Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Wilderness Years - While the Billy Goat Sings

 There were times when i had to admire the balls Billy Goat had, for he possessed either huge balls or almost unprecedented stupidity... or maybe a combination of both... you see the Billy Goat kept getting further and further behind on the upkeep of his payments. When he'd arrive at my place, backpack in hand, it was becoming commonplace for him to hand me a stack of money well short of what he owed and then ask for a couple more pounds. The number of stories i'd hear about why he didn't have all my cash varied from somewhat believable to outrageously stupid... but he always had one, some bit of misfortune that befell him or someone he knew and i'll give Billy credit he had a decent argument for why i should be so kind and wise as to give him more gear when his tab kept rising, like a charming drunk conning another drink off an empathetic bartender, except he was not charming and i was not all that empathetic... especially when it concerned getting all my fucking money. 

One fine afternoon the Billy Goat arrived at my apartment to inform me that he was still in the process of collecting cash from his minions but that he really needed three more pounds of grass. I stood patiently near the armoire, a bit of furniture bought from Ikea that housed my triple beam and copious amounts of ganja. It seemed that tragedy had befallen the Billy Goat's girl and her roommate and Billy wanted to play the knight in filthy armor... they were short on the rent which meant he had to help them, which meant he didn't have nearly enough to pay what he owed while in the same breath asking me to front him all three pounds, remind you this would be fucking six grand he'd owe me once he walked out the door and since he now owed me over two K already i was none to pleased with the current situation. I calmly looked at him and said, let me get this straight, you gave my fucking money to your girlfriend to cover her rent? that's the story? Yes, he replied, but assured me he'd have it back to me in no time. Like the other fucking two grand you owe? He grinned his stupid grin and whined, weeeeeellll not all of it but i'll definitely have the money for these three and probably a little more. Probably a little more i chuckled, you need to do a bit better than that my friend or you may not have a connection. Billy then laid out his argument, one could tell all that expensive education under that Golden Dome had paid at least some dividends, as he rolled out his rationale... I can't make your money back unless i have a way to get that money and the fastest way to get it is if i have weed to sell, the confidence in his voice was waning as my gaze turned into a glare. 

I stood looking at the triple beam on the top shelf of the armoire, then i turned and spoke... Here's what's going to happen, i began, i'm going to front you two pounds... he began to speak and i stopped him... you just fucking listen, i growled, and when you come back to my fucking place you'll have all the money for those two pounds plus some, if not you'll be on the hook to me and i will come looking for you, dig? you also won't get any more fucking grass unless what i just said happens understand? He nodded and began to speak...  na-na-na i shot back, listen to what i'm saying, you bring me all that and i'll front you another one or two and the same rules apply, you need to start paying shit down not having your tab explode, you should be fucking happy i'm giving you these two, fucking i don't give a shit about your lady and her friend being homeless, they can turn tricks or better yet get a fucking job, why is it that my money is paying their fucking rent? i can tell you most certainly i'm not all that fucking jazzed when i have to dig into my pocket to cover your fucking tab when i head to see my guy and reup. Fucking understand? He nodded but i knew all he really heard was that he was going to get two pounds yet the fucking muppet still pressed the issue. I really need three, he said. And i don't give a fuck, i shot back, you get two, you need the next one? come back with the money for at least one and i'll give you another, i'm getting a little tired of the fucking bullshit every time you turn up and are short my cash which these days is every time you show up. I'm just saying
i can't get your money unless i have product, he mumbled sheepishly. I get what your fucking saying! i shot back, i understand the fucking logic, that being said i ain't fucking happy about it and you should start worrying cuz it's not good for you when i'm not happy, got it. He nodded. 

I turned and grabbed two pounds and threw them on the scale, the triple beam moved and we both watched as the scale went north of the 448 gram mark that was a pound. This one is twelve  grams over, this one sixteen, i said, i suggest you use some of that as your head stash and move the rest and get me my fucking money. The Billy Goat put the weed in his backpack and then began to hem and haw about how he had to get going. There is part of the game that brings out the worst in people, that makes one evil when it comes to dealing with people. I could tell the Billy Goat was in a rush to leave so i kept talking so he'd have to sit and listen. You said it was your girlfriend's rent money? i asked.. He stumbled a bit and started rambling, well not exactly hers but her place, it was some of her roommates. Oh, i said, i see... so you're playing the hero and swooping in to bail them out with my money, well you know there are always ways to pay me back on that account isn't there... his face went pale as he realized what i was getting at... not that i would ever act on such an insinuation but the threat was always effective when it came to getting motherfuckers attention in the debt collection department. If you want any more gear make sure you come back with all the money for those two and then some got it? He nodded and i showed him the door. He made his way down the worn carpeted steps while the yellow hallway lights magnified the spring that had been taken out of his step. 

It was a tough situation. Billy Goat did move tons of shit but Billy Goat was a fucking moron when it came to certain things. I'd met his girlfriend and he was clearly batting above his weight, i'm sure the main attraction was the fact he was a "dealer" who had disposable cash. His girl had also been most friendly every time she met me and the one time i had to go to his place to drop off some gear and pick up money it wasn't lost on me that she considered me an upgrade. Sitting at her old kitchen table, a metal-legged antique straight outta my grandmother's basement, she sat in her shorts and t-shirt chatting me up and smiling the whole time... i understood the vibe and no i'm not some narcissist i just had honed my skills when it came to dealing with people, i could read them, i also understood that certain women liked guys in my line of work, it made us more attractive and i was not some short, round, ridiculously bearded, bucket hat wearing muppet with toenails that were a universe unto themselves. Who knows what she told the Billy Goat on meeting me but it seemed to cause him a bit of bother. Good. 

