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Getting Back In The Action
Now that the meeting with the Hypno was over and I was finally back in the United States?Detroit, to be more specific, it was time to get back in the game and I knew just how to do it. Hypno was interested in obtaining some security technologies for his businesses and place of residence. I had an old friend who was CEO of one of the largest security technology companies in the world. Not only that, but I ended up going to prison for a couple years when I was younger for the guy by taking the fall for something he did. He told me that if I went to prison for him, he would take care of me when I got out of the joint.
It?s funny how when people are stuck between a rock and a hard place how much they?ll promise you just to get off the hook. But when push comes to shove and it?s time to pay up, they conveniently forget all about you or even acknowledge who you are.
His name is James Carrington and he owns Security Intelligence Technologies Group. They manufacture and supply security technologies to law enforcement, residential and corporate clients all over the country. You can only imagine how much his business spiked right after 9/11. The results of that tragic day made him a multi-millionaire almost overnight.
I knew Jimmy long before he ever accomplished anything in life. When I met him, he was in trouble with a local Vegas bookie that was connected to one of the organized crime families out in Vegas. Jimmy was into the bookie for 50 large and had no way of paying him. He was young and dumb?just like me?and we were both way out of our league and was about to be taught a painful lesson. I intervened and arranged a meeting with the bookie and paid off Jimmy?s debt by giving him half of what Jimmy owed and offering my services to help the bookie collect on his other delinquent debts and in exchange, Jimmy would no longer place his action with the bookie, but with me instead which the bookie was happy to agree to because he now considered Jimmy to be a liability instead of an asset due to defaulting on his bets.
I explained to Jimmy that it was imperative for him to only place bets with me that he could afford, because he was already into me now for the same price he was into the bookie and I was willing to let it slide as long as he never defaulted on a bet because I wouldn?t be so nice the next time. I know what you?re thinking. Why would I pay off a gambling debt for some punk kid right? Well, Jimmy was a smart kid and just graduated from college with a BS in business administration and just landed a mid level job with a large security company out in Detroit and would now have access to hundreds of more people?some of which might be looking for someone to take their action and place their bets. Where the bookie saw Jimmy as a liability, I saw him as being another pipeline to expand my gambling network.
The gamble I took on Jimmy paid huge dividends over the next several years. After a while, Jimmy didn?t even have to go looking for people wanting to place bets, they came looking for him. As he moved up the corporate ladder, he was associating with the higher ups of the company and began taking their action and he even had people working underneath him to take the action from the employees and vendors he used to take action from when he first started out. It was a huge cash cow.
Two years later, Jimmy became CEO of the company and that?s when things really took off. He was now rubbing elbows with some of the biggest CEO?s in the business world and they were in turn placing their bets through our network from all across the country. For every bet a legit Vegas sports book was taking in, we? were taking in five or six. We were able to fly these big wigs into Vegas for a weekend of fun, betting and high stakes poker and give them the complete high roller treatment and still turn a hefty profit.
Everything was going great until one of our clients got himself into some hot water with the IRS for tax evasion and he made a deal with the government and sold me out to save his a**. It didn?t take the Feds long to find me, but I had gotten word they were looking to take me down and destroyed all the physical evidence as far as the list of names of who we were supplying action for. But they still had enough evidence to put me away, but they wanted the bigger score. They wanted the list of names and offered me a deal if I talk. Vaffanculo?I ain?t no rat! I had clients coming out of the woodwork promising me millions of dollars if I would just take the fall?one of which was Jimmy. So, that?s what I did. I kept my mouth shut and took the fall. I spent five years in prison on charges of racketeering. Fives years of my life I can?t ever get back!
Once I got out of prison, I started making phone calls to try and collect on my debt so I could get back on my feet again but no one would take my calls. Either that or they pretended as if they didn?t know me. Those sons-of-bi***es turned their backs on me and left me for dead on the street without a pot to piss in. Do they really think I was just going to let it slide? Did they think I would just forget about it? Al Pacino had one of the best lines in the movie Scarface that sums up how I feel when you make someone a promise. He said, ?Lemme tell you something mang, I only have two things in this world. My word?and my balls?and I don?t break either of them from nobody!? Never before have these words rung more true than now. These f***ers made me a promise that they didn?t keep. I did what they asked me to do. I held up my end of the bargain and they didn?t. Now they want to pretend they don?t even know who I am? F*** them…..I?m getting what I?ve got coming to me?and so are they! As much as I love Jimmy…as much as it hurts me inside to know that he turned his back on me?business is business. We had a deal and he reneged. Now he has to pay for his actions. I?m taking back what I am owed and then some. I?m taking his livelihood.
The plan was simple. I would meet with Jimmy and convince him to resign from his corporation and sign it over to me in exchange for his well being. Of course, I wouldn?t expect for Jimmy just to sign the company over to me without hesitation, but I have ways of dealing with his reservations as I am sure he is not going to be thrilled to see me again. You see, I?ve met a new group of associates. Actually, they are more like an old group of associates. We go back quite a ways?but lost touch?only to recently find each other again. Anyhow, they trust me and I in turn trust them. The person I work for is the most powerful person in Detroit. I guess you could say it?s he city even. With her backing and blessing, I am allowed to secure the corporation with force if need be and take control of it for the better of our organization. As it turns out in our line of work, the assets of a security technology company can be quite useful.
The meeting had already taken place in Detroit and her blessing was granted. Although, nothing specific was mentioned in either names, location or actions of the plan and even though we spoke in almost cryptic terms, we all knew what had to be done.
