by Saira Viola
art by Dan Reece
“Come in, please sit down” Richard was being as pleasant as his money mouth would allow.
“I understand you are a business man and property magnate in Mumbai is that right?”
“Yes…I have lots of what you might call big wheel enterprises from rice export to Bollywood movies”
“Indeed, so what is it exactly can we do for you here at Deschamps Bouverie. We of course, handle all kinds of commercial, tax, investment and other areas of corporate practice that may of be use to you.”
Poncho leaned forward getting as close to Richard as the desk that separated them would let him:
“I would like a yes man” he proclaimed with a sneaky look in his eye.
“Excuse me” Replied Richard in a startled tone.
“You heard Richard – let’s not um how is it you English put it beat around the bush. I want a nodding poodle and I choose you. You will take care of all my deals, set-ups, ventures, buyouts; buy ins, and so on. I will pay you for all the work and, pay the professional fees of your Firm upfront with special consideration for you and that sum will go directly to you”
Richard was stumped by such a forthright proposal and the dictatorial almost bullish hostility expressed by Poncho. He had nailed Richard in one and he knew Richard was too yellow- bellied to ask any further questions of him. Richard needed that money like a needle needs a spoon.
“I will arrange some tranches of money to be delivered to you, I expect you to return the monies to me minus your administrative fees, and will be in touch with all the details shortly.”
Richard stared at him in abject horror, knowing this man would string him up like a worming chicken, if he dared to disobey. With bootlicking subservience, he answered:
“Yes Sir Mr Khan.”
“You and only you will deal with my matters, the suitcases of money will be delivered by my right- hand man Mungle as and when, and you Richard will be my personal guest in Dubai next weekend at my Gold Palace where I will give you a very special Bearer Bond to hold for me. Do we understand one another?” He got up to leave.
“Can I um ask Mr Khan what would my percentage fee be for the financial transactions?”
“Oh the usual.”
Richard looked at him quizzically.
“You know ¼ of a penny on the pound twenty five per cent.”
“Oh right” Acknowledged Richard.
“And um how much do we anticipate?”
“Oh maybe twenty or thirty million a year obviously you are competing with other top lawyers I have retained and instructed several firms all over the world including Bangkok the USA, Vancouver and most of the Capital cities of Europe all of them trade dirty.”
He sat back down again and peered at him with open revulsion.
“You don’t have the guts to tell me you don’t want any part in this. It’s a global enterprise. Now, please be a good boy and bring me a Black Label Johnnie Walker.” He ordered, with bitter relish.
“Um it’s only 11.30 am.”
“Yes, I know,” Answered Poncho with a note of contempt.
“I always have a Malt Whisky before lunch now jump to it and go get me a bottle.”
Richard clipped the intercom button and gave Poncho a reassuring look.
“Get me the keys to the drink’s cabinet they’re in Mr. Wiesel’s room.”
“Yes Sir Mr Davey.” Eva replied with the cut- and dried competency of a cube slave.
A few minutes later she bunny- hopped back into Richard’s office with a Monroe tease clutching the key to her chest.
“Here it is,” she buttered quietly.
“Thank you Eva – this is Mr Khan, whenever he or anyone representing him visits the Firm regardless of whether he has an appointment and irrespective of what time of the day it is you must ensure you let me know.”
Eva did her wink- wink nudge- nudge routine and left.
Richard poured a glass for Poncho and one for himself
Poncho took a beefy slurp, stood up and tipped Richard two thousand in cash.
“For your time today – the first of the suitcases will arrive tomorrow at noon.”
When T got the keys for the flat in Denmark Street, someone was already waiting for him.
“You Tony? Don March told me I could crash here for a liccle bit, the name’s Keggs.”
“Yeah yeah that’s cool – you look rough man” Answered T looking at him shifty eyed.
“I’m waiting to crap.”
T turned towards Bernie then they both fixed their eyes on Keggs.
“Mi don’t get ya?”
“Yeah what it is man is, right at this moment I’ve got twenty two condoms of uncut cocaine in mi I need a potty and some of those like rubber gloves ooh boy yes indeed.”
T signalled to Godwin to get the requested items who sent Sabbatini to the local Robert Dyas.
“Be about ten minute’s boss.”
