Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
NOLA's bail bond queen
“For me, you are walking money. I own your body.”
“A man of courage never needs weapons, but he may need bail.”
“I’m dating a vampire. A literal monster from the darkest depths of my imagination. And sure, she’s scary, she’s got fangs, speed, strength, I’ve watched her rip people apart with her bare hands. But, fuck, I’d rather she be mad at me than have Mom start counting to three.”
—Randall “Randy” Dufresne
She’s not the sort of woman that a person opens their door for in the middle of the night. In fact, she’s not the kind of woman that gets a door opened for her in the middle of the day, either, even if it’s a public building and she’s only a few steps behind. She’s got a mean look to her, like a rattlesnake or a cougar that’s just waiting to strike. Square face, heavy brow, deep-set eyes that promise a world of pain if she has to repeat herself. Green eyes, though, and maybe in another face they’d be pretty. They change in the light, shifting from emerald to fern to pine, but more often than not they’re the dirty, grimy color of dollar bills. Because that’s all she sees when she looks at someone: what they’re worth to her. She lets her hair curl freely around shoulders that have been made broad by years of intense physical labor. She looks more like a linebacker than a dainty princess, her body a well-muscled, well-oiled machine beneath the slim-fit pants, knee-high boots, and green vest the same color as her eyes. She displays her company’s logo across the chest.
Regina wasn’t born to money. Not only was she not born to money, she was born to squalor. To literal nothing. America might be the land of opportunity, but she learned at an early age that the whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” thing was just another way for the rich to keep the poor man down. She watched her mom (Annette) work two jobs to keep a hot meal on the table for their family while her dad ran a contracting company that should have provided easily for them. He painted, he fenced, he mudded, he stripped wallpaper, and he did a damn good job at it.
Only it turns out that when you sink your profits into booze and weed, even $70k a year ain’t gonna do a damn thing to keep your family fat and happy. Leonard was at the bar more often than he was at home. He’d get up for work in the morning, smoke a bowl, get to the job, smoke some more, finish the job, maybe smoke again, and end up at the bar by four. Maybe the statewide “we stop serving at 2 AM” would have done the family some good if they lived in any other city, but in New Orleans the 24-hour service and drive-thru daiquiri stands and open street containers just made it that much harder to prevent Leonard from doin’ what he does best: drinking. Even two DUIs didn’t seem to slow him down.
Things took a turn for the worse when Annette got sick. Thirty years of smoking had turned her lungs into hard, blackened things, and every breath that she took got shorter and shorter, delivered less and less oxygen to her brain and body. She got an oxygen tank that she wheeled around with her and, over the next few years, loaded up on medications: Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Valium. Despite the fact that he had a sick wife at home, or perhaps because of, Leonard spent less and less time around the house. He’d check in nightly, swipe a handful of his wife’s pills to sell or trade for more booze, and be on his way. He met another woman that he started seeing “discretely,” leaving Regina and her older sister, Elizabeth, to take care of their mother. Elizabeth was well-suited to the task as a nurse working toward her doctorate, and Regina simply felt a surge of affection for the strong woman who had raised her. After her mother’s passing Regina finally cut all contact with her father, who she still describes as a “no good, piece of shit deadbeat.”
Growing up like this made Regina determined to never be in the same sort of poverty she knew as a child. She swore she’d never put her kids in that kind of situation, but she didn’t want to have to spend eight years in school to maybe find a job that would pay enough where she could make a decent living, like her sister did. Neither did she want to wait tables or bust her ass for minimum wage. She was working as a receptionist at a law firm when she met the man who would change her life.
The Bail Queen
Arnold Hughes was a 40-year-old bounty hunter when he ran into 25-year-old Regina at the law office. He oozed charisma and sensuality, and Regina was taken by his easy charm, permanent facial scruff, and the scars that dotted his arms. He picked up on her interest and was happy to take the young woman under his wing—happier still when she put out on their first date, then kept it fresh over the subsequent years. They got to talking about the work that he did, how he contracts out to finding the sort of people that skip town, the long and short cons of the game, and Regina had her plan. She and Arnold built their bailbond company from the ground up, swiftly working through the city of New Orleans to become one of the most well-known names in the industry. Because of the city’s high percentage of incarcerations, it proved more lucrative than she had ever imagined.
When Regina found out that she was pregnant she started planning for the future of their company. Despite being urged by her doctor and Arnold to take more of a backseat with the company, Regina was actively dealing with clients until the moment her water broke. She waddled out of her office, drove herself to the hospital, and popped out all three children in an efficient labor that had most of her nurses scratching their heads and wondering how the heck she’d managed such a feat.
