Sunday, December 23, 2007
Tony's position was always "Let me do the dirty work and the business." He kept me away from everything by playing to my one true weakness, which was, "You are the star. You are untouchable. I'll deal with these people, because I know how they think and what they want." I pretty much went along with believing I was a star. He never told me anything about what he was doing when I wasn't around, and I was too inexperienced at the time to demand that kind of cooperation from him. It was Tony and me for sure, but with Tony always taking the lead when it came to deals and money. But the day came when one of Tony's deals required my willing participation with him to accomplish it.
Tony set up a meeting in Beverly Hills with an investor and he told me I had to go with him and meet the guy. I agreed to go not suspecting that my entire world would be turned upside down by the end of that particular day. Prior to the actual meeting I have no recollection of how I got there. I don't remember whether I went with Tony or met him there. I recall vividly being with Tony as we entered the building where the meeting took place. It was on a corner, south of Wilshire Blvd., but I don't recall the exact streets. There was a set of steps going in maybe 3 or 4 steps to the entrance. No one was with us when we went into the office and no one, but the person we were meeting was there when we met him.
The three of us were the only ones there. The man was kind of short, a little overweight and balding. He was friendly and smoking a cigar. He appeared to be jewish, and I don't mean this in a belittling way, he just appeared to be a jewish guy from Beverly Hills, pretty typical. His office was pleasant, but not lavish. It was one large room maybe 40 by 25 feet. At the far end of the room was a desk and chair where the man went, sat down, and faced us. I don't remember if the Billboard ads were up on the wall, but it's possible.
I stayed at the opposite end of the room and sat in a chair a few feet from where we came in. I didn't know what to do so I just sat there trying to look like a star. Tony stood in the middle of the room between the man's desk and my chair. I don't recall what was said, because Tony and the guy were going back and forth for a while. During this exchange Tony took a particular stance in the middle of the room which is hard to explain without sounding like I'm joking, which I'm not, but it kind of looked like a bad impersonation of Elvis Presley.
Tony stretched out one arm and pointed at me and uttered out loud "That is Jesus Christ and if you," now pointing his other arm and finger at the guy, "do not give him $50,000 he will point his finger at you and you will die!" I looked over at the man just in time to see that his face looked frozen. His jaw fell open and his cigar just kind of rolled out onto his desk. Other than that he didn't move a muscle, but stared at Tony in disbelief, who was still standing with his arms stretched out in the middle of the room.
I could not believe what was happening. I had no way of knowing this was coming, and had no way of dealing with it now that it was here. I remember staring at the floor trying to decide what to do. I just stood up, didn't say anything, and walked out the door as fast as I could. I reached the sidewalk and kind of walked around in little circles hoping that Tony would come out and tell me it was all a joke and that everything was OK. In a few minutes Tony did come out the door and down the steps toward me. "Why did you say that Tony," I pleaded, and stood waiting for some rational explanation to what I had just witnessed. "Because it's the truth," he said, looking right at me. I stared at him in a second wave of disbelief and was devastated by his response, knowing fully at that moment my world had just ended. "No it isn't Tony, no it isn't."