I really want to get this going....

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Sunday, May 17, 2009


275. PERFECTLY CLEAN BILLS - the Deck Hand Scams - (nyc, 3/68):

"Hold it up motherfucker" that was all I heard and all I really had to – the guy was a sailor of some sort a stevedore maybe or a deck-hand all cocked up and rippled with muscle and bravado – and what he had just then mistakenly assumed was that I was someone he should be chasing down for taking something from the deck of the ship – which of course I had but could never tell him or let on about – so I turned and simply said back quickly as I kept moving ‘it’s for Ed Trenery and he wanted it brought down to him immediately – you’ll have to take it up with him’ which was some form of the truth in the fact that yes there really was an Ed Trenery down on the wharf but he was in no way concerned with me nor what was in my hands and it apparently worked as an excuse or at least forestalled any further pursuit at that instant of me and of the two large brown satchels in my hands – which were stuffed with cash and had been sought immediately by three men in a strange black car out along West Street who – I’d noticed – were still awaiting my arrival and that arrival being made (at least long enough for me to get away) I dove into the opened door and the car simply and with great ease I might add sped away into the early dusk of any Tuesday evening and if I was pursued I had been pursued fruitlessly I’d guessed since no one seemed to be following and the apparent ease of the ‘heist’ – if that was what it was – in and of itself was alarming for me : I’d been promised a clean 75 bucks to do what was needed – which I’d just done – and that amount of money-as-pay had just been handed over to me "nice going how you went about that kid – took nerves and balls to just walk up there and you did it with both – good now beat it and stay close so’s we can catch up to you again when needed aw'right?" - I nodded my assent and scrambled out of the black Cadillac stretch somewhere I noticed just north of the US Postal building on Eighth Avenue and everything else – me and them included of course – just merged with traffic - me on foot in a half-rush and them in their black car tooling along pretty much like all the rest except longer and headed towards uptown and not across town and it felt good to have succeeded first time like that and I knew I’d see them again soon – once the taste of this gets in your mouth you just generally want more – but for the moment what interested me was in going over all of what had occurred in my head : the two briefcase-sized satchels had seemed to have had hundreds no thousands of dollars in them and the bills were all aligned and crisp and banded – so it wasn’t just some day’s receipts kind of thing or anything like that – they seemed perfect and clean and new and counted and separated – all that stuff just like a bank does – so I figured they were either bank-stuff already stolen or new bills just – shall we say – ‘mass produced’ and I don’t mean a church collection – I mean real solid-gold class A counterfeit money like ‘if it fits under the counter we take it!’ kind of dough : however what it was doing on board that little cargo ship and why these malfeasant knuckleheads too had an interest in it was beyond me AND why it was pretty much just left there untended and allowed to disappear as it did still wrankled me but I had done what was asked and gotten already my 75 bucks plus the good notion that I could work well and could do more for them sometime soon – I almost looked forward to the day.
It was only later much later after I’d done this sort of thing 6 or 7 times that I found out what was really happening – and because of finding that out I stopped doing it (at probably a greater risk to my own life and limb) : the guys name was Antonio DeScarpa and he was from somewhere around Sullivan Street I forget but what came down was that one day we were somehow just talking and he was asking me a lot of questions about my interests and what I wanted to do and what I was doing all this stuff for – all of that sort of talk – and I began telling him about my interests in art and writing and learning and literature and all of that and of course it was like telling him I was interested in translating the Septuagint back into a new form of Greek and he just stopped dead in his tracks and ceased talking to stare me down and say – "get the fuck out kid and get the fuck out now ! this shit’s gonna ruin you for life – you’ll never live it down and sooner or later you’re gonna take a fall – y’unerstandin me?" – I had at that moment no clue as to what he was alluding so he explained it all for me pretty much as follows: ‘everybody ‘cept you is in on this heist – this is counterfeit money in a constant stream coming in from somewhere and everyone knows about it – the guy who leaves it laying around the guy who never chases you down though he sees you taking it the twerps in the car who drive you away and pay you their measly hundred bucks or whatever it is – the people on the boat the whole bunch of them they KNOW this is all going on – HUGE amounts of counterfeit money being brought in and distributed – tens of thousands shit hundreds of thousands eventually of money – and the only one right now in real jeopardy is YOU you dumb son-of-a-bitch – you’re a nobody and you’re the ONLY one they all know enough to finger if they’re poked – you’re the stooge the fall guy the whatever and if they DIDN’T want you to take those envelopes believe me they’d have shot you dead the first night and right now each and every time you’re brought back in you're getting closer to big big trouble and fuck all your dreams of painting or writing or whatever the fuck you’re talking about - now take this money and get as far the fuck away from me NOW as you can – I do NOT wish to see your sorry ass ‘round here again!" - and I did suddenly understand what I'd gotten in the middle of and good bad or indifferent as I may have been to it I sensed immediately the danger I was in now FROM BOTH SIDES actually and it was in some respects at that moment that I once more simply had the temerity (fortunately I guess) and stop and save my life.


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