Excerpt from THE CITY BREAKS ITS PROMISE

Hey Everyone! I am a 20 year old author from New Haven! My first book just came out and i am excited to share the beginning with you. If it seems like something you’d maybe like please head over to The City Breaks its Promise and check it out! 

“She would always leave now and then, but I knew that this time was different. I could tell by the way she left that she wouldn’t be coming back. Without a goodbye and after a fight, my sister had left the house. She left without any clothes or belongings. She was always impulsive like that, but the fact she didn’t even bring a purse made me think this was only temporary. I didn’t want her to leave but there wasn’t anything I could do to stop her. I was scared, I sat up in my bed and looked outside my window hoping I’d see her walking up the street but she never did. I stayed like that for half of the night until I finally conceded that she wasn’t showing up anytime soon. 
I got about three hours sleep that night and woke up bright and early to the sound of my obnoxiously loud alarm clock. After I slapped the piece of shit across the room I bit my lip for a couple of minutes. After I drew blood 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 unruly. 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 felt like I was her guardian and that I was meant to protect her through life. 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 five dollars into three meals for the day. 
I was able to take us out of the chaos, but it was a little 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 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. Working with my uncle had a lot of positives. He basically allowed me to run wild. The violence I surrounded myself with was all an analogical way of fighting the frustration I had in my life. It was clear 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, and it hit me the hardest the day my sister left. I had hoped she would have tamed her habits. I had thought for some time that maybe the world would show us mercy, but then I got my final wake up call. 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. 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 wouldn’t eat if we didn’t make the money. We dodged the government and survived in the cold hard world of facts. 
We hung out around the red light district at night to help guide tricks, assist the whores and make extra money. During the day we would go and sell candy bars on the subway, help at the chop shops, sell some weed and often we’d assist the drug dealers by guiding customers in abundance.
We had a little apartment where we’d hear some girl getting beaten half to death almost every night by her pimp and I’d hold my sister as she cried. There were about seven kids and some crack heads, drifters and bums crashing there all the time. On my sister’s birthday I was able to scrap together enough money to get her a cake and a few presents. The little party was going well. It wasn’t until about ten at night when we heard a gunshot. The woman killed her pimp and the first thought in my head was that the police were going to find us and put us into foster care. 
We packed up our stuff but it was too late, as the police came and started asking us where our parents were. I lied a few times and then tried to run away. It was a futile effort and the saddest day of my life. They didn’t split up my sister and I, instead the stuck us both in a brutal residential full of fucking nuts, kids who were already rapist, schizophrenics and raging mental cases. After about a year of that we got sent to foster care. 
It was a bleak life to live, and when I say I took us out I meant we moved farther away from the Point. The problem was still 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. Then on the other hand, I began to feed off the violence surrounding me. My world was a time ticking bomb. 
When we grew up South Bronx was in bad shape. There were still apartments that were a sickness, terrifying and unadulterated. Crack heads with families piled into the apartments like the 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 a failed pimp, both were crack heads. Together it took them three hours to put in a light bulb. 
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 that 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. The kids of crack town didn’t play games. We’d all talk about how we were going to grow up into responsible adults who would live functional lives. Part of us all knew that was a joke. 
We would pickpocket in the City, sometimes we’d beg or sometimes steal street performer’s cash. Sometimes we’d even steal cars that were parked and drive them to the back of chop shop. One of the legal things we would do would be to wash cars and walk dogs for the old folks in the town. Those same old people would be trading their pain meds for Viagra, money and weed. 
We’d always do everything to try to 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, it was after all the abuse but she didn’t know what was happening to her delicate body. I didn’t know what happened to mine either. 
My name was Tobick because apparently my mom’s family wouldn’t allow her baby to ever take someone else’s surname. They must have been glad that rule was in place because when my mom got pregnant at fifteen the father was some older crack head named John Manikos, my father. My mom became an outcast from her orthodox German Family after they found out she tried to have arrange an abortion. 
My Uncle Karol was my mother’s brother. He was one of the craziest bastards I’ve ever met in my life. I personally didn’t think I was anything like him. Somehow his family was very strict and incredibly orthodox, but he became a teenage Hit-Man for an German Crime outfit. 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 around me. What I grew up around seemed like nothing to what I saw working with Uncle Karol. It was training in a lot of ways. 
I had to watch over the people and the rackets. I had to watch over everything from 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 bunch of bars and clubs. My official “job” was in construction even though I had only worked a few hours in my life.
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. I left the house early even though I spent at least an hour staring at the 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 and 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. 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 and he showed respect to me. 
When we first became friends I was a shaky sickly boy of fifteen years. We met the day after my Uncle picked us up from Foster Care. My uncle started me young dealing drugs and my first deal was to Cardinal, who was my age. He mostly just smoked weed and did some coke at that time. So I got to know him through all the deliveries I made for him. He lived in a posh apartment in Manhattan so it wasn’t to long of a long voyage. He would tip me a couple hundred dollars and sometimes I’d even smoke with him. 