Had this most recent episode been the first of the Billy Goat's visits where he was "just a little short", it wouldn't have been much of a problem. The facts were this was now a regular occurrence every time he stepped into my apartment and his debt kept growing. There was part of me that thought of broaching the subject of interest on his debt seeing that most of the time my money was being used to pay for his lifestyle. There were car repairs, the aforementioned rent, a road trip to see some hippie bands and of course the usual non-sense of him having to track down the stragglers who owed him for weed... the excuses were vast and varied and hung in the air like a stale fart each time he bleated one out. But he did move gear... there was no denying that but when i'm waiting for my cut to come in, my profit, it doesn't do me any good how much he moves, he didn't seem all that worried about my cash just so long as he got his and that was beginning to really piss me off. I was about to grab him by his fucking beard and explain that i get paid first before he goes all Richie Rich with whatever lame-brained scam he's conjured up.... and his most asinine idea was yet to come... 

Friday, May 26, 2023

The Wilderness Years - The Return of the Billy Goat

 (The last post on the Billy Goat was from August 2020, for those interested... not that i'm under any illusions that (maybe) more than three people read this shit, one could start there for a refresher- the mgmt) 

When we last spoke of the Billy Goat it was of that fateful first meeting, what one might call a blessing and a curse, to hint at a lovely foreshadowing. The Billy Goat was all in on the dealer game, he was living the hippie dream, as previously noted he had graduated from a prestigious university known for football and a certain golden dome and was now living in a row house in one of the many cuts in the East End. These row houses were havens for the students and the hangers-on who were clinging to the college years before actually being forced into getting a real, or for that matter any, job. It was an excellent location to deal out of because with that many students there was always foot traffic, lots of it, which made it hard for the cops. The last thing the police needed was a raid on a place that turned up nothing or next to nothing while then finding out that the place they raided just happened to be occupied by the spawn of some hot shot politician, lawyer, businessman etc. They didn't need the hassle. So these little enclaves were left alone unless of course someone was incredibly stupid... and as we all know, never underestimate the stupidity of any given human. 

The Billy Goat knew the game, he said all the right things, showed up with cash in hand, like any new employee he was on his best behavior, he looked like the classic hippie college kid with his long scraggly hair, big beard, tie-dyed shirts and Birkenstocks. One might recall the horror show that was the Billy Goat's toes, in fact actual billy goats had much more attractive toes than our Billy Goat, i probably should have included a toe nail clipper with one of his orders as a hint but then again i more rightly should have included a gift certificate for a pedicure... and Jah help the poor Asian immigrant at the local salon unlucky enough to have to work on this cat's feet, it wouldn't be a shock if they quit when they saw them. When he stopped by i always hoped he'd be wearing actual shoes that covered his toes but those were rare occasions. 

The truth was the Billy Goat was a good earner who moved a lot of product. Once he got the gear and showed it to his people he was coming around every couple of days to pick up another pound. I'd even alert him to when the supply was low and ask if he needed me to hold onto something so that he could get through until the next re-up. It was all so smooth... in the beginning. 

The healthy (or unhealthy) paranoia i had cultivated always kept me on alert and even with the Billy Goat seeming to do a bang up job i had my doubts about his reliability but when he asked if he could get two pounds at a time instead of just one i had no problem, of course the second pound would be fronted to him so each time i saw him he'd pay for one plus the fronted one and get two more, a rotating line of credit, i did inform him that as long as he kept up on shit i'd have no problem with this arrangement and for the most part Billy did keep up. In fact once the Billy Goat got hooked into my supply line his business exploded and he was one of the first to ask if he could get a discount. I explained to him that i was thinking of something like that but the fact was i didn't have control over the price but i was getting ready to broach that very subject to my partner (see Stiv). I informed him that i had another guy who had asked the same thing and that i felt it would be beneficial for all involved but i did warn him that my partner was a bit of a greedy headcase and that i couldn't promise anything. Billy nodded and pontificated in his rather high and nasally voice on all the reasons that should happen. I patiently listened and told him i agreed but that it was up to the guy one rung up the chain. 

And so the Billy Goat did his thing and kept flipping pounds at an expedient rate. Of course it didn't take long, around two months or so, when the Billy Goat began to think he was "special". He was under the impression that he was my biggest mover of grass and the truth is that he was, though Metal Gary, one of my warehouse co-workers, wasn't far behind. But because of this Billy believed that he should receive some sort of special treatment. The first little hiccup occurred when a batch came in that wasn't quite as good as what we'd become accustomed to seeing. It was still green and looked pretty good, the smell wasn't as strong, which in certain respects was a nice break from my room smelling like an Amsterdam coffeeshop but now the Billy Goat had some issues. I found it rather amusing or more correctly annoying that a guy who was getting a couple of grand retail on the cuff had an issue with anything. But soon the pissing and moaning started. 

There was a time when this conversation took place every instance that the quality took a slight dip, and the fact was this was outdoor grown, mass produced cannabis and in all honesty it was well done. For the most part batches came in that were so good they bordered on what the kids called "kind bud" back in the day before branding and names became all the rage. The US wasn't the ganja capital of the world like it is today, but more correctly it was high midi, as we'd say. High mid-grade weed that was excellent quality and a good smoke at a great price. It wasn't pressed, brown Mexican brick or seedy dirt weed, the shit was good, nuff said. The problem was the Billy Goat took me for some kind of sucker, in the cock-offs of the dealer world we all think we're the smartest guy in the fucking room, wielding the biggest dick and Billy definitely thought he was... he was not. Not that i'm claiming i was but let's just stay i was brighter than Billy. You see because while all this was happening Billy was falling further behind on his payments. Now he owed me for more than just a pound and i cautioned him on his tab getting a bit more than i was comfortable with but Billy, not realizing i was wearing my wading boots because i knew the bullshit was about to get deep, would assure me that soon he would collect it all and be straight over to settle up. I smiled and laughed and said i knew he would because i'm sure he enjoyed walking without a limp and not eating through a straw. We'd both laugh but one could detect a bit a nervous anxiety in Billy's face i grinned coolly his way... (to be cont.) 

