Wilmington Woman's Club Ch. 20byParis Waterman©
Conversation -- Conrad and Sammy Pardo
After meeting in Jersey City, Sammy and Gentner came to an agreement, and Sammy put several things in motion. Within a month, Conrad was in Belgium being introduced to two Italians and a man from the Netherlands named, Klass Bruinsma. The Italians were only intermediaries; Bruinsma controlled a great chunk of Europe's illegal drugs, and would eventually become the biggest drug lord in Europe.
Gentner and Bruinsma hit it off from the start, and Conrad was surprised to find that as far as Bruinsma was concerned the future of the drug industry lay not so much in cocaine, but in a combination of both cocaine and heroin that could be smoked and not injected, called "crack." Moreover, although it involved both drugs, it used considerably less than each when taken by themselves and thus would sell for considerably less on the street.
"The user pays less, has a longer high, and will keep coming back to buy more and more. So many are frightened of this Aids epidemic..." Bruinsma smiled at Conrad, "and with justification. I mean, who wants to trust a needle these days, eh?"
"Absolutely," Conrad said agreeably.
"And with the high lasting at least twice as long, the product is going to go over like blockbusters. So, tell me, Mr. Genter, how much do you want to buy... first time out?"
"I don't know. What I had in mind... oh, I am buying, I honestly don't know how much first time out. What I had in mind was supplying you with a portion of the cocaine needed to put your product together."
"Then," Conrad said quickly, "use that as a discount toward a larger buy of this crack."
Bruinsma pinched his nose as he thought about this turn of events, then smiled and took Conrad's hand in his big paw and said, "I do, in fact, require additional sources for cocaine. Heroin comes easy, I have operations in Germany, Belgium, France and Scandanavia. I think the United States offers tremendous potential. I have partners in those countries and have no problem with having you as a partner in the United States."
"I would welcome such an arrangement," Conrad said, as Bruinsma released his hand.
"You do have an abundance of the product?"
"I have one source and am currently opening another. This one with certain Columbians who are also looking to broaden their market in the States."
"Good, this is in line with what I envision as the future of the pharmaceutical industry I'm in. The tendency is to break up the larger organizations into smaller ones, decreasing the number of people involved and thereby place a much smaller target on ourselves. You must know that when one becomes well known various governments are compelled to focus their energies on you and who knows how successful they will be?"
"I quite agree with you," Conrad said, liking this man even more. He was cautios, yet confident. And he was already successful in his endeavors.
"I invest heavily in the newest technologies and strongly suggest you do likewise. You can operate the business more effectively, keep yourself out of the spotlight and perhaps one or two steps ahead of the authorities. I spend plenty on technology and find it worth every dollar." Over cocktails the two men agreed on an initial purhase of crack, and that Conrad would be requested to provide a set amount of cocaine to the Italians on a monthly basis to provide a backup supply in the event the cocaine from Asia came in short, or was intercepted by the authorities. Conrad agreed even through he lacked the capital to provide the amount of cocaine he was obligating himself to provide. He knew of a source, and would pursue it as soon as the meeting with Bruinsma ended.
Conversation - Conrad and Vic
On a cold and windy early March morning, the two men met.
"How much are they asking?" Conrad said.
You have to understand these people are amateurs," Vic said.
"Worst kind of people to deal with," Conrad said. "But did you explain how the exchange works. I mean, did they understand you?"
"They understand all that. Conrad, let me tell you something, Vic said, and looked around to make sure they weren't being overheard.
Conrad admired the way Vic looked. He had to be at least sixty, some thirty years older than Conrad, but he had the well-toned appearance of a man who spent a lot of time swimming and sunning on the Florida coast. Conrad figured they were about the same height and weight -- six feet tall, a hundred and eighty pounds, give or take -- but Vic seemed in much better shape. Both men wore swimming trunks. Conrad was relatively white, he'd only flown in yesterday.
"They don't care," Vic said. "They don't especially share your vision. They think what they've got going will last forever."
"They do? Don't they consider the fact that demand for their product might dry up?"
"I don't know," Vic said, glancing around again to make sure no one was approaching their position. "I tell you, they're saying -- what they keep saying -- is they don't need what we can provide. That they're doing just fine, they'll keep on doing fine. You follow? So they're just not interested. I told them we'd be doing all the work. We'd provide the ships. Load and unload on both ends; this doesn't matter to them. Since they don't need us, the swap doesn't interest them. They're dumb amateurs; they can't see the beauty of this thing."
"Who've you been talking too?"
"Does he know I'm here?"
"He knows you're here."
"Does he know we need an answer?"
"He knows that too, Conrad, I told you, they don't care."
"Where's he staying?"
"He's got houses all over the place. He stays where he wants to stay."
"He's careful, I'll give him that," Conrad said, and held his hand up, silencing Vic, as a pair of twenty-something's in bikini's sauntered into view. Conrad waited until they passed from view before continuing.
"Does he have a place close by?"
"I don't know."
"I thought you've been talking with him?"
"And you don't know where he's staying?"
"Hey, you're Gilbert Ramirez, you don't send out cards with your address on them." Conrad frowned, a sign that he was close to losing his temper. Vic picked up on it, and said, "I use a waiter at the hotel to get in touch with him. I tell him I want a meet, he calls Ramirez, sets it up."
"Where have you been meeting?"