Cardinal got his name due to his fiery red hair. He was the classic redhead with very pale skin and freckles. He was skinny and tall since I knew him years ago, and he grew to tower over me. His family was very religious and Cardinal was sacrilegious so it wasn’t working out. They beat him for swearing and he had to study the bible for four hours a night after homework. He couldn’t take it anymore and I didn’t blame him, 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. The apartment building 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 care less 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. Basically all I did was feed his habit. I was a conflicted enabler. I knew that I wasn’t in to deep at that point, but that I had to rescue myself I got caught or killed. 
The cold air hit me hard that morning when I left my apartment. I put my hood over my head to prepare for the walk. I decided to check my waistband holster, which held my stainless Remington R1. 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 Melissa pushing her baby carriage across the street. They were both bundled up. I waved to her but she didn’t see me. She lived on the second floor of the house I lived in. 
I had purchased my house four years ago with all the legitimate money that I had. It only cost a couple hundred thousand and I paid the mortgage just like any other normal person. It was a three family home and I lived on the first floor. I collected rent, installed central air and made sure that everything was taken care of. I had become friends with everyone that lived in the house with me. They always heard my brutal arguments with my sister, they heard the time I pushed her onto the ground and when I destroyed our glass coffee table. They heard all of my regret. 
I thought about my sister 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. There were a group of bums with big padded coats walking across the street. A few kids were riding bikes and in the corner by a garbage can a fiend was shooting up. 
I laughed as I walked up into the apartment building. I skipped up stairs as quickly as I could towards his third floor apartment. Once I was on the third floor I cut in and went to the first door on the right. I banged on it loudly to make sure he could hear it. Knowing Cardinal he was probably sitting there with his eyes red after an all-nighter. 
“Cardinal its Spiro, let me in,” I said as I heard a door unlock and open. 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. Then I turned my attention back to Cardinal who was in the doorway laughing. He was only wearing some tight briefs which offered a pale view. “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. You know that my dude,” said Cardinal as we shook hands. He led me into his apartment. He stopped for a second and turned around to look at me with his hands in his underwear. “Why you here so early, dude. Yo I got to tell you dude I had a crazy night. First I fucked this crack whore on the couch so I was like, and I thought wow, like this is gonna be a great night.” 
“What does this have to do with me?” I asked. 
“She gets me off and all I can remember is her undoing the belt on my arm right? But then I woke up a little later and I find that all my gear was gone. She took everything, all the pills too. I couldn’t believe it, I’m sorry but that was out of my hands ya know,” said Cardinal pinching his nose and sniffling. His body was covered in sweat and it smelled straight like body odor. 
People like Cardinal often irritated me, they wanted to be part of the drug culture so bad but when they get to deep they’d retreat and expect someone else to come and rescue them. It bothered me, but I tried not to allow it to affect unhealthy friendship we had. 
“Listen, go and take a shower man. Please you smell awful,” I said with my head down examining the disgusting apartment. Cardinal nodded his head and walked over to a mound of clothes. He grabbed a towel, a pair of underwear, a shirt and pants. I could tell he had been going crazy that night, most likely smoking coolies. That story of his was bullshit, the reason he made it up was because three days ago I had given him some Ecstasy pills to hold on to. Sephrina was around and I had to find a place to hide it so she wouldn’t sell them for dope. Cardinal had a tendency to fuck up and I basically ruled out those pills anyway. My hunches were usually right with him, and this one was that he had freebased a lot of cocaine and then decided to take a few of the pills after he sold the rest to his friend Ike. I sat there thinking about it and decided to look around for stuff. It didn’t take my long into my search to find a watch, so I took it and pocketed it. 
His apartment was very small for one thing, and there was trash almost everywhere. He had a small kitchen area in the front, while 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 all over. Following the horrid kitchen was the Bedroom and living room area that had a glass coffee table and a bed. That was it for the apartment, beside a small bathroom
I heard the door open and Cardinal came out the bathroom rapping “Started from the Bottom” obnoxiously while drying off.
“You want a line?” asked Cardinal basically naked beside the little towel. 
“No I don’t want a line, listen to me…Listen to me god damn it! Put the fuckin mirror down and listen to me!” I hissed. He put everything down and looked up at me with concerned eyes. “My sister left again last night and this time I know something bad is going to happen if it hasn’t already happened by now. It’s been a almost a day man.” 
“I’m sorry I didn’t know,” said Cardinal shaking his head while sliding on his cargo pants and a black t-shirt. Few moments later he came over to give me a hug and I laughed as we embraced. It was a short hug because I kind of pushed away eventually as hugs weren’t something that I enjoyed. He walked back over to his couch and put on socks before grabbing a pair of yellow Nike Hyperdunks. 
“Yeah, so I came over here to see what you’ve heard,” I said with my arms on my hips and a grim expression on my face. He looked at me with a weird expression and I knew what he was thinking. “Don’t insult me like that man, you know I came over here to give you your shit. So don’t insult me by looking that way holding out on me. Do you understand me?” 
“You know I would tell you everything I knew, I just wanted to ask if you could help me get through?” he pled. 
“You know I will, don’t I always man. Here take everything I’ve got,” I said throwing him a package which was in my sweatshirt pocket. It had about five grams of Cocaine, some oxycodone, ecstasy and a balloon of mud tucked inside. 
Cardinal was a dumpster fiend, a cabbage head or a trash can addict. He didn’t care what he was getting high off of, he just wanted to get high no matter if it was glue, Ether and in his worst of times snorting Lunesta. Most of the stuff I’d give him, I wouldn’t give him Ether or glue, but the other stuff I’d supply. As I said before I felt guilty, but I didn’t want him robbing old woman because he would. Plus I gave myself reassurance on a business level by keeping in mind that he gave me a lot of information on the streets, so I justified everything by saying I was paying him. He was my friend, he used to be my best friend but I worried that I was losing more than just my mind.” 

IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE PLEASE HEAD OVER TO http://www.amazon.com/The-City-Breaks-Its-Promise/dp/1490724095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390674109&sr=8-1&keywords=the+city+breaks+its+promise

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)

To Live and Die in New Haven: Remy

Remy Santana 

 

January 6th

 

            “Look at this fucking guy Rem, I’m telling you I’ve never been surer of anything in my life. The man is a pederast, if you don’t believe me and do something about it I will,” said Ricardo fidgeting in his seat. Remy started grinding his teeth looking at Jonathan, one of the workers at his grandmother’s retirement home.

            “I don’t like this place man, it’s creepy as fuck,” said Hanley. Ricardo, Remy and Hanley had each sniffed a several lines of cocaine before they had gone into the New Haven “Jewish Home”. They were all being loud, covered in a dense layer of sweat and in Hanley’s case he had some cocaine on his nostril.

            “You got a little something there, nah right there bro,” said Ricardo pointing to Hanley’s nostril. He nodded his head, wiped his nose with his finger and shot the little particles up his nose. Ricardo rolled his eyes while Remy had his fixated on Jonathan. He had on high pants, he wore Velcro shoes and he had a comb over. His smile and voice reached beyond the limits of bizarre, and his demeanor suggested what Ricardo was saying had to be absolutely true. The drugs persuaded Remy to believe there was no other plausible explanation for this man to be working in a convalescent home. Remy wanted to take this man, whip out his gun and break his teeth with it. All this made sense when you were to that high.

            Remy kept a steady glare on Jonathan as his Grandmother finally walked in. She waved over to him as the three of them stood up. Ricardo and Hanley worked for Remy for three years and they had grown to know his grandmother Ana Marie as if she was their own. That was the way she was, especially when she was well. Remy had watched his grandmother’s health decline quickly. The timeline was fairly cohesive with the extension of his drug use.

            “Hi grandma,” said Remy walking over to greet his grandmother. She smiled and he kissed her on the cheek. He wasn’t sure if she even knew who he was at that point, over time she had started to call him Carlo. Carlo was Remy’s dead brother who had been gone for about five years. He was gunned down by rival gang members near the Methadone clinic on East Street. He never visited his grandmother, who raised Remy and Carlo after their mother overdosed. It was a bleak life, one that made it feel natural to do wrong.

            “Yes, yeah, it is that way. You know? Yeah that’s it,” muttered Ana Marie Santana looking at her grandson. She smiled a little but then looked clueless again which made Remy sick to his stomach. He closed his eyes and looked down at the ground as Ricardo and Hanley helped Ana Marie into her chair.

            “How have you been Grandma? Did they give back your teeth?” asked Remy grabbing his grandmother’s cold hand. He rubbed it with his finger as she looked up at him and smiled again. She nodded her head but stayed silent.

            “Hello Ms. Santana, how are you. Do you remember the last time we were here, we did the Irish sing a long,” said Ricardo. Ana Marie turned her head and looked at him and smiled.

            “Yes Carlo, of course. Of course, yes, of course. And that’s daddy,” said Ana Marie. Remy sighed and looked up at the ceiling in frustration.

            “Where is my husband? Get me my husband now! Send him a message, tell him I’m ready to go home!” shouted Nancy, one of the other patients. They were all in the dining room as it was six pm and they usually would eat dinner around four in the afternoon. Remy and the crew purposely avoided dinner at all costs, due to the sight of his grandmother struggling to eat. While they ate there would be arguments, fights and beeping from the various gadgets beneath the residents that would go off when they would stand up.

            It was a gloomy environment that nobody wanted to be, and it was a constant reminder to Remy that he wasn’t living up to his grandmother’s spirit. At least he didn’t believe so, he knew deep down that if she was ok she would tell him to leave her alone and live his own life. Nevertheless Remy felt obligated to take care of his grandmother, and it killed him when he realized that even if he hustled relentlessly and used all his savings he’d only be able to afford a decent place for six months. The reason he was reluctant to do that, was because it would cripple Remy for the near future and he didn’t honestly believe he could do things any faster.

            “T-t-t-the b-b-baby, where is Carlo? C-c-c-ca-can you find it?” stuttered Ana Marie as she began to shake.

            “Should we call the nurse?” asked Hanley as Remy grasped her hand and dropped his head. He winced as he watched her in pain. He remembered the day that she told him if she ever got bad and stopped being able to function normally, to take her outside and shoot her.

            “Let’s call the nurse Rem, she isn’t well man. I’ll go get her,” said Ricardo standing up. Right after Ricardo walked away there was a loud scream that came from a different room.

            “Fuck this place scares me,” said Hanley shaking his head with an expression of disbelief. As Ana Marie kept stuttering, Remy brought her even closer to him. He had her face against his chest but she kept talking. Remy looked up to see the nurse coming over.

            “She sometimes refuses to take her meds, but if you all are here it might be easier to persuade her to take them. You are Remy?” asked the nurse to Ricardo.

            “No I’m Remy, these are my friends Hanley and Ricardo,” said Remy pinching his nose and then wiping it with the back of his hand. The nurse looked at him with an odd expression as he started to sniffle, but then turned around.

            “What’s she looking at?” asked Remy shrugging his shoulders. Ana Marie started to laugh obliviously as there was another scream in the other room. A few moments passed and then the Nurse returned carrying two cups, one considerably smaller than the other one.

            “Here she comes,” muttered Hanley as the nurse came back over smiling.

            “Ok Remy, could you help me with this. She hates taking pills,” said the Nurse to Remy quietly. She then turned to Ana Marie, who was sitting next to Remy. “Ok Ana Marie, are you having a nice visit with your grandson?”

            “Yes, v-v-v-very nice, yes,” stuttered Ana Marie.

            “Grandma,” said Remy.

