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The Dope Feign Shuffle by Mark Anthony Given

A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.― William Blake


YOU KNOW THERE IS NO PLACE TO HIDE in the French Quarter, right? Unless you have a door key or run in a public building, your next bad move is under a vehicle parked bumper to bumper along nearly every street. I got in a foot chase, well they were doing the chasing, but I outran two New Orleans’s detectives one Monday morning. I had just walked out of my apartment with a small travel bag and the little ordinary mid-size Ford Taurus from Snappy Car Rental out in New Orleans East was almost to the end of the street. I saw them but didn’t see them until I heard,

“Excuse me, sir. New Orleans Police we need to talk to you.” 

I had just placed the bag in the back seat and still on the sidewalk, I turned around and closed the door and took off my shades as I faced them. I could not pick either out of them out of a line up because I just remember their shoes. I heard a New York detective could tell your whole life story by the shoes you had on your feet. Worn out, too cheap to buy a nice pair, middle of the road, about to retire that didn’t have a chance in hell of catching me in a footrace. One was trying to circle around me while reaching for his cuffs and in a moment now seared in stone in my mind, I jumped like a Standing Broad Jump, probably leaping ten or twelve feet out of their grasp, and sprinted like a Gazelle and was to the end of the street and around the corner onto Royal Street, right under the Original Royal Street Pharmacy sign, before they realized what happened. They gave it a valiant effort, but I wasn't going to jail that morning because I had something in my pocket I could not throw away or get caught with. As soon as I made the entire length of the block, a pedestrian stepped out of the Verde Mart, and turned right into me crossing Governor Nichols with two cops maybe 50 feet behind me, hollering,

 "Stop him," Stop him."

Actually, I don't remember if they were hollering that, but I am pretty sure because the guy squared up in front of me like he was thinking about blocking me or grabbing me. I sped up a little faster like I was going to knock him on his ass and he stepped out of the way never slowing me down. I had a really nice suit on with a pair of expensive New Balance running shoes and could run for miles. I was fixing to drive to Mobile or Jackson, Mississippi on another one-man crime wave which is why I didn’t have dress shoes on, and besides, you never know when you will have to leave a couple of fat cops in the dust.

        I KNEW if I could make it to Esplanade, I could find a garden to get into. The New Orleans French Quarter is always crawling with cops, 24-7, and they will respond in a blink of an eye in the 120 square block historic area. I was at the very back of "The Quarter," right by the best hamburger joint in the world, “The Port of Call,” at Esplanade and Burgundy. That was my concern, I could outrun these overweight retirement age cops, but you can't outrun Motorola. I must have been hauling ass because, by the time I got to Barrack’s, the very last side street in the Quarter, they were falling back fast then it's only a half block to Esplanade Avenue. I shot right across the street into the dark canopies from the Ancient Oak tree’s and hanging Moss, providing splotches of sun onto the median, my eyes were flickering,

        I KNEW I COULD Lose them if I had another ten seconds to reach a driveway, somewhere to get too. I disappear like smoke through the keyhole, as half dozen squad cars are converging on me from every direction. I stopped running as soon as I got to a driveway alongside a huge mansion that had been turned into 6-7 apartments. Everything surrounded by giant Oak trees and moss and Banana trees along the drive, you might as well be in Bogotá. I knew the French Quarter like the back of my hand and seen dozens of such residences, nobody knows all their neighbors. I was walking completely silent, avoiding even leaves on the driveway, so as not to draw attention to myself and sit down the way in the very back on a metal wrought iron chair next to a little waterfall in a private grotto. I was trying to calm down so as not to appear I was running from the law, but ninety-two degrees at Nine o’clock in the morning I was soaking wet.

Brakes squealing, more sirens I felt them surrounding the area, they knew I had to be right there somewhere. I saw a little shed for lawn and maintenance equipment, I walked up to it and opened the door, went in and hid the stuff up in the rafters I had in my sock I wasn't supposed to have.

        I SEEN THEM TWO COPS earlier in the morning when I went out for coffee. They were standing across from 626 Ursuline, at the Ursuline Guest House, and all though I kind of thought they were cops, I thought they might be waiting for a Tour Bus or something. Or my next thought they were responding to an incident at the Guest House.

THEY WERE staking out my car my rental car. They had a description of my rental car and the area I was known to be in. I had a little one-room loft I looked after for a guy in a monastery in south Louisiana who let me use it for long periods of time. I never took a soul there. No one knew where it was, but a few knew of it. These same two cops hounded me for what seemed like years. Twice they were with feet of me, and I got away from them.

Once they had me jammed up at my girlfriend's mother’s house in Gentilly, and I went out the back door dressed like 70 year old women with a headscarf on and timed it just as the Cab pulled up to the house back up to the one I was in. I walked out the back door, hopped the little fence, and as soon as I crossed the sidewalk and stepped into the cab (I was walking really slowly like I was old), I get in the back, and the detectives pull upside the Cab and look in real hard shining a spotlight. The cab driver sees this flips on the overhead, spins around over the seat to get a good look at me and makes the whole scene immediately. 

