It's been said that in reality everything stems from our personal life, that that is all there is, from creating money to jails or any other system we've devised. We pretend there are worlds outside of ourselves where we can be safe, but there's not. Truth is, you can determine a man who beats his wife by the policies he sets for his employees, or that people run up their credit cards as an expression of unpaid emotional bills. Most, of course, won't admit this revealing point of view.
Tragedy has struck my life once again. Ever since sabotaging my relationship with Amelie I've lost all faith and trust in my judgment. If someone leaves a chest of gold on your doorstep and you throw it away - for whatever reason - then quite obviously your judgment can't be trusted. I beat myself up over this daily and it permeates my thinking. I know what the right decision is but I refuse to choose it. The illogic of guilt tells why but there is no actual logic to that.
My older brother Frankie was planning a rip off of a drug exchange. He knew about it through me. That was mistake number one. Frankie is a hot-head. He believes if he gives in in even the slightest way he's no longer a man. That's his cross to bear, what he needs to overcome. He's telling me all the time I'm weak and stupid in my criminal affairs because his world revolves around his stupid outlook. It's like listening to a child who won't grow up.
I - for lack of a better word - work for the mob. I facilitate things, so-to-speak. I'm no underboss but I can give orders to foot soldiers. I knew I couldn't trust Frankie because he's an idiot cowboy operator. But my self-doubt crept in, which started a chain reaction to hell.
This little voice nagged me. "He's your brother. Don't you want to trust him and let him know about the deal? Remember how you betrayed Amelie, not giving her a fair chance? How do you know you're not doing the same thing here, Mr. Throws-gold-away?" I told myself it would be an act of loyalty to make up for a previous sin. They also say guilt is the devil's greatest weapon.
Frankie's eyes light up and right away he starts spouting off this is his big chance and if I'd ever had the guts to stake a claim in this world I'd be doing the same thing. It was complete suicide. Frankie's just one of those people who can't connect the dots. I begged him to see reason. If he did he refused to admit it.
I had to inform my colleagues of this, naturally. They were extremely upset to say the least. This drug buy was not their show but one of the parties was under their protection. To let something happen to him would be bad for business and the mob is nothing if not devoted capitalists. They sent three heavies with me to straighten Frankie out. I knew exactly how to play this.
There would be no discussion. The minute the door opens the three guys go to work roughing Frankie up. I'd make the call when I thought he'd had enough. We were literally going to beat some sense into him. At that point he would listen. That's how I was going to keep him alive. Call it tough love.
But guilt spoke once again. "Do not hurt your brother! You've hurt enough people already. You can do this without anyone getting hurt if you didn't have such a bad attitude."
Confusion shrouded me like a miasmic fog. Was I wrong to believe in myself? Will it help if I don't? Isn't keeping my brother from being hurt the moral thing to do?
Lost, I became conservative (which is always bad). I decided to give Frankie a chance to talk his way out of this without getting a beating. That was certainly a fool's errand.
The more I talked with him the more defiant he got. "I'm not afraid of those three guys you got!" Frankie failed in his personal relationships too, never making one work, running through woman after woman. In his mind, being a tough guy was the only way left to prove he was a man. Guilt pervaded his thinking as it does mine. Finally, I had to put it to him: was he going to give up this crazy idea of a rip-off or not?
"Fuck you! I'm doing what's best for me." He was completely out of control, jumping off the couch at me, and that's when the heavy guys jumped in and stabbed him to death. They left the body for me to clean up, contemptuous of my weak-mindedness. I couldn't say that I blamed them.
I knew what to do to keep Frankie alive. But in believing in myself I was attacked with guilt. But I felt no guilt when doing the wrong thing. How is that? How is it I've convinced myself that lying to myself is the right thing to do? What sort of twisted reality is that? I could have saved Frankie had I stuck to my original plan. That is a fact. I feel I'm on a runaway train I can't get off.
This entire affair could be lethal for me too. My standing in the mob is damaged, maybe beyond repair. All because I fucked up my personal life.