T was used to the insane and sketchy going on but this was seriously nasty and although he knew he couldn’t cross Don March he wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of a white Jamaican fresh from Tivoli dunking his gear into a toddler’s training box.
Keggs flopped onto a chair causing Bernie to remonstrate in protest:
“No man get up from there bro you’ll ‘ave to go outside when you’re ready you know until then I think it’s best to like just stand.”
“Yeah okay, all mi money is back home y’know the movie countryman?”
“That’s mi, man that’s mi life right now got into a gun fight and now mi on da run not just from dem yardies but dem Columbians too.”
“You what?” Grieved T in alarm.
“Well bro’ de Columbian’s supply chain was broken, mi broke it off just like that snap!” He gestured as if snapping apart the head of a chicken.
“What you did?”
“Mi knocked out the cardinal man – he was onto mi for supplying and cutting him out so mi whacked ‘im out crucial boderation man!”
“You is de original hot stepper!” Remarked T, with grudging respect.
“You getting this Bernie man Keggs is taken out the Cardinal.”
“I hear man,” Bernie was poised but quietly concerned.
“So mi cash keep getting taken from mi understand I have everyting in cash.”
This was customary among Yardies, who had a vicious disrespect and well- known suspicion of all or any type of banking or financial institutions and were fiercely opposed to storing their money there.
“This is mi second time here – last time was about seven years ago mi was charged with robbery but mi brief got mi off dat charge. Anyway back to now, I left home and got a boat from there to Haiti, there mi bredren got mi to Miami where I lay low for a long time.”
“I’s gonna sit now.”
He was leaning against a wall, and then carefully sat down.
“I was in hiding you know from the big bout the Columbian and I was doin’ my thing. Y’ar know mi is smooth with dem ladies there was this one hot biscuit man you never did see such a sugabomb she was wit mi y’ar know we were in one of the baddest clubs in South Beach. Mi remember it so clear in my head. It was boonoonnoonous, de club was cork up and me and her was rump- shaking, doin it fine then big bout storms de club and everyting go chaka –chaka..Next ting I know my bredren is down serious, he shoot ‘im in de back so mi just fire snap crackle and pop!”
“Dat’s serious boderation man.”
“Was easy to get out man got a fake passport and mi here now dem no check mi. Too busy lookin’ for coolie types y’ar know dem terrorist ones so mi not get checked at all.”
“How you feelin’ now?” Asked T nervously.
“Mi okay, mi know when it be ready…”
“You alright for money?”
“Oh yes man mi ‘ave a liccle bit on mi and mi get paid for muleing dis coke over mi get to take mi cut y’ar know. Mi get Western Union to wire mi money over and bein’ a mule will help me buy- live and supply, mi not stay for free and mi only stay a short time man. Mi give you and Don March your respect man.”
“Yeah safe man what‘s the plan?”
“Well when mi ready mi do my business then mi cook it up and turn it all into rocks.”
“Yeah that sounds bad man have you done that before?”
“Yes bro mi do it lots of times its safe man.”
“So you just have to wait now?” Queried Bernie.
“Yes man let nature take its course sit on the potty bowl then it can be cleaned and cooked up.”
“Well when you’re ready let Godwin know there’s a safe place to do it outside and then it won’t be so rank in here man”
“What will you need?”
A pan, a liccle baking powder and the luck of dem Irish !”
“It’s easy to get wrong.” Cautioned T
“Mi done it many times bro’ so long as you get those bubbles down when it’s cookin’ you got to keep flattening it out, then when it’s pure white and solid you lay them to rest and drain them out.”
“Then what?” Asked Bernie, interested in the science of it all.
“Then you put it in the freezer for a good thirty minutes or so and abracadabra you got yourself your first cash call of the night.”
“Nice but we don’t do crack ‘ere man this is strictly a one- time deal get mi?”
“No problem bro I don’t wanna show you no disrespect man but I’ave to pay my dues and this is what mi got.”
“Yeah man but I don’t deal crack and I don’t make crack so this is it if you wanna deal it you do it understand mi?”
“Yes man no need for any aggravation I’ll be able to roll to mi own yard in a couple of day’s man.”
“Sweet one time only man nuff said” Reinforced T.
“When I’m ready I’ll shout for Godwin.”
“Godwin!” T hollered.
“When Keggs is ready take him and the potty outside near the rubbish bins and keep guard then when he’s done his business get him everyting he needs to make the crack hear mi.”
