My act had cleaned up after three straight victories. My daytime polish and the positive attention that came with it had outweighed the bad and my belief in it. I was truly astonished. And it seemed after three victories and one loss to last years state champion there existed a mystique. A flow of good energy and positive people that had created a powerful suction to the subterfuge that engulfed so many of these ridiculous situations I found engulfed in graying the hair on my balls. I loved the embassoador, the politician I could finally understand Magic’s passion for it all. Who would ever want to repeat whatever the hell I’d just done here over the last three and half years. And despite the loss of Santo, Stretch and all that other shit, the Young Guns, Yoda, widening his eyes at the swamp watching what we can pull off here. I’m turning it all around. A good legend.
I’d come back from suspension, ad we’d won three in a row. In the real world my stock was up post Santo’s death. Happy times in the ACE program were here again. And I was playing the role, rocking sweaters, less of my sister’s jewelry. I was focused and smart with my time. Things were good but I was far from and not a Jedi yet.
“What happened to your arm?” “What happened to your main stream classes” “Why do you think your black?” ”How’s your sister?” “Did she really skate with Nancy Kerrigan?” “How’s your mother?” “What are you doing for money?” “Your not black dude” “Is it true you survived a shark attack?” “What medication are you on other than Ritalin?” “And your mother while we’re at it” “I saw you play basketball” “Your very good, why don’t you come to Norwich carl?” “What are you doing tonight?” “Have you ever smoked crack?” “Everyone knows you, you know that right?” “you’re a fraud!” “you’re a funny kid” “Dude, give me one more week” “Carl!” “Hey – you can’t fly with the eagles and walk with the turkey’s” “You get a C just for showing up” “Legend!” “Loser” “Hi.” “I’ve loved what I’ve seen lately, you might get out of this thing yet, you might be OK.” “Dude, I was blasting him with the windshield wiper fluid” “you’re the worst.” “Wiga”
Staring at my four-cornered room I was worried about my gambling business. Shit had become sloppy Deny, deny, deny, that’s me, what the fuck were you thinking Goldy? It was late in the night and tonight and I’ve just endured the latest in a long line of another one of “those” stories. You know the stories. The take away my legs and enter me in the high jump stories. I always felt better when I cried so why not do it? I was unable at that point to simply get away. OK, god, dear god, I just want Mrs. D to hear good things about me. There’s an escape.
The Smoking Gun:
I hadn’t even asked my boy C about the #’s over the last week. I was out but still couldn’t let go. I’d built something and for better or for worse something profitable stood. I saw gambling for what it was, Wall St. And ever since Eddie Murphy gave me the original tip that clarity only exemplified itself. I had at Des’s discretion over the past few years read any book I could get my hands on about Wall St. and then not so very away but instantly revered gilded decade of the go go 80’s. And they were all the same. It was a game. And it was about perception managing risk deceiving customers and doing whatever it took to gain that pearly, almighty, “edge.” I rarely viewed what I did as illegal. I’d buy the line that these were for the most part youth but that didn’t sinister it to a degree I gave a fuck ever.
What I saw in Madison most clearly against the forces I faced was a massive hypocrisy. And I wouldn’t be trapped. I’d be a broker one day, a trader and this was simply the minor league of training. And I was taking all necessary steps. My Uncle Clay worked everyday of that erect decade. He dated Hollywood royalty headlining himself as one of many the new stars of the day, young Wall St. attorneys and traders. Money made me not give a fuck backwards. Not listen. I was and had always been a businessman. But that was all bull shit. I was nothing more than a punk existing in a chimerical land of my own wit and belief. I was scared. I was insecure. And the thing of the whole thing was, I wasn’t angry anymore. And outside of being to ever really effect change over racist souls in my dearest United States I only had the man in the mirror to figure out, deal with and perhaps change.
I’d love the last few weeks. I loved the good vibes. I loved the extra step, thought or action that helped another person. I’d always had this in me in varying capacities. And even in that vein it was so much more than what I saw from my fellow peers, adults and humans around me. I was alive and intent on changing on how I behaved and where I directed my energies. But I still couldn’t let go entirely of that little bookshop I started four years ago that fall passing out football cards to my peers and teachers. I knew in my heart of all hearts my particular graduation growth whatever you wanted to call it I had to let it all go. And trust a system I suspected of treason itself. Let it all go, trust the Big Guy my coaches and respected counselors I admired that preached the path. I was a dumb kid. And no matter the signs, sirens or hospital beds still after all of this wanted his cake and eat it too. I was you see, still very much smarter than everyone. What a joke. The bottom line was I was still collecting ends from my boy C therefore I was still involved no matter how I conned myself. I was still very much still involved. And it hung like a cloud over every gigantic stride I’d made over the past three weeks and to a greater degree three and a half years.
The Collapse of an Empire: My worst fear had always been an employee would somehow through some crazy small town situation find themselves in the presence of the guy whose name you can’t mention and explode the whole thing.
