Meeting Big Bill on Nantucket

I met a big man named Bill at a tavern on Nantucket. Broadcasting loudly across the bar, he was hard to ignore. He had acres of tattoo ink up and down both of his beefy forearms and wore lots of gold jewelry. When he laughed, he pushed you at the elbow, making contact to ensure you got the joke.

Bill said he had rented a house near the beach on Nantucket for a month. “It cost me ten grand,” he said. He rushed the waitress to bring him his check, then it turned out he had a tab from a few days back he had forgotten to pay. “No problem,” he said, chugging down the remains of his Heineken. He always seemed like he was restless, wanting to leave to hit the next bar. I was fascinated by him.

Bill seemed rich and drove a $70,000 black Escalade, but he said more than once that he was not. “You know those ads that show the guy driving off a bridge since he has so many credit cards? My friends joke and say that’s me.” Bill wanted to get a date with a striking blond bartender who worked at the Summer House, an expensive place in exclusive Siasconset, on the far east of the island.

“She likes me,” he said, but when we showed up for some of their high priced drinks, she talked about ‘the man I am seeing’ who docks his boat right next to Bill Belichick’s. “His boat is called Five Rings,” she told us. Bill asked her if he could take her to dinner, but she politely demurred…’my mother is coming to visit,’ she said. “I’ll take her too,” said Bill, to no avail.

Bill happily paid the $79 check, the cost of just one round of drinks. His cognac cost him $50. Later that night I asked Bill what he wanted out of his life. “Don’t get Dr. Phil on me,” he said.