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Wilderness Years - Disco, the epilogue

 Sadly, the story of Disco Dave did not end there... While things with Veronica and i had come to an end she was still in town, in fact she wouldn't leave town until nearly two years after things had ended and so there were occasions when we would run into each other. Things were always cordial and i usually walked away from these encounters with an ache, she still mesmerized me, honestly probably does to this day, and when we saw each other we'd talk, ask how each other were doing, i'd ask her if she was still with Franco and she'd ask if i left my girlfriend yet, the look in both our eyes was of longing, the pure folly of human existence, when what should be a beautiful thing ends up being a disaster, ends up crumbling like a dried and dead flower... and yes most, if not all of it, was my doing.... 

One day i just happened to wander into the bar she was working at... more correctly i knew she was working there and so i stopped in to have a drink and see her, it was a basement under an Indian restaurant that had DJs every Thursday through Sunday, a place near the big university...  and for the record the lunch buffet at the Indian joint was top notch... i sat down and she turned and smiled, cracked an Amstel and set it front of me, i loved how she knew what i drank, she had become an excellent bartender and i mean that as a high compliment, good bartenders are often hard to come by and i'm sure i could write a post or two on the why and the how considering i've dealt with more shit bartenders than i care to remember... it was as we talked that out of the blue she brought up Disco Dave. Disco seemed to like to frequent the place on certain nights to get his groove on, something that Veronica admitted was rather comical. She stated that Disco thought he was quite the dancer but seemed to be a bit spastic which brought a big laugh... then she stated that Disco had taken to hitting on her... relentlessly. 

It was at this point that my smile faded... did i have some right to be pissed? absolutely not, i had no claim to Veronica, i had fucked up and let her go and yet i still had this protective feeling towards her, not that she needed me, she could definitely take care of herself but this information bothered me none the less. She mentioned that he had even said something about our trip and how he was "a player" too and that she should go out with him. She said she had politely told him no the first couple of times but after the sixth she had told him to get fucked, there was no chance. Disco then said something stupid and slinked off and that seemed to be the end of it and though he did still hit the bar on certain nights he didn't really talk to her anymore and made it a point to go to the other bartender working when getting his drinks. I told her "that fucking cunt beat me for half a pound because he's a fucking moron", stated that he was persona non grata and that he would do well to steer clear of me... especially in light of the information she had just relayed to me. She smiled at me with those gorgeous eyes shining and turned to make some drinks for some customers. I sat at the bar fuming... i wanted to annihilate this fucking smarmy prick. 

Fast forward a few months and i walked into the strip club with T-bag to relax. To refresh the memory, T-bag was a the young buck who i got into the strip club underage, who then started dating a stripper, and who was a bit of a pit bull, meaning he wouldn't mind punching someone in the face. As we walked in i clocked Disco and his entourage sitting at the bar, why the fucking idiot would come here, knowing full well that i frequented the place, was beyond me... unless of course he was trying to find me. Of course he could have tried to call if he wanted to talk to me but the fact was he knew i wouldn't answer if his number came up and i didn't answer the cell for numbers i didn't know. Any message he left would be unreturned. I took my usual place at the corner of the bar and mentioned to T-bag that the fucking idiot in the duster and ugly shirt was the dipshit who got popped and bailed on a half pound... T-bag immediately wanted to go over and punch him in the face but i told him to relax but be ready just in case... Disco looked over and smiled, i nodded, the bartender walked over and said the guy at the bar had bought us a round. Great, i said, it was the least he could do, he only owes me about 400 more drinks to pay me off. The bartender, who knew me, laughed, she opened my beer and set it front of me and smiled. 

Since Disco had shelled out for a beer he then thought he had earned the right to parlay with me... he hadn't and i'd have been happy if he had stayed on his side of the bar... it was early in the week and slow at the club and he and his sidekicks sauntered over. The one was a scrawny little fuck who looked like he might piss himself, the other was an African-American chap who i happened to recognize though i couldn't quite place where i knew him from.. the mystery was solved soon enough... we exchanged pleasantries, T-bag already growling in my ear to say the word and he'd punch Disco square in his mug but i said be cool. The black guy then looked at me and said, i know you... you do? i replied... yeah, he said, didn't you use to buy hash off my boys over on Chesterfield St.? I chuckled for a minute, yeah man i did, what like almost ten years ago? that was before i went back to school for a year, yeah man i remember you. How you been? i asked... pretty good, he said, except i think i broke my hand, had splatter some fuckers nose the other day, he said this as i rubbed his swollen right hand... that's good to know i said stone-faced, just in case shit kicks off. The countenance of his face quickly changed. 

Disco had been standing there like an impatient kid waiting in line to sit on Santa's lap, he was in full hood mode with his act though it came off more like a rich suburban white kid trying to be cool... he was a cartoon character. Thus began his plea... Disco wanted back in my good graces, wanted to make things right, wanted to get back on the team... i sat and listened patiently as he rambled on about how i was the man and no one had shit like me and that he wanted to get back to moving weight and blah blah fucking blah... if i had a nickel for every time some jive ass motherfucker wanted a break i'd have never had to sling a sack of weed. The part i found most interesting was that Disco didn't even have the money... at least not all of it, and was gonna put up roughly half the cash that was needed... which was both ludicrous and futile... cuz he could have offered to pay me three times the price and i'd have told him to get fucked. 

