Mail a Brick by Rocco Sasso by Rocco Sasso - Read Online
Mail a Brick
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Summary

Do you ever feel that the business world is rigged against you? Do you ever feel that the One Percent are pulling all the strings and you can't do anything about it? Do you ever feel that no feel that no matter how hard you work, how committed you are to your job, that giant global businesses see you as just a commodity to be harvested, used, and thrown away? So do the characters in Mail a Brick.

Charlie, Sina, Bullets, Sina, Macy and Zigo Zago are tired of being pushed around. Join them as they use their ingenuity and creativity to rebel against the modern day rapacious business world. Not everything will go well when little people go against corporate giants. Always looking for answers to living a dignified life in an overbearing world, the characters in Mail a Brick push the envelope of conventionality in finding solutions to life in an oppressive capitalist system.
Published: BookBaby on
ISBN: 9781682228845
List price: $5.99
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Mail a Brick - Rocco Sasso

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51

CHAPTER 1

We’d have to pick today to come down to the Financial District, Craig lamented. Every freak in North America seems to be here. Look at ‘em. There must be hundreds of ‘em. What the hell is everybody all stirred up about today? Hey, watch where you’re going, asshole, he screamed at a scruffy young man who bulled past. Did you see what he did? Just about put his shoulder into me and ran off.

Hey man, shut your mouth. He barely touched you. You can’t talk to strangers like that, Charlie warned. You have no idea who he is and what he’s capable of. Control that Irish temper of yours. Remember that incident a few years ago? A driver up in the west 50s stopped for a light. A pedestrian crossing the street rapped on the hood of the guy’s car. Seems he was stopped in the cross walk. The driver cursed the guy out, gave him the finger, and drove off. The pedestrian was some sort of psycho having a bad day. He ran a couple of blocks after the car, and caught it at another light. The pedestrian pulled out a knife and cut the driver’s throat. Shit like that happens here.

You’re worse than my wife, Charlie, Craig said contemptuously, shaking his head in disgust, and she’s pretty neurotic. Curse him out in that Sicilian dialect of yours. He’ll have no idea what you’re saying and it’ll make me feel good.

"Hey, I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I know about stuff like this. You’re a South Jersey hick. You don’t know shit about life in the big city. And besides, my language skills are a gift from my family. It’s nothing to be used in a frivolous manner, cazzo."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, at that guy bumped me. Looks like a street person. Is this a stain? Did you get a whiff of him? He stunk to high heaven. Look at him run. He didn’t even care what he did! I bet he’s one of them demonstrators. I’m going to have to get the suit cleaned. God damn it to hell. Craig slapped his heavy hands and arms against his sides in frustration. His squat, powerful mail box build filled his suit to overflowing. He was a polar opposite to Charlie who was taller, more slender, commonplace and totally unassuming. His brown hair, long and flowing over his ears and collar didn’t seem to fit his businessman’s attire.

Just cool it. And hey, who knew that all of these protests would be going on, Charlie responded, a look of little boy excitement on his face. Look at the bright side. Nothing like this ever happens in South Jersey. The only time this many people are together in one place is for a funeral. We’re getting a Big Apple cultural experience. I think it’s kinda neat. I miss stuff like this.

Yeah, your suit doesn’t need to be cleaned. And we’ll be lucky if we don’t get maced and clubbed. Look, let’s get outta here. Craig pinched a fold of his taller, slender friend’s blue suit jacket and tried to tug him along. We didn’t count on this.

Hold on for a second. Our appointment’s not for another half hour. It’s just a few blocks away, Charlie said, shaking himself free from his sturdy friend. Take a look at that.

Just across the street, the financial and business leaders of the world’s most industrialized nations were assembling. Their armada of sleek, black limousines glided through the Wall Street pedestrian traffic with the confidence and self-assurance of sharks through a school of glassy eyed, impotent prey. They arrogantly parked on Broad Street in spaces forbidden to the common citizen. A solid blue line of police officers extended down the middle of Broad Street separating the fat cats from people on the opposite side of the lower Manhattan route. A line of police cars parked on the east side of Broad provided a further barrier. The brokers, clerks, secretaries, and assorted other Financial District workers, accustomed to the unusual situations presented to them by this magnificent city, watched in awe as these moneyed plutocrats exited heir limos in front of the Stock Exchange and posed for the world’s press.

