The Telekinetic Gangster

24 Dec

Ezero was a city where nothing was left unorganized, even the most serious law-breaking.

The accumulated wealth and general prosperity of this industrial center on Big Lake made a magnetic center drawing criminal actors from the entire down-land district. As its digital importance grew, so did the number and activity of its many rackets.

Grigio Keif had immigrated to Ezero with his parents when he was only five, but from the beginning he learned to dream of a future in the city underworld. It was his own father who introduced the boy to neighborhood policy dealers who took in bets on daily numbers. Young Grigio was in a while working as a courier carrying small bags of gambling proceeds to a local syndicate bank, which he soon joined as a permanent employee. The ladder provided him opportunity to graduate upward to becoming one of the governing leaders in the local numbers business.

The man who discovered Grigio’s special psychic gift and revealed it to him was the professional gambler named Darde Mitx. This middle-aged operator on the fringe of organized crime used the young man as a messenger transporting bets collected by Darde to a nearby betting banking center. All that the latter did was sense an intangible power emanating out of the long, spare body of the carrier.

“Give me your hand, please,” suddenly said Darde to the surprised Grigio. “I want to measure how much muscular and tensile strength there is in yourself.”

The younger one did as told, not certain what it was all about.

He had no way of knowing that Darde was an amateur dabbler in the field of the transnatural. What is his reason for such an absurd request? wondered Grigio to himself.

The gambler gripped the hand offered to him for a considerable while before he let go of it and spoke.

“I have confirmed what I only suspected up to now, my boy. I myself am not a full adept in the field, but I believe that I can confirm the fact that there are special, invisible powers and capacities within you. Have you ever had any experience of this psychic gift that you possess? Or perhaps it is a potential that you have always been unaware of.”

“I have no knowledge about anything you are speaking about,” confessed the perplexed bet runner. “How can I be ignorant of it if what you claim is true?”

“It is possible for a person to know nothing about what he was born with but still lies dormant within him. That is often the situation until someone else discovers what might be buried inside the mind and body of an individual.”

Grigio stared intently into the round face and azure eyes of Darde.

“What do you think I should do in the future about what you say is deep inside me?”

Darde thought a moment. “Let me do some testing of you tomorrow. I think that some manuals I have in my apartment can help determine in what direction your psychic sensitivity can lead you, my lad.”

Once the nature of the psychokinetic capability of Grigio was located and defined, the two men set to work developing and finding application for it.

“The mind is a potent generator,” said the heavy Darde one evening in his apartment, where the pair had shared a dinner together. “And yours is the means by which you and I can make all our dreams come true.”

“What do you mean?” asked a perplexed Grigio. “Do you wish to make me some sort of attraction in a circus or side-show?”

The older man grinned. “I am conceiving of a new kind of lucrative enterprise for us based on your telekinetic power. There is a fortune available to those who can utilize your talent to organize a new kind of insurance business.”

“Insurance business of what kind?” inquired the psychic with curiosity.

Darde lowered his voice as if revealing a priceless secret. “There have been instances in the past of Ezero when certain groups have sold protective policies to important downtown stores to prevent damage to their large front windows facing the street. This can be a lucrative trade for us, because there will be no need to send around vandals who smash and break glass. No, the insurance from us will defend these businesses from damages caused by telekinesis from a talented psychic mind, namely yours. Just one or a few examples of what is possible should prove enough to compel every merchant in the city to insure himself against the invisible peril of an uncontrolled assault from our telepathic generator of force, you.” He paused for a moment. “Do you understand what it is I am proposing?”

The hazelnut eyes of Grigio lit up with sudden enlightenment. “Yes, I am beginning to see what you mean.”

It was decided that Darde, dressed in his most expensive and impressive blue serge business suit, would approach the president of the Strood-Harsch department store in central Ezero and offer him an “insurance policy” against major damage to any of his front display windows. The executive refused the offer, facing down the dangerous threat implied in the ambiguous words of the “insurance agent”.