            “Yes!” shouted Ana Marie suddenly becoming hostile. Remy sighed and scratched his neck. He pinched his nose and sniffled as the Nurse looked at him again with a suspicious gaze.

            “Grandma you have to take these pills now, please do it for me ok?” said Remy bluntly. Ana Marie nodded her head but he wasn’t sure what that meant.

            “Here is your meds sweetheart,” said the Nurse bending down and placing a few capsules into Ana Marie’s hand. She held them and didn’t put them in her mouth, so the nurse grabbed her hand and brought it up to her mouth. “Put them in your mouth. Ana Marie, put them in your mouth.”

            “Grandma, please take your medicine. Do what the nurse says,” said Remy putting his hand on his grandmother’s knee. She nodded her head and then put the capsules into her mouth.

            “Good job,” said the Nurse bringing her the other cup. The nurse was clearly surprised that Ana Marie actually took the cup and drank the water. “Great job Ana Marie, have a nice visit with your grandson.”

            “Y-y-yes, I will. Tell da-da-daddy ok?”

            The nurse walked away, so Hanley and Ricardo pulled their seats back over. Remy looked down at the ground for some time but lifted his head up when he remembered that there was a candy bar in the car. He had noticed that he stuttering and shaking had gone done, but she was still muttering nonsensical words that nobody could understand.

            “Yo, I’ll be right back. Grandma, I’ll be right back ok? I have a surprise for you,” said Remy bending down to kiss his grandmother on the forehead. He walked away from her, Hanley and Ricardo exiting dining room from the front. He walked through their little sitting room, past the nurse and then to the door. The door was locked as this was the Harbor, also known as the dementia and Alzheimer’s ward. Remy tried to remember the code to press, but was struggling. The nurse must have noticed and came over to push the numbers in.

            Remy thanked her, opened the door and watched it close behind him to make sure that no one left behind him. After the door closed he cruised through the long hallways completely zoning out. He passed lots of people and would nod to all of them, some not looking back. As he floated through the halls his vision started to become blurry and convoluted, his skin started to feel pasty. He began to crave drugs and knew that once he got back to the car he had to do a few lines.

            Remy became sick to his stomach after he passed patients who smelled viciously of urine and feces. Remy’s stomach turned after walking by one room that really smelled foul. After he had passed through that he walked into a room that had a large gazebo in it. A few patients were sitting with family at the couches and the tables. Remy started to walk a little faster as he began to crave the cocaine more and more. He finally got to the lobby to take a right and finally leave the building.

            Their car was parked in a handicap space because Remy hadn’t been sure if they were leaving that day to go out to eat and also because he was lazy. He pressed the button to unlock his Black Nissan GT-R and then opened the car door. He slid into the front seat but didn’t close the door. He looked back to see the bag full of candy bars and brought it up to the front. After that he looked around the car trying to remember where they put the cocaine. He then realized it was in the glove compartment. So he reached over and pulled the bag out. He looked around the parking lot and then turned back to the bag. He grabbed some with two fingers and then dropped some on the back of his hand below the knuckle. He pushed one nostril closed and then shot it up the other. He sat there and put his seat back and must have dozed off for a few minutes. He then awoke and decided to do some more. Just as he poured a line on his finger and went in to shoot it up his nose her heard someone calling his name.

            He flipped out and dropped the bag into his lap.

            “Remy, you there?” asked Hanley. Remy looked over to see Hanley walking out of the front door. Remy started punching on the steering wheel and basically growling as his friend walked over. “What’s wrong man?”

            “You scared the shit out of me man! Fuck man!” yelled Remy. Hanley walked up closer and opened the passenger seat.

            “Oh you fucking jackass, you spilled all the shit man! Come on, you’ve got to watch what you are doing!” exclaimed Hanley. They both stepped out of the car and started to clean up by dabbing the cocaine and then putting it on his gums. There actually wasn’t that much on the seat, not at all but everything that was ended up back in their nose or in their mouth.

            “Why did you come out here? Where is Ricardo?” asked Remy.

            “Oh that’s right I meant to tell you,” said Hanley rubbing his hands through his long black ponytail.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “So we were sitting there right, and then your grandmother said something. Now we heard it, but she wouldn’t say it again for us but maybe she’ll say it for you?”

            “What did she say man, come on!” howled Remy as he shot a line up his nose from his finger. The drugs made him grow more and more impatient.

            “So Ricardo was talking about getting a massage, and Ana Marie says that man Jonathan could do it for him. So Ricky and I were like woah, so we asked her about it and she said that he takes her pants off,” said Hanley. Remy just starred at Hanley while shaking violently. He was so angry that his finger nails had cut through the skin on his palm. When Remy would snort cocaine he’d always get very violent and angry, it was usually part of his job, but today he was with his grandmother. He knew something bad was going to happen.

            “Are you telling the truth, swear to me that you are telling the truth man?” demanded Remy grabbing the collar of his friend’s coat.

            “Honestly I wouldn’t be lying about something like that,” said Hanley. After speaking he shot some cocaine up his nose and shook his head. “That guy in there is weird Rem. We watched him, he kissed one of the patients right smack on the lips.”

            “Are you fucking serious man, fuck!” yelled Remy slamming his hand on the steering wheel. “Where is Ricardo, I hope he is with my grandma?”

            “He is with your grandmother, should I go get him?”

            “No don’t go…wait yeah bring my grandmother to bed. I’ll come by and see her tomorrow, but just put her to bed and casually ask that fucking piece of shit when he is getting off from work. Seek a random conversation, you know what I mean? Be like, must be rough days here, when you getting off?” instructed Remy.

