Chapter 4: Trading Lives, Part 1
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 16:11
Yasser Shaikh, a senior majoring in biotechnology, will provide The Spectrum with a chapter from his fiction story “eMe” that depicts the life of a college senior law student who happens to get involved in a Mexican mafia drug cartel and soon finds himself running from the cops. This is chapter four, part one; TRADING LIVES
Stuyvesant Town, NY 09:00 A.M.
The sunlight gleaming down the window woke Ed up. He reached for his watch to see the time. His Omega Seamaster was the costliest thing Eddie had ever purchased. It was a $3000 watch and he cherished it more than anything in the world. Ed had to save for three and half years to buy this baby.
Eddie Perez was born Eduardo Constantino Perez. He was a small yet fit guy, and with his looks he could pass for an average white American any given day. Most of his classmates didn’t even know he was born to a Mexican father and a Costa Rican mother. He never knew his father, but always wondered why his mother decided to give him his father’s last name.
Eddie was a perfect gentleman when it came to ladies. His academic advisor often called him a “schmoozer.” He had dated countless females, until Melissa arrived. The moment he saw her at his friend Conner’s birthday party he knew he was in love. Looking at her curled up beside him with the sunlight bouncing off her brown hair, he wondered why she was with a guy who had nothing in his life.
Eddie was a senior at Brooklyn Law School. His boss Fabio J. Abato often joked how he went to school six miles away from his home. He wasn’t a rich guy; in fact, Ed didn’t even have an apartment of his own. He lived with his best friend Conner for the first year at college and later his girlfriend let him stay with her. She even drove him to school every day. He took the Metro to work after his classes and she picked him up at his office each night.
He was not only grateful to her, he also felt indebted to her. He knew that his job at the law firm was not a well-paying one, but at least he got a chance to work with one of the best Criminal Lawyers in New York City. He was basically a runner, an office laborer. But he practically did everything in there that a lawyer does, except for courthouse jobs.
Eddie was never legally hired, as he never got a social security number. He did not own so much as a cell phone until Melissa gifted him one. He got the job by chance, actually. In one of his Civil Practice and Litigation classes he pointed out a flaw in the Case history presented by his professor Don Schmidt. The case had been closed for years now and even Schmidt himself had not seen this even though he had been teaching this class for nine years now.
Don was impressed and recommended that Ed take up a job at one of his friend’s law firm. Ed gave it a thought and decided it will be a good start for his career. Anyway, his mother’s trust fund and the scholarship only kept him in school, but he had to eat and Eduardo was a man with an appetite.
When Ed approached Fabio, he was accepted for the job but could not be hired legally because he did not have Social Security. It was not difficult to acquire one but he hated the paperwork. It was a miracle he could even go to school because there was practically no record of where he was born. All he knew was he was born in some sweatshop in America, the land of the free.
His mother died when he was 15 and he had been living on and off the streets ever since. Yet, he graduated from high school with a perfect GPA. The school didn’t know much about him either. All they knew was that he was an orphan and a homeless guy with a perfect score. He grew up eating in soup kitchens and was surprised when his mother’s “lawyer” approached him with the papers for the trust fund.
Eddie suddenly wanted to study more; with his score he could have applied to any college for any major and gotten selected, but he didn’t have much money to spare on lousy applications. His mother’s trust fund was not going to last long enough. He applied to Brooklyn Law and got a nice scholarship that covered 60 percent of his tuition. He worked hard through school and did odd jobs at bars and meat stores to keep him fed.
Ed had never been on the wrong side of the law. He never even had a misdemeanor charge against him. He was probably the cleanest homeless guy in New York City. This was the perfect identity for anyone; barely any records and absolutely nothing in the wrong books. Eduardo always thought that no one cared about how he lived, but now he was in the scanner.
He had no idea he was being watched.