Hi, Tim!  Hi, Bettina.  What’s going on?  I’ve got a couple things I want to run by you, if you’ve got time to talk.  Speak.  Lana and I were talking, and you know how one thing leads to another. Well, she showed me this poster of a dead paratrooper hitting the ground.  Captioned “Careless Talk…Got There First” that she’d sent to Jax along with Kostamo’s check.  Okay…  Well, I asked her if she’d ever been skydiving and she said no.  And I told her about the time I went tandem and didn’t really care for it because I was just a passenger along for the ride.  But I’d be willing to jump like a paratrooper, where I just run out the door with everyone else and the chute opens automatically.  Lana said that’s the only way she’d go too, but she’d want you to go ahead of her so she could see what to do and copy you.  Okay…  I know you were with the 82nd.  Do you think you could get us in on a training jump and go with us?  Tim sighs.  I wish I could, Bettina.  It’d be a blast; you’d love it.  But I don’t see the big green machine letting you girls jump without two weeks of ground school.  I can bring it up to the Senator, he offers.  No, don’t bother him.  He’s got so much on his plate.  You said a couple things.

I want the campaign to buy a Tesla SUV for Lana’s tail car.  Not my call, Tim says.  It would impact your job, that’s why I want to run it by you.  We’d need to arrange our stops by where it gets charged every night. What’s the thinking, Bettina? Street cred.  Being green is the new religion, and having Lana drive a Tesla would be our sermon without words.  And it’ll give us an in with a rabid fan base, so at least they’ll lend an ear to what PJ has to say.  I like it, Tim says.  Go for it. Well, the downside is that it’s going to separate us, Bettina admits.  It’d still be you, me, and PJ in the Yukon, But Lana and Levi and some of the younger staffers will be in the Tesla.  I see where you’re going, Tim says.  I liked riding as a group and how close knit we were in the early days, Bettina says, but we’ve outgrown the Yukon.  What’s wrong with a bus?  Tim asks.  Overdone.  And again, we need to show some green to court these first time voters.

So you’re telling me because I’d stay with the Yukon.  Yes.  You’re shotgun. And I’m still the driver.  We’d free up four empty seats for the Senator to be comfortable and possibly invite others to ride with us.  Meanwhile, you know that Lindsey is crazy about Levi.  Putting the two of them together, in a Tesla, along with Lana and Raj is going to make for some great copy.  And voila, we’re the greenest campaign out there.  I’m good with it, Bettina.  I’ll run up to the line then, Bettina says.  Thanks for listening to me.  Enjoy your time off, Tim.  Bye now.

Tim calls Kostamo.  I’ve got a Lana story for you, he says chuckling.  She sent Jax your check along with a poster of a dead paratrooper touching down.  “Careless Talk…Got There First”.  Kostamo laughs hard.  That’s great. Bettina just called me.  She asked me to see if I could take her and Lana on a training jump with the 82nd.  Never happen, Kostamo comments.  I know. Lana told her that she’d only go if I went first so she could see what to do.  Bettina’s been tandem parachuting before, and didn’t like it.  She wants to run out the door and have the chute deploy automatically.  Someone has to be teaching static jumps, Kostamo says.  I’ll check around and see what I can find.  You need anything?  Bettina wants the campaign to buy a Tesla SUV for Lana to drive.  I’ll take care of it, Kostamo says.  Anything else?  I’m good. Later then.

***

REDACTED SCENE

***

Where’s Rolf?  Ramon asks Simon and Jon before class.  He’s showing up later, Simon comments.  James is bringing him, Jon replies.  Sam’s not returning my calls.  What did you do?  Simon asks. Ramon replays what happened earlier in the day.  I think she felt guilty for shooting that scene in the movie and wanted to make it up to me.  What should I do now?  Jon walks away, not wanting to hear anymore.  You need to reverse the objective, to know what you shouldn’t do, Simon says.  Text her, I want my ring back then.  Ramon bursts out laughing.  Find a “Woman Submit” sermon online and send her the link.  Ramon laughs even harder.  We’ll talk more after class, Simon says grinning, as Jon starts his lecture.

