Thursday, February 4, 2010
William Kleinfeld walks out of the design studio he works at to find his brother Jacob standing on a car in the street.
“What now, Jake?”
“Get in the car.”
“How ‘bout you tell me where the hell you’re taking me before I get in?” William is head shorter than his younger brother, but Jacob still yields to him unflinchingly.
“Uncle Jimmy’s dead. Last night. Looks like a Moreno hit.”
“You play with fire…”
“Ma’s worried. She wants you back at the apartment”
“Let her worry. I’m not a part of this, never was.”
“Still, she wants to make sure you’re safe. So please, get in the car.”
Reluctantly, William gets in the car, and they drive to the Kleinfeld apartment.
“Here,” Jacob says as he hands his brother a gun.
“You know what happens to people with guns? They get shot.”
“Yeah, well in case you get shot, you can shoot back.”
“Stop the car. I’m not doing this.”
“I’m not stopping the car.”
“Stop the goddamn car. I’m just a goddamn architect. I’m not taking no goddamn gun, and I’m not getting in no goddamn war.”
“No one’s asking you to. Ma especially. But your safety is her only concern, so for her take the goddamn gun.”
A silence falls.
“Allison misses you,” Jacob says.
“She still hanging out with Alexis, the Queen Bee with a gun?”
“She isn’t that bad. But Allison would really like to see you on a more regular basis.”
“Take that up with Ma.”
“She deserves better.”
“She deserves shit.”
“Like I said. Better.”
William chuckles. “I guess you’re right. Not often, but this time.”
“Hey, better idea, how ‘bout I call Allison to meet us at Tim’s before we got to Ma’s?”
“Sure, why not?”
“There’s a few places around town where the Don and some of his most trusted men might be,” says The Wolf.
“How many?” ask Nicholas.
“35 ain’t a few,” says Lebron Simon.
“It’s better than searching each building one by one. I’ll make a list.”
After about 5 minutes of writing the places down, they choose the places to go.
“I’ll go to Isabel’s Diner. It’s a known Kleinfeld hideout,” says The Wolf.
“What about Mahoney’s?” asks Lebron.
“Moreno. All the way. Go in after closing, and there won’t be any innocents.”
“Right on. I’ll take Warren, Jessica, Simon, and Jeff. You?”
“I work alone.”
“If you want to work with us, Balto, you work with us.”
“Fine, I’ll take you, you, and you,” The Wolf points.
“Karen, Taylor, Simon, and Jack: you heard Lassie.”
“Another crack about my moniker, and I’ll-”
“Save Timmy from the well?”
The Wolf punches Lebron square in the jaw. “Leave the glib to me.”
“Lebron,” says Julie emerging from a backroom. “I’m going with you.”
“You sure?” Julie responds by cocking her shotgun. “Ooookay.”
Mahoney’s after closing:
“I’m gonna go walk by” says Lebron from the driver’s seat, “see what we’re dealing with. See if one of the higher ups is in there. If there is, I’ll take him out myself. If not, I’ll come back, and we’ll start shooting through the glass at anything that moves.”
After walking by and noticing no one, he makes a subtle hand motion that isn’t subtle enough. A few of the soldiers inside know what a hit looks like and raise their own guns toward Lebron. Julie, seeing what happening behind Lebron, shoots at his would-be assassin before he has a chance to. The rest of the Wild Boys join in and shoot through the glass at the soldiers that remain alive inside.
“We need to go,” says Lebron after 10 minutes of shooting.
“Yeah, you guys go ahead,” says Jeff, clearly shell shocked. “I’m gonna go take a walk.
“The fuck was that?” asks William.
“Probably some broad threw his cheating boyfriend out. That was probably the TV,” says Jacob.
“That sounded a lot louder and longer than a TV crashing from a few stories high.”
“Doesn’t matter. Now smile for little sis, she’s coming right now.”
“You dragged him here, didn’t you?” asks Allison directed at Jacob.
“Still pissed?” asks Allsion
“I’m a fucking architect, not Sonny Corleone,” says William.
“Whatever Mike,” says Jacob.
Allison and Jacob laugh, but William does not.
Outside of Tim’s:
Jeff is walking down the street. He looks inside the bar through the window and sees the three Kleinfelds enjoying a conversation. Remembering the picture of his parents he has at home, he reaches for his Berrettas and shoots through the glass, hitting a couple of couple of tenants.
“Seriously, the fuck?” asks William after the table is knocked on its side so the three Kleinfelds can hide behind it.
“Tom!” demands Jacob to the bartender now hiding under the bar. “Give me an Uzi!”
