From a dream I had…I’m with some cool government white-hat cats in this purple old Ford panel van, something out of The Waltons via American Graffitti with slick modern Goodyears and the lush power rumble of a primo big block Chevy engine under the hood. The Feds are dressed to the nines: sharp suits and fedoras, vests, pointed shoes, but not effete: we’re talking button sleeves and half windsors, none of that Kevin Costner Armani crap–we’re going full bore Robert Stack.
We are moving in on the bad guys, who we know are staked out in a reservoir dog warehouse down a narrow alley, mostly shaded but for the weak glow of a single street light. I’m in the back. A man who would be Elliot Ness is driving with a beautiful woman from a soap opera riding shotgun–and Elliot, he drives that gaudy machine right down the alley and parks it so close to a black limo we’ve been shadowing, I say “They’ll spot this car in a heartbeat, it will stand out too much.”
And Elliot says, “we’re counting on it.”
Then, as soon as he said it, a wedge of gangsters appears from a building, moving towards us.
“Just stay cool kid, this is all part of the show.”
So it’s a setup, a sting. Elliot and the soap opera shotgun queen step out to greet the gangsters–but I don’t know the plan. Stay cool, kid, she stage whispers.
I sit there, arms crossed, try to look tough but ready for action–the body guard waiting in the car as a sign of good faith to the gangsters. I hear Elliot saying, “Just to show you my respect, Louie, I left my muscle in the car.” Gangster eyes peer in through the windows at me, the enemy muscle. I nod, try to make like a volcano: cool on the outside, ready to blow.
It is all about good will, and the gangsters ask me out of the car–they need to check me for weapons. I’m unarmed. They want to x-ray the packages.
There are packages in the back of the panel van, three of them. I should know which to give them but I don’t.
And then the x-ray.
And then they find the gun….