A wiseguy? A goodfella? A mobster? Or a Gangster Sure, you can call me any of those. I've been a member of a major crime family for a long time now. Normally I'd never tell anyone about my life, but I can trust you, right?
Don't ask me about my ancestry. What if I'm from Dailong, or inrianglong or chuiluan or duiluan or I belong to rongmei,liangmei or inpui or zeme or belong to tankhul or to a mao villag and race doesn't matter as much as it used to. Some traditions still hold. We have a boss whom we call the Donlung or just Don, our captains are called ,kapikui and the made men and women are called Meithiam. Hell, we even have the Five Families in New tamenglong,just like the old tamenglong,right?
No, they aren't THE Five Families. It's just a coincidence that five different organizations run the city like they do in the Big capitals. It was like that before I was born. I came from a middle class family, living in the heart of new tamenglong.
I had my own room, a video game console, a pet dog, and a nice TV with lots of channels. I never really lacked for anything, but I still learned the value of a rupees. Both my parents worked and I was expected to do chores around the house. It wasn't the childhood you'd expect, considering what I would become.
My parents were regular people. They weren't saints, but they certainly didn't have any connections to organized crime or anything like that. They tried to raise me to be a moral and well-adjusted little boy,a well culture boy.
My family was well-known in our neighborhood. No, not my criminal family. I'm referring to my parents and myself. They were the ones who named me Gaimei, and my family hailed from a small village between Dailong and Tamenglong,but deserted in the beginning of the 1st war between the big crime family of tamenglong.
I remember the first time I was involved in a crime. I was eight years old. A couple of friends and I were at a local convenience store. It was stupid kid stuff. Even my best friend was there,he is Nathanpou.
Nathan was a scrawny and excitable little boy with messy black hair.
"Just take it," the leader of our little group said with a sneer, forcing the candy bar into my hands, he was a boy name Aley.
We was always doing shit like that. At that age, Aley was bigger, stronger and meaner than Nathan or myself. For a bunch of little kids, most of the time that was enough to make us follow him. He was tall, had short blond hair, and was already starting to get broad shoulders. He looked like the poster boy for the perfect all-tamenglongnian boy.
Nathan had already shoved a bar into his own pocket. Although he tried to look nonchalant, I could see that he was scared and nervous. I took the bar and shoved into my pocket.
That's right, my life of crime began with a cheap candy bar. I don't even remember what kind it was. The three of us tried to walk quickly out of the store, but Mr. Asin stopped the door from opening with one thick hairy arm. I think the old man knew what we were up to from the beginning.
You think you can steal from me?" he spat. "You stay here, I'm calling the cops!"
But we pushed him hard,and we got away.
The shopkeeper was probably too surprised to even react. I remember my shoulder digging into his soft gut and his angry shouts as he fell to the ground. We got out of there so quickly that the cops didn't even get a chance to try to chase us.
The most popular sport in my school was Thing kan pui ,It was a brutal game where the players had to be fast and tough. Although there are strict rules, were supposed to be used to catch the stick, they were more often used to bludgeon your opponents' legs and take them out of the game when the refs weren't looking. The fact that the team was co-ed didn't seem to stop the violence, although some of the guys weren't as rough against the girls.
I'm the key strategist of the team.
I had a good eye for the game. I could tell what the opponent's strategies were going to be and how to counter them. Nathan had changed from a nervous little boy into a vicious and angry 13-year-old. He wasn't good at following the coach's orders and was inevitably cut from the team at the beginning of each season for getting into a fight with a teammate or an opposing player.
As I got older, I got into more serious types of crime.
I began to involve in movie and game piracy.
Everyone was doing it, but I was making money from it. I sold my games and movies to everyone at school. Even my parents' friends were interested in the latest Hollywood and rongmeiwood and indianwood blockbuster. It made me popular in school and put money in my pocket.
I met my first love in high school. I came to know her as she frequently buy pirated movies from me. She is joanne and was a good student who paid attention in class. She was popular and pretty, so nobody bugged her about it. She played a few sports and although she wasn't the best athlete, she was good enough to make most of the school's teams.
Her long, slightly brown hair and deep black eyes probably haunted a lot of my peers' dreams through high school. She had an easy laugh and a sparkle in her eye that was instantly adored by everyone.
I was too shy to speak to her about love but ended up dating her.
One day, she walked boldly up to me and asked why I hadn't asked her out yet. I was stunned, but luckily for me, I noticed her looking at me and I had time to sputter some inane reply. She laughed at me and before I knew it, we had a date planned.
My parents loved her, but her parents hated me, even though I came from a nice middle class family.
And I didn't tell anyone ever Joanne about my little black business.
It wasn't difficult to keep my criminal activities a secret. Joanne was a good girl and had no idea where I got my money.
I remember this one Friday night. I was at a house party with Nathan, I think Joanne was working, or something. The music was loud and everyone was getting drunk or baked and stoned. It was a good time. I don't even remember what the argument was about, but a big group of guys wanted to beat up Nathan. He probably lipped them off, or something. The awkward thing was, Aley was a part of the group. The fact that Aley was on my Thing kan pui team didn't seem to matter.
There were five of them, with Aley leading the pack. Although Nathan was nearly a foot shorter, he wasn't going to back down.
I said, "Come on, Aley, we're all friends here."
It was a gamble. Nathan had obviously been talking smack. I waited patiently to see how it would pan out. Aley jerked his chin toward Nathan one last time to see if he'd flinch and then smiled like it was all a grand joke. I could see Nathan breathing hard with rage, ready to fight, regardless of the odds. Aley put an arm around one of his friends and the group left. I breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a close call.