“Make it two!” says Allison. Tom does as he’s told but is shot by Jeff in the process.
“Alright, he’s by the window. On three little sis.”
Both stand up and riddle Jeff with bullets before he knows who killed him.
“Nice little sis,” says Jacob as he hive fives his younger sister.
“You two are seriously fucked up,” says William, still crouched behind the table.
“Thanks for the help Bill,” says Allison.
“I’m a fucking architect.”
The three walk outside towards Jacob’s car, Jacob and Allison laughing, William serious. A car pulls up, the window rolls down. “I got a message for Norah Kleinfeld,” says a voice. An M16 comes out of the car and aims for Allison. She’s unable to escape in time, and falls to the floor dead. The car drives off.
The two brothers stare at their sister’s corpse for what seems like a lifetime.
“What was it you were saying about being an architect?”
“I think I just quit.”
Inside the car:
“Antonio, why’d ya have to say something? Just shoot the bitch and drive away,” says Miguel Cerdo.
“Because I got style, baby. Because I got style.”
Outside Isabel’s in an alley:
“Okay, Karen. They shouldn’t recognize you, so walk by to see if there’s any Kleinfelds in there,” says The Wolf.
Karen walks by slowly across the door and takes a look inside. She comes back and reports.
“Great. Well, let’s go back and see if Lebron and crew got someone.” As soon as he says that, a door in the alley opens with a soldier of the Kleinfeld family emerging.
“Great. A fan.”
The soldier pulls out a gun and starts drunkenly shooting. The Wolf dodges them and stabs him in his large gut.
“Well that could have been,” The Wolf starts, then looks back and finds Karen’s corpse, “is worse.”
Back in Rio:
“Hector,” Gordon says in a panicked voice.
“Not now Gordon, I’ve had me a hell of a day.”
“Yeah, it got worse. Mary’s gone.”
The Wolf blanks a bit.
“The fuck you mean she’s gone?”
“She went out to get some food for the Boys and never came back.”
If the Devil saw what was inside Hector’s eyes at that moment, he would have gone back to hell for an eternity.
13 years ago…
Hector Rodriguez sits in his room. He’s wearing a black suit for his mother’s funeral. He’s holding a gun in his hand and he sticks it inside his mouth. He’s thinking about the events that happened a few days ago. When he’s about to overcome his fear…
“Hector, I know it’s a bit early,” Mary says from the hall, “but I wanted to see-”
Mary barges into his room. He doesn’t have enough time to hide what he was just about to do.
“What the hell is that?”
Hector doesn’t answer.
“Give me that.”
Hector doesn’t respond.
“Hector Joseph Rodriguez.”
He hands it over.
Mary is livid.
“Of all the stupid, reckless, cowardly things you’ve done.”
“You’re right,” he says voice weak, unable to look at her. “I am.”
Mary slaps him twice on both cheeks. Hector shows no reaction. Mary, with tears in her eyes, grabs Hector’s face. “Why don’t you look at me?”
“Because I’m afraid if I do, I’ll see her die again. But with you, instead.”
She pauses. “Where’d you get the gun?”
“He gave it to me. After he shot my mother in the head, he slid the gun over to me, and asked me to shoot him. I….I couldn’t do it. I just…couldn’t.”
“Come on,” Mary says grabbing a hold of his hand. “There’s a time and a place to be emo-bitch, and it’s in about an hour and a half at St. Catherine’s.”
Hector chuckles slightly.
“That’s good to hear, now get up,” she says as he pulls him up. “Now look, look at me,” Their eyes meet. “You’re gonna promise me, you’ll never do something as stupid as what you almost did about five minutes ago.”
Hector nods. They walk to the door.
The Wolf is walking out of the bar, Gordon trying to keep up on his heel. A couple of Wild Boys are failing to keep pace.
“Where the hell are you going?” Gordon asks.
“I’ve been waiting long enough- I’m off to ask a couple of fuck-os who know where Mary is.”
“You don’t know they took her.”
“Really, Mulder. UFO’s fucking abducted her?”
“I’m just saying.”
“Yeah, well, I’m just leaving.”
The Wolf gets on his bike and rides off. Nicholas finally catches up to Gordon.
“Where is he going?”
“We should probably send someone after him.”
“No we shouldn’t. You don’t want to be near him right now.”
“What, he’s a little pissed? That’s not bad. I mean, he only gave Lebron the bruise for the wolf jokes.”
“Yeah, he was only annoyed then.”
“Huh. So this is a David Banner type situation?”
Taylor Johnson looks on as The Wolf’s motorcycle takes a right down the street.