Jimmy under estimated my ability to make new friends in high places and thought that there was no way I would ever be able to come back into his life again?he thought wrong. He made the cardinal mistake of letting his ego cloud his judgment and it was about to come back and bite him in the a**. It was time to give Jimmy a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.
I left the compound and had a friend of ours give me a ride over to Jimmy?s company which was about ten minutes away. He pulled the car up to the front entrance and let me out. I instructed him to park across the street and wait for me. I stepped out of the car, shut the door and the driver drove off to park. I walked inside the building and went up to the receptionist desk in the main lobby. I was greeted by a young, attractive girl. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and was blessed with having all the right parts in all the right places. She caught me catching a glimpse of her cleavage and smiled at me
Receptionist: ?Hi?welcome to Security intelligence Technologies Group, How can I help you??
Cris: ?Well sweetheart, I?m here to see Mr. Carrington.?
Receptionist: ?Do you have an appointment??
Cris: ?Umâ…®o, not exactly. Mr. Carrington and I go way back. We were close business associates and friends on a personal level. I?have been away for a long time and since I am finally back in town and just thought I?d drop in and say hi.?
Receptionist: ?I?m sorry sir, but Mr. Carrington only meets with people by appointment because he has a busy schedule.?
Cris: ?Miss?why don?t you just give him a buzz and tell him Cristiano Vinciguerra is here to see him. Tell him that it is imperative that I see him now. I?m sure he?ll be thrilled to see me. I have been gone for a long time and haven?t seen my good friend in such a long time, couldn?t you just do me this one little favor and just call him for me.?
She smiled at me and nodded her head in acknowledgement. She picked up the phone and dialed his extension.
Receptionist: ?Mr. Carrington?there is a Cristiano Vinciguerra here to see you?no sir?he?s here now?um?I can?t really do that sir?he?s standing right here?Mr. Carrington? What should I do? Okay, I?ll escort him up now sir.?
That little prick was going to try and blow me off again. I can almost see him sh***ing in his pants right now.
Receptionist: ?Follow me Mr. Vinciguerra, I?ll take you to Mr. Carrington?s office.?
Cris: ?Darling?I?ll follow you anywhere you want to take me.?
She smiled at me nervously and then blushed. She led me to the elevator and we got in. she pushed the button of the top floor and we were on our way. There was a moment of seemingly awkward silence before her curiosity got the best of her and had to ask.
Receptionist: ?You?re not really Mr. Carrington?s close friend are you??
Cris: ?Why would you say that??
Receptionist: ?Well, It?s just that?well?he didn?t seem to excited to hear you were here to see him and he??
Cris: ?He what??
Receptionist: ?He wanted me to blow you off and tell you he was unavailable?its none of my business?forget about it.?
Cris: ?it?s okay, don?t worry about it. Truth is Mr. Carrington is considering an early retirement and I am the man who might be replacing him. We really wanted to keep it quiet so we didn?t worry the employees. You know how people can react to rumors.?
Receptionist: ?So, you might be the new boss then??
Cris: ?Yeah, and I just might have to promote you from receptionist to my personal assistant when I take over.?
Cris: ?Well, just as long as you can keep a secret and not breathe a word of this to anyone. If you do that, I?ll know I can trust you and you?ll have the job. Do we have a deal??
Receptionist: ?Oh, yes sir Mr. Vinciguerra, I won?t say a word.?
Our conversation was interrupted with the sound of the elevator reaching its destination and the doors opened. She told me that Jimmy?s office was the last office on the right. I thanked her and stepped out of the elevator and turned to her. I put my index finger up to my mouth mimicking a ssssshhhh?ing motion and winked at her. She nodded her head and smiled at me as I walked down the hall to jimmy?s office. I stopped at his door and took a deep breath. I gathered my thoughts, opened the door and walked into his office. He was sitting at his desk and looked up at me. He stood up stretched out his arms and gave the biggest?fakest smile I have ever seen in my life.
Jimmy: ?Cris! Man, it is so good to see you. It?s been a long time, how have you been??
Just like the scrawny little weasel that he is, Jimmy walked up to me and gave me a big hug but I didn?t exactly return the favor.
Cris: ?How have I been? I?ve been out of the joint for years and you?re just now asking me how I?ve been??
I walked back over to the door and locked it, looking at Jimmy with a cold stare as I did so. Even though he was still sporting that fake grin on his face, I could see his nervousness shining through. He knew he f***ed up and there really wasn?t a way for this visit to end up too good for him.
Jimmy: ?Listen Cris?about the money. I was going to pay you. I?ve just been real busy is all. Business here has been booming and I?m barely even seeing my wife and kids nowadays.?
Cris: ?I understand, business is good, I?m happy about that. No really?it?s a good thing.?
He watched me as I walked over to his desk and picked up a heavy metal paper weight and clinched my fist around it.
Cris: ?I have to say Jimmy, I?m really disappointed in you. I went away for five years?five years Jimmy. I sat in the rotten cell for five years and watched life just pass me by. Meanwhile, you became a successful businessman, a husband, a father, fancy cars and a nice house. Where?s my cut Jimmy? When exactly were you planning on settling our agreement? Was it before?or after you wouldn?t return my phone calls or have your receptionist try and blow me off??
Jimmy: ?Cris, it?s not like that. I was going to pay you. I just needed to??
CRACK! I blasted him upside the head with the paper weight. He let out a groan and fell to the floor. I picked him up off the ground and threw him his chair and grabbed him by the lapel.
Cris: ?Do you think I?m stupid Jimmy? You thought you could get away with screwing me over and that you would never have to deal with me again? You should?ve just kept up with your end of the deal Jimmy??
Jimmy: ?Okay, okay?Cris, I?ll pay you. I?ll have your money tomorrow.?
