Andy worked 4 jobs. (1) He was a waiter at the Mc Cormick Center Plaza, which is where we met. (2) He worked at UPS unloading boxes from trucks. (3) He cleaned a bar every morning. (4) He was a hired thug for different gangs.
Andy had at least 4 girlfriends as well. None of them knew of the others’ existence. It wasn’t that he was particularly clever; they were all particularly stupid. He had an infant son with one of them. Because she was black, his mother wouldn’t allow her or the baby inside the house. Because he was half Italian, he still lived with his mother.
His mother, although married to a Mexican and clearly a minority in her own right, was extremely racist, which is why she adored me. He brought me around to show me off to her a few times, and she was not inhibited about her dying wish being a holy union between her son and me. Not that she was dying; she simply had a dramatic streak a mile wide.
Over time, I had the opportunity to meet all of Andy’s girlfriends. They were all very sweet and each one of them confided in me that they suspected he might have “someone else”. I was very sweet in return and assured them I hadn’t seen any girls in Andy’s company, with the one exception of whomever I happened to be talking to that day. For some reason which I do not know and would probably not be proud to find out about, I personally was above suspicion.
Andy was quite the charmer. He had a mustache like Heraldo Rivera and the first time he ever met me, he promised me “I’m gonna lick you DRYYYYYYYYYY”, which I found rather amusing, if not completely endearing. But, like most good one-liners, it ended up getting sweeter with time/sinking in on me, and over time, the oft-repeated phrase became a reliable refrain of comfort and consistency in my otherwise manic routine.
In spite of his racist upbringing, Andy was an equal opportunity thug. He and his friend, a very large man with nondescript features and whose name I forget, were like the "Equalizers" of the Chicago gangland community, providing street justice to all -- for a fee. Not to negate their own strong work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurialism; but what really made them a hot commodity was the fact that between the two of them, they owned two coffins.
The basic drill was this: some homey needed some other homey to be taught a lesson. Andy and his friend's paid service was simple yet very effective, and in continuous high demand: they'd follow their target and knock the person out with a baseball bat. When the guy woke up, he'd find himself inside a closed coffin. Then he'd completely freak out and repent, at which point he would be released back into the wilderness of Gangland.
According to Andy's own clinical field studies in the matter, people tend to change their ways very rapidly when they wake up inside a coffin.
What worked for Andy, worked for me. He was the only guy I knew who seemed to be able to afford to buy me steak for dinner on a regular basis, and I truly respected that gentlemanly quality in him. He kind of came across as a pretty nice guy on a number of different levels, as long as you ignored the 4th job, the 4 other girlfriends and his partner's claims that he made and ate cat roadkill pizza on a regular basis. I didn't like to think of myself as "easy" or having low standards; rather I preferred to think of myself as having an open mind and an open heart, and from that point of view I'd say there were worse guys out there that I could've been dating.