Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Walter White Wednesday 15
Gustavo (Gus) Fring operates a chain of 14 chicken restaurants in the Southwest, including the ABQ area. From his interactions with his employees, he seems to be a good manager - he comes across as fair to his employees and quite meticulous in just how he wants things to be, but willing to explain his reasons for why he wants things just so. He gets out from behind the counter to mix with his customers and always seems genuinely concerned that the customer has a pleasant experience at Los Pollos Hermanos, thereby ensuring repeat business.
He's also a ruthless meth kingpin.
Huh-what?? It's true. "The Chicken Brothers" restaurants are a front for a major drug operation - but that doesn't mean the chicken isn't tasty!
Gus is a Chilean national with a past obscured by deep, deep shadows. He's managed to keep a very low profile in ABQ and is considered a pillar of the community, giving generously to civic organizations and charities. He even stuffs a few bucks into Walt's "Cancer Fund" jar at the DEA office, where he also helps sponsor an annual "Fun Run," just like a prominent local businessman ought to. He has carefully cultivated a Zen-quiet persona, but underneath the calm exterior is glacial ice. Nothing gets in the way of Gus' plans, which include getting a firm grip on the meth trade throughout the Southwest, Mexican cartels be damned. (It turns out having a fleet of trucks to carry those "special spices" for commercial-sized batches of chicken is very handy for also ferrying mass quantities of super-pure meth [and the occasional dissolved-to-sludge body] from place to place.) Let me repeat: nothing gets in the way of Gus' plans. Nothing.
Walt is a loose cannon in comparison. He's a brilliant chemist, true, but he has this nagging habit of creating havoc everywhere he goes, and not in a cute, kittenish way. At first, Gus' main concern is Walt's partnership with Jesse, but life being strange, it turns out that Jesse just might be more reliable than Walt. Loose cannons are unpredictable and Walt has his own plans.
Gus has spent twenty years quietly building his empire, never hesitating to root out obstacles. Walt's been in the business for about a year and has made some major screw-ups. Gus knows the business, but Walt knows the chemistry.