Cris: ?Jimmy, it?s too late?I don?t want your money. I want more than that. I want what you have?I want your life.?
Jimmy: ?Oh Jesus?don?t kill me Cris??
Cris: ?Kill you? Jesus Christ Jimmy, what kind of person do you think I am? I?m a reasonable man. I?m not going to kill you Jimmy.?
Jimmy: ?You?re not? Then, what do you want??
Cris: ?It?s simple Jimmy. I want this company?I want you to step down and resign as CEO and as your last act as CEO appoint me your successor.?
Jimmy: ?Are you nuts? I can?t do that Cris. This is my company. How would I explain it to the employees? Come on man?my wife just left me and took my kids. This company is all I have left.?
Cris: ?Does it really look like I give a flying f*** about your wife leaving or what your employees are going to think? I don?t give a sh** how you explain it to them. Tell them you decided to retire early and have decided to step down and appoint me in your position. This sort of thing happens all the time.?
Jimmy: ?Even if I wanted to?it could take months to go through. Everything moves slowly in the corporate world. It?s not like I can just step down tomorrow and have you jump in the next day. Things don?t work like that. I need a little time.
Cris: ?Time? You?ve got 48 hours to make it happen. Oh?and Jimmy, I?ve made some new friends in the area that aren?t exactly the type of people you want to piss off if you know what I mean.?
Jimmy: ?Is that some sort of threat?
Cris: ?Jimmy?we go back a long time. I think you of all people know by now that I don?t make threats?only promises. You seem to forget that if it wasn?t for me, you?d be walking around with a limp or even be dead if I wasn?t the one who bailed your a** out by paying your gambling debt to that bookie in Vegas. Do you remember that Jimmy? Without me, there is no company?no fancy cars and no big house. You owe me Jimmy! You?re the one who turned your back on me when you backed out of our deal.?
Jimmy: ?But we we?re friends. Doesn?t that account for something?
Cris: ?Of course it does Jimmy. That?s the reason I am giving you 48 hours to get everything in order and the reason you are still breathing. And if you get cute and think of going to the authorities about any of this, I?ve got no trouble taking you down with me my friend. I?ve got enough evidence on you to put you away just as long as they would me. I?ve already been to prison Jimmy; I know what it?s like. It can be a scary place without friends on the inside. I?ve got friends on the inside Jimmy?do you??
He just looked at me trembling. A small trickle of blood dripped down his cheek from where the impact of the paper weight punctured his skin. I could see it in his eyes?he knew he was f***ed!
Cris: ?48 hours Jimmy?I know you?ll do the right thing. Because let?s face it?you don?t have a choice.
With that, I unlocked the door and walked out of his office. Whoever said that revenge is a dish that is best served cold sure knew what the hell they were talking about. What an adrenaline rush that was!
I made my way to the elevator and descended to the main lobby where I passed by the receptionist giving her a warm smile. She smiled back and I thought to myself that it wasn?t going to be too much longer before I had her bent over Jimmy?s desk?or should I say my desk? I exited the building and the car pulled back up to the curb, I got in and off we went. The plan was now in motion.
The Next morning - Doing a Favor
Seeing that Jimmy?s deadline was still 24 hours away, it was time to tie up another loose end. Before I had left to come to New York, I had talked with Tommy Pastoria out in Sicily who is a friend of Hypno. He told me that a couple local wannabe gangsters were running a decent sized sports book out of the Cigar Shop in Detroit which was our territory. Pastoria asked me to do him a favor and gave me the green light to handle the situation. Now we couldn?t stand for people muscling in on our turf, so there was only a couple of ways to handle this situation. One, remove them by force?or two?use the power of negotiation and get them to operate under our protection.
To be honest, I was hoping that we would be able to reach some sort of an agreement. If these guys were in fact running a decent sized sports book, it meant that they already had a clientele built up and there would be no transition period of having me taking over the book and establishing a trust with the previous clients. Hopefully, these guys are willing to listen to the voice of reason and we can achieve a profitable business relationship that will benefit both parties.
I made my way over to the Cigar Shop and went inside. It was nothing real fancy, but it did have sort of a nostalgic feel to it. I watched the men behind the counter roll fresh cigars and took in the aroma of the fine tobacco as I watched them work. I took a cigar out of my pocket, lit it up and took a seat at one of the tables along the wall. So far there was no sign of the bookies, but with March Madness right around the corner, it wouldn?t be long before things started to heat up.
I sat back and relaxed in my chair for the next twenty minutes or so when two guys fitting the description of what your typical bookie looks like walked in. There were two of them?the smaller guy is obviously the brains of the operation while the bigger guy provided the muscle if need be to those who didn?t pay their debts on time. Being that there were two of them, I?m thinking that this could present a problem if things don?t exactly go as I plan they do.
They settled in one of the back tables and the smaller guy pulls out a pretty thick wad of cash from his inside coat pocket. He puts the notebook he was holding onto on the table and opens it up. He starts going over the numbers and I hear him tell his bigger friend that it looks like they have cleared their biggest amount yet. They may be amateur, but they apparently know how to run a solid book which is another reason to try and use negotiation tactics on them instead of muscle. I finish my cigar and get up from my seat. I walk over to their table and introduce myself, but the bigger gentleman doesn?t exactly look thrilled to see me standing there.
Cris: ?Looks like you boys had one hell of a night.?
Bigger Guy: ?Can I help you with something??
He stood up with a sour look on his face and begins cracking his knuckles. Can you believe this guy? Did he read The Idiot?s Guide to Being a Tough Guy or something? He is one tall drink of water, I?ll give him that. He his shirt was unbuttoned one or two buttons more than it really needed to be. He had the hairiest chest I had ever seen on a human. Not that I wanted to see it?but you couldn?t help but notice it.
