Hank Turner wasn’t ashamed of who he was, ‘and fuck anyone who was’ he thought to himself as he nursed his fifth or sixth straight bourbon, who really kept track past the third one. A lot of guys in this town hit their women, why should he feel bad, she had a mouth and lacked respect, as for the boy, well that bastard kid had a look which Hank just didn’t like, probably did the boy good, Hank thought, Hanks father had handed out regular beatings, never harmed Hank, in fact it was probably the reason Hank was who he was today, a lion in the world of men, but what did he care about that used up old whore or her bastard kid, they were through riding on Hanks back, it was the start of spring and Hank had decided to take the garbage out of his life, starting soon.
Hank had the look of a business man at the end of a real tough day, he wore slacks and shiny black shoes, a white shirt unbuttoned to reveal his chest hair and un tucked, his hair was a little too long to be called short, but just shy of long and it was always a mess. He wore a permanent grin, something he thought constituted charm. All in all apart from the little bit of a gut Hank was getting from drinking, he was in good shape, for a man of forty three.
Last night had been a big night; perhaps the biggest night of his life, he had moved five kilos of coke, his biggest deal ever.
The deal had begun three months ago, one of his girls had gotten a tip from her trick, a wannabe gangster, with nothing but a flashy suit, greasy hair and a whole lot of talk. Hank wouldn’t have normally thought much of what he heard but, James Benedict’s name had come up and well, that was something. Benedict’s name had been whispered in circles that Hank moved in for years, but no body knew him or how to contact him, he was a kind of myth in the drug world, and the myth went, if you had some heavy product to move in one hit, Benedict could move it. Johnny Mack, the wannabe, had been throwing around Benedicts name like he was his best friend, something that had gotten him killed and brought Hank into contact with Benedict for real.
“Here’s to you Johnny” said Hank, holding up his glass in salute, “You dumb son of a bitch” Hank smiled, shaking his head, he was drinking more to his own fortune than to Johnny’s demise.
Among many things Hank owned and operated a hotel, a real slum but a perfect place for his girls to turn tricks, the guys paid for the girl and for the room, a double earner.
About three months ago, Hank had heard gunshots coming from Tina’s room, she was ‘entertaining’ Johnny Mack, her regular, and it wasn’t the first time Johnny had started shooting the room up, that little punk really thought he was Capone or something, he had shot out T.V screens, smashed mirrors with chairs, basically just gone berserk , he always apologized saying something to Hank something like, “better the mirror than you head hey Hanky” Johnny had loved to call Hank, Hanky, knowing it drove him mad, Hank had dreams about tearing Johnny apart, but the fact was, he was a regular, he spent big and he always had the green. But there had to be a line, and Hank had decided to draw it.
Hank had burst in the room full of rage, ready to tear Johnny’s head apart, but, found that, Benedict had beaten him too it.
Johnny’s body was laying on the carpet, his head split open, two bullet wounds in his back, next to him stood two heavy hitters, they looked at Hank with apprehension then turned to a man, who was sitting by the window smoking, and awaited their orders, they were the muscle the man in the chair was the brain. Benedict, the brain, held up his hand, gesturing to the muscle to relax.
“Clean up this crap” Benedict said waving his hand at the copse. He then turned his attention to Hank.
“Who are you?” He said his voice so calm it was unsettling to Hank.
“Hank Turner, I own the hotel” Hank had muttered.
“I am sorry for the disturbance and the mess” Benedict smiled, “Do you know who I am?” he asked.
“I have an idea, but I know nothing, if you know what I mean.” Hank gambled.
“Good man” Benedict smiled, he loved control, and he had a lot of control in this town. “I’ll pay for the room and the damage; I ask only that you never mention me or the goings on in this room today. Agreed?” he was still smiling a little, but his eyes were staring directly at Hank, void of emotion.
“Of course, no problem Mr. Benedict” instantly Hank regretted calling Benedict by name, Benedicts eyes widened slightly, a fierceness coming over his face for an instant before returning to normal, Benedicts smile returned, with it, Hanks pulse. Hank’s mind was racing, he was standing in front of the man that could take him to the big time, one deal with Benedict would be the same as a million street hustles.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, while my men clean up” Benedict began before noticing the urgency in Hanks eyes, a look he’d seen before, “Is there some thing else you want?” he asked, his voice totally calm.
“Mr. Benedict,” damn again! “I have some business I could use some help with.” Hank continued; his voice was trembling.
Benedict knew that trembling sound and welcomed it. A trembling voice meant that people knew he was not a man to be messed with.
“What business is that, Mr.?” The smile disappeared from Benedicts face, business was something Benedict never took lightly, big or small.
“Turner, Hank Turner” Answered Hank, “do you mind if I sit?” he said gesturing to the chair opposite Benedict
“Please, Mr. Turner sit, after all it is your hotel is it not.” Benedict was a man of manners, rare in his business. ‘Nice’ thought Benedict as he watched Hank sit slowly, awkwardly; he had total control of the situation.
