Wednesday, October 30, 2002
I used to be friend with a guy named Chris. Chris is a gorilla of a guy, a real barrel. He works out a lot and he's abnormally strong. Very physically intidating. We used to play cards in my folks' garage and drink cases of beer. While he's drunk he's usually a cheerful, belly-laughing guy with a Chicago accent so thick it borders on parody.
I became friends with him sometime in 2000 when I went to the local pub, Papa's, with Ian. (the one who went to Florida to be punk rock hobo, if you remember that entry) Ian had used an ID he'd stolen from me a few weeks before to get in, being an 18 year old. He buddied up with the bartenders immediately and they stopped checking his ID. (he looks nothing like me, and has a patchwork of scars on his large forehead from a few different drunken carwrecks)
He was friends with Chris, who was also inside the bar, somehow. Another underager. I'd met Chris before but never befriended him. We'd met at a party or two. Chris came and sat next to me and Ian. Ian was terrified.
I don't remember the exact flow of the conversation, but it boiled down to this: A few local toughs had spent a little too much time watching the Sopranos on HBO, and they got aspirations to start a little something going. They put together a list of about 100 people, and they added a price to each name, between $200 and $1000. People they didn't like were listed for more, people they liked for less. They picked out somebody popular and well known from the list, and they had Chris beat the hell out of him and fracture his skull. Supposedly. I later learned that Adam got a sound thrashing but no fracture or permanent disfigurement.
At the time, I knew none of the above. All I knew from Ian was that Chris would "kill us both, so don't look at him, and don't talk to him."
Once the word about Adam got around, Chris would go up to people and tell them how much he was getting paid to fuck them up. He told them he'd be waiting for them to try and leave, and he'd be there. He would not say who was paying, nor would he divulge why he wanted to inflict a hurting. It was seemingly for no reason.
It took several pitchers of Budweiser and several games of pool to extract from Chris that he was extorting people. Hopefully the intended victim would be frightened enough to pony up the cash in exchange for his bodily well-being.
I appealed to his sense of guilt and honesty. He was suffering from low self-esteem and thought that he'd never amount to anything, that he would never accomplish anything, and that he was stupid. The only way he could feel important was by intimidating people. I convinced him that he could be a much better person and that he could accomplish somthing better. He let on that he'd been invited to a business meeting and was told to bring as many people as possible. Invited by his telemarketing boss, Judy. He didn't think he was smart enough to "do any business stuff."
So he invited me to a pyramid scheme meeting. Similar to Amway, but instead of supermarket type products, this company sells stocks, mutual funds, and insurance. Chris didn't agree right away to stop the extortion, but he decided to let Ian and myself off the hook.
I don't think he really wanted to do it anyways.
He got drunker.
Then, I cajoled the names of the masterminds of the little plan out of him.
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