Greezy Palms

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spiro pantakis

K, about Spiro. He’s big in my world. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Don’t know why I’m feeling this after what he put me through these past couple of weeks, but I get this way from time to time – and knowing more about him might help somehow.

I can’t remember how we met; that is, I don’t remember meeting. He came on the scene that night after we were three bars deep. I was out with a pack of hangarounds, and people were drifting in and out; so, I don’t know what drink he drifted in on, but I only remember him as a shadow in the back of a van and as a strobe frame with some goons in a club in Railtown. Somehow (I wasn’t going to ask) he had my phone for three days before I tracked him down.

There are two things about Spiro that make him stand out for me. He can never remember names, so he uses word associations. One day, a couple weeks after we “met”, he started calling me “Twigs” for close to a week. I honestly think he forgot my name – or he couldn’t be bothered to think. If I ever told him that, I know what he’d say: “Yeah, yur right; sometimes thinking slows the brain down and you start fuckin’ things up.”

Spiro’s an animal. Sometimes he’s like a pet or a guard dog, but you have to always remember he’s a beast, and beasts have a funky natural code that doesn’t give a shit about what you’d rather do. You have to either suck up, shut up or man up if you wanna deal.

He doesn’t care who he does it to either – the name thing. He just barks out whatever is lingering on the margins of his subconscious. One day he met my therapist (yeah, there’s somebody I talk to sometimes, and she wanted to meet him). She’s got a lot of visible piercings. We were all sitting in a diner and he says, “Hey, Tacklebox, pass the HP wouldja?” Things like that. He thinks filters will stunt his performance. Sometimes the names he gives don’t make sense, but they do to him, and they start bending your understanding to fit the name – not the other way round – like when he called the mayor “Boneyard”. Just being there at that function Spiro altered the dynamic in the room (he’s good at that), but when he called out, “So, Boneyard, when’s yur gang gonna annex the intermodal land?”, he owned the room. None of the suck-ups knew how to pick up the ball, let alone carry it. I didn’t even know what he was talking about, and we blew out of there shortly after, but that’s a taste of the Furball’s social graces.

The other thing was when he told me that the best handjob he ever got was from a one-armed woman in the washroom of the Cleveland airport. He and I were with one of my sisbros, Janine. We were dangling from the arm rail in a crowded subway car at the time. His theory went like this: “You know when you lose one of your senses – like seeing or hearing – they say the others get stronger? Same thing when you lose an arm. She was phkn awesum.” I remember just listening to the clack-clackety-clunk; clack-clackety-clunk, and watching the ad frames flash on the tunnel wall.

Getting back to our meeting, when I followed the trail of my phone (my buds and I were all on myCrumbs back then), it led to a greasy spoon called Bryan’s where Spiro holds court over breakfast most mornings. When I walked in he looked me up and down like a used car, grinned, scratched himself, reached in his vest, pulled out my phone and said, “I can use a girl like you.”

I said something lame like, “This girlz not 4 using.” And he said, “Zactly. Sit down.”

Truth was I needed cash so much I could smell it, and Spiro’s cheap cologne smelled a lot like cash. I sat and he started dialing me in.

Spiro’s always running deals. He’s hooked into promotions, insider mineral plays, off-shore merch trading. As I recall, that morning it was all about a tanker load of denim seconds bobbing in int’l H2O. He didn’t spill all his beans – he never does, and the ones he does aren’t usually the main crop – but he dropped me a hun up front to do some promotions for him. I had to wear a sex invaders croc-o-thong and a plastic sword in a convention booth for some shitty game that he was managing. It blew, but the hun and the one that followed at the end worked for me. I’ve been under his management and employ ever since. Like I say, when it works…


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