Of Doctors in Debt and failed Drag Kings turned Crime Lords

Submitted into Contest #174 in response to: Write about two old friends meeting for the first time in years.... view prompt

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Crime LGBTQ+ Sad

TW: Organized crime, Threats/Violence, Selling Drugs(offscreen mention), “Smoking”, Gambling, Cussing.

         “That’s bad for your lungs.” The doctor in him couldn’t resist commenting. “I’m threatening your life and you’re concerned about me being healthy?” She asked with a raised brow.

“You know, in all honesty I don’t actually smoke these,” She put in in her mouth and lit the cigar, “I just hold them in my teeth ‘cause it looks cool. Same with that old-school pipe over there… brings together the whole outfit.”

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         Dr. Christopher Bell was regretting his life choices. You see, 8 years ago he had been at a bar, watching the FIFA world cup over a steak and a few drinks. Him and another gentleman had gotten into an argument, each yelling their own team was better. They bet on it, $400 each, that their team would win. As the game went on, both men had gotten more and more heated. Instead of solving the obvious tension with a kiss, with each goal scored the bets went higher and higher. By the end of the day, a lightning storm forced the game to stop, and the teams had tied. There was a re-match scheduled for 4 days later. Instead of calling it quits and dropping it, they had planned to meet up the next game. After that second game, the final amount bet was $26,000. And his. Team. Lost. They fucking lost! He didn’t have that kind of money! He was making his way through med school, still paying off his car and struggling to pay rent! Obviously, he had to take on a loan. Unfortunately, he had shitty credit, and he couldn’t exactly admit to illegal betting. Just a year before, it was written into law that you couldn’t bet on the outcome of sporting events. ‘I guess now I know the reason why…’ He thought bitterly. So: he didn’t have the money, he was in debt, he’d committed a crime with a 3-year prison sentence if he got caught, and the guy was threatening to put a bullet in him if he didn’t pay up!

         He had to do what he had to do. He went to a questionable man who wouldn’t ask questions for a loan, but still, 6 years later he couldn’t pay off the whole thing! Of course, once he’d graduated and became a practicing physiatrist, he’d started paying it off bit by bit, around $2K a month in fact, but he missed more than a few payments because things just kept going wrong! Living was expensive! And that debt had very high interest. Now, he was over $90k in debt and it. Kept. Rising. One night he’d gotten a phone call. That man was angry that he still owed him money, and he had said that the doctor needed to pay him back at least ¼ of the debt within 2 months or there would be “consequences”. And Bell really didn’t like how he said that word. So, with no other option, he booked it and took his family with him. For 2 years now, they’d lived in another city 3 states away. He had a wife and daughter with a son on the way, and for those 2 years, he let himself forget. He’d let himself believe he had gotten away. He let himself get sloppy. A 15 second TikTok with his niece was all it took.

         That man had connections to a crime family, who’d caught him and drug him back! To either force him to pay or kill him he had no idea. Oh God, they were going to kill him. They’d broken into his home in the dead of night, threatened his family if he didn’t go with them, and stuck him in a van cuffed and in his PJ’s! They drove for hours, making who knows how many turns along the way, and manhandled him into a warehouse where he was thrown into a different van! It repeated again and again. He was in a “moving van” a “mobile dog groomer”, a “food truck”, an “ice cream truck”, and a “cement mixer”! He rode shotgun in that last one, but he was a hair’s breadth away from pissing himself when they’d dragged him out of the back of the food truck and the only other vehicle there was a cement mixer.

         He'd been brought to a bank. He was taken through a side door, leading into a stairwell. We climbed around 4 floors, moved left, left, right, left down the halls, and went into a room labeled VIP. The room had stiff-looking seating on the right, not seeming much different from a bank room for normal people. He himself couldn’t imagine sticking his rich clients in this room. He could, however, see them sitting on the left, where behind a glass screen lay a luxurious room with cushiony couches, magazines, a T.V. and coffee tables. He was confused. Maybe it was the dehydration that lowered his inhibitions, but he found himself asking, “Why a bank?” to one of his 4 captors, the thinner and nicer looking one. “Well, what did you expect, a casino?” He shyly nodded.

“…We do have a casino, actually, but today we’re at the bank so sit down!” The scrawny man shoved Bell down on a stiff couch with a single hand by the shoulder. How was he so strong!? Bell was half a foot taller! He caught two of his gruffer-looking kidnappers seemingly joking at his expense out of the corner of his eye. Scrawny gestured to another guy, who took a few steps away and spoke into a walkie talkie. There they waited for around 2½ hours, until they got called up.

