Dark Tower

The next time I saw Monica was the very next day on TV, pumping fists with Ginny Suss, Carmen Perez, Gloria Steinem, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Mia Yves-Rublee, leading the Woman’s March on a mournful grey day after Kunt’s inauguration in Washington DC.

It was the main event of the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history[i]. About which, Kunt was overheard on an open mic complaining: “Don’t these cunts know that we just had an election? And they lost! They don’t get a fucking do-over.”

The Woman’s March on Washington, was one of 653 reported anti-Kunt marches in the United States that day. Some, like the marches in Washington DC; Los Angeles; Oakland; San Francisco; New York; Chicago; Denver; Seattle and Boston were enormous events of more than 100,000 demonstrators each.[ii]

Others were much smaller — five people marched in the cancer ward at a Los Angeles-area hospital. Fifty women marched in a retirement community in Encinitas, California.  Eight marches in Wyoming brought out between 3,800 and 5,000 demonstrators, and 25 marches in Alaska added 9,000 more to an estimated grand total of 4,157,894 demonstrators countrywide, amounting to 1.3% of the population of the United States. [iii]

I’d met with Stormy at my office the next Monday as planned on a cold grey overcast morning made brighter by her brilliant white faux mink coat and warmer by her coy insistence she was wearing only a ‘tight-fitting birthday suit’ beneath it.

She came armed with the original of a Non-Disclosure Agreement she’d signed on October 28, 2016, a few days before Kunt’s election; a copy of the $130,000 check she’d received from Kunt by way of Non-Essential Consultants LLC, by way of Kunt’s attorney Michael Cohn, who told her he was Kunt’s fixer and that he’d taken out a home-equity loan to make the payment and she needed to respect it;[iv] and a $5,000 check made out to Elia Degas Esq., with a deep red lipstick kiss crowding the signature line.

A few dark days later we buried Mami at St. Michaels Church on Co-op City Boulevard, on blustery cold Saturday morning.

The show was memorable for the Kunts that didn’t come, and for the controversy over Mami’s open top coffin, which caused the vigil to be relocated from the church to the Dreiser Loop Auditorium 300 paces down the road.

As for the bling white horse and cart hearse that lugged Mami from the funeral home to St. Michaels for the service? It was the same bling horse and cart hearse that had transported Celia Cruz to her grand meet-your-maker party at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on July 22, 2003,

Monica didn’t attend the funeral, she said goodbye with flowers and a verse by the Cuban poet José Martí, who died on May 19, 1895, with his face to the sun battling Spanish troops for Cuban independence at the Battle of Dos Ríos, where the Contramaestre and Cauto rivers meet:

I wish to leave the world
By its natural door;
In my tomb of green leaves
They are to carry me to die.
No me pongas en el oscuro
para morir como un traidor;
I am good, and like a good thing
I will die with my face to the sun
Morire con la cara al sol.

I’d heard from her a few times since then as the blizzards of February became the Winter Storms of March and faded into drab grey incessant April showers.

Always by text to the burner.

The first time in late January, a few days before Kunt nominated federal appeals court judge, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court seat left vacant after Antonin Scalia’s, “whose image and genius was in my mind throughout the decision-making process,” death.

On the very early morning of Valentine’s Day she sent a text (though not the one I was hoping for) that Kunt had asked FBI boss James Comey, to drop the FBI’s investigation into General Lieutenant General Michael Thomas Flynn, who had resigned only the day before and was under investigation by the Army, the CIA and MI5, as well as the FBI for trading influence for Black Caviar before and as Secretary of State.

She attached a copy of the memo Comey had made of the meeting along with the text “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Kunt had non-nod winked-winked at Comey “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Her next text arrived with urgent delivery, on March 1st, a few hours before Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III recused himself from any “existing or future investigations” related to Vlad’s interference in the 2016 presidential election because of his own involvement in the collusion.

On March 14th she texted me the first two pages of Kunt’s 2005 tax returns, which I then sent as instructed to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow who waved them at the world on live TV the next night.

And most recently, yesterday, Wednesday April 5th, she texted to invite me to meet her at the law offices of Michael Cohn at 8 AM today:

With an overnight bag and a change of clothes suitable for somewhere warm.



Which is why I was riding shotgun, stomach knotted, in Jay-B’s new pimped ride as it splashed through puddles as we filtered left onto the Henry Hudson Parkway, south towards Manhattan, on a dank, grey, morning overcast with raindrops so small they masqueraded as mist.

The black 2017 Mercedes G-Wagon had black gloss Vossen forged Series 17 rims, a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission, which together produced 416 horsepower and 450 lbs. of torque,  and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio-system banging “Despacito,” Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s pop-reggaetón monster-hit featuring finger-picking Spanish guitar, Justin Bieber, and lyrics like “Ven prueba de mi boca para ver cómo te sabe,” explicit enough to get the song banned by the Malaysian government, which may be why it’s the most streamed record of all time.

