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Irish pt. XLV

By Pete Moss

...Back

"Where are we going?" I say.

"Let's go back to the RV and play Scrabble," says Ramona.

"Should we call an Uber?"asks YoYo.

"Let's just walk," says Pete Moss.

Getting kicked out of the show was exhilarating. We stroll along, laughing and joking and bantering.

We arrive at Ramona’s RV on Pacific Highway and pile in.

"Anyone want a cup of tea?" says Ramona. Pete sets up the Scrabble board.

We play Scrabble and Ramona wins.

It's after midnight and the freeway overhead has subsided to a sleepy whoosh of tires on concrete

"Pete has to catch a plane back to SF tomorrow," says Ramona. "Do you guys want to come to the airport with me?"

YoYo and I look at each other. Ramona is not looking forward to Pete going back to San Francisco.

Pete has his arm around Ramona.

YoYo and I are Ramona's support group. We have to be there.

"Sure," says YoYo. "We'll go to the airport with you."

So we do. And Ramona sees Pete Moss off. We bring her back to the RV.

Ramona putters around, keeping busy.

Larry shows up.

"You guys had a nice weekend?" says Larry.

"Pretty much," I say. YoYo and Ramona remain silent.

"You ready to get back to work?" says Larry.

Larry is bursting with excitement. He takes a seat on the couch. He takes up more space than seemingly humanly possible.

"I got a match lined up with Joe Bap," says Larry.

YoYo, Ramona and I all exchange glances.

"Joe Bap?" I say.

Larry pauses.

"You guys never heard of Joe Bap?" he says. "His real name is like 14 syllables. Nobody outside Thailand can pronounce it so he goes by Joe Bap."

"Oh."

"He doesn't speak English. He's the #3 rated player in the world. He relocated to Vegas cause of some political bullshit in Thailand," says Larry.

"If he doesn't speak English how does he play Scrabble?" I say.

"He memorizes lists of words. He grew up in a Buddhist monastery."

"He's some kind of prodigy?" I ask.

"Yeah, like that," says Larry.

"We have to go to Vegas?" says Ramona.

"No. He'll come to San Diego," says Larry.

"Where will we play?" says YoYo.

"At Olaf's place in Chula Vista," says Larry.

"What about what's her name?" I say.

"Her task force got disbanded," says Larry.

"Can I think about it?" says Ramona.

"Sure," says Larry. "But don't take too long."

Larry gets up. He leaves.

A few days later Larry announces: "Change of plans. The match with Joe Bap will be held at Sycuan Casino in La Mesa."

"I thought you hated dealing with greedy casinos," I say.

"I got a deal. I get a guarantee as a promoter, plus a cut of the pot. Overall I'll make $455 over what I would get if I host the match at Olaf's."

I gotta hand it to Larry: He's a math whiz. Especially when it comes to money. I'm not really sure if I trust him. There's probably other reasons he's not mentioning. Like maybe Joe Baps team isn't willing to show up at a private residence in a SoCal neighborhood they know nothing about, whereas Larry is quite at home.

Larry names a day a couple of weeks away. "You guys have Ramona ready, OK?" says Larry. "Try to get her mind off Pete Moss."

So Ramona goes into training. But mostly she focuses on the physical side of it. She runs twice a day and lifts weights. But she doesn't seem to be much interested in word drills.

A few days before the match Larry and I talk.

"So what do you think?" says Larry.

"Ramona isn't ready for this match," I say.

Larry is unperturbed. "I see," he says.

"So you want to call off the match?" I say.

"Call off the match?" says Larry. "Why would I do that?"

"If Ramona's likely to lose you won't make any money, right?"

"I make money either way. So long as I know which way it's going to go, ahead of time," says Larry.

"Oh," I say.