Top Ten Foreign Crime Thrillers of Past 15 Years!

This is a group of Foreign films that quite literally changed my life. The choices on this list are mostly unheard of, but they are brilliant movies that are not your average Crime Dramas. It seems that foreign films bring an extra edge to them that American movies just consistently fail to possess. They are often disturbing, rather ruthless films that will shock, captivate and might just change your life especially if you are really into movies. ENJOY!

10.

Outrage- 2010

(Japan)

Takeshi Kitano is one of the best known Japanese directors, for very good reason. He is known for directing gangster classics Fireworks (1997) Sonatine (1993) Boiling Point (1990) and Violent Cop (1989), and if you haven’t seen any of these I might suggest watching them to get to know the direction of “Beat” Takeshi. Kitano is known for his nihilistic characters and films that are both ultra-stylish and ultra-violent. Basically he directs movies that make you go, “woah.”

He is the Martin Scorsese of Japan; one could even call him the Sergio Leone. He has a style of film making that some aren’t exactly comfortable with. I’ve come to realize that with foreign films, the violence isn’t as controlled or relegated. There is a lot of brutal realistic violence, that isn’t exploitation violence or off putting. Kitano just hasn’t held much back in his past films and the same goes for Outrage a movie that brings him back into his element after he experimented with his more artistic side for a few years.

Outrage takes place in the Yakuza, and the story follows a string of lies and deception that has the clans on the brink of an all-out war. An assignment to keep another gang in order is passed down from a boss to a subordinate of his, Otomo (played by Takeshi Kitano himself). Outrage is a movie that has thunderous violence, complex twists and turns that keep you in suspense and a real star in Takeshi Kitano. He has never received enough acclaim for his work, he truly is as great of an actor as Robert Mitchum, and he is a solemn tough guy that you root for vigorously throughout.

Outrage is just such a good movie; it’s the purest crime drama on this list. There is no fantastic script or great character studies, just a stylish and fun gangster movie that will bless viewers who enjoys such films as Goodfellas, Eastern Promises, and No Country for Old Men or any of the other foreign films on this list. Outrage is just as much of a crowd pleaser, as it is a traditional and classic Japanese film giving respect to older Japanese movies with various scenes. Outrage is a conflict between old and new tradition, a film that shows you the line between anarchy and some sort of control. Outrage shows as the really bleak reality of being a gangster, as much as the camera brings out the style the story itself is ugly, scary and unforgiving. Kitano is one of the purest filmmakers around, one that is underrated and looked over. Check out Outrage if you enjoy a good Crime Drama and a more realistic and disturbing turn on the Gangster genre.

9.

Memories of Murder- 2003

(South Korea)

It’s difficult to talk about South Korean cinema and not think about the horribly twisted Oldboy, which thrust South Korea into the spotlight. Traditionally, South Koreans tend to have a very original approach to film making. It can go from serious to rather funny, with likeable characters, innovative script and storylines. Memories of Murder is by far the best film to come out of South Korea, it’s classically Korean and very good. It has the pitch black comedy, a very atmospheric background and setting, great characters as well as bleak suspense.

Memories of Murder follows the investigation to the first known serial killer of South Korea, and the small town cop who teamed up with a big shot from Seoul to investigate. The small town cop played by Song Kang-Ho, one of South Korea’s premier acting talents, is a bumbling and hilarious normal guy who isn’t exactly prepared for the magnitude of the case. So officials call in a more experienced detective from the big city, and together they look for clues. Memories of Murder presents itself in the beginning as light hearted and very entertaining, however as time goes, the entertainment stays but there is nothing light hearted left. The duo investigates a group of rape-murders, and the airy suspense overflows for viewers.

Memories of Murder is pure mystery, it’s impossible to deny its original flow and chemistry. It’s very scary, it’s and the cinematography that earned considerable praise seems to be the third main character in the film. It helps set up the scenes as well as the tension, and as the investigation rages on the scenery stays very fair and consistent. This movie is a work of art, but don’t expect anything near a traditional Hollywood murder mystery. The flashy camera angles or tricks, as well as other over the top stylistic elements that you’d find from Hollywood are missing, which helps solidify the movies quality. Memories of Murder ventures into all types of unknown land, and it makes you want to watch it a few times to see if you caught anything that you missed before.

I can’t recommend this movie enough; it’s really that good and despite being 9th on the list, it stands out. The 2000s has seen foreign cinema flourishing, especially in the Crime Drama category Each of these movies on this list are considered to be some of the best movies of all time, each has its own niche. The South Korean market is rising quickly, and this movie here is one of the elements that helped get it to that point of prominence.

8.

Elite Squad- 2007

(Brazil)

Elite Squad is my type of movie; exhilarating characters, intense and incredible action, a rock hard script, a message and spirit to go along with it. The ever so beastly Captain Nasciemento is part of the BOPE, which is Brazil’s super elite law enforcement unit that has the discipline and power of the Navy Seals.

The streets of Rio are amidst a very tricky and violent drug war, and the horrible conditions aren’t acceptable for the Pope’s arrival. The BOPE are given the difficult job of eliminating drug dealers and drugs from the streets at all cost. Some viewers may be uncomfortable with the BOPEs tactics which are by all means brutal. Their interrogation methods are cruel and unflinching, no frill and not a second guess in doing things that are illegal for law enforcement to engage in other countries. There is one scene early on in which Captain Nasciemento pumped and depleted on adrenaline, casually puts a plastic bag over an adolescents head and beats him senseless in order to figure out information. The scene disturbs and sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which moves at an ugly pace. Elite Squad is a guilty pleasure.

Captain Nasciemento is a character that you’ll never forget, a powerful and independent mind that doesn’t take anything from anyone. He is also the cool narrator that gives you the big picture to something that seems so small. Elite Squad is about one determined good cop who still believes in good. People tend to root for evil because it feels cooler, but it’s so much better to root for this force of good. The BOPE makes the criminals look like pitiful.

Elite Squad is a Bravado masterpiece, and a solid crowd pleasure. It’s a super violent crime drama, that may not have won any awards but in Brazil this is considered more of the premier film then City of God will ever be. The best part is that Elite Squad has a sequel that is even better.

7.

Gomorrah -2008

(Italy)

Prepare Yourself for this one. Gomorrah is an Italian film, depicting a new type of Italian Mafia that American Audiences aren’t used to. It’s always been Godfather series, Goodfellas, Casino, Al Capone or John Gotti. Gomorrah deals with the Casalesi clan, a crime syndicate within the Camorra — a traditional criminal organization based in Naples and Caserta, in the southern Italian region of Campania.

The movie follows five storylines that are about people whose lives are touched by Organized Crime. Gomorrah isn’t very complex, doesn’t have as a superior script but for what it lacks it makes up with it’s out of world elements and character studies. Gomorrah is very stylized, atmospheric and at times slightly surreal.

It details the intricate dealings and workings of the inside of the organization, and a big reason this movie stands out like it does is how it takes us into the lives of those normal people who want to live normal lives but are affected by Organized Crime. As things heat up and violence erupts, life becomes chaotic and out of control. Not only does the environment change, the people living in do as well which is an interesting look into the infrastructure of human nature.

Gomorrah is a crime drama epic, very different then gangster predecessor. It shows the more solemn side of a world that is so dark and violent. It was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, however ended up winning the second place prize in the Grand Prix award. It drew considerable praise, with its very strong characters that you grow to know as they grow within a bleak world. Gomorrah also received considerable criticism not for the movie itself, but for a message in the end claiming the real Camorra organization has money invested into the rebuilding of the Twin Towers. Gomorrah is available on Netflix Instant Watch, and is definitely worth the watch. It is a fascinating movie that has airy tension and suspense that will leave you thinking about it for months after you watch it.

6.

(Election 2) Triad Election- 2006

(Hong Kong)

Election 2, often called Triad Election in United States, is the sequel to 2005’s Election which didn’t make the list. However, it is a must see if you want to watch the second part, because it gives you reference to the ensemble cast of Hong Kong’s most talented actors.

Wo Shing Society, the oldest Triad in Hong Kong, is holding an election after the devious Lok (Simon Yam) two year term expires. Jimmy (Louis Koo) wants as little to do with the Triad as possible after starting lucrative business in Mainland China. However after being arrested, is told that in order to continue his business he has to win the upcoming election.

Triad Election confidently mixes thrilling tension, a soundtrack that helps make this movie ridiculously original and giddy ultra-violence that keeps you guessing. It works, very well in fact. Don’t expect a Jet Li movie that has Hong Kong influence; expect something that elevates expectations in the crime/gangster genre. Triad Election is a clash of tradition, a complex character study and a bold risk with the direction of the brilliant Johnnie To that pays off. Triad Election didn’t receive the acclaim that it deserved, and needs to be put into lists like this so that a wider audience can enjoy it. After achieving a “96% Fresh Rating” from Rotten Tomatoes with 48 Critics giving a positive review while only 2 gave negative ratings. New York Times also called Triad Election an “Exemplary Gangster Thriller” and it truly is. Currently, Part 1 and 2 are on Netflix Instant Watch as of 9/14/2012, so be sure to check them out!

