Thursday, July 07, 2005


by tom nowak

as things go
time never stands still for long periods
(which i think yogi berra once said)
and as jack had prophesied
the war was over
saigon fell and all the boys came home
one way or the other
southeast asia was no longer available to jack
as a cheap source of dope
luckily he and his partner had already branched out
cocaine was the big moneymaker
and jack had an incredible setup
wendy and i met jack at his new house
it was modest by the neighborhood's standards
but hey marin county was mostly ultra rich
or deathly poor, and only deathly poor in a few areas
we sat and listened to music and drank wine
and of course snorted cocaine

jack introduced me to a man who had been there when we arrived
his name was brown
he looked like a narc
but he wasn't

it seems jack had a friend, another dealer
this friend had been rolled into a carpet, beaten with baseball bats
and all his product and money confiscated
the local consortium of dealers was panicking

this man brown was the answer they had come up with
he was ex cia, ex special forces, ex human
after saigon fell, there were a lot of exes in need of employment
jack had hired them to find the guys who had ripped his friend off
they did
one guy was in prison and four were dead
the dead guys had not died peacefully
one had been fed tons of acid and when he peaked
he was taken out to the marshlands and a shotgun
stuck down his throat and the trigger pulled
the others were even more brutal
the guy in prison was willing to stay there forever
the outside was a death sentence for him
the guy, mr brown, smiled at me and offered me a position in his company
what about it holmes?
no thanks i replied
although the thought of doing it paraded across my low-functioning brain
for a moment

jack walked mr brown to the door
the radio went off, signaling the passing of another hour
jack reset the clock and came back in
we snorted some coke

jack asked if i had any more false i.d.'s available
i had set up him and his partner john
with passports, birth certificates and social security cards
all legal from a relative standpoint
(when you live outside the law
your perspective of what's legal changes)
sure i said, no problem
jack had invested along with his partner
in real estate
all under phony names
they had millions of dollars invested
in the green triangle of northern cal
best sinsemilla in the universe grew there
their future was set

jack asked me if i wanted to run the city end
for him
i was honored, and answered sure man
we snorted coke for the rest of the day
wendy and i rode back to the city
we had a modest apartment near a biker bar
we would go down occasionally and talk with the bikers
they belonged to a club called the wolf pack
they were badasses

i traded coke and weed to them for guns and speed
it was a happy relationship
also i had a harley and they were my insurance policy
days of drug induced euphoria turned to weeks
wendy and i were a happy pair
sunsets at the cliff house watching streaks of red and orange
were not uncommon
sitting lazily on the balcony
sipping wine and snorting coke as the sun
slid over the edge of the world
was mesmerizing

wendy and i got home early one night and had a phone machine message
it was one of jack's brothers
phil asked me to meet him at jack's house
i said sure, and wendy and i hit the road
on my old black harley
roaring across the bridge
listening to the pipes back off and the engine's thumping sound
just like a heartbeat, it was relaxing
all was right in the world

as we pulled into jack's driveway
i saw phil in the doorway
we got off the bike and walked into the house
hi phil i said, where's jack?
he pointed to the bedroom
wow i said, sleeping?
i didn't think jack ever slept
no said phil, and he walked towards the bedroom
wendy and i followed
jack lay dead on the floor
at first glance it seems he had about twenty bullet holes in him
blood was everywhere
wendy cried
phil cried
i cried
what the fuck happened? i asked
i dunno phil said, i came over and found him like this
all the stash and all his money he kept here is gone
it appears it was a drug related robbery
i asked if he had spoken to john yet
well phil said
it seems the same thing had happened at john's house
no way i said
yeah said phil, way
i shook my head
any clues? i asked
not a single one he said
we sat in the kitchen and snorted coke
after awhile i suggested we set the house on fire
to burn any evidence
phil agreed

just as we went outside the radio clicked off
jack was not able to reset it this time
the hours for him were over for good
we torched the house and jack was sent to his ancestors
phil and the rest of the group went back home
without jack no contacts were available
the money jack and his partner secreted into real estate
was gone forever
no one knew what names it was under
the dynasty had fallen
the radio had clicked off

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