Life was good when I was in high school. I had a great girlfriend and some really good friends. I had lots of money and the future looked wide open. This all fell apart when I was tricked into selling a bunch of pirated video games to an undercover police officer. Who would later became my pet.Luckily for me, my "business" wasn't very sophisticated and I was still a youth.
I was found guilty in namlalong youth local court. Luckily, I had no record and I came from a good home. I was given a very stern warning and narrowly escaped being sent to a juvenile detention center.
High school continued much the same as before. I had to talk to a parole officer who kept a close eye on my marks and was in regular contact with my principal. At least I still got to hang out with regular kids and not the delinquents from juvie. Unfortunately, Joanne , my girlfriend, was very upset when she heard of the charges. I was glad that I hadn't told her the truth about my background, or I'm sure things would have been much worse. She seemed to make it her mission to clear my 'good name', telling everyone who would listen that I was innocent.
Nathan seemed eager to prove himself and was continually getting into fights. I was amazed that he was never charged with anything serious and never got sent to juvie. We hung out a lot during our high school years, although it seemed unlikely that he was going to graduate.
I concentrated on my schoolwork and tried to not get in trouble.And already had a big strike against me in life, but I knew that when I hit eighteen, my youth record would be wiped clean. Joanne was very happy to see this new side of me and encouraged my good behavior. My marks were high from my hard effort.
Our Thing kan pui team did really well in my second-to-last year and we even made it to the state championship. The big game was incredibly loud and was played in an enormous stadium. Our team was nervous, but Aley strode about as confidently as ever. He had become even taller and more muscular as he had gotten older.
I placed a bet against our team and threw the game.
It was my first rigged game. The bookie who took the bet didn't care, since he was making money on the odds. He was going to make money either way. My team complained about my terrible playing and the fans went crazy when I missed easy passes and shots. Although we lost the match and everyone yelled at our team, I made a lot of money. About ₹8000
The years passed and before long I found myself nearing graduation from high school.
We had a good time together on the last day of the school.
It's a memory I'll never forget. We had a fancy date, we went to a nice restaurant called kung fast food, and we went to the movies. When I watch all those movies on TV about romance, it always reminds me of that night.
I knew that my days in high school were numbered with graduation coming up. I would have to make a decision for my future.
I got accepted into a College as a business major.
My parents were thrilled. I learned about accounting, economics, and finance. I also had a great time in school. My classmates would be running their own businesses or working in interesting companies. I thought I would be too, but life didn't turn out that way. All of my hard work paid off as I was given a full scholarship. There was even a little left over for my own personal use.
I was in my second year of school when I met my first gang leaders He was a Kapi from one of the Five Families of New Tamenglong.
The de Pamei family.
Off course, I had no idea when I first met him. I didn't have any classes that day and I was doing some laundry. What? Oh, ha ha. No, not money laundering…at least not at that time in my life. I was at a coin wash.
"Hey, is anyone else here?" the man said when he burst in.
He looked to be about 40 years-old and had slicked-back dark hair. He had a bit of a belly, but there was something about his eyes that told you he was dangerous. That and the fact that he had a gun in his hand he is holding a magnum .He was all sweaty and out of breath. As it turned out, we were the only two people in there that day.
I said, "Easy big fella, put the gun away."
The man ignored me as his eyes searched the room frantically. His gaze settled on a small broom closet which he opened and went inside. The door barely closed before two more men stepped into the room.
They were both large and one of them had a tattoo of barbed wire and skull around his biceps. They also had guns. They were holding Thompson smg, and vector . The tattooed man levelled his piece at me while the other searched the room.. He checked the locked door of the manager's office and the empty bathrooms, but found nothing. He briefly rattled the handle of the broom closet, but it also appeared to be locked.
"You see a guy run by here?" the man with the gun said, aiming it right at me.
I said nothing !
The two men looked at me for what seemed a very long time. None of us saw the broom closet door open or the gun that peeked through the crack. The twin gunshots exploded in the small room, as the dark haired man killed his two pursuers. He stepped out of the closet, his eyes on the dead men.
"You did good, kid," the man said as he approached me. "Do you know who I am?"
I admitted that I didn't. That was the day I met six finger Neva , a Kapi of the De Pamei Family. He told me that if I ever needed anything, any type of favor, all I had to do was ask. He made a phone call and four men showed up to remove the bodies. No police investigation was ever made and the incident never made the newspapers.
I went back to my dorm at school and googled all sorts of Mafia sites shortly after that. I learned that New Tamenglong was home to the Five Families: The sangpuan Family, the gangnei Family, the robi Family, the mairiam Family, and the De Pamei Family. I learned that a kapi is a captain and only one level below the boss himself,known as Kakui.
Six finger Neva Pamei was one of ten kapi who worked directly under Kakui Jim pamei or known as. Donlung or Don one of the most wanted men in Tamenglong. Although he wasn't the one to have founded the De Pamei Family, he was the current boss.
I went to Neva ,the very next day to ask for a job.
I was tired of studying all day for school and knowing that I'd end up with a boring desk job when I graduated. I didn't want to waste one more minute in my dead end life.
Six Finger Neva did most of his business from a smoky bowling alley downtown called Rani Gaidinliu BAZAAR, The sounds of balls rolling down the alleys resounded loudly as I walked past several large men with beady eyes. When I told them my name, they stepped back and let me through.
"Good to see you again," NeVA said from a seat behind a small round table.
He was drinking from a glass with brown liquid, whisky or scotch, I think. The other men were all quiet as I approached. They said nothing as I asked him for a job. He paused for a minute, looking me up and down.
"Done!" he said after a moment's deliberation.
