Everyone makes mistakes–even me.
I can’t remember the exact date; probably too much booze has erased the “particulars”, but I do remember the conversation…and I wished I didn’t.
The name on the door says “D. Robison, Public Relations, and I’m a PR Guy.
The door doesn’t lock good, so that means anybody can walk in. On this day my informant, Dudley, walked in as my partner, Skyler, and I were reviewing a possible client’s file.
Dudley always reminded me of Ernest T. Bass on “crack”, but he had a knack for getting odd jobs at golf courses, restaurants, lounges, and hotels. He heard things–bad things–PR things.
“I got something for ya, ‘Mr. D.’ it could be big!” he blurted out.
“Okay,” I said, “Whaddya have?”
His eyes darted towards Skyler.
“Not while he’s in the room. He gives me the willies.” Dudley protested.
“ME! Give you the willies? rebutted Skyler, “You’d creep out Stephen King and Michael Jackson’s love child!”
“Alright, Alright,” I tried to calm the situation, “Skyler take the file in the back room while I talk to Ern…I mean Dudley.”
Skyler left the room, taking the January copy of Penthouse with him.
“Okay Dudley, spill it” I said.
“Okay, Okay, here’s the deal” He started. “About three weeks ago I was talking to dis guy who offered me some work up north, it sounded good, the money wasn’t bad so I hopped a bus to Michigan; damn it’s cold up there…anyway I was working at this convention center, ya know, cleaning up, taking out the trash, whatever.
So, anyway, ev’ry body up there must be in the mob, cause they all do stuff for this guy they call “Da Boss”. They even want to elect him Gov’nor.”
“Wait a minute” I interrupted. “Da Boss? Don’t you mean DE-VOS?”
Dudley was quiet for a beat, and then said,
“Whatever” and he continued.
“So, one day, these guys are walking around the yard of this place and they mention Quixtar”
“Quixtar? Really?” I asked.
“Yeah yeah yeah,” Dudley said, “Quixtar…so my ears perked up cuz I know you are always ‘innersted’ in what goes on there”
“Right,” I agreed.
Dudley continued. “So, I followed them around most of the day; making sure I don’t look too noticeable, and then it happened.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well, this one guy, goes to buy a cup of coffee at this street dude’s cart and he pulls out the money and drops a piece of paper from his pocket on the ground. He don’t notice it, but I do. So, when they walk across the street I pick up the paper and pocket it.” Dudley finishes.
I light a cigarette and ask the inevitable question.
“You still have the paper?”
“OF COURSE I STILL HAVE IT!” Dudley exclaimed, “Which is why I’m here…you want it?”
“How Much?” I ask.
Dudley said, “$20 bucks”, without missing a beat.
“20 bucks? Is it really worth 20 bucks? This week has me a little short.” I lamented.
“Jee-zus Mr. D! I thought I could count on you, man. That hurts me, man, that really hurts me”
I lowered my head.
“Alright Mr. D, I’ll let you look at it…and if you think its worth the money; you pay me…if not; I walk.” Dudley bargained.
He threw the paper on my desk and I took a look.
It appeared to be an uncompleted checklist for the development of the, “Then” un-designed website, ThisBizNow.
I told Dudley, “Dude, this isn’t anything. It’s obviously not the original plan, just a working copy, these guys at Quixtar probably have all kinds of folks working on this.”
“But Mr. D,” Dudley said, “The checklist ain’t complete, what if all this doesn’t get done? Shouldn’t you tell someone? You could be in da dough, for coming in with dis.”
“No, Dudley,” I held my ground, “This doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about; after all, the only thing they haven’t done on the list is to buy one measly domain name; and I’m sure they have bought it by now”
“Fine, just fine,” Dudley said indignantly, “I bring you good info, and you snub it; you thumb your nose at it…that’s okay by me…I’ll sell the info to some one else.”
“Who ya gonna sell it to? Who else would be interested in a website about Quixtar and a similar domain name that’s probably not even available now.” I countered.
Dudley headed toward the door, “Ya know what, Mr. D? I bet Bo Short would gimme 20 bucks for this slip of paper.” And with that, Dudley walked out and slammed the door.
I crushed out my cigarette and leaned back in my chair. I mean, I really thought it wasn’t anything to worry about.
My partner, Skyler, walked back into the room minus the “client file”, and yet with a somewhat satisfied look on his face.
He looked at me for a moment and then frowned and said.
“And, I thought I was the dummy!”
I pulled a bottle out of the desk drawer, poured myself a shot, and hoped my mistake would not come back to haunt me.