Personal log of Kowalski, Roger
She was turned on like a Christmas Tree, here’s your breakfast , and she put a bookshelf with the “American Hero Breakfast” from Bumble Bee on my desk. “You slept halve the day”, she laughed, “got to go to work.” She plucked the flowers from the vase on my desk and let them casually drop into the basket. “No noodles today, have hard to work”, she laughed and skipped out of the door. “Wait!”, she turned around, did a slide to the desk, fished one of my cards from it and made a photo of it with her pink Metalink. It beeped when it had read the printed QR code on it. “Got your number!”
I rubbed my eyes open, when she was standing at the door. “What’s the number?”, she pointed to the maglock. “I really don’t…”, but she had flipped the panel open. “1115”, she said into her link. “Wrong. I’m eighteen”, and she typed on it. “Bye!”, and the door slammed shut. “Oh God”, I said and struggled up from the couch, my back aching with exactly that kind of moral headache, that only a plastic cup of “Southern Belle” could cure.
The day was creeping by, when I was looking out of the windows. Virgil was talking to her at the corner, both looking up, he on the way. With tense fingers I combed my hair back and leaned into my deskchair, wondering what would happen now.
The door swung open. Viril standing, his cigarette in his fingers, snipped the ash off it. He looked at me. “We have to talk.” I took my hand from the taser, nodded. “Let’s talk.” He pulled a chair, hung his jacket over the backrest. “Drink?”, I asked. “I think that’s a good idea.” He watched me carefully, both of us just nipping on our drinks.
“See, Kowalski. I like you. Did I shit you with something? Tell me?” “No”, I sad, holding his plastic cup into the smokey air as if it was some nice southern whiskey and not cheap syntahol with bourbon flavor from the lower shelf of the Stuffer Shack around the corner.
“You did not.” He nipped at his drink. “I came to you and asked you about this security contract. You said ‘no thanks’, but I thought: he’s a tough guy. He’s proud. Maybe a bit stupid but I won’t put it against him. Give him a chance. He might turn up useful. You know who I am?” It was a rhetorical question and I just looked at him. “I have to organize this street. It’s not a big street, not a main street, but it’s mine. Things are going well. I have my respect, my income. Everybody profits. My brother is a bigger fish in the pond. He gave me this street. ’Don’t fuck up, Virgil’, he said to me. ‘If somebody starts to fuck with you, tell me, he is fucking with the whole gang. Be cool. Be fair.’” He opened his hands.
“Wasn’t I cool? Wasn’t I fair?” “Yes.” “Okay. So, why, Kowalski do you fuck with me? Fuck with my girl and don’t pay her? She’s just a fucking underaged junkie whore. Is this a reason why two grown man get at each others throat? Tell me? Would you like to kill someone for her or be killed for her?” “Guess not.” “SO WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?”
After that he calmed and leaned back. “I let you talk first.” “Okay, Virgil. You know that I was a cop. You know that I learned to play by certain rules. Like that I don’t pay for security. I appreciate that you respect this.” I nodded, “I really appreciate it and that’s why we talk. First thing: I don’t fuck her.” “Don’t shit me, man.” “Whatever. She’s got in trouble. I fed her. I gave her shelter from the rain. That’s not wrong. I won’t get into your way.”
“You don’t understand, man”, he said. “I try to explain the rules: everybody has to pay something. I can keep it back for a time. If you don’t pay there has to be a reason. And that reason has to be better than ‘I was a cop’. And if you spend a night with one of my girls, you pay her. Because it’s not just her money, it’s mine. She owes me. Fuckin’ whore is buying crank for the money and puts it into her veins or sniffs it or slaps it or whatever she does, she has money, but not for me. I can’t tolerate this.”
“I understand.” “No, you don’t understand. Do you know what happens if I start to let this go through? First the other girls won’t pay the corners. And if I lose the corners, I lose the street. And if I lose the street my people come and snuff me and snuff everyone who was part of it, just to make an example. If I would let come it that far. Do you understand now?”
I slowly nodded. “But really, I can’t pay you. I still have no income, it’s not much left, that…” He hold up his hand. “Stop talking bullshit and make me nervous, okay. I was thinking about your situation. I have a solution, a proposal. And I suggest you think about it, before you answer and say no, okay?” “Okay. Sounds fair.” “Don’t shit me, okay? So I’m thinking like this…”
Outside a garbage truck collected the containers from the side-streets and the noise was so loud, that we stopped talking and just watched the street. Babsie was looking up, worried. I closed the bamboo shutters, turned to Virgil.
“Okay, you actually represent a kind of law, don’t you?” “As a P.I.?” I laughed. “As an Ex-Cop.” I shrugged. “Never seen it like that.” “But people see it like that. If you go to someone and say: this is not right what you do, would they listen to you?” “Guess so.” “Okay, here comes my deal. I just give you this corner. With the girl. She’s good money, she’s a kind of pay. It’s your thing what you make of it, if you protect her or not. But if she get’s under the wheel don’t come to me and complain. Your corner, your rule.”
My eyebrow lifted. “And what do you get from it?” “First of all I get my hands clean of Miss little junkiefuck jailbait down there. She’s your problem.” “She’s eighteen.” “She’s shitting you with that, too?” “Looks like.” “Hm”, he said, “much fun with that one. She’s hell of a pill. But she’s an elf, she’s young, she’s good money. Would be good money, if she’d not put it down her veins and look shit halve the time.” “Protect her? How?” “Your corner, your problem. And now how you pay for the corner and this nice freebie. I really don’t give a shit on her and you shouldn’t too. It’ll break you. Really, man.” He shook his long hair back and smiled. “But when I come to you, say, once a week and say: ‘This little shithead owes me money or shits me or whatever’ and I tell you to talk him senses, you won’t shit me for that and it’s a deal.”
As he said I thought about it and my options. They didn’t prepare you too much for this kind of stuff on the academy, tell you that. “How much do you get from her?” “Hundred a week, twenty a day. Should be more, but you know how it is.” “Hm”, I thought. “I’m a P.I. and not a bone breaker, a pimp or a debt collector, but”, I said and held my arm up so he knew I wasn’t ready, “but I’m a professional. And we talk business. I get paid two-hundred a day. Not less. More if it is heavy duty. You respect that?” “I respect you.” “Okay, than let’s make that two times a month and we have a deal. Not a deal I like and it is not the thing you hoped to get, but if both sides think they’re fucked, maybe the deal is not that bad. Think about that?”
He didn’t say anything, just watched his cup. “Two times a month? I can sell that to my people. You’re not shitting me? If I say, that nose has to be broken you do it?” “Not the first nose that went down”, I simply said. “But I’m no killer, understand?” “Your whiskey is shit”, he said, “or was that bourbon? I’ll send you something decent. If you’re dealing with us, try to show some style, okay?” “So that’s a deal?” “Deal.” Hands shaking, not with much enthusiasm.
“Hey.” He turned at the door. “Who are the sluts that play punching ball with my ware? That’s going on my income.” “They belong to a brother. My advice, talk them out of it, but don’t hit the face. I clear that for you. So my brothers don’t shit on you for that. I call you, have your number, chap.”
After he left I slit open the shutters. The girl standing from one foot to the other, until Virgil came out. Both talked. I turned around. Well, that’s so great.
Talking about standards.