5.

Infernal Affairs- 2002

(Hong Kong)

The Rise of Hong Kong Cinema began with Raymond Chow’s exploits with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, which crossed overseas and became instant international cult classics. Then during the so called, “Boom Years”, John Woo and Chow Yun Fat took over with various action classics that wowed audiences across the globe. Then after years of minor success, Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and a few other serious actors emerged. Each of these actors stared in 2002’s Infernal Affairs, a slick super serious super good crime drama/thriller, that took the expectations and blew past them breaking the sound barrier of cinema.

Infernal Affairs is a far more serious film then the major movies American audiences had seen from Hong Kong, its lighter on the action, strong on the dramatic story as well as absolutely masterful acting that build up serious tension. And what audiences will immediately pick up on, is that The Departed is an absolutely remake of Infernal Affairs and it wasn’t just inspired by it.

Needless to say, Infernal Affairs deserve a wide audience. It follows nearly the same plot, two young cadets, one brought up by a spiritual larger than life Triad Boss, becomes the mole in the Special Police, and the other who completes training and then goes undercover with the same Triad Boss. It’s the true story of deception and the cat and mouse game that the two play over time. More than The Departed, Infernal Affairs focuses closely on the deception involved in the job, more than the character study that Scorsese brought.

Infernal Affairs is a big win that brought a ton of attention back to Hong Kong, which had been making quality films even during the less captivating years. Infernal Affairs is near flawless, and is a perfect movie for a Saturday Night. There is a massive distinction between Infernal Affairs and it’s American Remake, so even if you saw the Departed and loved, hated or just liked it a little, it would be best to still watch this film because the two are different. Infernal Affairs is a short fast moving film, with the Hong Kong environment and background, tension that is unique to the film as well as an aura of style and supreme film making. Infernal Affairs is a must see Crime Drama and one of the best Foreign films of All Time.

4.

Ajami- 2009
(Israel)

To call Ajami a simple Crime Drama is ridiculous, it has a major theme of crime but this film like many others on the list elevate into a bigger picture that make them the types of classics that they are. Ajami takes place in the neighborhood Ajami, which is in Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel. Ajami has five storylines, which are told in nonlinear and non-chronological order, thus creating a feeling for each character and situation before we see the big picture. Which can easily be seen as a metaphor, as a major theme in Ajami is the intense relationship between Palestinians and Israelis.

The Main storyline or the one that starts the movie is that of a young Palestinian whose family is put into serious danger after his uncle wounds an important member of a clan. Other storylines follow a conflicting love interest, and a grieving police officer. Ajami is a hard movie to watch, because the front cover that is shown doesn’t really give the impression that the movie gives. Ajami is a special work of art, and it is also a testament more than a cinematic experience.

Ajami as a thrilling, anxiety provoking and masterful ticking time bomb, it’s a movie that you should never miss and when I watched it I felt blessed and thankful in some ways to have seen it. There are a lot of lessons to be learned, there are multiple deep messages sewn within the structure of the film. Ajami does what the 2004 best picture winning farce Crash failed so miserably at attempting, to actually give us multiple perceptions of a preconceived disposition or prejudice. Ajami is a true must see, and it may not be as much of a Crime Drama as other movies on this list but still, watch it!
(AJAMI WENT HEAD TO HEAD AGAINST THE NEXT MOVIE ON THE LIST FOR BEST FOREIGN FILM AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS IN 2009, BUT NEITHER MANAGED TO WIN. ONCE YOU WATCH THESE TWO MOVIES, YOU’LL BE AS OUTRAGED AS I WAS)

3.

(Un prophète) A Prophet- 2009

(France)

A Prophet is of the greatest films ever made, and the best movie to come out of France since 1995’s La Haine. It’s a movie that begins when a young Algerian man is thrust into a violent French prison, where over the years he becomes the undisputed Mafia Kingpin. The prison is run by a brutal Corsican mobster named Cesar, who forces the main character Malik, played by the masterful young actor Tahar Rahim, to kill a witness. The prison is split between the Muslims and the Corsicans, and after taking out the witness Malik gains the protection and the support of the Corsicans despite his own ethnic background. A Prophet is a crime drama as well as a prison epic melodrama that is so much better when you soak in the big picture, which is very big.

Jacques Audiard creates an interesting character in Malik, a battleground in the prison and a truly thrilling movie. Many criticized the trailer, however A Prophet went on to pick up universal critical acclaim. The film gives viewers an out of world experience at times, because the idea that Malik is actually this type of Prophet resonates and evolves throughout the story. He has a philosophical edge to him, as he rises within the Corsican Mafia as well as among the Muslim ranks.

A Prophet is a cinematic masterpiece and a modern day classic, which went on to win the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival as well as be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. How it lost, is beyond me but it seems that the category often overlooks the brilliance of world cinema for movies that may just be a work of art, and not the best work of art. A Prophet achieved a “97% Positive Rank” from an aggregated score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with 140 positive reviews and only 4 negatives. A Prophet reaches the third best movie on the list, simply because it’s a sprawling movie that is a cinematic experience.

2.

Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within- 2010

(Brazil)

I detailed the first Elite Squad as a violent Bravado classic and Adrenaline Fire Show. Elite Squad 2 begins only years later, as the drug trade has been hampered by the work of the BOPE as well as forceful work from other police officers and politicians. However now the problem is not within whom society normally deems as criminals, but from out of control corrupted politicians and horribly corrupt police officers, who have taken the control of the slums from the drug dealers and now control it themselves. It’s no better, and is in fact much worse. Captain Nasciemento is still the noble and exhilaratingly straight edge man he was during the first installment, however after a shootout in prison that left criminals “unjustly dead”, human rights activist have called for him to be taking out. At the same time, the politicians love Nasciemento, and they place their future enemy into the role of the Head of Special Police. The BOPE still never falter, but as things become more and more corrupt and chaotic, Nasciemento finds himself in his new position feeling like a pawn of the hierarchy.

Elite Squad 2 tackles a much more complex plot, which leaves you breathless by the end. A real complicated and incredible force, this movie leaves your vision of law enforcement and politics quite raw if not in question. Brazil’s slums have always been complicated in the simplest ways, but Elite Squad 2 gives us a far more intense view of the system. It’s also a far more relevant view, as soon the Olympics and the World Cup are making their way to the newly defined economic powerhouse. As the first part makes you pump your first and gives you goose bumps of raw passionate excitement, the second part gives a headache with how much material it packs in. It’s a multi layered thriller, with numerous perspectives and characters that are hopelessly evil in roles that you wouldn’t exactly expect.

Elite Squad 2 is surely the second best film on this list, if not the best because it’s just such a breathtakingly good movie. It is the pinnacle of foreign film in general, and has garnered mass and nearly universal acclaim from critics and fans alike. It raises the stakes from Elite Squad, and in an alternative position takes numerous risks that pay off so well. Elite Squad 2 didn’t win the awards that it should have which is truly a shame. It definitely deserves the audience that some of its American counterparts receive with a quarter of the quality.

Make sure to watch Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, which is currently on Netflix Instant Watch. However, be sure to watch the first movie to give the proper introduction to some of the characters, especially Captain Nasciemento and Captain André Matias. Elite Squad 2 will not get the same acclaim as most of the movies on this list, but it’s a true classic.

`1.

(El Secreto de sus ojos) The Secret in Their Eyes- 2009

(Argentina)

Somebody could make a good case that The Secret in Their Eyes is one of the best movies of all time overall, I am one of the people that could make that case. Unlike the other films on this list, The Secret in Their Eyes actually got the recognition that it deserved. After winning Best Picture and receiving rare completely universal acclaim, I knew I had to give this a try after I saw it win the Oscar.

Now I’m a movie buff, I like to think that I know a lot about movies. Luckily while growing up, I had a grandmother that cherished older films while simultaneously subscribing to IFC and Sundance channel and having movie nights on Saturday. It was a perfect combination to be well rounded in film, and over the time I was lucky to see thousands of amazing movies. So when I watched The Secret In Their Eye, I knew that that I had seen a movie much greater than our present standards of film. The Secret in Their Eyes can truly stand up to even the golden age of Hollywood film and Ricardo Darin’s role as Benjamin Esposito can be compared to a Humphrey Bogart, Carey Grant or Marlon Brando type tour de force performance.

The Secret in Their Eyes follows retired legal counsel Benjamin Esposito’s struggles with overcoming a past that won’t let him go. He is haunted not only by an unsolved homicide in his career but also by a long lost love. The film takes place in flashbacks of 1974 to 1975 (being a year before the “Dirty War” in Argentina”), as well as 2000 after Benjamin retires.

