It had been a long day. Actually it had been a long day and night and day, but with enough coke in him, he never really tracked time or felt tired. He had stopped into Mom’s Deli on Parliament Street for a quick pint to get his head straight. Mom’s was a dirty floored watering hole masquerading as a deli and the pint was 12 ounces, pretending to be 16. He didn’t care though, he was used to things not being quite as advertised. William had spent a lot of time, running a lot of different scams in Cabbagetown over the years and when he was in the neighbourhood he always stopped in to Mom’s to see if his old friend George was behind the broken down counter, slinging make believe glasses of beer. Today he wasn’t there though, only George Senior and George Junior. He often wondered why, since the Greeks invented language, why did they kept repeating the same names. But as with a lot of the coked up thoughts that entered his head, he didn’t really give it too much thought. He paid for the two $5.50 beers by dropping a $20 on the counter and asking the Georges to let George know that William, “Says Hi”.
He then walked north on Parliament, dodging a couple having a full throated fight in the middle of the sidewalk and at least three motherfuckers not looking where they are going, as their faces were buried in their phones. He also had to dodge the same amount of oversized folks driving four wheeled scooters down the middle of the sidewalk. He crossed at the lights at Carlton and continued up Parliament. He stopped into the Growers Shoppe, one of the many, too many weed shops in the small neighbourhood. He grabbed a couple of 1 gram Sativa pre-rolls for the walk and a half-quarter of the Grapefruit Hybrid by a grower in Smith Falls, for when he got home later tonight. Pocketing the weed, after putting one of the pre-rolls behind his ear he exited the shop and once out the door turned left to continue in the direction he had been going and then turned left again on to Aberdeen, which was a quaint narrow one way street that ended at Ontario St, which was his destination. Once clear of the bustle on Parliament he pulled the joint from behind his ear, lit it with his mini-torch and Bogarted it until the quiet street ended at an even quieter one. To his left he could see his destination.
Guy and Martan, had become full patch members of The Flaming Skulls, (Crânes Enflammés) in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil, back in the late 1990’s. Over time they had made many enemies in the larger Montreal underworld, but through a bit of luck, a heavy hand and good business acumen they had managed to launder and bank a good pile of cash while staying alive, a difficult task during the 90’s biker wars in Quebec. Though after a couple of near misses, they were smart enough to know that they had better split town for good. They didn’t have enough to retire to the islands so they invested in a little building that was a former church, Tabarnak!, and figured that it would be a good low key place to ply their trade from. Their trade being, whatever they could get away with while earning money. In the meantime they would wait to cash out the real estate in the popular east side neighbourhood. In order to be a little more discrete in Toronto they sold their Harleys and bought matching 2021 Cameros before leaving Montreal.
William stopped just before the stop sign at Ontario, tossed the filtered roach from his joint and looked across the street and down the block. He liked to be early and get his bearings before a meet. He saw there were two yellow bricked Victorian houses across the street, then a fair sized parkette with an apartment building behind it, then the little church where he was to meet the former bikers. He found a discrete spot in the deserted parkette and waited for the sun to go down, watching for anyone coming or going at the former Christian Church. As darkness set in he was feeling a bit tired, but thoughts of his plan and periodic bumps from an ample baggie of blow, kept him on point.
Hunched over an antique oak desk, scuffed and scarred from many years of use, Guy was watching the screen that monitored the area around the church. He saw the hooded figure fade into the back of the park next door and figured it was either the guy they were waiting for or his back up. Martan, had just come in the back door from Neutral Lane and hadn’t seen or been seen by the person watching the building. Guy and Martan had done so much together over the years that they thought similar ways, like an old married couple, which was what their bickering looked like to outsiders. As they watched the monitor they wondered what his play would be.
As night creeped in, the chill in the air, got into his bones. While the temperature had started to rise a bit as the city braced itself for a threatened snow storm, it still was a January night. He shuffled his feet and put up the hood of his long parka. In five minutes it would be eight o’clock and that was the arranged time. They had been connected through mutual business acquaintances and had spoken over an encrypted video software a couple of times, arranging for tonight’s meeting. At 7:59 William had one last nostril full of coke, stomped his large feet and moved slowly to the front door of the building, feeling confident and a sense of excitement that his plan would come to fruition and he would be able to take an extended vacation from the cold gritty city streets.
