My name’s Daniel Edward Ellsworth. My friends call me Danny. Not that I have many of those. I don’t like people getting close to me as a rule. I don’t trust them. Except Chuck, that is. That would be Charles Allan Danford. Chuck and me have been friends since we were in Special Forces together. Chuck saved my life once in Iraq. Saw a sniper who was taking a bead on me and got him in one shot. It’s okay though; I saved his life in Syria. So I guess we’re even.
Anyway, when we got out of the service we stayed in touch and eventually I moved to Cleveland, where Chuck is from. I was just bumming around, couldn’t seem to fit back into civilian life. It’s like that. Chuck called me up and said he had a thing going on and would I like to get in on it. I didn’t even ask what it was, I just jumped in my car and drove to Cleveland and I’ve been here ever since.
Looking back I’m thinkin’ it might not have been the best decision I ever made, but you know, you gotta just go with what’s in front of you. Everything else is wasted energy. The thing is I really believed in Chuck.
When I got to Cleveland Chuck showed me around and we went out drinking every night and it was a blast. After a few days he still hadn’t mentioned what the work was he had for me so I asked him. He told me he’d show me that night.
Well, he sure did that. He took me to this warehouse out on the south side. When we got out of the car I saw him put a pistol in the waistband of his jeans and then he handed me one and told me to follow his lead and keep my mouth shut.
It was a drug deal, sure as shit. It went down okay, everything was straight up, but when we got back to the car I asked him what the hell that was about. Like, why didn’t he tell me what was going down before we got there.
See, we were never into that shit. At least I wasn’t, and I never saw Chuck do any drugs either. When we got back to his apartment he told me how hard it had been adjusting to civilian life and he had met some other special ops guys who hand gotten into the business and wanted to hook him up and that was how it started.
So that was a year ago. I didn’t have any money then and when I saw what I could make, well, I just went with the flow. It was good for a while, but then I started seeing a side of Chuck I’d never seen before. See, back in the service we had this saying when somebody didn’t like something we had said or did. Tango Foxtrot Bravo. Military alphabet. TFB. It means too fucking bad.
As time went on Chuck would get short with me when I’d tell him what I thought about things. He started saying TFB to me a lot. That’s not the worst of it though. He brought a couple of guys into our operation. Guys I didn’t really like. Guys that didn’t like me. Back in the day Chuck wouldn’t have done anything like that. We were tight. We were a team. We had respect for each other; you know what I mean? So things were looking grim. Little did I know they were gonna get even more grim.
Part 2 Tomorrow