The Secret in Their Eyes has incredible and unprecedented suspense, the acting is absolutely perfect, the story and plot is perfect and with the direction of Juan J. Campanella a new masterpiece had been created. Following the release, praise was given internationally, and it became the absolute favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as well as any other award that it was up for. In a year that had two other masterpieces in A Prophet as well as Ajami, it’s saying something to have a preliminary clear favorite. Argentina has had some truly fine movies come out, a good portion of which star Ricardo Darin.

With unflinching suspense, The Secret in Their Eyes will leave your bones rattling, it will leave you breathless. It’s cinematography and unforgettable scenes propel the atmosphere, and it’s lucid pace makes it so much better. I’d give The Secret in Their Eyes a perfect 10 honestly, on Internet Movie Database it’s currently as of 9/15/2012 ranked as the 155th best movie of all time as well as the 26th best films from 2000-2009. Definitely watch this movie, if you like a good drama or even a love story, be sure to get this movie even if you have to buy it. It truly is that good.

Honorable Mentions

1. Animal Kingdom, 2010 (Australia)

2. Election, 2005 (Hong Kong)

3. Tsotsi, 2005 (South Africa)

4. Bullhead, 2011 (Belgium)

5. Pusher 2, 2004 (Denmark)

6. Pusher 3, 2006 (Denmark)

 

 

Chapter 1

Kids of Crack Town

 

 

She would always leave now and then, but I knew that this time was different; I could tell by the way she left. It was that night that my sister departed without a trace or a note. Without a goodbye, she left with nothing. No clothes, no belongings, she just left. I didn’t want her to leave but there was nothing I could do to stop her, she always would leave but this time was different. I was scared, I sat up in my bed and looked outside my window hoping I’d see her stroll back but she never did. I stayed like that for half of the fucking night until I finally conceded that she wasn’t showing up anytime soon.

I got about three hours sleep and woke up bright and early; I walked to the bathroom feeling the hangover of the rough night taking its toll on me emotionally and physically. My sister and I had argued all that night, for hours and hours about redundant bullshit. My stomach felt contaminated as I looked at myself in the mirror, my wavy hair matted and all over my head. The anxiety and fear that coursed through my veins gave me a disgusting aftertaste, tarnished my vision with a headache and made my heart whine. I was overreacting as usual to my sister’s rebellion, she was a grown woman and had her own life, but I had reason for my fear.

My baby sister was my life growing up; I took care of her when nobody took care of me. I was her guardian; I had a bond with her that nobody else could have. Throughout trauma and the violence, we stuck together. We held hands, but after a while our grasp became much lighter. Sephrina and I were dealt a bad hand when it came to life; we grew up in Hunts Point, South Bronx in a crack den. Essentially we were raised on the streets by the streets. I knew every scam, every scheme, every hoodlum, every trick and the one after that. All the games people played I had to take seriously in order to survive. I became so good that I made it my living; I joined up with my uncle in his South Bronx crime ring. I was teaching the old timers tricks, like how to make a dollar into three meals for the day.

I was able to take us out of the chaos, but it was far to late for Sephrina. She had already been hurt, torn apart so many times when I wasn’t there. She didn’t blame me, her gentle heart never could but I blamed myself because I was supposed to protect her. I was furious all the time, and the only place I was able to take it out was bare knuckle boxing or on the job. I was in reconstruction; I was a mid-level thug with job security and the best type of life insurance the streets could buy. The violence I surrounded myself with was all an analogical way of fighting the frustration I had in my life. It was clear and obvious, that when I swung my fist I was fighting more than just the person in front of me. I was fighting the past, the present, the future and reality all at once.

I came to realize I could only fight but so much, it hit me the hardest the day my sister left. I had hoped she would have tamed her habits; the drug use and the promiscuity are what hurt the most. I hated thinking of what my sister was actually doing, getting beaten by men, doing things for drugs and being used as a tool. I had thought for some time that maybe the world would show us mercy, but then I had a wakeup call to this atrocity exhibition, this controlled depression that surrounded my life. I didn’t understand it, nor did I ever want to. I hated what she did, and I had fought plenty of abusive boyfriends and made my share of threats but all of that kept me in denial. I believed that I had enough power to somehow influence her and everyone around her. I didn’t and god must have been busy because he never showed himself around these parts.

Hunts Point scared me when I was younger. However, once I grew up I adjusted to it. Sephrina and I were basically abandoned so young we had to take on adult tasks before we were teenagers or else we wouldn’t have survived. We hung out around the red light district at night, during the day we would stay huddled up in our apartment. We’d hear some bitch getting beaten nearly to death almost every night and I’d hold my sister as she cried. It was a bleak life to live. When I say I took us out I meant we moved to a better part of Hunts Point, but it wasn’t far enough from the chaos. I don’t know if I could have ever gotten far enough away especially on days when I was so alone.

I lived in a decent apartment in a shitty neighborhood. It wasn’t far from where we grew up, the “Crack Town”, a part of the City where the Crack Cocaine epidemic had swept so hard it felt like it was something out of a movie. There were apartments that were a sickness, terrifying and unadulterated. We lived on the top floor for some time; passing by the building still in its sullen state was difficult. Crack heads with families piled into the apartments like the fucking rent was free; somehow they found a way to pay up. The land lords never fucked around, we almost got kicked out for missing one month. My mother was a whore and my father was long gone at that point, so I had to find ways to pay the rent. In the beginning I tried to help my mother by rationing money and trying to help her kick her addiction, but over time my blood became cold and I lost all hope for her. I adopted the gun at that point, and after that it was a free for all. If she tried to take the money I made in day, she would face my gun. And if you didn’t stop there, I’d beat my own mother in order to save enough for my sister and me. She never had our best interest in mind, and I didn’t fuck around with her. The kids of crack town didn’t play games, instead we grew up young and became more responsible than the adults.

We pickpocketed sold drugs, committed robbery, worked at chop shops, shoveling snow, walking dogs or even cleaning cars, anything to get by each day. We used to sell Snickers bars in the Subways; we’d find an angle to make a little bit of profit each time. That was the objective, profit no matter how small. We’d get together at night and have meal time in one of our barren apartments and fix dinner for each other. Each night that I had my sister in my sights was a good night; this was before she knew any better. We made it our home, I made it safe for her and it meant something back then.

My Uncle Karol was my mother’s brother, he was a cold hearted son of a bitch. A lot of people said I was basically a clone of him, we both had similar tempers, mannerisms and outlooks on life. I personally didn’t think I was anything like him. He also grew up on the streets in a similar situation to mine. Uncle Karol went on to carry out hits by age thirteen, he bragged about it openly. Now he was the boss of Hunt’s Point, and a very valuable ally to have. I worked for him, as his trusted employee who watched over everyone else. It was mind blowing sometimes, the shit that happened made me want to see a therapist. What I grew up around seemed like nothing to what I saw working with Uncle Karol. It was training in a lot of ways. 

My job was to watch over all the filthy shit that my Uncle had his hand in, the drugs, the gambling, the prostitution, the sales of firearms and even real estate. He was rich, and he tried to make as much legit money as possible. He owned a construction company, a few liquor stores, two car dealerships as well as a few bars. My official “job” was a car salesman, even though I had only sold one car and that was to a Korean drug dealer. It was all ugly and dirty with my Uncle, and if you fucked with him he’d kill you. It was just like a movie, except worse. His temper was explosive and violent, just like mine.

The day after Sephrina left, I was supposed to be overseeing a drug deal but instead I called out. I had to figure things out as soon as possible because I was in frenzy about my sister. I left the house early even though I spent at least an hour staring at the fucking wall. But once I snapped out of my trance, I was able to get out of the house. I decided my first stop would be to see an old friend who knew everything that went down in Hunt’s Point.

Cardinal, was a drug addict and a loyal customer, he was also the unofficial overseer of the city. If he didn’t know something, he knew someone who did. It was amazing, especially since he spent so much time in his room shooting up black tar heroin. Cardinal was my friend since fourth grade. I remembered when he was clean and a decent member of society. The one thing that attracted my friendship to Cardinal was he always respected my sister, he showed respect to me and he actually cared about me.

 I was a different person when he knew me, I was in Foster Care with my sister being abused and raped every night. I was meek, timid and afraid, far more disturbed and hurt then I could have ever comprehended. My sister was going through it even worse, I was haunted by not being able to protect her. One day, I picked her up from her class and ran out the school. We stayed on the run and met up with the other kids of Hunt’s Point for a few months. That was when I returned to Crack Town and learned everything I knew.

