The 1 Hour I worked for Basilio “Nightmare” Cotto
I was on my delivery run. I worked for Mookie’s famous pizzeria. But this wasn’t no ordinary delivery. I was delivering 10 large pizza pies with anchovies to Mr. Basilio Cotto. The largest drug lord in Miami. I thought this guy was some type of myth. He’s a legend! But don’t get it twisted he was for the people. He came from the exact same area I’m from. We all make choices and it leads down different paths but this was his.
I arrive at the location. Something wasn’t right, the street was illuminateby the red and white lights as 5 police cars were parked in front of the house. Then I thought, pigs are dirty, they’re probably working for the guy. So I set out to deliver the pizzas. As I get closer, Mr. Basilio walks out talking to the officers. I couldn’t hear much so I move closer.
“Sorry for the disturbance officer Tomas, we’ll keep it down.” Said Basilio.
“How’d you know my name?” asks the officer.
“You’re Lieutenant Tomas Rodriguez right?... That’s Sargent Richie Myers... Agent Billy Haul, Nick Gaines, Lenny Williams. That’s Lenny right?”
“Yeah that’s Lenny.” Says the officer.
Basilio approaches the other officers.
“You have a son right, Richie Jr?" he asked officer Tomas Rodriguez. "I’m sure he would want to go to camp this summer with his friends. And I know your salary isn’t cutting it." He looked over to agent Nick Gaines. "And Nick; your kid just graduated high school right? College is expensive!" Basilio slowly turned his head to look Agent Lenny Williams into the eye. "Lennnyyy, Lenny my man; I heard you just got engaged, that correct? Congratulationsss! Honeymoons are expensive ya know! The woman wants it all and if you want to keep getting busy haha you will give it to her.”
Basilio stops laughing and his smile quickly drops. He stares at each and every officer. He had these eyes. Death like, piercing. It was quite intimidating.
“I’m going to tell you who I am" he said. "I’m Basilio Nightmare Cotto. Any and EVERYTHING that happens in Miami... I know about. I hear.. I see.. I know.. EVERYTHING.” He says.
“OK, we’re sorry to interrupt your party Mr. Basilio, we’ll be on our way.” Says the officer.
And just like that, Basilio was a one man army. Got what he wanted, and did what he wanted, when he wanted.
As the officers were leaving, he pointed over to me and smiled.
“Pizzaaaa, come over here man! Bring me my pizzas!” he said.
I walk over there and my legs start to lock up. I stumble almost dropping the pizza.
“WHOA WHOA, don’t drop my pizza kid! Lamar, go help the man.” Says Basilio pointing to his right hand man.
I reach Basilio and he asks me how much I owe him. I told him the price. I kept peaking behind him. He was having a party that was jumping! Half naked woman everywhere! He starts smiling and moved his head to the side to get my attention.
“You want to come in?” he asked.
“Hell yeah!” I said.
“I tell you what; you do something for me, I’ll make sure that happens. Even better, I’ll set you up with something nice. But you have to do something for me. Understood?”
Struck by the moment, I agreed.
“You’re a smart kid Rick. I knew your father, great man. Strong!”
“How’d you know my name?” I asked.
He grabs my shirt and points to my name tag.
“Relax man, you’re in no trouble. I need you to go to Warehouse 7, you know where that is?” he asked.
“Ok, go and ask for Denny Poquito. That’s it. He’ll give you something and be back here in 1 Hour. No sooner, no later. Exactly one hour." He said.
“So just ask for Denny Poquito and nothing else?” I asked to clarify. Because I wanted to make no mistakes.
“Yeah. Take this too, just in case.”
Lamar hands him a 45. He gives it to me and nods with a smile. I’ve seen plenty of guns but never had one in my possession. I hurry to the car as he looked at his watch and mouthed one hour with a nod of trust. I get back into my car and panic. I almost threw up. What the hell was I thinking? I look back and Mr. Basilio was already back into the party. But Lamar stood there staring at me. His eyes troublesome. It almost looked as if he was trying to signal me something.
I didn’t know much about Basilio besides he was a Nightmare, hence the nickname. And that he helped out the unfortunate with weekly donations; besides the drugs. If I can remember, I think he paid for my neighborhoods bills for an entire month! I had no interest nor was I in any rush to return back to Mookie’s, so I turned off my work phone and headed to Warehouse 7.
