Some Call It Faith

The Bronx was brooding under a cold wet thickening fog that shrouded everything it couldn’t hide, as if it was trying to smother the end of one endlessly disappointing day before leading us down ruthless Bronx streets to its scowling successor.[i]

On the sidewalk a few steps north of Jay-B’s Range Rover, a corpulent copper was preaching the virtues of being home before midnight to a wild bunch of Trinitarious Cinderella’s with spotty junk food skin, vaping from brass-knuckles, who had already out-partied his fanciful curfew by ninety minutes and their night was still getting started.

They wore Supreme® x The North Face® puffy-jackets with satiric patches featuring the Star and Stripes, long decorative claws, scarlet point-and-shoot lips, aftermarket cheek-cuddling lashes, and accessories in lime green. They held themselves like women; competing for time and attention by flashing flesh through jean rips, booby racks, lowered zippers and lower rises, but their Minnie Mouse backpacks gave their youth away faster than they ever could.[ii]

As we passed their gazes turned first to Monica and then to me and then back to Monica in awe and a murmur of recognition became a roar of applause and they thundered towards us:

““Es ella, la periodontal Monica Rivera y el hijastro bastardo del presidente,” announced an iridescent silver-false-lashed Cinderella with her iPhone 7S extended to the sky as our new-found celebrity was confirmed in a barrage of selfies.

And then one Cinderella became many Cinderella’s and a chorus as a chant grew exuberant: “Oye, señor presidente, Ohh Ahhh, we want know-oh-oh-oh why you’re such a Cunt”

From the midst of the pack I saw Jay-B walking to his truck grimacing from the pain of his broken ribs, and then flashing headlamps and a beep over the chant as he disarmed the Range Rover’s alarm and struggled to get his broken body in through the sidewalk adjacent passenger side door.

I was wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of pumping José Vásquez full of smack to leave a voodoo doll on the backseat and a couple of easy-to-detect STI GL300 Real-Time Vehicle Trackers where they were most likely to be found, given that José would sell su queridísima madre for less than the price of the smack, when the Range Rover started to tremble like giant speakers, hum, and exploded like a supernova.

The loudness of its eruption shattering windows and triggering alarms.

The brightness of its eruption momentarily clearing the fog,

It’s heat triggering secondary explosions that burst like fireworks from the core.

The pyrotechnics were over in seconds replaced by a steadily burning beacon in a psychedelic haze made of evaporating oils and plastics.

The Cinderella’s switched from their front to back cameras and went Instagram live.  The silver-false-lashed Cinderella tickled my cheek with them.  She had seen a lot of movies — enough to know: “Fueron tras de ti y Monica tonto, but they got your friend instead.  I guess they’ll get you next time!” and then she ripped off her lashes to “get closer to the action.”

The big surprise when I reached the truck was that there was no one frying inside. The driver-side door was eyes-wide-open, and Jay-B was sprawled out on the asphalt in the middle of Thayer Street where he’d dived to survive, protected from the on-rushing traffic by the hazard lights of an 82’ Dodge Aries K-Car, which had stopped a nose from his feet and was blocking the northbound lane of the road.

It’s driver, a forty-something nurse in light blue scrubs, with braids and an attitude tucked into a red green and gold Smile Jamaica slouchy beanie hat, cradled Jay-B’s head as a tiny Cinderella broadcast live.

That was until Monica chopped on her arm and the phone fell to the road where she kicked it into traffic.

There was no “Para qué hiciste eso“ because the reasons were self-evident.  So, she settled for a sulk and “Bitch, you’re gonna have to get me a new phone?”

Which earned her an open hand slap.

I looked back at the nurse, who smiled excitedly, like she’d just met Bonnie and Clyde, and reassured: “He’ll be fine.”

“Can you look after him for a few hours, because we need a little time to rehearse, before telling the cops our story,” I asked as sirens wailed towards us.

She was happy to: “All right brehdrin, H-E-L-E-Y-A, yah man, anyting fi fuck up di pussyhole Kunt!”

So, the three of us bundled Jay-B into the K-car and laid him along the back seat like bologna.

“When he wakes up, tell him to call Geico!  And let him know we went to Co-op City.  He’ll know what that means. My number is 1-800 BRONX LAW. It rings through to my mobile,” I said, as Monica hailed a Yellow Cab on its way home from making money in Manhattan and persuaded him to go back on the meter with $20 and her first smile since Stormy left.

We peeled away as the 3-4 arrived washing us alternately red and blue.

As Monica had nothing to say, I said it for her: “Sorry?”

“What are you sorry for?” She replied bemusedly, reaching for the rock automatically and then jerking her right hand away from her left when she rediscovered it wasn’t there.

“I was asking if you were sorry for making us all live bait?” I ventured knowing nothing would be gained.

