The Money

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Michael J Saulnier, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. She betrays me...

    With her cold brand of love she betrays me. My heart. My love... My obsession.

    She cuts me like a knife... I smile through the pain and tell her I love it... Because the truth, as sick as it is, is that I love her...

    I can't live without her...

    Michael Juliano lay in his average bed, in his average apartment in an average town in New Jersey. Everything about it was... Average, except for her.

    Tatiana Rosenberg lay cuddled into his chest, sound asleep. His left arm was around her shoulders, caressing her blonde hair, back, and left arm. She was of Russian decent, but her lesser half (as her mother called it) was Jewish. Her mother, who had been born in America, married a wealthy Jewish lawyer. Tatiana's grandmother had come to America from Moscow in the early 20th century. She had nothing but her heritage, her pride, spirit, and work ethic. She survived, founding a family and home with a young Russian man. He was a heavy drinker, and Tatiana's mother had a somewhat difficult childhood. They were never wealthy, and so marrying a wealthy, hard working American man was important to Tatiana's mother. Marrying Solomon Rosenberg, a respected New York crime lawyer, often accused by the media of having ties to organized crime, was seen by her family as a bar setting achievement.

    Tatiana was raised in a modern, wealthy home with strong Russian roots and influence. She was the youngest of three children, only twenty-three years old.

    They were both naked, snuggled under soft blue sheets. A small lamp on a nightstand provided a soft light on Michael's side of the bed as he enjoyed a joint of marijuana, staring at the white, plastic phone on the nightstand next to the lamp. He flicked the ash off of the cherry and picked up the phone, punching in a seven digit number. He held the phone to his ear, glancing down at Tatiana.

    A woman answered on the other end, "Hello?"

    "Hey Lexi, my brother around?"

    "No, he's still at work, Mikey, you wanna leave a message?"

    "Yea, tell that mutt to call me," Michael said with a smile, "it's really important Lexi, okay? I need to see him."

    "... Okay," Alexa replied softly after a brief second of thought.

    "Thanks, Lexi."

    "No problem, Mikey."
  2. New Jersey, 1997

    Alexa Juliano hung up, placing the black cordless phone down on her kitchen counter. She went back to work, cooking, and singing along with the radio. She had long brown hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a tanned complexion to match. She wore a pair of tight blue jeans, and a tight green T-shirt that hugged her thin, athletic build perfectly. She wore her wedding band faithfully. Hardly ever taking it off, and never forgetting it when she did.

    Her mother had told her all of her life, "a good man is more precious than all the gold and diamond in the world" and it had turned out she was right all along. Alexa found her mister right in John Michael Juliano. The boy of her dreams. She had known him a great deal of her life, growing up together, knowing many of the same people, John began to fall in love with her as she grew up. When she was 17, he couldn't wait anymore, chasing boys off, breaking her heart when some other girl came along into his life, regardless of how little they meant to him. Boys will be boys, after all.

    Her life changed when she met him. Things were tough, bad at times in the beginning. They were young, still trying to find themselves, find their own path, and still be together. But she loved him, deeply, and she knew he loved her too, and nothing can come between that.

    John Juliano entered the front door of their home. He was a tall, hansom man with short brown hair, frosty blue eyes, and a strong, muscular jaw. He had a fit, muscular build and wore a nice grey suit with a white dress shirt.

    He smiled wide. "I'm home, baby!"

    He wrapped his arms around her stomach slowly, sensually, kissing the back of her head, holding her tight. She smiled, chopping some vegetables for dinner.

    "Hey, baby," he said softly, resting his chin on her shoulder, "smells good."

    "You're late, and thank you," Alexa replied with a smile, tilting her head up to meet him for a kiss.

    "Did my brother call, sweet heart?" John asked, kissing her neck.

    Alexa sighed gently, putting the cutting knife down, leaning against him. "Yes... But can it wait, baby?" she asked him, breaking his heart.

    He moved to her side, turning her around in his arms and rested them across her lower back. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders looking up at him with those beautiful eyes. The most beautiful eyes he had ever seen.

    He kissed her passionately, making intimate eye contact. "This is something really important, sweet heart. Somethin' that's gonna change our lives forever, baby, I promise. Okay?"

    She nodded, smiled, and kissed him again. Then he kissed her forehead softly. "I'll be back soon, baby."
  3. John stuck the key to his outdated white Cadillac in the ignition, threw the old gal in reverse, and pulled out of his driveway in a nice middle class New Jersey neighborhood.