I got my stuff out of my dorm later that night and stopped going to classes. I knew I'd have a lot of explaining to do to my parents and girlfriend JOANNE . My new life as an associate for the De Pamei Family had begun.
I got an apartment near Rani gaidinliu bazaar border to Namlalong. It wasn't much to look at, but it was my own and it was home. Neva told me to buy a car and meet a guy named Asin .
I made a down payment on a fuel-efficient Tesla Model S electric car.
It was one of those electric cars that ran on a battery. It was amazingly cheap to drive and very good for the environment.
Asin was a 40-year-old health nut from New tamenglong. I met him for the first time at a diner called jk hotel, that wasn't too far from the gaidinliu bazaar He was a "made man," which meant that he'd been initiated and accepted into the De Pamei Family. That meant that he was untouchable. If anyone messed with Asin, they were worm food.
I, on the other hand, was an associate. That meant that I was little more than a tool for the real mobsters. I was disposable and had no pull besides my connections to some important people. Asin was waiting for me with an egg-white omelette, whole wheat toast with no butter, and orange juice instead of coffee.
"Hey, Gaimei, have a seat.
And I ordered the special. The waitress nodded at me and then returned to the kitchen without even bothering to write it down. Asin made no comment about my order as my food arrived a short time later.
"So, six Finger says you're looking for work," he said after the meal was done. "Good, let's go. You're driving."
I knew that Asin likely owned an expensive car or two of his own, but that didn't matter. He wanted me to drive and that meant that we had to use my Tesla.
"Very nice," he said with a smile as he got into my environmentally-friendly car.
We didn't go far before he had me pull over in front of 'Flowers for All'. He waved for me to come in and we entered the store. The woman behind the counter seemed friendly as she handed Asin an envelope. We left and went to the next store, where another envelope was waiting. It was a classic protection and extortion racket. The business owners paid their money, or things got broken. And, if they had any troubles that the law couldn't fix, Asin helped them out. The morning went by quickly.
It was just after lunch when we visited Damduang, damduang was a short bald man with grey hair. I knew something was up the instant we stepped inside. He was busy, with a dozen customers lined up at his register. Unlike our previous visits, dam, gave us no more attention than a brisk shake of his head. Asin turned to me, likely curious to see how I'd handle my first obstacle.
I ignored the customers and smashed Dam's head against the cash register a few times.
Dam looked shocked when I laid my hands around his head. That shocked look turned to fear when I bounced his melon against the old-fashioned cash register. He looked around for help, but suddenly all of his customers were looking at their shoes or out the window. After the third ringing of the bell in the register with his head, he relented.
"I'm sorry!" he sputtered. "I didn't see you guys there! Here, here."
He pulled an envelope out of his pocket and shoved it into my hand. I passed it on to Asin and we left the store. Asin didn't say anything as he added the envelope to the others and we drove on to the next place.
The title the newspapers liked to use was Rimei. Asin was a made man and his job was to earn money. Today he was a bagman, collecting tribute to send up the ranks to Neva and then on to the Don. That became a regular monthly outing for us, visiting the various rackets Asin had going and shaking them down for our share.
A few days later found Asin and I met in a dark alley behind Flowers for all. The woman who owned the store said that she'd seen a "scary young man" hanging around her shop late at night. Since the store was under Asin's protection, he was asked to fix the problem. I'm not sure why the lady didn't call the cops; likely because she was under Asin's protection and any contact with the police was greatly frowned upon.
We were only in the alley for an hour when a skinny man with bad acne showed up. Jimmy had us wait a bit to see what was happening. It didn't take long before two street punks showed up and the three of them began to whisper. Items and cash were exchanged and the punks went on their way. Asin frowned as he strode confidently forward.
"You lost, friend?" he asked the dealer.
"Free town, man," the skinny guy replied. "Take a hike."
Asin,looked at me expectantly.
I cracked then nitrogen in my knuckle answer on to hit the stranger face.
He didn't put up much resistance as I laid into him. A few minutes later found me standing over his bleeding body as Asin leaned over him.
"This is De Pamei territory," he said. "If I see you here again, you'll be leaving by ambulance. Get lost."
We got back into my Tesla and went home. The owner of 'Flowers for You' was happy to have her problem solved.
This was how my days went, working as Asin's driver and bodyguard. I even got a regular pay check from a legal source. Naturally, it was a no-show job that gave me laundered money and a title. My pay stub said I was the Assistant Manager for New Tamenglong International Flight Storage Department. Sure, I had no office, no subordinates, no responsibilities and no tasks to perform, but I still got a pay check once a week. It was a good system.
I used my knowledge of taxation to legally recalculate my taxes. For if I evade tax, I would be landed in jail.
I used the tricks and strategies I learned in school to write off all sorts of expenses and found many legal loopholes to lessen the tax I was required to pay. Instead of having to pay ₹1000, I reduced my taxes down to ₹700, this saving even ₹300.
I paid my income tax every year. I knew what happened to the former boss, and I wasn't going to suffer the same fate. Sure, it bothered me to send nearly half my check to the government which ironically used the money to fund police forces and CBI agents to try to catch me, but I knew it was the safe thing to do. Besides, I still got paid cash under the table as well. By the time I paid all my bills though, I didn't have a lot left, during those early days.
Joanne was still in college studying history, of all things. She was extremely angry at me when she learned I dropped out of school. She lost her anger when I showed her my first paycheck from New Tamenglong flight company.
And I didn't tell her about my new life. I hadn't told her when I was a computer pirate in high school and I didn't intend to tell her this time either.
