The Alternative Sweetheart
It sure was a cool day in hell that day the High Roller came down. Things had been so hot for so long. This guy on earth - this High Roller had given us all so much trouble. In the end the boss had to move on up there to put things right. He sought the guy out, made him all sorts of offers no-one could refuse. When the boss came back, things just got hotter and we had to work twice as hard.
I heard the boss and Jake talking about this guy. He was "special" so they said, came from the High Place. I remember hearing about that Place once a long time ago when I lived up there on earth. Rules and regulations were too tight for me to get there though, seems I should have kept away from Ronnie and her mother. Doesn’t matter a thing to me now, I've got used to it down here. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hot at times, and we didn’t have to work so hard.
Jake told me about this guy - a "mighty High Roller" Jake called him. He said the boss was worried about him. I’d never known the boss to be worried before, it scared the shit out of me just thinking about it. Jake said we would all be for it if this guy got his way ‘cos he could cause trouble for all of us. The boss was going to have to do something really wild to put things right. I kept my mouth shut about it, I’ve seen too many guys down here who talked too much. One day they’re on the line shouting their mouths off about how they’re gonna get out one day, then ya never see them again. Anyway I didn’t see what difference it made to us if the guy was so special, he’s up there and we’re down here. It just made the boss mad that’s all, so we had to work harder and it got hotter.
Then one Friday, I heard Jake and the boss laughing. I was just hanging
out by Jake’s rooms when the boss came out. "Mick’s never gonna believe
it," I heard the boss say. "I'm leavin' right away to tell him. Look
after things down here."
Jake must have liked me or he was in a good mood or somethin' cos he took me into his rooms and told me the whole story. Seems like the boss had been thrown out of some big syndicate a long time ago when he tried to take over that ring. Jake said that there had been a war going on ever since with the boss and the Head Man of that ring. The boss was banished down here and the Head Man is still living up there in that High Place where he manages things. According to the Head Man, the boss had been getting his own way a bit too much lately so this Mighty High Roller was sent down to sort things out. But the Roller had decided to switch sides, he’d split from his Head Man and was gonna take a big command down here.
"So the boss is shootin’ up the town tonight," laughed Jake.
"All them big cheeses up
there’s gonna have one helluva party. He put on his best reds and sure
left here in style. Did ya see that?"
So things were pretty cool the day the High Roller came down. The first thing I remember about him was his scarlet robe and the thing that he wore on his head, some pretty cute hat. As Jake took the hat off the Rollers head, that son-of-a-bitch smiled that first smile that made me shake.
Just seeing that smile for the first time, I knew he was different and that he shouldn’t have been down here. He kinda reminded me of this guy I knew up on earth when I was a kid, no matter what you did to him, how hard you kicked him, he just sat there and smiled. He got under your skin ‘cos you couldn’t hurt him, nothing you could say or do would hurt him. This High Roller reminded me of that guy I knew when I was a kid.
I got to wonder what this guy had done to make him so important. How many girls were in his stack up there, what were his numbers? I could have been fixed up pretty good once. Ronnie said her girls would switch over to me. I would’ve made the five, just had to get rid of her parasite mother. But the bitch wouldn’t let go, and it all turned out wrong. It’s no good being small fry down here, you gotta do something really big to get a good place.
There's always a lot of garbage on Saturdays so I got to Jakes rooms
early. Jake was waiting by the door. "Hi. Jake," I called. "Hey that
High Roller is one weird guy."
For some reason Jake just got so mad. "Shut your mouth boy," he shouted.
I was cleaning up the mess when I felt this hand on my shoulder. I turned round and it was that High Roller, smiling that son-of-a-bitch smile at me. His voice was smooth as silk. "Don't worry my son. He didn't mean it. Let me help you."
Talk like that scares the shit out of me. No-one talks like that down
here. It was lucky for me that Jake came to the door and told the Roller
to get inside with him. It was lucky for me he didn't have time to help
When I walked back to the line, one of the guys asked me where I’d been. I just said "Jakes." I didn't tell him about how the Roller spoke or how he wanted to help me. I didn't tell him that I thought it still meant big trouble and that I was just wondering how a guy like that came to be down here.
stayed pretty cool the whole time that the boss was away. But as I went
to get the garbage on the third day, things were mighty different at
Jakes rooms. The place had already been cleaned up and the air was
different. It was a totally bad scene that I found there. Jake, together
with two Dirty Aces from the other line, were sitting on the scorched
ground and the High Roller, wearing his scarlet robe, was talking to
them in that lousy silk smooth voice:
Then one of the Dirty Aces asked the Roller what it was like in that
I watched Jake totally out of his head. It was scary, I just wished the boss would come back.
"But we could never get there," I heard Jake say.
"Now," said the Roller. "In my fathers house there are many rooms. Each
one of them is protected from the heat and flame you feel here. Just
believe in what I say and you will be with me in that land of permanent
bliss, for it is just one step away from here."
Things just got hotter when the boss came back. He was madder than I've ever known him. The High Roller, Jake and the Dirty Aces had split, news came down the line that they’d squealed some of the bosses secret plans on how he was gonna win this fight. Since then he's been training some big guy who's gonna get up north for some revenge.
I just kept my mouth shut about what I saw. I still empty the garbage but things are hotting up so fast these days, there’s never any time to stop and think. That High Place sure did sound nice though.
The following links will take you to further pages mentioned in this article. Additional information is provided by reference to further links mentioned below.
The lyrics to "Sweetheart Like You" can be found here.
The official site for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ can be found here.
Some further brilliant images of the Passion can be found here.
Play extract from "Sweetheart Like You" (mp3 160 Kbps).
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