John T. Reddy Jr. is a fighter. In fact, they made a movie about him starring Mark Wahlberg. They begged John T. Reddy Jr. to be in the sequel, but they haven’t made it yet. Even though he’s a fighter, John T. Reddy Jr. doesn’t want to fight; he might mess up his wrist and knee again. You see, he lived in LA for eight months in 2008, and had to come back home to Salem when he broke his knee and wrist. He didn’t say just how he hurt himself, but I presume it was from fighting. After all, they did make a movie about him.
“Don’t think that I’m excluded exactly. Write that down.” John T. Reddy Jr. was referring to his friend Shawn who works for the New England Patriots. Shawn installs sprinklers on the field at Gillette Stadium. That must be how they keep the synthetic turf so fresh. Shawn is a multi-millionaire and owns two mansions. Thank Heavens John T. Reddy Jr. isn’t excluded exactly. He might be left with nowhere to go tonight.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been drinking. Want a sip?”
His lawyer has an office above O’Neil’s on Washington St., but the lawyer won’t touch the case against the television networks. After all, he knows nothing of entertainment law. John T. Reddy Jr. has been building a case for years against the networks and he has his evidence in the envelope that he keeps in his pocket. He created such television shows as “Pawn Stars”, “The Revenge”, Deception”, and “Operation Repo”. But they haven’t paid John T Reddy Jr. a dime. “Don’t you think there’s something wrong with that?”
He keeps looking over his shoulder. “I’m scared. I think they’re coming after me next.” His father, John T. Reddy Sr., passed away just last week when his stomach, liver and kidney all collapsed. “Don’t you think there’s something wrong with that? I just talked to him a couple weeks ago and asked him if he needed me to come down to Florida to be with him. Now he’s dead. Fifty-seven years old. Isn’t there something wrong with that?” He looked over his shoulder again.
“I’m the most honest person you’ll ever meet. And I’m the best friend you’ll ever have. I’m loyal. But my daughter’s my life. She’s seventeen so I don’t get to see her much. You remember what it’s like to be seventeen, right?”
His daughter Tia is dating Justin Bieber. Bieber meet Tia when John T. Reddy Jr. was writing songs for Eminem. Apparently Bieber and Eminem our mutual Facebook friends with John T. Reddy Jr., and when Bieber saw pictures of Tia on there he simply had to meet her. Bieber offered to sell his iPhone to John T. Reddy Jr. for $100 when he saw him today, but John T. Reddy Jr. wouldn’t disclose where that was. Private information and all.
Peter and Patricia join us on the park bench by the fountain. Patricia lights up a cigarette and Peter fishes something out of his plastic bag. “Do you want a beer?”
“I’m sixty-one years old and I’ve never smoked a thing. Not once,” says Peter. “I just do this,” pointing to his can of beer that he needed help opening.
John T. Reddy Jr. runs his hands along Patricia’s bare leg and says, “You’re shaving; looks good!” Patrician blushes.
“Too bad,” Peter intervenes, “she’s mine!”
“We need to go and catch the train,” Patricia scowls.
Shaking their hands, I take the cue and begin to make my own leave when John T. Reddy Jr. takes my hand and rubs it on his face, sandpapering my hand with his stubbed whiskers. “I shave a lot,” he says. “I shaved two days ago and now a beard is coming in. This isn’t me.”
John T. Reddy Jr. suddenly takes to his feet and shakes my hand, bidding his own farewell before quickly leaving the area just as the headlights of a police car rolls to a stop.
It is night on Essex St. and people everywhere are about town with their own lives and their own stories, going about their business the only way that they know how. The man and his dog out for a stroll. The couple leaving the Village Tavern. The group still enjoying dinner and drinks on the outdoor patio. The woman and her young child hurrying by. Tom the Tour Guide just getting off his last tour of the night. And Peter and Patricia off to catch a train. Yes, people everywhere are lost in their worlds, unaware of the parallel universes that walk beside them.
On my way home I ran into John T. Reddy Jr. again. He was upset, rummaging through his tattered envelope of court dockets and hand written notes, presumably with ideas for television shows. “Where’s the plaid paper? Don’t mess with me!” He asked me to help him look for it just as a bicyclist went by, and John T. Reddy Jr. flung obscenities with threats of violence at him. I reminded John T. Reddy Jr. not to risk hurting his wrist and knee again, and left the fighter to find the plaid paper on his own.
As for me, I am never again going to look at an unfamiliar face the same way.
I'm a mirror (and so are you).