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Thread: The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)

  1. #1
    Banned The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)
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    The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)

    Special Thanks To:*All of the people, actors, and characters who have helped inspire this story. Thank you.



    She betrays me...

    With her cold brand of love she betrays me. My heart. My love... My obsession.

    She cuts me like a knife... I smile through the pain and tell her I love it... Because the truth, as sick as it is, is that I love her...

    I can't live without her...



    Michael Juliano lay in his average bed, in his average apartment in an average town in New Jersey. Everything about it was... Average, except for her.

    Tatiana Rosenberg lay cuddled into his chest, sound asleep. His left arm was around her shoulders, caressing her blonde hair, back, and left arm. She was of Russian decent, but her lesser half (as her mother called it) was Jewish. Her mother, who had been born in America, married a wealthy Jewish lawyer. Tatiana's grandmother had come to America from Moscow in the early 20th century. She had nothing but her heritage, her pride, spirit, and work ethic. She survived, founding a family and home with a young Russian man. He was a heavy drinker, and Tatiana's mother had a somewhat difficult childhood. They were never wealthy, and so marrying a wealthy, hard working American man was important to Tatiana's mother. Marrying Solomon Rosenberg, a respected New York crime lawyer, often accused by the media of having ties to organized crime, was seen by her family as a bar setting achievement.

    Tatiana was raised in a modern, wealthy home with strong Russian roots and influence. She was the youngest of three children, only twenty-three years old.

    They were both naked, snuggled under soft blue sheets. A small lamp on a nightstand provided a soft light on Michael's side of the bed as he enjoyed a joint of marijuana, staring at the white, plastic phone on the nightstand next to the lamp. He flicked the ash off of the cherry and picked up the phone, punching in a seven digit number. He held the phone to his ear, glancing down at Tatiana.

    A woman answered on the other end, "Hello?"

    "Hey Lexi, my brother around?"

    "No, he's still at work, Mikey, you wanna leave a message?"

    "Yeah, tell that mutt to call me," Michael said with a smile, "it's really important Lexi, okay? I need to see him."

    "... Okay," Alexa replied softly after a brief second of thought.

    "Thanks, Lexi."

    "No problem, Mikey."



    *****



    New Jersey, 1997


    Alexa Juliano hung up, placing the black cordless phone down on her kitchen counter. She went back to work, cooking, and singing along with the radio. She had long brown hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a tanned complexion to match. She wore a pair of tight blue jeans, and a tight green T-shirt that hugged her thin, athletic build perfectly. She wore her wedding band faithfully. Hardly ever taking it off, and never forgetting it when she did.

    Her mother had told her all of her life, A good man is more precious than all the gold and diamond in the world, and it had turned out she was right all along. Alexa found her mister right in John Michael Juliano. The boy of her dreams. She had known him a great deal of her life, growing up together, knowing many of the same people, John began to fall in love with her as she grew up. When she was 17, he couldn't wait anymore, chasing boys off, breaking her heart when some other girl came along into his life, regardless of how little they meant to him. Boys will be boys, after all.

    Her life changed when she met him. Things were tough, bad at times in the beginning. They were young, still trying to find themselves, find their own path, and still be together. But she loved him, deeply, and she knew he loved her too, and nothing can come between that.


    John Juliano entered the front door of their home. He was a tall, hansom man with short brown hair, frosty blue eyes, and a strong, muscular jaw. He had a fit, muscular build and wore a nice grey suit with a white dress shirt.

    He smiled wide. "I'm home, baby!"


    He wrapped his arms around her stomach slowly, sensually, kissing the back of her head, holding her tight. She smiled, chopping some vegetables for dinner.

    "Hey, baby," he said softly, resting his chin on her shoulder, "smells good."

    "You're late, and thank you," Alexa replied with a smile, tilting her head up to meet him for a kiss.

    "Did my brother call, sweet heart?" John asked, kissing her neck.

    Alexa sighed gently, putting the cutting knife down, leaning against him. "Yes... But can it wait, baby?" she asked him, breaking his heart.

    He moved to her side, turning her around in his arms and rested them across her lower back. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders looking up at him with those beautiful eyes. The most beautiful eyes he had ever seen.

