Eddie The Enforcer (Pay Your Bill Or Else)
Eddie grew up in the projects. His mom worked the streets and Eddie was embarressed by her. Sometimes the other kids would make fun of his mom. This always ended up with Eddie trying to pummel the offender. The only person that Eddie looked up to was Luke.
Luke ran the corner where Eddie lived, any wagers or dealing was done by Luke and his crew. They would recruit the young ones to act as lookouts up the street in case the police drove through. the kids would run back to the corner to let Luke and his boys know they were coming.
Eddie was nine when he started to work for Luke. He was so excited that he stopped going to school because he did not want to miss anything that happened on the corner. A few months went by before the school informed authorities of Eddie's absence.
One day a social worker showed up at his house, he was not there but his mom was home. She threw the social worker out and threatened him harm if he ever came back. When Eddie came home his mom was irate at him for bringing authorities to her house. Eddie stormed out of the house never to return.
When he told Luke what happened Luke brought him to an apartment where several children were living. Luke told him that the girl that owned the apartment would not mind and that Eddie now lived there.
There was always plenty of food in the apartment and there was even some cool video games. Luke came over all the time with stuff for the kids. The children all worked for him in one way or another. They all considered themselves a family and there were happy times in the apartment.
Outside was a different story. Eddie saw his first shooting when he was ten. A car drove by and all he heard was a plunk plunk plunk sound. Jimmy Jay was shot in his leg, the boy did not cry he just sat there swearing at the car disappearing around the corner.
Over the years Eddie had done all kinds of things for Luke. He acted as a lookout for awhile he even ended up in charge of all the other children acting as lookouts.. He ran deliveries to different parts of town bringing the product to the customers who did not want to go to the projects. Eventually he was put in charge of collecting money that was owed to the corner crew.
Eddie was eighteen when he was promoted to enforcer. Just knowing that Eddie was looking for them caused most people to pay up before Eddie found them. Not only drug money but money lost due to wagers was all in Eddies job description. When he found someone who owed money he would charge them a "vig" on the debt. This was Eddies money to keep and he took it very seriously. No one walked away from a debt once it was handed to Eddie.
He made quite a reputation for himself over the years. Not only was he physically intimidating but he also was emotionally abusive. He once held a gun to a man's head forcing him to sign his convenience store over to Eddie. He had received ownership or partnership in twelve different endeavors from car dealers to liquor stores for the crew. Once his crew found out a customer had assets they would increase that customers credit to the point that the person was unable to pay the debt back. That was when Eddie was sent in to collect.
Once the business was signed over it was used to launder the money that was made on the corner. On paper Luke's crew seemed legit. Over the years they had become honorable members of the community.
If a single mom needed food for her children she knew that Luke would always help out someone in the project that was in need. The crew even made sure that the people who lived in the project was safe. they did not allow anyone to burglarize apartments or in any way harm the inhabitants.
In return for the safety the people who lived in the projects would never inform the police on the crews activities nor would they testify as witnesses against them.
Eddie built up such a rep that a message was sent to him one afternoon. The message came from Hal the Hound so named because of his promiscuity with the women. Hal ran the neighborhood, even Luke paid Hal protection money as Hal had ties in the police department. Hal wanted to offer Eddie a job, his enforcer Smitty had just got a jail bid of ten to life and he needed a man with Eddie's skills.
Eddie went to the pool hall to meet with Hal at the designated time. Hal offered Eddie more money than Eddie had ever imagined he could earn. Hal also gave him a union job at a construction site that Eddie did not have to show up for to get paid. For the first time in his life Eddie had a real job sort of.
His first task for Hal was to collect ten thousand dollars from a restaurant owner. The guy was terrible at picking winners in football games and his debt was to the point that he could no longer pay. He was required to pay one thousand dollars a week in vig just to float the debt. He had not paid in three weeks and he knew that Hal would be sending someone in to see him.
He did not recognize Eddie when he came in to the restaurant. Eddie asked for him by name which he overheard and called out "yeah that's me who is asking." Eddie shook the man's hand and asked to speak to him in private. The man brought him into an office, once he closed the door Eddie wasted no time in getting down to business. He pushed the guy onto the desk and struck him several times before introducing himself.
"You know who you owe and why you owe it. I don't give a shit for your excuses all I want is the money. Either that or we will need you to sign the restaurant over to us." Eddie said holding the man by his collar a few inches from his face. "Either that or I will erase you and the debt do you understand."
The man told him he could not pay and he would sign whatever Eddie wanted him too. When Eddie got back to Hal's he went into the office where Hal was sitting behind the desk. Hal congratulated him for a job well done. They went out that night to places Eddie never imagined existed, in his young life Eddie almost never left the project.
Years went by and Eddie was more than content working for Hal. He owned his own home, had several cars and even owned three businesses. Every gambler in the city knew Eddie and if they knew Eddie was looking for them they would usually find a way to pay their bill.
He even went to campaign dinners for local politicians as he had become a large donor to political campaigns. Hal would pick out the candidate that would do Hal's bidding once in office. He even let police officers get into debt with him thereby acquiring favors in payment for their debt.
Eddie never failed to collect a debt that was given to him. Usually the only sentence he needed to say was "Pay Your Bill Or Else."
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