Cris: ?Easy there Chewbacca, I just came here to talk. Hey kid, you got somewhere we can go talk??
I looked at the smaller guy and then at the bigger guy. Somehow I think the only shot I have with negotiating is through the little guy. He looked up at me and put all his cash back inside his coat pocket and closed his notebook.
Smaller Guy: ?Yeah, sure man?there?s an ally out back. We can talk there.?
Cris: ?You think we can leave the Wookie here??
Well, now the big guy looks even more pissed off than before. But I am a smartass?what can I say? I can?t help myself sometimes.
Smaller Guy: ?Hey?where I go?Tony goes.?
Cris: ?Alright, fair enough?lead the way.?
I followed them out the back door and into the narrow back ally. It was lined with trash and debris, but it did offer seclusion from the street. We stood next to a rusty dumpster and I watched as the smaller guy lit up a cigarette. He had a sort of confidence about him. Perhaps it was because he made friends with a real life Wookie or even that he hit for a big payday last night or a combination of both. Whatever the case, it was time to get down to business. But before I could speak, the guy spoke up.
Smaller Guy: ?So, what Are you looking for my friend? Are you looking to bet college or pro basketball?hockey??
Cris: ?Actually, I?m not looking to place any bets. I was actually hoping to make a deal with you. My name is Cristiano Vinciguerra?and you are??
Smaller Guy: ?I?m Artie Garvino and this is Tony Scorelli. A deal?what kind of deal??
Cris: ?Well, word on the street is that you boys are running a pretty good sized sports book out of this place and judging by the wad of cash you have in your pocket, I?d say that they?re right. But there?s a slight problem you see. I represent Hypno and she isn?t too happy about having a couple of guys running numbers in his town without him giving you the permission to do so.?
Bigger Guy: ?Man, we do what we want to do. We don?t need anyone?s permission to do anything.?
Smaller Guy: ?Yeah?you can go tell Hypno to go f*** herself.?
Bigger Guy: ?And you can go f*** yourself too!?
Cris: ?Well, I have to say that Hypno is going to be very disappointed in hearing this. He wanted to offer you his protection in exchange for you giving him a 40% cut of what you bring in each week for allowing you to work on his streets.?
Smaller Guy: ?Protection? You must be out of your mind pal. I?ve already got protection. Tony, show this guy just how much protection we need.?
Tony took two steps towards me and I knew I needed to act quickly. Just as he approached, I clenched my fist and jabbed my right hand into his throat causing him to stagger back and grab his neck gasping for air. I hit him hard enough to make it difficult for him to breathe but not hard enough to kill him. As he staggered back off balance, I kicked him in the side of the knee with just enough pressure to drop him down to a more manageable level and grabbed him by the back of the head. I bounced his skull off of the metal dumpster sending him falling to the ground still trying to regain his breath.
I turned my Attention over to Artie. His eyes were as wide as could be and he genuinely looked scared. I saw him reach around to his back and fumble around to grab something which instantly told me he was packing heat. Before he could get to his piece, I kicked him square in the groin doubling him over. I lifted up his coat and grabbed his piece that was tucked into the back of his pants. Artie was trying to catch his breath when I grabbed him by his hair and lifted his head up to look at me. He struggled to try and get free but was greeted with the butt end of the handle of the pistol to his forehead dropping him to his knees. I removed the safety and pressed the barrel of the gun to his forehead. Tony was still on the ground trying to regain his breath. He laid on the ground coughing and gasping.
Cris: ?Now you listen to me you little f***. Detroit is our turf. I tried to ask you nicely, but you wanted to be tough guys. Well, now you have one of two choices. The first choice is you stay here and continue to run business as usual and now you?ll pay me 60% of what you take in or?I can send you two f***s on a permanent vacation right f***ing now and I take over 100%. So, what?s it going to be Artie??
I cocked the pistol and stared at him with a cold hard glare. He knew I wasn?t playing around. He was bleeding from the forehead and trembling with fear. It?s funny how a thing like imminent death will change your opinion on how you see things so quickly.
Artie: ?okay, okay?we?ll take the deal?you?re the boss.?
Cris: ?I?m glad you see things my way Artie, you?re a smart kid. I?m sorry it had to be like this but you left me with no choice.?
Still holding the gun to his head, I reached into his coat pocket and removed the wad of cash, counted it and put it in my pocket. Just a little over $5,000?not too bad.
Cris: ?I?ll consider this a down payment on our new business relationship. I?ll be back in a few days to review the book and return in a week to collect on the first week. I don?t think I even have to tell you what happens if you try to hide funds on me and screw me do I? We have people everywhere on the street. Trust me when I tell you that if you try to screw me, I WILL find out. Oh?and thanks for the gun too? .50 caliber Desert Eagle?it?s a nice piece.?
He was in no position to argue with me taking his money or his gun. I was the one holding the gun after all. I lowered the gun, put the safety on and tucked it into the back of my pants and concealed it with my jacket.
Cris: ?I?m sorry it had to be like this Artie. It?s nothing personal?just business.?
I walked away from him and over to Tony how was now breathing a little better but still on his hands and knees. I walked up to him and kicked him square in the ribs much in the same fashion of that of a field goal kicker in football. He rolled back to the ground letting out a groan holding his side in pain. I stood over him and looked him right in the eye.
Cris: ?If you ever raise your hand to me again, so help me God I?ll break every bone in your body. Do you understand??
He winced in pain but did manage to nod that he understood.