They finally found us, but by that time my mother had overdosed and my Uncle was in town. He vied for custody of us, and eventually won. The bastard put us to work, but he never hurt us, protected us and cared about us ultimately. My aunt loved us, I was never sure about Uncle Karol though. My Aunt was the picture perfect Aunt, full of love, hugs and kisses. My Uncle, a brutal bastard was the boss outside the house but in the house my Aunt always had the final say. It wasn’t like my Aunt was oblivious to my Uncle’s activities, he would often come home covered in blood and always carried a gun. She was just alright with it.

I earned my keep and started selling drugs to people like Cardinal who were my friends. I felt guilty about that, especially since I saw what drugs did to my mother. Cardinal had an appetite, and became quite the fiend. We stayed friends, through my guilt I often gave him freebies when we spent time together. Even as a fiend, Cardinal was quite the informant and the closest thing to a functioning drug addict I had ever seen in my life. His information had never been wrong, not once.

Cardinal got his name due to his fiery red hair. He was the classic redhead with very pale skin. He was skinny and tall since I knew him back in school, and he grew to tower over me. Cardinal hadn’t gone by his real name, Donny Wrinkle, also since I knew him. His family was very religious, so he escaped their grasp during high school and we moved into an apartment together. As I said before, Cardinal and I had a long history.

Even years later he only lived a few blocks away from my house, and it took me about ten minutes to trek down there. Considering it was Hunts Point, he lived in a nice area. He lived in an apartment building that was a little run down, but the rent was cheap. For the most part I paid the rent and every other expense Cardinal had, the landlord could give a fuck where the money came from as long as he got it. It was that guilt thing again that got me, plus if I didn’t pay the rent Cardinal would be on the street.

I didn’t do him many favors, all I did was feed his habit and that day I was going to walk over to his apartment anyway to sell him some dope. I wasn’t really selling it, it was below market price and he was probably paying for it with money I gave him. I was conflicted; I hated what I did in general, all the violence and the darkness, the sickness. I knew that I was in to deep at that point, or at least I thought I was.

The cold air hit me hard that morning when I left my apartment. I put my hood over my head, but I had on a thin jacket so it didn’t really matter. I realized was going to be cold that morning. It didn’t matter, as I was heated and stayed deep enough in thought where I didn’t even think about the cold. I checked my waist holster, my Mark XIX .50 Action Express Desert Eagle tucked in there. I didn’t want to be like a movie star or anything, I just liked the way it fired and my Uncle had given me it for my seventeenth birthday and for some reason I cherished it.

After I fixed my shirt to hide the gun I noticed a group of bums across the street walking, it was Harris, Morten and Tommy. They probably just left the homeless shelter and were on their way toward the liquor store. I saw Clarissa pushing her baby carriage across the street, she was bundled up. I waved to her but she didn’t see me. She lived on the first floor of the house I lived in and had bought with earnings I made from the money Uncle Sam knew about. The house was three family, on the first floor was Clarissa, and the second floor was an Old man named Bruce. He was quiet, they both were. It was a quiet house, I spent such little time there. The only person that made noise was Sephrina, and when we argued we really caused a commotion. I felt bad thinking about it, we probably disturbed the old buzzard and the baby, but at that moment I don’t give a fuck.

I thought about her more and more as I walked through the streets. I felt so tired because I hadn’t gotten any sleep, I felt sick because of the combination of everything. I had a headache and a few cars passed blasting music which didn’t exactly help. I slipped on my sunglasses which I forgot I had for the last few minutes of the walk. I noticed there were a lot of cars out that morning; I had forgotten that it was Monday. It took me awhile waiting for the cars to pass in order to cross the street, but they finally did and I was there at the doorstep of Cardinal’s apartment building.

I swung open the door and bolted through the door, charged up the stairs and then banged on the door of the first floor. After obnoxiously slamming on the door, I took out my phone and called Cardinal. I waited for him to come and open up the fucking door, he was taking his time. I decided to bang on the door again.

“Cardinal its Spiro, let me in,” I said as the door unlocked. I swung it open and then walked through. A woman was leaning out of her apartment, she glared at me viciously.

“Why are you hitting the door so god damn loud!” she snapped.

“Fuck off,” I growled. I matched her glare, I outdid it actually. She looked at me and then closed the door; the message must have registered with her fat ass. Then I saw Cardinal waiting for me by his door, he was naked beside a pair of drawers and some socks. “Why don’t you put some god damn clothes on kid?”

“This is my house, don’t nobody tell me what’s good in here,” he said as we shook hands. “Why you around here so fucking early man?”

“Something came up last night and I need to talk to you,” I said as we went inside his filthy apartment. His apartment was very small for one thing, and there was trash almost everywhere. He had a small kitchen area in the front; there was a miniature table on one side which had Chinese food containers, pizza boxes, needles, condoms and a knife on it. On the opposite side of the narrow kitchen space was the counters and the stove, which had all other types of miscellaneous shit on it. Following the horrid kitchen was the Bedroom/living room that had a glass coffee table and a bed. That was it for the apartment, beside a fucking horrible bathroom. Considering the past, it was fairly clean in there that day.

“So what’s good man?” asked Cardinal taking a seat on the bed. I crossed my arms and leaned up against a wall. I looked at him and he must have figured out what I was there for pretty quick. “Is it Sephrina?”

“Yeah…She left last night, I wanted to know if you heard anything lately, know about anything that I don’t?” I asked.

“I heard some things but I don’t want you getting mad it my apartment, ya know you are crazy bro. You’ll start smashing shit up and punching walls and shit man, you know you will too,” said Cardinal. He was right I was equipped with a brutal temper. As I said before, my sister was promiscuous and hypersexual; meanwhile I was violent and explosive. I’d break walls, hands, televisions, floors and anything else that was around and breakable.

“I heard she is back with Jeff,” muttered Cardinal. He looked down as I shuffled around, then I smacked his wall pretty hard leaving a little dent. “Come on man!”

I kept swearing and lounging in my thoughts, I had racing intrusive thoughts that were getting the best of me. I wanted to cry but I never did in front of anyone else. I caught up with myself and then realized what I did to the wall. I looked at Cardinal who had his hands up. I knew exactly what would calm him down so I reached into my pocket and threw him a balloon full of black tar heroin that my uncle and I had got from Mexico.

“You got me that Mexican Mud bro!” exclaimed Cardinal. He stood up and shook my hand during his small celebration. He looked at the wall and waved his hand at it. “Fuck the wall man, we’ll just have to put a picture up or something.”

“Are you sure she is back with that son of a bitch?” I asked bemused by the celebration. I was to wrapped up in anger to care about anything.

“That’s what people are saying, they saw them at the bar…and well…she was high and being all loud and he was kissing all over her and shit. My man was there and I was like, yo you should have knocked that motherfucker out! That’s my nigga Spiro’s sister!” said Cardinal loudly. He looked at me, I was shaking I was so mad. His jubilance disappeared and he came over to give me a hug and pat me on the back. “You know where he lives, let’s go and pay his ass a visit?”

“You want to come?” I asked.

“Hell yeah dude, I owe you anyway but it sounds like a good time,” he said grinning. We did a handshake and then he started moseying around the room. I knew what he was looking for, Cardinal really was a fiend. “You want a rail bro?”

I shook my head as Cardinal pulled out a mirror and placed it on the bed.

“Here is my Lassie, dude I was watching this Scottish movie and there they call bitches Lassies dude, no lie I swear to god. He was like, my lassie and I was expecting to see a dog or something. I can’t believe that, so I named my wonderwall Lassie,” he said plugging one nostril and shooting the cocaine up his nose. “This…this shit; this is the gear you gave me yesterday.”

I nodded my head; I was restless and ready to go. I wanted to hurt something; I was ready to get out of that shitty apartment. I was angry; I was feeling violent and sick. I was ready to explode and bring my sister home. It felt like almost every month my emotions would implode, and then on the outside I’d explode. I’d destroy my house, break someone’s jaw, and simply do something that would be destructive enough to get my rage out. Then after I had done that I would start up again, taking shit from people, torturous pain from trauma would be building inside my body and the angst would slowly take over. It would all build until one day I’d explode. It had been about twenty days since I exploded, so I was impatiently waiting.

“Cardinal let’s get out of here, I can’t sit around here much longer,” I exclaimed. Cardinal nodded his head and reached for a shirt and a pair of pants. I stepped out of the room into the small kitchen as he started changing into the new clothes.

“Ready to make a mess bro?” asked Cardinal. I wasn’t sure what he meant and I thought about it for a few minutes, before I could answer Cardinal elaborated. “I mean, we are going to crack some skulls right?”

“I can’t keep doing this man, I’m serious I can’t keep doing this,” I grumbled crossing my arms again.

“Maybe…maybe give her some space?” said Cardinal quietly. He stepped out of the kitchen and moved back into Cardinal’s bedroom, I glared at him as I was pissed off at the suggestion. “I’m sorry bro, ya know I’m just trying to help and you know how I am. Sometimes I say some dumbass shit.”