"Degas, sorry is for people who fail because they didn't try. Porque no lo intentaron. We have a plan. To bring the President down and get you paid. What did you think, Kunt's gonna just say ok Lo siento? We didn't mean to hurt Beatriz, rob you of your birthright, steal the election? So, let's do-over! No, el Cabrón nunca dirá lo siento," she said matter-of-factly, through clenched lips. "He will hang onto everything he's stolen until you tear it from his hands. And along the way he will demean you, slander you and attack all that is true as Fake News. Are you ready for that Degas? Are you ready for war? Are you really the bastard that's ready to fight him or just another in a long line of appeasing cunts that stretches from Lindsay Graham through Tom Brady's bunch to Kanye to Unelectable Cunt? As that's the minimum I expect going forward. El minimo!"

The saber-toothed cabbie flashed his gaze to the rearview mirror.

We were all waiting on my answer.

I let it distill a few seconds longer than was necessary because responses like fine wines get better with age and breath tastes better baited, and turned my attention to the dense, claustrophobic fog outside, as the cabbie took the slight left onto Broadway and crept up on the 34th Precinct Station House, which was on my right.

Diaz was on my right too, still in uniform, sharing a joke with Lady-cop Dowd and Man-cop Tyrell who laughed back as birds of a feather are wont to do.

I didn't like that Diaz had hurt Monica and was without remorse. So, I made a marker and tucked it somewhere handy.

If Monica noticed Diaz she wasn’t saying.  She had something a little bit dreamy and a rich seam of trouble on her mind: “Degas, on Monday the Post is going to publish #PUTINSPUPPET.  It’s the second of my 5 STAR KUNT articles, #THEBADSEED was the first. It is the result of a series of interviews I made with former M.I.6 operative Christopher Steele, who is knee deep in KUNT’S SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH VLAD.” She said looking through me to whatever came next. “Chris’s company Orbis Business Intelligence —” she said like the Chris guy were her bestie “—was a subcontractor working for Fusion GPS, a private research firm in Washington. Fusion, in turn, had been retained by a law firm, Perkins Coie, which represented both Unelectable Cunt’s Presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  In all, Chris was paid a hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars for his Trabajo sucio — dirty fucking work.”

“When he was done Chris gave his dossier, a collection of 17 individual memos that expose a series of corrupt deals between Kunt and Vlad, to the Democratic National Committee and the FBI. The dossier makes many allegations including that Mancastle cleaned the money used to buy Kunt the election that had been donated by Vlad’s BFF’s in the Ukraine.  Pero la alegación más sensacional is that Vlad’s hold over Kunt is the result of a surveillance tape recorded in the Presidential Suite of the Moscow Ritz Carlton Hotel in 2013, of a couple of puntas blowing Kunt and then pissing on him and the bed to sate his pathological disrespect for the Obama’s who had slept in the same bed in 2009.”

“You’ve seen the tape?”

“Degas, YOU’VE GOT THE TAPE.  I sent an edited version to your phone while you were diminishing Stormy, who is by the way una mujer poderosa y fuerte. Play it!”

The file, RCH_Moscow_11-09-13.MP4, was attached to a WhatsApp message from Monica with an emoticon shrug.  The video which was time-stamped 01:03 and captioned ‘SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013’ was pixelated and dark but Kunt’s quaff, mug, toadstool and the tits and ass of the two hookers were unmistakable, as the hookers went from blowing Kunt to pissing on him encouraged by his psychotic ‘Fuck Barack Obama’ cries.

The tape was sensational enough to watch again, and again, which I did as we filtered off Broadway, made a left onto 181st and then a left, bouncing in and out of they-might-be-giant potholes to the Washington Bridge over the Harlem River and onto I-95, The Cross Bronx Expressway, our headlights  brushing streaks of bright-white onto the grey fog, as we made our way back to Co-op City.

“More significant, even than Kunt’s Golden Shower, which I have corroborated with the chamber-maid who cleaned the sheets, the hotel’s head of security, who sold me a copy of the tape and a couple of Kunt’s fellow travelers, is Chris’s proof, through wire-transfers and other exchanges,   that the Kremlin and Kunt have traded favors for at least five years and colluded to steer the 2016 presidential election, which sounds like treason to me even if the claims are only partly true.” [iii], [iv], [v]

And then she drifted away.

I got that it was big-time and that there was no turning back and muttered: “So Kunt’s trying to put shit back in the bottle!”

“There’s no bottle big enough to fit all the shit,” she said to the wind that had picked up, but not enough to clear the omnipresent fog, which had closed back in. And then she said it again in Spanish and in wonderment: “No hay botella lo suficientemente grande para caber toda la mierda”.

“And the tape’s the bait.  Or is that mami?” Which she wisely left alone as we are all just chattel in a big game we don’t get to play.