What?s mine is Mine
Cris: ?Good. It?s a pleasure doing business with you boys. Even though we got started off on the wrong foot hear, I am willing to overlook this incident and move forward with our business relationship. I suggest you both do the same. I?ll see you both in a few days.
I walked out of the alley and went back inside. I made my way out of the cigar shop and over to my place. It was getting late and I needed to meet back with Jimmy in the morning. Everything was coming together nicely. I had one more thing to take care of before I could call it a day. I hailed a cab and headed across town to a storage facility just outside the outskirts of Detroit.
The drive to the storage facility from the cigar shop took about twenty minutes. The cab pulled into the facility and drove to the rear of the facility where the larger storage units were. When I walked away from the action a couple years ago, I was smart enough to realize that I might not leave it forever. Before I returned home to Sicily, I had purchased a storage unit to store some things in the event that I would one day return back in the action.
I knew that if I did return, it would be hard to start all over from the beginning, so I did the smart thing and put my most prized possessions away I storage. I had the cab back up to the door. I got out of the cab and instructed the driver to wait for me. I entered my security code on the key pad next to the garage door. The door began to open slowly revealing my hidden treasure. I stepped inside the building and closed the door behind me. I stood there for a moment and a smile came across my face. There she was in all her beauty?454 cubic inches of the finest American muscle ever to come out of Detroit. My black 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS. She was a thing of beauty for sure. God, I love this car. While she was indeed the centerpiece in the garage, she was not the only thing inside. I had a workbench area set up off to the side that housed my electronic safe cracker, a lock pick set, night vision goggles and my door breeching tools that I had used on several heists in the past.
The rear wall of the garage revealed a weapons crate that contained 8 Colt M4 Carbine Assault rifles?one of which was fitted with an M203 Grenade Launcher just in case the sh** really hit the fan and I needed a little extra firepower. There was another crate alongside of it that stored enough ammunition for the assault rifles and the M203 to help me overthrow a small country?well, maybe not a country?but I bet I could damn sure take over the island of Fiji! There were also boxes of .50 caliber pistol ammunition which were for my other prized possession. Sitting on top of the weapons crates was my military grade, custom fitted bullet proof vest.
I walked over to the Camaro and opened the driver?s side door. The keys were stored in the sun visor. I reached up in the sun visor and took the keys. I walked around back and opened the trunk to find a good sized briefcase. I unlocked the briefcase and opened it up and there they were in all their glory. Two gold plated .50 caliber Desert Eagles glistening in the light in all their glory. They were given to me as gifts by an old friend back in the day when we were running with the Tomassino Family. Also inside the case, were my dual shoulder holster and six extra clips of ammunition. I placed the clips in their slots in the holster and put the holster on. I removed the pistols from the case, removed the clips to make sure they were loaded and put them back in. I holstered both my pieces and then put my jacket on to conceal them. The last thing in the case was my old pair of Oakley Wire 8.2 sunglasses with titanium lenses. I put them inside my coat pocket, closed the case and then shut the trunk. I put the keys back in the sun visor and shut the car door. As much as I wanted to drive her, I knew that she was going to need a little work to get running again after sitting for a couple of years without being started. But that would have to wait for now.
I looked over in the far right corner of the garage and saw two large airtight cases stacked upon one another. I walked over to them and opened the top one up. Each case held one million dollars in cash wrapped in heavy plastic to prevent it from discoloring, getting wet or deteriorating. Two million dollars was more than enough to help buy anything that I would need to get myself back into action. It wasn?t exactly my entire life savings?but it wasn?t intended to be. It was there in case of an emergency if I needed it. Or if I hit hard times, I would always know that I had something to fall back on.
Sitting on top of the money were my old fake passports and identification papers I had used over the years to do certain jobs. I opened up one of the stacks of cash and took some out so I would have some on hand in the event that I needed any. This place was like an aspiring criminal?s wet dream. It would definitely make my transition of getting back into the swing of things easier.
Once I took some money from my stash, I wrapped the rest back up and sealed it back in the airtight container. I took the Colt M4 Carbine Assault Rifle with the M203 attached to it and placed them in a hard plastic case. Once, I locked the case, I opened the garage door and set the case in the back of the cab. I walked over and closed the garage door behind me after making sure everything else was secure inside the garage and that the outside door was indeed locked and left the facility. It was now official?Cristiano Vinciguerra was back in business! The cab drove off back across town to my hotel to get some rest. After all, tomorrow was going to be a big day.
The Next Day -- The Start Of Something New
I woke up the next morning and found a welcome to the neighborhood basket outside the front door of the hotel room. Inside the basket was today?s paper, a couple boxes of gourmet coffee and some assorted pastries from a local bakery. Attached to the basket was a note.
Dear Mr. Vinciguerra,
I would officially like to welcome you to our hotel. Please accept this gift as a token of our gratitude for your business. I hope you find your accommodations acceptable and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
I picked up the basket and brought it into the kitchen. Well, that was a nice touch I have to admit. I took out the coffee and made a pot. I spent the morning reading the newspaper over a few cups of coffee and a pastry or two.
After I finished reading the paper, I showered and got ready for the day. I couldn?t help but think about how everything with jimmy was going to go down. As much as I was pissed at him for turning his back on me, I have a soft spot for him. He?s just one of those types of guys you can?t help but like. He?s just a little misguided is all. Still, he and I made quite a team back I the day. But that was then?this is now. I grabbed my keys, money and the gun I had confiscated from Artie the night before just in case things took a sudden turn for the unexpected although it was highly unlikely because Jimmy was anything but the violent type.
After I was done getting ready, I made my way out of my apartment building and headed down the street on foot to Jimmy?s security company. As I waited to cross the street at the corner, a new 2008 Cadillac Escalade pulled up to the curb. The window rolled down and it was Jimmy. I was a bit taken back at first. He looked at me and smiled nervously.
