Now listen,” said Jonathan “I know what this is about, and I AM working on it, okay?” –trying to pull himself together and take command of the situation. Bobby, his back to the underwater scumbag, saying “Yeah? You know what this is about, huh?”
turning and extending his piece right to the guy’s temple, pressing him down into a cowering heap of blubber. Taking things right up to the edge as usual. Nothing subtle and patrician about their line of work.
“I don’t know if I can help you, Jonathan,” said Inches, still idly examining the pictures on the wall and scattered about the sitting room. Much more bric-a-brac in this room. Decades of family photos and keepsakes. “Bobby is one . . . cold . . . motherfucker, as you’ve probably noticed.”
“Alright. Alright. I can help you guys, I can . . . Let’s just talk about it, alright?
Please . . . Just give me a chance to explain . . . ”
Inches nodded at Bobby. Bobby reholstered the 45 under his pleather jacket with the petulant look of a kid being told he can’t have any candy. They all sat down.
Jonathan told them about his dad’s medical bills that put a crimp in his lifestyle.
How the money from the strip was dropping faster than he ever imagined it could, as newspapers kept dropping like flies, more every day. He had tried gambling at Atlantic City, had some beginner’s luck that led him to bet way too much, and that’s when he got involved with El Racha.
“But here’s the thing, guys. I’ve been talking to some film producers, there’s a lot of interest in the strip, they see it as tapping into a lot of Gen X nostalgia out there. And it scores well even with younger generations. As soon as one of them bites, I’ll be in a position to pay this off with interest—”
Inches and Bobby exchanged snide looks.
Inches said, “Come on, Jonny . . . You think we’ll buy that? Those kinda deals are all talk, we know about deals like that. Those guys are full of shit.”
“Not in this case, I promise. They’re very serious. They sent me some concept art, let me show you . . . ”
Inches shrugged, started to follow him down the hall towards the studio. Bobby tugged at Inches’ shoulder, whispered “Let me shoot the bastard, please? You believe this bull-squeeze? You believe that I won’t ever take you serious again.”
“Calm down, Bobby, let’s just see this ‘concept art,’ okay? Then we’ll see.”
Okay. Thanks for stopping by…