The Mob that got away – a fable

When I took over the Soprano crime family, I was shocked at their general sloppiness, inefficiency, and lack of discipline.  I kicked out the low performers, brought in some enforcers from the Russian and Cuban mobs, and reorganized the management.  Despite their decentralized organization, the Soprano family was a prize, because they had a technology based on the borrachero tree of Columbia.  This tree is a source of the drug Scopolamine, which criminal amateurs in Columbia blow into the faces of victims, or spike drinks with.  It puts victims in a daze of some sort, so that they can be robbed.  The victims do not collapse, they just lose an aspect of will or consciousness.
The Sopranos were smart enough to refine Scopolamine into an aerosol, not just a powder, and they were even smarter in how they weaponized it.  They could modify a smart phone to be a Scopolamine gun, or they could put a pipe under the chassis of a car to envelop pedestrians.   Victims did not know what hit them, or even whether they had been hit.
It was a great money maker for the guys, and they could get past any security with it.
The Sopranos also got hold of some expert hackers on the “dark web” as well as the most advanced electronic bugging equipment – such as microphones that could be implanted in a wall and which only send messages in coded bursts once an hour.  They even found some Russian scientists who had worked on a top secret project on drugs that affect behavior.
So they had a great thing going – except:
One day a trusted lieutenant of mine named Corleone came into my house and asked: “can we talk- we have a problem”?
I invited him in, and he told his story.
corleone
He said that an individual with little money and nothing worth having had been targeted by a loose cannon in our organization.  The loose cannon was a woman named Berta, from Lower Slobovia, who had immigrated recently to Connecticut, and had used the drug, without permission, on this individual.
“This is expressly against our policy!” I said.  “We can’t have our technology exposed by it being used massively and randomly!”
“Yes” said Corleone.  “Her assumption was that nobody would believe this guy.  She used the drug “libidamine” which had been brought here from Russia.  It raises the libido.  The guy himself was a real piece of work, really disgusting.  But he posed as a puritan.  So she thought she’d teach him a lesson.  Its a powerful drug she used, most guys after a few days of it start looking for ‘women of the night'”.
“Continue.  I am intrigued”. I said.
Corleone looked glum.  “She and her friends gained access to his apartment.  They drugged him, but it didn’t work as planned.  Sure, it raised his libido, and he did strange things like trying to change what he ate, or putting in huge vats of spring water in his apartment.  But it did not get him to act as desired.  Our scientists back in Columbia were first astonished, then challenged.”
“It doesn’t sound too serious so far,” I said.
Corleone looked impatient.  “You don’t get it.  — They got so challenged that one day, they poured ten times the normal dose into a bottle of water in his fridge.  Berta and Pierre did it at night, while the target was sleeping.  Next morning, he got up, drank the water, and got hit with libidamine’s effects like a ton of bricks.  He realized he was drugged.  He went to the FBI.  He went to the police.”
I was getting alarmed.  “And they believed him?”
Corleone looked tired.  “No, they did not.”
“So what’s the problem?”
Corleone took a breath.  “The problem is that this guy is famous.  Here’s a photo of him.”
Corleone offered me a photo. I looked at it.  It was a of a slight, skinny man with big glasses, and a large balding head, and drooping cheeks and a bloated nose.  He had a depressed expression.
“You are worried about this guy?” I asked.  “He’s pathetic.  You are pathetic.  Get out of here!”
Corleone refused to leave.  “No, you have to listen.  This guy was known as being very handsome – and that kind of reputation spread – and spread.”
I looked at the photo.  Handsome?
Corleone continued.  “And, he attracted the attention of the fair sex, which apparently sent him off his rocker, and a couple of his dorm-mates managed to get his behavior on film. It was so gross, and so disgusting, that it gained a cult following.  People would gather in a room and throw rice at the screen.  You see also, he is Jewish, and he was drooling over the idea of getting hold of a blonde girl, and people see this behavior and think they’ve exposed a hidden part of reality – what Jews are like!”
“I’m confused”, I said.  “which is it – is this guy a handsome heartthrob – a disgusting pervert – or a bald nerd who we should never have tangled with?”
“All three,” he said.
I looked at the photo.  “I don’t get the attraction” I said.