What’s this all about? Charlie asked a bystander caught up in the moment.

The World Bank is having one of their meetings down here, a neatly dressed, avuncular, elderly gentleman responded. They’re setting some sort of agenda on loans to developing countries. That sort of thing. Generally trouble always seems to follow them. These protestors think that less developed countries are being exploited and blackmailed into accepting large loans. They claim that natural environments and local cultures of the benefitting countries are being exploited for the sake of big money going to a small group of third world dictators and industrialists.

Oh, sure, Charlie said knowingly, having no idea what the guy was talking about.

In keeping with New York’s democratic and interactive street culture another bystander chimed in. Big corporations and large banks want to gain control of developing countries by essentially blackmailing them, the younger, less well dressed guy contributed. They force Third World countries into accepting adjustments to the way they do business and even govern. People who have survived for thousands of years in an agricultural, non-industrial setting all of a sudden find themselves out of work because their own country sold them out to global companies. Big multinational companies wind up buying out local, small time suppliers, processors and distributors and create large, hierarchical industrial systems where none existed before. The little guy, a farmer or herder who made a living on a few acres all of a sudden finds himself forced to buy into our way of doing business. If not, he can’t compete. We’re imposing our way of life on people who don’t want or need it. These people are not your friendly neighborhood bankers. There was real passion in the young man’s voice. He drifted off and began speaking to other interested bystanders.

I see, Charlie said, not really seeing at all.

Paunchy, puffy faced men in five thousand dollar suits and sleek, well preened women in the latest fashions of Paris, Milan and New York exited the fleet of limos. Photographers surrounded them paying homage to the people with thick wallets. The bankers and their entourage struggled mightily to strike common, unassuming poses. Flashbulbs clicked and film rolled. Five hundred dollar an hour spin doctors from the most clever and manipulative Madison Avenue firms moved the fat cats around to gain the most effect from the powerful background symbolism of the lower Manhattan architecture. The cool, dry, Fall New York air gave everyone an air of rosy cheeked vitality uncommon to office cloistered executives with their faces pressed to the glass of adjoining buildings.

You take a look at that, Craig said, his rural Jersey accent thick and forceful. He motioned to a group of surging demonstrators. Further south on Broad Street at least five hundred people chanted slogans, waved placards and struggled to get through police lines. Raucous and rowdy, the demonstrators seemed to be at a street party. Grated metal barricades at the intersection of Exchange Place created a physical barrier keeping the hundreds of demonstrators at bay. "What do those signs say? Social Justice for All, Mobilize for Global Peace, Exxon Sucks, McDonald’s Rapes the Rainforests, Bigger is Not Better, Increase the Minimum Wage, Unionize for Worker Rights. There are a lot more I can’t read. These people sure have a chip on their shoulder."

I bet we see some heads broken and a bunch of arrests, Charlie said knowingly. I seem to recall some stories on the news. These anti-globalization protestors have a history of violence. You’re right. We probably should get outta here. I just about maxed out my credit card to get this suit. I’d hate for something to happen to it. He gently stoked the dark blue lapel of his Perry Ellis jacket, savoring its feel.

It’ll serve these unwashed trashy people right. They should go on about their lives instead of creating problems. Whatever they’re trying to accomplish I’m sure I’m against it, Craig said condescendingly, adjusting his Geoffrey Beane tie on his bull neck.

How closely do you follow this stuff? Charlie asked the older, kindly bystander still hovering close by.

I’m a bank officer, so I follow it real close, the gentleman responded. The New York Stock Exchange is a fitting backdrop for the bankers to meet and outline the benefits of their new initiatives. The decisions of this group will shape the lives of hundreds of millions of people. As our young friend just said, the global business environment is being dramatically changed. The bankers say for the better. Others, like our young friend, say the opposite.

What do you say? Charlie asked his accommodating new acquaintance.

