Wednesday, November 12th, 2042 (7:16am)
Two days in a row writing in here, each time less than twelve hours apart. Pretty damn good. The only thing I’m usually consistent with is inconsistency so I’m making new habits, I guess. I’m not usually up this early, but I was laying awake thinking of how I want to tell this story of what I think I’m about to embark upon and what would it would take for me to understand my mind-set at this time in five or six years. Or ten years? Either way, there are also times I feel my memory slipping or that details of events and the order in which they happen become confused… perhaps this record can keep it all straight even when I cannot?
I just stepped outside for a few and it’s another gorgeous day in Los Gatos with zero humidity and no real break. After a while, you forgot what bad weather is like in this city. I saw some surfer dudes parked right alongside my landlord’s fence and gave them the look like I would fuck them up if they touched that fence or anything alongside the building when using the easement to the beach. They made zero eye contact. All in all, I’d rather those tanned white dudes teach me how to surf… maybe I’d surf my way to some other city. Or at the very least be able to swim to San Moreno to check out the school where that billboard with the thing on it came from. Fucking bridge seems stuck in the up position every time I get close to it and even consider going across to check out the northern part of our wonderfully liberal state.
Anyway, where was I? 229, Levi, Maurice, and karma, I think. I should probably relate a little about what it’s like to be Dmitry on the day-to-day. It sounds ridiculous to write that, but it seems to help me to believe someone may read this one day like some kind of relic and perhaps it’d be interesting to know how your average career criminal did his job at this point in time. I also imagine there is someone standing over me reading this as I write and I’m trying to keep them interested. I guess that sounds silly, but it’s probably the least crazy thing going through my head lately. Who is Dmitry addressing? Maybe some other version of myself, the one that wipes the mud of this filthy shit off of him and runs like hell through the desert to an oasis on the other side. The other side… other side of what?
On a typical day, I wake up around 9am and drink nearly a whole pot of black coffee before leaving and walking quite slowly to get an egg sandwich from a vendor right on the beach a block from my apartment. As I eat, I check my messages on all five of my ‘employer’ issued phones, each dedicated to certain aspects of this job. On a good day, regardless of whether or not there’s meetings and such about the night’s work, I’m most likely out the door by noon.
As one can imagine, most of this work is done at night. Sometimes the jobs all feel unique, but more often than not are repetitive and involve moving cars around, standing guard, or taking shit from the airport or seaport. Never in my life did I ever think I’d learn so much about shipping manifests and the importer/exporter business. To the point where I certainly feel I could open such a business, get rid of inefficiencies by knowing what the depraved crime lord assholes of this city expect, and probably get to retire to an island somewhere never to deal in the amoral abyss that is working for people like Maurice or, Satan forbid, that Russian snake Nicolai.
I got into this when I was working as a line cook at a truly shitty ‘restaurant’ in Santa Monica, believe it or not. A dive with one of those gigantic, art deco(?)-ish signs shaped like two intersecting footballs (American, not my kind of football) spinning on their own axis not far from the Promenade whose generous parking lot and Cuban coffee are its only redeeming qualities. A lot of rough guys came in there to make deals because of another redeeming quality I haven’t thought of in quite a while: the gigantic, circular booths at the back, well out of sight with blinds that were easy to draw on the windows at the rear and a hallway leading to a bathroom that I swear on Mama must be completely sound-proof.
One day, not long after my sister and I made our way out here from Barstow, where Mama finally settled down a bit, about six or seven of Maurice’s men, all Turkish, decided to have it out with some guys from a Cambodian gang moving in on their territory in Tarzana. The Cambodians wandered too far west and figured the joint looked dead so they may as well have a late night meal while discussing how they were gonna steal my (now) boss Maurice’s new Ferrari to prove a point about how unguarded he is. Unbeknownst to them, they picked the wrong booth if you’d like some good Samaritan innocent bystander to see you’re about to have your heads caved in and call the paramedics. They were there about fifteen minutes before realizing Levi and a few of Maurice’s less refined gorillas had followed them there and were sitting at the front side of the restaurant listening to this extremely ill-advised plan that completely discounted the fact that Levi had moved to the top of every crime bosses list of fixers to be feared. Now you might think Levi and Maurice’s men made their move on the Cambodians and I stepped in to protect my (then) boss’s place of business, Levi spotted a bad-ass, soon-to-be rising star (me), and the rest went down in criminal underling history. The reality is far more bizarre.