    He kissed her passionately, making intimate eye contact. "This is something really important, sweet heart. Somethin' that's gonna change our lives forever, baby, I promise. Okay?"

    She nodded, smiled, and kissed him again. Then he kissed her forehead softly. "I'll be back soon, baby."



    *****



    John stuck the key to his outdated white Cadillac in the ignition, threw the old gal in reverse, and pulled out of his driveway in a nice middle class New Jersey neighborhood.

    It was late, and the city was illuminated by street and traffic lights that drifted by his vehicle as he cruised down the streets past green lights he'd hit every so often.

    The city was alive with prostitutes, drug dealers, cops, and mundane foot traffic. Jersey was his home, these were the streets he grew up on, and the streets the Giacomina family called their own.



    The Money
    A Tale of Greed and Betrayal



    It was a glorious time in retrospect, but it didn't feel like it at the time, you know. There was no romantic magic at the time, only looking back on it now. Everyone was waiting for the world to end, the death of a princess had inspired us all, and a white kid from Detroit was about to tear down racial barriers... It was a strange time to say the least.

    Growing up, adults always used to say that the only way a man could truly survive in this world, was to get a good education, and break his back doin' honest, 9-5 work. But that wasn't me. See, me and my brother, we wanted to be the con artists, the thieves, loan sharks, racketeers, the guys who were really in charge; they had the power. In the fall of '97 I was beginning to realize that power, respect, all of that meant shit where we're goin'. All we have while we're here, is the time we're given, and the choice of what to do with it. You can chase an honest living and die in vein, or you can chase power and respect and die alone full of regrets. Either way, you die, and waste a lot time pursuing something that ultimately means nothing. When we were young, all we wanted was money, power, and respect, I mean that's the American dream. The big home, the fast cars, the satellite TV, trips around the world, the young, sexy mistress, and the beautiful wife. That's the American dream folks; gross excess.

    After the fall of '97, when my brother and me made a move that would go down in New Jersey history, all my material ambitions and values died in a one bedroom apartment in northern Jersey.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had done the right thing with that money. Given Vincenzo his share, donated it to charity, or never stolen it in the first place. But instead, we tried to keep it all. Instead, it tore us all apart...

  2. #2
    Banned The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)
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    "Shut up and count the money," Michael said with irritation, taking a sip of a hot coffee. *He turned around from facing the kitchen counter of a small, modest safe house. It looked as though it hadn't been redecorated since the mid-eighties. The brown carpet was rough and prickly. It looked as though it was pulled from the floor of a cheap seventies motel. Cheap wooden paneling met brown wallpaper with an egg shell flower print. Thin white curtains with dark green drapes to match the poorly painted cast-iron radiators gave the small one bedroom a a bad case of outdated decor syndrome. But it wasn't a Better Homes & Gardens store, it was a safe house used by John and his men. An old spot used back in the late seventies, early eighties before his father went to prison. Frankie Juliano was a heavy guy. Everyone knew him, and everyone loved him. Guys respect John's old man, which means they respected Johnny and his brother, treated them like blood.

    Frankie was still in jail doing twenty-five for a hit he carried out in New York. Whacked some made guy in the Brooklyn outfit for Vincenzo Giacomina as a favor to Marcello Costiga, a powerful and respected New York boss. The beef caught up to him when two witnesses who were smoking a joint in the window of an apartment building across the street came forward. Frankie plead guilty and the judge hit him with twenty-five like he was handing out food stamps. No deals, no mercy. The justice system had destroyed his life, and the family glorified his father.

    John wasn't long taking the path of his father after Jimmy Gambini became closely involved in his life. Jimmy would take care of his mother financially, do what he could to help out, and mentor the boys like an uncle. I mean, that's what they knew him as, uncle Jimmy. It was never Jim, or Mr. Gambini, it was uncle Jimmy for as long as they could remember. He was a second father to them, and it was through him they came to embrace the family business.

    Michael approached a circular table in the middle of the kitchen area. It was piled to capacity with cash, and two men worked tirelessly, running the stacks through money counting machines, crunching numbers. Closest to Michael, on the right, was Calvin Johnson. He was a black male in his mid-thirties. He wore a leather jacket, shades with round lenses, and a white shirt. His hair was cropped close to his head, and he was well shaven.

