laszlo tuffdick delivers

THAT SAME NIGHT, Laszlo Tuffdick drove west from his estate in the knolls of Amagansett and passed through the towns of East Hampton and Southampton (and Bridgehampton, the superfluous Hampton), cruising in his convertible white 1966 Ford Mustang past lawn ornament sellers, antique dealers, diners, boat yards, seafood purveyors, and high-end restaurants that catered to the black tux and white designer dress crowd. He glanced at himself in the rearview mirror. He looked cool in his black shades and black polo shirt, he thought, like Lou Diamond Phillips in La Bamba, before the plane crash. Ancient windmills spun in the breeze, and the whole of the East End reminded him again of a giant ornate miniature golf course. He imagined himself as a single white golf ball, rolling west along Montauk Highway into the gold fading rays of the sun, until he at last reached the shady periphery of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, a remaining hunk of indigenous soil surrounded by oceans of posh anglo settler estates. Few outsiders dared venture here, save to frequent the annual powwow, but Tuffdick drove down East Gate Road past rows of single-story family homes, headed for the end of East Point Road, and the dense forests and marshes that stretched out into the Atlantic Ocean. Here he parked his car on the edge of the road and began the long trek into nature, following nothing more than a footpath for what seemed like miles. Families of deer from time to time leaped away before him, and he heard the cries and songs of strange birds. It was at the end of this path, upwind from the water, that he encountered Weetoppin’s hut. There was a small fire before it, filling the dusk air with blue smoke, and a pot set atop it that boiled with a sweet-smelling stew. “Weetoppin, are you there?” said Tuffdick. From the door of the hut emerged a young man clad only in a loincloth, the rest of him nude and greased with animal fat that shined in the light of the fire. These IT guys are all the same, thought Tuffdick. He said nothing though, and his only gesture was to brush a buzzing mosquito away from his ear. The man just stared at him a moment longer, then spoke. “Would you care for some nourishment?” he gestured to the pot. “Three sisters? Corn, beans, squash?” “No thanks,” Tuffdick declined. “I had some grilled swordfish at Massimo’s,” he said and smacked his lips. “Outstanding.” Weetoppin helped himself to a bowl of the broth. He blew on it, sipped it and looked over the fire. “Suit yourself, Tuffdick,” he began. “You know, I used to be like you, enamored of their ways. In their world, my name was Sean Dennis. Just a regular East End boy. If you didn’t know I was Indian, I could pass for Italian or Jewish. There was even a local Jewish girl who wanted to marry me, until she discovered the horrible truth.” “What was her name?” Tuffdick asked. “Yael,” Weetoppin answered. “We both went to Southampton High, then NYU. After college, I got a job as a quant at a big financial services company.” “Sweet,” said Tuffdick. “Worked on Wall Street for some years, then went into programming, made a fortune. Ever hear of eToro?” Weetoppin asked. Tuffdick nodded. “The company that Alec Baldwin is always pimping on YouTube?” Weetoppin crossed his arms. “That was all my idea. I still day trade, you know.” Weetoppin pulled a laptop from a nearby bag made of deerskin. “Wait, you have wifi out here?” Tuffdick asked. Weetoppin shrugged. “I can pick up a signal from Billy Joel’s house. Just made a fortune today on this freshly listed tech company.” “What’s their ticker?” asked Tuffdick. “I’ll tell you later,” said Weetoppin. “But first you have to deliver, Tuffdick. Do you have what I need? Can you deliver?” Tuffdick nodded and pulled a folder from his yellow Kånken knapsack. “Nice bag,” said Weetoppin. “It’s Swedish,” said Tuffdick. Weetoppin took the folder and opened it, scanning briefly through its contents. His eyes lit up, illuminated in part by the fire, and it was the first time that evening he showed any emotion. Then they resumed their glazed over, seen-it-all sad look. Weetoppin spoke. “We will take back this island, or at least our part of it,” he said. “This material you have on the Bryants is brilliant. Is it really true, about that photographer Garcia and their daughter?” Tuffdick grinned but said nothing. “They’re serious donors to the Democratic Party,” said Weetoppin. “See, this is the kind of material we need. This will help our cause but we need much more to accomplish this.” “Oh, there’s plenty more,” said Laszlo Tuffdick. “I’ve got eyes all over the East End, from Quogue to Orient. This tidbit came from a pair that runs a sweet shop in Sag Harbor.” “We leak this to Dan’s Papers or even The New Yorker, or threaten to, and we might really have something on these fuckers,” Weetoppin said. He gestured to his wigwam. “Step inside, stay a while,” he told Tuffdick. “I’ve got some other stock tips for you.”

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