Ciao Paisano, my name is Santino, Santino Castellano. It’s the year 2070 and i’m 71 years old. At this point in my life I am indubitably content with the way my life has transpired. I’m a real estate magnate, art collector and dealer, world renown philanthropist, CEO, and various other occupations I’d rather keep to myself until I finish my year 2025 version of Dom Perignon.

The circumstance which faces me, some may look at as unfortunate. Death is never unfortunate, but inevitable. Everyone has a time, a number, a destiny to conquer and fulfill. Though death stares at me in the night and I live in excrutiating pain until death decides to leap upon me with unrelenting tyranny, I shan’t weep, I shan’t not smile.

I smile as I die, I smile because the pain I suffer is all a glorious reaping of the maliciousness i’ve sowed. I shall inform you of the sowing i’ve done and i’ll allow you to decide if my reaping is warranted.

During my lifetime i’ve made many acquaintances and very few real friends. By real friends I mean those who would do what they must in order to protect me, those who’d steal for me, murder for me, and even die for me. I’ve had only one that would have done that for me in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. That one friend, (God rest his soul) went by the name of Frankie Haze. Frankie Haze was my childhood buddy. We grew up together in Harlem, amongst the negroes. We were the only two “eye-talians” on the block (as the Blacks would say.) We did everything together. We played basketball everyday after school during our elementary school days and when we got to high school we made the team together.

So me and Frankie played our hearts out and we made the team. We made the team but we never saw the court on game day. That deeply angered Frankie and it enraged his parents too. They came to the school complaining to coach Newton and of course the mulignan wasn’t trying to hear any of their grievances. Their complaints fell upon deaf ears and Frankie quit the team. I was thouroughly flabbergasted because Frankie adored the sport. He utterly adored crossing over like Kyrie Irving and pulling up like Stephen Curry. I mean Frankie was a pristine shooter that would’ve certainly made it to the league. He played as good as any of those negro kids, even better at times. Just because he couldn’t dunk like King James who cares, he could pass like Magic. If not for that bigot Coach Newton i’d have another story to tell you…

So Frankie quit and got involved in drug distribution. I chastised Frankie like I was his grandfather. I told him, “leave that shit alone, it’s for the niggers and spics, we don’t meddle in no damn heroin.” He paid me no mind and I paid him no mind for a few weeks. I continued being the “eye-talian bench furnace.” He continued being a heroin dealer. At the time heroin was on a tremendous ascension, and with this rise in heroin addicts buisness was highly lucrative. Frankie showed up at my house looking to appease me, and that he did. His act of propitiation was in the form of a gift. He’d given me a brand new Cartier bracelet and Margiela high-top future sneakers metallic silver. How could I maintain my lividity with such extravagent gifts given?

Frankie and I sat down and had a far from succinct discussion about the intricacies of the heroin trade. He elaborated on the safety, the risk, the reward, and what I’d have to do to make ten grand a week. It was all too enticing for my fourteen year old mind. I told him I’d ponder on it and get back to him. So I go to school the next day with my new Margielas on and the reaction from the ladies was beyond anything I’d ever experiened. These thousand dollar high fashion sneakers made people treat me different. I felt as though I was among the elite. The bourgeois black chicks were treating me like I was a pezzonovante. The insurmountable power these sneakers gave me was surely an enigmatic phenomenon. I had decided from that day forward that I would possess this power until the day I perished.

As a reasonable person can assume, I joined Frankie distributing the almighty heroin. All I had to do was sit in a building and wait for the barren souls to seek the entity which had enslaved them. I was imperturbable about the detriment I was causing in my community. After all, it wasn’t my community in the first place.

Frankie worked for a man named Nicky Lucas. Nicky Lucas was the unequivocal kingpin of New York at the time. One ghastly day, Mr. Lucas took two bullets in the skull. Frankie had been the top earner in the organization and he’d been introduced to the connect months prior to this shooting. In case you lack knowledge of this colloquialism, connect means the supplier of drugs. With Mr. Lucas dead there was a spot open to be the man on top. Frankie being the ambitious avaricious soul he was, wanted this position.