As Disco droned on i watched the dancer on stage, strolling up to tip her and smiling, they all knew me here, dancers and bartenders and patrons alike. Disco stopped yammering when i walked away a bit confused at my aloof attitude. I want to get back in your good graces, was all he kept repeating. I told him he was, that the tab was paid but that the price of that tab was there was no business to be done. It was over... and it would fucking stay that way. He hemmed and hawed some more and i explained about the snowballs chance in hell... you know how it didn't have any... the whole time T-bag sat snarling practically begging me to say the word so he could clock Disco in the mouth. I turned to Disco and smiled... oh yeah, one more thing, leave Veronica alone, understand? or there will be some hell to pay, dig? Disco developed a stutter, wh-wh-what? you fucking heard me, i shot back, you have no and never had a fucking chance with a girl like that and don't think i don't know what the fuck you said cuz she told me, yeah man, we still talk so you better get this shit straight, leave her the fuck alone. 

A slow Tuesday was suddenly getting interesting for the sad sacks at the bar... the tension in the corner where we were gathered had risen considerably and i was now standing and leaning against the bar explaining to Disco his situation... again... we were fucking done, there was no business to be done and if any wise ass thought about doing something stupid, aka dropping a dime, he would once again be the first person i came looking for... as for Veronica, i better not hear he so much as looked her way let alone talked to her or we'd have a serious fucking problem, more so than the fucking grand he still owed me, besides i laughed, she thinks you're a fucking joke... he stammered about buying me a drink and trying to be cool and i told him i didn't really give a fuck what he thought. By this time T-bag was begging for me to let him punch this asshole in his face while Disco's boys pretended to grow a pair. I told T-bag it was cool and that i wasn't much worried about any of them, that our friend here told me his right hand is broke so not much worry there and that the little guy here looks like he's been about to shit his pants since they walked over. The bartender had come over and asked for us to keep shit cool and i assured her we would, that there were no problems here, in fact there was nothing going on here at all. That my friends were just leaving. She smiled at me and then looked at Disco and his crew and said have a nice night.

Disco began mumbling shit while he gathered his jacket but i'll give him a modicum of credit, he knew better than to push it. My old acquaintance from Chesterfield stood around trying to look hard but i stood up and told him i had no problem with him, that we're cool, it's just his friend fucked up and fucked me over and in my business that means "no mas". He understood where i was coming from and we parted on good terms as they made for the door, none of them looking back except for the little guy who looked relieved that things didn't kick off. T-bag sat there gesticulating and ranting that i should have let him beat that guy's ass but i smiled, bought him a shot and a beer and said relax, it's all good, a chump's a chump and Disco knows he's a fuckin' chump so don't sweat it. I turned my attention back to the stage and began redistributing the wealth to the local dancers... 

Friday, May 12, 2023

The Wilderness Years - Problems pt. 2

 A week had gone by and there was no sign of Disco Dave... granted my gut feeling was always that Disco Dave was a top class knob end but since he seemed relatively intelligent my thoughts were he wouldn't piss away what was commonly referred to as the best connection in the city. His sexually ambiguous hairdresser friend Kyle, the guy who had got Dave through the door, a guy introduced to me by a hippie chick who had been introduced by an ex-roommate's friend's sexually ambiguous boyfriend (cue Blur's Girls and Boys), were all big fans, they couldn't believe their luck at finding what was the steadiest and most stable weed connection around, the last thing anyone who had stumbled upon my little enterprise wanted to do was get cut off especially the guys moving quantity... but a week later and Disco had become a ghost.

Kyle had stopped by a few days later to pick up something small, usually i would have kicked him to my business hours at the bar but he caught me on the rare slow day and so i told him to swing by. Kyle was always amusing, he understood the game, understood the protocol, come in and hang for a 20 minutes or so and then get the fuck out. There were always stories and laughs and there was the time where Kyle and a friend of his turned up one Saturday afternoon with a tank of nitrous oxide and we spent the afternoon drinking beer and doing balloons... the Waitress was at work and was none too pleased when she rolled in the door, apparently you could hear the tank from outside and one of the agreements we had was that business would be kept to a minimum in the apartment, by this time it was mainly the heavy hitters who got a foot in the door due to the amount they were picking up and the need for me to count a lot of cash. Kyle had stories of nude photo shoots on sailboats, strange parties where he was the "entertainment", always interspersed the word "girlfriend" into his stories though in all the times he stopped by i never saw her... he often offered to take me for a ride on his motorcycle, a crotch rocket, where he said i could hold onto him as we did 100mph up the freeway... i passed. 

On this day having Kyle come to the place was more about gathering info then selling a quarter ounce of weed. I asked if he had seen Disco. He said he hadn't in a while. I said cool and if he saw him that he should tell him to get a hold of me ASAP, he owed me for a half pound and his lack of communication was concerning. Kyle, being the ever-friendly guy who wanted to help, said he'd do his best to help track him down and relay the message. I tossed in a couple extra grams and said thank you. I could tell my line of questioning had changed the vibe in the room and while it was still congenial and friendly Kyle picked up on the dark undercurrent, mainly the fact i was a little pissed about some fucking rich kid owing me a grand. I quizzed Kyle a bit on Disco's financial situation and since he wanted to help he made it pretty clear that Disco had money and that his momma would bail him out if needed though he may not tell her why he needed the money. I stood listening and nodding and then Kyle made for the exit albeit it less smiley and jovial than when he came in. 

It wasn't long before the mystery of Disco's disappearance was solved. I often wondered if Kyle didn't know or after leaving my place beelined it to Disco's to tell him he better give me a call cuz i was none to pleased. When the cell rang and i saw Disco's number i answered, Disco was affecting the timid fuck-up voice that i had come to recognize every time some fucking idiot shit the bed and didn't have my money, be it $50 bucks or $500. I wasn't pleased... and so Disco began to spin his yarn... he said there was a problem, that he had gotten popped... at that point i stopped him and pretended i didn't know what he was talking about, i told him i'd call him back shortly because my phone was almost dead. My phone was not but here this fucking moron was, on the phone, telling me he got busted, i didn't need anymore info relayed and the dealer paranoia came slamming in like a tsunami, what the fuck was this bonehead doing? were the cops listening? i didn't think they were but i also didn't want to find out. For those who don't know the late 90s and early 2000s were boom years for the prison industrial complex and those who took their campaign contributions, they were tossing people in prison for fucking dimebags let alone duffel bags filled with grass, the last thing i need was this conversation being overheard by anyone with a passing interest in law enforcement. I hung up and ran down the street to a payphone. 

