Exports Chapter Three

It gets tastier...“He was supposed to be back three hours ago” Junior was fuming, really fuming, a dangerous situation for everyone 100 meters around but even more dangerous for the causative factor of this horrible feeling, the soft-spoken Kevin, had he gotten wind of his discovered betrayal and fled, well not such a good idea since the mob never forgets and if there was anything Junior was really good at, it was tracking renegades, Kevin right now had zero connections, or so we thought, very little supplies and very little places he could flee to, he would know all that, he would have also noticed that his yellow notebooks were missing, considering what he left inside….

A familiar car started appearing in sight; Sean chuckled; “Well would you look at that? The fucker did come back, and he doesn’t even look perturbed for a minute”. It was unbelievable; Kevin swaggered in like it was his birthday; I couldn’t help but admire his perceived innocence; was he really this daft? Couldn’t he read a room? “Did you guys get my note?” It was like a bombshell; Junior’s face underwent a series of visible feelings, first anger, then silent satisfaction, then absolute surprise. “What fucking note?”

The one I wrote on my Yellow pad, sorry, I had to write it codedly; I had to make sure only you guys could read it. “Sean grabbed him by the neck, “that note was addressed to the Dr., who do you think you’re trying to outmaneuver? You think you’re so smart, don’t you? Kevin didn’t seem disturbed; I became convinced then and there that he must have had a psychological disorder that prevented him from feeling any kind of pressure; shrugging Sean’s hand off easily, he looked Junior in the eyes, “Do you really think I was trying to betray you?” “Answer Sean Kevin, the note was addressed to a Dr.”

Of course, it was addressed to the Dr.; where do you think I’ve been for the last 24 hours? If your spies did their job well, they would have seen me with Andrew, his lieutenant, we’ve been communicating privately without the knowledge of both the bosses to find an end to these skirmishes, and a new structure has risen in Europe and has created a big market for our products from home, we’re no longer in a monopoly. I am a businessman, and I want to make my share of the paper, and this long, drawn-out battle is hurting us both, anyway, the Dr. wants to meet, that’s why I sent you that note, it was delivered by the mailman to the apartment in the evening yesterday, and I thought you guys would have gone through it and discover our terms and conditions for negotiation instead I come back to some useless quibbles about betrayal”.

“You still haven’t explained why your note was addressing the enemy,” Sean said. Without even a glance toward the recalcitrant speaker, “You forget Junior, that I don’t actually have to work for you; if I wanted to betray you, you’d be dead by now, that’s a certainty. So why don’t we abandon this nonsense and look at the actual paper”. The paper, upon close examination, wasn’t actually that yellow, more like yellowish white. It had a silver handle that made page turning easy enough but more importantly, it proved every single point that Kevin had enumerated; he had, in fact, been recording conversations with Andrew to resolve the conflict; the last page was also referring to Junior as the receiver of the final draft, it also had terms and conditions for a standoff peace talk between the Junior and the Dr. 

“If you ever lay your hands on me again, I’ll kill you” he was smiling again, his eyes dancing with certain liquids; Sean was obviously terrified, for he jerked back and left the room. “Can I talk to you for a second?” I asked him. “Sure” We moved to the far end of the settee, I lit a cigarette, and he frowned. “You want one?” I knowingly asked. “Soph, I thought you’d at least talk some sense into them” “When does my opinion matter here? I’m just the bosses’ bitch” “I don’t believe that, and you don’t either” “Look, I barely got out alive, and I only saw a page, which was pretty damning, and you know you don’t have many friends here” “What about you?” “I wouldn’t trust me if I were you.”

“So genius, you agreed to sublet 35 percent of our earnings to that ungrateful old man,” Junior was fuming again. “It’s still debatable; he wanted 45 percent” “fuck him.”

