Publy

 

I can only tell you it was in Detroit, and it had been there for years and years, and never was in the same place very long.  Koslov, Romano and Tyrone ran it when the subsequent events of this story occurred.  They were very bad boys.

The three brothers were born of the same father, but of different mothers.  They had been born within hours of one another, and in the same hospital.  Ivan, their father bellowed with laughter and drank vodka the whole night through.  Each was a difficult delivery.  Each mother died giving birth.

Ivan brought his boys up to be rough and tough and smart and shrewd.  Actually, most of the real work was done by their three sisters, who belonged to Koslov’s mother.  Ivan’s role was more philosophical.  His philosophy was business and business only.  Family came a close second, but to Ivan family was money—so there you have it.  His boys were money.  They were money now and money in the future and therefore, better than gold.  Ivan kept them shiny.

“Publy” was Ivan’s favorite operation.  It was a roving bar, gambling center, whore house, fence and car dealership and none of it was ever around when the cops arrived.  Ivan also owned legitimate businesses like a towing company and a steel erection company and fourteen tire stores.  But Publy was his goose laying the golden eggs.  Publy was where his sons apprenticed, worked and matured.  Publy brought in cash by the pound and none of it was traceable.  Publy was what provided the “juice” to Ivan’s life: what made him want to get up every morning and screw his wife every night.  At the Publy you could order any drink in the world and have it in seconds—perfect.  You could throw down a hundred large on anything and know, if you won, the money was there.  You could order up a six foot seven inch red head, and she would be there in an hour or so.  You could buy any narcotic known to man, and it would be clean and high quality.  You could buy corporate secrets, information on almost anyone and hire someone to do something about it.

Ivan had his fingers in the underpants of anyone who was anything in the greater Detroit Metropolitan area, but not one of them would admit it—and that is just the way Ivan wanted it.  He had money, influence, and the kind of power that scared anyone aware of it.  He had it all right up until he grabbed his heart and died.  He was 89 years old, and left a legacy of metric tons of electrified gold.

Here’s the disclaimer.  Koslov was my best friend.  We met in middle school and just fell in like brothers from the start.  That is how I became intimate with Ivan’s clan.  At first, it was the shit.

Ivan’s body was shipped back to Russia and buried outside of Moscow in an oak casket.  I was there. Koslov insisted, and paid for my trip.  It was during that time that Koslov took me on a tour of the dead which was actually just a fractional tour of the dead from World War Two.  Ivan had fought and survived, and then just up and left.  This did not compute with Koslov.  He asked me, “Why would he fight so hard for a country and then just leave?”  I didn’t have an answer.

Koslov was the oldest son by a matter of seven minutes.  That meant, Koslov was aire to everything.  Ivan bequeathed his entire empire to a twenty-three year old kid, and that kid was to control that and the family.  Koslov took me to the Publy when we arrived back from the funeral and he said, “Be my friend and you will want for nothing.”  I walked away from an engineering degree at the University of Michigan that day, and never looked back.  Right now I have twenty million stashed in places throughout the world.  I’m not telling this story for a profit.

Romano and Tyrone were the best brothers Koslov could have.  They did as they were told, never complained and didn’t spend more money than they brought in, which was voluminous to say the least.  Koslov ran a merit based operation, and that suited everyone just fine.  Of course, we never really knew what Koslov was really into, or what he was really worth.  All we knew is that the Publy became an illusion, and no one but family could smell that aroma.

To get into the Publy you had to pass a metal detector and Romano’s steely glare—and set out a grand—cash only.  Romano was six foot four and two-hundred and fifty-five pounds of solid muscle.  In other words, he was built just like Koslov and Tyrone.  Romano was the door man and he carried a Desert Eagle, brass knuckles, a switchblade, pepper spray and a Taser at all times.  He was all the bouncer the Publy ever needed.  He is probably the only bouncer in the known world to own a Lear Jet, but who is counting?  Anyway, Romano handled all security.

