Blogs by The Grim Reverend Steven Rage
See the vampire's lair...
8/20/2008 3:15:45 AM
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Pilate’s lair was an abandoned church. At the very end of a trash-strewn block of one hundred fifty year old houses. He stood in a doorway in the middle of the block and listened. It was fifteen minutes before he moved any closer.
The old, empty church was one of two lairs for Pilate. He had a couple emergency shelters that were temporary, but still safe. Nobody knew the emergency shelters, not even Juan or Mary. Pilate trusted them with his business and his life, but a nigga never know. Everyone has something they’re trying to hide.
Pilate’s been pursuing the drug trade for five years now. Up until a few months ago, money flowed like a river to him. Dope fiends used to line up around the block to get his goods. Now the little niggas that clocked for Pilate had down time. Instead of shorties vending Plata, they played godamn video games and downloaded music. It was like he was running a motherf***ing summer camp. It was all Immanuel’s fault. Her dynamic ministry was stifling commerce and slowing the flow of drugs.
People called her El Cristo. They truly believed she was the Child of God. They were beginning to think themselves chosen. The young Latina won many hearts and souls in The Harbor. She healed hundreds of the drug Pilate owed both his station and clout to. Such was the missed quotas of recent.
The Pharisees, with enforcement via Herod and his cops, controlled all Plata peddled in The Harbor. Pilate agreed to one hundred grams of uncut Plata from the Pharisees, through Herod, every month. Whether or not it sold, Pilate was committed to the monthly quota.
Normally this arrangement proved extremely lucrative. Pilate bought Plata from Herod for $800 a gram. He would meet one of Herod’s flunky cops, do the exchange. But he hated dealing with them. Soon he will turn the responsibility over to Juan de Bautista. Pilate’s Second would exchange $80,000 every month for product.
Pilate would take the Plata and have Mary give it a big whack of powdered cut, maybe some ephedra or some garage speed, break it down. His shorties flipped this stepped-on shit for $200 a teener and Pilate almost doubled his investment every month.
After five years, Pilate and his companions squirreled away three million in cash. He could make the quota by dipping, but there be principles at stake. After all the money they made for Herod and the Pharisees, Pilate believed he should be given latitude. A few grams here or there shouldn’t really matter.
Herod was the motherf***er Pilate worried about. All other dealers were members of the Mayor’s police force. Herod was a vampire and he controlled the human cops completely. The only nigga he could not control was Pilate. That, he thought, is the real reason he was targeted. The missed quota merely was Herod’s excuse to do the deed.
Pilate had to find a way to unravel the Mayor’s control and do it quick.
Juan de Bautista, Pilate’s Second, collected and controlled vast sums of sweaty, crumpled cash. Obviously, he could not process it legally. Instead, he funneled it through local conduits, changing them often. Juan’s latest favorite, a string of local storefront churches. For a huge percentage, the churches accepted the donations, swapping them for larger, newer currency. Their nest egg stashed throughout The Harbor.
Pilate had $100,000 ready at a moment’s notice. This info he kept to himself, an insurance policy. The locations of the rest were kept in a small book. The contents were coded. The book kept in an unobtrusive wall-safe in the old church Pilate waited to enter.
Something was wrong. Pilate could feel it. He moved cautiously forward. No one on the street, but the feeling persisted.
Pilate made it, keeping to dark spaces. He went alley side and vaulted the solid perimeter wall. He smelled and failed to locate Mary or Juan and alarms sounded in his head. Pilate went to the basement door at the foot of a short downward staircase. He wasn’t the least bit surprised to find the door splintered and cracked. He opened a lopsided shutter and noted that the security system was never set. Which was more than strange, he thought. Pilate could never recall Mary and Juan making those kinds of mistakes.
Pilate entered, yellow eyes scanning darkened room. His heart pounded blood in his ears as he crossed the floor and up another small staircase to a landing. The door opened to Pilate. He slipped inside and closed it. A bathroom was to the left, a spare room to the right. The hallway directly in front led to the kitchen.
Pilate checked the room. All windows were boarded up on the outside. Security shutters inside were bolted and padlocked on all them save one. Pilate went to the largest room and looked out the open shutter. There was nothing to see.
Pilate turned and glanced around the large room. Fifty or sixty years ago, thick congregations shouted and stamped enthusiastic praises here. All quiet now. Even the echoes forgot.
All tables, trays, scales and workbenches were overturned. Most of the work area was destroyed beyond repair. He went to a tall, two-door cabinet and saw the lock open and hanging, drugs gone. Fifty grams worth of ready packaged product and it was gone.
Pilate didn’t call for his companions. Their remaining scent a sliver left by the lingering energy of their departure. There was violence done here. Pilate went back to the basement.
He moved crates to reveal a hidden door to an old bomb shelter. He opened the well-oiled door to find a dense metal bank vault.
Pilate spun the wheel, unlocked the vault, and opened it wide. Muted blue forty-watt bulbs came on. He entered and surveyed the room. The bed in the corner where he slept was blocked from view by a four-paneled screen. Small loveseat and a couple old recliners grouped around a nicked coffee table. Television set, stereo and movie player sat on a table in the sitting area. Music, movies and other goodies heaped in haphazard groupings.
Nearest Pilate, to the right of the door, was a big desk. He faced it. The desk was as neat and organized as always. But the picture frame on the wall behind it, ever so slightly ajar.
He knew for sure. Realization made his stomach tighten. He skirted the desk and tugged open the picture revealing a wall safe. The door to the safe was open. Pilate confirmed the worst. The little book holding coded locations of their loot was gone. In place of the book, there was a camera.
Pilate scooped it up, thumbing through various heart-wrenching images. Camera showed Pilate all. Herod and his dirty f***ing cops have Juan. Judging from images of the extensive damage inflicted, Pilate knew the location codes had been compromised.
Five years and it ended in a heartbeat. His money, drugs, his friends were all gone.
Pilate came to the last image, a picture of Mary Magdalene. Pilate dropped the camera and raced to the corner. He tossed the screen out of the way. Mary was splayed out on his bed. She was very dead. A big syringe stuck motionless out of her split, weeping eyeball. Three empty dope sacks beside her bruised, violated body.
“No, not Mary,” Pilate groaned.
He went to her.
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