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Published by Lethe
Sucker is a short story about what happens when you date someone without really knowing anything about them. The narrator meets a girl at an NA meeting. Addiction and love don't always go together.
Sucker is a short story about what happens when you date someone without really knowing anything about them. The narrator meets a girl at an NA meeting. Addiction and love don't always go together.

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Published by: Lethe on Jan 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SUCKERI.I met Monica at a twelve-step fellowship meeting in Decatur. She gaveme the impression that her life of crime was behind her. She said shenever wanted to look at heroin again, and she had no desire to go backto transporting illegal drugs. The money was good, but there were toomany problems associated with organized crime. She wanted nothingto do with her past life; she loathed it. The first night she came to myhouse and told me these stories, I was aghast but enthralled. I’d neverheard such bizarre stories before, and never thought about real peoplebeing in the mafia. But almost instantly, I felt a part of that world. Allthe excitement and danger of Monica’s former life cast a lurid gleaminto my living room and the cobweb of her past connections washanging about my walls. I basked in the stories she was sharing withme, night after night, and vicariously placed myself in them with her. Iloved to hear those tales of murder, deceit and blackmail . . .For two years, she lived in a one bedroom apartment paid for bythe “Italians”. She was expected to carry drugs once a week fromChicago to St. Louis. They paid her one thousand dollars in cash foreach trip, and there were lots of perks. The Bosses took a liking toMonica and the nephews offered protection to their little sister. Onoccasion, they even pandered to her desires, bringing her a box of Godiva chocolates, a rare bottle of wine, and a gossip magazine. Shecut all ties to family and friends because nobody could know about her job. For her, this would be a short period of her life, a sacrifice. Shecouldn’t trust anyone and it was too dangerous to have a boyfriend.She lived in near solitude but I saw that this was part of herpersona; she was a loner, except for Kate, her one close friend in thecity. Monica talked very fondly about Kate. Kate was the one personwho really understood her, who really cared about her. The two of 
them went to clubs on the weekends. Dancing was Monica’s passion,her release. On most nights, she occupied a small half-moon stageabove the crowd, grinding her hips and tossing her hair in the colored,flashing lights. She was untouchable in the clubs. Guys tried to dancewith her but she preferred the women.She became addicted to heroin through her job; by accident sheexplained. When I told my father this story, he said to me to stay faraway from her. He said that the people she worked for were dangerous—they gave her drugs and made her do illegal things for them. But Ichecked and it wasn’t anything like that. They didn’t want her ondrugs. They expected her to do her job properly.What happened was this. Before making her trip every week,she went to a loading dock in the city, an abandoned warehouse. Ittook up to three hours to load the car. The workers had to get underthe car to remove a false bottom. Then, slowly and methodically, theyfilled the hatch with millions of dollars worth of cocaine and heroin.While she was waiting, Monica sat with the guy in charge of transport,who usually took some heroin off the top for himself. In the backroom, Tomas showed her how to shoot up heroin. She seemed naïve aboutthe effects of the drug. She said how the next day her whole body wascraving it and she didn’t expect to get sick.Heroin and drug trafficking became a way of life for her. Shelearned to hide her habit and do her job. The Bosses met with heronce a week for lunch in a fancy Chicago restaurant. They gave hermoney to buy clothes on Michigan Avenue. They wanted her to dressup and look nice. During the lunches, the Bosses never mentionedanything about the job; they talked casually with her. She told me theywere checking to see if her head was on straight. I imagined threeolder Italian men, smoking expensive cigars, and acting likegentlemen. Monica exuded a cool, sexy demeanor. She had narroweyes like an Asian, but high cheekbones like a southern belle. Her fair,
freckled skin and thick auburn hair reminded me of Rita Hayworth inher early twenties. So I could see how she appealed to these oldermen. She was self-assured and street-smart, with a touch of femininemystique.Monica didn’t like being hooked on heroin. She described theterror that came over her while driving the contraband, a paranoid fearthat was arising for the first time. For a year, she carried out her jobwithout a doubt in her mind, without a speck of paranoia. One time apolice officer stopped her on the highway and she just smiled, givinghim a fake name and driver’s license. She told me the alias she used,and how she had changed a couple letters around in her name. Butonce using heroin became a chore, she lost her thrill-seeking panachefor crime. She mentioned the long process of her desire to stoprunning drugs for the Bosses. She said she had to “work on themslowly,” because you couldn’t just walk away from the mob . . .But what captivated me more than the stories was the person.Monica projected an unsurpassed quality of self-control. She did nothave to convince me that her stories were true and it was not charismathat attracted me to her. Rather she came across more at ease withherself than anyone I had ever known. She was content. She seemedto have a self-knowledge that freed her from the inside, which gave hera quality of supreme independence. With Monica, I felt the bloodflowing in my veins! There was nothing ostentatious, nothingpretentious about her. And yet, my moments with her were so intense,as if everything were a matter of life and death.I began to worry that her connections to the mafia were nottotally severed. We had plans one night to do something after thetwelve-step meeting, but she never showed up. When I looked at myphone, there were no messages. I tried calling her but she never kepther phone on. Later that night she called me. She said they pickedher up in the afternoon and took her into the city. “Who’s ‘they’?” I

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