Jimmy: ?Hey Cris, get in. All that walking is too much like exercise?plus I need to talk to you.?
His smile told me all I needed to know. Jimmy is a smart man. He wasn?t going to just sign the company over to me unless he was forced to. No, Jimmy was going to offer me a deal?no question about it. I can?t say that I blame him for trying. Wouldn?t you if you stood a chance of losing everything you had and thought you could find a way to reach a compromise?
I got in the truck and we drove away through the busy French quarter streets. Things felt a bit uneasy at first. I could sense his nervousness. I looked over at him and could see sweat building on his brow. He had a know and a small gash on his forehead from where I had hit him with the paper weight.
Cris: ?Man. Looks like a did a number on you. That?s quite a bump you got there.?
Jimmy: ?Yeah, no thanks to you. You didn?t have to do that you know.?
Cris: ?Hey, you weren?t listening to what I was saying. I needed to get your attention. So anyway?about our arrangement??
Jimmy: ?Yeah about that?Cris?listen?I never meant to screw you over when you got out of prison. You and I go back a ways?you know me better than that. I owe a lot to you. But I just can?t sign over the business. I mean think about it?you think it would look a tad bit suspicious and raise some eyebrows from the people you don?t want any attention from?like the government??
He looked over at me and saw the disappointment in my face. This isn?t what I wanted to hear. I was going to have to do something that I really didn?t want to do?I was going to have to hurt Jimmy. But like I said, Jimmy is a smart man. He could sense my displeasure and knew that I was going to end up hurting him.
Jimmy: ?Now wait Cris. Before you go flying off the handle just hear me out. I think I have a compromise that might interest you?just give me a chance to explain?that?s all I?m asking.?
Jimmy turned into a parking lot and parked the car?the beads of sweat really started to accumulate on his forehead now.
Cris: ?Okay Jimmy?you?ve got two minutes to explain.?
Jimmy: ?Okay, here?s the deal. The company is the only thing I have left since my wife left me and took the kids. Our divorce really took me to the cleaners. I know you don?t give two sh**s about that, but I need to make money and get back on my feet. If I sign the business over to you suddenly, it?s going to look suspicious and bring unwanted attention on you?and your new friends??
What can I say, Jimmy was right. I couldn?t risk having the authorities snooping around in our business.
Cris: ?Fair enough?but you understand that I just can?t walk away from this either don?t you? I just can?t go back to my friends and say?oops I?m sorry?looks like the deal with the security company fell through, I?m really sorry about that? What do you think what happen then Jimmy??
Jimmy: ?I?m not asking you to walk away Cris?I realize I owe you a lot?I was thinking you and I could be partners again. Kind of like old times man. You let me stay in place as CEO of the company and you run your business through me pulling the strings. That way no one is suspicious and you get no wanted attention.?
Cris: ?That?s all fine and dandy Jimmy, but I think my friends are looking to generate a source of steady income. What?s in it for us on our end??
He reached into the back seat and pulls out a stainless steel briefcase and opens it up. He turns the briefcase so the open end faces me?it is filled with money.
Jimmy: ?Here?s a $100,000 down payment in the effort of good faith for your friends. It?s all I could get on two days notice Cris. On top of that, your friends will receive 20% of the profits that the business generates each week. We do a lot of business all across the nation Cris?20% will add up to be a nice chunk of change for you and your friends. What do you say??
It was a pretty good offer?and it did make sense to keep Jimmy in the picture. But like any gangster, I wanted a little more. We?re just never satisfied with what we are offered. I mean if a guy is willing to through out 50 g?s and a figure like 20% off the top of his head right of way, you know that he can give you more. That?s the power of negotiation. One party starts with a low offer and the other party counters with a higher offer and they both come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. But in this case, I wasn?t about to meet in the middle. I was calling the shots?not him.
Cris: ?20% Jimmy? I don?t know if I should be insulted by that offer or not. My friends and I won?t settle for anything under 30% and $200,000 in cash.?
He grimaced in what looked to almost be pain as he sat there and tried to figure out what to do next.
Jimmy: ?Man Cris?I told you can?t get my hands on any more cash. I?ve stretched things as far as I could as it is, but I?ll go up to 30% of the profits?it?s a done deal.?
Cris: ?Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy?I understand where you?re coming from. You know…..this is a nice car?Cadillac. How much would you say a vehicle like this costs if one were t go to a dealership and try and purchase one??
Jimmy: ?Umm?$50,000 - $60,000 g?s why??
Cris: ?No sh**? $50,000 - $60,000 huh? I?ll tell you what Jimmy. I?ll take the 100 g?s in cash, 30% of the profits and you throw in this car and you?ve got yourself a deal.?
Jimmy: ?Man, this car is registered in the company?s name.?
Cris: ?Well, you own the company do you not? Well, as long as we come to an agreement you do any way.?
He understood what I was telling him without me actually having to say it. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place and he knew it. He let out a deep sigh and scratched his head. He looked at me and shook his head in agreement.
Cris: ?So, we have an agreement then??
Jimmy: ?Yeah Cris?we got a deal.?
I extended my hand and he shook it. The deal was completed and everything was now in place. We would have control over the security technology business and generate a weekly income and I took control of a decent sized sports book for more weekly income not mention securing $105,000 in cash in two days and a brand new vehicle to boot. I looked over at Jimmy and smiled.
Cris: ?It?s good to be partners again my friend. Let?s get the hell out of here. I?ve got other people I need to see.?
He started up the car and went to put it in gear.
Cris: ?What the hell are you doing? This is my car now. Get the hell out of there?I?m driving.?
