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The Cuban Connection by Kevin Surface Excerpt 8

"YOU GUYS WAIT OUT HERE till we get done," said "Peanuts" Gravese to his two soldiers who had accompanied him to the rear of the Cabrese house.

"You guys do the same," chimed in Frankie "Big Sans" Santini to his men just behind him.

"How long do you think you'll be, Boss?" asked one of Santini's men out of idle curiosity.

"How in the hell am I supposed to know, you imbecile?! Does it look like I'm carrying a crystal ball? Huh?"

"Uh no, Boss, I didn't mean to get you pissed off ."

"Then just stand out here and shut up. Do you think you can handle that?" After a moment of silence, he said, "Good, that's what I thought," as he stomped off through the rear entrance of the house and into the study.

"Big Sans" Santini felt like shit. He was on edge all the time, his anger waiting to be unleashed on any poor soul who happened to be in the same Zip Code when got a little irritated. Physically, he was a wreck. At 6'0" and 380 pounds, he was a heart attack waiting to happen, considering the way he had abused his body with drugs and alcohol the last few years. Exercise was a foreign, indiscernible word to him. The only exercise he ever encountered was walking up the two flights of stairs when the elevator was broken, and that had taken him almost five minutes.

Something much more colossal had been bothering him lately, though. It was slowly and agonizingly eating at his soul like a cannibalistic carnivore with an insatiable appetite. Regardless of the outcome, he was sure he wouldn't survive it. The avarice of lust and greed had been his downfall, his Achilles' heel that had led him to this miserable, unbearable point in his life. The worst part, though, was how much he hated himself for what he had done.

It had been almost a year ago, in the middle of a wild reverie of drugs, sex, and alcohol that his world had started to unravel. He had met her in one of the strip bars he had been frequenting that was owned by one of his associates. She was the most vivacious and sensual women he had ever laid eyes on. Her stage name was Fancy, but he would soon learn her real name. Patricia Amos liked two things - money and drugs. Frankie Santini had plenty of both. Together, they soon developed a chronic addiction to cocaine and a lust for the wild side. Their reputation for drug use and his squandering of large sums of money that he didn't really have attracted the local authorities, including the local FBI. Santini had started supplying and dealing cocaine to the street gangs without the knowledge or consent of the head of his "family." The FBI had taken notice and saw this as their window of opportunity. They had sent one of their best and brightest female agents undercover, into the Classy Showgirls Club to get close to, and form a friendship with, Patricia "Fancy" Amos. The goal was to have "Fancy" roll over on Santini.

Kate Beckett wasn't married, nor was she seeing anyone in particular. She was in love with her job, or more accurately, with ascending to the top ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There was no husband to worry about, and she had only lived in Brooklyn three years. Therefore, she basically had no reputation to protect. Yes, she told her superiors, she would do it. Get hired on at the club, befriend Patti Amos, and eventually persuade her, one way or another, to roll on the captain of the most notorious crime family in New York City.

The entire setup had gone easily, the friendship blossoming rapidly, with both of them becoming quick pals. Beckett had marveled at how much Fancy had sought female companionship and attention because of her disruptive and dysfunctional childhood, which ended up with her leaving home at the age of thirteen. Patti Amos had told her all about her teddy bear of a boyfriend, who lavished money on her like she was a princess, and that the money had come from the lucrative drug dealing he had been doing on the side.

After four months, they decided they had enough to confront her. She had broken down quite easily when faced with the evidence, but what had hurt her the most was the betrayal of her confidence by the person who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. When presented with federal charges and incarceration, she gave up Frankie "Big Sans" Santini.

Beckett and her two superiors then secretly confronted Santini. At first, he had been obstreperous and indignant at the possibility of being an informer, something he considered no better than a sewer rat. He had taken the oath of omerta - the oath of silence - that every made man was sworn to uphold.

It quickly became apparent, though, that the good ole boys of the FBI had him by the ass, and like a rabid wolf, were not about to let him go. They presented their intentions to him in a very brute and forceful manner. There would be no compromises. He was guilty of several federal drug charges, all felonies, and would spend several years in the general population at the maximum-security facility on Riker's Island. Furthermore, they would let it slip that he had turned anyway, and the Mob would have his throat slit in prison faster than greased lightning.

He knew that a suspected Mafia informant wouldn't last two shakes of a horse's tail in prison. They told him he had no choice, and unfortunately, he knew they were right. What about his family, though, he had asked them. They told him that right before he was to testify, his family would be put into the Witness Protection Program, their prior identities eradicated from existence as if they had never been born. After he had testified, he would join them in their circle of seclusion with a new life and identity, his old one forever ceasing to exist. These were the circumstances that continually tortured his body and soul as he walked into the rear entrance of Don Santino Cabrese's house. The feds had told him it would be over soon, but the sons of bitches were never satisfied.

They still wanted more information, but he was beginning to lose his grip on reality. He had been walking the tightrope between fear and survival, and the pressure was really beginning to mess up his mind and cloud his judgment. He had told him at their last clandestine meeting that they had better hurry up and get it done before he made the proverbial slip-up that would cost him his life, and lose them the most important Mafia informant they had ever had.

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