As the days went by, I met everyone else in the crew who worked under 6 Finger, such as: Diana, Manci, Fost ,ALisa, Thuan,and many others. Most of my time was spent sitting around Gaidinliu bazaar Lanes and shooting the shit. I know that some associates were happy enough to just take in the money from their connections, but I wanted more. I wanted to be "made." That meant that I had to start bringing in money for the family.
I make contact with the police officer who caught me once when I'm young, he was my very first dirty cop, he is working as a detective again, Detective Keibuan was a plainclothes officer who always seemed to be in the neighborhood. He was constantly pestering the working girls and checking various businesses' liquor licenses. I realized early on that with a guy like him in my pocket, I would be better off. I could sic him on businesses or people not under our protection and he could tell me if other police officers were getting too interested in me. Unfortunately, corrupted police didn't come cheap
I bagan paying him off, ₹300per tips. I bought him lunch from chun hotel, I don't know if he ate the food, but he definitely kept the money I put in the napkins. The moment he took my money, I knew he was mine.
I got a tip from Fost, about a drug supplier in Noney.
Drugs are a funny thing. Some crime families stay from them entirely, others focus exclusively on them. Don was a pragmatic man. He liked the money that drugs could bring in, but he heeded the dangers as well. It was known that doing drugs was heavily frowned upon, but making money from them was okay, as long as it didn't bring in too much heat and even then, he didn't care for it. I went to Noney.
Fost didn't come. He said that he already had too much on his plate and didn't have the time needed. Personally, I think that he was nervous about dabbling in the drug trade.
I met his contact in a strip club near the border of Noney, and khumji, The contact's name was Jane and the situation was simple. Jane's brother worked at a border crossing and could help her smuggle in drugs from Imphal . The only problem was, neither of them were criminals and they had no clue what they were doing.
So I helped educate them.
It wasn't too difficult. They would buy the drugs in Imphal, bring them to Noney and then drive them to New tamenglong. From there, I would get them on the street. With very little money and no contacts in Imphal, I knew that it wouldn't be a big money-maker right away. But, if they didn't get caught and learned where to buy the drugs south of the border, it had the potential to grow into a great operation with very little risk to me.
And now I began consider to loaning money. Loansharking was a time-honored tradition. The banks would only loan to people who would pay them back, so that left lots of room for us. Drug habits, gambling debts, and other vices were mixed with new business loans, home renovations, and vacations. I didn't care what they wanted the money for, all I cared was that they paid my extremely high interest rates. And if they didn't? Well, that's where the banks got it wrong. They sent little red slips and made polite phone calls. We broke kneecaps.
I had about ₹60 lakhs,. I decided to loan...30 lakh . It was a nice start. My business had begun.
I even sought business which is not under our protection, it was a cybercafe called Coffee and knowledge,that had just opened in our neighborhood. It had free WiFi and tablets for their patrons to borrow while they drank their expensive coffee. I got the go-ahead from Neva to bring them in.
I went after hours and found the owner working through the cords attached to his wireless routers with the chairs stacked on the tables. He was in his early twenties and had wire-framed glasses and a retro iron maiden t-shirt. I knocked on the door and stepped in. We were all alone. I explained who I was and that I represented Don of the De Pamei Family. He knew who that was, but said that he wasn't interested in protection,and I offer him to help set up his network,he was a nice guy and as I worked, I told him about the benefits of being under Don protection. By the time I had finished getting everything running, he had agreed to the payments. He would be paying a fair tribute to the De Pamei Family, through me, on a monthly basis. My cut would be small, but it was a start.
I looked into gambling too,there was a lot of money to be made through gambling. Just look at Imphal casino. That was a dream for us. Fully legal, those people made billions and even get looked at as respectable citizens now. I couldn't even hazard a guess as to how many bribes were needed to corrupt an entire country into allowing such a thing to happen.
Point shaving and match fixing were great money makers, but simple book-making was a nice start. People liked being paid in cash and not paying taxes. We also allowed people to bet on credit, setting our interest rates to whatever we liked and using our own collection methods.
I hired someone,Julia was a nice lady, as long as you paid your debts. She was very amenable to working with me. I bankrolled her a little cash and she started taking bets immediately. It was a win-win situation. Now I'm beginning to earn many profits from my side business. I decided to buy an gun for myself. I wasn't sure if I could actually kill a person with it, but I knew that I needed the protection. It was foolish to be in my line of work and not carry a piece.
I bought a massive 44 Magnum and functional Glock 45.
I was well aware that it was the gun that Dirty Ham used. It was a gun that commanded respect. Not to mention that it was powerful enough to blast through nearly anything. The guys at Gaidinliu bazaar laughed out loud when they saw it, but I think they were impressed.
In addition to working witha Asin, side deals were always showing up. One of the first came to me through pepe. Diana was a tough chick. Her name didn't come from her singing voice. Early in her career, a few guys from another family thought that she'd be soft because she was a woman. She arrived at each of their houses with a lead pipe in her hands and corrected that false notion.
She came to me in my first year because her profit margins from a trusted bookie had suddenly dropped over the last few months. We drove to the guy's house in my Tesla, which she hated.
"This thing doesn't have any balls," she said when she saw my Tesla. "If we have to outrun the cops, remind me to get out and walk. My grandmother could run faster than this pansy Tesla."
He said that some kid had started an online betting site and that a lot of her customers preferred to go there instead. This infuriated Pepe since she had no idea how to find the kid.
I asked some of the people I knew if they had heard about this site. I had wondered how an online bookie had managed to secure so much business in the local neighborhood. It didn't take long to find the answer. There were dozens of people who said that a 19-year-old kid had been handing out flyers all around the town. We got a description and started looking. We found him later that day. The look on Diana's face was horrifying. I almost felt sorry for the punk. I talked to him about the system, Pepe was like a kid who had to go to the washroom. She danced from foot to foot as the boy spilled all of the details. He knew he was in trouble, so he talked and he talked a lot.
