There was never a coronation day... it just sort of happened along the way... the kid who showed up in a rented Crown Vic coming off a Jager drunk and dabbling in the black arts, who had went from quarter pounds of dirt weed to duffel bags full of high-midi, and now to the point where sometimes he needed two duffel bags to haul the gear back to his place every Tuesday... with an occasional extra run tossed in when it got really busy. A standing order of forty pounds a week or more. The train was most definitely gathering speed and rolling downhill. The Snowball Effect was in full effect. I was a fucking one man industry, literally an economic engine that drove parts of my hood while the weed i moved covered the city and beyond. It's good to be king... but it has it's problems.
Five years in and i had done what the cocky kid said he would do back when Mr. Big refused to give him a sit down. I was bigger than Mr. Big now. My weed was better. I rarely went to that bar any more, the bar of Hippie Jack and Cocaine Mike and Karen the Bartender... These day i had my own bars... the Little Corner one and another in the swanky section of town where i sold to everyone from the busboys and dishwashers to the guys who owned the fucking place. Hell at times they'd let me use the office to make my deals. I didn't pay for drinks... i didn't pay for food... even the trust fund kids knew that i was not to be fucked with, most of them going out of their way to befriend me and get a connection. For that though they needed one of the three bartenders i dealt with to vouch for them... most of the time they didn't, they'd tell me said Trustafari were too much of a pain in the ass. It's fun when the rich kids don't get what they want. It's called power.
And power and money do exactly what they are known to do... they corrupt. I was not immune to their charms, not by any stretch of the means, in fact i took full advantage of that, Veronica being just the beginning. The first time i had crossed the pond i was three years in to my endeavor. After three years i wasn't rich, i was relatively broke... i was young and had a good time, enough cash to go to the bar and buy dinner while paying down my student loans. I had managed to save more than a few grand but had shit gone belly up it was maybe a 4-6 month safety net before it would be gone. Two years later and with Stiv stumbling upon his connection the savings had tripled... two months after my second trip that had doubled again and showed no signs of letting up. I was making a few grand every week if not more. Even i couldn't spend it that fast. The business was rolling.
And it was a good thing it was because it took my mind of Veronica... it still stung and in those moments when i could actually sit down and think about it i knew i had fucked up. Could i still change it? Yes i could... but i didn't. For all the action that took place around me, for all the people i knew and privileges i was afforded, being king can be a lonely and solitary world. There weren't many people i could talk to about shit and the less information out there the better. Yes there were people who knew my about my London Caper but they were trusted and even if someone who wasn't found out there was still the specter of my reaction if someone tried to pull shit.
The drug business in general is a funny business. Can it be rife with violence? Yes it can. Not as much as the evening news would have you believe and many times the violence associated with it is confined to the hoods of the disenfranchised but it's there. One can't call the cops when someone jacks you for your stash or your money. The smart dealer keeps shit hidden and spread out. I willing planted false information in peoples heads so that they weren't sure where anything was kept, money or stash. I let it be known that i sold and dealt with certain gang members who thought i was a righteous white cat and had offered their services should some fuckwit pull an ill advised stunt. I knew who and where to plant this info. As stated chess not checkers. Was it true about the ranking hoods and their offers of services? Yes and no. They had offered but there is much bluster and bravado on the streets and depending on what i wanted or needed done would probably be the greatest determining factor. Fact is i would never have used them but it was a nice card to play when the Spidey-senses tingled and i thought some asshat might try to take a flyer. It worked better than expected.
And here we were December... birthday of the king of kings if you believe in that non-sense.. i was playing Santa Claus as the cash piled up, the bartenders getting extra tips, the girls of Chez Antony watching me spread the cash around... Veronica was on her way out at the place but still pulling a few shifts as the waitress, i made sure to tip her extra well. Franco would stop in now and then and was always polite and deferential and while i made it clear i meant the kid no harm he knew to tread lightly. Unbeknownst to me word had spread among the girls that Veronica and i were no longer "an item" as one of them had said as she sat down next to me at the bar to bat her eyelashes and rub my leg. Yes being king did have it's perks. I smiled to hide the pangs of hurt when i'd notice Veronica watching me out of the corner of her eye. The holidays were upon us though and the Santa hats abounded and the naughty elf costumes took to the stage and i handed out money and drinks and bought lap dances for the Sad Sack crew all because i could, because i was the fucking man... because it's good to be king... even when it's not.