When Rolf and James show up later, Ramon tells them the story, and Simon’s responses, and James laughs.  Jon looks at Rolf, who hasn’t even cracked a smile. The devil offers now what you’d eventually get anyway, Doc.  And the now ends up ruining the eventual.  No one says anything as they absorb this.  So what should I do?  Ramon asks Rolf.  Withdraw the request.  How does he do that?  Jon asks. Rolf makes a typing motion with his thumbs.  I withdraw the request –period, and then he makes a tossing motion over his shoulder.  Do I say I’m sorry?  Why?  Are you a beta male?  James comments.  Ramon glares at James.  She’ll know you’re not really withdrawing the request, just deferring it.  Simon adds quickly, trying to head off a confrontation.  An alpha would take back control of the relationship, by doing exactly what Rolf said, James says with a smirk, amused by the wounded machismo of the bass player.  Ramon gets his phone without saying a word, and quickly sends the text, then shuts off his phone.  Let’s rock out.  Which one are we doing?  Rolf and I have started crafting some new material, Jon replies.  

After the band is done practicing, he eagerly checks his phone.  He’s got three texts from Sam.

Thank you.

Thirty minutes later she’s sent another…

Goodnight.

Then six minutes later she’s sent one more

I love you.

He looks at the clock on his phone and sees that it’s been almost ninety minutes since her last text.  He quickly types.  I love you more.

Sam finally gets the text that she’s been waiting up for, sighs with relief, then shuts off her phone and goes to sleep.

Ramon puts away his guitar.  You want to ride with me?  he asks Rolf.  I need to stop at a Krogers on the way home, Rolf replies.  Sure. I’m in on that, Simon says.  Ramon gives Simon a look, as Rolf goes over and clasps hands with James.  You hit hard tonight, brother.  He goes over to Jon.  Music is what happens between the notes - that was spot on.  You watched the livestream of the lecture? Jon asks.  Rolf nods.  They clasp hands.  Let’s go, he tells Simon.  You packing? Rolf asks Simon as they walk out of the building.  Just my knife.  You? If I need a gun, I’ll take it from the other guy.  Simon laughs as they get into the car.  Ramon gives Simon an annoyed look as he gets into the shotgun seat.   You still worked up about the beta male comment?  I thought you were going to take James’s head off for a moment there.  No.  Sam and I are good again.  He looks in the rearview at Rolf.  Thank you.  Rolf nods.  I want to talk to you, he says to Rolf.  I’m thinking about killing this Levi.  What has he done?  Simon asks.  They’re spending too much time together, Ramon says angrily.

Bettina told Jax not to worry about him, Simon says.  Has she ever sent you any selfies? Ramon asks suddenly.  Hell no.  And watch your mouth, Simon says tersely.  I didn’t think so, Ramon says, but I wanted to be sure.  Simon abruptly takes Ramon’s phone from the center console, opens his door, and throws it under the moving car.  There’s a bump as the rear tire runs it over.  Oops.  Simon says. I owe you a phone.  Rolf breaks out laughing, and Ramon eventually joins in.

Don’t worry about Lana and Levi, Simon tells Ramon. Judaism and Christianity are two radically different belief systems.  When I was over there, a group of those Orthodox Jews with the strange hair and black and white clothes came up to me at the airport and started begging me not to get baptized.  What did you do?  I just told them that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  Then they got really nasty and started blaspheming.  We would have gotten into a fight if Jax wasn’t there; I couldn’t risk him getting hurt.  What did Pastor Larry say?  Ramon asks. He quoted Proverbs 9:12 in Hebrew.  Then the leader of the Hebs said that the Masoretic text was corrupted and quoted back the same verse in English from the Septaugint.  Then Pastor Larry replied that election is by grace, not race, and their leader just went off on a Gentile rant.  Airport security came over, and we got out of there.  Don’t let this sour you, Pastor Larry told us as we got in the shuttle.  The Jews are still God’s chosen people.  I don’t agree with that, Ramon says flatly.

Let’s talk about something else, Rolf pipes up from the middle of the backseat.     You’ve met this Levi, Ramon tells Rolf.  What did you think of him?  He’s there to protect Lana, his boss’s orders.  Rolf replies.  What does Lana think about him? Simon asks.  Rolf doesn’t answer.  They drive in silence the rest of the way to the store.