Tyrone actually ran the entire bar.  He was in charge of entertainment, the food, the booze, the narcotics and every other business activity at the Publy.  Tyrone handled the books and passed pay and bribes and scouted locations and a million other things.  Tyrone could do anything with a computer.  Maybe I should say Tyrone did everything with a computer.  Tyrone was also a lawyer, and a very good one be it criminal, business or immigration.  Tyrone had five wives and twenty-two children.  He never drank, used drugs or cheated on his wife.

Koslov was a different story altogether.  Koslov was Genghis Khan.  That was his job as proscribed to him by his crazy father, Ivan, and Koslov was gung fucking ho.  He cherished his position and really didn’t care about the money or power.  All he cared about was expansion.  That is why Tyrone and Romano never got greedy. Koslov was already giving them more than they could spend.  Koslov kept them fat and happy.

With Ivan out of the way Koslov set out on his multiply by ten campaign.  I have no idea where he came up with this number, he just did.  He announced it to me over coffee at the Publy one morning.  He told me to come up with ideas as to how he might accomplish this, and then snorted up some coke and started drinking bourbon.  Around midnight he came up with his own idea and that was that.

Koslov kept a submachine gun behind the bar.  That was his job. He was a bartender.  He loved tending bar and was exceptionally skilled it.  He would show girls the submachine gun and they would be impressed and then I would take over the bar while he took them to the VIP room and doinked them.  It pissed me off so I gave away free drinks and let people slide on their tabs. Koslov would threaten to fire me, but he never meant it.  He’d slip a couple grand into my pocket and tell me to just hang loose.  That was his favorite saying.

No one will believe this, but Koslov actually doinked Oprah Winfrey once.  She was pretty drunk, but he did do it.

But this whole story is about a single night in the Publy when shit just got plain out of hand and the forces of nature conspired against the greater criminal world.  But, we are not there yet.

Tyrone tells me one day he’s got a hundred million dollars in the bank.  He wants to retire and enjoy that shit.  His wife is nagging him shitless about the hours he works and the people he consorts with.  He plans on telling Koslov that night.  I tell Tyrone to chill out with that retirement shit because Koslov has a freighter coming into New York harbor with a load of hot Ipads and he wants to flip them for two tons of nose candy which was stolen from the Mexican Cartel by some Iranian terrorists.  Plus, Romano just copped four hundred AK-47’s and they are stuck at O’Hare in Chicago until his customs guy comes back from vacation in the Bahamas.  And not only that, I just got a line on some pin numbers for some Chinese bank accounts that are only good for another seventy-two hours.  So, Tyrone agrees to chill, but just for the night.

I’m behind the bar with Koslov and he leans over and tells me, “I just made seventy-five millions dollars on that Turkish olive oil deal.”  And then he shows me his new submachine gun.  It has grenade launcher.   “Took it off that sand nigger in Dearborn,” he says.  “Fuckin’ terrorist asshole.”  Needless to say, I was impressed.  Koslov loved guns.  I could tell he was itching to shoot someone with his new toy.  He started looking about the Publy for a likely target.

When yet another Detroit Police Chief got fired, Koslov paid off the new guy and was good to go—or so he thought.  He did not know that Gorilla Tycoon had paid the new guy even more money, and that the double-cross was in.  Gorilla Tycoon had organized a number of street gangs and was gaining notoriety as a ruthless thug.  Koslov had paid him no mind, and really, when all is said and done, it didn’t amount to much. However, it did keep life interesting there for a hot second.  When Gorilla Tycoon tipped off the cops, the cops couldn’t decide whether they were more afraid of Koslov or Gorilla Tycoon or their Commanding Officer.  Therefore, they went about their raid a bit half-assed, and that is what made things interesting, that and a bit of mis-communication.

You see, the plan was for Gorilla Tycoons gang to hit the Publy, rob it and all its customers blind, and then flee right before the cops arrived and arrested everyone.  Had that happened it would have been perfect.  But, of course, that is not what happened.

I was sitting there, minding my own business, drinking whiskey and squeezing the boobs of this blond bimbo.  I had about seven lines of coke up my nose, and a nine millimeter in my waistband with a hair trigger.  I was kissing that blond with a deep tongue when her head exploded like melon run over by a bulldozer.  I almost shit my pants.

