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Now, me, I divide humanity into three categories. On top are the socio-economic elites like Drake Looby, calculating and predatory and incompetent all at the same time, attending the charity galas, sponsoring the polo teams people whose overall worthlessness is masked by their wealth and class credentials. Category two is normal people, which means boring, like office workers. Category three is low life, like Dillon Looby, a.k.a. Lobo, calculating and predatory and incompetent all at the same time. Lobo was especially noteworthy in that, thanks to booze and drugs, he plunged directly from category one to category three without blinking. But I intuited that Lobo might have enough business wiles left in him that we could do a deal. He might be a wanton, self-centred parasite, but that’s pretty much the same as category one.
We rode up in the single working elevator and trudged along a corridor where the décor was graffiti and flickering fluorescent lights and a loud soundtrack which sounded like crashing boxcars emanated from a boombox in one of the apartments, which turned out to be Lobo’s own apartment, number 1410.
It was a bachelor pad, bare except for a few pieces of rundown furniture. Out the window you could see the skyscrapers downtown with their aviation lights blinking. A curtain strung from ceiling hooks separated the bed, actually just a mattress on the floor, from the rest of the space. The door to the balcony was open and a breeze wafted in, ruffling the curtain.
An anemic twentyish blonde sat at a table, next to the boombox and a few Ziploc bags stuffed with white powder. She had pixie hair, and tight jeans that emphasized how she was skinny as a stick. She didn’t like me at first.
“Who’s that?” she said.
“Buddy of mine,” said Lobo.
“Looks like a cop.”
“I’m not a cop,” I raised my voice above the radio.
“So who are you?”
“Think you could you turn the music down?”
Lobo flopped onto a chair. "This guy’s from the university,” he said.
“University? It’s a dumb-iversity.”
“Yeh, they make you dumb,” Lobo scoffed. Evidently this was some putative humor they shared.
“That’s not the point, whether university made you dumb. You made a pledge for $90,000.”
“Wow,” said the girl. “We can't pay that.” Her name was Cindy.
“Don’t sweat it, man,” said Lobo. “I’m going to pay. I can pay you right now.”
“No problem,” Lobo said. But he didn’t budge. He sat dopey-eyed and sort of rocking gently on the back legs of his kitchen chair.
“So, where’s the money?”
At length he hauled himself up and sidled over to the kitchenette. He rummaged through the cupboards, poked through the thicket of beer bottles and pop cans on the counter. He peered into a junk food bucket, then whacked it with the back of his hand and sent it flying.
“It was here, man. It's gone.”
“What do you mean it’s gone?” I said.
“Somebody stole it.”
“I've never been here before.”
“Well, you're here now.”
“You’re here now,” Cindy echoed, unhelpfully.