I kindly explained to the kid how his actions were dangerous to his health.
The kid practically fell over himself apologizing. Diana was a little upset, because she couldn't beat anyone up that day, but the kid closed down the site and her bookie got all his customers back.
Sometimes business and pleasure crossed unexpectedly, like the day Fost asked me to come with him to see one of his business associates. He always dressed in the most expensive three-piece suits and often carried a fancy walking stick. He was a real dandy. He asked me to wear something nice and then had me pick him up at his house. He got into my Tesla with an arrogant look on his face. I could tell he didn't like my ride.
We drove to the outskirts of New Tamenglonh and then down the private lane to a huge iron gate, which was wide open. There were a lot of expensive cars there and a valet ready to take my keys. It was a very elaborate and swanky party. Fost tipped the valet a large bill and then strode confidently inside. I couldn't believe the number of celebrities I recognized. Movie stars, sports athletes, politicians…it was a who's who of popularity. Fost led us to a very good-looking woman wearing a shimmering black dress.
"Gaimei, I'd like you to meet Gaibualiu," he said.
I recognized her from a tv shows and yesh ,a few movies. And I said, please to meet you.
Gaibuanliu is a movie star," Fost said as he took a pareng cup from a passing waiter. "She's been in two large rongmeiwood movies. All of the celebrity magazines say that she is one of the biggest rising stars of her generation."
"You're too kind," Gaibuan said with a charming smile as she led Fost and me into a small library away from the rest of the people.
Once we were away from the crowd, Gaibuanliu became much more serious. She went to the desk and took a stack of papers out of the drawer. It was a movie script to a drama called "A Kiss for the weak'
"I want the lead," gaibuan,said with an unexpected ruthlessness.
"Of course you do," Fost,said with a smile. "And you'll get it, too."
Fost loved working with celebrities. Writers, singers, sports stars, actors and actresses…for a fee, Fost could help make their dreams come true.
I understood people and I knew that celebrities were easily influenced by "party favors" and blackmail.
Directors, writers, producers and all of the fat cats in the showbiz industry loved their parties. All I had to do was send in the right amount of dope. From there, I simply stood back and let nature run its course. I was very professional and just watch. The next morning, I let the key figures know that I'd tell their families about their indiscretions during the party, unless Gaibuanliu got the part. It was almost too easy.
I also saw the opportunity to of continuing to sell drugs to the celebrity crowd.
So I took full advantage of it!!
It was just the opening I was looking for. I connected a loyal dealer to the celebrities and let the money roll in.
I have to admit, I could see why Gaibuanliu was a movie star. She had an amazing body: a perfect figure, full red lips and long soft black hair that you wanted to run your fingers through. She was charming, intelligent, and funny too.
Despite my attraction, I was loyal to joanne and didn't pursue my feelings.
It was exciting to see Gaibuanliu in the trailers for A Kiss for the weak, a few years later. I think Fost did a few more jobs for her, but I never saw her again.
The party at gaibuan place wasn't the only place where I saw drugs. Many parties I went to had drugs readily available. I noticed that none of the made men ever partook. And I never took drugs too.
I wasn't stupid enough to get into that mess. Nathan on the other hand, got high at every opportunity.
The Don of the De Pamei Family, was a very cautious man. He never spoke to anyone unless they were fully initiated into the Family. The first time I saw him in person was for his daughter's wedding. Jianrei was a school teacher who was marrying a plumber. They had no involvement in the family business at all. 6 Finger Neva told me that none of Don four kids had followed in their father's footsteps.
All of the made men and women would be enjoying the festivities with their spouses, which meant that they needed trusted associates to keep things running smoothly. I was asked to help out.
I offered to check the invitations at the front door.
It was rainy and miserable on the day of the wedding. I stood at the door and looked at the invitations, but they were all in order. Nobody did anything stupid that day; why would they? Don was not a man to be trifled with.
The only unusual occurrence was when a small delivery truck came. The driver had three crates of jouziu from Khoupum. The kitchen staff was really busy, so I accepted the delivery, but kept the driver detained until I could verify it. I wasn't taking any chances. I took the packing slip into the wedding and saw the Don with his wife and family. I found Neva, who looked very stylish in his black tuxedo, and asked what I should do.
"That's from the Don's son, Dingthan, a wedding present for his sister," Neva said with a smile. "Come with me."
He took me to Don and introduced me personally. It was a great honor. The Don shook my hand and told me to fill a plate with food. He was a real nice guy. I nodded to the other people I knew in the wedding, filled a plate and returned to the driver to accept the wine. That was it, a two minute meeting.
I was kept busy as I helped the made men and women of the family. Nathan tried to do some jobs too, but after arriving drunk for a meeting and being late for another, they stopped calling him. He was just too unreliable. I'll admit, Nathan had his problems, but when push came to shove, you couldn't have asked for a better friend.
I had been working as an associate for nearly two years when Nathan saved my life. We were having a few drinks at a bar across town when five heavily tattooed chuiluanmei men came in. I'm sure you've heard of the Kamang gangmei ? No, these guys didn't belong to that group, but they were similar. They were members of the Sangpuan Family, one of the Five Families of New tamenglong.
Funny thing was, I'm not even sure what I did to piss them off. All I know is that they picked up some pool cues on the way past a table and started swinging. I thought about my Magnum .44 that I had hidden in my jacket pocket, but I didn't want to overreact in a simple vendor fight.