Thus were the triplets born: Russel, Reginald, and Randall Dufresne. When asked why they took her name instead of their dad’s, Regina had quoted a division of labor. For his part, Arnold hadn’t seemed to mind. Regina was back at work the moment she was physically able, bringing the kids around with an on-site babysitter so that they could start learning young. She taught them the books, the laws, the accounting, and Arnold taught them the hunt. Unfortunately he passed away when the boys were just ten years old, but Regina soldiered on.
She now runs the company herself with the help of her now-adult children and is a frequent sight at both police precincts and the law offices of the city. She’s had a handful of partners over the past twenty-odd years since the death of her lover, none of whom she’s regarded as more than a passing fling. Regina seems content with how her life turned out.
Regina and Arnold started Legalwings Bail Bonds together in 1985. Since its inception Regina has grown from one of many local places to get bail bonds to the premiere company within New Orleans. Regina’s name and company are known to lawyers, police officers, judges, and criminals alike as the person to call if they need help making bail, and people consider her the “Bail Bond Queen of NOLA.” Few are brave enough to say it to her face. Her company has gotten large enough to force most of her competitors to close their doors. (Industry Status ••••)
• Randall “Randy” Dufresne
Randall grew up with the same stories that his older brothers did. He learned how to con, how to read a situation, how to lie through his teeth. He was less interested in academics than Rusty and never quite as good a shot as Reggie, but Randy brought something to the group that the others lacked: an innate sense of danger. Maybe it was a sixth sense, maybe it was a guardian angel, but Randy always seemed to know when the going was about to get tough. Reggie might be able to read a man as well as any card shark, and Rusty might be able to dig up all sorts of dirty laundry, but no matter how deep the shit they were in Randy would find a way out. He knew the city and the outlying areas as well as he knew just how to touch a woman to make her cream her panties; he knew which streets were speed-traps, which cops could be bribed to look the other way, which clients were likely to cause trouble and which would simply roll over. Maybe that’s why he fell in with Jade when he did—because, despite the warning bells going off in his head, she was simply too captivating a woman to walk away from. And when she offered him immortality in exchange for service, well, he was the first of his brothers to jump in feet first. He’s a driver by trade, both for his “babe” and for his family, and he’s the son his mother turns to when she thinks someone might have crossed the border, or when she needs something a little sensitive moved. After all, when you deal with as many criminals as they do, you’re bound to get caught up in something fun sooner or later.
• Reginald “Reggie” Dufresne
If Arnold Hughes could clone himself the result would be Reggie Dufresne. Of all the brothers, Reggie was closest to their father, eager to learn everything that he had to teach and soaking it all up like an earnest little sponge at his feet. He was the first to get his concealed permit, first to learn how to wield a blade just as well as he did a gun, and the first to lose his virginity. Cindy Maltz. He was an early teenager trying to pass as an adult, and Cindy proved the perfect mark for him, nevermind that she was 18 and he was 13. Their dalliance gave him a boost of confidence that never left, a self-assured smugness that some might even consider arrogance. But hey, when you look as good as Reggie does, what’s not to be confident about? Reggie served as his mother’s chief bounty hunter and all around muscle as soon as he was old enough to take the test. He’s the guy she sends when she needs to make sure shit gets done right, and he’s one of the few that she uses for her own personal protection if she’s making a public appearance. He runs a con as well as any smooth-talker, too, and knows all the bolt-holes and tricks that their clients like to pull when they get jumpy.
• Russel “Rusty” Dufresne
His “little brothers” might consider Rusty the odd man out in their trio, but Rusty has something that the other two don’t: brains. While Reggie and Randy were content to learn at their parent’s feet bout bounty hunting and tracking down marks, Rusty was busy learning how to prepare for the future. He knew that life wouldn’t always be like it was then, so when the Internet, cell phones, and computers started becoming a big thing he threw himself into them like a dollar bill in a stripper’s thong. Everyone has a digital footprint, he says, and he’s happy to find it for his mom and siblings to stretch their business even further. He’s in charge of the website, the emails, and all the rest of the digital content that the company needs. More than that, though, he dual-majored in Business and Criminal Justice. He said he didn’t need the official education for tech because “they’re not going to teach the things you really need to know”. He’s less interested in the “macho” field work that his two brothers use to butter their bread, but makes sure to keep himself in shape for the days he gets the urge to put someone’s head through a wall.
• 1. Leonard Dufresne (b. 1941) +
Annette Dufresne (née Smythers) (b. 1942, d. 1985)
• 2. Elizabeth Dufresne (b. 1959) + Clint McIntosh (b. 1957)
• 3. Riley McIntosh (b. 1988)
• 3. (their other children)
• 2. Regina Dufresne (b. 1960) +
Arnold Hughes (b. 1945, d. 1996)
• 3. Russel “Rusty” Dufresne (b. 1986)
• 3. Reginald “Reggie” Dufresne (b. 1986)
• 3. Randall “Randy” Dufresne (b. 1986)