I arrive to Warehouse 7. Huge place. Tucked back from the street, almost a half a mile drive from the curb. It was pitched black. Broken glass windows, graffiti covered the walls, no lights whatsoever. I continue driving, very slowly. I turn on my high beams to help navigate. Seconds later, 3 large black SUVs turn their lights on. They were parked directly in front of me. I stopped.
Panicking. They open their doors in sync. Holding military rifles dressed in black suits. I almost shit my pants. They then raise their guns and aim them towards the vehicle. I duck, scrambling for anything white and find a work shirt in the back of the car. I wave it out the window signaling surrender, I've seen way too many movies. I yell out the window that I am there for Denny Poquito. They look at each other and lower their guns.
The back door from the middle SUV opens and one of the guards goes and helps him out the car. I stay seated with the car already in reverse. The lights distorted my view making it difficult to see.
“You looking for Denny Poquito? I’m Denny Poquito! Who are YOU?”
Is that a kid? I wondered because the voice was so light.
“Get out the car!” he yells, more like a screech.
I grab my piece and step out and almost roll my foot over.
“The CARS IN REVERSE YOU IDIOT!” he yells to me.
I get out and walk, stopping 10 feet from in front of my car. Denny's bouncers surround him and they begin to approach me. One by one, they move to the side.
“Down here chump!” says Denny.
I almost burst into tears. Denny was a midget.
“You’re Denny Poquito?” I asked shocked.
“Yeah, where’s Basilio?” he asked.
“He’s at his party. He told me to come and ask for you. That’s it. Can you just give me whatever it is you’re supposed to give me. I gotta be back in an hour. And I’ve got about 20 something minutes left.”
“He sent a pizza delivery boy to come talk to ME?” Denny asks as he looks around at his crew. “I think we should go have a talk with Basilio. What you think?”
“I don’t care Mr. Denny Sir, I just want whatever I’m supposed to get. I really want to go to this party. I don’t have any girls and he said he was going to set me up with one. Can you just give me what he wants, please?”
“Kid SHUT-UP!” demanded Denny.
“S-s-sorry Mr. Denny Sir. Won’t happen again.”
“Let’s go crash a party fellas.” Denny replies looking at his crew of guards.
The largest guard grabs me by my arm and shoves me into the vehicle. Leaving my delivery car at the Warehouse. We head over to Basilio’s Party. When we arrive, the party expanded to the front yard. Everyone was at a standstill. Something was off. Denny seemed to be blind to realize or was too short to see. Whichever it was, his anger and envy took the wheel. He seeked revenge. The SUVs parked, lined up one after the other. The guards got out with their guns, ready for war. Denny gets out with a large smile on his face yelling “Basilio, Basilio, it’s Denny you son of a bitch!”
I’m locked in the car with one of the guards.
Lamar, Basilio's right hand comes out with a gun in his hand and has on a vest. Basilio proceeds not too far after him. But instead he’s in handcuffs surrounded by S.W.A.T.
Denny panics. Basilio is cursing a storm and spits towards Lamar’s location. Denny yells for one of the bouncers to grab me out the car. The SWAT team approaches the guards. Denny orders for a blood bath. A shootout between the SWAT and Denny’s goons begin. Lamar has his eyes focused on me. He lips “stay calm.” The SWAT are picking off the goons like flies.
“HOLD YOUR FIRE, HOLD YOUR FIRE!” yells Lamar.
It was just me, Denny Poquito and the one guard holding me at gunpoint. Lamar tries to negotiate with Denny and the bouncer to let me free. Denny wasn’t having it. Lamar looks at me. He was trying to tell me something. He fires two shots.
I open my eyes to a bright light over top of me. Noises were faint and fuzzy.
“Rick! Rick it’s Lamar. You’re going to be ok man. We got them. You’re going to be ok.” Says Lamar.
I was shot. But only in the shoulder.
For 8 years Lamar worked beside Basilio as an undercover agent working his way up the ranks. A few times Basilio suspected suspicion in Lamar but could never put his finger on it.
My lack of life experiences and self-control put me in this position. It wasn’t Basilio’s fault, it wasn’t Denny Poquito's fault, and it wasn’t Mookie’s fault. The blame was all of mine. I got myself shot. I almost got myself killed. I had no business on being where I was that night. Never again will I work one hour for Basilio Nightmare Cotto. Never again will I work one hour for anyone. I’m going home, I’m too young or this shit.