Mr. Jones is an associate of Monk’s in the loosest sense of the word. They were thrown together in the search for Desiree Marshan. Since then, they’ve become friends of a kind.
We were stuck in traffic, somewhere between West Covina and Long Beach. No doubt the signs would say where, but I’d lost interest in that. Jones was on his phone. The sun beat down on us in what had to be one hundred degree heat as we sat in my ’64 Ford Falcon. The top was down.
“I gotta ask…” I was tapping on the side of the car.
“Ask what?” Jones put his phone down.
“Aren’t you hot? It’s hotter than hell and you’re wearing nothing but black! Shirt. Tie. Suit. Sweat’s running off your head.” I could feel the sweat as it beaded across his shaved pate.
“It’s a state of mind, Buttman,” was his answer.
“A state of mind?”
“Are you deaf?”
Jones shook his head, “It’s all in how you approach it, Buttman. Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean I have to give in and run around in a tee shirt and a pair of shorts. Besides, if you had a car from this century, there’d be AC and the hundred degree heat wouldn’t be a problem.”
“Then why didn’t you drive?” A perfectly legitimate question.
“The better question is why we’re even together!” His exasperation was showing.
“Because we weren’t smart enough to say no?”
“Speak for yourself, motherfucker.”
“Then it must be the stimulating conversations,” I offered.
“That’s what you got?”
“That’s what I got, motherfucker.”
Jones was stifling a grin, “You know I got a size and reach advantage over your sorry ass, right?”
I laughed at that. “Maybe.”
“See, stimulating conversations covering a range of topics…” I said.
“Like whether I can beat your ass?” he interrupted.
It was Jones’ turn to laugh.
The traffic jam began to break up and the movement along with a light breeze helped mitigate the heat.
Jones returned to his phone.
“Yeah, it’s me,” he said to whomever was on the other end. “I should be home soon. Yeah, I’m with Buttman.” He looked at me as I assumed Coretta, his wife, was speaking to him. “Cause I prefer Buttman to Monk,” he said. I shook my head. “Ok, love you too.” Jones put the phone in his pocket.
“Tell me again why I’m driving?” I was a little put out by the Buttman thing.
“Because I like havin’ me a white chauffeur, that’s why.”
I noticed the broad grin on his face.
“And you’re willing to sweat for it?” I snarked.
“It’s all a state of mind, Buttman, all a state of mind.”
Can’t argue with that!
©2019 David William Pearce