Getting in wasn’t easy, but that was the point. The people who made it through the steps are the ones who needed to be there and the ones who didn’t, didn’t. The first step involved finding information from 15 different people, so the network was important. Find the people, play nice, get the details. With all pieces of info in hand the next step was revealed. 15 photos provided with no context. Finding the commonalities is required and not just the similarities but the differences. This eventually leads to a code and a clue. Then getting out of your head and back into the real world to move on the clue, and with a timeframe hanging over your head. Take too long and you miss the boat. Maybe literally. All clues moved on, all codes unlocked and the final group is the elite. You have a baseline for everyone there and know they can be counted on. It was a weed out process and it worked perfectly. We thought the hoops were the game, but that was just the invite to the real project that hadn’t yet been revealed.
At face value the truce between the Triad and the Mexican Mafia was a good thing but at street level it was an accounting nightmare. This was mostly due to the refusal to give up any territory on either side resulting in completely nightmarish divisions. Take the gas station on the corner of Venture and Fig for example, this used to be heavily contested territory and as a consumer the two things you could always count on were gang tags all over every square inch of flat surface and available gas for your car. Both sides claimed this was theirs and because the truce rules state that wherever they were at the time of the truce they kept – the pumps are owned by the vatos and the store and registers owned by the dragons. Now the tags are gone but if you can get gas is a crap shoot because when you roll up you have to play nice with with the prison tattoo covered latina running the pump just to get access to it and then hope she hasn’t missed off the guy inside who only speaks Chinese causing him to cut off fuel to the pump. If you can fill up your car then you literally have to cross gang lines to walk in the store and pay, and the price you saw outside isn’t likely to be the price you pay inside and going back outside again means demanding questions about how much that fuck at the cash register charged you and who did or didn’t get their share. It’s a huge pain in the ass now. I wish they’d go back to war.
The legal requirement to have a permanent address is lost on me. I don’t have a home so much as a processing station that I pass through to exchange gear. I have 5 identical suitcases packed with everything I need for 5+ days in a particular climate. Is it cold where I’m headed? Grab suitcase #1. Hot? Suitcase #2. Rainy? Suitcase #3. If it’s some combination of those I call ahead and Sarah, my assistant who I haven’t actually seen in person in over 3 years, customizes a set up for me and has suitcase #4 or #5 waiting for me. Whatever suitcase I currently have I leave and Sarah gets everything in it washed, refilled, repacked and ready to go in 24 hours. I never think about it, it’s just done. But then again I flew 480 thousand miles last year so this is as much a requirement as it is a luxury. But then again, I’m not so much going to anywhere as I am going away from somewhere else, so saying anything related to that is a luxury is a joke. But this has proven to be the best way to remain unpredictable.
The implants made everything better. I know some people will never be comfortable with the hybrid philosophy but I’d never go back. Do you remember the days of juggling devices, always checking apps, looking for new massages, for new updates. And then trying to manage it all. Did you post enough to this account today, did you reply to that email? It was a non-stop headache. Now you just think about things and they are done. Hell, don’t even think about them and they happen in the background. Never having to even wonder if I’ve gotten a new reply on twitter alone was worth it. As far as I’m concerned this certainly one giant leap for mankind. Who cares about a few scars.
The thing about going through a plate glass window is you have to commit. Sure if you had your choice you’d probably choose to do something else, but once you are heading towards that glass and you know you ain’t stopping when you hit it – and trust me, you know – you can’t puss out. The last thing you want to do is get stuck in the window, or halfway through it have a big sheet of that stuff come down on you like a guillotine and chop you in half. It can happen, the edges don’t even need to be that sharp on account of the weight and speed those pieces will be coming down. So once you know you are going through, you gotta really do it. Put in the extra effort and aim to be all the way through the store front glass before a single shard hits the sidewalk. Try to roll, or land on a table to break your fall or something but don’t stop moving. You are getting cut for sure, trick is not to get killed. If you worry about getting cut you are focusing on the wrong thing. Just get through it and out of the way. If you get hung up halfway through it’s over.
“What am I supposed to do with this fucking snowman?” he asked.
The neighbor, Mrs Rider had just brought over the obnoxious lawn ornament as a gift, and being Mid november she most certainly would expect to see it outside in front of the house for the rest of the year. It was inflatable but with with cotton balls that looked like they’d been randomly glued all over it and a spray painted on face that looked to have been applied by the blind.
“I really don’t want to come home to see that every day. I don’t even want to be seeing it now.” his wife responded.
“She’ll be so offended if we don’t put it outside right away. Is it worth getting cut out of her will for?”
“That’s what you said last year”
“It’s not any less true this year”
“I’m more worried about the next 10 years”
The room is completely dark with the exception of 3 candles dancing across the black velvet covered wall. Just enough light to count several figures standing along the other walls, but not enough to make out any features under their oversized hoods. The two closest to the front of the room hold swords upright, reflecting every bit of candlelight they capture. I can feel their eyes on me. Almost taste their attention. A deep bell rings from one of the back unseen corners. I step forward. It begins.
For years I slept like that, wrapped up in a cocoon of blankets with the covers pulled up over my head entirely. With only a space for my nose to poke out and get air, without fail I’d wake with fresh mosquito bites on my face. Far from ideal on just about every level, it was still preferable to having bites everywhere else or worst of all the constant “zzzzzeeet” in my ear as they flew around trying to decide where best to land on me. And I speak from experience, mosquito bits inside an earlobe are horrific. But at least this was inside to some extent, four walls and a roof even if most of the windows in those walls had no glass and the roof was full of holes. It wasn’t outside in the park, it wasn’t under the bridge, it wasn’t on a sidewalk in a doorway so it was luxury as far as I was concerned.
I typed out the passcode and directions on my light tan 1960’s Smith Corona manual typewriter. It’s a solid metal beast that kills your fingers to type on but it’s also offline and untraceable. They made millions of these things and there’s no records of where any of them ended up so even in the absolute worst case that this note is found by the wrong people, there’s no way to know where it came from. I wear gloves and am careful not to touch the page with my fingers then crumple the page up and put it into a small plastic grocery store bag that’s filled with a bunch of other trash, I top it off with a banana peel and a cup of wet coffee grounds. This ensures that any trashpicker who finds it ignores it completely. It looks like leftovers from yesterdays lunch. I tie the plastic bag up and head out to the playground near Okachobee park. On the north side of the sandy area there’s a fire extinguisher in the wall, the kind with the frosted glass door. I put the trash bag in there. This is a good spot because it won’t look out of place, but it also won’t last forever. If it isn’t picked up in 48 hours or so the parks & rec cleaning crew will grab it and it’ll disappear forever so my risk is limited. But that shouldn’t happen because this is expected. I sit by the playground for a few minutes so as not to seem suspicious and then eventually leave. On the way out make sure to go by the park hours sign located next to the parking lot entrance, there’s a small black magnet on the back of the sign, I move it to the front. This is will let them know the package is waiting to be picked up. Now I just wait.
I paid the kids next door $100 to keep an eye on things while I was away, innocently at first but kind of hoping they didn’t take too close a look and decide the things were worth more to them than the $100 was. I imagined mob pay offs worked the same way – pay a known amount to prevent an unknown amount from disappearing on it’s own. Again and again. Next time I went away the kids were expecting me to come nocking. The time after that they were already waiting for me. And before long they were offering to keep an eye on things even when I was around, just in case. And for a fee. I created my own extortionists. The same could be said pretty much every other part of my life as well.