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The Cowboys' equipment managers began handing him messages when he walked out of meetings: Call Lucifer's. Call Smokey John's. Call Mercantile National Bank. He would walk on the practice field worrying about the broken heater at the nightclub or the waitress shortage at the restaurant. His loan payments lagged. His co-owners bickered. Harvey was never there enough to know what was going on.
Undercover agents stopped by Lucifer's to ask about alleged drug trafficking at the club. There were rumors of prostitution. Receipts were being changed; money kept vanishing from the cash register. Martin had opened the club with $25,000 from his '78 Super Bowl check, giving a one-third interest to two friends—brothers—who put up a mere $1,300. The $25,000 was gone in the first three months, and he pumped in tens of thousands more. He was handed an invoice for janitorial equipment for $12,000; the broom handle and the bucket must have been 24-carat gold.
Martin kept getting new bank loans. It was easy for a Cowboy, just smile and sign. Lucifer's went under after only six months when the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission demanded its percentage on every drink sold and there was no cash left to pay. Among the two co-owner brothers and Martin's sister and a girl friend, who had also helped operate the club, there was a four-way sword fight with pointed fingers. Martin was the one left bleeding red.
Even without Lucifer's, hell blazed on. Every moment between Cowboy meetings his teammates would see Martin on the phone and shake their heads. He started being late for meetings, and they began to grumble. He remained the team sack leader or co-leader every year, but his totals dwindled—to 16 in '78, to 10 in '79, to 12 in '80, to 10 in '81. Landry named Randy White the new defensive captain.
Beautiful Harvey Martin felt ugly inside, but he tried to remain the grinning, drink-buying person he was supposed to be. He bought a full-length brown suede coat with a fur collar. At Christmas he would call a friend who sold jewelry and say, "Hey, man, need some presents." Harvey would spend a thousand bucks, and 10 or 11 sweet young things would be wearing gold around their necks on Christmas Day.
He lent money to relatives and friends and flat-out flunkies. He lent one friend his Mercedes and had to retrieve it with a tow truck. He let friends stay in his house and load his phone bill with long-distance calls. He bought expensive tropical fish on the advice of his fish salesman, who said the piranhas wouldn't eat them, and awoke to find hundred-dollar investments devoured.
Once, driving down Field Street in Dallas with a friend named Martin Marshall, Harvey suddenly jammed on his brakes and jumped from his car, leaving it in the middle of the street. "A bag lady was going through a trash can," Marshall says. "Harvey handed her $20 and said, 'Ma'am, please don't let me see you going through a trash can again.' "
Harvey trusted everyone. A woman claimed he was the father of her baby and he began paying child support. When she asked for more and threatened a paternity suit, blood tests proved Martin was not the father. He continued paying anyway. "Such a cute little kid," he said.
His phone number and house keys became common property. Girls called at 4 a.m. Calls to London were charged to his number from pay phones. Pearson stayed at his house for six months and left shaking his head. "I'd wake up and see people there who weren't there when I went to bed," he said.
Martin would find his clothes disturbed and could tell someone had gone through his drawers. His $2,400 watch disappeared; he replaced it with a $3,000 one. A girl friend bought him a $1,750 gold bracelet with 37 diamonds spelling "Harvey" and asked him to co-sign on the loan when she couldn't get credit. Martin ended up paying $1,450 of it.