Generally, basic economics teaches us that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The gentlemen and ladies who run the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the Group of 8 Industrialized Nations deal in hundreds of billions of dollars. They get what they want. They’ll tell everyone that they’re stamping our poverty, ignorance, and promoting democracy. As our young friend implied, if you find you can’t make a living in your own country anymore, you’ll think these people are a bunch of devils. Do we actually want every country in the world to be just like us? You have to decide that for yourself. In a nutshell these demonstrators are displaying anti corporate passions. They are afraid that large American type businesses will engulf the world creating an American type corporate sameness. Do we really want or need McDonalds all over the world? The gentleman drifted off into the churning crowd, swallowed up by the thousands of milling business people

Craig whispered in Charlie’s ear. That guy ain’t a queer is he? Why is he being so friendly to you?

Charlie shook his head in disgust. Your neurotic wife’s affliction is rubbing off on you. Have you ever seen so many cops in one place in your life? They’re everywhere.

Yeah. And look at all the media people. It’s like they’re springing up out of the sidewalk. They’re like college kids coming to a beer blast. I didn’t realize that there are so many stations. Why would they be interested in a bunch of bankers getting together?

You know, the stuff I’ve seen on TV is coming back to me. They have meetings like this all over the world, Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. They all wind up turning into street battles. The media aren’t here because of a bankers meeting. They’re looking for violence. You know, we probably should get outta here.

A few tentative steps took them in the direction of Wall Street and away from the growing excitement. They couldn’t seem to make the break from the electric atmosphere. They were drawn to the opulence and cool sophistication of the capitalists and bankers and the juxtaposition of loud, colorful, and raunchy protestors south of Exchange Place. Their eyes darted from one group to the next, not sure which was worthy of their attention. A crowd of business people seemed to suddenly materialize around them. Maybe the subway just dis-engorged a train load of people? The station was in fact just yards from them at the corner of Broad and Wall. Many more exited the buildings around them. There seemed to be a surge of walkers who materialized from close by Wall Street. This was the big city. Just when you thought the crowd couldn’t get any bigger, it did.

Hey, what’s that terrible smell? Craig said, screwing up his meaty nose.

It’s pretty bad, Charlie answered. It smells just like...

A shrill report of a whistle cut the air in three short bursts. The sharp blasts resonated off the tall buildings, overpowering the sounds of the downtown environment. The noise seemed to bring time to a standstill. Most everything stopped: traffic, footsteps, and human chatter. A flock of pigeons, wings flapping noisily overhead, seemed to be the only sound, the only movement. Steam rising from the sewers sent streams of white plumes amidst the two sides, oblivious to who it enveloped. The demonstrators became as calm as a stadium full of soldiers listening to the national anthem. The police scanned the city scape with trained eyes looking for the source of the noise. The fat cats stood anchored to the pavement, darting their eyes expectantly around them, unsure of the meaning of the whistle blasts. Their allies, the police, were everywhere. Not to worry the cops were their friends. A whistle was one of their tools.

Someone brushed by Charlie, slightly jostling him. Nimble as a bounding cat, a lithe, long legged lady effortlessly jumped on the hood of a police car, then danced up the windshield to the roof of the vehicle. Dressed in solid black, she commanded everyone’s attention. A Lone Ranger type mask concealed much of her face. Her nose, was a little too big for her face. Black, bushy eyebrows, not very ladylike, adorned the top of her mask. Hands on hips she looked around her like a general in confidant command of a battlefield. To everyone’s amazement and to the apparent delight of the police officers, she unwrapped her black skirt from her waist and began twirling it over her head. Charlie concentrated on her skin hugging tights and blouse. They revealed a barely hidden set of shapely boobs with erect nipples standing firmly at attention. Her legs, thighs, and butt were the picture of sexuality and supple strength. The package was more than pleasing.

Craig exhaled a salacious whistle. What a babe, he sighed.

My thoughts exactly, Charlie said wistfully. Her movements distracted him from lustful musings. The interior lining of the skirt was a bright fire engine red. From her position on the police car she could be seen by everyone. The demonstrators near Exchange Place were in fact slightly downhill. They could view this vision clearly. Shoulder length, wild, unkept black hair flowed around her head and shoulders. Black and coarse it reminded Charlie of a wild mustang’s mane. A strand blew across her mouth. A fluid motion of her arm and hand disdainfully cast it aside. A supermodel would be envious of this one.

