"How 'bout them Mambas?"
The voice is a nasal Midwestern that takes Tommy Vercetti by surprise.
He looks up, forkful of half-eaten omelette held between his fingers, and places Gus as a man either in or approaching his fifties. Burly, and about a hair shorter than himself, he's got a thick salt-and-pepper moustache that frames thin, expressionless lips and bushy, dye-job hair.
"Got it from a good source," Tommy begins, deciding to flex his newfound knowledge of local football, and offers him the leatherette opposite, "that B.J.'s making a comeback."
"You're late to the party, pal," Gus, taking a Newport from the safari pocket of his leisure polo, lights up and illuminates his features for further scrutiny; dark brown, almost black eyes, encircled with dark bags that, Tommy decides, convincingly deliver a seasoned menace. He nods to a waitresses who thoughtfully delivers an ashtray. "It's been in the works three, four months now. I got it from a good source," he taps his nose, intends to keep it a secret, "that he's only bustin' his ass back into shape because he's into the boys from Boca for a hundred large. They're going to make a killing and hang him out to dry."
Intrigued, Tommy presses him to continue: "Is that so?"
"All about the ability to separate fact and fiction," Gus smiles, slightly but enough to register his confidence, "That's the real skill. There's a lot I hear that just doesn't compute. B.J. Smith racking up a hundred thou tab with Boca wiseguys, I can buy into. Don't get me wrong; usually I wouldn't concern myself with why this guy is such a train-wreck, nor would I care how he's about to de-rail. I'm Dolphins, pal. You stick around Miami a while, you'll be Dolphins too. But, since I hear Giorgio Forelli is in the market to buy off B.J's debt, I came prepared 'case certain people might be interested in what's about to come down."
Dismissing any interest in the Mamba's star tight-end and his debt problem, Tommy finds himself otherwise impressed that Gus has taken the initiative to dig into the Forellis & their business in Boca. Their existence had slipped his mind and he's disappointed in himself that he's failed to recall their proximity and potential threat. He refocuses himself upon Gus, finding himself invested already, and asks with determination: "What do you hear about Tommy Vercetti?"
"I know he's got a lot of people scared sh*tless," Gus states plainly, and then for effect as if drawing a picture, "Got a lot of people throwing up signs saying, 'Sorry, we're closed for business,' and migrating North." As he anticipates, this compels Tommy to smirk satisfactorily, almost smugly; his reputation still means something. "I also understand," Gus clears his throat, "that he's attracting the attention of certain players who would like to use his predicament to get rid of their competition. If it were me..." he spreads himself across the leatherette, smiles -- time to close the deal, "...I'd appreciate the ability to be one step ahead at all times."
Tommy, already sold, but curious: "What's in it for you?"
"I gain from this as much as you. I'm five years off the force. I have to sit around one more day and watch Oprah, I'm gonna blow my brains out. I intend to be useful, as much for my own benefit as yours." He draws from his Newport, exhales in Vercetti's direction. "Rosenberg supply my price?"
Tommy simply slides a brown envelope across the booth.
It's heavy, Gus deduces. Doesn't need to count it. "Appreciate the sweetener."
"There's start-up money in with your retainer," Tommy explains, knowing he's achieved the desired impression. Then, not a question: "You'll start right away."
"Being as you ask so kindly," Half smiling, feeling comfortable, Gus shrugs and complies.
"I want the movements of every greaseball from here to Broward," Tommy inches across the table, eager to plot. And then showing he's caught on quick, "What migrates North flies back South with instructions. Our best option," he strategizes, "is to make our move whilst Giorgio's sat in holding. Set the cat among the pigeons, a little infighting for him to come back to." Nothing specific, but the idea registers with Gus. "Most important," Tommy prioritizes, "I want the movements of this guy..."
He lifts the Mamba's cap resting innocently enough next to his forearm, dealing out a series of Polaroid pictures from underneath. The man in them black, nameless, flashy white suit, emerging from the scissor doors of a Lamborghini Countach.
"He knows me," irritated that he has yet to make the connection, "Find out his angle."
Gus takes the snapshots beneath his fingers. "I reach you through Rosenberg?"
"No," Tommy asserts sharply, "From now on - you deal with me. I have a direct line at the Ocean View Hotel."
"For what it's worth," Gus catches on immediately, "I've never trusted him."
Food for thought that aligns with his own suspicions. "I'll bear that in mind."
"Do that," standing, Gus stuffs the envelope into his waistband and carries the look well, like he's taking home leftovers for the kids. He looks again at the Polaroids, studies the face -- smiles confidently. "And expect a short turnaround on this one."