Levi, ever fearless even when outnumbered six to four, called out to the Cambodians from the front of the restaurant that they were not ever leaving that place so they should enjoy their last meal. In their native tongue, no less, as I later found out. As the two rival factions grew heated and the altercation seemed on the brink of someone pulling a knife or even worse a gun and popping someone right out in the open, a little old Italian lady who was drinking coffee and eating a grapefruit by herself - at eleven o’clock at night, mind you - began to shout at them to keep it down because they had disturbed her. There weren’t many other people in the restaurant, your usual ‘what the fuck am I doing with my life, let me sit at some shitty restaurant where people barely acknowledge one another and think on it until 2am’ crowd, and all of them seemed to plead with desperate looks and barely perceptible facial tics and eyerolls for this lady to shut the fuck up before one of them took her for a snitch and put her under a cactus out in the desert.
Levi, ever the peacemaker in these situations, felt his usual phony ass, Pinocchio pull of the conscience, that desire for decorum among the civilian populace to be preserved at all costs in spite of the mayhem he and his ilk bring everywhere they go, and so he went over to the woman and softly pleaded with her to relax. He threw some money on her table. She stared at it for what seemed like an eternity then spat on it and began shouting obscenities in Italian at Levi. Resigned, he nodded and one of the far less accommodating among Maurice’s goons came over, yanked the woman right from her seat and set her hands against the walker she had parked next to the table. He then began to mime that he was fucking her in the ass as he violently pushed her along towards the front door, one hand of his over each of hers the walker’s handles.
At the time, I had no fucking clue who any of these people were and what mortal danger we were all in, so in retrospect this seems far more idiotic, no, imbecilic, than it does brave or heroic, but having watched all this from behind the window on the line, I immediately leaped out from behind it, vaulted over the counter knocking over a cup of left over coffee, then proceeded to beat the living shit out of this asshole. His name was Marco, as I recall, not Turkish or Estonian, but from some Central American country. I ripped the cocksucker off the old lady so hard that I nearly did more damage to her than him because he did immediately let go of her, so she fell backwards on her ass while still in his grip. I then began to smash my knee into his head when I had him on the ground causing high pitched squeals to come from the little bitch’s smug maw before I’d even been able to get going and do some real damage. Maurice’s money was not well spent on that idiot. For me it was really just pent up refugee aggression caused by years of feeling powerless and out of control and at the mercy of some truly draconian immigration policies enacted decades before I ever came to America that somehow hung stayed on the books way longer than anyone ever imagined they would.
Levi and the rest of Maurice’s goons looked on, the Cambodians laughed their asses off and seemed to be saying shit to each other that signaled my fate had been sealed the moment I stepped from behind that line and in a way they were right; only not in the way they likely believed, which I gather involved a few shovels, the desert, and the aforementioned cactus planted over me as I lay dead or dying a few feet under.
Instead, it turned out that little old Italian woman was the mother of the second most wanted man in America who happened to be living a few blocks away under an assumed name with his wife. Known more for his Irish side than the Italian mother, ‘Bobby Luck’ or ‘Lucky’ Colson, as he was known, could very likely still wipe out nearly everyone in the dive that night, their bosses, their boss’s boss, their families, their pets, and burn the place to the fucking ground without batting an eyelash or ever doing time for it. There’s something to be said for that particular kind of psychopath who, in another time and place might just as easily have become a major General or Emperor if simply for his stunningly pervasive ‘read’ on everyone and everything; a god-like view over the game of life that justified itself and conveyed the sheer north face of its resolve through his icy, penetrating stare and, ya know, the fact that he was the only person in the history of this country to be working both sides at the same time, the federal government and the criminal overlords, often playing one side against the other.
