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“There were rules, Mafia codes you had to go by. But the code is ridiculous. It's a code among sociopaths.” David Chase (creator: The Sopranos) Chapter Three: Tiffany and The Ax
- ANTIBES, FRANCE. Jude sat at a small table outside La Forge Restaurant on Jacques Audiberti Place. The petite square was bustling with late morning activity. He sipped an espresso and paged through his USA Today. A group of teenagers passed loudly through the square on their way to the beach from a hostel. Tiffany and her girlfriend were with the group. He had been watching her for about a week now but the right opportunity hadn't presented itself.
He told himself he wasn't delaying the operation because he was on an unlimited expense account and his target was spending the summer on the Cote d'Azur. He supposed milking a client that way would be unethical. The thought amused him. It really was
because he hadn't found the perfect chance to kill her. Mostly. Mostly that was it.
He noted that the Tour de France was passing through the area and decided to find a place to watch the event. And then there was the Musee Picasso on Place Mariejol. He didn't want to miss that.
He could kill Tiffany tomorrow. Or the next day.
Finally it was the weather that forced his hand. A fierce summer storm was predicted for that week. Such an event would make Tiffany's movements unpredictable. She might stay in and weather it, as he would then have to do as well or she might catch the train to a fairer climate. He had no doubt he could find her again, but uncertainties made him uncomfortable. The night before the storm rolled in, he got his perfect opportunity.
It was late, past midnight. Jude had been watching Tiffany as she snuck away with a young man, an Australian, Jude guessed. They had been drinking on the beach, the Plage Gravette, having snuck on after it closed. The location couldn't have been more perfect if Karsen picked it himself. It was surrounded by walls on three sides and faced the ocean. It wasn't lit other than the light kicking off the surrounding apartment buildings. And with the cloud cover from the oncoming storm, it was all but impossible for anyone in the overlooking apartment buildings to see any activity on the beach that night.
Tiffany's male companion passed out after sex. Tiffany lay there, quite drunk herself. Finally she got up and staggered towards the road. Jude watched from the shadows as she came right towards him. She passed one bum, fast asleep by the wall and entered into the tunnel leading from the beach. She never saw Karsen.
She cried out for a split second. But Jude covered her mouth with gloved hands and snapped her neck. He carried her body off the beach, out the gate to the Quai Henri Rambaud and onto a waiting boat.
While Jude piloted the motorboat out into the ocean, into the face of the storm, his partner prepared the body. When they reached far enough out, they dumped the pretty, blonde teenager over the side. And started a media firestorm.
Tiffany Teague was an ordinary American girl. She was from the state of New York. Wynantskill, specifically. A hamlet outside of Albany. She was a junior in college, attending Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, an all women's school. She liked Justin Timberlake and Fallout Boy and thought that Paul Walker was the perfect man.
Edward and Maggie Teague weren't rich, or even well off after several failed business ventures, but they doted on their kids and helped Tiffany save for a summer of backpacking in Europe. They were proud of the fact that while most of Tiffany's friends were sitting around getting drunk and pregnant, Tiffany would be learning about the world. They probably wouldn't have been pleased with how she spent her last hours alive.
When she vanished, they began a tireless campaign. Like all parents faced with an unsolvable mystery of this type, they played nightmare scenarios over and over in their heads. Was it worse that she was dead? Or was it worse that she was alive, perhaps living in some horrible situation? Which to hope for? How to pray?
The case caught the attention of Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren. The resulting media pressure caused France, the United States and Australia (the home of the poor drunken boy last known to be with her) to redouble their efforts on Tiffany's behalf.
But there was no trace to be found. No clue as to her disappearance. The Australian boy, somewhat of a loathsome cad, found himself now reviled as a murderer. For the life of him, he could barely remember their last hours together. He didn't even remember having slept with her on the beach. A fact attested to by the drunk who watched it, but his testimony was highly questionable.
