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Thursday, January 12, 2012


Here's an excerpt from Part 2 of the 1970s Trilogy: A Shot In The Arm:

Twenty thousand dollars was a hell of a lot of dough back in 1973, especially if it came in cash and you didn’t mention it to the tax man. In many nice parts of San Francisco, you could get three bedrooms, a view of downtown, and have some bread left over. Scuttlebutt told me that twenty Gs was the standard retainer for someone looking at a murder rap, so that was how much I quoted Umoja Simama.

I was running a shoestring law practice in the Mission at the time. One of his lieutenants, Oso Pardo, showed up at my office with a silvery metal briefcase, snapped it open and dumped packets of bills—a year’s supply of cash—all over my desk. I’d hoped that by asking for that kind of money, Umoja would go looking for another mouthpiece. I wanted out, especially for the sake of my relationship with Christina. But as fate had it, Umoja was unaccountably flush at just that moment.

You see dough like that, you get greedy. Your mind gets addled. So I ignored my better judgment and the advice of everyone around me. I took the money in denial that I was making a Faustian bargain by accepting the loot.

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