“Where too?”

“The Quarter,”

 I said, not even trying to disguise my voice or my mustache, but turned my head just as they pulled aside us, and I had stuck a white-haired Halloween fright mask down my back with just the hair hanging out, underneath the silk ugly green scarf over my head. I know what they were thinking. We are going to waste time with this old geezer, and he is getting out the front door? They pulled off turned onto Franklin Ave heading back around to 2624 Gladiolus Street.

The Cab driver says, 
“Where in the Quarter, it’s a big place?” 
“Governor Nichols and Burgundy,”

 I showed him a handful of money or handed him a $50, and he pulled off into the night.

        AT THE CORNER OF Bourbon Street and Barracks Streets, the very back of The Quarter, the very last block of the most debauchery on one street in the entire world, “Bourbon Street,” is a nondescript faded pink and white corner two stories old building is, Cop Bar. I don’t know the name of it, and they don’t want the notoriety but on the outside right at eye level is an old beautiful faded light purple and white Historical Marker, announcing the building's history as a Hospital nearly 400 years ago when still under French occupation.

I didn’t even know it was a bar but the front door was open and I seen a beautiful old mahogany bar running the length of the first room and a small dining room and probably a kitchen in the back. I thought I had been in every establishment in the French Quarter, so I walked in like I was a tourist seeing three or four people at the bar, and allowed my eyes to adjust to the dim lighting, as I stood at the bar.

        THE BARTENDER came right up to me and asked me what I wanted.


It’s all I had to say. I looked around me an immediately knew I was surrounded by Cops. Fuck me, are you kidding, me? I just evaded half the New Orleans Police force and then stumbled into their off-duty party pad. New Orleans high ranking brass, too many detectives, City Cops, Cop’s wives, Rookies, want to be cops. Even the bartender was an off-duty cop. What Johnny White’s across from Pat O’Brien’s was to restaurant waiter’s after midnight, this was Cop City Central and it had the vague smell of the Gates of Hell, otherwise known as the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Central Lock Up and Booking. After a day or so, if you make it out of Central Booking without being bailed out, you are going “Up Stair’s,” where when you enter the three hundred year old prison, painted in white letters over a sixteen foot oval entry read’s“Abandon All Hope All ‘Ye Who Enter Here.” I might have been the only White person on a length of tow chain with probably a dozen lost souls, snaking our way thru underground walkways with bare plumbing lining the ceiling. Every Cop was Black and overweight, some with more tattoos than me, but that's another Chapter in this brilliant saga....

        I HAD BEEN IN THERE twenty years earlier when I first came to New Orleans from New York, and as a young robust Irishman, determined to drink it dry. Pat O’Brien’s at 626 St. Peter’s Street (I have at least three actual 626 address and all are the real address. My favorite girlfriend was at 626 St. Ann ), say’s on its matchbook covers it sells more alcohol than any bar in the United States and when you see the lines fifty deep outside the door EVERY NIGHT, you know why. The reason I knew the French quarter like the back of my hand was because when I first arrived in the Port City, the City that Hope Forgot, I made a tactical decision to drink one drink in every bar in the French Quarter: In one night. I walked all one hundred and twenty square blocks over and over, every street day and night like trapped in a prior century, trying to glean some direction in my life, but not in any hurry.

Has to be the oldest city in America, and just reeks of adventure and desperation and the heat makes people crazy… All my sense told me to get out of New Orleans because of it just smells evil. Bad, bad things have happened there and people disappeared, not to mention the notorious murder’s the city seemed to inspire. You would not believe the stories I have heard. One young girl told me she went to an apartment right off Bourbon Street to smoke some weed with someone she met in a bar and was gang-raped by half a dozen black men requiring surgery. Another beautiful young Cajun Girl bartender I dated told me when she was drunk once she killed a man in the French Quarter. A black man that followed her from bar to bar and she lead him to Pirate’s Alley alongside the St. Louis Cathedral in the middle of the night. Told me she waited until he got right up to her and grabbed her for she shot him dead. Good for her I told her…

        MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, there are no less than twelve or fifteen apartments in and around the French Quarter waiting for the door to swing open with the next sucker they have fished out of the biggest sex tourist trap in America. You can smell sex and sin in the air. Some kid wanting a bag a weed; a young girl wants to smoke a joint while mommy and daddy are shopping on Royal Street. Some half drunk hottie arguing with her boyfriend and doesn’t care what happens; the door swings. In the hot humid and sultry atmosphere some people feel right at home and ease into a life of debauchery like coming home.

Way down yonder in New Orleans In the land of dreamy scenes, there's a Garden of Eden you know what I mean.