    It was late, and the city was illuminated by street and traffic lights that drifted by his vehicle as he cruised down the streets and past green lights he'd hit every so often.

    The city was alive with prostitutes, drug dealers, cops, and mundane foot traffic. Jersey was his home, these were the streets he grew up on, and the streets the Giacomina family called their own.

    Michael J. Saulnier

    The Money

    It was a glorious time in retrospect, but it didn't feel like it at the time, you know. There was no romantic magic at the time, only looking back on it now. Everyone was waiting for the world to end, the death of a princess had inspired us all, and a white kid from Detroit was about to tear down racial barriers... It was a strange time to say the least.

    Growing up, adults always used to say that the only way a man could truly survive in this world, was to get a good education, and break his back doin' honest, 9-5 work. But that wasn't me. See, me and my brother, we wanted to be the con artists, the thieves, loan sharks, racketeers, the guys who were really in charge; they had the power. In the fall of '97 I was beginning to realize that power, respect, all of that meant shit where we're goin'. All we have while we're here, is the time we're given, and the choice of what to do with it. You can chase an honest living and die in vein, or you can chase power and respect and die alone full of regrets. Either way, you die, and waste a lot time pursuing something that ultimately means nothing. When we were young, all we wanted was money, power, and respect, I mean that's the American dream. The big home, the fast cars, the satellite TV, trips around the world, the young, sexy mistress, and the beautiful wife. That's the American dream folks; gross excess.

    After the fall of '97, when my brother and me made a move that would go down in New Jersey history, all my material ambitions and values died in a one bedroom apartment in northern Jersey.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had done the right thing with that money. Given Vincenzo his share, donated it to charity, or never stolen it in the first place. But instead, we tried to keep it all. Instead, it tore us all apart...
  4. "Shut up and count the money," Michael said with irritation, taking a sip of a hot coffee. He turned around from facing the kitchen counter of a small, modest safe house. It looked as though it hadn't been redecorated since the mid-eighties. The brown carpet was rough and prickly. It looked as though it was pulled from the floor of a cheap seventies motel. Cheap wooden paneling met brown wallpaper with a egg shell flower print. Thin white curtains with dark green drapes to match the poorly painted cast-iron radiators gave the small one bedroom a a bad case of outdated decor syndrome. But it wasn't a Better Homes & Gardens store, it was a safe house used by John and his men. An old spot used back in the late seventies, early eighties before his father went to prison. Frankie Juliano was a heavy guy. Everyone knew him, and everyone loved him. Guys respect John's old man, which means they respected Johnny and his brother, treated them like blood.

    Frankie was still in jail doing twenty-five for a hit he carried out in New York. Whacked some made guy in the Brooklyn outfit for Vincenzo Giacomina as a favor to Marcello Costiga, a powerful and respected New York boss. The beef caught up to him when two witnesses who were smoking a joint in the window of an apartment building across the street came forward. Frankie plead guilty and the judge hit him with twenty-five like he was handing out food stamps. No deals, no mercy. The justice system had destroyed his life, and the family glorified his father.

    John wasn't long taking the path of his father after Jimmy Gambini became closely involved in his life. Jimmy would take care of his mother financially, do what he could to help out, and mentor the boys like an uncle. I mean, that's what that knew him as, uncle Jimmy. It was never Jim, or Mr. Gambini, it was uncle Jimmy for as long as they could remember. He was a second father to them, and it was through him they came to embrace the family business.

    Michael approached a circular table in the middle of the kitchen area. It was piled to capacity with cash, and two men worked tirelessly, running the stacks through money counting machines, crunching numbers. Closest to Michael, on the right, was Calvin Johnson. He was a black male in his mid-thirties. He wore a leather jacket, shades with round lenses, and a white shirt. His hair was cropped close to his head, and he was well shaven.

    The other man was Alfonzo a chubby Italian in his sixties as least. He had balding white hair, and baggy eyes with puffy cheeks. He wore a grey suit and tie with a white shirt.

    "Sit the fuck down and help then," Calvin said with a mild British accent as he bound a stack of bills with an elastic, a cigar tucked in his left cheek.

    Michael chuckled, sitting down and placed his over-the-counter coffee on a free space he found on the table's surface.

    "Can't we all get along?" Alfonzo asked humorously, making Mikey and Calvin smile.