Jimmy looked at me and chuckled. We got out of the car and switched spots. He told me to drop him off at the security company. I pulled out of the park and headed to our new found place of business and dropped Jimmy off and drove away and headed back to my hotel feeling good about the deal that I had reached.
The Next Day -- A Minor Set Back
I thought everything went well. I thought everything was all set. I thought that life was good. Apparently, I thought wrong. Jimmy called me all in a panic and said he was on his way over to get me. He rambled on hysterically something about the board of directors not approving his notion until they held an emergency meeting with Jimmy and I and showed our intentions were legit. I told Jimmy to calm down and we would talk about when he got here.
That?s one thing I didn?t like about Jimmy. He?s one of those guys who tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill and panics over the littlest things. Although I was disappointed, I wasn?t surprised that the board of directors would want to hold an emergency meeting before they gave their approval. I mean it?s their job after all to look after the best interests of the company.
Jimmy arrived at my apartment about ten minutes later. When I opened the door to let him in he looked like a nervous wreck.
Jimmy: ?Cris?we got to talk man. They know something is up. They?re not going to approve the move. We?re gonna go to jail?Oh God?what are we going to do? Cris, what are we gonna??
SMACK! I had no choice but to smack him across the face with an open hand to stop his hysterical rant.
Cris: ?For f***ing sake?snap out of it and calm down. Are you calm??
Jimmy: ?Yeah Cris, I?m??
SMACK! Another slap across the face with an open hand.
Jimmy: ?Ow?what the hell was that for? I said I was calm.?
Cris: ?Sorry?couldn?t help myself. Now just relax and tell me what happened.?
Jimmy: ?I informed the board of directors of the move we were going to make and they said that they couldn?t approve such a move without holding a meeting to ensure that the move is in the best interest of the corporation.?
Cris: ?Well, what did you even tell them for in the first place??
Jimmy: ?That?s how it works Cris. The CEO can?t do anything without a favorable vote from the board of directors. It?s like that in all large corporations.?
Cris: ?So, what exactly do they know as far as our arrangement goes??
Jimmy: ?They don?t know anything about the arrangement. I told them that I wanted to bring you on board as Chief Security Officer of the company. See, we?ve been getting killed by excessive loss of inventory. Ever since 9/11 and the current state of the economy, people?s lives have been devastated. They are desperate to make ends meet. So, our trucks have been getting robbed left and right in the inner parts of the cities and it?s been a huge loss for the company. There?s a ton of local businesses down there that want to buy our products because their businesses are getting robbed too but we can?t afford to keep delivering products down there and risk the chance of more loss of inventory. That?s where you come in Cris. With your connections you can tell the board that you will be able to get the looting problem under control and open up the lines of business again in those areas which will increase the company?s sales revenues.?
Cris: ?That?s good thinking Jimmy?really good thinking. What other areas of security need to be improved upon??
Jimmy: ?Well, our vehicle fleet is run by invoices through the shipping and receiving department. I would suggest that all vehicles have GPS tracking units installed so that the dispatcher would be able to track the fleet at all times and the authorities can be alerted immediately in the event a vehicle is hijacked or stolen.?
Cris: ?Okay, that?s another good point. So, what does it mean exactly to be the Chief Security Officer of the company??
Jimmy: ?Well, you would be the top level of security for the company. We do have security officers in the building as well as in the motor pool area, but no one was ever put into place to organize the overall security of the company. I guess you could say the Chief Security Officer is equivalent of the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer, but in the field of security.?
Cris: ?So, it is a paid position then??
Jimmy: ?Yeah, it?s completely legit. Most big company?s have a CSO. You?ll be paid a yearly salary of $150,000 paid monthly along with a company car?so there won?t even be an issue with you having the Escalade.?
Cris: ?So, you?re basically going to have to pay me 150 large to do everything I do already? I can live with that. When do they want to meet??
Jimmy: ?They are in the board room now. They are expecting us in about an hour.
Jimmy and I rehearsed my presentation to the board over and over again to ensure I would have no trouble convincing them or answering any of the board?s questions they might throw my way. The time had come to leave for the meeting so we headed over to the security company. I kept rehearsing with Jimmy the whole time.
We pulled up to the company and approached a guard shack. The gate was already raised and to my surprise, the guard shack was vacant and Jimmy just drove right through.
Cris: ?There?s no guard??
Jimmy: ?The board really didn?t see the need for one being that it?s only the parking lot.?
I took note of this little tidbit of information and stored it somewhere in the back of my brain to use in my presentation later. Jimmy pulled the vehicle into the parking spot and we got out and went inside. We were greeted by the lovely receptionist and took the elevator up to the top floor.
The elevator reached our floor and we got out. Jimmy led me down the hall to the board room. I stopped him before we entered the room.
Cris: ?Alright Jimmy this is it. Everything is going to be fine. Like you said, they just wanted to be reassured before they give their approval is all. Come on?whose better at the art of bullsh**ting than me?? I?ve got a Master?s Degree in Bullsh**ology for Christ?s sake!?
Jimmy cracked a smile and seemed to be feeling much more relaxed about things than he did when he first came to my apartment. He was much more relaxed and confident. He opened the door and we walked inside. He greeted his board and motioned for me to take a seat beside him and then addressed the board.
Jimmy: ?Ladies and gentleman of the board, ever since 9/11 and the downward spiral of our economy, people?s lives in Detroit and across our country have been devastated. Some people lost everything they had and have never gotten the proper help they needed to rebuild their lives. Our company has felt the impact of this just like many of the other company?s of this city. We have been struggling trying to compensate for huge losses in inventory due to the theft of our delivery trucks trying to get our products to local businesses that are looking to increase their security because they are dealing with the issue of theft in their businesses.