And those worst fears were realized one afternoon in the Hayden weight room from my prized Sophomore officials Dylan and Lael. They were bench pressing was how I heard it. “it’s kind of fucked up about Kilgore’s chain.” “You heard he melted it down at Astori coin the next day right? “What a dick?” “yeah I know, seven, eight, nice, one more dude, one more.” “You know a bet he doesn’t even put in bets with that guy he tells us about.” “Yeah wouldn’t be surprising. I heard the guy whose name no one ever mentions or whatever the case is a boxer named Orlando.” “Well guys making some money off high school kids.”
Being the calm and cool Italian boxer slash straight hustler that he was and is he said nothing. Why would he? No he just started whaling on the bag a little harder computing callous calculations plotting his next move banging the big bag. He would never let them know he was right there. He let the glacier really sink its jaws into my personal titanic. Of course I didn’t know any of this until two AM tonight, after another disturbing beep and call from Enrico. E told me the story about the conversation the guy whose name we’re not supposed to mention overheard. “Fuck.” “And they got him?” “yup” “And they got all of our money?” “yup, and you set up your boy C with a call, and they scoped?” “yup.” “Fuck” “Pretty much.” Enrico said almost enjoying this before adding, “if it wasn’t for me it would’ve been you.” Enrico and the guy whose name we can’t mention were supposedly cousins. I was being beeped. “I gotta break, this is my boy C, did they beat him up?” And E just laughed, “yeah.” bitch ass curtain
Clicked back over
“C? I know buddy, I know, I heard, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry come over, no, come over.” I saw headlights masquerading their way down dog wood lane. I walked down the driveway and he rolled his widow down in his crown Vic, “Yo park at the bottom of Barrymeade and we’ll go up to Sugar Ray’s.” He simply nodded his head, he was hurt and it stabbed me with guilt. “Paul.” And I embrace a kid that had stood tall next to me since the third grade. We both cry. I can’t believe it. The two worlds had touched. Walking up the wooden ladder in my next store neighbor’s Mercedes and Porsche garage it would take more than “a minute” to slice through all the huffing and puffing. I had never seen my 3rd grade pal in such dire straights, we had been through some shit and I was terribly concerned. After I used every therapist skill that I had acquired over the past decade to settle him down we talked. Gradually I heard the whole horror story. Carmine called Paul, he was a partner of ours, Paul knew we had sold a portion of the business to Carmine. Paul knew I had tried to shield Carmine time and again from the eventual METCO attack that befell him. My boy C knew the credit cards, the straps, the basement, pounds of weed and Vegas calls, Enrico had a piece in it all. The call was legit. And so when Enrico told my boy C per me to get all cash and meet behind the CVS in the center he thought it was legit. A car pulled up and he was snatched and brought into Grimly’s former city of Medford. And then like Frank Letardo (Soprano’s) appearing to whack his gay brother in law, the Guy whose man we can’t mention slowly appeared from the shadows. Paul began screaming mouth duck taped tight as a virgin’s cat. They tied him up, beat him up and stripped him down. “I can’t fucking believe it. We gotta cease and desist all operations.” “What does that even mean?” Paul asks as he positions the napkin he had in his nose. “Just end it, don’t even tell anyone, it’s over. We can’t retaliate on this, I gotta watch my ass.” “Yeah they mentioned you were next?” “great well whatever I’m not going anywhere alone.” “You shouldn’t but I’m not walking away.” “no?” I asked astonished what was it going to take? “No way after that shit, I figure in the time left in school and with baseball in the spring we can make almost 10K back if we get everyone working again and handle it like a business like we did.” “No way, look I love you, get home, shower, sleep some of it out, I’ll call carmine and make sure through that mutha fucka your safe now.” “OK, thanks.”
To see things happen like this to my inner circle was truly the worst possible occurrence. Soon my best boy C would leave and we’d attempt to somewhat pick up some of the pieces of all of this tomorrow. I was bugging downstairs until about five in the morning and my X-wing is about to crash for the first time ever on my kitchen floor. That will be a great place for my mother to find me in the morning I’d think to myself sarcastically. This I was sure was no way to live. In the morning it was back to high school, bruised and battered we staggered along the day. I was in no condition for school or basketball that week. The craziest thing to me was knowing how I felt in my chest and realizing that Mr. catch me if you can was responsible for all of it, me. This was a desperate hour and if Sunday scared the shit out me out and put me on the defensive Thursday’s article in the high school paper freaked me out. “All eyes on me.” TuPac. The school paper published basically this “expose” exposing this a gambling ring valued in the thousands of dollars taking place at the high school. My mother would say, “Carl, oh my god look what you’ve done. It seems like something you’d do.” Being dead on, I’d freak and snap back, “Ma! There are twelve hundred other kids at that high school, you see one crazy story in the paper about gambling at the high school and as always you just blame me!” “How’d you know it was gambling?” “Lucky guess.” “It think it’s you.” “What are you going to call the police?” “Never are you kidden me, just be careful if Bob found out your finished. He’s your only hope.” “I know.” And she was right. And the next day I told my boy C I was done. And he was too. I told him to tell everyone. He said, "No way!" And I said, "it's over." The end brings more of a relief than the ends ever did.