    The other man was Alfonzo, a chubby Italian in his sixties at least. He had balding white hair, and baggy eyes with puffy cheeks. He wore a grey suit and tie with a white shirt.*

    "Sit the **** down and help then," Calvin said with a mild British accent as he bound a stack of bills with an elastic, a cigar tucked in his left cheek.

    Michael chuckled, sitting down and placed his over-the-counter coffee on a free space he found on the table's surface.

    "Can't we all get along?" Alfonzo asked humorously, making Mikey and Calvin smile.

    John entered through the apartment door, smiling wide.

    "Hey!" Alfonzo shouted cheerfully, filled with joy at the sight of John, "What do you know, what do you say!"

    "Johnny boy, Johnny boy, you missed all the fun," Calvin said with a smile.

    John laughed, making his way over to the table, eying the money, squeezing Michael's shoulders.

    "Holy shit, gentlemen," he said softly with a smile.

    "How's your father doin' anyway kid?" Alfonzo asked John.

    "How the **** should I know, Fonzy, he's been in prison for 15 ****in' years," John replied, with a smile.*

    Alfonzo laughed at the top of his lungs, his face turning red.*"Same old Johnny! This kid used to work the store front down at Papa Tony's Pizzeria. Used to keep all the old timers in splits," Alfonzo recalled with his old fashion brand of storytelling. He could make any story interesting by the way he told it. When he talked, you listened. Alfonzo was just that kind of guy. "Those were some good times, you know?"

    John tapped Michael on the chest, walking over to the bathroom, and Michael joined him.

    John wrapped an arm around Mikey's shoulders. "What are we lookin' at, buddy?" he asked I a low tone of voice, smiling from ear to ear.

    "Almost two rocks," Michael replied with pride and excitement.

    "Two million ****in' dollars?!" John yelled under his breath, placing both hands behind Mikey's ears, shaking him gently.

    "Almost."

    John hugged him, shaking him again. "My little brother, a ****in' bank robber!"

    John kissed him on the forhead, overwhelmed with excitement.

    "It's gonna be a green Christmas, boys!"

  3. #3
    Banned The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)
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    "So... What's new, kid?" Jimmy Gambini asked plainly, sipping his coffee as he peered into John's soul from across the cafe table they both sat at.

    John Juliano pecked at his eggs and bacon with toast. He shrugged indifferently. "Not much, Jimmy. Usual bullshit with my guys at the warehouse. Still chasin' your guy at the docks around. That mother ****er keeps duckin' me, Jimmy. I'm gonna have to hurt this Irish mutt before you get your money," John replied as he nibbled on his bacon, sipping his cup of tea.

    Jimmy looked him over with an intensity residing in his seasoned eyes. "What about Alexa?" he asked quickly, taking another sip of his coffee before he sat back in his chair.

    "What about her?"

    "How's she doing?" Jimmy elaborated with a smile.

    Johnny took another bite of fresh, salty bacon. "She's good, Jimmy. Misses you, you know? You never come around no more."

    Jimmy glanced down at the table, rapping his knuckles against the surface several times. "I know I haven't been around a whole lot, and you know why that is. But I'm going to come see you and Alexa sometime next week, okay?"

    "Yeah, she'd like that, Jimmy, I mean, she really would."

    "So, when are you gonna knock her up, kid?" Jimmy asked, leaning forward against his elbows with a wide smile.

    "What?" John asked, nearly spraying his tea all over Jimmy and the table in front of them.

    Jimmy laughed, winking at John. "When are you going to have a child with this girl? You know she's a keeper, Johnny."

    "I know."

    "No! No you don't, Tadpole, or you would have knocked her up a long time ago."

    John chuckled, glancing out the window and let a deep sigh escape his lips. "We're just not ready, I guess. I mean, it's not like we haven't talked about it. And we plan on having kids, but... I guess we're waiting for the right time, and it's not now--soon, maybe, but not right now, you know?"

    Jimmy nodded, picking a strip of bacon off of John's plate. "Picture the babies that girl would make, Johnny," Jimmy said softly, perking up his eyebrows as he took a large bite of bacon. "Good," he declared, taking yet another sip of hot coffee.