Corleone started theorizing.  “Ever hear the term “metrosexual”?  I think some women don’t like the idea of real men.  They like nerdy weak guys with friendly personalities.  And his current looks are deceptive.  He was good looking at one point.  He was a big fish in a small pond.”
I was getting a headache.  “Look Corleone, I think you are overdoing this.  Its a very strange story you are telling me, and I really don’t think we have to worry about it.  Just in future, keep a better leash on our foot-soldiers.”
Corleone shook his head.  “This guy is a wild man.  He has made speeches about what we did to him on trains – on public trains.  He has posted posters, distributed cassette tapes, and so forth.”
“So what?  Anyone going to believe a lunatic who talks about his libido on trains?  Or in mysterious Mafiosi who are targeting him for no reason?”
Corleone showed me another photo.  It was of a short blonde woman.  “This woman fouled us up.”
“Why?”
“She’s the original woman the movie was about.  She decided to contact him.  We had to stop it.”
“So did you kill her?”
“No, we drugged him.  She sat next to him on the train, and we drugged him the previous night, and it gives anyone a massive headache.  We also tried some suggestion, with our hypnotic drug.”
“And then?”
“It worked.  We prevented communication.  She decided he was a loser.  Which of course he is.”
blonde.
But then, our guys felt he had to be watched constantly.  They already had a back door into his house, and even a compartment we built behind a wall near his room.  They gassed him with the latest drugs we have.  Interrogation drugs and poisons of various sorts.  They got into his room one time, after he was safely anesthetized, and damaged his spine.  When he showed signs of going too far afield, they warped his feet.  And then the worst possible thing happened.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Was I the head of serious money-making outfit. or of a three-ring circus?
“Continue please.” I said.  “Who is in charge of this operation?”
Corleone explained that Velasquez and Cohen were the soldiers assigned to this case.  I remembered Velasquez.  He had lost his father at an early age, and his mother was an alcoholic who beat him.  He spoke like a wounded angry animal, and that was on a good day.  Cohen spoke more like a robot, an idealistic robot.  They were good soldiers, ruthless when they had to be and maliciously sadistic when possible.
I leaned forward.  “What is the worst possible thing that you say happened”?
Corleone said “They went squishy.  They felt sorry for the guy.  They had been spraying his pants with kidney poison, and he was nearly exploding.  He tried to make a deal.  He spoke aloud, promising that he would not talk about us any more.  He wrote it on his computer, which we had bugged.  Velasquez and Cohen decided to give him a break.  They put their reputation on the line, trying to persuade us to let up.  And I, like a fool, let myself be persuaded.”
“You did!!!!”
Corleone looked scared.  “Yes, I said they could let up on the poisoning, they just should watch him, and threaten him when he went out of line. – But you see, one thing went wrong after another.  He interpreted our threats as imminent doom, and went to the police.  And he was paranoid, so he thought we attacked him when we didn’t and he started speaking on trains again.  So Velasquez went after his spine again, and Cohen and Harvey the Hulk bent his feet again.  Then we sprayed a nasty poison that made him bleed – affects the intestines, you know.”
“I see.” I said.  “So he started squealing.  Did anyone believe him?”
“Yes!  he appealed on the train for help – he asked anyone who knew anything to tell his town police.  And lo and behold, phone calls started coming in to the bewildered local police department.  Previously they thought he was insane, and were collaborating with other departments in the area to keep an eye on him.”
“Beautiful” I said sarcastically.  “Beautiful!.  You screwed things up with this clown.  Let me tell you what has to be done.  We have to discredit him.  Keep the pressure on.  Be outrageous.  Be audacious.  Use the Interrogation drug – he will talk endlessly at night and during the day.  Use the aphrodisiac.  Use the Viagra mist.  He will sound crazy – and the story is so crazy, that he will go down in history as a major lunatic!   And in future, Corleone, tell any Member of our mob that if they free-lance like this we will use drug X99 on them!”
Corleone paled.  “Not X99!”
“its gotta be done” I said.  “Starting with Berta from Lower Slobovia!”
I ushered Corleone out.  “Oh,” I added – “That movie you talked about – that will discredit him too.  Show it!”
The approach worked.
Our organization continued to thrive and go from strength to strength.
We of course had a special fate planned for the metrosexual who broke the deal with us.  It was drug Y88 – even worse than drug X99.
The moral of the story is: sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.  And don’t hire people from Lower Slobovia.  Ever.
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