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One time, when I was like nine-ten, my family took a trip to Chi-town. Christmas time, visiting some cousin or uncle, I don't remember. It was family but it wasn't close. Anyway, it snowed and blowed like you wouldn't believe. Colder than a witch's hoo-hah, which is an order of magnitude more frigid than her tit, if you see what I'm saying. So we're walking the street and everyone's hustling as fast as they can to do whatever they have to do and get back inside. Except, can you believe it, near an L stop, there's an organ grinder: big parka, squeezebox at his feet, waiting for someone to toss him a quarter.
This guy's standing with his monkey on his shoulder. If you've never seen a monkey shivering, man, you haven't seen pathetic. And this jizzstain is not only keeping the thing out in the snow, he's making it smoke for him. Like holding the cigarette in his monkeypaws and putting it to the dude's lips as he puffs, so he won't have to take his hands out of his pockets. But I'm not impressed by that. I think the whole thing is too cool and I want to see the monkey do a trick. Swing from the lamppost. Play the squeezebox. Something. So I ask the guy and he doesn't even say anything. Just pokes at the money jar with his boot. And I'm a kid, but I get it: money makes the monkey dance.
It's a good lesson for being in law enforcement. If you're ever trying to figure out why something horrible happened--some nightmare thing that makes you think God's got the same sense of humor as Hitler--nine times out of ten the answer's money. Some chick pimping her ten-year-old daughter for meth. Some teenage gangbanger cuts the fingers off a kid trying to take his corner. Money: it's always money, somehow or another. I mean, I'm not a commie--I work too damned hard for every thing I got--but you gotta believe rich people don't do that stuff. They have their own insane gerbil-rectum interactions with the wrong side of weird, sure. But they don't go out and do the sickest shit, because they don't need the money. That's the truth.
It's like, you probably heard about this Mr.-Wizard-Gone-Wild caper over at A.P.D. I won't get into the details of the who and the what, but there's a couple things I can say about it. Like for one thing, sometimes even the devil's got bad luck. Turns out at the end of the day, we had more evidence afterward than when we started. Good evidence. The best kind, even though it's not sexy: money. You got a fingerprint? So what, there's reasonable doubt and a thousand ways it ends up on that cup or whatever. You got a computer and it takes the tech nerds a year to crack the encryption. But a money trail? That's a gun that never stops smoking.
And from this, now we've got this one hard case, real dead-eyed gargoyle-looking villain. And I don't use that lightly, but this withered sack of excrement used to be a cop. He knew better, once upon a time, and he chose to go bad. And why? Money. Pay's way better on the wrong side of the law. And all of us who spend our lives cleaning up the scum of the earth...well, that makes us glorified janitors, right? And janitors do not get paid the big bucks.
I'm sure that's what this guy was thinking, way back. He'd make some cash doing what he does for the guys on the other side. But that's what makes a day like today so satisfying. Free-lapdance-from-a-stripper-with-real-knockers-who-gives-you-her-number-after-and-answers-when-you-call satisfying. Once in a lifetime, y'know? Because, my friends, today we--the good guys!--got to take all those ill-gotten gains back. RICO ain't just some Puerto Rican nickname. It's the way to really make the bad guys hurt. Even a hard guy like the one I was talking about, you take his money away and that's when you get to see what he looked like when he was a little kid with a skinned knee, fixing to cry. Because without the money, all the blood he's spilled...what was it for? Nothing. And if it's all for nothing, then suddenly he knows he's nothing, too. Just another psycho murderer thug. And maybe he should've stayed a damn janitor after all; we may get down into the muck, but at least at the end we come out clean.