“No, well…I think you might be right. Do you know how in movies and TV shows, the brother is giving his sister enough space. I think you might be right man, I think maybe if I tell her that and kind of do it, she might come back home. She is only eighteen, she should be home right?” I asked rhetorically.

“Yeah bro…but you also can’t give her to much space, she shouldn’t be getting used and beat, that’s not right,” said Cardinal putting on his sweatshirt and wiping his nose with the back of his hand. He had a lot of guts to say that, maybe it was the cocaine. I appreciated him telling the truth though; I just hated hearing what happened to her. I knew all to well though, I cleaned up the mess each time. Deep down I hoped that I’d make such a sideshow out of one of one of her boyfriend’s that they’d all know about me. She was attracted to any man who said something nice to her; often they knew she was easy and that she would do anything they wanted. She was beyond insecure and thought of herself as a piece of trash. She’d get beaten, so high she’d be taken advantage of and she would sell herself for money for her dope. In an act of true desperation I would try to give her drugs but she had an expensive habit. Her arm took in thousands of dollars a month.

As Cardinal and I walked out of the house I thought about the real bad times, I wasn’t sure if a tear rolled down my cheek but I casually wiped something away. My sister had been gang raped numerous times, when I would find her I’d be so angry that I’d hyperventilate until I’d pass out or I’d cut myself before I started breaking things. I was loose a cannon, completely out of control. I had absolutely no control over anything in my life. Without my sister I wasn’t sure what I would do, and I knew that I couldn’t beat or kill every man that hit her. That fact paralyzed me, theoretically I could but it really wasn’t possible. She was used so much; I just wish she would learn that she was so amazing. That she was so beautiful and I loved her so much. But she kept running back to bad situations; I was tired of cleaning up these awful messes. I’d wake up every morning with a jolt, sick to my stomach, barely able to breath and with tremors like an alcoholic without the drink.

We walked out of the apartment building and I stepped into Cardinal’s car, a 1988 Lincoln Town Car that looked like World War 3. He had it for ten years as a birthday present from his mother. I had been in it four times when it broke down, once when we were in the middle of nowhere. Cardinal was more than a customer; he was one of my only friends.

“Remember that Mexican bitch Luisa?” asked Cardinal after he started the engine. I hated the word bitch, and he should have known that by now.

“Don’t use that word alright, I hate that word and you know that. Just don’t use it,” I hissed very annoyed.

“Hey man this is my car!” exclaimed Cardinal playfully.

“It might be mine in a second, ill pull out my gun and knock your scrawny ass onto the pavement if you keep it up,” I said laughing. “Just please don’t use that word, you can tell your dumbass story if you keep that out.”

“If you knew her bro, you’d know she is a bitch. Real talk I’m serious, she is big trouble,” said Cardinal. Then he nodded his head and looked at me. “Alright, well…remember that young lady Luisa, the one with the ten kids?”

“Yeah I remember her,” I said. I knew Luisa all to well. One of the products of degradation and New York City, Luisa was a crack head and the mother of ten children, each by men she prostituted with. The reason I knew her so well, was she was also one of the people I sold to. She would sell or do anything for drugs, I stayed away as much as possible but my uncle made me sell to her. He had me convinced that it was ok.

“She is pregnant again, I saw her walking around with a huge belly, a Popsicle, meanwhile wearing what looked like a wedding dress. She looked like she was from Gunsmoke,” said Cardinal laughing. “It’s a shame.”

“You know what, it really is a shame,” I agreed.

“Where does this guy live?” interjected Cardinal taking a turn.

“He lives a few minutes away, in the Point.”

“Now I remember,” said Cardinal taking a right turn. He drove for the rest of the way in complete silence, Cardinal turned on the radio softly to a pop station. That weren’t playing much that I knew or anything that I thought was very good. It all just sounded generic, I got tired of it quick but it helped the time pass.

We drove through the Red Light District during the day, but we saw the whores lined up waiting for sunset. I guess there was probably was business to do in this barren area. There were alleyways, abandoned buildings covered in graffiti, condemned apartments and a lot of garages and storage spaces. The streets were wet; it was especially unattractive when the sky was gray. It was a sad part of town to drive through; it was the epitome of decrepit. We drove a little longer until we got to the apartment that correctly stood between a small Spanish grocery store and the liquor store.

Cardinal drove up fairly close, but he had the right idea to move fast and get going before my sister could escape. The front door to the apartment was unlocked and weary, the hallway was foul. It smelled like urine, it didn’t look that bad but you could tell you didn’t want to live there. It reminded me of my old apartment. We hiked up two flights of stairs, took a left into a hallway of doors and stopped a 205.

 So there I was wielding my weapon, my shoulder touching the door ready to pounce and break it open. I took two deep breaths, stepped back and then lunged forward. I had my Desert Eagle out aiming forward. I rushed into the apartment to find Jeff with his hands up. He had been watching television evidently. He had dropped his bowl of cereal and looked at me with a stunned expression.

“What the fuck! Hey, What the fuck are you two doing here…oh shit,” said Jeff with his hands up. He was wearing a Yankee shirt, and a pair of shorts sitting in a lounge chair with the television on.

“That’s right oh shit, Cardinal go check the house thoroughly,” I ordered. Cardinal dashed away to look through the small apartment as I walked over to Jeff. “Where is my sister?”

“Man, I ain’t seen your fucking sister, since the last time you told me to stay away from her, I listened to you I swear to god I listened to you,” he exclaimed closing his eyes.

“We will see,” I said quietly.

“Listen man…I understand I did wrong ok, but you can’t keep coming in her destroying my house and shit, especially if I didn’t do anything wrong. I listened to you, so–”

“Smack him Spiro, he is lying, I told you my boy saw him kissing all over your sister!” exclaimed Cardinal. I smacked him with the barrel of the gun, and then kicked him off his chair. He whimpered and cried, but I stomped him once in the head before crouching down to his level.

“Is that true?” I growled.

“Well…listen she was there and we were all high man, listen please–”

I kicked him in his face three times as hard as I could, then picked him up by his shirt and threw him against his chair.

“Nothing here bro!” called out Cardinal. I looked at him and nodded my head. I turned my attention back to Jeff who was crying with a bloody face.

“You can’t say I beat you for no reason, you lied to me man. I have a very good reason, a very good fucking reason,” I said blasting my foot against his face one last time. “Now I expect you will tell me the truth right now, I expect that much of you. So tell me, do you know where my sister is.”

“Hold on, Hold on don’t hit me again!” he exclaimed rolling over clutching his nose. He sat up still crying. “I didn’t do anything with her, I kissed her once and it was a mistake, it won’t happen again I swear. But, listen to me for one second…I know that she talked to Razak a lot that night. Razak, do you know…Razak, you know him?”

“Yeah I know Razak, when was this, the night you kissed her. When did all this happen?” I asked peering down at Jeff.

“It was two…two nights ago, there was a party. There were a ton of people there, I talked to her for a few minutes but mainly she hung out around Razak and I’m not lying,” said Jeff.

“You do know what happens if you lie to me, it won’t be me putting you in an oven, it will be Uncle Karol. Do you understand me? He doesn’t have as much mercy and doesn’t honor any type of humanity,” I said. He nodded his head flipping blood everywhere.

“Because you definitely have tons of mercy,” muttered Cardinal laughing. I almost told him to shut the fuck up, but I started laughing. I laughed at the moment we were in, it was so ridiculous and Jeff was funny when I beat him up.

“Ok Jeff, so I’m taking your word that Razak might know something, I apologize for coming into your house and causing all this trouble,” I grumbled taking out a money clip from my pocket. I noticed Jeff looking at the money, as he wasn’t exactly the most righteous guy you’d ever meet. “Why don’t you get a new door, get that nose taken care of and…well maybe you can get a new television, c’mon it’s the digital era, everyone is living it up and you’ve got this old hunk of shit.”

I threw the money clip on the ground and Jeff nodded his head. “Thank you Spiro, and I’m sorry about everything.”
            “Don’t make me mad again Jeff, please don’t.”

Cardinal left the apartment first and then I followed behind, I didn’t put my back to Jeff even though I didn’t expect him to pull out a hand canon and blast us both away. I’d heard of stranger, so I kept watch. I could tell by his facial expression that he was satisfied, he was happy with his money.

With that we left, when we got back into the car I had to catch my breath. I felt sick, like I was going to throw up. Cardinal started the car but I wasn’t ready for it to get moving.

“Hold up, give me a minute,” I grumbled.

“Ok,” said Cardinal. He reclined my seat and grabbed a tissue to blow his nose with. I moved away from him as he did so, he thought it was funny but I already was feeling nauseous. “By the way, how much did you give Jeff back there?”

“Why?”