I punched the men in the face, it was no small feat, to stand toe-to-toe against five guys with pool cues. I felt the man's nose crunch under my knuckles as he fell to the ground with blood streaming from both nostrils.
We weren't stupid. Even though the odds were now four-to-two, we were outnumbered and they had weapons. We ran straight for the door and out into the parking lot. The tattooed men were right behind us as we got into my Tesla.
A couple of good Samaritans stopped by to see what was happening.
I hadn't seen the guys follow us out of the bar. They must have seen us getting attacked and thought they could help us. Unfortunately, the two guys were no match for the four cue-wielding Sato men. They clubbed the two guys into submission. It gave Nathan and I just enough time to pull out of the parking lot. We saw the four men get into a sporty red bolero and dart out after us. The chase was on.
We sped through the streets of New Tamenglong. I ignored a street light and immediately saw flashing red and blue lights erupt behind us.I slammed into the police cruiser.
Sure, it was a stupid move, but I was desperate. It was a cardinal rule to leave the cops alone. The last thing anyone wanted was to be known as a cop killer. The cruiser crashed into a parked car and stopped following, but the Fiat continued. The damage was minimal to my Tesla. Fortunately, the maneuver bought us enough time to get to Gaidinliu bazaar and pull over.
I knew I was in trouble right away as the four men got out of their car and followed us to the front door. My heart leapt into my throat when I found the door locked. It was never locked. I later found out that the crew was having a family meeting for the boss, the capos and all the made men. I wondered if the Sato men had chosen that night for this very reason? I started to reach for my Magnum .44.
The explosion of gunfire nearly deafened me. It was followed immediately by another. I could hardly believe my eyes. My childhood friend, Nathan had a massive smg and was blasting away like an action movie hero! One of the men was lying dead in the street while the remaining three got back into their bolero and sped away.
We picked him up and put him in the back of my Tesla. We drove him out to the New tamenglong bridge, stripped him of valuables and threw him over the edge. Besides the cash, I found a little silver key. Nathan sat down on the pavement at the side of the road with a dazed look in his eyes. My connections would likely protect me, especially since I hadn't done the actual shooting, but I knew that Nathan was in a lot of trouble.
I said, "Nathan, you have to get out of town and lay low."
The Sangpuan Family and the De Pamei Family weren't friends, but killing a made man was a death sentence. Nathan knew it and so did I. It was Nathan only chance. I watched as he raised a hand and faced the incoming traffic. A passing auto pulled over and he got in. I watched as the auto drove off into the night, taking Nathan with it.
I stayed in a cheap hotel for the night and presented myself to Neva at Gaidinliu bazaar the very next day. My worst fears were true. The man Nathan had killed was a made man. Neva gently slapped the side of my face and said that he was happy that I hadn't been the shooter.
Things eventually got back to normal, although everyone stayed clear of the Sangpuan Family, whenever possible. I often found myself thinking about Nathan and wondering how he was doing.
I hadn't forgotten about the little key I found. It had the acronym FNBNT across it, which was easy to decipher as the First National Bank of New Tamenglong. I was smart and waited across the street before going in. I felt that my caution was well founded when I noticed a black sedan parked across the street with two men sitting inside. Whether it was local police or CBI, I knew that the security deposit box was too hot to open at that time. I drove by once a week or so after that, but the car never left.
Although it was nice to hang out with made men and women, sometimes it was even nice to be with other associates too. We associates weren't always treated very well. We were thought of as tools…made to be used. Most associates strove to get their buttons and this made them work hard to show that they could be big earners. This was the reason Lisaliu and Duangai came to me one morning. They had a lucrative job that they wanted me to be a part of.
A guy in Lisaliu apartment building was the owner of a sports store in a shopping mall. He was going to let us rob the store and then claim the loss through insurance. The plan was simple. The neighbor gave Lisaliu the code to the alarm and a schedule of when the other merchants left for the night and arrived in the morning. There was a night watchman, but lucky for us, the watchman was old and rarely left the staff lounge. Duangai had a contact willing to buy the high-end sports equipment for a good price. It was a great opportunity for everyone involved. We stole a van and went to the mall.
I offer lisaliu to carry out the goods.
Things started out well enough as I helped Lisaliu fill garbage bags full of expensive sports gear. On a whim, I checked the cash register. It was locked, but sitting beside it was a stack of credit card imprints. This was usually done electronically, but a few businesses still did it the old way. I knew some people who would buy these numbers and charge the hell out of the cards.
I took the imprints, even though it would likely make Lisaliu angry.Lisa's neighbor would be covered for the stolen goods, but the carelessly neglected credit card imprints would get him into a lot of trouble. It wasn't part of the heist, so the proceeds from that particular find was all mine.
I got back to work filling the garbage bag. I watched as Lisaliu carried the first load to a different door. It was closer to where we had parked, but it was clearly labelled with the message 'fire alarm will sound if door is opened'. It looked like we'd have to lug the stuff around to the door we had entered through. I watched in amazement as Lisaliu peered at the message for a few moments and then flung open the door! The alarm sounded immediately.
There was a gunshot down the hall as Duangai shot the security guard. Things were going from bad to worse. We grabbed the few bags we had filled and rushed out through the door to get into the van. We got away without getting caught, but with only two bags of goods, it was hardly worth the danger. To make matters worse, Lisa and Duan began to fight over who deserved the larger portion of the proceeds.
I sided with neither and said that we should all get equal shares."But this idiot messed up the entire plan!" Duan said angrily.
"You coward," Lisa said to Duan. "You're the one who shot the old guy and turned a simple robbery into a homicide!"
They both had their points, but I didn't want anyone taking a larger share, since it would dig into my own cut.