At exactly 8 o’clock, Martan responded to the ringing of the doorbell. William entered and in one swift motion unzipped his parka and pulled back his fur lined hood. He then looked the Frenchman in the eye, lifted the bottom of his lime green hoodie, showing the butt of his nine millimetre automatic. Martan reached over and pulled the piece out of William’s waist band popped out the magazine released the round in the chamber, which skittered across the wood floor like a cockroach when the lights are turned on. He then slid the Nine back into the waist band of man standing in front of him.
Playing with the magazine like a lighter in the hand of a smoker waiting for an intermission at a boring play, Martan walked William deeper into the building, up a short set of stairs to the back office where Guy was sitting behind the oversized desk. Open and sitting in the middle of the desk was a Cohiba Cigar box with a cellophane wrapped cube of compressed white powder. In the centre of the brick an FS was embossed on its surface.
Guy motioned to the box and said, “ There’s your Kilo, you got the 100?”
The arrangement was that William would bring his phone and once satisfied with the product he would transfer the equivalent of $100,000 Canadian in Bitcoin from his electronic wallet to theirs. A simple transaction that could be confirmed immediately, didn’t require a briefcase full of cash or having to even count the cash. They would agree on the exchange rate at the meeting and then William would initiate the transfer. At the current rate he would transfer close to 2 Bitcoins. Once the digital currency was in the former bikers’ Bitcoin wallet, William would walk out with a kilo of pure fentanyl. If mixed up and sold right, he could easily and quickly turn it into half a million dollars, which would still leave the next level of dealers able to make good profits themselves.
William motioned that he was reaching into his back pocket for his phone. Guy nodded and William slowly reached but then quickly pulled out a 16 inch hunting knife from a hidden sheath that ran down the back inside of his pant leg, he leaned forward and with all his might aimed his swinging arm towards Guy’s veiny tribal tattooed neck. William had grown up in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and had learned how to hunt and survive in the woods by his Métis uncle, Francois. He knew how to stop a charging moose or bear with nothing but a buck knife. Guy however was fast from years of playing racket ball while doing drug deals with members of the Montreal Mafia and very quickly leaned back just as the sharp metal blade of the knife flashed from left to right making the smallest of scratches on the tip of his Adam’s apple. Martan who had been a semi-pro frisbee golf player before getting sidetracked by a blown out knee and dropping out of Collège Ellis – Campus in Longueuil, whipped the Nine’s magazine he was still playing with and hit William in the side of the head, right in his temple. A small drop of blood appeared as William’s knees buckled, his eyes went wide, vacant and distant and as he fell, to his left, piss stained his light blue jeans a darker shade at the crotch and down his right pant leg.
Guy now standing yelled, “You stupid fucking tête carré, come into my place and fuck around, mon calisse!”
Martan walked over and putting two fingers on the fallen man’s jugular said, “ Fucker’ still alive, should I finish him?”
Guy replied, “Put him in the trunk of your car, let’s just get rid of him this piece of merde”.
Martan brought his Camero around the back of the building and they carried the limp but breathing body down the stairs and tossed him into the trunk.
Putting on their seat belts and following all the traffic laws, they drove west past Sherbourne, past Jarvis, turning left onto Mutual St. Martan backed the car up to the loading dock of a now abandoned distribution centre. They popped the trunk, each grabbed a different end of the still breathing man and tossed him over the railing onto the corrugated rusted metal surface. As his back landed, they heard a loud smack of the large man’s head hitting the metal base. Turning and looking back as he approached the passenger door of the car, Guy could see a small pool of crimson forming around the man’s head.
As they drove away, thick flakes of snow fluttered to the ground in the headlights of the matte black muscle car. That certainly hadn’t gone as planned, they both thought in the silence of a red light at Gerrard and Jarvis, as they watched a tall blond trans woman in a short leather skirt crossing in front of the stopped car. As the light turned green and Martan accelerated he punched the dashboard in frustration of the 50K in profit they were missing out on. They drove back to the former church in the hope that it wasn’t a mistake coming to this fucking English city, as they watched it get blanketed in what was starting to look like a Montreal snowstorm.