No one would ever have tied it to a case in Federal Court from almost two years before. The prosecution of a small time thug named Paulie Azeglio. In 2002 Paulie was convicted under U.S.C. § 2315 Sale or receipt of stolen goods, securities or monies. He was sentenced to three years, but died in prison in 2003. His death was retribution in an ongoing organized crime power struggle involving his infamous father, Frank “The Ax” Azeglio. Edward Teague was a juror in the trial that convicted Paulie.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK. Two and half months before Tiffany's death, Jude was in the living room of his home in Sherman Oaks. He had his laptop hooked up to his 70 inch big screen television and he was sitting on the couch watching porn when his cell phone rang with an unknown number. Normally he wouldn't have answered it, but the area code was from New York. And he got a prickly feeling at the back of his neck. So he managed to get his hands clean in time to answer the call before it kicked over to voice mail.
The speaker was abrupt. A limousine would be arriving at his home in forty-five minutes. It would take him to the airport. He would fly to New York, JFK International and be picked up from there for a meeting. After the meeting he would be taken to a hotel before being flown back to L.A. the following afternoon. The option to refuse this was not offered. And Jude, recognizing the voice, knowing the caller by reputation, never once thought of turning it down. He got up, showered and packed an over-night bag. The limo was right on time.
When he arrived in New York, it was almost 4 AM. Another limo was waiting for him and the ride from the airport took forty-five minutes. Jude slept for most of it as it was past one in the morning, California time. He woke from the sound of the limo coming to a stop. The driver opened the door and Jude stepped out, stretching as he did so.
He was in a warehouse complex. Dull orange lights hung from the corners of buildings in halos of mist. The ocean was nearby, though he couldn't see it. He could smell the salt in the air and hear the not-so-distant sound of compressed surf crunching against a wharf. This was an old complex. Rust rotted through the walls of the buildings. Some were missing whole panels.
The limo drove away, leaving him alone. For a moment, there was a tightness in his chest. Anxiety. He didn’t have a gun. He wasn’t armed but that was unavoidable. He pushed it away. Calculated the odds. It was unlikely they brought him this far just to kill him. Unlikely, but not impossible. He pushed the thought away again. You never knew for sure when dealing with the Mafia. Before anxiety consumed him, a door opened. Twenty feet away, a large man wearing a suit stepped out of the darkness and motioned him to come forward. Karsen did not feel better.
The man searched Karsen, patting him down. Karsen didn't object. When the man was satisfied, he waved Jude through the doorway. Neither of them spoke.
Karsen moved cautiously into the old warehouse. It was a huge empty place. Dim light filtered in from broken windows high above. Deep shadows hung like curtains through cavernous space. Karsen lit a cigarette and walked, kept walking towards the center of the warehouse. Finally, seeing no objective and hearing the door crash closed behind him, he stopped. In a dim pool of light drizzling in from a broken window high above.
Footsteps echoed out of the shadows. Coming towards him. Gradually a man emerged from the gloom. He stopped a few feet from Jude. The man was in his late fifties or early sixties. Obviously Italian. His hair was steel grey and his manner was one that assumed authority.
Jude stared at Frank “The Ax” Azeglio. He took a drag on his cigarette and exhaled softly. Frank spoke.
“Put out your cigarette. My sinuses...”
“Oh. Sorry.” Jude dropped the smoke and crushed it with his shoe.
“Thank you. And thank you for coming.”
“I have a job for you, Mr. Karsen.” With gloved hands, Frank the Ax passed a manila envelope to Karsen.
“Family member?” asked Jude.
“One of the bosses?”
“Is this a quiz show? Open the fucking envelope.” Azeglio pulled out a bottle of nasal spray and took a squirt up each nostril.
Karsen skimmed the information and looked at the photo. A photo of Tiffany Teague. He glanced back up at Azeglio, curiosity on his face.
“This is a teenage girl.”
Frank stared at him. Silent. Jude shot him a small, knowing smile.
“Sure. I'll do it. Any special requests?”
“Make it quick and painless. Make the body disappear.”
Jude nodded and slid the papers back into the envelope. Something was weird about this. There was a reason Frank called him in the middle of the night, flew him across the country. There was a reason they were meeting in this warehouse instead of some back room of a restaurant. Something about this contract was different.
“A mil,” said Jude. “Plus expenses.”
The Ax didn't hesitate or negotiate. “I'll have it wired to your account. Bill me the expenses through our usual contact.”
“You got a deal.” Karsen handed the envelope back to Frank.
“Don't you need this information?”
“I have what I need memorized. I don’t want to carry that file past the TSA.” Karsen turned and walked towards the door. He hadn't gone more than a couple feet before Frank spoke again.
Jude stopped and turned to the mob boss.
“I want you to know why.”
Jude shifted uncomfortably. He was itching to go and he felt the nascent urge to urinate. But it was more than that. Somehow he felt that the longer he stayed, the more...culpable
he was. It was an irrational, random thought, but it nagged him. It put an urgency on him.
“That's not necessary. I prefer not to know. To know as little as possible.”
“But I want
you to know.”
Jude stood there quietly. He desperately wanted a smoke. Frank “The Ax” began to speak.
“My son Paul. Francis Paul Azeglio Jr, you know I wanted a better life for him. Wanted him to go to college, maybe join the military. I didn't want this life for him. This life that you and I lead. I wanted better for my children. Wasn't that the point of fighting my way out of the gutters and back alleys of Brooklyn? And I did it. I gave my children everything. Paul was raised in luxury. He got an excellent education at a private school. He had all the opportunities of privilege at his fingertips. Opportunities I bled and made others bleed to win for him.
“All I wanted was for him to be a doctor or a stockbroker or even a musician. To have a family and give me grandchildren. I wanted my son to escape this life that I was forced into by simple economics and...certain skills I had that others lacked. You understand me, Mr. Karsen?”
“I don't have children,” Jude regretted it the moment it came out his mouth. Frank's expression clouded and his brow furrowed.
“But I get your point,” Karsen added quickly.
“Every father worth a damn wants to protect his children. Of course, to my son, it seemed like I thought he wasn't up to it, like I thought he wasn't tough enough for the job....” Frank trailed off, staring up at the shattered windows with their rusted frames. “Which, of course, was the absolute truth.”
They were silent. Jude's need to piss was growing stronger. But there was no way to leave this conversation. Not until Frank the Ax was done. Was this a confession wondered Jude? Karsen suspected Frank was probably a Catholic. How did he suddenly become this man's priest?
Frank finally broke the silence. “Did your father respect you?”
Ahh jeez, thought Jude, “I broke his jaw when I was sixteen. After that it didn't matter.”
“Bullshit. It always matters. I never even knew my father and I still wonder what he would've thought of me, to this very day. But you took respect from your dad the day you cracked his face.”
“I don't know. I didn't see him much after that.”
“Right...right,” Frank sighed. “Paul wanted my respect. He wanted to impress me, not just as a son or even as a man, he wanted my respect as a gangster. He coulda done anything and I woulda been proud of him. But he wanted to be good, be great at what I
was great at. You understand?”
“I think so.”
“This kid...this right side of the tracks, white kid who never had to fight in his life, decided he was smart enough to do a major job, like it was some movie or one of these cable TV shows. He stole a container full of flatscreen TVs and tried to fence. He wanted to bring down a big score, just like the stories he'd heard his old man tell the boys, when he shoulda been in bed at night...”
“He got caught.”
“Of course he got caught. Grand Theft Auto was a video game
to him. To me, it was a way of life
.” Frank muttered something under his breath that Jude didn't make out.
“Nothing. Because Paul went across state lines it was a Federal Crime. Ahh, that shouldn't have mattered. I got the best lawyers, greased the skids with the Judge and the prosecutor. They offered a decent deal, but not enough. I didn't want my boy to do a day inside. So it went to trial. Still shouldn't have been a problem. I hired one of those fancy jury consultant companies and wired the jury...but one slipped by. One man named Edward Teague. Real Dudley do-right. From my man inside, he tells me this Edward Teague bullied this jury, harassed this jury, and wore them out by dragging it on for days so they finally gave in and convicted. They didn't want to convict. But this guy...this guy...he was the foreman and he all but forced them...”
Something didn't ring true about this story, but Jude wasn't about to question a man nicked-named 'The Ax'.
