As I pulled up to Eggy’s I noticed a large paper sign on the front door. It read “Seized by the US Department of Justice – Administrative Forfeiture”
Karp was leaning against the front of the building.
“What’s going on? Eggy’s has been seized?”
“Yup, turns out Jackson Lopresti had a hidden interest in the place”
Jackson was a so so lobbyist. He mostly represented the smaller labor unions.
“Why would Jackson having an investment in Eggy’s cause it to be seized by the Feds?”
“We did it under Title 19, no judicial involvement we just take it”
“Yes we, more precisely me. Do you know that prick Lopresti actually installed coin vending on the sugar packets? He wanted a dime every time you needed a sugar packet. Well fuck him now. He’s out and we own it.”
“The federal government is going to run Eggy’s?” My head was spinning.
“Nah, the government can’t run a restaurant. If we can fuck up the lottery can you imagine what we would do in a restaurant? No it will get auctioned off and new owners will take over. But let’s talk about more important things, what did you get at Ping’s fundraiser?”
“Absolutely nothing, that crazy Jew, Lev Behuda almost got in a gun fight with Jelly’s guys, then after the arrests no one and I mean no one was talking about anything. You guys have scared everyone so much that they just shut up, worried about being taped.”
“That’s crazy, people have been taped in Albany forever, and you know that as well as anyone. What’s changed?”
“I think it’s how high profile Ping has made corruption. It used to just be the cost of doing business in government now Ping is playing for blood and dragging families and friends into it. It’s like he thinks he’s Giuliani and we’re the Mafia”
“He’s fucking up a good thing that’s for sure. He’s in such a rush to announce his presence with authority that he doesn’t realize he’s going to miss a lot. It’s like that old Amish story about the cows”
Amish story? Could Karp be one of Jamie’s clients?
“What Amish story?”
“I know this Amish lady and she told me her Uncle used to tell her a story about these two bulls, one old and one young, that were on a hill and saw a herd of cows, the young one said lets run down there and fuck us some cows, the old one responded let’s walk and fuck all of them. Makes sense don’t you think?”
“Fuck you Andy, this isn’t some bullshit Amish common sense thing, Ping is changing the very way we do our jobs, both of us”
“I know Mort it’s sad but sometimes you just have to accept change and make the best of it”
“Is that so Andy? How do you plan on making the best of it? What else can you do if there is no political corruption left in Albany? Do you plan on transferring to the anti-terrorist section?”
“That’s not funny Mort. Maybe I’ll just buy Eggy’s myself”
“You, buy Eggy’s? You would never retire from the bureau it’s all you know”
“People change Mort, but you better hope I don’t retire because right now the only thing protecting you from that crazy Jew is me”
“What are you talking about, Behudas got no issue with me”
“Now that’s where you’re wrong, Leathers. Last night when Behuda left the fundraiser he had a meeting with Jelly’s uncle Vince Iorrizo. The Iorizzos are expanding their business now that everyone is focused on political corruption and they cut a deal with Behuda to run the importation and sale of marijuana”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“The word around town is you are working for this guy Alex Shimmel at Contemporary Interior Accents to stop Behuda from opening those pot dorms Ravi and Richard are lobbying for”
“Well take this as a compliment but the Iorizzos and Behuda think you are better than Richard at what you do so the most cost effective solution is to remove you from the equation”
“They want to kill me? I’m just a lobbyist”
“They want to kill you because you are a lobbyist, that and Vince is pissed that you never asked for his help on anything, the Italians are funny that way”
“What do I do Andy? I’m no tough guy. I’m just a lobbyist I live off of my ability to corrupt others. How can I corrupt stone cold criminals?”
“You can’t. You’ve been dealing with armatures your whole career these guys are pros. I talked with Vince though and told him I still needed you so out of professional courtesy they aren’t going to let Behuda pickle you but you have to fire Shimmel and I have no idea what he will do”
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. My choice was pissing off the mafia or pissing off whomever it was that Alex worked for.
Cadillac Curtis never warned me about anything like this and somehow embracing serendipity just seemed like a half assed way to survive at this point.
“Andy what would you do in my shoes?”
“We’ve known each other a long time Mort, my advice is first thing stop asking people for advice. If you have to rely on an Amish whore and a cheap FBI agent to tell you what to do you are well and truly fucked”
I looked at Andy, he was just smiling, and he hadn’t said a word. I was talking to myself in my own head.
“Didn’t you hear what I just didn’t say to you? All I can tell you Leathers is buy some time and see what happens. At this point you’re just along for the ride”
Just along for the ride? That sounded a lot like embrace serendipity. I hadn’t been just along for the ride in 30 years I wasn’t going to start now. I am Mort Leatherbaum I drive the bus.