            “Alright, I’ll say it just like that,” said Hanley. He got up from the car and walked back into the front entrance. Remy watched Hanley nearly fuming from his ears. In a moment of unsurpassed clarity, he realized that what he was going to do was wrong. But something about Jonathan made Remy sick, he looked like a pedophile. Remy knew about that, something that only he and the uncle that molested him and Carlo knew.

            As he sat there steaming whilst snorting dangerous amounts of cocaine, he realized that he was becoming sick sitting there. He probably had done to much, as his heart rate had gone up to an insane rate and he was sweating profusely. He started to wonder if this was the end. If he started to convulse or have a severe seizure, he wondered if it would be ok. If he would have done enough in his life to where if he died at that very moment it would be ok, and he decided that he hadn’t. So Remy got out the car and lit a cigarette.

            As he smoked the cigarette and stood there, he started to become rather woozy. His eyes kept drifting closed so he flicked the cigarette to the ground and smashed it with his foot. After he stumbled back over to the car and fell asleep. It took another half hour for Ricardo and Hanley to come out, as they casually had a conversation with Jonathan. When they came out they figured that Remy was dead by the way his head was back.

            “Rem, wake up bro,” said Ricardo pushing his friends shoulder. Remy woke up abruptly and jerked his body up nearly colliding heads with Ricardo. The front door of the car was open, luckily the car was off.

            “Yeah what happened?” asked Remy looking at two old women who had walked out of the front entrance. They stared at them for a few seconds but then shifted their attention to walking to their car.

            “He should be coming out any second man, and he is done with his shift. I said that we wanted to show him something of your grandmothers,” said Ricardo. Remy nodded his head and slapped his hands together with glee.

            “Alright so get ready. Get your guns ready just in case. Let’s all stand by the trunk and be really nice, this is going to be great,” said Remy. He looked over at the front entrance and opened the glove compartment. He stuck his finger into the bag and then put it into his mouth. After he jumped out the car looking around meticulously, he adjusted his handgun which was tucked in his pants. Remy bent down and opened the trunk and then finally closed the car door which had been opened for about an hour. Remy gravitated toward the back of the car and leaned against the side.

            Multiple people were coming out of the entrance at that point, none of which were Jonathan. Remy sighed and closed her eyes for a few minutes. He opened them when he heard Ricardo howl, “Hey Jonathan, over here.”

            “Hello, I’m sorry but I’ll miss the bus if I don’t go now,” said Jonathan as he walked over to their car. His voice sent chills down Remy’s back and fear through his heart. He knew he was close to having a flashback.

            “We can give you a ride home, that’s no problem,” said Remy nodding his head.

            “That would be very nice, are you sure?”

            “Yeah we are sure, come on get it,” insisted Remy. Ricardo walked over to the passenger side and slid the seat up. As Jonathan stepped in Remy grabbed Hanley. “When we get there I pull over. We do the trunk.”

            With that Hanley stepped into the passenger side front seat and immediately closed the glove compartment which was wide open. Luckily Jonathan couldn’t see much in the dark, but they didn’t want it to spill all over the place. Ricardo and Jonathan had already been situated in the back seat. Remy started up the car without further ado and sped off.

            “So where do you live boss?” asked Remy pinching his nose and wiping his forehead.

            “I live on Mill River Street it’s not far from here. The dead end street that’s just ahead of Humphreys and behind the old Starter building,” said Jonathan. His voice once again freaked Remy out and made him angry.

            “Yeah so we appreciate how you take care of my grandmother. She is a beautiful woman right?” said Remy looking back at Jonathan as they stopped at a red light.

            “Yes she is very beautiful. She looks a lot like you. Was that your mother who always comes in?” asked Jonathan with a weary smile.

            “Come again?” asked Remy wiping his forehead.

            “Is that your mother, the woman that visits with your grandmother? She looks exactly like you.”

            “No that’s my Aunt Mina,” exclaimed Remy as they drove past the diner and turned into the Starter Building.

            “Oh no sir, my house is beyond that tunnel,” said Jonathan as Remy drove deeper into the parking lot.

            To“We forgot to show you that painting of my grandma,” said Remy. Jonathan just went with the flow as he sat there holding his small lunchbox. Once they stopped, Remy and Hanley shot from their seats to the outside. Their dressy oxfords and loafers on the pavement was a welcoming sound. Jonathan slowly departed from the backseat and stood there not knowing where to go. “I apologize but the painting is in the trunk.”

            Remy went to open it while Hanley and Ricardo reached for their guns. The trunk popped open and Remy walked over to lift it open all the way. Jonathan turned his head because there was nothing there. Hanley and Ricardo expected a tense tough guy dialogue, but Remy just grabbed the back of his head and smashed it a few times against the trunk door. The cracking sound was loud and it didn’t look like Jonathan would be getting up.

            “Get him into the trunk and then grab his phone in case he wakes up,” said Remy as Ricardo and Hanley had him in their arms. They dropped him into the trunk and closed it, then looked around and saw nobody. The part of the building that faced them had no windows and there were few cars there as well. As Hanley got into the back seat, Remy turned on the car and grabbed the bag of cocaine. Ricardo slammed the door after he was in and took a deep breath.

            “Now what?”

 

 Image

Remy Santana: January 6th (Short Story)

Remy Santana 

 

January 6th

 

            “Look at this fucking guy Rem, I’m telling you I’ve never been surer of anything in my life. The man is a pederast, if you don’t believe me and do something about it I will,” said Ricardo fidgeting in his seat. Remy started grinding his teeth looking at Jonathan, one of the workers at his grandmother’s retirement home.