Within forty-eight hours of Kegg’s arrival, he had quadrupled his initial fee of twenty thousand as a mule by splicing up the drug and pushing it on the street. He had made enough to start his own mafia family and pay his dues to T and Don March it was Tony Soprano sublime.
Richard was tripping the morning away. Plugged into Queens of The Stone Age on his iPod he had his feet on the desk and was lolling back in his office swivel chair thinking of a coconut breeze, the hot bang of his favourite club chick and his growing profit margins.
“Mr Davey a suitcase has arrived from Mr Khan and there is a gentleman in reception with it shall I?”
“Yes send him in straight away.”
Richard jerked his legs straight and disconnected his ear piece shuffling the papers on his desk then straightening his tie attempting to exude an air of importance and proficiency.
“Heeello,” Gruffed a small bespectacled Indian man: A mixture of Joe Pesci and Mahatma Ghandi with the perma grin of an Insurance Salesman He spoke with a scratchy lisp that reminded Richard of hissing beetles.
“Hello, please sit down can I er get you anything to drink or?”
“Oh no trouble Sirrrr perhaps a little chai and something sweet like a Rich Tea biscuit I very much enjoy Rich Tea biscuits one of those would be most delightful.”
“Yes of course” Richard replied with anodyne civility.
“Now Mr. Richard I have been a self taught Accountant in Mumbai for many years and I have been Mr. Khan’s assistant for several moons and so I know a little bit about banking and so on but I just want to check some things out okay?”
“Yes of course.”
“Now from what I understand in England if you bank more than ten thousand pounds in cash the Bank of England make a note of it. They make a note of where the monies come from and they report the provenance of it if you will, and that is noted to Scotland Yard and so on, that the cash is banked if it is ten thousand pounds or more am I correct in this assumption?”
“Well yes ordinarily that would be correct Mr…” Richard paused so that he could wait for a name he didn’t want to offend with an incorrect pronunciation.
“Just call me Mungle.”
“Yes well, ordinarily that would be the case but solicitors’ client accounts are in fact exempt from the rule, as the authorities rely on the honour and integrity of the legal profession to do the necessary. Should the lawyer feel there is a danger of suspect funds then it really is up to the lawyer to make that judgment call.”
“Yes very good- this means that there will be no notifications made on the credit lodged with your bank through your Firm’s client account.”
“This is most excellent – very good thank you and my humble thanks for the chai it was very enjoyable – just how I like it, oh before I forget here is the Bearer Bond please store it safely and guard it with your life. Poncho or I will be contacting you again shortly, for now goodbye and safe tidings, and remember: If you live in the river you should always make friends with the crocodile goodbye.” He coiled out of the room sissing to himself in Hindi.
Richard opened a file and had the trunk of money sent to the bank and lodged on the Firm’s account after taking his cut. Within seven days, he had laundered it better than Jeeves of Belgravia, running it through the Firm’s Client Account and returning it to Poncho starch pressed and stain free. He made an entry on the Firm’s books that the matter had been aborted. Now it was time for a coco- cola break just for the taste of it nothing like the real thing. He checked that no one was about and then went to his sealed, side cabinet and took out his private stash. Inside, approximately three grams. He discreetly unwrapped it then remembered his door was unlocked so quickly bolted it shut letting Eva know he was not to be interrupted under any circumstances.
Once settled he put the coke on a flat part of his desk, removed his American Express Black card from his wallet and frantically started cutting it getting ready for a hit. He searched again for his silver Tiffany straw but couldn’t find it so made do with one from Pret- A- Manger snipping the ends off so he could do some lines. He looked like Gordon Ramsay chopping parsley. Once it was all separate and he had enough laid out to get wired he bent down and huffed in for the win.
Richard was breezing the moment with that nothing’s gonna touch me feeling, his soul whispering the lyrical passion of the sweetest sonata as he got coke bomb high – he juiced up his iPod and started hammering the lyrics to U2’s First Time
“For the first time I feel love…my father is a rich man he wears a rich man’s cloak…”
His Bono polemic scaling alarming heights when he started aping the lyrics to Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of It. Unlike Bono’s chiffon drawl, Richard sounded like a diseased tabby gulling for food. Things got progressively worse with his theatrical improv’ of Barry White’s: You’re the First, The Last, My Everything just as he reached the middle eight, in full flow he, unbuckled his suit trousers, and flung them onto the back of his chair while doing the stirring- the- pot dance routine dressed only in his yellow Calvin Klein Hipsters. As he moved around the office waving his arms in front of him, his hips and body were rolling in the other direction. He was wasted on the music.