As a result, all deliveries of our products to known areas of hostility have been halted leaving our customers unprotected and our company with decreasing sales figures. It is because of this problem that I have asked that you vote to appoint Mr. Vinciguerra as our Chief Security Officer in charge of our corporate security operations. Ladies and gentleman, our current security plan is not working and our sales are beginning to suffer as a result. It is a problem this company can now longer afford and I urge all of you to approve my recommendation. Mr. Vinciguerra would like to take this opportunity to go over his security plan proposal with you before you vote. Mr. Vinciguerra, the floor is yours.?
God damn?Jimmy was one smooth cat. What happened to the nervous guy that showed up at my apartment? He nailed the introduction and gave a great opening. I watched the facial expressions of the board and he definitely got their attention and peaked their interest. It was time for me to hit it out of the park.
Cris: ?Ladies and gentleman of the board, my name is Cristiano Vinciguerra and I would like to thank you for this opportunity. Mr. Carrington came to me and asked me to look over the current security plan of this company and has asked me to help strengthen the overall security plan of this company.
Well, the first thing I noticed when I came here is that there is a guard shack in the front entrance with no guard in it. The gate is left up and people are free to come and go as they please. The warehouse that houses your inventory is only a couple hundred yards away from that gate. If you think losing a few truckloads of inventory is costly, try losing a whole warehouse of merchandise. Not only that, I didn?t see one security vehicle patrolling the premises monitoring for a potential breach of security. People are free to enter and leave this building as they please without so much as showing any form of identification.
Correct me if I am wrong, but this is a security technology company am I right? Does anyone else seem to find it ironic that a security technology company has a poor security plan??
Board Member: ?How do you propose we handle our corporate security Mr. Vinciguerra??
Cris: ?First, there needs to be a guard posted at the front gate and security vehicles patrolling the premises including the warehouse and security cameras in place to capture license plate numbers of every vehicle entering and exiting the premises. Second, all employees should be required to wear identification badges in a visible location. All entrances and sensitive areas except for the main lobby should be fitted with card readers that employees are required to swipe their ID badges through to gain access into the building and into sensitive areas. This eliminates anyone from the outside gaining access to the building. All visitors must sign in at the front security desk and are to be escorted into the building by an employee at all times.?
Board Member: ?Well, I would agree that would definitely solve the current security problem on the premises, but what about the current problem out on the streets with our delivery vehicles being robbed. Do you have a plan of action for that??
Cris: ?The first thing that needs to happen is to have the entire fleet of delivery and service vehicles installed with GPS tracking devices and a communication system so that all of our delivery and service vehicles can be monitored at all times. The responsibility of monitoring the vehicle fleet should no longer fall on the shipping and receiving department, but of a small security team instead. The shipping and receiving department has too much work processing new orders that come in from the sales team as well as handle all deliveries from our vendors to be able to keep a constant monitor on the fleet. The small security team?s sole job would be to track and monitor the vehicle fleet at all times and call the authorities if any action is needed.?
?Furthermore, the organization I represent has the resources available to help control the amount of looting on the streets which will open the business lines back up with the customers that want to purchase our products, but have been previously unable to do so. In addition to that, my organization has associates wanting to purchase products for their businesses in not just in New York, but across the country as well as expand sales globally which will prove to expand your sales in these areas substantially. The increase in sales will result in an increase in revenue which will benefit this company and all of its employees. Please understand that the problem with looting will not go away over night, but in time my organization will be able to hold it to a minimum and can promise you a dramatic decrease in loss of inventory by the end of this quarter. Thank you for your time.?
Jimmy: ?Thank you very much Mr. Vinciguerra. I think you have opened our eyes to the problem with our security plan and have given us a very good proposal of a new plan. At this time Mr. Vinciguerra and I will leave the room and I ask that the board deliberate on the proceedings here today and reach a decision.?
Jimmy and I got up and left the room. Jimmy assured me that the presentation went off without a hitch and he could tell that the outcome was going to go in our favor judging by their reactions to my proposal and by his previous experiences dealing with them in the past. It was kind of awkward having Jimmy being the one assuring me that everything was going to be fine seeing that he was the one freaking out over the deal when he first came to my apartment.
The board had only deliberated for about fifteen to twenty minutes before they called us back in, but it seemed like a God damn eternity to me. A board member came and got us and we walked back into the room and took our seats.
Jimmy: ?Has the board reached a decision??
Board Member: ?Indeed we have Mr. Carrington. We would just like to take this time to thank Mr. Vinciguerra for taking the time to open our eyes and give us better awareness of the holes of our current security plan. We found his proposal to be informative and reasonable. It is for this reason that the board has decided to approve the appointment of Mr. Vinciguerra to the position of Chief Security Officer in charge of Security Intelligence Technology Groups corporate security.
Further more, the board would like to offer Mr. Vinciguerra a salary of $150,000 per year paid at the end of each month with the an immediate advance on the first month?s salary. along with the standard executive benefits package to include, medical, dental and optical insurance, life insurance, short term and long term disability coverage, stock options, profit sharing bonuses and a company vehicle.
Mr. Vinciguerra, it is with great pleasure that I say on behalf of this board, Welcome to Security Intelligence Technology Group. We look forward to working with you helping us achieve our goals as a company in the future.?
A smile came to my face as I heard him welcome me to the company. I stood up and shook the board members hand. They congratulated me and I thanked them for their decision. The final obstacle was now overcome and everything was good once again. After all these years, I still had it?.God, it feels good to be back!
Well know your back and you need a crew for the big hiests your planning to do.