            “I don’t like this place man, it’s creepy as fuck,” said Hanley. Ricardo, Remy and Hanley had each sniffed a several lines of cocaine before they had gone into the New Haven “Jewish Home”. They were all being loud, covered in a dense layer of sweat and in Hanley’s case he had some cocaine on his nostril.

            “You got a little something there, nah right there bro,” said Ricardo pointing to Hanley’s nostril. He nodded his head, wiped his nose with his finger and shot the little particles up his nose. Ricardo rolled his eyes while Remy had his fixated on Jonathan. He had on high pants, he wore Velcro shoes and he had a comb over. His smile and voice reached beyond the limits of bizarre, and his demeanor suggested what Ricardo was saying had to be absolutely true. The drugs persuaded Remy to believe there was no other plausible explanation for this man to be working in a convalescent home. Remy wanted to take this man, whip out his gun and break his teeth with it. All this made sense when you were to that high.

            Remy kept a steady glare on Jonathan as his Grandmother finally walked in. She waved over to him as the three of them stood up. Ricardo and Hanley worked for Remy for three years and they had grown to know his grandmother Ana Marie as if she was their own. That was the way she was, especially when she was well. Remy had watched his grandmother’s health decline quickly. The timeline was fairly cohesive with the extension of his drug use.

            “Hi grandma,” said Remy walking over to greet his grandmother. She smiled and he kissed her on the cheek. He wasn’t sure if she even knew who he was at that point, over time she had started to call him Carlo. Carlo was Remy’s dead brother who had been gone for about five years. He was gunned down by rival gang members near the Methadone clinic on East Street. He never visited his grandmother, who raised Remy and Carlo after their mother overdosed. It was a bleak life, one that made it feel natural to do wrong.

            “Yes, yeah, it is that way. You know? Yeah that’s it,” muttered Ana Marie Santana looking at her grandson. She smiled a little but then looked clueless again which made Remy sick to his stomach. He closed his eyes and looked down at the ground as Ricardo and Hanley helped Ana Marie into her chair.

            “How have you been Grandma? Did they give back your teeth?” asked Remy grabbing his grandmother’s cold hand. He rubbed it with his finger as she looked up at him and smiled again. She nodded her head but stayed silent.

            “Hello Ms. Santana, how are you. Do you remember the last time we were here, we did the Irish sing a long,” said Ricardo. Ana Marie turned her head and looked at him and smiled.

            “Yes Carlo, of course. Of course, yes, of course. And that’s daddy,” said Ana Marie. Remy sighed and looked up at the ceiling in frustration.

            “Where is my husband? Get me my husband now! Send him a message, tell him I’m ready to go home!” shouted Nancy, one of the other patients. They were all in the dining room as it was six pm and they usually would eat dinner around four in the afternoon. Remy and the crew purposely avoided dinner at all costs, due to the sight of his grandmother struggling to eat. While they ate there would be arguments, fights and beeping from the various gadgets beneath the residents that would go off when they would stand up.

            It was a gloomy environment that nobody wanted to be, and it was a constant reminder to Remy that he wasn’t living up to his grandmother’s spirit. At least he didn’t believe so, he knew deep down that if she was ok she would tell him to leave her alone and live his own life. Nevertheless Remy felt obligated to take care of his grandmother, and it killed him when he realized that even if he hustled relentlessly and used all his savings he’d only be able to afford a decent place for six months. The reason he was reluctant to do that, was because it would cripple Remy for the near future and he didn’t honestly believe he could do things any faster.

            “T-t-t-the b-b-baby, where is Carlo? C-c-c-ca-can you find it?” stuttered Ana Marie as she began to shake.

            “Should we call the nurse?” asked Hanley as Remy grasped her hand and dropped his head. He winced as he watched her in pain. He remembered the day that she told him if she ever got bad and stopped being able to function normally, to take her outside and shoot her.

            “Let’s call the nurse Rem, she isn’t well man. I’ll go get her,” said Ricardo standing up. Right after Ricardo walked away there was a loud scream that came from a different room.

            “Fuck this place scares me,” said Hanley shaking his head with an expression of disbelief. As Ana Marie kept stuttering, Remy brought her even closer to him. He had her face against his chest but she kept talking. Remy looked up to see the nurse coming over.

            “She sometimes refuses to take her meds, but if you all are here it might be easier to persuade her to take them. You are Remy?” asked the nurse to Ricardo.

            “No I’m Remy, these are my friends Hanley and Ricardo,” said Remy pinching his nose and then wiping it with the back of his hand. The nurse looked at him with an odd expression as he started to sniffle, but then turned around.

            “What’s she looking at?” asked Remy shrugging his shoulders. Ana Marie started to laugh obliviously as there was another scream in the other room. A few moments passed and then the Nurse returned carrying two cups, one considerably smaller than the other one.

            “Here she comes,” muttered Hanley as the nurse came back over smiling.

            “Ok Remy, could you help me with this. She hates taking pills,” said the Nurse to Remy quietly. She then turned to Ana Marie, who was sitting next to Remy. “Ok Ana Marie, are you having a nice visit with your grandson?”

            “Yes, v-v-v-very nice, yes,” stuttered Ana Marie.

            “Grandma,” said Remy.

            “Yes!” shouted Ana Marie suddenly becoming hostile. Remy sighed and scratched his neck. He pinched his nose and sniffled as the Nurse looked at him again with a suspicious gaze.

            “Grandma you have to take these pills now, please do it for me ok?” said Remy bluntly. Ana Marie nodded her head but he wasn’t sure what that meant.