“Junior, you’re missing the point here; last year, our product sold more than Apple’s entire yearly income, it’s becoming legal in some state, and international business industries estimate that it’ll become the new oil boom of the century, even if we go 50-50 we’d be billionaires in the next six years and with steady input, four years might do it” “it’s not about income dude, it’s about the respect, the street rep, how am I going to look if I gave that old man a 35 percent share, have you thought about many others that might think we’re prime for a rip-off. The moment we give an inch to that crook, he and other leaches are going to want a lot more, and what are we supposed to do than fight all of them?”

“Junior, the old ways are dying; if these estimates are true, and I think they are, then we can’t maintain a single stronghold on this business; it’s too dangerous; yes, we would lose some sort of powerful monopoly, but we would also be able to shield ourselves from the security team, we can operate in the shadows, and nobody gets hurt” “you forget one thing Kevin, I wasn’t raised to be in the shadows, generals don’t hide, and I’m not about to be the first.” It was relentless, and they both made sense, at least in their own way.

Junior was an original gangster, made and bred for the street thrills; Kelvin, on the other hand, was a dubious but astute businessman, and this collision of ideas would later have a long-lasting effect on the entire export business. The meeting took place in an area specially designated by the Doctor himself; he insisted on this particular place where he felt safe. It was an inconspicuous natural hideout used by Papa during the national reforms; the Doctor had his wise guys stationed at every getaway and a surveillance team ahead; Junior simply had Kevin’s word. With all the bad blood and innate hatred flowing through this rivalry, the meeting would have actually been successful; in fact, it was more successful than I had expected; given a chance, I would have elected not to attend, but I was the “master of the coin” so I had to be there.

The Doctor began by making impossible demands in an attempt to cause an uproar, especially since he knew (or he thought he knew) Junior’s cantankerous behavior, but the leader was now a changed man, for he just sat there and swallowed insults upon insults from the Doctor without even frowning or maybe because he knew that for the first time since Papa’s demise he now had the upper hand. The man largely responsible for this answered in Junior’s place, oh, and what a diplomat he was. Subtly but strongly rejecting each and every unreasonable demand made by the now furious Doctor. “I want the end of the year contract; it’s the least you can give after making me lose almost a dozen wise guys” “But we never did such a thing; I heard your wise guys were captured by the security department after breaking into an empty warehouse, such a sad story, whoever told them the warehouse was loaded needs to pay not us, we didn’t tell them anything.”

This was negotiating at its very best, and it would have gone exactly as Kevin had planned had the Doctor not touched a nerve.

Junior had little empathy in his life; it was why he was feared greatly during his tenure as general, and he killed to prove this point (I say this because I would later meet someone much more cold-hearted, especially towards human life, than Junior), but he (Junior) was not so strong on the inside, it seemed like he used his constant roar and violence to hide the meek, kind-hearted fellow which he was, only a few people knew this; unfortunately, the Doctor was one of them, and when he saw the way the negotiations were going, the wise old man knew he had only one course of action, he had to make the boss react and react violently and since all his jabs that evening had failed miserably he tried his trump card.

“I heard you cried with the family when your boss died, so I’m guessing you’re now in a lesbian relationship” And react Junior certainly did, pulling out his hidden gun, he took aim at the Doctor’s head and fired, his personal assistant jumped in front and died on the spot, the gunshots started, Kevin got shot luckily on the arm with his partner at the other end grievously wounded, we lost a lot of good men due to being outnumbered and being in an untrained terrain.

When we got back, Junior was dazed, Kevin was fuming, and I just wanted to lie down. “What the hell is wrong with you, man? We had him right there, you just had to keep mute, and he was gone forever; now you just gave him an avenue to rally and war.” Junior, still dazed, kept to himself; he realized things would certainly not be the same again; could he still command the respect of his men after what they heard today? And Kevin would probably not trust him again. That night, I came outside and saw Kevin watching the full moon, “Beautiful, isn’t it? At night a lot of bad things happen, and a lot of necessary things happen, yet the moon doesn’t care; it shines, for the wicked and for the kind, for the rich and for the pauper; it just shines selfishly for its own sake.

And let it be noted that there is no more delicate matter to take at hand nor more dangerous to conduct than to set up as a leader in the introduction of change.

Machiavelli (The Prince) 

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