Fade Away Page 9

Esperanza Diaz, his valued associate, greeted him at the door. “Where the hell have you been?”

“We need to talk,” he said.

“Later. You’ve got a million messages.”

Esperanza wore a white blouse—an absolute killer look against her dark hair, dark eyes, and that dark skin that shimmered like moonlight on the Mediterranean. Esperanza had been spotted by a modeling scout when she was seventeen, but her career took a few weird turns and she ended up making it big in the world of professional wrestling. Yes, professional wrestling. She’d been known as Little Pocahontas, the brave Indian Princess, the jewel of the Fabulous Ladies of Wrestling (FLOW) organization. Her costume was a suede bikini, and she was always cast as the good guy in the morality play that was professional wrestling. She was young, petite, tight-bodied, gorgeous, and though of Latin origin, she was dark enough to pass for Native American. Racial backgrounds were irrelevant to FLOW. The real name of Mrs. Saddam Hussein, the evil harem girl in the black veil, was Shari Weinberg.

The phone rang. Esperanza picked it up. “MB SportsReps. Hold on a moment, he’s right here.” She flashed the eyes at him. “Perry McKinley. It’s his third call today.”

“What does he want?”

She shrugged. “Some people don’t like dealing with underlings.”

“You’re not an underling.”

She looked at him blankly. “You going to take it or not?”

Being a sports agent was—to use computer terminology—a multitasking environment with the capability of performing a variety of services with but a click of a button. It was more than simple negotiating. Agents were expected to be accountants, financial planners, real estate agents, hand-holders, personal shoppers, travel agents, family counselors, marriage counselors, chauffeurs, errand boys, parental liaisons, lackeys, butt-kissers, you name it. If you weren’t willing to do all that for a client—to be what is known as a “full service agency”—the next guy would be.

The only way to compete was to have a team, and Myron felt he had assembled a small yet extremely effective one. Win, for example, handled all the finances for Myron’s clients. He set up a special portfolio for each player, met with them at least five times a year, made sure they understood what their money was doing and why. Having Win gave Myron a big leg up on the competition. Win was a near-legend in the financial world. His reputation was impeccable (at least in the financial world) and his track record unmatched. He gave Myron an instant “in,” instant credibility in a business where credibility was a rare and heady concoction.

Myron was the JD. Win was the MBA. Esperanza was the all-purpose player, the unflappable chameleon who held it all together. It worked.

“We need to talk,” he said again.

“So we’ll talk,” she said in a dismissing tone. “First take this call.”

Myron entered his office. He overlooked Park Avenue in midtown. Great View. On one wall he had posters of Broadway musicals. On another there were movie stills from some of Myron’s favorites: the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, and a potpourri of other classics. On a third wall were photographs of Myron’s clients. The client wall was a bit sparser than Myron would have liked. He imagined what it would look like with an NBA first rounder in the middle.

Good, he decided. Very good.

He strapped on his headset.

“Hey, Perry.”

“Jesus Christ, Myron, I’ve been trying to reach you all day.”

“Good, Perry. And you.”

“Hey, I don’t mean to be impatient but this is important. You get anything on my boat?”

Perry McKinley was a golfer on the fringe, no pun intended. He was a pro. He made some money, but he wasn’t a name anyone but big golf fans would recognize. Perry loved to sail and was in need of a new vessel.

“Yeah, I got something,” Myron said.

“What company?”


Perry did not sound thrilled. “Their boats are just okay,” he whined. “Nothing great.”

“They’ll let you trade in your old boat for a new one. You have to do five personal appearances.”



“For a Prince eighteen-footer? That’s too many.”

“They originally wanted ten. But it’s up to you.”

Perry thought about it a moment. “Ah, shit, okay the deal. But first I want to make sure I like the boat. A full eighteen-footer, right?”

“That’s what they said.”

“Yeah, all right. Thanks, Myron. You’re the best.”

They hung up. Bartering—an important component in the agent’s multitasking environment. No one ever paid for anything in this business. Favors were exchanged. Trading products for some form of endorsement. Want a free shirt? Wear it in public. Want a free car? Shake hands at a few car shows. The big stars could demand serious payments in exchange for their endorsements. The lesser-known athletes happily seized the freebies.

Myron stared at the pile of messages and shook his head. Playing for the Dragons and keeping MB SportsReps afloat—how the hell was he going to pull it off?

He buzzed Esperanza. “Come on in here, please,” he said.

“I’m in the middle—”



“Gosh,” she said, “you’re so macho.”

“Give me a break, huh?”

“No, really, I’m very frightened. I better drop everything and immediately do your bidding.”

Her phone fell. She sprinted in, feigning fear and breathlessness. “Fast enough?”


“So what is it?”

He told her. When he came to the part where he’d be playing for the Dragons, he was once again surprised to see no reaction. This was strange. First Win, now Esperanza. The two of them were his closest friends. They both lived for ridiculing him. Yet neither one of them had taken advantage of the obvious opening. Their silence on the subject of his “comeback” was a tad unnerving.

“Your clients aren’t going to like this,” she said.

“Our clients,” he corrected.

She made a face. “Does it make you feel better to be patronizing?”

Myron ignored the comment. “We have to turn this into a positive,” he said.


“I’m not sure,” he said slowly. He leaned back in his chair. “We can say that the publicity of all this will help them.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies