Article by WADE AGNEW
Back in Australia ensconced in Park Tower, I was between gigs and
needing cash, receiving an offer that was too good to refuse. My friend Chris
was a cocaine trafficker, distributing to the society set. He was waiting on a
shipment of hash and needed somewhere safe to store it. With a low profile and
known discretion, my apartment fit the bill.
Chris had hooked up with a syndicate of Jewish dealers, an outsider's
eye and flair for business, had them figuring prominently in the trade. A load
of hashish was buried in Bali by two American soldiers, in the dying days of
the Viet Nam war, coming back to collect it when the heat was off. Chris bought
part of that shipment. I wasn't told the details, and quite frankly didn't want
to know, I had enough secrets of my own. Dry surface on the half-kilo bricks
suggested it wasn't fresh, but still strong enough to put you into coma, and
smelling like the ocean, I reckoned it arriving by boat. Greenish black, with
the elasticity of premium Afghani it was a magnificent sight.
"Jesus Chris, sixty kilos of this stuff is bound to stink big time.
Can we seal it somehow?" I commented on first smelling it.
Having just bought an apartment and with payments to meet, the offer was
timely. Thinking about it now I must have been insane, falling for the romance
despite the risk. With Chris hitting up coke and heroin cocktails continually,
add hash to that volatile mix, how would he pull off a major drug operation
without his head exploding bringing us all crashing down? But none of that
mattered in the slightest. Duly counseled by other gang members, he laughed it
off and the mission proceeded post haste.
Luckily the lift travelled straight to the car-park, so we manhandled
the large, metal chest from his car boot. Chris was built like Raging Bull,
with an upper body burnt saving four people from fire at a bikies picnic,
endearing him in perpetuity to The Hells Angels, now regular customers, the
debt repaid with interest. When we closed the lift doors it smelt like an opium
den, although Chris couldn't smell anything of course. I wedged them open, and
explaining to the concierge I was moving in new belongings, she programmed it
on express. After much bumping and thumping, we squeezed it into the apartment,
the entire load a glorious sight, an Eldorado realising all my fantasies. With
63 kilos present and correct the mission began.
Our cut was three grand a week for storage and delivery, as much coke as
we both wanted, plus an ounce of hash for every kilo sold, only on call in
daylight, the night too risky. The basement car-space kept the innocuous Volvo
out of sight, the whole mission set to take eight weeks. With coke from Chris,
my rocks and the hash, I was never more inebriated. But to remain sane and
curtail my paranoia, I imposed some restrictions of my own; no visits by gang
members, and all in-coming calls from a public phone. It infuriated Chris when
I hung up on him occasionally, failing to hear the coins drop. For the most
part things went smoothly. The Drug Squad was going nuts trying to track down
the hash, as even by then it was rare and precious.
is so unreliable, and is the worst thing that can happen to an agent." One
of the Cambridge spies Anthony Blunt, noted about his perilous vocation. It was
the same for traffickers doing a run. Happiness was a dangerous state, when
letting down your guard could be calamitous.
Park Tower had a very infuriating, and for me almost fatal flaw. At home
one evening watching television we had a few grams, and as you do with cocaine,
were using it till it was gone. We were progressing well, when the quiet night
was shattered by fire engines, the city fire-brigade a stone's throw away across
Fitzroy Gardens. The beautiful parkland allowed noise to travel fast, to
penetrate our refuge. The wailing sirens came closer, until they seemed right
In our semi-conscience, agitated state, we tumbled onto the front
balcony and looked through blood shot eyes for the smoke, but couldn't see any.
Behind brief flashes of awareness, lay a suspicion we hallucinated everything.
The sirens finally stopped and we returned to the security of television. Then
suddenly, there was an almighty pounding on our door, the mixture of cocaine
and adrenaline, quadrupling my heart rate in a flash.
the fucking hell was that? "I exclaimed involuntarily. Again there was
pounding, and whoever was there wasn't going away. Only cops knocked like that,
and I didn't want those fuckers getting in, now or ever. As I approached the
door cautiously, I pressed my eye to the spy-hole, my heart leaping from its
chest. Through the distorted fish eye, I saw four Roman gladiators in full
battle dress, axes poised for action. I reeled back in horror as it pounded
they're going to cut us to pieces. What are we going to do?" I yelled at
my startled girlfriend. Was it some horrible nightmare, a punishment for having
too good a time with drugs? It was Armageddon and all over for us. She pushed
me aside, and thrust her face towards the door as if about to head-butt it.
the fire brigade you fool, open it." She instructed, too calmly for
someone who consumed as many drugs as me. I opened the door slowly, and four
Firemen in protective gear pressed in, towering
over my quivering, crumpled frame.
to disturb you Sir. Your fire-detector went off, we're responding to the call.
Do you mind if we come in to check the alarms?" He asked calmly.
us! You arseholes scared the shit out of us," was what I really wanted to
come in." I finally spluttered. The regiment burst into our haven with
axes raised, wearing masks and heavy boots. No time to mention a no shoe policy
I suppose, the sooner satisfied the better for us. The four gladiators quickly
discovered the cause of concern in a spare bedroom. It was completely empty,
except for discarded shelving in the corner and a large, metal trunk in the
middle of the room, under the faulty alarm.
I stand on this?" asked the head fireman politely.
why not. Go for it." I responded, resigned to the worst.
Satisfied, they marched out in single file with profound apologies, and
disappeared down the hall and into the lift.
what was that? " I gasped in total disbelief.
The fatal flaw I mentioned in Park Tower was the fire alarms; they
tended to activate for no reason, connected directly to the city fire-station.
It was very safe to be sure, a little too bloody safe for my liking.
You can never fire-proof a life entirely, no matter how many precautions
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