Here goes, a bystander standing next to Charlie said. Let’s do it. The crowd of businessmen standing around Craig and Charlie all needed shaves. Many were wearing running shoes. Most unusual. Their suits looked to be dated, ill-fitting and threadbare. What’s wrong here? Almost the stuff of thrift stores. Were these faux businessmen infiltrators? Dozens of briefcases simultaneously clicked open. A man next to Charlie struggled unsuccessfully to open his. Hey, he said to Charlie, "Hold this for me. I can’t seem to get this unclasped. Charlie put his own briefcase on the ground and innocently lent a hand. The police standing in the middle of Broad Street started to walk toward the pedestrians. They needed to get the lady off of the cruiser. All these businessmen types, or whoever they were, seemed to be up to something.

You two, you over there. What are you doing? What’s in that briefcase," an officer shouted to Charlie and his new companion. Charlie shrugged innocently, naive eyes opened wide.

The businessman opened his briefcase and took out a small plastic bag. What the hell is in there? It smells like shit. Charlie exclaimed.

No shit, Sherlock, the businessman type laughed, amused at his pun. Hey, that was pretty funny. Get it?

What the hell are you doing? Charlie asked incredulously.

We’re giving these capitalist bastards exactly what they deserve. The young businessman grabbed the stinking bag, took a stutter step and flung the sack with its fragrant and foul contents across Broad Street. Its trajectory would take it into the midst of the world bankers. In a concerted plan, scores of similar stinking sacks sailed through the chill lower Manhattan air.

What the hell, Craig shouted. Fish guts? I’ve been sprayed with fish guts. Craig looked with disgust at a wet string of blue and green fish intestines on the shoulder of his suit. You slimy fucking bastard, he shouted to the man behind him. You got fish guts on me. This is a fucking new suit.

The perpetrator snickered and shouted You’re one of them, pointing to the capitalists. Screw you!

No, no, my friend, Craig shouted, throwing an arching but compact overhand right. Screw you! He hit the demonstrator full in the face, knocking him to the concrete sidewalk. Shoving, punches, and curses spontaneously and logically evolved. They were the preamble to a full fledged street fight.

The brawl spurred the police officers into hyper drive. They charged the demonstrators disguised as businessmen. The sexy general on the roof of the police car calmly waved her dress again. The Broad Street/Exchange Place demonstrators, on her arranged signal, charged across the police barricades. The officers on Broad Street weren’t sure what to do. A two front skirmish emerged. Stop the surging demonstrators or attack the men hurling sacks of four brew, fish guts, and who knows what else? Much to the delight of the demonstrators, confusion reigned. For a second there was no police leadership. Some of the brave officers drew their batons and countercharged the demonstrators. A pitched battle raged in the middle of Broad Street. Behind the first skirmish line, and now within throwing range of the fat cat bankers a barrage of water balloons flew through the air. Their target was also the world bankers. The balloons contained a rainbow of red, yellow blue, green, and orange colored dyes.

One of the sleek fat cat’s kittens screamed out a command. Fast, let’s get into the Stock Exchange. None of the missiles had yet to land. The group quickly turned and ran to the doors of the Stock Exchange, seeking safety. Something was wrong. The doors were locked. The plan had been foolproof. Pressed up against the glass of 20 Broad Street scores of bags of foul brew, fish intestines, and food colored water rained down on the millionaires. The overhang of the second story gave them some semblance of protection, but not much. The Madison Avenue crowd was also caught up in the maelstrom. The tight area and the volume of sacks created a 100 percent target success. Everyone was splattered with some sort of noxious mess. The media was having a field day. Careers would be made on this footage. Camera crews from CNN and the major media networks working on the fringes took award winning film. These rich guys and gals were getting their comeuppance. The ratings would shoot sky high, but at the expense of the bankers. This stuff would sell to the common working man. Just what the media loved!

The rain of bags stopped and the media crews moved in for close ups. A slick guy from one of the major networks charged in and cruelly stuck his microphone in the face of a shell shocked banker type in his mid-fifties who had been hit particularly hard. He reeked of dark colored substances. Have you ever been showered with excrement before, the reporter sarcastically asked.