            “Here is your meds sweetheart,” said the Nurse bending down and placing a few capsules into Ana Marie’s hand. She held them and didn’t put them in her mouth, so the nurse grabbed her hand and brought it up to her mouth. “Put them in your mouth. Ana Marie, put them in your mouth.”

            “Grandma, please take your medicine. Do what the nurse says,” said Remy putting his hand on his grandmother’s knee. She nodded her head and then put the capsules into her mouth.

            “Good job,” said the Nurse bringing her the other cup. The nurse was clearly surprised that Ana Marie actually took the cup and drank the water. “Great job Ana Marie, have a nice visit with your grandson.”

            “Y-y-yes, I will. Tell da-da-daddy ok?”

            The nurse walked away, so Hanley and Ricardo pulled their seats back over. Remy looked down at the ground for some time but lifted his head up when he remembered that there was a candy bar in the car. He had noticed that he stuttering and shaking had gone done, but she was still muttering nonsensical words that nobody could understand.

            “Yo, I’ll be right back. Grandma, I’ll be right back ok? I have a surprise for you,” said Remy bending down to kiss his grandmother on the forehead. He walked away from her, Hanley and Ricardo exiting dining room from the front. He walked through their little sitting room, past the nurse and then to the door. The door was locked as this was the Harbor, also known as the dementia and Alzheimer’s ward. Remy tried to remember the code to press, but was struggling. The nurse must have noticed and came over to push the numbers in.

            Remy thanked her, opened the door and watched it close behind him to make sure that no one left behind him. After the door closed he cruised through the long hallways completely zoning out. He passed lots of people and would nod to all of them, some not looking back. As he floated through the halls his vision started to become blurry and convoluted, his skin started to feel pasty. He began to crave drugs and knew that once he got back to the car he had to do a few lines.

            Remy became sick to his stomach after he passed patients who smelled viciously of urine and feces. Remy’s stomach turned after walking by one room that really smelled foul. After he had passed through that he walked into a room that had a large gazebo in it. A few patients were sitting with family at the couches and the tables. Remy started to walk a little faster as he began to crave the cocaine more and more. He finally got to the lobby to take a right and finally leave the building.

            Their car was parked in a handicap space because Remy hadn’t been sure if they were leaving that day to go out to eat and also because he was lazy. He pressed the button to unlock his Black Nissan GT-R and then opened the car door. He slid into the front seat but didn’t close the door. He looked back to see the bag full of candy bars and brought it up to the front. After that he looked around the car trying to remember where they put the cocaine. He then realized it was in the glove compartment. So he reached over and pulled the bag out. He looked around the parking lot and then turned back to the bag. He grabbed some with two fingers and then dropped some on the back of his hand below the knuckle. He pushed one nostril closed and then shot it up the other. He sat there and put his seat back and must have dozed off for a few minutes. He then awoke and decided to do some more. Just as he poured a line on his finger and went in to shoot it up his nose her heard someone calling his name.

            He flipped out and dropped the bag into his lap.

            “Remy, you there?” asked Hanley. Remy looked over to see Hanley walking out of the front door. Remy started punching on the steering wheel and basically growling as his friend walked over. “What’s wrong man?”

            “You scared the shit out of me man! Fuck man!” yelled Remy. Hanley walked up closer and opened the passenger seat.

            “Oh you fucking jackass, you spilled all the shit man! Come on, you’ve got to watch what you are doing!” exclaimed Hanley. They both stepped out of the car and started to clean up by dabbing the cocaine and then putting it on his gums. There actually wasn’t that much on the seat, not at all but everything that was ended up back in their nose or in their mouth.

            “Why did you come out here? Where is Ricardo?” asked Remy.

            “Oh that’s right I meant to tell you,” said Hanley rubbing his hands through his long black ponytail.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “So we were sitting there right, and then your grandmother said something. Now we heard it, but she wouldn’t say it again for us but maybe she’ll say it for you?”

            “What did she say man, come on!” howled Remy as he shot a line up his nose from his finger. The drugs made him grow more and more impatient.

            “So Ricardo was talking about getting a massage, and Ana Marie says that man Jonathan could do it for him. So Ricky and I were like woah, so we asked her about it and she said that he takes her pants off,” said Hanley. Remy just starred at Hanley while shaking violently. He was so angry that his finger nails had cut through the skin on his palm. When Remy would snort cocaine he’d always get very violent and angry, it was usually part of his job, but today he was with his grandmother. He knew something bad was going to happen.

            “Are you telling the truth, swear to me that you are telling the truth man?” demanded Remy grabbing the collar of his friend’s coat.

            “Honestly I wouldn’t be lying about something like that,” said Hanley. After speaking he shot some cocaine up his nose and shook his head. “That guy in there is weird Rem. We watched him, he kissed one of the patients right smack on the lips.”

            “Are you fucking serious man, fuck!” yelled Remy slamming his hand on the steering wheel. “Where is Ricardo, I hope he is with my grandma?”

            “He is with your grandmother, should I go get him?”

            “No don’t go…wait yeah bring my grandmother to bed. I’ll come by and see her tomorrow, but just put her to bed and casually ask that fucking piece of shit when he is getting off from work. Seek a random conversation, you know what I mean? Be like, must be rough days here, when you getting off?” instructed Remy.

            “Alright, I’ll say it just like that,” said Hanley. He got up from the car and walked back into the front entrance. Remy watched Hanley nearly fuming from his ears. In a moment of unsurpassed clarity, he realized that what he was going to do was wrong. But something about Jonathan made Remy sick, he looked like a pedophile. Remy knew about that, something that only he and the uncle that molested him and Carlo knew.