Years from now when some kid googles asshat and stumbles upon this experiment they may read this and wonder, what was a payphone? yes i'm old enough to remember the days when they still existed and luckily at this point they still did, on the corner next to the mini-mart and across from a bar stood a lovely and graffiti covered payphone. I dialed Disco's number, he answered and i let loose with a torrent of controlled anger, don't call me on my fucking cell and tell me you got busted, what the fuck is wrong with you, i'm in no mood for fucking laughs my friend and that kind of shit makes me fucking very nervous and my being nervous ain't gonna be the best thing for you Davey Boy, got it? Disco then mumbled and bumbled his way through some lame ass apologies before we got to the crux of the situation which was... what the fuck happened you stupid fuck-up? 

The story went like this... Disco Dave had a customer, some pooh-butt chick who apparently had all sorts of issues pertaining to various substances and in the process of feeding that habit got popped... in exchange for leniency she cut a deal with cops to "help get" someone else... i'm sure the cops didn't think it was going to be some half ass weed deal and were hoping for some clown with a bundle of stamp bags but the pooh-butt wasn't about to get the dealer she needed in deep shit therefore the easiest and wisest target for her was fucking Disco Douchebag. He explained she wanted to meet in a gas station parking lot, something he thought was strange but since she was a bit sketchy he figured she was just paranoid. Yes it's as stupid as it sounds and i asked why if she was sketchy and suddenly wanting to meet in a parking lot did he say yes? Of course his reply was that he was trying to move shit so he could pay me, to which i replied pay me for what? which he realized meant i didn't want to be implicated as having anything to do with this situation while fuckhead was on his phone... because now my healthy paranoia was running rampant. Were the cops really going to tap Disco's phone? probably not but then again i had no idea what Disco had spilled, for all i know he had pissed his expensive and ugly jeans and offered them "the man." 

Disco then continued  reassuring me that he had said nothing to the police and that he had gotten himself a good lawyer but the problem was this was his second offense. I asked what he got caught selling and he said an ounce. In one sense i was somewhat relieved because though an ounce was more than a dime bag it wasn't something like a quarter pound which would have definitely got the boys in blue all hard with the prospect of taking down "an organization." Still, an ounce was enough to keep the cops interest but Disco had sworn up and down that he said nothing, which to me meant fucking jack shit. It was around this point that Disco began to sheepishly explain he wasn't going to be able to pay me. Why? i asked, you got busted with an ounce, where is the rest of it? Yes i realized i was now implicating myself in this little dilemma (had anyone been listening) but i needed this shit resolved. He said he had given the rest to his brother, the one who stole the triple beam for me, and that he was broke because he had to pay for a lawyer, in fact he had to hit up his rich mom for help. The thought that maybe he could sell some of his swanky threads crossed my mind but i stood in the cold listening intently to the ramblings of an idiot. 

So let me get this straight, i hissed into the phone, you fucked up and got popped with a zip selling to some junkie cunt in a parking lot like a fucking moron. You also don't have the money to pay the bank what you owe even though someone still has the bulk of the gear. That's the story correct. Yes, he mumbled. I looked up and down Ellsworth Avenue, already watching for anything unusual. Here's how this plays out then my friend, the loss of that cash covers my security understand, it's off the books, you don't owe a thing, now if i so much as see a strange car or the door gets kicked in or a couple of guys in suits come walking up and take my arm you my friend are fucked, got it. One of my first calls will be to a certain friend of mine who owes me a favor and specializes in things like this, meaning you'll be walking with a fucking limp for the rest of your days or maybe worse depending on my mood... and believe me you'll never see it or know it's coming but understand if it ever gets to that point i'll be watching from somewhere, got it. There were more mumbled apologies as the sad sack version of Disco rambled for a minute before i cut him off and said, that's it, nothing more to discuss, good luck with your case and have a nice life, but we're finished here. 

I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Things were going to be dicey for a minute or two and i'd have to keep things wired as tight as possible. I contemplated discussing it with Stiv but seeing as he was high strung and paranoid to begin with i decided best to keep him in the dark about the situation, maybe explain that some shithead beat me for a half pound but that said shithead was now cut off. It was around this time when i started to consider a safe house, a place where i didn't do business but could stash some extra weed and some cash just in case. I had a few places in mind, both good friends, old roommates, who knew the deal as they had lived with the dealer. Granted i'd make it worth their while and who doesn't like money for nothing and free weed? Walking home i could feel the weight, the game was always precarious, a delicate balance of business acumen and luck, hopefully that luck ran good but on occasion when it went south one hoped it didn't go way south. I knew there would be no good night's sleep anytime soon. (to be cont.)

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Wilderness Years - Problems pt. 1

 And so begins the story of Red... not to say that it didn't come with it's own set of challenges but if was off and running and not too terribly taxing, there weren't a lot of demands placed and i was definitely the one in charge of the situation which at the time was exactly where i wanted to be... in charge of everything basically... working in a business that was often run on chaos and now dealing with amounts of grass that would get me tossed into a place that i probably couldn't even fathom, the semblance of control was paramount to my sanity... 

