Episode 8: False Flag

The brothers drive in silence.  So Kostamo wins this round, Ramon says.  We must accept that the new order will be affirmed by The Syndicate.  And afterwards, we will not be able to come against him directly without becoming an anathema to the others.  So he will expect us to use proxies to have deniability.  Raul nods.

Say instead during the time I have left before the Syndicate meets, I do not make any moves to avenge my father.  I just came to New Orleans for a visit with my brother, and then I’m off to New York.  And I hit The Jew hard and take a shipment of his product, and bring attention to his business.

Raul is silent for a long time.  There is a reason no one would even dream about taking one of his shipments.  He’s just too powerful and well connected.  Only The Syndicate keeps him on the East Coast, and we would be alone in this.  But you see the garden path he would follow?  Ramon asks.  Raul sighs.  He would think you and Kostamo planned a coup and are working together.  And he would come after Kostamo first, giving us time to prepare for his onslaught.  We would have home turf advantage in Mexico.  It will work, Don Ramon, but it will be a terrible price to...

You cannot be part of this, Ramon interrupts him.  And Tia must not know about this until it is done.  The Jew must think that I’m fulfilling my part of the pact I made with Kostamo.

You must allow me a hand in this operation, Ramon.  It is just too dangerous to go it alone.  No, brother, your story is too well known; if you are part of the assault, he will see it for the false flag it is.  And even if I don't make it, Kostamo still dies.

Raul is silent for awhile.  My more recent story is too well known within the Syndicate to be a secret: it was I who let Kostamo walk when Don Luis told me to execute him.  I had to call in the Russian to do it, so I’d keep my hands clean.  And Mexicans, they all look alike.  Ramon laughs.  Alright, brother.  Let's do this together then.  There is no one else I'd rather have with me.

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The Syndicate Meeting.

Don Luis, may he rest in peace, secured the consent of the executive committee to sanction Kostamo for his lapse in judgment, the chairman announces.  Kostamo reacted to this threat with a limited proportionate response.  In light of these realities, we propose the following resolution.  It is our recommendation that Don Ramon step into his father’s shoes, with all rights and privileges thereunto, subject to Kostamo being made a voting member of the executive committee.  Silence greets this proposal, and the men gathered around the round table look at the two parties named.  If there are no objections, we will consider this matter resolved, and press on to other business, the chairman states.  <Silence>

I have no objections, Kostamo replies.  I also have no objections, Ramon says.  The men around the table look at each other skeptically.  You understand the consequences if you are to continue with a vendetta, the chairman states.  I understand.  What’s done cannot be undone.  I wish to carry on my father’s legacy in peace.  No one says anything.  The motion is carried, the chairman states flatly.

Are there any other items that need to be addressed?  The chairman asks.  Ramon indicates that he wishes to speak.  Yes, Don Ramon?  There is unresolved business that needs to be attended.  I purpose that The Syndicate pool its resources to fund black accounts for the benefit of the undercover agents recently discovered in our organizations, as we all will share in the bounty from the eventual fallout.  

Shocked faces look back at him.  And I further propose that the redhead not only be held inviolate, but also be cultivated as an asset.  That we feed her the undesireables within our organizations and of course, the uninvited peddlers who enter our respective area of operations.  Why?  Deluca interjects.  Ramon looks over at the handsome black man in a grey suit.  We advance her career but offer no emoluments.  She will understand that we are using her to take out the trash, and will seek eventually seek to benefit from the arrangement.  Deluca nods slowly, and glances over at Kostamo, who has his fingers steepled against his mouth, and is looking down pensively.  Any objections?  The chairman asks.  The motion carries.