There was no way we could take on the responsibility of the entire organization. His aspirations were preposterous. I told him it was impossible because we’d have to break a hierarchy that had been established years before we were subordinates in the organization. He wanted to be CEO when he was only a subordinate, a valuable one but still a subordinate. He would be the equivalent of the top worker on the assembly line in a Ford factory, and just because the CEO suddenly became deceased we wanted the position of CEO now. He was thinking and talking absurd. He wanted to murder the rest of the top command and start a new organization ran by us. The greed overwhlemed him and he wanted me to go along and murder the next men down in the 0rganization.

I was offered a position in another organization a few days after Mr. Lucas’ death. I was offered this position because I was also a top earner. This competing organization was going to do precisely what Frankie wanted to do. They were the murderers of Mr. Lucas and they were preparing to take the organization and all of it’s power, assets, and territory. They informed me of this because I was once on the ball team with one of the leaders in their organization, so they spared me and offered me a position before their form of a hostile takeover ensued. Their form would include massive death and violence of course.

I failed to mention this crucial detail earlier. The day I wore those Margiela sneakers I was approached by one of the usually haughty senior girls at my school. Her name was Aretha. She complimented me on my sneakers and asked if I wanted to take her out some time. I was elated and we exchanged numbers that day and began to build a relationship. We shared a genuine bond through our common interest. We both loved Quentin Tarantino movies, Kendrick Lamar music, high fashion garments, and money. As a heroin dealer there was no shortage of money. I kept her in Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander Wang all year round. She was exceedingly pleased and words can’t describe how pleased I was. She was my first everything and we dated for years.

Frankie was irate with me for not wanting to take over the organization while it was somewhat weakened. He displayed his anger by the coitus he engaged in with my Aretha. He had sex with my girl and she told me. I told her it was ok and not to inform Frankie of my knowing. I held this information tight in my cerebrum, waiting to reenact Hiroshima. I pondered deeply about how I could retaliate.

I met with the competing organization and agreed to join them. They planned a strike on the houses of all the leaders of the organization under Mr. Lucas. I told them I devised a far more exquisite plan. This plan was to set up a meet with the heads of the organization to discuss a way we could increase revenue in the company through expansion. I had also made the heads aware that our competitor was trying to recruit me and we could use this to our advantage. This information made them eager to sit and talk with me.

Frankie joined me at the meet which was held at Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse. All the members present were unarmed, guns weren’t permitted at buisness meetings. Eight of us sat and discussed everything over sirloins. When the clock hit ten the lights shut off in the steakhouse. No one panicked, because the waiter ensured us that the lights would be on in two minutes. In 110 seconds the table was surrounded by ten masked-men wearing no shoes only socks and wielding silenced uzis in each hand. The lights cut on and the table’s occupants all stood their in appaling dismay for they knew hell was soon where they’d be. I began to speak before anyone else could. I was permitted to do so because this was my ingenious plan. I said very serenely, “I apologize to you gentlemen for my disloyalty, but you already have a treacherous snake in your midst. This one right beside me slept with my girl out of anger, and we all know the penalty to that is always death.” That is all I said before I was handed a pistol and I splattered Frankie’s brain on the person to his left. What happened next was nothing short of a massacre. I’ll spare the morbid details…

That was the story of my great friendship ruined by greed and disloyalty. That was the story of my first business partnerships. I used the money I earned to start my own real estate company and I thrived through intimidation, extortion, and murder of course. If not for my early business partners I would have not had the start up capital to obtain my company. I then kidnapped the Gagosian guy and stole a bunch of his art and that helped me begin my vast collection. I own several original Picassos, Basquiats, as well as Monets.

The story I told you is also my intellectual enlightenment story. I learned from Machiavelli, “never was anything great achieved without danger.” Niccolo also taught me that, “it is better to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.” These quotes helped me attain my vast wealth. I did what was necessary to survive and to excel. I learned that I must have no room for weakness in my heart if I want to obtain what I desire. I’ve murdered to maintain my business. I’ve extorted men to maintain my wealth and i’ve stolen from men to increase my wealth. My days as a heroin dealer taught me that I can be the seller or the buyer, the victimizer or the victim, the lion or the prey.

Epitaph: Devise a plan, execute that plan, and don’t feel bad about it.