Enter Disco Dave... (this little episode has been previously covered but could use a revision)... Disco Dave was one of those rave kids who liked to stay up late and dance all night... Disco Dave was a rich kid who not only had a lawyer momma but also a trust fund from some accident that had happened when he was younger which resulted in him getting burned due to some negligence on the corporation's part and so Disco was pretty much set for life... and yet we would still show up at my place looking for the front, looking for me to hand him a large bag of weed on credit for him to move and bring me the money at a later date... Granted this was how the weed game operated, fronting product was nothing unusual and the guy who did it always did it while taking into consideration just who he was handing that weed to... so not only was i in charge of receiving, distribution, accounting, marketing and a few other skills that MBAs spend a lot of dosh to acquire, i was now also the chief loan officer who had to look over applicants and decide if said muppet would eventually fuck me over... and while i had my reservations about Disco Dave i also knew he had money or he liked to say he had money so while i considered the risk more moderate than low i approved the "front". 

The truth is that for a period of time Disco wasn't a bad earner, granted he wasn't one of the top boys but he did a decent enough job swinging quarter pounds, which soon grew into half pounds, and was relatively reliable getting the cash to me in a timely fashion. Now if one recalls (which i'm sure they don't since this tale has taken fucking years to get through with it's sporadic starts and stops and such) Stiv and i had a bit of a contentious relationship, Stiv if one remembers being my hookup to the big weight. Stiv really loved his money and was rather greedy in that respect so there was always this game of cat and mouse and when things really took off and we hashed out a deal where i could lower the price of pounds if the buyer bought at least five in cash, it gave me an opportunity, to in a way, stick it back to Stiv for being a greedy bastard. I realized that i could tack on a pound or four which went to my smaller weight crew to the bigger weight crews total. What does that mean? Well it means all i had to do was bullshit Stiv and say that i sold x amount of pounds at this price and x amount at this price which in turn would net me a few extra dollars. Basically on the pounds i'd bullshit Stiv on i made a whopping $450 bucks on each one.

At the time i knew we were lucky, Stiv and i, as our mark-up was practically unheard of back then in the weed game. The breakdown was something like this, most of the guys hustling were making maybe $100-150 if they sold a pound of grass outright, especially if you were dealing with larger amounts, (the breakdowns and profit margins were much less then what was seen in the powder game), this weed was good enough that i was making $250 per elbow, obviously the smaller i broke it down the more i made but that also increased the number of people i dealt with and the opportunity to end up on the wrong side of John Q. Law. Stiv let slip one day that he had been tacking on fucking $400 to MY price... what in the fucking hell was my first thought, and so the sparring began. When things were expanding faster than the universe my top sellers were asking for a discount which being the reluctant businessman i felt was fair, besides it would be cash in hand, no front, and in the end we would move more product faster thus earning more money. Stiv didn't want to budge and we went back and forth. He said fuck them cuz we had the grass and i stated that while we were easily the best game in town that didn't mean a new game couldn't show up and compete. I explained that these guys were earning us big money hence deserved the break. My breakdown basically knocked off $250 per pound for five pounds or more, i would pay Stiv $200 less per pound and we'd split the profit on each one which was still $200 each. Basically every time this happened we'd each make a fucking grand. 

Part of my argument also had to do with the fact it would cut down on the people i dealt with as i had already started weeding (no pun intended) people out. The goal, i explained, was to get to a point where the crux of the business was all pounds or larger amounts except for some of my longtime nickel dimers who i'd still hook up. Stiv whined about how every time he drove up and back he had to cross a state line which was basically interstate trafficking. I stated that he basically had possession of the weed for less than a day before i picked it up, drove it through the city, and then distributed the gear to a cast of fucking hundreds, or so it felt like (and probably was closer to that number than i wished to think about). We both were taking risks was my point, he took his and as i stated as long he was smart, did it during the day, drove the speed limit, they were well minimized. On the other hand, i dealt with a myriad of people, some complete fucking morons (though i did my best to eliminate that) who one didn't know how they would react if they were caught with their weed... which brings us circling back to Disco Dave. In the end though Stiv and i hashed out our tenuous agreement and got back to work. 

Which brings us back to Disco. The original rich kid. If there was one thing i learned in my years in the game it was this... the more money the client had or came from the more likely they were to fuck you over, roll over, etc. The rich kids knew that they had a support system behind them that would do whatever it took to get said prince or princess out of a jam... i was live without a net, if shit went down and the Fuzz seized the safe (now safes) i'd be fucking broke, i'd be sitting in court with a public defender, yeah my father would have done what he could to help me but i didn't want that and didn't need him dipping into a retirement savings to keep his kid out of the Pen
, it was up to his kid to do that on his own which meant developing a keen and discerning spider sense when it came to the Fuck-Ups of the world... and Disco never failed to set the spidey sense tingling just a little bit. 

And so one brisk winters day Disco showed up to grab a half pound of weed, as usual i welcomed him in and he regaled me with his tales of how fucking cool he was, dressed in an expensive and hideous sweater with his brand new Timberland boots... he was hood fabulous. Disco was roughly the same size as me with buzzed brown hair and a ruddy complexion. He sat spinning his wonderful yarns about his adventures while i pulled weed from one bag and put it into another, i always enjoyed watching people watch the trusty triple beam, in fact it was Disco Dave's vagrant little brother who procured it for me, lifted from a high school science lab and sold to me for an ounce of weed. I set the weight and Disco watched as the little bar floated gently past the midpoint and up, i then adjusted the scale and told him he had about an extra eight to ten grams. Disco then let loose with a string of plaudits about my dealing prowess before getting to the little issue of payment. 

Disco, pulled out a wad of cash which covered his balance for the last batch, i counted it and then he asked if it would be cool to get this one on the front as he had some things come up and was a little short. I shrugged and said that'd be fine though i wanted to ask if he had blown all his money on new boots and a sweater that reminded me of dog vomit... but if one ever wants reaffirmation of how wonderful they are all one needs to do is front some fool some grass. Once again Disco began gushing effusively about me being "the man" and "the king", i wanted to explain to him that there was no need to tell me because i already fucking knew! (ego much there King?)  and what i really wanted to know was how some rich asshole didn't seem to have any money when it came time to pay for his weed which he sold basically to be cool or to get him through between trust fund disbursements. How was it that he had more than a few hundred bucks for his fly threads but not any to pay "the man"? I didn't need his fucking praise what i wanted was my fucking money. 