The only reason anyone walked out of there alive is because Levi hired me immediately afterwards to do a few loan sharking jobs and so it was made to look as though Marco was just a bad seed in Levi’s crew. I gather ‘ole Bobby Luck liked that the guy who saved his mother from humiliation, who seemed to take it so personally he broke the perp’s nose and dislocated his jaw, was ‘working’ for the same boss. I’m shocked such a chess player didn’t see through the whole ruse and somehow get a hold of the security camera footage or talk to the Cambodians to find out that I was simply a cook until I caved in poor Marco’s head. Who knows, maybe Bobby did see through it and will someday call upon us to settle this debt that exists as a concrete and describable thing only in his warped, psychopathic mind.
Certainly the fact that I stepped in to break it up was serendipitous for everyone involved except Marco, the dumb bastard who decided it’d be the height of comedy to pretend to sexually assault an old woman. To this day, I have no clue how anyone confirmed the old lady’s connection to Lucky, since he was on the lamb and any contact outside of a trusted circle made up of two or three people at best would most certainly cause the Feds to find and arrest him quicker than Lucky could get his hands behind his head. All I know is it scared the shit out of Maurice and still does if someone mentions it.
In case you’re curious to know the gory details connected to such a grim story, here’s what happened to that guy Marco: hands and his dick cut off, all shoved into his ass while conscious, his eyes cut out and mailed to Maurice, and his corpse, totally purple from the severe beating with pipe wrenches and bats was left displayed on Nicolai’s front lawn during a meeting between he, Maurice, and the Bachicaro Cartel out of Guadalajara. He chose Nicolai’s compound, ‘Little Siberia’ as it was known for the cold motherfucker that lived inside of it, as a kind of signal: you’re not as cold as I am and you never will be. I can take you down without moving a muscle and there won’t be a fucking thing you can do about it. Of course, two years later, it turned out Bobby Luck’s luck had ran out after the owner of a convenience store he frequented happened to watch America’s Most Wanted: Titans Edition and put two and two together, mostly because Bobby had his mistress with him, she was featured in the the show and the store owner turned out to be one of the few people who’d spoken to them both in the same physical space over the previous five or six years.
I always thought it a dumb thing to do just cause other than being a total jack-ass, he didn’t exactly hurt the woman. She got hurt more when I stepped in. There’s no moral code against being a jack-ass if it’s not truly hurting anyone. I don’t know if Lucky felt it an insult to him, but that’s dumb too because Nelson nor anyone else in there knew he was the old lady’s son. So it pissed him off that some asshole did that to an old lady? Like he hasn’t ruined countless lives, old ladies and innocent children included through drug trafficking, violence, coercion and intimidation? How disingenuous… and petty. He’s not beyond feeling and above it all, like an omniscient devil ruling the underworld. He’s just another psychopathic douchebag with a heavy dose of narcissism and an ego bent by even the most delicate of breaths uttered in his general direction.
This all bothers me because the same karmic detective that hounds me doesn’t seem to ever hound people like that. I guess that makes old Nelson a sacrifice to the gods to prove lack of a conscience. Perhaps having a conscience invites the feeling that everything you do in life gets weighed and when you go too far, weights are added to the other side. Which is what I’ve been building to this morning… one last recap of the events that lead to this moment and the moments to come. A supreme example of karmic retribution and an oddity that appeared in the fabric of my everyday reality happened recently in the same twenty four hour period.
I just caught a text from Maurice out the corner of my eye on the S.O.S. line. Motherfucker… I’m really enjoying this. Wonder what that’s about. I’d better check. Brb.