He seized his dictating machine using it as an impromptu microphone and bellowed the song lyrics out : “The first my last my everything and the answer to all my…….my kind of wonderful I know and with you I found so many things can’t you see it’s you you’re like a first morning dew. You’re my reality.”
He looked like a humpty – dumpty version of Tom Cruise in Risky Business and just at that point in came Richie’s cousin Josh, a Jesse Eisenberg wannabe complete with a movie – star Jew fro and smug little grin. He was also, unlike Mr. Eisenberg a wizard shoplifter. Richie had been asked by his uncle Marvin to look after him, but he was out of control, the door on the lock proving no obstacle for his Cracker Jack fingers.
“Why thank you Richie, I’m touched oops I did it again busted you when you were hitting up the white lady, awh and you ‘re so sweet chanteusing Barry’s love tracks a moi.”
“Shut it – shut that fucking door now,” boiled Richie.
“Sure” He replied with deliberate tedium.
“Hurry up fuckwit.”
He scrambled for his trousers and wiped his desk clean of all the drug paraphernalia.
“What the fuck do you want anyway?” He snapped.
“I just thought I’d let you know I intend doing a bit of shopping today and I want you to be around, you know just in case anything should occur.” He spoke in a hammed up Stephen Fry accent.
“Don’t be fucking silly – you’re not thinking of doing that?”
“My weapon of choice for today will be this.” He twirled a large candy striped umbrella in the air and made a D’Artagnan swipe at Richie.
“How much do you want?”
“No it’s not about want Richie it’s about desire the ride, the thrill understand?”
“The only thrill you’ll be getting is a kick in the kishka!” He bristled.
“Look Richie I don’t want the money to buy, that defeats the whole purpose of my afternoon just be there for me ta ta for now.”
“Wait – please you little shithead come back!”
It was too late he left the office and made straight for the Piazza in Covent Garden.
About thirty minutes later Richie was summonsed to the Paul Smith shop on Floral Street.
“My lawyer.” Smirked Josh.
“What seems to be the problem?” Queried Richie.
An over groomed sales assistant with stuck –up –cunt syndrome, neo- punk hair and Goth- sauced nails was holding a pair of signature chintz wool trousers in her right hand and a mobile phone in the other she was ready for action.
“This person I believe was intending to steal these,” She gloated as if she had unmasked a dangerous killer.
“Could we go somewhere more discreet?” Richard asked softly.
“Er yes okay my office.”
All three of them entered a small back room at the far end of the store.
“I understand your position Madam but my client says that he was merely trying to view the item in daylight with respect it’s hardly aglow with luminosity in here is it?”
“The shop has a themed decor and the lighting is part of that,” Replied the sales woman stiffly.
“You said on the telephone that my client opened his umbrella and you discovered the trousers in the rib of the umbrella but it was possible, was it not that he was merely carrying both items and checking the trousers in the light. He never left the store with the trousers, and so, contrary to your somewhat misguided assertion he had no intent to actually steal those trousers.”
“I suppose that could be true,” she agreed sorely.
“I suggest then in the interests of saving time, money and a nasty fracas in the shop we simply put this incident down to a regrettable misunderstanding.”
Richie turned to his cousin.
“Would you like those trousers?”
“Nah they’re too shiny” He retorted wrinkling his nose up at them.
“Right then we’ll be off.”
Outside the store, Richie was fuming.
“You fucking cretin, Meshuggina, you will be punished for this I’ll let your father know. Go home now!” Demanded Ritchie
“Or what?” Josh ribbed.
Josh wasn’t going to wimp out on the threat but knew he had stepped out of line.
“Okay I’m gone I’ll be home in like ten minutes.”
“I’ll be checking with uncle Marvin to make sure” Richie knuckled, he was all played out and tired of all this fuckery.
What right have I got to set the moral code I’m NOT A REAL MAN a real man makes an honest living
Copyright © 2012 by Saira Viola
All rights reserved.