         In the room was a small elevator. They went 2 floors up, and down a narrow corridor with 3 doors. There was 1 on the left 6 feet down, 1 on the right side 10 feet from the first door, and 1 at the end of the hall dead-center, 7 feet from the door on the right side. All in all, the distances were rather strange, but the main thing that stood out were the doors themselves. “Left” was a generic steel office door. “Right” seemed heavy-duty and had a padlock. The center door, however, was an expensive-looking wooden door. This was it; he was going to meet the big bad boss. They approached the door, as he got closer, he could spot carvings of Aztec deities. His breath caught in his throat. The second tallest of the group, a middle eastern man with black curls running down the left side of his face, knocked on the door. A woman’s voice rang out, clear, dominant, and bone-chilling.

“Come in, boys.”

In between straight postures and respectful nods one proudly called out, “Señor! We’ve brought you Cristopher Bell.”

         And there, behind the desk, sat none other than Mr. Maria Martín, his old schoolmate! What the absolute fuck?

“Should I leave you to your business, Sir?” asked the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on, with short and straight blonde hair, lips and nails painted red, cool umber skin, a form-fitting emerald green coat and eyes glittering with dark mirth as she examined his bruises, seemingly picking apart his entire character. His soul lay bare before her.

“Yeah, go ahead and take care of business. I’ll catch up in a bit.”

With that, the woman sauntered out with lightly swaying hips. As she passed by him, she leaned in slightly and whispered, “You’re fucked.” With the finality of someone who knows they won’t ever be laying eyes on a person again. He was knocked out of his dreadful reverie by the door shutting with a wooden THUD! behind her.

         “Chrissy! What a pleasure to see you after so long! You’ve been up to no good, I see.” She waggled her finger. “Now, what’s respectable Dr. Bell doing, forgetting to pay off his debts?”

“Maria!? What are you doing here? I- well I thought you’d become a Drag King after finishing your preforming arts degree. What are you a Mafia boss now?”

“Oh, I prefer Crime Lord. Well, things didn’t quite work out with that, so I joined these guys! A few years later and I’ve got everyone eating out of my hand. I got rid of the old head honcho and took control of these bastards,” she said affectionally and threw her arms out, leaning back with her feet swinging up on her desk. “Now this place is all mine! I run this joint!”

Bell gaped. “Oh, and by the way, you guys follow her. She’ll be meeting with the Daggett’s, keep her safe. I need some privacy.” The men filed out. The guy who’d knocked on the door gave her one last hesitant look as he walked out, but she gave a short gesture to a gun on the desk. He left the room, seemingly satisfied she could protect herself.

         “Now, I don’t suppose you have $123,000 on hand right now? Because that’s about half of your new debt to Mr. Bulgari. It increased by A LOT since you tried to run, I wouldn’t wanna be you right now like, at all. You have to pay off half of it like right fucking now or you and your family are completely screwed.” “I don’t have the money!” Bell protested. A sigh. “I was afraid of that.” Her hands folded over the table. “Here’s what’s going to happen, now.” She pulled out a paper. “You’re going to write a will, and you’re going to list Mr. Bulgari as your sole beneficiary.” He made to protest but was cut off. “But even with all your things, it still isn’t enough to completely pay it off. Your mom is going to have to pay for the rest of it.” His blood ran cold. “She’ll die in just a day or two, my men will take her in an accident. A ‘car crash’. She has no will. You’re an only child, her house and cars will all go to you, which will go to Mr. Bulgari when you eventually get ‘taken care of’. With luck, the inheritance process will go smoothly. Sorry, but you have less than a year, Chrissy.”

“You’ll tell your wife not to contest it, and make it sound like you and Mr. Bulgari are in an affair-” “I refuse!” he cut in, enraged. “Then in 4 months, your wife and boy will have a little “accident” in the hospital.” Maria replied calmly. Bell choked.

“You will die. Your mother will die. But… your wife? Your daughter? Your future son? They’ll live. Isn’t that worth it, Chrissy? Don’t you want to keep your family safe?”

He couldn’t argue with that. The room fell silent for a while.

“Anything you’re curious about? I mean, I know I really shouldn’t tell you anything, but you’re gonna die anyways and I feel the urge to monologue.”

         Chris was a mess. He felt he could scream at the top of his lungs, the lives of his family were in jeopardy, he only had so much time left to live! He was stressed, anxious, and angry at this whole situation, but he really needed to cool off, to regain at least a little sense of normality.

Martina probably knew this, because she knew him, and she knew how much his psyche could take. It was a side-effect of being near him through years of “Midterms/Finals weeks”. She was doing this to give him some sick sense of comfort, in some messed-up roundabout way.

“Who was that woman?” he asked, entertaining the little Q and A session.

