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Episode Fifteen "Born Again"

"You know, Red, if we keep eating this same damn meal before every game, we just might win it all this year."

"Well, my good friend, only you would jinx us just as we are to start a playoff run. If anyone else would elevate Murphy's law into a insider's tip from the stable boy at the track, it is you. Tommy Berlini, the eternally jinxed."

"I'm just enjoying it while I can. Life has been good."

"For you, for me, for the town, hell, we are rolling. Just like a steam locomotive from the '40s. Woooo woooooo!"

"Well this train has to stop at one glass of wine. I got to stop and see brother Paul before heading over to the arena tonight."

"You donating a new building or something?"

"I have a committee thing and he needs me to sign something or another. Doing business for the church is like stepping back in time, I swear. We got fax machines and couriers and they have carbon paper and certified mail. I tried to talk to them about modernizing but it is like talking to a wall."

"Well, say hello for me. We need all the prayers we can get if we are going to win you that first championship."

"I will. See you after game."

Tommy headed to his Mercedes coupe and buzzed up Central Avenue as the sun was setting. It was sights like the sun sweeping through the dust and high-rise buildings that swept him off his feet during one scouting trip in the early 1960s. More than 30 years later, they still enchanted him. A desert sunset was like an imagination machine, Tommy had thought once, because every time he looked at a brilliant one, he immediately disappeared into thoughts he had no idea he was having.

The 15 minute drive to the Community Church of Phoenix seemed to take an instant. The sunset had brought guilt about his past flooding back, especially because he was going to the place that he sincerely believed saved him from not only damnation, but most likely an early death. Since he had revealed eveything to brother Paul and had turned over all of his loose ends to him about three years ago, he had been dedicated to being the man which he had not been before. Nevertheless, nary a day went by that he did not condemn himself.

"Hello, friend."

"Tommy, nice of you to come on such short notice. Close the door."

"There is no one here."

"I know, just close it."

"So its closed, what's up."

"I retrieved the P.O. Box today and there was a letter from Tony Guidano."

"Well what did it say?"

"It said that he thinks someone is going to come and kill you."

"Me? Why? Where is the letter?"

"It's locked up for the night. I can't get it if I wanted to."

"Well, then, what the hell?"

"It seems like Billy Spikes' daughter was married to Guidano. The letter says he found out who she was after they had been married for a year and that she was plotting to kill you both. He said he had initially just thought she was cheating on him with this hotel owner down in Mexico. Then, he bugged the hotel owner's place and found out the whole story."

"Why the hell is he telling me all of this?"

"Well, he says that since he is wise to her, he will take care of her for you ... for a price. Otherwise, he will just have her beaten up — in your name — then flown back to Phoenix."

"Son of a bitch."

"He also says he might just send the National Enquirer into the story, too."

"That prick."

"Seems like it."

"Son of a bitch."

"For what it is worth, I am really proud of you for all you have done for yourself, in getting your life straight, Tommy. But please watch the language."

"Sorry, brother Paul, I'm so sorry. You are very correct. My apologies."

"At certain times, certain things are generally more understandable."

"Well, we have to reach out to her. I will have no part in killing. Not any more."

"I hoped you might say that. We have some brothers in Mexico, I can try to do what I can."

"I'll try to track down Billy's ex-wife. She if she can tell me anything."

"I'm proud of you Tommy. This will all work out."

"I understand, Paul. For as much as I appreciate being one with Jesus-Christ right now, I know that I have not always been Christ-like. For all of the good that I have tried to do — especially recently — I know that there are many people who do not understand that. I have some debts that still need to be paid in one way or the other ... I got to get to the arena."

"Sure, Tommy, but first, let's pray ... "

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