Taking a moment to collect himself he calmly responded, No. Have you? The banker picked up a bag of fish entrails and rubbed it in the face of the reporter. Show this on the six P.M. news you pathetic asshole.

The reporter stood stunned for a second, rubbing the sticky gobs of fish gore and goo from his face. A rush of adrenaline ran through him. He used his microphone as a club and attacked the banker. The remaining media jackals focused their attention on the ensuing fight. A second volley of sacks unexpectedly rained down on everyone. The volley once again found its mark. Seven figure a year media darlings and their techno wizardry were debased. They retreated in disgust from the assault, reeking of slimy concoctions. A cheer rose from the demonstrators. A placard was raised in the middle of Broad Street, Media Conglomerates = Corporate Pawns.

Craig, what the hell are you doing? Stop fighting. Let’s get outta here. The cops are coming. Charlie’s companion was now totally preoccupied, wrestling and then throwing a flurry of furious punches at two scruffy faced demonstrators. He pulled Craig’s arm. A roundhouse sucker punch from left field caught Charlie on his cheekbone. His knees buckled. Craig disappeared in a swirling mass of flailing arms, legs, and falling bodies. Staccato blasts of a whistle barely slowed the melee down.

Look over there, someone shouted. A squadron of police reinforcements, armed with riot gear turned onto Broad from Wall Street. Let’s get the hell outta here, the voice shrieked. Helmets and shields crashed into the demonstrators. Screams and curses resonated from the overmatched demonstrators. Many hit the ground, crouching into fetal positions and didn’t get up. Blood began puddling in the street.

A police officer grabbed Charlie by his jacket collar. You’re under arrest, he shouted above the din. You have the right to remain silent. A strong Brooklyn accent grated on Charlie’s ears. He heard an ominous rip.

I’m an innocent bystander, Charlie pleaded, probing the growing redness on his damaged cheek. I haven’t done anything. I work for a chamber of commerce. I’m here on legitimate business. I don’t break laws. I’m a nerd. And you ripped by God damned jacket you stupid fuck. Just let me go.

Heard it all before, the cop answered contemptuously yanking hard on Charlie’s coat. Anything you say can be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an.... The cop’s comments were cut short when a bag of fish innards slapped him in the face. The officer staggered, released Charlie’s collar and tried to sweep his face clean of the sticky mess. What the fuck, was the only response he could manage.

Quick this way, an authoritative and in control female voice said. A woman firmly grabbed Charlie’s hand in a small but hard grip and pulled him around the tangle of fighting, struggling people. It was the beautiful woman in black. She pulled the Lone Ranger mask from her face and let in fall to the ground. Her piercing, dark eyes caught Charlie’s for a fleeting second. She seemed to be enjoying herself. Two others followed, an older man and a woman. The police reinforcements began their battering. Dozens of civilians fell under batons and fiberglass shields. Fast, into the subway, she commanded, pulling Charlie along. He thought he saw Craig crushed under a mass of bodies.

My briefcase, Charlie protested. It cost me a bundle. I’ve got important papers in it. Lemme go. I gotta help my friend. I can’t leave.

Go back and get your head busted, the older man advised in a working class New York City brogue. White haired, with many a crease running through a ruddy face, he looked to be over sixty, and seemed an improbable one to be protesting. He looked like a guy out for a Saturday walk, tan chinos and red wind breaker along with a paunch belly. He wouldn’t do well scuffling with the police. You can catch up with your buddy later. I think he’ll understand. Believe me!

Anybody got Metro Cards? the other woman asked as they descended into the subway two steps at a time. She seemed to be cut from the same cloth as the charismatic leader of the demonstration, only older. Charlie guessed maybe in her fifties. The distinctive smell of ozone greeted them. Wouldn’t it be bizarre to start a riot and then get busted for jumping a turnstile?

The subway entrance cards were quickly distributed by the older man. They slid them through the turnstiles and walked onto the uptown platform. Just like my buddy who stole a canoe from a department store and then got arrested for going back and stealing the paddles, the white haired guy chimed in.

You’re always prepared, Bullets, the older lady said. That’s why we love ya.

Yeah, yeah. When can we take this platonic love to a more physical level, Macy, Bullets asked.