         Maria chuckled at that question. “It’s not surprising that’s your first question. I saw your eyes on her when you walked in. Her name is Samicah, and she’s our #1 extortionist. She’s a master of all things blackmail, her skills are how we managed to get so much info about your family. With her on our side, the second Mr. Bulgari called to hired us to get you, you didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. I hear there’s even a rumor going around she just got us a juicy little secret about a former president. I’ll have to ask her about that when she comes back from dealing with the Daggett’s- a rival crime family of ours. She never gives me updates on anything she finds out unless I specifically order her, that’s a downside, but she brings in big money. Oh, what a woman…” She trailed off before coming back to her senses.

“But you would do well to forget about her.” Maria blushed. “Are you sweet on her?” Dr. Bell asked the Crime Lord. Maria waved her hands about semi-desperately, seemingly trying to be casually dismissive but failing. “That doesn’t matter! And you have a wife anyways so what do you care? Just stay away from her alright!?” “I get it, I get it.” Dr Bell said and let the subject drop. He had another question itching at him, however.

         “If you’re in organized crime and doing illegal things, why would you be based in here? A bank of all places?” Dr. Bell asked.

Maria took a box of expensive cigars from a small drawer in her desk.

“That’s bad for your lungs.” The doctor in him couldn’t resist commenting. “I’m threatening your life and you’re concerned about me being healthy?” She asked with a raised brow. He gave an embarrassed blush and stammered, “It’s just- um, you know, the uh… same brand my dad used to smoke.” His voice shrunk in that last park.

Maria suddenly felt a sliver of guilt. She decided to throw her poor old friend a bone.

“You know, in all honesty I don’t actually smoke these,” She put in in her mouth and lit the cigar, “I just hold them in my teeth ‘cause it looks cool. Same with that old-school pipe over there… brings together the whole outfit.”

He nodded. His old Maria always was very showy like that, she liked to put on a spectacle.

         “About the bank, well, a bank is one of the best ways to clean illegal funds on a large scale. Everyone’s suspicious of casinos and laundromats when you’re talking about laundering money, but banks can get away with a bunch! It’s one of the first big changes I made around here. We still have good old Le Zephyr Casino, but most of our drug money goes through here.” She patted a wall. “Thanks to me, we’re richer than ever!” She smiled proudly.

“That’s smart I guess, and I’m glad you’re doing well for yourself, I really am.” He spoke.

She looked genuinely happy for a moment, but then the corners of her smile faded a bit. “I sense a “but”, Chrissy.”

He hesitated, knowing the person who stood in front of him was dangerous and that he might be probing into a sensitive topic, but he wanted to know, “Why would you get involved with all of this? Last I checked, you were on a straightforward path to your dream job! You always told me you wanted to be a showman, an artiste, a Drag King! What happened to you to talk so casually about extortion, selling drugs and killing people? What was it that changed?”

         Her face went blank. Her hazel-green eyes went dull. “A lot changes in over a decade, Christopher. My chance to fulfill my dream has long passed.” “It can’t have changed this much!” He threw his hands in the air. “Weren’t we friends? Don’t you care? Is it so hard to not hurt people?”

“I can’t back down now that I’m involved. I can’t protect you, not from this! Don’t pull that crap, Chrissy, I know you know better than that. And don’t act like I’m the fuck-up when you’ve dug yourself this deep of a grave.” To that, he had no response, but then she gained a manic glint in her eye; her breaths became rapid and stuttering. “You… after all this, you still don’t really get how deep of a hole you’ve dug yourself into, do you?” She started laughing like a madwoman. He tried to intervene, to ask her what she was talking about, but she cut him off. “This isn’t some random rich guy you borrowed off; this is the most greedy, vengeful bastard in all 3 Americas! He’s a fucking legend in the criminal underworld! I don’t even know how you found him, but you’ve made a deal with the devil himself! And me? This is my first time working with someone this fucking important. The guy’s an S-tier threat when I’m lucky to barely scratch B-tier!” She rambled on.

“I mess up once and my men are goners! At this point they’re my family, the only one who’s ever really given a damn. He has too much pull, I can’t refuse him now that I’ve taken on this job. I have to keep him happy, for all of our sakes! I get him angry, and we’re on his shitlist! Other gangs will eat us alive! I like you Chrissy, I always have. That’s why I’m doing this for you. You may not see it, but I’m doing all I can to help you out here! Do you think Mr. Bulgari would really let you get off this easy after you tried to take the guy’s money if he knew you had a wife and daughter?! Are you really that naïve? He would destroy them!” She stood up and gripped him by the shirt, roughly pulling Bell up to eye level. “He would destroy them, and then turn his wrath on me for hiding them!”

At that, Bell could do nothing but sob. For the next hour, he was inconsolable.

Finally… “I’m sorry.” he spoke.

“For what?” Maria hid her own tears.

“That I got us both into this.”

December 03, 2022 04:11

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