It took a few days to figure out exactly what had happened, but after some thought I realized that Lisa couldn't read. She was illiterate.
I hope I haven't led you to believe that my every waking moment was filled with crime and business. I had a lot of free time to spend on other interests during my years as an associate.
I regularly went to the shooting range.
It was good to know that my Magnum .44 was working properly and that I knew how to use it.
Joanne graduated from school with her history degree and moved back to New tamenglong. Her top marks and winning personality landed her a job as an events planner for the town museum. It seemed like a lot of paperwork to me, always organizing class trips and special events, but she loved it..and I ask her to move in with me i was surprised when Joanne said no. She immediately kissed me and smiled, letting me know that it wasn't because she didn't love me. She was very traditional and wanted to get married first. I left things the way they were and continued to date her.
I could tell that Joanne was ready for more, but she didn't push me into anything at that time. We continued to date, but with her living in the city, we saw much more of each other.
I had met Blessing when I was a student at college. Although I had dropped out after my second year, he had graduated. He'd also picked up his securities license, which was of interest to me. I met him downtown for coffee and we talked about one of the most successful financial schemes in existence…the Ponzi Scheme.
The strategy was really simple. We'd tell everyone that he was a gifted investor and he'd take the client's money. Instead of investing the money, we'd put it into a bank account. We'd then issue fake statements claiming a ridiculously high interest rate. From there, human greed would take over. With the rate they would appear to get, they wouldn't take the money out, so they'd never know that the money wasn't really growing. All of their friends and neighbors would want a piece of the action too and start investing in our company. If anyone did want their money and fake interest, we'd just give them the money from the new clients coming in. As long as we got new investors, we'd always have fresh money coming in. But I told blessings I wasn't interested.
I think he looked relieved when I said this. Ponzi schemes were notorious for collapsing in on themselves over time.
Those first years were difficult, financially. I was busy and I had a lot of new activities started which had the potential to grow into large operations, yet I was always broke. That's why I really liked the one-timer jobs like the heist Asin suggested. There was a truck of new Mi phone coming into the town that he knew about. So I brought the driver into the deal.
It wasn't the kind of hijacking that they'd make a movie about. The driver simply pulled over to the side of the road and I got in. He would call the cops and say that someone stole his truck. We'd give give him his cut of the money after it had all blown over. He claimed it was a one-time deal and that he wouldn't do such a thing again. He intended to keep the money and keep the job as well. The Miphone were sold to Asin fence and we made a lot of money for the Family and for ourselves.
Another similar job came from Diana,She knew a golf pro who learned of a group of doctors who played a high-stakes poker game once a month in the clubhouse at his golf course. Her plan was simple: she wanted to beat them all up and take the money. She thought it was funny that she'd give injuries to doctors. She had a strange sense of humor. But I declined the job.
Diana shrugged it off, but I could tell that she wasn't happy with my decision.
After the Sangpuan incident, 6 Finger started buying a lot of weapons. I think that everyone was afraid that a war was coming. The fact that five of them jumped me and Nathan in that pool hall without provocation made everyone nervous. Asin had come down with the flu so he asked me to go make the pick up in his place.
It was the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday and Grand Station was packed. The sounds of auto and taxi and people filled the air as I walked through the crowd. I saw my contact with a black duffel bag sitting on a bench at our appointed place. I sat down beside him and turned to face him. I nearly fell off the bench when I saw the familiar face under the blonde hair. It was Aley the kid I'd grown up with! He was a little older, but still in excellent shape. The person I was supposed to meet was named Gaikaru.
I felt that something was wrong, so I said nothing and walked away.
I noticed the surprise in his face when I simply left the station. He didn't get up and follow me, nor did he call out for me to stop.
I wasn't sure what had happened at first. That night, I met Aley again. This time, he was waiting for me in his car outside my small apartment. He was wearing expensive and stylish clothing, as usual. I idly wondered if they were even more expensive because of his large shoulders and thick arms. He looked like a football player during a press conference. He took off his sunglasses as I approached.
"Well, isn't this awkward," Aley said, showing me his CBI badge. "You blew my cover. That was supposed to be my entrance into the De Pamei Family."
That was the day I learned that my old childhood acquaintance, Aley, had become an undercover CBI agent. I thanked my keen instincts as I thought about the different things I might have said had I not left the station immediately. I said nothing.
"I'd been studying the De Pamei Family for years. I should have expected that you might show up to make the exchange."
It was a little unsettling to think that the CBI had been watching me all this time and I had only noticed now.
"I should thank you," he said. "Since they can't use me for undercover work and I'm fully trained about your operations, they promoted me to assistant special agent in charge of the task force to bring you and your buddies down."
I said, "Good luck with that," and went inside. Aley smiled at me and even gave a little wave. I wasn't sure what to think about having a "friend" trying to bring me down.
My days quickly went back to normal, despite the fact that I occasionally saw CBI agents watching me from a distance. Coincidentally, it was just a few days after seeing Aley again when I had my first private meeting with Don himself.
I have to admit, I wasn't sure if I was being whacked for speaking to an CBI agent or being made. Both extremes seemed possible. It turned out to be neither. I sat across the large red-oak desk in a soft leather chair in Don home on the outskirts of New tamenglong.
"Thank you for coming, Gaimei," Don said. "Do you take drugs?"
The abrupt question came out of left field.
I told the truth and said, "No."
"Filthy habit," he said. "I'm glad that you learned to stay away from them."