Darde returned to his flat and related his failure to convince the merchant who had not buckled in fear. “You must walk down the sidewalk in front of the store this evening, Grigio, and put all the power of your brain into a campaign of major glass breaking. Do you believe that you have the stamina and energy to shatter all of the windows at the front entrance? There are, all together, over ten of them.”

The young psychic gritted his teeth. “I am certain it can be accomplished,” he said with determination.”

Late that day, after the department store had closed and its employees had gone home, Darde and Grigio took a railcar downtown. While the older man waited for him at a nearby corner, the kinetic vandal made a slow march past the front of the gigantic store. At each of the display windows, he stopped and focused his telepathic thought upon the thick glass at each of the compartments in turn. He cracked all of them in just a few minutes, then returned to where his partner waited for him.

Darde beamed with triumphant joy. “You have done something that will soon make both of us very rich, my son,” he whispered to his protégé.

Success came swiftly to the pair involved with the new protection racket. The news of this unexplained initial assault shook all of Ezero. It had all the signs of something concocted by the infamous city underworld. The municipal police proved themselves impotent and incompetent to solve the baffling case of what was classified as vandalism, with no logic to it.

Darde waited three days, then went back to see the store’s president. When he came out onto the boarded-up windows on the street, Grigio was there waiting for him.

“The man signed up for a policy and will from now on pay us a premium every week, or else. We have a wonderful victory to enjoy, and tomorrow I plan to start visiting the management chiefs of all the other department stores, as well as the jewelers, tailors shops, furniture and appliance dealers, and hardware centers. And I will end up at our city’s leading banks, I believe. Everybody who does business in downtown Ezero is going to need and want the insurance that only we sell. Or else.” Both Darde and Grigio laughed, thrilled at the prospects before them.

Torrents of money started cascading toward the two pioneers of the new extortion racket and they soon came to the attention of Szink Opjte, an individual never to be taken lightly on the part of anyone.

If there was an informal chieftain of the organized criminal underworld in Ezero, that person was the shadowy giant named Szink. He had risen to his high position step-by-step, slowly and carefully, with many dead competitors and rivals left behind. Hordes of gang-members and hangers-on recognized his primacy. No one anywhere in the city had a reputation for fairness and toughness that equaled his.

Sitting at his expensive teakwood desk, Szink reviewed the pile of recent reports sent to him from many sectors and levels of organized mob activity. All of these described a growing danger to the established, traditional ways and methods of the Ezero underworld. What if this new, competing group were to expand into the older fields of income and profit? The original organizers were now expanding their domain throughout the city and beyond. Eager recruits were flocking into the window insurance racket. No store or business was being overlooked as a potential customer-victim.

Szink rose from his desk and slowly walked to the large window that overlooked most of the downtown central district. His tall, enormous frame was as strong and vigorous as in his earlier years. He looked out over the hub of the city, thinking of his hidden dominion that he kept in the shadows. How am I to deal with the dangerous development that is raising its head? wondered the criminal lord.

All at once the answer appeared before his inner eye. He had to prove his competitors incapable of protecting the public windows of the city from vandalism. If he mobilized a corps of smashers, they could with ease undo the promised protection that they had pledged to provide. What could be simpler than that?

That night, mobilized strong-arm gangs went to work on the store windows of downtown Ezero.

Musclemen and roughnecks poured out of syndicate-owned vehicles and went to work with iron clubs and sledgehammers. Not an important window in the center of the city survived undamaged. Pieces of glass fell upon sidewalks everywhere.

That evening, Szink Opjte stayed up late receiving reports at his business office. He grew increasingly optimistic and satisfied as the wide extent of the window breaking became known to him.

The reactions of Grigio and Darde were completely the opposite, as was predictable and understandable.

“This means only one thing,” concluded Darde, boiling over with anger. “The overall mob boss has uncovered the nature of our insurance operation and intends to put an end to it in one destructive swoop. Who is going to pay us extortion money when we have proved ourselves unable to keep any important store windows in one piece?

“The idea is that our failure will put us out of business, once and for all. Are we totally discredited and destroyed? I ask myself, Grigio. Is there no possible future for us in Ezero? Are all alternatives gone and done for, or do we have a way out of this desperate situation?”

