Getting the Band Back Together

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"Getting the team back together? What is this, some kind of action movie sequel?"

"What are you talking about? I figured you'd be in. No questions asked."

"Hey, man, as you've pointed out, this is some new shit. And I don't have the luxury of just jumping into a job. I'm gettin' old. I got responsibilities."

"Yeah. So do I. That's sort of the point."

Jones ran his fingers through his greasy black hair. He looked the other man up and down. He took in the crusty, dirt-caked work boots-the circles under his eyes.

"What's really going on, man? Where've you been these last few years?"

"Out of the game, Jonesy. Out. Me and Theresa, we got married..."

"Oh, congratulations to you and the missus. Guess my invite got lost in the mail."

"Don't pull that with me."

"Pull what?"

"That sad-sack, woe is me, injured animal routine. I don't buy it."

"Why not, Cameron? It's fucking upsetting."

"I'm sure it is." Cameron attempted to quell his sarcasm, his rising agitation. Truth be told, he hadn't thought it would take any work to convince Mikey Jones to jump on board. He thought he'd mention the job, and Jonesy would be begging for a piece of the action. Like the old days.

"I feel like condescending to the guy you're asking a favor from ain't smart. And you were always the smart one, Cameron. Which is why this seems so goddamned bizarre."

"What? Me asking you for help?"

"Cute. No, you willingly hoppin' back into the frying pan. You apparently got a wife now."

"Yeah. I do. And a kid on the way."

Jonesy's face fought itself, simultaneously falling slack and brightening at the news. "Oh, this is not a good idea," he moaned. "This is not a good idea."

"I'm sure Theresa would agree with you. But what choice do I have?"

"I think you got lots of choices, my friend. You doing construction?"

Cameron looked down at his dusty jeans and stained tee. "How'd you guess?"

"Yeah, I'm a regular Sherlock or something." Jones sighed. "You seem like you have a solid gig. Why push this? Why call me out of the blue to meet up in some field. Shoulda known you weren't looking to grab a beer."

"Sorry. Next time I call I swear it'll be for socializing. But I gotta do this. For my kid."

"You realize how fucking cliché you sound, right? Like an asshole? We pulled a handful of jobs, raked in enough cash to set ourselves up for a while, and we never felt any heat. Any. We were lucky. We were the poster children for luck. Why play the odds?"

"You get so articulate when you're fired up, Jonesy." Cameron smiled crookedly, his chipped canine on display. "I missed it, man."

"Oh, don't butter me up now!" Jones's face crumbled, resignation filling in the cracks. "Fuck, man."

"You'll do it?" Cameron's eyes grew wide and childlike. Hope oozed from his pores.

"Calm down, chief. Tell me what it is you're looking to do. I'll listen. That's all I'll guarantee for now. But buy me a fucking drink, will ya? Ease an old man's pain."

***

Jones sat with his mug clenched between weathered hands. He massaged the cool glass, condensation wetting his fingers. His beer remained untouched. Worry lines creased his brow as Cameron manically switched from wild gesticulation to hushed whispers.

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