F = FBI Handler, 40's, sports an overcoat and a light mustache
B = Burim, Cooperating Witness for the FBI, former member of a declining Albanian gang. 30's, wears low-end sporting clothes. Never had time to study fashion.
S = Sacha, Burim’s long-time friend from his criminal years
INTERIOR . FBI OFFICE . DAY
Mr Burim Lamaj?
F: And what is your middle name?
B: Don't have one.
B: Burim Lamaj is Americanized. Never needed
a middle name to fit in.
F: Fit in where you were most uncomfortable?
B: This again. I've never been comfortable.
F: Feel free to use the water cooler if you get nervous during this period.
B: Thank you.
F: Have you been ever been married?
B: Yes. My ex-wife is set to testify against me, and
if we could ignore that fact, I'll tell you everything you want.
F: On our tapes, she has recorded you referring
to a 'ground-up icing' procedure. Can you tell us what
this refers to? Albanian slang is almost indecipherable.
B: Jimmy Hiatt wanted to kidnap our councilman's daughter.
Jimmy Hiatt was told he was going to live.
F: But he didn't.
B: Right. Jimmy Hiatt was shot in both kneecaps, then
upwards to the intestine. And he was left like that. But Jimmy
didn't make it through the week.
F: The killer was a real anatomist?
B: A morbid sense of humor on you.
F: You killed him, not me.
B: What of it?
F: Define 'Kokmeesh'?
B: Buckwheats. Spite work. When somebody is pegged
as a rat like me, they have to suffer.
F: And did you feel bad
for the pain you inflicted?
B: I don't sleep because of it. Why? Do you feel bad for
the pain you cause? I know your game. I know you've put
away innocent lives who aren't ever getting out.
F: Yes, and every Albanian in The Bronx is raised to detest
authority. Why don't you do something good, for yourself.
Take the guilty plea, and take them off the streets with
B: By all means, you've left me no choice.
F: One last thing. Your comrades seem extra trigger happy
since we snatched you. Recognize this photo? Sacha Gaznayev.
27, Russian healthcare fraudster whom for some
reason, never spent a night in jail. Personally, I blame corrupt
politicians but I'm not exactly entitled to form my own
opinions. Come on, Mr. Lumaj. You can finally redeem yourself.
Tell us just what the hell happened here?
B: Never knew he was dead. But I knew him once.
Introduced him to the life the same way I introduce
everyone. I...told him what he wanted to hear, till he trusted
F: Enough for what?
B: Enough to get hooked.
B: Nga behesh. This is your block?
S: (Pointing Towards a large row of townhouses)
Whole neighborhood is in my name! Here, let us
give you the grand tour.
B: Beautiful, beautiful.
S: You see what I did, Burim? I took a neighborhood that
doesn't need sprucing up, made it even better. If a neighborhood
is bad, you leave it to rot. Same goes for everything in this city.
Why? Because that's America.
B: Right. You still have the cash to live here. But what
about the people?
S: The what?
(w/ false empathy)
I feel the people's pain….
S: Eh...there's worse pain to feel.
B: But I mean it. If I was big just once. Look at you and me.
We were born with talent. But imagine men who were not.
Man works his ass off to get out of a slum neighborhood,
pushes himself past the human limit. The city renovates all
the middle class neighborhoods and prices go up. So now
middle class man is stuck in hell on earth, while his sh*tty
neighborhood rots even further. I would try and fix that.
S: Didn't know young people had feelings.
B: I know it's idealistic, but I care. Albanians care about
supporting the people. And what good has America done
S: Don't know nothing about them Burim. Your whole
race is too damn secretive. But easy on the idealism. The
other Russians see you talking like that, and...let's just say
they don't tolerate too much chatter.
B: This rule is foreign to me.
S: I mean, if you make any reference to how you would
run things. Hypotheticals - you get shot. Probably carries
over from the home country. Why I hang out with harmless
thieves instead of loan sharks.
B: I doubt you mind me making hypotheticals. In
fact, I think you understand.
S: What makes you think that?
B: You understand when I stress a legitimate future.
With me it will be social change. You, legal weapons
S: My f*cking therapist, are you? I use loopholes in
the legal system. Much easier than a reform from criminality
B: Ain't that the truth. Most people are born a killer
or a thief. Once they start, no going back. But at least what
we do is men's work - because it supports the family. I
support my mother. And proud of it. Because you know what?
Burri ne shtepi si dreqi ne xhami. I have faith in myself going
legitimate eventually. But do I count on it? Too rare a sight.
S: You are prideful. It's irritating. But. I'd like to continue
this relationship. As long as you keep up this 'social change'
ruse, the feds won't know I hang out with a criminal.
B: Not a ruse, Sacha. A future.
S: I don't know what that means, but. I'm having fun. You
should do a little less contemplation. For your health.
B: They don't call our lives the immigrant struggle for
nothing. Thought, is a method to stay alive.
S: You're a funny guy, Burim.
B: You really think so? I mean, if we're at that point in
S: Oh, of course.
B: Great. Now take this.
S: "Great, now take this". f*ck, sh*t, you want to get
B: Just thought we could celebrate, you know. To a
partnership in business.
S: But you promise you'll control
me. I ain't so good on powder.
B: Sure! Just line up half the stuff.
S: Alright. Alright, I can do this. Just one sniff.
B: I'll count for you. One. *snort*
B: Eh...that didn't count. One more. *snort*
B: Smooth, no?
S: Alright, man. Just one more. *snort*
S: sh*t, I've got to stop myself. One... *snort
INT FBI OFFICE DAY
(reflectively, to agent)
I just didn't know a bad habit could get