WHILE IN PRISON in 1997, John Veasey started listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. And John, a lifelong Democrat, was transformed into a conservative. He came to view government handouts as a way of controlling people. He decided he no longer wanted to be on the dole as part of the witness-protection program; he wanted to make it on his own, and live a life that would honor his brother’s memory.
So when John moved out of the hotel, he filed papers to quit the program, which meant no more financial assistance. He also answered ads for jobs as a car salesman. He was turned down several times because of his tattoos. But one dealer took a chance. In the middle of August on 100-degree car lots, Veasey wore ties and long-sleeve shirts to hide his ink. He was a quick study with customers.
“All my life, I’ve observed people,” he says. “I’m very observant.” Especially in prison, when he spent 37 months in the hole. He studied the guards to figure out how to win them over, so they would do him favors. “You find out what their hot buttons are.”
John used the same approach on customers. “I never sell cars,” he says. “I help people buy them. And I never ask anybody, ‘What are you looking for?’ What do you think they’re looking for, a fucking plane?”
When he got his first weekly paycheck as a car salesman, for more than $8,000, John asked his boss, “Is this legal?”
The Closer would say anything to make a sale. One customer wanted to buy a car for his young trophy wife, who had enormous fake breasts. The customer complained bitterly about the interest rate on the car loan. “I’m not paying 8.9 percent,” he said.
John scanned the guy’s credit report. “Do you care about your wife’s tits?” he asked. “You paid 17.9 percent for them. That didn’t bother you at all. You show all your friends her boobs, don’t you?” The guy got up to leave, but John told him, “Sit down, you aren’t going anywhere.”
He apologized to the wife: “With all due respect, ma’am, your tits look great.” But he said her husband was being cheap not buying protective air bags: “You’re gonna crash, there’s gonna be silicone all over the windows.”
The guy bought the car and the optional air bags. He came back to buy two more cars.
EVERYTHING WAS GOING GREAT for the Closer until he was in a restaurant in 2007 and heard a loudmouth repeatedly call a maître d’ a whore. John told the loudmouth to leave her alone, and the loudmouth made the mistake of calling John a midget, and then took a swing. John took a glancing blow to the ear, and then landed one punch, a left.
The guy needed 38 stitches to patch his face, as well as plastic surgery because he bit his lower lip off before hitting the ground.
John’s boss, the owner of the dealership where he worked, wrote a letter to the prosecutor in the fight case, confirming that Veasey consistently sold 30 cars a month, “which is just short of impossible.”