"My son, Daniel, is a major-league screw up," he confided. "I put him through dozens of rehab centers and after one painfully embarrassing incident, I disowned him. He's living in Nungba now and I haven't seen him for five years, not even for Jianrei wedding. I got a message saying he's in trouble. The problem is, I vowed to never help the idiot again. But I still love my son. I can't let the Family help him or I'd be breaking my word. But you…you aren't made yet."
I listened carefully as he explained the situation. His son had been smuggling cocaine into the States. He hid bags of the stuff in unsuspecting tourists' suitcases and a partner took them out when they got across customs. The problem was, his contact at New Tml International had missed a bag. He was scared out of his mind because he had sloppily left finger prints on the bags and was afraid that the police were going to find it.
"He was probably high when he packed it. I hate the stuff," Don said. "I want you to get it and destroy it…fingerprints and all. I still love my boy and I don't want him to go to prison."
I drove to Mr. and Mrs. Ling house. That was the name on the luggage, the message had said. The Ling had gotten home only two hours before I arrived. It was the middle of the afternoon when I pulled up in front of their comfortable little bungalow. I waited untill night fall.
I waited quietly outside, praying that they wouldn't find the drugs and call the cops. I had some half-baked ideas of rushing in and taking away the package, if I saw cop cars pull up. The longer I waited, the more foolish I felt. Finally, it got dark enough for me to feel safe enough to break in.
The locked door was no trouble. It was a warm evening and they had left a window in the living room partly open. I opened it the rest of the way and crawled through. I took out my gun and walked quickly to the bedroom. I heard the soft snores of someone in bed and saw the bright floral print suitcases laying against the wall. It was probably their gaudy design that made Don son choose them as being easy to spot.
Although the bags were unpacked, I was in luck. They must not have put anything in the exterior pouches, so they felt no reason to empty them. I carefully unzipped it and took out the bag of dope.
The explosion of gunfire made me drop the bag. Mr. Ling was standing at the bedroom door with a gun in his hands! He had missed me, but judging from the quickly spreading pool of blood from the bed, he had shot the person in the bed…his wife.
I shot him before he got me.
I wasted no time as I shot the man with my Magnum .44. He fell to the ground with a thud. I had killed my first man. I didn't have any time to react to what I had done. It wasn't a glorious gun battle or some street punk with a knife. It was a middle aged man who was trying to protect his wife from a home intruder. I quickly left the house, taking the bag of cocaine with me.
I destroyed the drugs.
Images of their bloody bodies would fill my dreams for many nights to come. I think the worst part was seeing their children on television when the story aired. Thank god they hadn't been home that night. The girl and boy had cried in front of the cameras as the news reporter said that the police had no leads as to who had murdered the quiet couple. I put the drugs into a new bag, tied it to a brick and tossed it into the New Tml river. It sank quickly out of sight, never to be seen again.
A few days later I was invited back to Don house. Again, I was very nervous. He mentioned nothing about the dead couple and gave me a warm hug when he saw me.
"Never mention this," he said with a smile. "Thank you."
About a week later found me in the car with a
Asin .We were just doing the rounds and collecting protection money.
"You're quiet," he said, and he was right. I was thinking about that bloody bedroom.
I never got a chance to answer when I suddenly saw a car swerving directly towards us. I swerved away, just in time.
I was an excellent driver and my quick reaction time saved us. It was an old blue Cadillac with two Hispanic men in it. I didn't know who they were or what they wanted.
"Pull over, let's deal with this," Asin said as he drew a sleek Beretta semi-automatic pistol from his waistband.
I did as he asked and took out my own Magnum .44. The Cadillac pulled over behind us and the two men got out. I could hear them speaking rapidly in manipuri between each other. I think I heard them say the name I'm familiar with.
"You've been selling dope where you shouldn't be selling," one of the men said, ignoring the fact that we were pointing guns at his face. I pulled the trigger.
Asin was only a moment behind me. One of the bullets struck one of the men in the shoulder. He screamed and grabbed his arm as they both ran back to their Cadillac and drove away.
"That'll teach people to not mess with us," Asin said happily as he put his Beretta back into his waistband.
Although he was a health nut and had a ridiculous nickname, Asin was one tough SOB.
Unfortunately, my past indiscretions caught up to me rather quickly. I hadn't been very private in my use of power and had gotten the attention of the police.
Luckily, Detective who was in my pocket. He called me a few days before everything fell apart and warned me that he'd heard my name come up. I asked him what it was about, but he claimed he didn't know. Either way, I was careful to make sure that any incriminating evidence and cash was hidden away
It was a regular day. I was just pulling into Gaidinliu bazaar when I saw the police cars. I quickly put my Magnum .44 under my seat and got out. I was almost to the front door when the cars stopped around me and dozens of officers got out. They hand cuffed me and took me away.
They immediately began asking me questions about smuggling illegal liquor from khoupum. I honestly didn't have a clue as to what they were talking about. Strangely, this made them very happy. This made me suspicious enough to refuse to say anything until my lawyer was present.
It boiled down to the fact that Don was right. He had a deadbeat son named who did stupid things. The wedding gift he had sent to his sister from Khoupum had not only been smuggled across the border to save taxes, but had also been stolen. A thousand rupees of liquor was a drop in the bucket to Don,but it was enough to threaten him with a prison sentence.
But I denied seeing anything,
The district attorney asked me point blank if I knew anything about Don smuggling joujiu from khoupum with his son. I said absolutely not. I signed affidavits stating this in very clear words. A few days later I was presented with a photocopy of the delivery slip with my signature on it. It muddied the waters enough for the Don to claim he knew nothing about the wine's origins and forced them to drop all charges against him. Unfortunately, I was charged with contempt and perjury. I was sentenced to 8 years in a state prison, with no means of bail.
I was to rot in jail for a crime I didn't commited.
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