“Reputation, it’s all about reputation,” Mr. Davis began, “And that, my friend, is just a matter of perception. You can spend years and years trying to build a reputation but if no one buys into it you are screwed. That’s where we come in.” He took a long pull of his bourbon, draining. The ice clinked together as he set the glass back on the table. “We could use a sharp-looking kid with a good head on his shoulders, much like yourself to head up this project. You got the chops, boy let me tell you we seen that, but what you ain’t got is the standing in the community.We can make that happen for you.”
Jerry looked down at his own, untouched drink and scratched his nose with his thumbnail. “What do you have in mind?”
“Well for starters, no one knows you around here, so we work that to our advantage; build you from the ground up. You’re from New York right?”
“Trenton, New Jersey. It’s the capital.” Jerry replied and reached for his glass. He held it but didn’t lift off the table.
“You’re from New York now, one of the boroughs. Doesn’t matter pick one.” Davis waved his hand to get the waitress’ attention. “You ain’t touched your drink. Whats the matter, ain’t you thirsty?”
Jerry picked up his gin and tonic, swirling it a couple up times and then put it back down. He watched the lime bob around for a moment and said, “I’m plenty thirsty, I guess. I’m just trying to pay attention here.” He picked it up again and took a short sip of it. “Go on, what else?”
The waitress dropped of another drink for Davis. he picked it up, took a sip and began to gesture with it, his index finger pointing out as he spoke “Right, that’s good. Just a little advice though, don’t fiddle with your drink so much. Makes you look nervous, it’s bad for appearances Where was I?
“New York,” Davis leaned back and a small burp escaped his lips, “Well, we got a guy in New York who’ll vouch for you. He’ll say you did solid work for him, nothin’ too heavy. Moving product, maybe a little strong-arm stuff. We can fill in the details later.”
“That don’t sound like it’d do much for my reputation,” Jerry scowled.
“Just the beginning my young friend. We got a guy here that’s looking to retire, you know get out. Now normally that ain’t easy to do but, we can make that happen. We set you up in his territory, there’s a small power struggle, you win. He leaves town for greener pastures, it looks like you ran him out. I don’t maybe we make it look like you whacked him, we’ll play it by ear.”
“Won’t that piss his bosses off?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. He’s kinda screwin’ things up on his own as it is but, they just don’t like getting rid of people unless they have to. Kinda makes the rest of their herd nervous,” he looked down through the ice at the bottom of the glass. “Point is they’ll notice you, they’ll do some digging and they’ll find what we set up for them find. They’ll look at your credentials and try to avoid a problem by getting you to work for them.”
“That easy, huh?” Jerry took a long swig off his gin, “You really think for one minute that if I waltz into their town, start working their streets, and get rid of one of their boys, that they’re just going to up and offer me a job? Sounds like bullshit to me.”
“We’ve done it before,” Davis replied. “I ain’t talking about you marching in like some damned storm trooper. We’re looking at a slow burn here, months of set up. Really take the time to build up your reputation, see. But you’re right it is bullshit. A whole great big mound of it, the trick is that we pile it up high enough that no one’s able to see around it. ” He finished his second drink and pushed the glass to the middle of the table. “So how ’bout it kiddo, you in?”