            As he sat there steaming whilst snorting dangerous amounts of cocaine, he realized that he was becoming sick sitting there. He probably had done to much, as his heart rate had gone up to an insane rate and he was sweating profusely. He started to wonder if this was the end. If he started to convulse or have a severe seizure, he wondered if it would be ok. If he would have done enough in his life to where if he died at that very moment it would be ok, and he decided that he hadn’t. So Remy got out the car and lit a cigarette.

            As he smoked the cigarette and stood there, he started to become rather woozy. His eyes kept drifting closed so he flicked the cigarette to the ground and smashed it with his foot. After he stumbled back over to the car and fell asleep. It took another half hour for Ricardo and Hanley to come out, as they casually had a conversation with Jonathan. When they came out they figured that Remy was dead by the way his head was back.

            “Rem, wake up bro,” said Ricardo pushing his friends shoulder. Remy woke up abruptly and jerked his body up nearly colliding heads with Ricardo. The front door of the car was open, luckily the car was off.

            “Yeah what happened?” asked Remy looking at two old women who had walked out of the front entrance. They stared at them for a few seconds but then shifted their attention to walking to their car.

            “He should be coming out any second man, and he is done with his shift. I said that we wanted to show him something of your grandmothers,” said Ricardo. Remy nodded his head and slapped his hands together with glee.

            “Alright so get ready. Get your guns ready just in case. Let’s all stand by the trunk and be really nice, this is going to be great,” said Remy. He looked over at the front entrance and opened the glove compartment. He stuck his finger into the bag and then put it into his mouth. After he jumped out the car looking around meticulously, he adjusted his handgun which was tucked in his pants. Remy bent down and opened the trunk and then finally closed the car door which had been opened for about an hour. Remy gravitated toward the back of the car and leaned against the side.

            Multiple people were coming out of the entrance at that point, none of which were Jonathan. Remy sighed and closed her eyes for a few minutes. He opened them when he heard Ricardo howl, “Hey Jonathan, over here.”

            “Hello, I’m sorry but I’ll miss the bus if I don’t go now,” said Jonathan as he walked over to their car. His voice sent chills down Remy’s back and fear through his heart. He knew he was close to having a flashback.

            “We can give you a ride home, that’s no problem,” said Remy nodding his head.

            “That would be very nice, are you sure?”

            “Yeah we are sure, come on get it,” insisted Remy. Ricardo walked over to the passenger side and slid the seat up. As Jonathan stepped in Remy grabbed Hanley. “When we get there I pull over. We do the trunk.”

            With that Hanley stepped into the passenger side front seat and immediately closed the glove compartment which was wide open. Luckily Jonathan couldn’t see much in the dark, but they didn’t want it to spill all over the place. Ricardo and Jonathan had already been situated in the back seat. Remy started up the car without further ado and sped off.

            “So where do you live boss?” asked Remy pinching his nose and wiping his forehead.

            “I live on Mill River Street it’s not far from here. The dead end street that’s just ahead of Humphreys and behind the old Starter building,” said Jonathan. His voice once again freaked Remy out and made him angry.

            “Yeah so we appreciate how you take care of my grandmother. She is a beautiful woman right?” said Remy looking back at Jonathan as they stopped at a red light.

            “Yes she is very beautiful. She looks a lot like you. Was that your mother who always comes in?” asked Jonathan with a weary smile.

            “Come again?” asked Remy wiping his forehead.

            “Is that your mother, the woman that visits with your grandmother? She looks exactly like you.”

            “No that’s my Aunt Mina,” exclaimed Remy as they drove past the diner and turned into the Starter Building.

            “Oh no sir, my house is beyond that tunnel,” said Jonathan as Remy drove deeper into the parking lot.

            “We forgot to show you that painting of my grandma,” said Remy. Jonathan just went with the flow as he sat there holding his small lunchbox. Once they stopped, Remy and Hanley shot from their seats to the outside. Their dressy oxfords and loafers on the pavement was a welcoming sound. Jonathan slowly departed from the backseat and stood there not knowing where to go. “I apologize but the painting is in the trunk.”

            Remy went to open it while Hanley and Ricardo reached for their guns. The trunk popped open and Remy walked over to lift it open all the way. Jonathan turned his head because there was nothing there. Hanley and Ricardo expected a tense tough guy dialogue, but Remy just grabbed the back of his head and smashed it a few times against the trunk door. The cracking sound was loud and it didn’t look like Jonathan would be getting up.

            “Get him into the trunk and then grab his phone in case he wakes up,” said Remy as Ricardo and Hanley had him in their arms. They dropped him into the trunk and closed it, then looked around and saw nobody. The part of the building that faced them had no windows and there were few cars there as well. As Hanley got into the back seat, Remy turned on the car and grabbed the bag of cocaine. Ricardo slammed the door after he was in and took a deep breath.

            “Now what?”

 

 

 

New Project: To Live and Die in New Haven!

As Take a Minute is prepared to be edited and the publishing process has really heated up, i have to keep my fingers loose and my mind working, practicing and trying all types of new things for the creative long run. Now that have had some success with my poems, i’m going to be taking a few more risks. The risks i want to take are to show the readers who i am as a writer so i’m going to do that through a long series of short stories.
To Live and Die in New Haven is a series, and each “Chapter” is basically a day with mostly recurring characters. Its about a city and it’s people, and i’ll have plenty of room to do some cool things. I’m working hard now on them, hopefully one will be out by tomorrow!!

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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