The truck had been bought with an insurance payout from Geico, who after weeks spent inspecting what was left of Jay-B’s Range Rover concluded the explosion was an accident caused by rats chewing through the trucks soy-based insulation and not as seemed more probable the GRU, the Proud Boys, or Shangó’s rogue army.

At West 95th Street Jay-B suddenly swerved the truck off the Parkway and then looped it back on to the Parkway at West 96th Street having lost the trailing matte-black X5.

“How long were they trailing us?” I asked.

“Since we left your crib,” he said bouncing his gaze around the mirrors. “But we’ve lost the motherfuckers now!”

We took the 56th Street exit off the West Side Highway and rumbled slowly across the avenues.

At the intersection with 9th Avenue an EMT crew was stretching away an old man dressed only in a cardboard box — his legs poking out one end and his dead-head the other.

At 7th Avenue a Yellow Cab was wrapped around a street sign, and there was blood in its tracks.

At 5th Avenue we turned right and pulled up to the curb on the east-side of the street under the saw-tooth shadow of Kunt Tower, a monolith built of tinted glass and brass, with each set-back tier marked by a single shrub as if deforestation was in close to godliness.

To build his skyscraper, Kunt first had to knock down the Bonwit Teller building, a limestone masterpiece building built in 1929 with two huge Art Deco friezes on its face that the Metropolitan Museum of Art wanted to save, so it asked Kunt to save the sculptures and donate them, and he agreed — as long as the cost wasn’t prohibitive,

But then, Kunt discovered that taking out the sculptures would delay demolition by two weeks and he wasn’t willing to wait.  So, he ordered the demolition workers to cut up the grillwork with acetylene torches. Then they jackhammered the friezes, dislodged them with crowbars, and pushed the remains inside the building, where they fell to the floor and shattered in a million pieces.

To justify the unjustifiable, Kunt posing as spokesman Robber Baron, one of the fake alter egos he used to speak to the press throughout his career — told the New York Times that he had the friezes appraised and found they were “without artistic merit” and weren’t worth the $32,000 he supposedly would have had to pay to remove them intact. [v]

I was met on the 26th-floor by Joy a Korean-Dominican miniature, wearing a dark blue skirt, and a thin white blouse that was all about the cream lace Victoria’s Secrets inside.

She caught me window-shopping and twisted her thin lips into a 3rd-degree smile, wet them with a flick of her razor-sharp tongue, and said pointedly, pointing to a pair of heavy carved doors that looked like they belonged to a temple: “Your girlfriend’s inside.”

There was something familiar in the arch of her skepticism, and I let my gaze ponder that a beat too long.  And perhaps it was speculative on account of the bra.

Whatever it was she bayed: “Tu no me conoces”.

I shook her off. “We’ve met before; you had a different name, a different social security number; your hair was longer, your breasts were smaller, you were a few shades darker, and I was the fool that was going to wipe that sulk of yours away. Eventually I realized that the sulk was malignant; the most visible symptom of a chronic ‘Nunca voy a estar satisfecha Cabrón” addiction to more --- more dick, fatter dick, longer dick, richer dick, big ‘swinging’ power-dick. I would never be enough; no-one would; we’re all just mirrors you admire yourself in.”

“People don’t talk to me like that,” she said thickly.

“So that’s the problem.”

She flushed, all rage, no embarrassment, spun around, and clicked her heels all the way to a cubby she’d decorated with soft toys. I watched her, grinning — she probably had a Yorkie at home that she hugged while she wondered why her life wasn’t working out the way she’d meticulously imagined it would.

She turned back and met my grin with a nasty one of her own. “You’re right Mr. Degas, we have met before. I didn’t recognize you right away; you were just another motherfucker disabled by your failures. You can go on in now. They’re ready.”

I pushed on the Temple Doors.

They swung open easily.

Cohn’s office was a carnival of brilliant colors and the flags of the 74 nations he’d visited, which hung from floor stands positioned at regular intervals around the room.

Hard Rock Café styled mounted electric guitars, a wild-bunch of gangster-movie posters, a massive canvas of a classic Yellow Checker Cab, and entire wall of framed taxi mediations decked the walls.

Photographs of father and son; father, son and Kunt; son and Mike Tyson, Don King, Paris Hilton, Clint Eastwood, Kid Rock, Kanye West and Sean “P Diddy” Combs decorated the walls between the 5th Avenue facing windows.

And Robert Mapplethorpe’s dark, malevolent 1981 photograph of Roy Cohn hexed us.