“Just wondering,” he mumbled. I knew Cardinal to well, he wanted to get paid. “Listen you know I’ll take care of you, but don’t piss me off asking me. You don’t need to worry about that, you respect me and I respect you and you should know that I’d pay you for today. But don’t start with me, we still have to go over and see Razak.”

“Razak…We going over there, well I need to be strapped. Cardinal popped his glove compartment open and pulled out a handgun. He tucked it into his waist and put the car into drive. We started moving but I kept my eyes closed, I was angry and the rage was building up. I knew I was bound to explode, I had rage like crying spells, a fit came every now and then and I’d destroy the house, hurt someone or hurt myself. I knew a bad one was coming, and I worried about when.

If I exploded on Razak I could start a small war. Razak was a Eastern European scum bag who often “hooked up” with my sister, he was part of a street gang in Hunt’s Point. I had my confrontations with him quite a few times, but his people always backed down against my Uncle. Almost everything I did, my Uncle had my back on. No matter how violent or crazy, because we thought alike.

“Where does Razak chill, you know?” asked Cardinal glancing over at me as we stopped at a red light.

“I don’t know, I figure he would stay around the only part that’s theirs. Go around Morris Heights, it’s still early we might be able to catch him before he leaves.”

“He lives in that fuckin neighborhood?” asked Cardinal looking shocked.

“Yeah, why what’s so fascinating about that?”

“Nothing,” muttered Cardinal. We sat there in silence for a little while, Cardinal kept opening and then closing his mouth to say something.

“What?”

“What the fuck is Razak?” asked Cardinal as we stopped at yet another red light.

“He is West Indian or African, something like that. His name is Thierry Razak, like the soccer player. You know Thierry Henry,” I said as Cardinal looked at me with a blank stare. “Oh I forgot you are retarded, you never heard of Thierry Henry.”

“I don’t want soccer, it’s gay.”

“And what’s not gay, football? Yeah, straddling over men isn’t gay that’s right,” I said sarcastically.

“You don’t straddle, you tackle. Fuck that, Football is a man’s support. The bitches love when we ball down at the park, I told you about the bitch Marie, she was fine and she was loving me scoring the touchdowns,” said Cardinal laughing.

“I’m sure, playing catch in the park is impressive. And about the word bitch, if you say it one more time I’m going to strike you very hard,” I growled. Cardinal nodded his head and for the rest of the ride stayed silent. The word Bitch brought back memories for me. My mind was always laced with traumatic memories, and there were certain memories that I desperately tried to erase.

I didn’t have much time to think about it then, as we entered Morris Heights, we passed the low income shit holes and the guys hanging out smoking and drinking. I held my Desert Eagle tight in my hand, I knew we may had put ourselves in danger going through those parts.

“This doesn’t look good, why the fuck are we here bro?” asked Cardinal. We took a turn and then Cardinal pulled over at Clifford’s place. We sat there looking up at the step streets. I noticed a few guys coming over towards us but I tried to ignore it. At the same time however I clutched my gun religiously

“Ay yo, what’s good can I help you with somethin?” asked one of the guys. They both wore windbreakers, one was red and the other was black. They had hoods over their heads as well as fitted caps, I recognized them as part of the street gang Razak was in. The red and black were the colors, and even if theirs were makeshift and I could have been wrong I took it seriously. However, being a hothead I bolted out of the car brandishing my gun and charged up to them.

“Yeah you can help me with something, where is Razak?” I hissed. They actually put their hands up, one more than the other. They looked at each other and then at Cardinal who pointed his handgun at them as well.

“We don’t know no Razak, the fuck is Razak?” said one of them.

“If you think I won’t fucking shoot both of you and leave you here to rot, your brains sprayed on the pavement floating into the sewer. I will, I will shoot you. Just tell me where the fuck Razak is, Thierry Razak!” I shouted. We were drawing attention rapidly and I heard Cardinal say something but it was to late as a mob was rushing us. Instead of just heading to the car I pistol whipped one of them first.

I got to the car right in time as Cardinal sped off, we kept our heads down in case they shot but nothing was fired. We looked at each other and laughed.

“Yo, better luck next time man, we’re lucky we didn’t get tagged,” said Cardinal laughing hard. I looked at him laughing, I may have giggled but nothing near as hard as he laughed. I had pistol whipped the kid so that the message would get to Razak, because my gut feeling told me he knew where my sister was. I worried that he might hurt her then, in that moment I acted like I didn’t care because she got herself into that situation. But then the nervous stomach kicked in and I got scared, I thought about her getting hit and it made me sick. I was clinging on to hope that I would find her sooner rather than later.

 

 

Cardinal dropped me off near my Uncle’s Deli, I waved him goodbye and then there I was alone in the middle of the street. I walked far enough so that I could see the big sign for Karol’s World Famous Deli. Karol’s Deli was only known throughout New York and back in our native Germany, but beside that there wasn’t much acclaim for the Deli and its sandwiches. My Uncle just decided to put that on the label so that he could attract the few customers we got.

As I walked I noticed George Glazer causally walking up to me. Glazer looked good, and I doubted her had anything to do with Sephrina. She just loved talking about him; his Narcotics Anonymous group was one of the only ones she felt comfortable in.

“Spiro how are you,” he said shaking my hand with both of his. He had a warm smile, and was about the nicest guy you ever could meet. He was great, and someone I looked up to.

“I’m not good today George, shit is bad again.”

“What shit is bad? I came over here looking for you,” said George. He surprised me when he said that, I wondered if he knew anything about Sephrina.

“Sephrina is gone,” I said. George sighed and put his hands on his hips, he had a look of absolute dread. “Why were you here?”

“To tell you that your sister hadn’t been attending meetings like we had talked about, sporadically she’d be there but nothing solid. She would show up every other day, maybe a little less than that,” said George.

“Did she look like she was using?” I asked quietly. George shook his head and sighed once more.

“Not really, she was detached but I don’t think she was using. At least it didn’t seem like she was high during the meetings, and she did share once that she had met somebody. I never saw them and knew nothing about them, it’s just what I heard her say,” said George.

            We shared a look of dread, if anything George was my partner when it came to cleaning up Sephrina’s messes. He knew all to well the consequences, and he looked bad that day. I felt the same, I felt like the wind was knocked out me. I just wish she’d pop up in front of my eyes; it would end all the tension and release the stress. I wouldn’t have to worry that much for the rest of the day.

            Instead there was only a gloomy forecast; both George and I had energy sucked from out expressions. I walked over to give him a quick hug, he patted my back and then pulled back to look at me. “She is going to kill you one day Spiro; I just wish it would be easier to figure these damn problems out. But that’s why they are called problems, we have to solve them. We’ve got to solve this one before we are buried next to each other.”

            I laughed but what he said was true, this was no fucking joke.

            “You are right George, right now I’m a nervous wreck,” I said quietly.

            “Meditate, read some literature and keep your mind occupied. I know how angry you get, I’ve seen it and it’s not good for you. You have to focus on you, and stop letting the other things in life get in the way of that. First you have to learn to love yourself,” said George looking at me with solemn eyes. He came close and touched my chest. “I know that you don’t, but I want you to know that we all do. And you can’t probably help your sister if you don’t even love yourself.”

As George walked away after a handshake, I wondered what this life would bring to me to next. I found out early, the waiting room of my Uncle’s Deli. George’s words lingered with me as I took a seat in one of the booths playing with my phone.

I waited at the Deli for two hours before my uncle showed up. He had an ice pack pressed up against his right cheek. It turns out he had gone to the dentist, my uncle’s least favorite activity. He was mad, and he usually had a pretty foul temper. I had never really been the victim of my uncle’s wrath; instead I stayed clear as much as possible.

            “How ya doing kid, I missed you today. You know I had to go to the dentist, but this dumb fuck over here scheduled the appointment with the wrong dentist. I like Dr. Chung, but he scheduled to appointment with that other son of a bitch. Almost got me killed,” said Uncle Karol. He walked over and slapped Stevie, one of Uncle Karol’s new guys.

            “I had a situation today, I’m sorry Uncle Karol,” I said quietly.

            “No worries kid, no worries at all. But I tell you something, that guy was a fuckin amateur. He almost destroyed my tooth; I wanted to rip his fuckin balls off. I’m tempted to have a talk with him, ya know what I mean?” said Uncle Karol keeping the ice to his face. He showed me over to a table near the door, we both sat down and he sighed and groaned.

            “Was it Doctor Stone, the guy with the heavy beard? He can be kind of rough.”

            “He was brutal. I tell you what he’s got some balls, and this dumb fuck didn’t do a thing when he was torturing me. Stevie, Stevie! The least you could have done would have been to tell him to lighten up, right?” shouted Uncle Karol.

            “He is an asshole,” I muttered.

            “A guy like me, ya know a guy like me, you fuck with his teeth and that could be it for you, ya know what I mean?” said Uncle Karol posturing at the table.

            “I’ll call up and file a complaint,” I said smiling. My uncle looked at me and laughed.