"On a boat. They pick me up on a dock down the marina; the big marina, not the smaller one."
"Tell your waiter friend I want to see Ramirez personally."
"He'll tell you to go fuck yourself, Conrad. You don't want that."
"Tell him anyway," Conrad said and smiled. There was something chilling about that smile. It reminded Vic of Conrad's father when he was young.
"I'll see what I can do," Vic said. "When do you want this?"
"Yesterday . . . the fuck you think?"
Conversation - Conrad & Ramirez
They met in a Cuban Restaurant in the middle of Wilmington. Conrad took it as a good sign that Ramirez had agreed to meet him on his turf, and was only to happy to meet him at a place of his choosing.
"In plain English," Ramirez said, "you're offering me something I already have for a share of something that may or may not become real."
"I'm offering you a third of a huge new market, here and abroad. The market is there, waiting to be exploited. All we have to do...."
"Hear me out," Ramirez said. "In plain English. No one's listening to us talk, we can speak plainly here."
"So speak plainly," Conrad said.
"Your deal, as I understand it, is this. We supply cocaine; your other partner supplies the heroin. The two drugs are processed and combined by your people in Italy for distribution all over the states and Europe. You envisage a three-way split."
"But you see, I already have a distribution setup in the states and abroad. I don't need you, or your partner to...."
"You don't have the rock."
"I don't need the fucking rock. I have cocaine. Open borders or not. Crack hasn't taken hold yet. Maybe it never will. Europe is always a little behind us. When their borders open...."
"When the borders open, rock'll be the future."
"I know, sprinkle a little heroin over a rock of crack, you've got a rock'll send you to the moon. So, this moon rock will level out the crack high."
"Yeah," Conrad said, "and before that, you could get the same results with a speedball, shooting the mix in your arm. But, listen, I'm trying to sell you the future!"
Ramirez looked at him.
"And, by the way, while we're discussing the future," Conrad said, "you might want to give some thought to your current cocaine clients."
"Oh? Why should I do that?"
"Because they may discover that doing business with you can get them killed."
"Fuck them," Ramirez said. "I'll bring in my own people."
"In which case we'll have to settle this in the streets."
Ramirez looked at him again.
"We're stronger than you," Conrad said. He was bluffing, but was confident Ramirez thought he was representing the Mafia out of New York. "Not only in this part of the forest. We've been at it much longer than you."
"Bullshit," Ramirez countered. "We have ties with Jamaican posses all over the United...."
"We're not playing cowboys and Indians here. Jamaican posses. Who gives a fuck about those amateurs? You think dreadlocks scare me? What the fuck are you? I'm talking more money here then any of us has seen in a lifetime. Cocaine's already bringing in four times as much in Europe as it does here, and crack's only recent over there. Crack can be smoked, Ramirez, that's why it's so popular here. People don't want to use needles. Needles scare the shit out of them because of AIDS. And they don't want their noses falling off from snorting coke powder either. But they do want to smoke. Look at cigarettes. They got warnings all over them, yet people still smoke."
Conrad took a deep breath before continuing. "All right, you want to know why users are sprinkling heroin on their crack. It's because it prolongs the high. A crack hit lasts what? Two, three minutes? And then you crash and feel like shit. Instead, if you spread heroin over the rock, and then fire it up, you get a high that can last three hours."
"Chasing the dragon's nothing new," Ramirez said, and yawned in Conrad's face.
"But this shit..."Conrad paused. "This shit you can light up and smoke for about a dollar a hit. We can bring in huge quantities. The whole country will be smoking it. I'm offering you more money than..."
"I still see risks."
"Believe me, they'll be bigger risks if you..."
"I'm talkin' business risks. There's no guarantee you can make any kind of dope popular. This moon rock's been around a long time."
"Not in the quantity I'm talking about."
"Well, you can still get very good China White, seventy-five pure, ninety pure...."
"Sure, at a dime a bag. When you can get a crack hit for seventy-five cents!"
"I admit crack's selling cheap nowadays."
"We start moon rock at a dollar, once it takes off, the sky's the limit."
"If it takes off."
"If it doesn't, I'll give you my personal share of the deal, how's that?"
"You're that sure?"
"I'm that sure."
Conversation - Conrad & Vic
"Once this deal is done, I want that cocksucker dead!" Conrad said, as forcefully as anything Vic had ever heard him say before. And he had known Conrad since he was a kid in short pants.
"I understand that, but can I ask why? I mean, if the deal goes well, why not keep on doing business with him?"
"I'll do business... but not with that cocksucker. He's a walking dead man."
Conversation -- Ramirez and His Numero Uno
"May I ask why?"
"Because, Jesus, I can't stand that gringo sonofabitch, thas why!" Ramirez spat over the side of his yacht, and stared off at the horizon, seething with anger.
"He talked down to me! Me, Gilberto Ramirez...that cunt with a needle dick, talked down to me!"
"Well I can see that would piss you off, boss, but how many times have you tole me money first, always money first, then do what you want.?"
"You have a point," Ramirez conceded. "All right, we'll take his fucking money and screw him. Set it up. He can send two men with the money and we'll provide the cocaine. Give them a time and place. Make certain we have enough muscle to take them. Try not to kill them ... leave one alive anyway. He can tell Gentner how I fucked him."
"He'll come after you, boss."
"Let him. I'll skin him alive."