“So my sweetheart baby boy, my only son...went to the Federal Pen. God, the way he acted, like it was a badge of honor, like I should be proud of him. I told him-”
Frank stopped, his voice catching as the memory overcame him. He composed himself and wiped a tear, passing it off as rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“I told him. Keep your head down. Do your time quietly and he'd be taken care of. Mob guys can be very safe inside. But he... he still had something to prove...”
Another tear slid silently down the mafia don's cheeks. Jude wanted desperately to leave. But he felt he had to say something
at this point.
“I got the guys that did him. I got them already.” Frank wiped the tears from his face and his manner changed. As he spoke, a slow rage filled his voice. “Now. Now I want Edward Teague. Juror number nine. I want him to suffer like I do. To live without his precious child, his daughter that he dotes on, that he loves. I want to rip her out of his arms.” His voice seethed with hatred.
“I want him to hurt...you understand me? I want him to have this hole in his heart
. This ache, this, this horrible
torn into his soul.”
Frank stepped closer to Jude, until he was so near Jude could smell the faint medicinal scent of nasal spray on the man's breath. He was so uncomfortable that he wanted to burst out laughing, but knew that would mean his instant death. Not figuratively. Frank, in this moment, would kill him for disrespect. It was the thought of his own face being bludgeoned that drove the amusement away.
Brutality filled Azeglio's voice, “I want to take his daughter from him and I want him to live the rest of his life never knowing what happened to her.
The cold hatred that burned out of the man was awful in its intensity. His eyes cut into Jude's with the horror of emptiness. Without another word, Frank turned and walked back into the darkness.
| || |
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I had inguinal hernia repairs (left / right) in 2006/7 (a few weeks apart) using mesh.
I had a LOT of pain before the repairs -- partly because the left-sided one was causing recurrent infections -- and a fair amount of pain for about 2 years after. Then I was okay for a very long time.
Until recently. I suspect the cause is my dramatic weight loss (70 pounds down, 40 more to go) which is possibly moving the mesh around. My left testicle retracts (and not the right one) -- I was taught such asymmetrical retraction is a classic sign of a hernia -- the intestines are irritating a nerve that enervates the cremaster muscle that controls such retraction.
CAN ANYONE REFER ME TO A DEDICATED HERNIA SURGEON IN NEW YORK CITY? The one I used years ago (the great Dr. James A. Goodyear is in PA and I'm not sure he's still practicing). "Dedicated" meaning does that kind of surgery almost exclusively.
And while I'm looking for referrals... CAN ANYONE REFER ME TO A PAIN / Palliative care doctor? The pain is really nasty.
I, (20)F am going into my junior year of college and I want to change my major. I know, I know, that changing your major in itself is not a huge deal. But I’m really struggling with this decision and the paths that I could go on. I’m just feeling lost and would love any opinions!
My first thought is to major in marketing and minor in graphic design. I would still graduate on time and I could just be done with school. I’ve been having a lot of family issues and stressors lately, so I would really love to be just DONE. I want to move away from where I currently live (rural Pennsylvania) and just start my life. I really enjoy creative work. However, my fear is that I will spend my whole life doing marketing for some company I don’t care about while struggling to make ends meet. I have this nightmare where my family is reading my obituary at my funeral and my future kid reads: “my mom was the best person I knew, she worked at (insert company here: swifter, bic pens, Marlboro) for 40 years and sold ( mops, pencils, cigs) for that time. Now, she’s dead”. Is that really my life’s passion and work???
My second option is changing to psychology with the intent on graduate school (OT, PA). I would also still graduate on time. I really enjoy connecting with people, taking care of them, and feeling like I find purpose in my work (INFJ). However, with everything going on in my life, this is a huge stressor with having to acquire patient care hours, volunteering, shadowing, leadership, etc. I would be in so much debt after PA school. My life has always been so turbulent and the thought of completing more school after undergrad is overwhelming. But I know I would like this career and the stability it brings.
I’m struggling with finding any advice because most adults in my life live and work in the small town. Ex. Your parents work at a small company, your friends parents work at the beer distributor, the casino in town, at the local school district, or are nurses.
At the end of the day, all I want is to move to the south, have a job I like, and not live this overwhelming craziness. I know moving away won’t solve every problem.
I just have no idea what to do! Anything helps :)