Benedict had two vices, he loved to smoke, but mostly he loved to dominate people, he had run this town for over ten years now unchallenged, men always cowered before him, but no matter how many men he held under his thumb, the rush remained the same.
“I have a somewhat large shipment of product to move and the word around is that you are the only man who can handle this kind of weight.” Hank stared straight at Benedict, there was no way Hank could know that the five kilos he had were child’s play to Benedict, who was expecting his quarterly shipment of three hundred kilos the day after tomorrow.
After Hank had laid out his offer, Benedict gave him directions as to where, when and how the deal would operate, the meeting lasted less than five minutes, Benedict and his muscle cleaned and left, Hank had scored five hundred dollars for the room, his time and trouble.
Hank sipped his Bourbon again and smiled, that chance meeting with Benedict had really gotten his life moving, Benedict was a real pro, and he paid cash, though Hank could think of no other way to pay in this business, small bills hard to trace, no hassles, just pure business. The two kilos had been a steal Hank thought, though in truth he had no idea what that kind of volume was really worth, he “bought” it for fifteen thousand and sold it on to Benedict for fifty thousand, truth was his friend Jimmy had bought it on credit from some bad ass folks in New York, and Hank had simply taken possession of it, “I can move it” Hank had told Jimmy when he heard about the coke.
The meeting with Benedict had been so quick, Hank was in and out within, thirty minutes, Hank had been picked up by one of Benedict’s boys from his hotel, they had driven to a storage shed near the docks. Benedicts Muscle had led Hank into a small office, waiting for him there were three more men in black suits with no necks, Benedict and a wiry gaunt looking man, with one look Hank knew he was an addict, the neighborhood around Hanks hotel was infested with them.
“Mr. Turner, I hope you have had a pleasant trip here today” began Benedict, a warm smile on his face.
“Yes, Mr. Benedict” answered Hank.
“And I see, you have brought the product” said Benedict gesturing to the Gym bag on Hanks shoulder, “ Now first we will weigh it, then his associate Mr. Anderson here will test it to measure it’s purity” Benedict gestured to the addict to his left. “And I hope for your sake Mr. Turner the product is up to standard” Benedict glared at Hank.
Hanks heart skipped a beat, he never touched the stuff, he had no idea what the standard was, to Hank Coke was just small bags of white powder that Jimmy gave him to sell on.
Mr. Anderson took the bag from Hank, he took out a small spoon like knife and stabbed it into one of the bags of coke, quick as a flash he snorted the coke, his eyes closed, his face covered with anticipation. To Hank it seemed like an eternity passed while he waited for Mr. Anderson’s assessment, suddenly Mr. Anderson opened his eyes and smiled, he looked at Benedict and said, “Its good” then went and sat down. Hank sighed in relief, his forehead covered with sweat.
Benedict pulled the cash out from his office safe, fifty thousand in hundreds, fifties and twenties; he just tossed it on the desk in front of Hank.
“That’s what it worth Mr. Turner” Benedict had said without a pause in his voice.
Hank had never even seen that much money and Benedict treated it like chump change. ‘How much money do you have?’ thought Hank in awe.
Hank had put the money quickly into his gym bag, and began standing while thanking Benedict for his time, when Benedict spoke.
“Just one more little thing, Mr. Turner.” Said Benedict casually, Hanks heart stopped beating, ‘was this the part in the movie where the gangster cuts off you finger to remind you you’re in his pocket?’
“Yes, Mr. Benedict?” replied Hank trying to force some sort of calm.
“There are a few points we need to clarify before we conclude our business today”
“Yes, Mr. Benedict” said Hank
“From now on, you only deal with me, is that understood?” Benedict was like a school headmaster lecturing a scared student. Hank only managed a nod in reply this time, fear had taken his tongue.
“You will sell my product through your hotel, for which you will receive a thousand dollars per week” Hanks face brightened a little before Benedict added “Providing you sell enough product, if you fail to do this, well, you can ask Johnny Mack what might happen in that case” Benedict smiled.
“Lastly, I need the name of the supplier who gave you these two kilos, this is my town and he is not welcome, do we have an accord?” Benedict finished firmly.
“Yes” replied Hank, ‘Sorry Jimmy, but better you than me’
As Hank left Benedicts office, Benedict smiled, the two kilos had only been worth half of what he’d paid, but now he had a brothel, and with it came eight new dealers, in the form of a pimp and his whores, ‘so cheap’ he thought.
Initially, from the three hundred and fifty Hank had, had to pay Jimmy his, supplier two hundred for the coke plus Jimmy’s retainer, initially Jimmy had asked for a fifty thousand cut of the profit, but Hank had beaten it down to ten. Benedict had just reduced Jimmy’s commission to zero, and the coke had now become free, which meant that Hank had just made fifty grand from nothing, he hadn’t invested a dime. The thought of what was going to happen to Jimmy, just kind of drifted out of Hanks mind and he walked to the car with the no-neck that had picked him up, a smile across his face.

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