Will you roll over and bark like a dog for me?

Anything for you, baby. You know, I admire your mind more than anything else, don’t you?

Yeah, her mind and the fact that she’s got great tits, a tight ass, and legs that won’t quit, the younger woman added. Charlie did a double take at her base attitude. He silently chuckled, admiring her common and at ease demeanor.

All characteristics you have also, my darling Sina, Bullets quickly answered. The passing years have treated Macy like a fine wine; body, style, fragrance, and mysterious cachet. And you Sina are like a newly bottled Cabernet, delectable to the senses with much more refinement coming in the years ahead. Charlie saw the woman laugh at the metaphors. Despite her age, Charlie quickly saw that the older woman was indeed beautiful. Perhaps a role model or mentor for younger Sina. Macy’s blue jeans and long sleeve royal blue sweater revealed an attractive well maintained body. He couldn’t help agree with Bullet’s assessment. She was fine, with body, style and grace.

Why are you still trying to fuck me, Macy shot back quickly, hands on solid hips, shooting a withering stare and pulling her long greying black pony tail over her shoulder.

For the same reason a dog licks his balls. Because I can. And since you want to talk about it, if you’ve got a few minutes I’m sure we can find an isolated little corner of this station.

Did anyone slip him a Viagra again? Macy said, shaking her head.

He must eat ‘em like candy, Sina responded, scanning the platform for police. You know Bullets, some people are made for each other and others aren’t. With all due respect, I just don’t think that you and Macy have the right chemistry. I say that from living with this wonderful lady for a few years.

Hope springs eternal, Bullets sighed, keeping his eyes on the very attractive and vivacious Macy.

It really is a shame that you older guys have the desire, and the technique but lose the ability, Sina contributed. You know those Viagra chemicals in your blood stream will do nothing but screw you up. You’re letting large pharmaceutical companies drive your sex life. It’s contrary to everything we’re fighting for. Oysters will do the same thing for you if you give them a chance. There are a dozen shops in China Town that will sell you organic products that will make your dick so hard that a cat couldn’t scratch it. Everything nowadays has to be fast and immediate.

Aw, lighten up, Sina, Bullets said. This white head of mine and large belly are condemning me to an unwanted life of abstinence. These drugs make life easier for old bastards like me. Please don’t say anything bad about my Viagra, pleeeese. The whining drew a laugh from everyone including the much aggrieved Charlie.

And one more thing, Bullets, Sina added, you’re spending too much time at those rub and tug places in Queens. One day you’ll get busted there.

Those spas do wonders for me, Bullets quickly replied. Why just the other day…

Sina cut him short. Hey, here comes the train. Sparks flew and the great heat of the electric current combined with ambient oxygen molecules created a chemical reaction generating an abundance of O3. That unmistakable smell once again permeated the air. Every subway rider knew the odor. But like many things touching the lives of the big city residents, only the curious or well-read understood what it meant.

Where are we going? Charlie asked as the train roared into the station.

Not far. We need to get away from here for a while, Sina answered. The police know us. They’ll be looking for us. We need to regroup. Do a little make over and get back to it.

Get back to it, Charlie said with arrogant exasperation. We barely got away. My suit’s been torn up. I lost my briefcase with all my papers. Some guy sucker punched me. I almost got arrested. Who knows what’s happened to my friend. If not for dumb luck I’d be in a paddy wagon. You’re nuts!

The subway train screeched to a halt. The doors slid open as a contingent of police officers appeared further down the platform. Passengers crossed each other getting on and off the train. A confusing jumble of people churned for a few seconds obscuring everyone’s individuality. The swarm of people confused the cops. A scene very common in the financial district. I suggest you get on the train, Macy said, motioning in the direction of the cops. You could explain yourself to them. They’ll probably take your statement at the station house. Some of their brethren got hurt up there. I have a feeling they won’t be very sympathetic.

In situations like this their official policy is to beat the shit out of you first and ask questions later, Bullets explained with a strained look on his face. Trust me. Listen to experience. Just get on the train. The doors began to slide shut. Expertly, the group danced onto a subway car. Charlie stood transfixed on the platform, unsure of what to do. His new companions were trouble, but the police