            “You do that kid,” he said still laughing. “Your uncle is to much of a dickhead to ever consider something like that. I do it the old street way, right to the neck.”

            I nodded my head still smiling and then looked down at the table playing with my fingers. I started feeling dread, a sick feeling through my body. I started feeling lonely thinking about missing my sister. My Uncle must have noticed my sorrow and picked up on it pretty quickly. “She left again?”

            “Yeah she did.”

            “What did she do, just ditch the apartment in the middle of the night or something?” asked my Uncle. I had always wished that my Uncle take these things with a little more sensitivity and care, instead of being his usual hard ass self when it came to all aspects of life. He was hard to be around for long, he knew it though and sometimes he tried his hardest.

            “Yeah, I think I heard her leave but it was to late. I just don’t understand what the fuck she is doing anymore,” I complained and rubbed my forehead.

            “Listen to me; you are my favorite nephew, honestly the rest of the family I can’t take in large doses if you know what I mean. I support you in whatever you feel is right, but she drags you along and is killing you. Look at your face, you look fucking tired!” exclaimed Uncle Karol. He paused for a second and then grabbed my wrist, so I looked up at him. “You’ve got to let her go.”

            “But Uncle, if somebody knocked around your sister, Aunt Doris. What would you do?” I asked crossing my arms.

            “I’d fucking kill them, but I don’t count I am a horrible person for Christ sake!” yelled Uncle Karol as him and his posse surrounding our table burst into laughter.

            “You’ve got to understand I’m in a horrible spot, she is my sister. Not just some girlfriend or friend, she is my little sister. And you know how I took care of her, not one thing was wrong. She had everything she needed and even stuff that she wanted. I made sure there was food on the table every night, you get what I’m trying to say?”

            “Yeah I do,” answered Uncle Karol.

            “I just can’t stop and do nothing,” I mumbled looking back down at the table.

            “You’ve got no fucking life kid, at your age you should be drinking, partying, getting your dick sucked. You have no life!” exclaimed Uncle Karol.

            “I have a life!” I responded.

            “No you don’t, you don’t. We’ve been trying to set you up with that brunette who lives across the street but you are never interested.”

“I don’t have time for it,” I said fidgeting in my chair. “Anyway what the fuck do you do Uncle Karol; you sit there in front of that television watching re-runs of the Seinfeld all fucking day. So don’t–”
            “Fuck you!” shouted Uncle Karol giggling a little bit. Everyone at the bar fell out in laughter; they were taking an opportunity to laugh at their boss who was usually a very dangerous and volatile man. “It’s a funny show alright, and I’m a happily married man. Marriage is fuckin boring, wait until you get married you’ll find out.”

“I’ll at least pick a better show,” I said smiling, I knew that was enough before I would get beaten to death with a blunt object. My Uncle was less of a tyrant and more of a criminal with a bad temper, nothing more. We weren’t dealing in millions in our little group, sure we were worth five or six million but that was as a whole. We owned three clubs, had monopolized the red light district and had a decent share in the drug game. We sold a lot of Black Tar and some coke. I put my life in jeopardy everyday even working with my uncle, but it didn’t worry me to much. I almost wanted to lose my life, because I really didn’t care about myself. Not at all actually, it was always Survival and Sephrina on my mind. I had been through so much I felt like an old man.

“Listen I got to tell you something, I got a job for you kid,” said Uncle Karol after all the laughter and joy had ceased. I knew it was something big, I could just tell by his facial expression. “I want you go and visit that kid, Mason to help him move some crates. The weight has been heavy for some time and I think it’s about time that we gave him a quick hand.”

My uncle was using code, what he really said was go fucking kill Mason. Mason one of my Uncles Dealers; he had suspected for the longest time that he had been lying about getting robbed on the way to pay up. My Uncle was old school, basically if you crossed him and cheated him out of a somewhat significant sum of money you bet your life. Back in the day he’d personally kill you, but he was getting much older.

I nodded my head and he patted my shoulder. “I’ll head out in a couple of hours, but do me a favor Uncle.”

“Anything for my favorite Nephew!” he exclaimed smiling. He must have been really pleased that I actually accepted the job.

“Get some guys looking out for Sephrina; ask some of the right questions to the right people. Maybe even put some money on the street, the fiends will give her up quick. Ya know I’d pay you back and all that.”

“Done, you don’t even have to worry kid, I know you will because she is your sister for Christ sake but her wellbeing is in good hands. I’ll put my best guys on it,” he said shaking my hand and patting my shoulder. My Uncle always kept his word no matter what. When I left the Deli, my fear had switched from not finding my sister to going back to where it all started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Short Story Will be Out Today!!

I will be releasing a short story today! Each Chapter will be a day in the life of a Narcotics Officer, first in his training. It gives me free reign to show you guys what i’ve got and to always have freedom in storyline and character development. I hope you all enjoy!

If It’s Not God…(Old Short Story)

6:00 am

I woke up in a white room that was consistent with your typical hospital setting. I got mad, but I was immediately met with intense pain in my arm. I groaned loudly, and a swarm of white coats stormed into the room. The high powered types, the ones I couldn’t stand that made the big bucks and drove the nice cars.

I heard them all talking, I had to really concentrate to try and figure out what they were saying. It hit me suddenly, that I had been shot only hours ago. I had forgotten, in fact I had no idea whether or not they got the perp. I started to think hard, to try and remember but I suddenly got this tingling feeling in my testicles. It was morphine, or some sort of painkiller. I hated that stuff. I couldn’t fight it; it was already in me and working. I realized that one of the white coats was trying to speak to me.

“Detective Taber, my name is Doctor Matthew Dale; do you know where you are?”

“Yeah, it seems as though I’m at a hospital, I don’t know which one but I’m at a hospital, right?” I asked. I felt the urge to be a smartass. “Either that or a Stephen King book, which one?”

“You are in the hospital that’s correct; you were brought in a few hours ago because of a gun shot wound. Do you remember any of that?” asked the white coat. He was tall, skinny and seemed more like a skeleton then anything else.

“Yeah I remember enough. Did my partner get Benoit?”

“I’m not sure, I-”

“Ill get up then,” I said defiantly. They tried to keep me sitting down but I didn’t listen as usual. I enjoyed being hard headed, in ran in my family and it was something we all took pride in. It was my duty and also my prerogative to help my partner, it was also necessary because the only reason I was shot was because I was selling information on raids. I didn’t want Gale to be hounded alone, the guy was the smartest Detective I had ever met but it would be good to have some support. So I used the phone in the hallway after a one legged man hopped away.

I rang Gale’s cell phone and awaited an answer. “Detective Fortgang.”

“Gale, its Oliver, what’s going on downtown?”

“Nothing we are good, just worry about that arm. We are all set, Ash has our backs. Ill be down to see you once I’m done with some paperwork. How do you feel?” asked Gale. It was a huge relief that we were alright, we wouldn’t have just lost our pensions for what we were doing. Captain Terry Ashford, or Ash as we called him, was in a tough spot. Either he would sacrifice two of his detectives and a lot of funding from an investigation, or some moral fiber. Naturally he chose the moral fiber. Nevertheless this wasn’t over, I wasn’t going to let this shit just happen and forget about it. Fabio Benoit shot me, and there was going to be a price to pay.

“No Gale, fuck that. Not how do I feel, what’s the game plan?” I hissed. I wasn’t angry at him, in general I was just a abrasive bastard.

“The game plan is you sit your ass in that hospital, let your arm heal up a little more. Then come home, take time off, get caught up on Rachel Ray or Jerry Springer and then in a few months depending we will figure something out.” One of the problems was Gale was almost as abrasive as I was.

“No man.”

“You’re getting paid, you will be taken care of. We can talk about things before you come back, but in reality that might be a little while,” exclaimed Gale.

“I don’t care about my salary, or any of that police shit. I’m going to go get my motherfucking money. Either you are down or not, I’m not talking about official business, I’m talking about my money.” There was a short silence.

“Alright, I see what you’re saying. Next week, we’ll get Benoit. Is that good for you?”

“No,” I muttered.

“No, what the fuck do you mean no?”

“Today, ill meet you at my apartment.”

8:30 am

Gale knew that Benoit and Claude Sinclair would have left the country by Thursday. Sinclair, was the ringleader of a arms dealing operation which originated from Lyon, France. Fabio Benoit was his right hand man, a contract killer from the French Mafia. The reason Gale and I had started mixing with them, was that we were getting nearly five hundred thousand dollars a year for giving information on raids of their property in Brooklyn and Queens. We were part of the Major Crime Units, and were the ones that conducted the raids. Sinclair must have thought we were going to give him up, so they planned on shooting us. We weren’t going to give them up, instead we were going to make their demise look like an arrest gone bad. I didn’t remember much else.