The younger man thought in silence, until he all of a sudden sprang up out of the sofa chair on which he had been sitting.

“We have to go and see the head mobster and convince him to make a deal with us. I think I know how to make him accept a kind of restoration of our fortunes.”

“How can we ever make the man agree to anything like that?” asked his partner, his circular face displaying a skeptical grimace.

The headquarters of the Ezero crime syndicate had no sign indicating what it was used for. The six-story high office structure looked like an ordinary place filled with doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, nothing more than that.

Grigio and Darde, dressed in their best business men’s suits of very dark blue, entered the main street entrance and informed the security man in uniform and armed with a pistol that they were there to see the person called the Chairman who headed all the sectional departments housed in the building. “We want to see him in order to discuss the recent general disaster of display windows in downtown Ezero,” said Darde with a forced smile on his face and a twinkle in his azure eyes.

The guard took a telephonic cell from his shirt pocket and spoke briefly with someone at the other end. He listened for several moments, then looked at the two strangers with this odd request.

“Somebody is coming straight down to escort you upstairs to the leader of this outfit,” he announced in an authoritative tone.

The executive office of Szink Opjte might have belonged to an industrial executive or some important investment banker rolling in money. Its opulence was visible in shining metallic surfaces and jewel-like decorations on the walls.

Both of the visitors were too nervous to be impressed by the surroundings in the office of the shadowy boss of gambling, vice, and racketeering in Ezero and its region. How was this direct encounter with “Mr. Big” going to turn out for them? That was the question both men were focusing on for now.

Szink came forward, but did not offer his large hand to either of them. “Please be seated,” he said with a slight growl at the end. “There is a lot that I wish to talk about with you guys.”

When the three of them were seated on soft chairs around a low coffee table of expensive teak, Szink began to speak.

“I believe that you two no longer have any customers left who want your protection anymore. Your contracts have become void of any significance, I venture to tell you. Your prospects have been reduced to nil and there is no future for your type of window insurance.

“Am I correct?”

It was the younger of the ruined racketeers who replied to Szink.

“We are here to demand that you pay for the replacement of all the recently broken windows and compensate my partner and me for the losses that the two of us have had to suffer because of your malicious interference with our window insurance business. Our suffering resulted from clearly criminal actions on the part of your employees.

“We demand that no one within your organization be authorized or permitted to take any actions against our business interests. In fact, you must accept us as part of the general, overall map by which interests are located in the region of Ezero.

“Our budding outfit has as much right to operate and function as any of those that you rule over, Mr. Opjte.”

Grigio and the mob boss exchanged looks of murderous scorn. Finally, Darde spoke to his partner alone.

“Talking does no good, Grigio. You will have to carry out what we agreed to this morning.”

The young telepath suddenly raised his head at a steep angle and gazed at the ceiling of the office. He concentrated his hazelnut eyes on the inner structure of the building they were in, his mind sending forth waves of energy unknown and not available for most human beings.

Dorde and the crime lord stared at the strange sight they were witnessing.

Grigio continued to pour forth a force that did not halt or subside.

All at once, a shaking motion reverberated through the executive office of Szink Opjte. The three men realized within a few seconds that the building they were in was moving from side-to-side.

The syndicate head realized that these terrifying vibrations were being produced by the young man looking up at the ceiling. What power did his brain have that could result in such a condition?

Books and papers fell off of desks and shelves. Any object not nailed or tied down was thrown about. Breakage and shattering came about in a few moments.

It soon became clear to both of the visitors that Mr. Opjte had also been badly shaken by what he had just experienced.

He began to speak in a croaking tone. “You win. I will have our organization repair all the broken glass in Ezero. And your future operation in window insurance will remain in your hands, as an exclusive monopoly. I promise all of this on my word of honor.

“Now, please get out of this office and building, and do not come back ever again.”

Grigio and Darde glanced at each other, exchanging smiles that acknowledged the victory they had just won for themselves.

Without a word to Szink Opjte, the pair hurried out of the headquarters of Ezero’s organized criminality.

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