Vegas hotel conference room

Las Vegas resort hotel. 1987.

St. Phil and Devil Don have filled out “favorites” lists for inclusion in a program to be sold at their first Central City “homecoming” event. St. Phil has been checking over Devil Don’s entries, and he now ponders contesting the one for “favorite movie.” Absentmindedly, he takes a fresh unlit Marlboro from his mouth and places it in the ashtray in front of him. A few seconds later, he sticks his crayon in his mouth.

Mumbling around the crayon, St. Phil addresses his brother, who is seated more or less next to him, depending on the evolving activities of the Handmaidens surrounding him. “Donald, I don’t know that ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ is appropriate to list as your favorite film. Are you trying to call attention to the family’s decision to, uh, clear your troubled mind back a few years ago?”

Devil Don offers his brother a look both innocent and wistful. “It’s just that Nurse Ratched reminds me of Mama.”

St. Phil reflects momentarily on his brother’s words. “Yeah, I can see that,” he mumbles, pulling out his lighter.

“Don’t light that,” says Devil Don.

St. Phil snaps his lighter closed and removes the crayon from between his lips. “I thought we agreed that you were not to nag me about smoking. It’s Item No. 54 in the ‘Working Together Commitments’ we drew up and both signed, remember?” St. Phil once again places the crayon between his lips.

“I remember,” says Devil Don. “I’m sorry. Why don’t you let me light that for you?” He reaches across the women crowded between them and gently pries the lighter from his brother’s hand.

The end of the Crayola flames and liquefies briefly. A drop of blue wax falls to the tabletop, and a faint acrid smell lingers in the air for half a minute. St. Phil puts the crayon in the ashtray, picks up the Marlboro, and wrests his lighter from his brother’s grip. He hands the two lists to his Loyal Retainer and Official Best Friend Forever, Tall Terry, and lights his cigarette before turning to the group of women surrounding Devil Don. One Handmaiden fingers the famous curls. Another massages Devil Don’s strumming hand.

St. Phil points at his brother and addresses the women, “Bring him back—”

“Whoa, not right now, Darling,” Devil Don says urgently, looking down at the woman crouched under the table at his knees. He offers her his free hand, helping her up so that she can join her peers.

St. Phil frowns, closes his eyes momentarily, and begins again, “Bring him back here after lunch. And see to it that he stays on his diet.”

Flight aerodynamics were beginning to be a significant problem. St. Phil’s back hurts quite a lot lately, and Devil Don will soon be his cargo from Las Vegas to just outside Central City. From St. Phil’s vantage point, DaStinky was becoming far too curious about the man he now called “the boss lady’s other son,” so it was not safe to risk having the tour manager and his brother together on a lengthy commercial flight.