Even before Chris Steele wrote the memos that became the dossier that shook the world, he was sure that Vlad was looking to hack and disseminate divisive crap his way to king-making. In April of 2016, not long before he took on the Fusion assignment that became the memos that became the dossier he had captained Project Charlemagne, a survey of Vlad’s pot stirrings in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and Turkey.

The Charlemagne Chronicles tell of Vlad’s art of social-media warfare and detail his divide and rule paid out to his stable of chummy robber barons and politicians.

Two recipients of Vlad’s largesse were Italian soft-fascist Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the French glamor-fascist Marine Le Pen as well as nationalists and nationalist organizations in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Poland and elsewhere. The goal being the chaos at the expense of Europe’s liberal democracies and the European Union which Vlad intends to pill apart in order to free itself from the economic sanctions that the E.U. and the U.S. had imposed on Russia after its 2014 attacks on Ukraine.

Vlad’s greatest success? The election of Kunt!!!!!!

We exited the Cross Bronx at Exit 13, Baychester Avenue, sandwiched by two boy racers with GoPro’s wrapped to their foreheads on their way to death or glory or an Instagram story.

At the Service Road, we passed a matte-black X5 speeding the other way, which I knew unsettled Monica because she sent her right hand to twirl her ring.

I thought about giving it back to her as you might a pacifier, but I didn’t like its bloody pedigree, so I let it be.

We didn’t need to get all the way up De Reimer Avenue to see that Mami’s front door was off its hinges and laying on the ground. And you didn’t have to be Albert fucking Einstein to worry. So, I gave the cabbie a pair of twenties on a $28 ride and rushed inside.

The apartment was pretty much as her guests had left it, except for the shit on the walls. It had been smeared into the words ‘find faith’ with a 3-inch spatula, which was lying on the floor. The shitter had eaten too greedily, and his shit had little chunks of partially digested vegetables in it – green peas, red-peppers and black beans.

The shit smelled no better or worse than usual.

It was where it was, not what it was that made it so disgusting.

On the coffee-table was a makeshift shrine bragging headless statuette of Santa Bárbara, a bowl of blood, a cluster of red and white votive candles, and a sweat glazed pumpkin pie, on a white porcelain plate. Shredded bills, empty vials, and Mami were scattered around the shrine.

The candles, the pie, and the torn bills were all artfully curated offerings to Shangó, made to procure virility, power and wealth in this lifetime. The pot of blood was intended to release living energy to the spirits in payment.

Mami was lying on her back on the couch behind the altar, with the left side of her skull blown away. One arm was trapped between her and the back of the couch, the other attached to a black Glock G17, 9-millimeter pistol extended by an Osprey silencer — apparently the pot of blood had been insufficient.

She’d been thoughtful enough to leave a note in her hand. It was in Spanish.

The short of is was some crap about no longer being able to stand the shame she’s stood for more than 50-years.

On the back of the note was another note. This time in blood. It read X2

It might well have read Rosebud.

The spicy aroma of incense in the air was corrupted by the smell of death and mendacity in equal measures.   And the howling wind outside was accented by the buzz of a blue-assed fly circling about her ear, occasionally landing to lay eggs.

I shooed it away, but it kept on buzzing, such was my impotence.

I could hear Monica’s short breaths above everything, and then she laughed recklessly, to stop herself from crying.

I bent over Mami, peering at the charred star-shaped hole on the back of her head.

It was pumping blood like a derrick.

A thin trickle of blood ran from the corner of her soot-fringed mouth, down her cheek, to a puddle on the floor.

There was no rigor mortis yet, but her eyes had begun to flatten from fluid loss.

Her wrist was warm but there was no pulse, so I guessed she’d been dead for less than 20-minutes.

I pulled my arm up my sleeve and grabbed the gun with my cuff.

Its barrel was caked with dry blood, and I could smell the powder on its grip. The killer’s idea was that whoever found the body should believe that Mami had put the barrel to her right cheek and pulled the trigger.

Which I knew was not the case, as Mami did not own a gun.

I turned away and took my final trip to her vinyl and grabbed The Montuno Sessions from its sleeve and played Henry’s “Oriente,” for the last time.

And I asked Monica for the last dance at Mami’s, because she was the only other person in the world that understood the song’s meaning to me.

And she nodded.

Ella no me amaba, solo estaba pagando respeto!

And when she was close enough to whisper in my ear, she said “sorry.” But she didn’t need my forgiveness, she needed her own, which by the count of tracks of her tears was going to take time.

“No quiero esta pelea Monica.” I said weeping, knowing I was going to fight it anyway.

“There aren’t any good fights, Degas, there are just the fights we can’t avoid,” She said, to my cheek.

Of course, she was right.Born of extreme violence. Robbed of my birthright. I am the bastard that was going to take the President down and save us from ourselves.


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