-Louis Armstrong

        ABOUT FOUR IN THE MORNING I was on my nightly patrol in the Seventh Circle of Hell like in Dante’s Inferno, otherwise known as the New Orleans French Quarter, when in the next block, almost to the end of the street I see a couple leaning up against a car parked on the side of a one way street facing the river. As I cross the street continuing up toward them I see it is a black guy grinding out a white girl next to the driver door of a small white rental car. The girl in her late 20’s in a white dinner dress was flopping around like she was ready to go right there on the street. As I get closer I see the black guy is rubber necking the block like he is plugged into an electric socket. Just when I realize what is really happens, I notice it is a black ghetto rat has found some drunk white girl who is too drunk to unlock her car, he comes up jams her against the car, unlocks it with some difficulty while pinning her against the car he notices me coming the whole way. Just when I am calculating whether I should intervene by hollering or running over there to stop him, she falls into the driver seat, he ragdolls her into the passenger seat, start the car and is around the corner heading up Burgundy towards Canal Street, and the worst night of her life…..which hopefully she’ll be so drunk she won’t remember what he and his buddies got planned for her…. I tell everybody I meet, stay out of New Orleans…

SOMEHOW I KNEW THIS was a big deal. I had been in nearly a hundred banks with my Split Deposit scam, and I saved this for when I felt I could pull it off. This wasn’t any ordinary branch office in a strip mall alongside the interstate ripe for the picking… This was the FUCKING WHITNEY BANK! One of the oldest and biggest banks in New Orleans, and this was probably one of its first offices situated nearly smack in the middle of the French Quarter, just two blocks from Jackson Square and the oldest church in the United States, Saint Louis Cathedral. The Tourist Capital of the Planet! At night people sleep on the wrought iron benches, drink, and smoke and generally pause from their daily debauchery. Great place to score runaway girls at night, want to be pimps, convicted felons with no place to go, buy pot just doors from giant front doors of the church. At night they allow cars or at least cop cars to drive straight through so cops will roll up and harass people if something’s going on in town and they want to see less indigent population by trying to make you want to leave town by putting you in jail for pissing in the streets, or just being drunk.

        I SPENT A LITTLE EXTRA TIME on this one. Besides being in there a week before for a couple of brochures and gawk at the architecture, I made sure I had fresh accounts, fresh checks, stone sober and a brand new suit. Every time I returned to New Orleans from another one-man crime spree, I bought myself some article of clothing, usually a nice suit to kick something back into the business, as it were. Usually I would buy all brand new socks and underwear, shirts, everything and throw it away without even washing it. You know how a pack rat likes to keep everything? I like to throw everything away, and start fresh or get by with what I got. I don’t like being attached to anything. I have a slight germ phobia and love the smell of new anything….

        WHEN I WALKED INTO THE BANK at 12:20 in the afternoon to rob it on a Monday it was just another day on the job for me. Walked in there like I owned the place and didn’t have hurry in the world. As soon as I stepped into the bank I stepped to the side and took off my glasses and let my eyes adjust. Looked around just briefly and headed over to an aisle of brochures to allow myself to cool down from the normal oppressive heat in the jungle of jazz. I arranged my small leather valise and walked over to the island where I pretended to grab a Deposit Slip, and then I lined out my checks and made the necessary entries. I had this all prepared and switched it when I assembled all the checks in one hand with the Deposit Slip, and got in line behind a couple of office workers and business owners. I busied myself with the Account Brochure to keep from looking around nervously. Two tellers became available at once and I walked up to a young light skinned pretty black girl. I knew from defrauding nearly 100 banks in this very same manner that the entire success of this scam is won or lost at the minute I make eye contact with the Teller. That very moment seals the deal. Something transpires between people at the moment of first eye contact that people decide right then and there about you, so I developed a little spiel where having made that initial eye contact, I give them a disarming smile and hold eye contact for an extra beat, and I will see a slight glimmer of happy recognition and I know I’m bringing home the bacon, all in an instant. I might have a Teller just filling in for someone at lunch, wanting to go to lunch, whatever. They are busy and as long as the checks are in order, and I don’t set off any alarms, this is like taking candy from a baby, but don’t make the baby cry….

Jackson Square was always busy and that was my first destination because from there I could go a dozen directions. Cross into the Center Park, where the Andrew Jackson on a horse statute is, in the day time, and blend right in to throngs of tourist. I had been in the bank many times just to admire the architecture and case the place. The problem was, I could not walk out of that bank and disappear in any direction, I had to stay on the street in full view of everyone. I didn’t plan on anybody chasing me, but I was really scared of the lay out, there is just no place to run in the French Quarter, and because the Police Station was right around the corner, cop cars were constant. Everything went fine, besides, I had an equalizer: a thousand dollar suit, six hundred dollar shoes, s fifty dollar haircut and a set of Balls the size of Atlas! They never seen nothing like me, and two minutes after I walked out of their fancy historic bank and snobby atmosphere, all they will remember is beautiful cologne and the smell of money…
             All my story's:
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This very first ever eBook created on Facebook, Twitter and Blogspot simultaneously!, “Real Men, Real Case's, Real Life Heist’s First Fall,” the entirely true story Cover to cover, Beginning to end, Word for word, Page to page, Edit to edit, right down to the very last One Wrong Word:
Began April 27, 2013 to Present
3665 Words
By Mark Anthony Given. 4/27/2013 7:26:07 AM
Copyright 2013
All Rights Reserved

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