My long-time friend – let’s call him Erewhon, or “E.” for short, to be a little cutesy – died a few years back.
E. was a remarkable person. He was a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, who served in Vietnam from 1968-1973 and took a bullet more than once. When he got out of the military right around the time the North Vietnamese took Saigon in 1975, he found himself mostly unequipped to handle civilian life, as has been the case with thousands, if not millions, of veterans over the past half century.
He had a pension on which he couldn’t live by himself (of course). He married a fairly well-off woman three years later, had three kids, moved to the Kansas City suburbs, became a “Mr. Mom” while he finished college. He did graduate in (I think) 1983, right around the time his wife left him for another man, used her social connections to lawyer up and basically deny him virtually all of her family assets, and of course grabbed the kids and left him in the lurch.
He then fell in with – shall we say – a “bad crowd.” I don’t mean your average street thugs, or even your pride of respectable, but scheming-behind-the-scenes white collar criminals. No, I mean “organized crime.”
Now what do we mean by “organized crime”? Yep, when I use the word, you automatically think of Tony Soprano or, if you’re a little older, Vito Corleone. I mean, somebody who talks like Marlon Brando with a handful of rocks in his mouth.
Or, if you’re a little more sophisticated, cosmopolitan, or multicultural in your tastes for capos, and you’ve watched both seasons of Narcos, you can bring the image to mind of Pablo Escobar (not at all a fictional character) and his antagonists in the Cali Cartel. You’ve got this idea maybe of someone who, even when saying mass in the cathedral, is packing, and has no qualms about whipping out a Colt 1911 and shooting some acquaintance who happens to have said the wrong thing at the wrong time.
You would know how to do staging for a Hollywood production, but you wouldn’t really understand how “organized crime” works.
You see, “organized crime” is that most respectable and virtually untouchable company of business leaders, politicians, pricey lawyers, government bureaucrats, and (yes, this is true) even the people who run colleges and universities. They’re the ones who have the money and the influence and the “soft power” and the impeccable public reputations to get away with murder.
Yea, they do order the latter if they can’t figure out any other way to get their way. But they don’t do it themselves. They hire sub-sub-contractors who can never be traced to them. Have you ever heard the line: “so and so owes me whom is owed by so and so, and so on”?
Back to E. He was the so and so who owed so and so. The first so and so (let’s call him SOS1) further owed a favor to the guy who worked in the “off the books” part of the Deep State that doesn’t deign to break legs – they just make ’em disappear without a trace. Let’s call him the Big SOB.
I think the Big SOB helped SOS1 get out of some financial mess with the IRS because he didn’t understand properly how to launder money from what SOS2 called his “love business”. I don’t need to explain that. Anyway, the Big SOB was getting paranoid about me, because he was concerned that I was “the man who knew too much” – about HIM. And he was especially worried when a rumor got out that some FBI agents had made an inquiry to a friend of mine.
It wouldn’t exactly have been Pizzagate, but it could have had juicy and untimely political repercussions in 2012 (to be exact).
So the Big SOB gave SOS1 an ultimatum: Get Madigan!
Now SOS1 knew that I was a real bro of SOS2 (that’s E., if you’re starting to get a little confused).
SOS2 a.k.a. E. didn’t know it was me that the Big SOB was after. So he gave him the name of another bro who as an ex-Iraq War sniper was very good at setting up and getting at his mark. When E. figured out that moi was the mark, he became rather perturbed and put the kebosherie on the deal. It’s not that he was such a good and loyal friend, but that he didn’t like being used that way.
So E. went to the Big SOB and made it clear that he was going to his favorite bruja and having a “destruction spell” put on the latter. It wasn’t so much to protect me, but to protect E. You see, the Big SOB, even though he’s good at pulling the levers of the Deep State/Organized Crime complex, is rather superstitious (in fact, most of them are).
If you’ve ever heard the legend of the occult Illuminati who secretly rule the world behind the scenes like the Grand Wizard Oz because they know the appropriate way of sacrificing iguanas and babies to force the world to turn out – magickally – exactly the way they want it to, now you know this is what the real story actually amounts to.
E. died suddenly of a mysterious intestinal ailment. The Big SOB is hiding, I understand in a fortified compound in the jungles of Belize at the moment because SOS1 ratted on him about something to someone who could make his life miserable. Or something.
But that’s a little vignette of life in the Deep State for now. Are we entertained yet?