The office was sparsely furnished; just a blue-velvet sofa with Monica in a peel off black dress and highly-strung Coco Channel over-the-back chunky faux-pearls sitting cross-legged on it and a couple of matching club chairs wrapped around an ornate silver-clad coffee-table, that probably caffeinated the last days of the Raj.

The coffee table sat on a fringed rug that had scaled the Andes to take part in Cohn’s carnival. There was a grey legal envelope on laying on it.

I supposed that the room had no desk for the same reason secretaries wear claws — nobody wants to admit they grunt when they work.

Ornette’s ‘Blues to Elvin’ trickled from speakers in the heavens and for a moment I lost myself in dueling melodies as McCoy Tyner wove his piano around Ornette’s limber, reedy, tenor-sax blues.

Michael Cohn, was a little bit more than six feet of hedonist polish in a black cashmere turtleneck and an Armani plaid blazer that had a Hermes Façonnee Grand H silk pocket square peeping shyly out of its chest-pocket.

For better or worse he had his father’s nose with a lot of nostril at the end, weighing it down.

His feet were bare though.
And his toenails were buffed.

He was looking out over 5th Avenue ranting past his Apple ear-buds to the wind.  Most of what he had to say was to Kunt, about cunts who didn’t know where their fucking interests lay.

His conversation ended with a reticent “Yes Mr. President,” and then after he’d hung up “No, Mr. President, three bags full Mr. President.” And then to the gallery: “Who would have thought I’d end up working for I-AM-THE-LAW, Judge Dredd?”

“It’s in your genes,” answered Monica cracking a thin smile that fattened up when I joined in.

He gestured for me to sit in one of the club chairs and he eased himself into the other, explaining: “I’m a different kind of fixer Degas I’M THE FIXER! I fix shit preemptively, so it never happened!”

I could tell he was proud of that because he clapped.

“Of course, the two you don’t need to be introduced.” He said, before changing his mind, “Bonnie meet Clyde,” he said, twisting his lips into something dry and extremely pleasant while perching his polished toes on the coffee table.

Monica rose to be kiss-kissed automatically and sat back down just as automatically and starred at us both remotely, as if she were a fly on the wall.

“Degas, do you ever wonder what it’s going to be like to be wealthy?” He asked to tip his hand, or at least the contents of the grey envelope laying on the table.

“No,” I lied, “I take each day as it comes.”

He laughed out loud at that.

“And never look back?”

I dropped my hands in my lap, my face empty, my head full of static. “Nope.”

“That’s a pity,” he said dolefully. As the view through the rear-view mirror, on a life lived to the fullest, is, without doubt, the most marvelous sight in the world.”

He’d said it pointedly, to rough me up a little. And then he thought about something else. “How do you like your tea, Degas?”


He chortled, wiggled his toes for an age, then depressed the green intercom button of a crab shaped speakerphone and placed an order for wet tea.

And he passed me the grey envelope like I’d won the lotto.

Inside the envelope was an invitation to a state dinner at Kunt’s Key Largo estate in 9 hours’ time, a settlement agreement and a check for $25,000,000 signed by Cohn, which got me thinking.

“The President is very sorry for everything your family has been though.  Consider this your invitation to join his family.” He drooled as if being a Kunt was the best thing in the world.

“Then he needs to sign the fucking invitation!” I said softly, wondering what it was going to be like to be wealthy.

I was still wondering when Joy arrived with the tea.

Cohn called her ‘babe’ and introduced her as Monica’s half-sister which was less of a surprise than it would have been $25,000,000 ago.

I assumed they shared the same mother because, if she was Edwin’s I would have known.

“My two Divas,” rasped Cohn feasting on possession being at least nine tenths of the law.

“It’s a shame to call somebody a diva simply because they serve you a lefty cappuccino.,” Monica said without resetting her sights from Joy, who she ordered to leave with a flick of the wrist.

Joy left with a scowl and a deadly: “Viejo sucio,” that stunk up the room a while after she left.

Cohn took it well, a granite chinny chin chin being a pre-requisite of the fixing business, poured Monica and then me a cuppa, dunked lemons into both, and then stirred in a little honey, without asking how we liked it.

When he’d finished doing the same for himself, he wedged his cup in-between his arches and turned it around and around with his feet. You could tell it was a well-practiced party trick as none of the tea spilled. Occasionally he’d take a sip; on those rare occasions he’d be sure to put the cup right back in its cradle.

“A word of warning. It’s the same elementary scrap of advice I give myself every morning before breakfast. We’re dealing with some bold, highly motivated men; men to whom death, death-row and destruction are just words that begin with capital D. Plugging notions before they mature and getting in their way, MIGHT end in glory but will more likely end in entirety preventable losses of liberty, wealth and even life.”

I’d been threatened worse, but not with a $25,000,000 velvet glove smothering the fist so I reasoned: “Let’s go have dinner with the President.  We can work the rest out!”


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