    John sat quietly, awaiting his uncle's next words. It wasn't that he had nothing to say, just that Jimmy was the kind of guy who dictated the conversation, never the other way around. You followed Jimmy's lead, even when you felt as though you were at the wheel.

    Jimmy laid a ten dollar bill on the table, and turned sideways in his chair. He glanced over at John, taking a moment of silence before he said plainly, "You'd tell me if something was goin' on, right?"

    It threw John off, and he tried to remain inconspicuous. "Yeah, sure, Jimmy. Why, what's up?" he asked indifferently, their gazes clashing like fire and ice across the plate of eggs and bacon with toast.

    Jimmy smiled wide and stood up out of his chair, fixing the collar of his fine grey suit around his shoulders.

    "Tell Alex I miss her too!"

    He left John in the cafe to finish his breakfast.

  4. #4
    Banned The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)
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    John Juliano slowly opened his brother's apartment door. As the white door swung open, the sound of a stereo blasting music invaded the hallway. He walked in the door and glanced in the bathroom, which was located to the left off of the hallway inside the apartment. The bathroom was empty and he continued into the living room where the source of the music was. Looking around, he was slightly disgusted by the state of his kid brother's home. Dirty laundry, empty beer bottles and pop cans riddled the living room. An ashtray piled to capacity with cigarette butts and marijuana roaches sat on the glass coffee table in front of the couch. In the kitchen, dirty dishes filled the sink, and a pot full of day-old Kraft Dinner found a home on the front right burner of the stove. John pinched the bridge of his nose, shaking his head in disappointment.



    *****



    "Are you ****ing kidding me?!"
    Michael Juliano and Tatiana Rosenburg were rudely awoken by John's bellowing voice.

    "What the ****, Johnny?" Tatiana moaned, squinting through her sleepiness. She pulled the covers over her bare chest and laid back down, trying to go back to sleep.

    "Keep your mouth shut, Tatiana," John snapped back at her.

    Michael sat up in his bed, perplexed by the entire situation. "What the hell are you doin', John?"

    "What am I... What am I doing?" John asked him rhetorically. "You were supposed to meet me downtown, twenty ****ing minutes ago!" John yelled, upsetting Tatiana once again.

    Michael fell back in his bed, rubbing his eyes. "Oh shit! That was today?"

    "Yea! That was today!" John yelled as he left the bedroom, stepping over a pink thong that belonged to Tatiana. "Get your ****in' ass outta bed Mikey!"

    Michael lay back in his bed, sighing heavily. "Jesus Christ!"
    Last edited by OutlawTorn; 10-24-2014 at 08:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Banned The Money (A Tale of Greed and Betrayal)
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    "Why does it even matter?" Michael asked, rolling a joint in his lap as the old Cadillac cruised down the busy city street. The brothers had been discussing the merits of punctuality.

    "Why does it... It matters a whole lot, Mikey. A man's credibility is all he's got in this world," John replied, nagging*his kid brother, glancing quickly between his lap and the road.

    "Besides money, right?"

    "Yeah, which neither of us have." Michael laughed, placing the joint between his lips.

    "We have some now, right?"

    "Yeah, well, it's not enough, Mikey," John replied, his undivided attention fixed on the road. "It's never enough," he finished softly, lost in thought.

    "So what are we gonna do, bro?" Michael asked.

    "First of all, you're gonna quit that shit you keep smoking. It's gonna turn your mind into mush."

    Michael lit the joint using his father's old zippo. "You gonna quote De Niro on me now?" he asked, laughing as he puffed the marijuana.

    "I'll quote Moses if I feel like it," John replied, smiling.

    "Seriously, what's next?"

    "You remember why you picked that apartment in the first place?"

    "Yeah, the concealed attic... You wanna stash the money at my place?" Michael asked curiously, honored by the trust required for such a duty.

    "Yeah, but Tatiana cannot know about this ****in' shit, Mikey."

    "Yeah yeah."

    "I'm serious! You gotta keep a girl like Tatiana on a short leash. Leave that bag of money alone with that girl and you'll drown in a sea of shoes inside of a month. Lexi doesn't even know about this money... You know what I mean?"

    "Yeah... Yeah, John. I got this," Michael assured his brother, taking several long drags of the marijuana joint.

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