He doesn’t say much, does he?  Ramon tells Simon as they wait in the car at Krogers.  That’s Rolf, Simon says.  He and Jon didn’t like hearing that about Sam, Ramon notes.  You want to try a Samsung Razr?  Simon asks. Don’t worry about it, Simon.  I told you I’d replace it, so I’ll replace it.  I’ll score points with her if she thinks I got rid of it on my own.  Fine, Simon concedes, offer withdrawn.  Ramon swears softly in Spanish.  Are you two still on the first kiss plan?  We were, Ramon admits, but now I don’t know what to expect from her.  Hey, you took back control, Simon says emphatically.  Do me a favor, Ramon says.  Hmmm.  Don’t tell Bettina about this.

***

Saul listens in a day later and fumes.  He sends an audio file of the recording to Jon.  I want an explanation.  After he’s talked to Jon, he sends the MP3 of the recording to Sam in an email titled Proverbs 11:22.  Her face burns with embarrassment as she listens to the conversation.  She finally responds Mea culpa.

***

That’s a wrap, Arnold says on set.  Everyone cheers.  Sam, you really brought that scene home.  Her costar tells her.  Thanks, Ryan. Let’s celebrate.  Rain check.  Will you give me a ride to the airport though?  I’ve got to get to the fight.

Fight Night, Las Vegas

Simon and Jax are in Mike’s corner.

The fighters hit gloves and the bell rings. Mike comes straight at Gomez, who circles around him, feet shuffling easily.  Mike suddenly charges and throws a flurry of punches, and grazes Gomez in the ear.  Now the fight is on and the men stand toe to toe and exchange punches, neither willing to give an inch.  The arena comes to its feet and roars its approval.  Mike goes for an uppercut and misses, and Gomez stuns him with a left cross, and Mike covers up as Gomez works his body.  Mike does a wild haymaker swing, and Gomez ducks under it and connects with an uppercut that causes Mike to stumble backwards against the ropes.  Gomez pursues him with a flurry of punches and Mike goes to the mat.   Gomez steps back and shuffles his feet, allowing Mike to regain his footing.  Then he swoops in.  Mike gets under his swing and throws him to the ground.  And clamors on top of him and starts punching him in the face with short efficient swings.  But the round ends and the referee separates them before Mike can finish him off.  Mike goes over to his corner and sits down and accepts a drink of water from Jax.  Now finish it, Simon tells him.  The bell rings and the fighters come back to the center and exchange a flurry of punches, Mike pressing Gomez backwards with his onslaught, but absorbing a lot of punishment, and a cut over his right eye starts bleeding badly.  Gomez goes to circle and Mike launches a kick that connects to the side of the boxer’s ribs.  Then Mike is all over him.  Throwing punches and working him against the ropes.  Gomez tries to cover up but Mike keeps slamming him with blows to the head.   Gomez blindly launches an uppercut, and it connects with Mike’s chin and he falls on his back, knocked out.  Gomez stumbles forward, and trips over Mike’s foot, and falls to the ground.  The ref does the count on Mike, and goes over to the wobbly fighter and holds up his hand.  Ramon is celebrating wildly, with his hands in the air, and Sam’s mouth is gaping open in astonishment.  Simon has his hands on his bald head, and the fight doctor comes over and gives Mike smelling salts and he wakes up and looks around.  He shakily gets to his feet, and the two fighters hug and pat each other on the back, and the crowd applauds.  Awesome fight, brother.  Jax tells him, as Mike comes back to his corner.  You didn’t give an inch.

But there’s a commotion in the crowd, as one of Buck Neezy’s entourage yells something at Samantha.  Gomez scrambles out of the ring, and jumps off the platform and drop kicks a huge black man, while Raul restrains his struggling brother from getting into the fight.  Another of Buck Neezy’s entourage throws a punch and hits Gomez in the back of the head, while Simon dives off the platform and tackles the rapper, and they roll around on the ground while an army of security and police separate them.  I kill you, fool.  Buck Neezy screams at him.  I kill you.  Anytime, anyplace, Simon yells back.

***

Mike attends the post fight press conference.  Are you up for a rematch?  Reporters ask him.  No. I’m going to fight for the great State of Michigan.  I’m announcing my candidacy for the open Senate seat.