    John entered through the apartment door, smiling wide.

    "Hey!" Alfonzo shouted cheerfully, filled with joy at the sight of John, "What do you know, what do you say!"

    "Johnny boy, Johnny boy, you missed all the fun," Calvin said with a smile.

    John laughed, making his way over to the table, eying the money, squeezing Michael's shoulders.

    "Holy shit, gentlemen," he said softly with a smile.

    "How's your father doin' anyway kid?" Alfonzo asked John.

    "How the fuck should I know, Fonzy, he's been in prison for 15 fuckin' years," John replied, with a smile.

    Alfonzo laughed at the top of his lungs, his face turning red. "Same old Johnny! This kid used to work the store front down at Papa Tony's Pizzeria. Used to Keep all the old timers in splits," Alfonzo recalled with his old fashion brand of storytelling. He could make any story interesting b the way he told it. When he talked, you listened. Alfonzo was just that kind of guy. "Those were some good times, you know?"

    John tapped Michael on the chest, walking over to the bathroom, and Michael joined him.

    John wrapped an arm around Mikey's shoulders. "What are we lookin' at, buddy?" he asked I a low tone of voice, smiling from ear to ear.

    "Almost a rock," Michael replied with pride and excitement.

    "A million fuckin' dollars?!" John yelled under his breath, placing both hands behind Mikey's ears, shaking him gently.


    John hugged him, shaking him again. "My little brother, a fuckin' bank robber!"

    John kissed him on the forehead, overwhelmed with excitement.

    "It's gonna be a green Christmas, boys!"
  5. "So... What's new, kid?" Jimmy Gambini asked plainly, sipping his coffee as he peered into John's soul from across the cafe table they both sat at.

    John Juliano pecked at his eggs and bacon with toast. He shrugged indifferently. "Not much, Jimmy. Usual bullshit with my guys at the warehouse, still chasin' your guy at the docks around. That mother fucker keeps duckin' me, Jimmy, I'm gonna have to hurt this Irish mutt before you get your money," John replied as he nibbled on his bacon, sipping his cup of tea.

    Jimmy looked him over with an intensity residing in his seasoned eyes. "What about Alexa?" he asked quickly, taking another sip of his coffee before he sat back in his chair.

    "What about her?"

    "How's she doing?" Jimmy elaborated with a smile.

    Johnny took another bite of fresh, salty bacon. "She's good, Jimmy. Misses you, you know? You never come around no more."

    Jimmy glanced down at the table, rapping his knuckles against the surface several times. "I know I haven't been around a whole lot, and you know why that is. But I'm going to come see you and Alexa sometime next week, okay?"

    "Yea, she'd like that, Jimmy, I mean, she really would."

    "So, when are you gonna knock her up, kid?" Jimmy asked, leaning forward against his elbows with a wide smile.

    "What?" John asked, nearly spraying his tea all over Jimmy and the table in front of them.

    Jimmy laughed, winking at John. "When are you going to have a child with this girl? You know she's a keeper, Johnny."

    "I know."

    "No! No you don't, Tadpole, or you would have knocked her up a long time ago."

    John chuckled, glancing out the window and let a deep sigh escape his lips. "We're just not ready, I guess. I mean, it's not like we haven't talked about it. And we plan on having kids, but... I guess we're waiting for the right time, and it's not now--soon, maybe, but not right now, you know?"

    Jimmy nodded, picking a strip of bacon off of John's plate. "Picture the babies that girl would make, Johnny," Jimmy said softly, perking up his eyebrows as he took a large bite of bacon. "Good," he declared, taking yet another sip of hot coffee.

    John sat quietly, awaiting his uncle's next words. It wasn't that he had nothing to say, just that Jimmy was the kind of guy who dictated the conversation, never the other way around. You followed Jimmy's lead, even when you felt as though you were at the wheel.

    Jimmy laid a ten dollar bill on the table, and turned sideways in his chair. He glanced over at John, taking a moment of silence before he said plainly, "You'd tell me if something was goin' on, right?"

    It through John off, and he tried to remain inconspicuous. "Yea, sure, Jimmy. Why, what's up?" he asked indifferently, their gazes clashing like fire and ice across the plate of eggs and bacon with toast.

    Jimmy smiled wide and stood up out of his chair, fixing the collar of his fine grey suit around his shoulders.

    "Tell Alex I miss her too!"

    He left John in the cafe to finish his breakfast.