But this is the game... and i was now in a position where even if i got beat i could still cover the cost of the loss... yes it would not the most pleasant thing kicking in my own hard earned money because some pooh-butt rich kid made off with a half pound but it wasn't like the early days, when just getting beat on a eighth or quarter ounce really hurt... and so Disco grabbed his gear and made for the door. He told me it wouldn't take him more than a few days before he could get me the bulk of the money and i said that's cool but why don't you get it all or most of it and hit me back at the end of the week, roughly five days or so, mainly because the less i saw of Disco the better, he wasn't one of my favorite worker bees, not that he ever knew that, i was adept at making all the minions think we were cool, buddies and pals, when i reality they just fucking worked for me. If Disco wasn't moving gear and was part of the nickel dime set he'd be one of those clowns who only saw me at the local between certain hours... if he didn't make it? oh well no skin off my back and he'd have to wait for his grass, since he actually made me money he actually was allowed into my apartment... i think it made him feel special... the reality was he was not... (to be cont.)

Thursday, May 4, 2023

A Year and a Day

 One year later and i still miss her... miss her stubby broken tail, miss her blues eyes, miss her laying on my chest and purring... Little Baby Kitty, Syd, my girl, Sydney Sweetpea, i had a multitude of names for her and when i called she'd come trotting in, a trot that never once failed to bring a smile to my face, on the worst of days she was this ray of light that seemed to brighten my mood, my outlook, to remind me that the world is not all shit, that there is unconditional love, that there are these other beings out there that can provide one with so much joy and love and happiness... i still wipe at my eyes every time i drive by the vet... even though i've been there with my other cats i still can't shake that day, May 3... and though i'm happy to have gotten seven years with her i still miss her every day, still think about her and her big eyes staring at her mama-dada, as i liked to refer to myself... Syd, my girl. 

It took a few months before i'd even consider going back to the shelter, even the boyos noticed an inherent sadness in their old man, the I-mac caught me standing in a room one day, taking a deep breath and looking at the ceiling, he asked if i was okay and the only thing i could say was i just miss her, he knew who i was talking about, both the boyos loved Syd, she would often curl up on their beds, one front paw covering her eyes... when i was finally talked into going back to the shelter it was to look at another little cat, a kitten, a female, she didn't look like Syd but she had a sweet disposition but something happened while i walked amongst the cages... a six month old brown and black male tabby reached through the bars and pawed at my leg... it was much like my boy Louie had done or Louis Garcia Shinabo Diego Rivera Marquez, which was his full name, had done many years before, Louie was my boy, after he passed the next cat we got was Syd. The cat at the shelter didn't stop, he pawed every time i passed, when i knelt down to look in his cage and put my hand through he purred and rubbed his face against my hand. Disaster wanted the little girl but as the BW looked on she knew, i was stuck in front of his cage and i said i wanted to see him. 

The guy at the shelter stated he was going to be a big cat, his brother had already been adopted and while he was young he wasn't little kitten young and i knew how that sometimes went at these places. After hanging with him for a bit there was no doubt... Paco, as i'd name him, was coming home with us... aka Fat Paco cuz he really likes to eat and i've already had to watch what and how much he's fed but he, like Syd, is the sweetest boy one could find, affectionate, he loves his person and his person loves him, the boyos and the BW laugh because they say he's like a dog, he follows me around and when i leave he stands at the door and cries for a few minutes, in fact if i leave the room he'll meow sometimes waiting for me to come back... he likes to sleep on my chest though he's so big i have to move him after a bit because he puts my arm to sleep, lol! he'll then take up residence next to me and purr away until he falls asleep. The other night i woke up and heard him squeaking, it was almost as if he was having a nightmare, i sat up and scratched his head, told him he's okay, that he's safe and there was nothing to worry about, he gave me a few sleepy blinks, purred for a minute, then passed out. I laid back smiling. 

So a year has gone... once again it doesn't seem that long... i often sit with Paco and tell him about Syd, about Little Baby Kitty, about how he would have liked her (though i'm not sure with cats being cats, lol!) about how he's helped me not be so sad that she's gone, i tell him how like himself she was the sweetest little cat. It's strange how much her passing has affected me... though it's not strange how much Paco's arrival has helped me... in the end i'm glad that i've crossed paths with both of them and t i'm better off for it... (in a strange ritual, i swim laps for people and animals, some people "pray" to their gods, i send energy into the universe, and so Syd always gets her laps, as do her departed brothers and sisters, as does Paco and the cats that are still around, as do the boyos and Pops and a whoever else i feel may need it... and for the record, the sweet, little female kitten was adopted that same day at the same time by a gay couple, we had actually talked to them because they had said we could adopt her since we had been there looking at her but i explained that while one of the boyos wanted her we had decided on Paco and that it's better that two cats leave the shelter that day than one... i knew they'd take good care of her and we all walked out happy.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Livin' in America

 The shit show will most definitely be televised... welcome to the asylum circa 2023... a place where logic, rationality, education, facts and critical thinking will not be tolerated. A placed where a certain section of the population feels the need to ban the books you can read, to ban the history that can be taught, to ban the right of half the population (see female) to have control over their own bodies, to discriminate indiscriminately if you happen to be brown or black or anything non-white, if you happen to be any of the rainbow of the LBTGQ+ community, basically if you are anything other than a white male landowner... or damn near that fucking close. Yet if there is one thing the residents of the asylum won't discriminate against, won't touch, won't say a bad word about (at least some of them), give more rights to than women and children and people of color, it is the shiny bright dick of America... the gun... and god forbid (said god being the one they often pray to asking for their enemies to meet a horrible demise while being diametrically opposed to all the shit his so-called son supposedly preached) you try to take away their "right" to own that big shiny dick. We are not the shining light on the fucking hill, we are the bully in the schoolyard, the kid who was abused at home and now is going to take it out on whoever they may find within range to fire at... violence begats violence and a country born of violence will be plagued as such unless it can come to terms with it's history, unless it comes to terms with it's collective psyche and confronts it's problems... which we most definitely seem incapable of doing. 