This is what happened.  The cops hit the front door at the same exact second the gangbangers hit the basement when Koslov just happened to be admiring his arms cache in his office behind the bar.  The cops, who were already committed, didn’t realize that Romano hit the lock down button which locked down every door in the joint in a millisecond.   Also, the lights went out, and a loud horn started blaring.  This meant only Romano and Koslov and Tyrone had access to night vision goggles—and that nothing was recorded on the close circuit TV system.  Of course, I hit the floor immediately.

The Publy was presently located in an abandoned warehouse made of brick and steel in a lonely corner of a perennial murder capitol.  The asshole coppers decided it would be bright to drop in through the skylights as they were bursting through the front and back doors.  The asshole gangbangers came up through the basement.  They had actually busted a hole through the basement wall of an adjacent warehouse, which deserves a high grade for industry, but a low tactical grade as they had no way of knowing what was going on in their target environment before going in.  Plus, they were all wearing sun glasses.

The cops fired first.  When the lights went out some idiot panicked and accidently squeezed off a round—that hit my blond—and got the party started.  Romano had followed protocol perfectly.  When he realized we were being hit, he retreated to the coat room with the arsenal and bullet proof glass and hit the door button.  He didn’t fire a shot until he heard a shot.  Sgt. Lyle McDonnal was the second casualty.  He caught a Desert Eagle round in the throat.  The muzzle flash lit up the area just enough so that the video camera picked it up.  In fact, the whole battle was strobed like this.

Gangbanger number one, Ezekial Kevin Blurt, tripped when the lights went off and therefore Koslov’s first found struck Revack Stap square in the chest and killed him instantly—it was a 7.62 round with a hollow point.  But, Ezekial, if nothing else, was an experienced gangbanger and he tossed his flash-bang in Koslov’s direction and it had the desired effect.  Night goggles were worthless after that.  Ezekial got to his knees and fired short, controlled bursts.  He hit three customers and a thousand dollars’ worth of liquor bottles.

Tyrone, already locked in his secure office, grabbed the essentials and made for the escape hatch.  He was gone in seconds and with him any evidence of value.

Three more gangbangers charged into the main room and spread out like pros.  One took out a cop.  The other’s laid down withering fire to keep heads down so they could advance.  They all had AK’s with taped extra clips.  Someone had trained them well. They obviously had some military experience. They charged the bar when Romano came up from behind with the Mossberg and Koslov came up with his new toy and the rest of the cops spilled in and I came alive with my Glock.  Everyone was in a cross-fire.

It was totally a scene of muzzle flashes and screams.  I stayed on my back and shot everything that moved.  I was loading my second clip when Koslov let the grenade launcher go and it hit the gangbanger aiming at my head in his face.  Somehow he got off the shot, just as his head exploded.  He got me in the shoulder with the bullet, but bone shrapnel nicked my jugular.  I was bleeding like a stuck pig.

When the sprinkler system went off—yeah, we had one—from all the gun smoke—the gun fire increased tenfold.  Apparently, at least a dozen gangbangers had been sent on this little mission, and about another dozen SWAT cops had made it through the doors before lockdown.  Idiot customers tried to run out, and were gunned down like fish in a barrel.  Everyone was shooting everyone and I was just about lights out when Koslov grabbed me, pinched my wound, and put a Bic lighter to it.  I screamed  like a little girl but he slammed his other great paw over my mouth and shut me right the fuck up.  The next thing I know he’s jamming coke up my nose and was pressing my pistol back into my hand.  “Kill somebody!” He says.

All the son’s wives worked the kitchen at the Publy, and these were not your ordinary group of women.  In fact, on this night, they are who swayed the battle in our favor.  Koslov’s wife especially.  She took out four gangbangers herself with her Famas. She was the one providing cover when Koslov seared my jugular and saved my life.  By then I was so pissed I was shooting corpses when I couldn’t find a live target.  Koslov was taking scalps.  We ran out of bodies before we ran out of bullets and then it was time to amscray.  Koslov had all of us across the Ambassador Bridge and into Canada, and then onto a Lear Jet and off to Turkey before I could stop whining about the pain in my neck.  Romano’s wife finally put some kind of salve on it and it actually worked. Turned out it was just make-up.

So, that’s what happened.