Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Wilderness Years - The Snowball Effect

The drug trade is a funny thing. Years ago i read on article written by an ex-DEA agent who stated that the issue of huge drug cartels and drug gangs was overblown. While those types of organizations did exist the fact was that they were mainly foreign entities and that here in the good old yoo ess of ay it was nothing more than a bunch of freelancers. A disparate hodge-podge of free agents and lunatics all running amok with no real semblance of organization about them at all. What his theory stated was that this shit was mainly luck and that his former organization spent a shit ton of money on chasing shadows and ghosts and that the real big fish lived outside our borders. While the nightly news liked to show you scenes of blighted neighborhoods and the gangs who ran them, who protected their turf, who staked their claim to dealing on this street or that, it was more action movie bullshit than actual reality. There was another interesting article that was in the local paper. It was written by a cop who stated very bluntly that the only way they'd ever catch the good dealers was by luck. He said the good ones knew the game and how to work it and were much more clever and business savvy than people gave them credit for. The only way they'd ever catch them was pure chance, a random or blown red light or their usual tactic of flipping someone but even that was more myth than fact. Luckily, he said, there were enough people really bad at this game to keep the courts busy and the coffers full. In short, idiots abound. 

So here we are. Slightly over four years in. I could attest to the theory that things were much more piecemeal than the prime time dramas would have you believe. Hippie Jack and Cocaine Mike both used the same source. Pizza Joe's connection was a paranoid white B-boy who seemed to score brick weed from a couple different places. Max (and Ruby) was the rich college kid with a solid hook-up. But none of them had stumbled into the kind of action Stiv had lucked into. While Hippie Jack and Cocaine Mike were supplied by Mr. Big i came to learn that even Mr. Big wasn't as big as i thought he was. Yes in the early days i was a bit in awe of the guy with the shaved head and expensive leather jacket who hung at the bar and freely bought people drinks. I learned he always did the real business early, dropping the gear before noon and not the late night bullshit seen in movies. What Mr. Big had was a level of professionalism even if he did have shit ability to pick his minions. I understand that i was associated with two of the biggest fuck-ups this side of the Mon River but both those fuck-ups had touted my skill to Mr. Big yet when the time came to find a new captain he wanted nothing to do with me. Way back when this young buck was an arrogant sort, i thought fuck him, someday i'd take all his fucking business. Who knew? 

What i had done in those four years was make myself the king of the nickel-dimer set. Most stoners just want to have a guy who they can call and get weed from at a moments notice. They are stoners after all and don't really worry about much until they go to pack that bowl and find they are down to the last remnants of their bag. Only then does their panic set in. They then pick up the phone and call. If they don't get a hold of me the panic sets in even more. I had hours and ground rules and not abiding by them got you the fucking boot or at the very least a stern dressing down. It was a fine line to walk because if you pissed someone off too much you worried about the dime drop but then again that was a cardinal sin among anyone in the game of scoring and if word got out you'd never score again. Still, healthy paranoia was a good business practice. People knew how and when to get a hold of me and i took the job seriously. It was a business and i ran it like one which is what made me different than most of the guys doing it. In a word, i was fucking reliable. The days of the cupboard being bare were few and far between and on the odd days they were the near hysteria in some of the voices on the other end of the line was comical. I'd assure them i'd be straight in no time and that i'd get back to them ASAP when it happened. Just don't keep calling me or you'll lose your place in the queue. 
With Stiv i was hoping the supply problems would be a thing of the past. From all the information i had gleaned it seemed this crew was professional in the best sense of the word. And so it started with me picking up two pounds at a time. All on credit. Stiv would drive up when needed and pick up five elbows and then it would be my job to try and move it in roughly two weeks or so. And so began the Snowball Effect. 

The reputation i had developed among my clientele was one of an easygoing and reliable source. It was something rarely found in this game as most of the people who entered into this business were wholly unfit to be in it. It wasn't a music video or gangster movie it was a business and by treating it as such i was always acquiring new customers even when the gear wasn't great. The two secrets were always having a steady supply and keeping regular business hours. People knew that if you called me at midnight on Tuesday you'd be told to fuck off. Of course usually the weed was pretty good so that last thing a stoner wants to lose is a good connection. Now things were really looking good. The gear was excellent high end midi and the availability seemed endless. The usual customers were ecstatic when they saw the new stuff and it didn't take long before the most common question was "could i bring a friend by to meet you? They need a good hook." More customers meant more sales which meant more money. The only problem was how to balance all the new business and i didn't need that many people traipsing in and out of my apartment and so i began doing more business out of a couple bars. I also explained to people that if they "ran" for a bunch of their friends they would get a discount and a heavy bag which was always a excellent incentive. Those people also had the exclusive rights to come to my place instead of meeting at the bar. 

A funny thing happens when you luck into a great connection. Word travels fast. The client list exploded and it didn't take long to easily move that two pounds a week. Then the inquiries started, usually about someone who knew a guy who would be interested in weight, was it possible to get a quarter pound or half pound or pound? Now the answer was yes. I had worked out the numbers and it was well worth my time and effort to move weight. For the time being halves and quarters would be easy enough and once i got a gauge on things i could talk to Stiv about upping his end of the supply chain. The Snowball Effect had started. What was a little snowball at the top of the hill was now rolling down and picking up size and steam. In a short time moving those five pounds every two weeks was a snap. The weekly wage packet for the dealer man went from the extra $300-400 on a week to a grand or more. There was also the added bonus of the pounds i was getting now. Unlike in the past where shit usually weighed exactly 448 grams or even a little short, they now came in heavy, i mean every single one was over, sometimes close to an ounce. It was free money and/or free weed and i was loving every bit of it. So were the strippers and bartenders and record stores... and this was just the beginning. 

1 comment:

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Good stuff.

I think Cocaine Mike having a nickname like Cocaine Mike showed he wasn't thinking things through.

I'm glad I never got into stuff that heavy. I would have sucked at it. I had a roommate who had drug dealers popping by the apartment all the time, and we had names for them too. I trusted Realtor James and was actually friendly with him, but something didn't sit well with me when it came to Jumpsuit George.