If it wasn't bad enough that going to the grocery store, bank, synagogue, school, mall, gym, movie theater etal, could get you killed for no other reason than - you needed food or an education or just wanted to see a fucking movie, we have a new game these days. Now it seems one better triple check the address and the car before knocking or approaching, let the guard down here in Candyland and the void may find you sooner than you'd like it to... at this rate death by a firearm in this country will be classified as natural causes. Having made it this far without ever owning or carrying a gun i damn sure don't plan on starting now... yes i realize that puts me at a competitive disadvantage but i'm not about to tote my piece all over town just in case...

Honestly... sometimes i wonder what the fuck is wrong with people... there was the day, while i was working the gig, that i was shopping for someone in Aldi when a guy walks in with his gun holstered on his side, in plain sight, so that we all knew he was packing, a tall white man with a mustache and cowboy boots which for some reason makes me suspicious of both his intelligence and fashion sense, i'm quite sure the guy had never been on a date and all he really needed was a t-shirt with the world incel emblazoned across the front. I could only imagine his stash of MRE and ammo for when Armageddon hit. I mean you're at fucking Aldi man, what the fuck are you afraid of? Then there was the day when some enterprising thief went through all the unlocked lockers at the gym stealing stuff. Which to me begged the question? who the hell goes to the gym and throws their wallet, phone, valuables, into an unlocked locker? They should be ripped off for sheer stupidity... on that day some Greasy Bohunk, all 5'8 of him, stood in the locker room ranting and raving what he'd do to that guy if he caught him, especially because he had stolen Greasy Bohunk's towel (as a cover while rifling through lockers), GB stated that he'd run out to his car, grab his gun and then come back in and pistol whip the offender. Granted GB could have also used a shirt like Tex from Aldi but really, pistol whipped? over a towel? seemed a bit excessive to me but i really wanted to ask what the fuck he was doing lifting all those weights? can't you fight bro? what you need a gun for? Of course that might have gotten me pistol whipped but listening to this clown i couldn't help but wonder when i'd see him on the evening news, being such a level headed, rational owner of firearms. 

And did i happen to mention, this gym i swim at, was the site of it's own little shooting a few years back when another Incel walked into a fitness class and opened fire because one of the women in the class didn't go out on a date with him... three dead not counting the dipshit, and a couple wounded but hey it didn't even make the mass shooting book cuz the asshat needed to kill one more. 

Which brings me to the latest round... it seems like Nashville and Louisville were ages ago yet they were just a few weeks. These days they barely warrant more than a 48 hours in the news cycle before we are on to something else, it's pretty warped and disgusting that as a society we give a shit for the prerequisite amount of time and then forget. As one of the pundits pointed out, it won't ever change until one of the parents, spouses, families, does the unthinkable and releases photos of one of these things, releases something so shocking and horrifying that we finally get up off our asses and do something about it. I keep telling the boyos that i look to them and their generation to fix this fucking mess, kids who grew up in a time when they have more fucking "school shooter drills" or ALICE as they're called, than anything else. I remember fire and tornado drills when i was a kid not active shooter drills... and yet certain right wing muppets want to call these kids soft? fuck those guys. 

Which brings me back to the gig. There have been at least two people who do the same job i do that have been killed in mass shootings. Wrap your head around that... my gig is going to the supermarket and shopping for people and doing that job can get you fucking killed, not by a car accident or anything like that but by being in a grocery store at the wrong time. Being 6'4 and bit scruffy means i now triple check every address i deliver to, the last thing i want to do is wander up to the wrong door with a bunch of groceries, i could get shot. The other day there was a car parked next to mine in the lot, exact same color, make and model, i mistakenly went to open the trunk when i looked at the license plate and realized it wasn't my car, i jumped back startled, luckily no one was in the car but guess what? i wasn't dressed as a cheerleader (like the one poor girl who was shot and sadly the one advantage i have approaching a front door is the color of my skin, which makes me fucking furious) but if some paranoid, Faux News loving, ammosexual happens to be in the front seat i might be getting gunned down in a parking lot at 10am... it sounds fucking insane until one realizes shit like this just happened... 

The solutions to this problem is right in front of us but there are those who are bought and paid for and those who profit greatly from the fear and death this shit promulgates. They won't do a fucking thing until it comes right up to their door and even then i don't think it would deter some of them, they are more concerned with money and power than the lives of school kids,
moviegoers or a woman at a gym... or some gig economy serf just trying to make a few dollars. Collectively we are a society suffering from PTSD, we live in a madhouse, a game of Russian roulette so to speak every time we leave the house and sadly that's more literal than any of us want to admit. I worry about the boyos every time they go to the mall or are at the movies or fucking school... cuz as we all know it can't happen "here" right up until it does. It needs to change. Sadly though i have little faith in those who could change it... a certain segment for sure.. if nothing happened after a classroom full of first graders were gunned down what hope do i have that the current lot of shitheads will ever do anything? And until then? keep the eyes peeled and the ears perked, cross the fingers and rub the lucky rabbit's foot... cuz livin in America is fucking dangerous.  (Back in the day Pop's turned me on to this movie, it wasn't some blockbuster but it's a great flick with a stellar cast, Pitt, Liotta, Gandolfini.. i highly recommend it.)