August 05, 2010

Of New Cars, Old Professions and On-Star

By May B. Yesno © 2010

The Dude and his bling clattered their way in through the picture window doors of the new car display room, and Sales persons scattered in all directions.

The Bling carrier was not a new guy in town. He had a reputation, and it preceded him. He was a presence, he was visible and, unfortunately from the view point of the sales staff on duty, he was there. One of the staff finally summoned courage to confront Dude, and asked how he could help the gaudily attired man.

Listening carefully, the salesperson continued the conversation along: “A new car? Certainly! Have you an idea of the choices available? Please. Step into the office and sit while we spec this vehicle for you. We may not have the precise vehicle on the lot, but we will certainly find one for you.”

A great deal of talking later, Dude and the Sales person smiled, having come to an agreement and were settling the sales portion of the deal prior to stepping toward the cashier for the money transaction.

The Sales person mentioned the pricing would include the premium On-Star service for the duration of the power train warranty and how handy Dude would find the service.

Dude professed ignorance of the Service, and the Sales person explained it was an exclusive to the Brand service and included directions and connections plans, automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance (meaning if the vehicle was ever stolen for the life of the plan, the Dude could have the system turned on and the police could automatically track the vehicle any where in the United States and North America – to which the Dude snorted and said “No one would dare.”).

Acknowledging the Dude, the Sales person continued: “Well, Sir. You will have diagnostics in the event of problems, Turn By Turn navigation on demand, and hands free calling. There’s many advantage’s to the program, sir, and I’m sure you’ll delight in the program.”

“Delight?” questioned Dude.

“Ah, well,” stammered the Sales person, “Enjoy it, I’m sure.”

Dude snorted again, and began counting out the quoted purchase price in one hundred dollar bills.

New things have a way of affecting the new owner, and the Dude was no exception. When the vehicle he’d spec’d finally arrived, he felt he had arrived and had himself driven around the territory he claimed for his various businesses.

The problem, from his view point in his new office, was the distances he once considered large and satisfying were now mean and narrow. He felt he had to expand those horizons.

The plans were discussed with various confidants and minions and action taken and reported back to the Dude via On-Star conveniences. Locations of prostitutes were found with the locator system; communications made; disciplinary actions taken in the vehicle and deals for delivery and purchase of product were made.

Life was good for the Dude. He had made a plan; developed the infrastructure to make it go and could survey his domain with speed and in the comfort of his rolling command post. Money rolled in.

One of the major problems with the type of business Dude operated is the disposal of disposable cash. A person can only buy so many things before the very fact of having things becomes a burden. Dude and his confidants spent hours scheming ways and means of stashing the excess.

Part of the planning involved Lawyers and Mid-Level Bank managers and identities. The identities involved people Dude hadn’t previously dealt with – counterfeiters. That was an aspect of the shadows Dude hadn’t thought about and he began, after talking with the artisans, thinking of a business opportunity or two where that particular skill would be most useful.

His thinking seized, at first, on upping the identification ages of his younger prostitutes. Shallow thinking, truly, but Dude, as un-educated as he might appear, was not without an imagination, or a drive to expand his reach. Illegals weren’t far behind the girls (and boys, by the way. Dude didn’t limit his scope.). From prostitution ID to Illegal’s ID, to . . . Dude’s mental vision skipped to all manner of identification and more properly, the control of those who supplied the stuff. Those businessmen, as Dude called them, and the income, of course.

Yes, things were looking up.

Dude had a curious mind. Though criminally inclined, or more properly, criminally raised by family, Dude didn’t like mistakes and incompetence. He’d paid attention to history and knew that for every high flyer there was an equally long fall. Usually, he thought, the high flyer became enamored with themselves and they over reached. Trying he felt, too much too soon in their affairs.

He was determined to avoid the over reaching part. The enamored stuff wasn’t half bad, he felt, as long as one didn’t take ones self too seriously. There were bounds, however, and Dude made sure people knew those limits at first sight of their over reaching his self appointed allowances.

Such education was usually immediate, painful and easily remembered by the recipient. Well remembered.

Dude moved slowly. A block expansion here, an alley there, later a larger sale of fake paper across several borders or the import of young bodies across those same borders, and then he’d wait and consolidate. Integrate the group within the organization and wait, planning the next infusion or the next block, evaluating carefully the results of the next move in terms of overall politics and supervisory requirements before making it or rejecting the expansion.

Getting a grasp he called it. He would resist all his cronies crying for more, which caused him no end of disciplinary problems and angst, as people he’d observed, tend to fall into patterns and habits. He didn’t like that much either, trusting such delicate disciplinary problems to the same people time after time. They could be associated with him, and their habitual modus would eventually ID them for the “Other Side,” as he thought of the law.

But who could he trust? His business had expanded to such an extent he no longer knew all the workers. He only, really, associated with a select handful, but as time wore on, which of those could he trust. Really trust.

As the business of Dude expanded, so too did the expenses of operations. He bought off this ward boss; paid out to that cop. He was friendly with this group whom he detested and gave gifts to that group, who he got along with because they guarded a flank.

But, Dude began to notice the sharks of the police cruisers glide through his territory more often than he remembered. Or thought he remembered their frequency. He’d be parked in an alley and a fleeting glimpse of a cruiser gliding across the mouth on the main drag would catch his attention.

He reached a point and being the careful man he was, he thought he just needed a break. Take a vacation that was the idea. A short vacation was called for. He’d level off activities and get out of town for two weeks. Hell, make it three.

So, he planned, and while planning the vacation he conducted business as usual. One of the activities was a random pick-up of illicit pharmaceuticals.

He made the pick-up one evening and left the area. That was when the “Other Side” lit him up. When the cruiser lights came on, Dude’s first reaction was “Oh, Hell.” And his second was to tell his driver to step on it and get away.

The driver, being of little Saint Hood inclination himself, grinned while stepping on it. This he thought would go well as the Dude had pre-planned routes into and out of neighborhoods with such things in mind.

They moved. Very quickly they moved, and wove their way through traffic and dark streets. And every where they went, the “Other Side” was there. Not always behind, chasing, but ahead like they knew where Dude wanted to go and the cops cut them off from the route.

Eventually, as such high speeds in limited spaces will, the crash occurred. Dude’s driver lost control and crashed, wrapping the vehicle around a pole, glass flying everywhere, sheet metal crumpling, and noise so immediate it was unheard.

Dude bounced off the back of the front seat, ricocheted from the central pillar, raked across the broken glass of the side window and as he lay bleeding, dying, his vision tunneling down, he heard and took to his next world:

“This is On-Star, Mr. Dude; we know you’ve been in a crash. Assistance will be there in seconds, as the police have been chasing you for the last one hour and four minutes. Really, Mr. Dude; you should have known On-Star works both ways and the police have been monitoring you activities since you bought that car, and you can’t hide from the Stolen Vehicle function they activated.”

May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA.

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