Like most businesses the business of moving contraband comes with it's own hierarchy. There is usually some sort of power dynamic so that one knows who does what and who controls things. With Stiv and me there was a bit more of a partnership than a boss-employee relationship. Stiv may have had the connection to the mother load but that meant fuck all if you didn't have a way to move it. I was the way to move it and though under normal circumstances i would have been the underling in this situation i was more the equal. I mean Stiv may have had the winning lottery ticket but what good does that do you if you're stuck on a deserted island. Stiv couldn't move an ounce a week if he tried whereas i was now moving double digit pounds every week... and that number kept going up and up. Needless to say the relationship that Stiv and i had was one of mutual dependence and contentiousness.
Many of my upstanding friends back then who worked in the straight world used to comment on the amount of business acumen i possessed. Granted as i've stated numerous times, i never wanted to be a businessman but that's what i had become and while i wore cargo pants and Carhartt coats instead of a three piece suit, my skills in the business department were razor sharp. Don't let the scruffy appearance fool you or better yet let it fool you. Beneath the flannel shirts and long hair i had become a shrewd operator and when Stiv let slip how much he was making off every elbow out the door i was more than pissed. Of course i didn't let on, this is chess not checkers, but it was duly noted. The situation would soon come to a head as the amount of gear increased and my merry band of pound movers aka the Weight Crew began clamoring for a discount.
The weed game is not the powder game and the mark-up on grass in nowhere near as much as on those little (or big) bags of powder. To be honest, back then, the weed mark up on a pound at the wholesale level or thereabouts was probably somewhere between $50-$150 a pound and when you got to the higher end of that range the shit had better be fucking good. Mass grown outdoor weed ranging from brown brick schwag to the good to high end midi i was getting was never the get rich quick scheme that the DARE crowd and local news and law enforcement would have you believe. Combine the fact that moving pounds of weed as compared to ounces or kilos of blow was a bit more tricky due to the size and sometimes smell and sometimes i wonder why people did it at all. Then i remember there was still a shit ton of money to be made thanks to our Uncle Sam keeping the shit illegal. And so when i found out that my buddy Stiv was marking up each elbow sold to me by $400 a pop i was less than thrilled. Not to mention the fact that the weight crew was now beginning to ask about discounts. Many of my worker bees were blowing through a pound or two every week and sometimes faster than that. They were also getting numerous requests for larger amounts on their end which meant they needed more and every time they ran out and had to wait for me and arrange a pick-up just meant money being lost... or at least temporarily delayed.
Of course i'd be remiss if i didn't mention that my mark up was rather high but the fact was it was good gear and the further down the food chain you went the more you paid. On my end i was clearing a nice $250 on every elbow i sold so it wasn't like i was exactly doing shit for free. In fact had some of my more savvy worker bees known (see Billy Goat) they may have been a bit upset about the fact. Then again i looked at it as the charge for the risk i took. Stiv dealt with two people. He went and saw his boy and then drove back and saw me. I dealt with more people than i could fucking count, hence my risk was exponentially larger than Stiv's.
So when the Billy Goat and some of my other large movers began asking about discounts for larger amounts i took my plan to Stiv. The plan was to cut price by $250 per elbow if said vendor could buy at least 5 at a time and they had to have the cash to do it, no credit. Of course when i broached the subject to Stiv he scoffed. He was raking in the cash and didn't see any reason to change or take less to which i told him the economics said that if we moved more we'd make more. Not all of it would be sold at the discount price and each week i'd bring the books to let him know what was sold for what amount. These days i had expanded to have three guys moving pretty decent amounts while i also had a gaggle of people moving anywhere from a quarter pound to a pound at a time. What my plan did was split the profit between Stiv and myself. We'd lower the price to what he charged me and split the money, basically each making two bills on the pound but netting a cool grand each time it happened, that was a grand profit in the time it took to count the fucking money. What's not to like about that? I also argued that i was taking a pay cut as well but didn't view it as that because it was all one deal. I looked at the profit margin on a deal by deal basis. While in theory i could make much more breaking it all down and selling it small, i could make a lot more faster by selling bigger amounts.
At the time this was the most contentious debate Stiv and i had engaged in. While i didn't drop the fact that he needed me to keep making money i hinted at it. Fact was i could go back to the nickel and dime shit i was doing before and still be supplementing my income. The other fact was i didn't want to do that because like Stiv i was enjoying the money flowing in. He had to work with me on this or risk me saying fuck it. I had to give the impression that i was willing to say fuck it with enough conviction to make him believe me. I mean how many people would willingly walk away from that winning lottery ticket? In the end? Stiv agreed to my plan. What else could he do? i was the golden cash cow who was filling up his shoeboxes with money. Without me he had shit. All the weed in the world and no way to move it. I picked up 20lbs that day and told him once word got out we'd need more soon. He nodded and said he'd put the call in. I drove back to my place to alert my crew the happy news.