I had left that god damn hospital instantly, I signed off on the Against Medical Advice papers. It was just the way it was. I called a taxi cab, and had to listen to this asshole talk about how bad his wife cooked. Somehow he didn’t ask me about my shoulder, which was wrapped up and blatantly badly injured.

Once I was home I was exhausted, I figured I could rest a little but once I arrived at my small apartment I had a pounding headache. I kept vomiting, so much that I basically laid by the toilet for about an hour. I felt my eyelids getting heavier, but my arm was pulsating with pain so it kept me awake.

10:25am

“Yo Oli! Open up the fuckin door man!” yelled Gale. I stood up in a daze and shuffled toward the door. I made sure everything was cool outside by checking out the window, paranoia had developed simultaneously with corruption. Everything seemed cool, so I opened the door. “Jesus Christ, didn’t you hear me banging on the door man? I was out there for about five minutes, I thought you were dead.”

“No I fell asleep…for about an hour I think, wait what time is it?”

“Its 10:25,” said Gale sighing. He stared at my me for a few moments. “Look at you, You have to be one of the stupidest motherfuckers I’ve ever met in my life, what the hell is wrong with you man? You just got shot, and now you are home looking for revenge. What are you thinking?” asked Gale laughing. He really wasn’t pissed, in fact he was kind of getting a good laugh out of this.

“I told you, I’m thinking about my money. Take a seat and tell me what happened?”

Gale sat down on my leather couch, while I stayed standing. I was still feeling very lightheaded, I hated waking up like that. “Alright, well you got tagged and i didn’t know what the fuck was happening. I just hugged the corner and pulled you toward me. They bailed after awhile, I called a bus and they sent you to the hospital. I got back to the station, and Ash was pissed off. He was grilling me, but after awhile he got the drift.”

“What’s the official story, we were doing some surveillance right?” I asked. My nerves had hiked for no reason.

“That’s what we are going with, I had Delaney go and make sure there were no cameras. We are completely clean man, that’s why I don’t get why you want to go after them so bad.”

“They have three hundred thousand dollars of our money, I would like to send my kids to a good college. How the hell am I supposed to do that with eighty grand including overtime?”

Gale just laughed. I started to pace and decided to get something to drink. “What are you a prophet, are you a prophet now man?”

“Fuck you.”

“How are you going to think about your kids going to college, when you don’t have any…you don’t even have a girlfriend. Anyway if you do have some, they will probably be just as stupid as you. Little Vigilantes.”

“Don’t talk about my unborn kids, ill put my foot in your ass. Do you want something to drink?”

“I had three cups of coffee already, ill be pissing my pants soon. My prostate is in bad shape, I’m just not getting that examination.” We shared a little laugh. I drank a paper cup of orange juice.

“So today, what’s up?” I asked anxiously. I wanted revenge badly. I had always held grudges, ever since I was five. My brother used to make fun of me with his friends until I was in fourth grade. Then he stopped, but I never forgot it. It left a raw feeling, it hurt when I tried to let it go. I didn’t, and as I became the more aggressive one, I started to mess around with him. One day he was with his girlfriend in a car on Lover’s Creek, and my friends and I cracked his windshield with bats. We scared the shit out of him, but it became a lot more then that. It became something very serious. Some people said I was a bully, I agreed. The last thing I should have been was a cop.

“Today my friend, we are going to visit a little illegal gambling joint in Yonkers. Johnny Handsome, remember that guy we met when we busted Borislav, he gave me the tip this morning. They are having a high stakes poker game, and Benoit cant resist. I say we can help him cash in, what do you think?”

“Definitely.” We laughed. “What time?”

“It starts at two, so you have some time to take a nap. Does that fuckin thing hurt, your arm? I saw you get tagged, Benoit had a hand cannon.”

“Yes it hurts like hell. Tonight ill probably end up going back to the hospital, I don’t know if I can deal with this thing,” I muttered feeling a little defeated.

“Of course you can’t, sometimes you think that you have to be Action Jackson. We can get this done tonight, and then you need to take a easy.”

“I can do that,” I said. I was just as exhausted with this life as my partner.

1:15pm

I was leaning on the windshield, crying. I was glad nobody else was seeing me like that. Everything hurt so bad, my head was pounding. It felt like there was a knife and it was in my head. But instead of going deeper, it just twisted around. I couldn’t hear what Gale was saying, I also really didn’t want to.

During one intense wave of pain I clenched my teeth so hard, I thought they cracked. The saliva in my mouth was becoming bitter, my nose was dripping just enough so that it annoyed me. We were so close, but my mind was so far away. It was stuck in a hole, but I needed my shoulder to climb out.

Gale kept driving though, which actually made it better.

1:45pm

Gale stopped, we were only a few miles away. We were in a seedy neighborhood, the skies were gray and it felt like I hadn’t been asleep in days. I was slowly drifting between a daze and a painfully alert state. Gale reached behind my seat and grabbed a assault rifle. It wasn’t until I got a good look, that I recognized the F2000.

“Did they issue that to you for your birthday?” I mumbled. He was concentrated though, and didn’t pay much attention. I reached into my holster and pulled out my Colt M1911 Government Issue. I grabbed my Beamshot, and started to attach it. It was always difficult, but now the difficulty was magnified through the pain.

“How do you feel partner?” asked Gale.

“I’m doing alright. Better then before.”

“You know the plan, go in strong, give the money to Johnny and make the arrests. There is no back way out of this fuckin place, so we go together. No cowboy shit, ok?”

“I wont do anything.”

“Give me your word, because I don’t need to get shot and die. My wife is pregnant, I have to see this through. After this we need to cool down, no more fuckin cowboy shit. We will get our names in the newspapers, probably get some awards and even get some legitimate bonuses, when was the last time that happened?” asked Gale starting the car back up.

“I think it was back when I won that fuckin trivia game, remember the one with the Denzel Washington question at the end. That was back in 2005, so I think we are due.”

“Oh yeah, the one with his character from Mo’ Better Blues. Only you would know the answer to that bullshit,” said Gale and I laughing. I didn’t know that would be the last time we would laugh together.

2:00pm

Gale edged the car up to a small brick building called Ferry Pool Hall. I had forgotten about a warrant, however Gale had a piece of paper in his hand. The entire search was bogus but the intent really wasn’t the arrest. The emphasis was on the money. We both took a few very loud deep breaths. We looked at each other and burst out of the car.

Gale was much faster, and dashed to the building. The door wasn’t locked luckily. I heard a crack and I knew he had immediately gotten shot. I ran in however, through the suddenly painful realization in my stomach.

It must had been a chair, because Gale was still running. “POLICE! POLICE! HANDS ON YOUR FUCKIN HEADS, HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!” screamed Gale. It felt good, things were smooth so far. I kept a sharp eye once we had made it into the pool area. One guy was there, he was old and looked doped out of his mind. I grabbed him and pushed him with me. It hurt though, and I groaned. We had made it to the big room. There was a table, a dim light, and three men sitting. In the back was Benoit, a overwhelming pain struck my chest, that felt like the old days.

“HANDS ON YOUR HEAD, ALL OF YOU. I’LL SHOOT YOU IN YOUR FUCKIN HEAD IF YOU MOVE!” screamed Gale. He immediately went for Benoit. He searched him and found two guns, one to his side and the other in his sock. I turned my head and saw Johnny sitting in the corner. I got this pain, that made me want to die. It wasn’t fully physical, I felt like a wimp but I couldn’t help it. I was getting through it though, and I stayed on task with vicious aptitude.

“Sinclair, where is the money?” I demanded. He pointed to a cabinet. Johnny reached over and opened it. So far so good, so far so good, i thought. I looked around for a second, and had the bad feeling I was going to get shot again. I checked the back and there was nothing there.

“Hey you, did you like that present I left on your arm. You were crying like a bitch, you probably just were sobbing. They say people from my country are pussies but I’ve been shot eight times and I never cried. How do you feel that I’ll get off on this bullshit, find you and cut you up into little pieces?” asked Benoit. He had so facial expression, no emotion. He had a large scar under his right eye, that was always prominent whenever anybody looked at him. I was clenching my teeth, and the pain got worse. “Is your arm hurting more and more? You might need bed rest tough guy, maybe your partner here can bring you to the hospital and tuck you in with a Hello Kitty doll?”

“Shut the fuck up,” hissed Gale. He smacked Benoit with the back of his rifle. By that time, Johnny had already run out of the room. Gale had handcuffed everybody except Sinclair.

“I hear your mother runs a nice grocery store on 1st avenue, ill need to check out the good buys.” I raised my gun and shot him in the head. I froze, my mouth wide open. I thought for a second that it wasn’t real, but this wasn’t the movies where there was a dream sequence and I could go back. That shot had marked the rest of my life. I had signed my fate with Benoit’s brain. The shot didn’t only mark the end of my freedom, but the end of the story as well.

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