“I’m gonna go give my partner a call,” says Gordon. “He might have some information we might need.”
“Anybody seen Jack?” asks Stephanie from inside the bar.
A Moreno guard stands outside. The Wolf’s motorcycle pulls up. The guard looks frightened. The Wolf strolls up to him, sword out. The guard drops his gun.
“Good. Hands on your head, we’re going inside.”
Holding the guard by the hair in front of him, The Wolf walks into the somewhat filled bar.
“WHERE. IS. MARY. BECKETT?”
A pause, no one moves except for the bartender shifting some glasses below the bar.
The Wolf cuts the guard in half at the waist and tosses the top half towards a Moreno soldier in front of him.
For the next five minutes, The Wolf is doing nothing but hacking and slashing at anyone who moves. Some shots are fired, but all of them miss.
“Stop it, man,” says a voice. The Wolf turns around and sees Vincent Valdez smoking a cigarette.
Back at Rio:
Gordon converses with his partner Richard Phillips.
"Rick, you got any info I can use?"
"Only if you got a place I can keep myself and my family away from the Kleinfelds."
"What did they do to you?"
"You're not gonna believe it."
"Go ahead and say it."
"I got visited by Norah Kleinfeld in my office. And she started telling me all these nice things about myself and got all feely and, you know, started getting..."
"Losing plausibility in your story"
"Then when she starts to take off my belt, she puts a gun to my crotch, and says 'Make sure you're on the right side of the law'"
Gordon sighs. "Come on down with your family. The Boys got someplace you can stow them while you stay in town helping us.
Back at Maclenan's:
The Wolf raises his sword. “I wouldn’t if you want to see Mary,” Vincent says. Upon seeing the look in The Wolf’s eyes, he continues, “I didn’t ‘nap her. Honest to God,” he raises his hands, “You know I wouldn’t do that, man. You know I wouldn’t do that. Remember no women or kids?”
The Wolf lowers his sword. “Where is she, and how did you know I was here?”
“She’s in my car. And after the stunt your Boys-”
“They’re not my boys.”
“Well, the Boys then, after the stunt they pulled, there’s silent alarms in each place now. Response time is usually half an hour, but I was in the neighborhood. Come on, let’s go.”
When they walk outside, they find the body of Taylor Johnson.
“One of yours?” asks Vincent.
“Yeah, but it’s not my fault. Gordon should’ve told them not to follow them. This was their own damn fault. By the way, how did you find her?”
“That’s a fucked up story.”
Bad Jon’s Motel two hours ago…
Jack Michaels is standing outside room 101. He’s waiting for someone. Unbeknownst to Jack, someone sneaks up from behind and holds a cloth around Jack’s mouth.
A car pulls up. Jackie Epstein emerges, looking for anyone. Then he sees Jack’s predicament. Jackie runs up the stairs, pulls out both his Jericho pistols and shoots several rounds into the man trying to drag Jack’s unconscious body.
After 10 minutes, several slaps and buckets of water later, Jack awakens.
“Eric, you okay?”
“Yeah, sorry, I’m still getting used to that name. What the hell just happened?”
“I do not know.”
“Where is he?”
“To your left on the floor.”
Eric looks at the corpse. “Michael Morgan? That dude’s a fucking lunatic.”
“You know this guy?
“Yeah, he was a Wild Boy, but he was a fucking lunatic, so he was kicked out. But anyway, I thought we were leaving town.”
“Not yet bro. Shit just got real. In the worst way.”
The door smashes in, and Vincet Valdez emerges. “Got that right.” He shoots four times from his dual Colt .45s.
Eric looks from Jackie to Vincent and back to Jackie. Eric reaches for his deceased brother’s guns, so Vincent kills him as well. Vincent then notices Michael Morgan’s body.
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t shoot that guy.”
Vincent leaves and closes the door slowly behind him. He’s walking toward his car when he hears muffled sounds from room 105. Curiosity getting the better of him, he breaks into the room and finds Mary Beckett hanging from the ceiling, muffled and with cuts on her face.
Outside Maclenen’s now:
“And that’s how I found her. Don showed me your file, so I knew who she was.”
“You also know-”
“You’re The Wolf to me. No doubt about that. I’m not using that name”
The Wolf chuckles. “You got a towel or something I can wipe myself with?” asks The Wolf as he puts his jacket into the pouch on his motorcycle. “I don’t want her to see this blood on me.”
Vincent finds an old shirt in the trunk of his car and tosses it to The Wolf. The Wolf wipes most of the blood off of his legs, arms, and face.
“She’s a bit shaken,” says Vincent.
Vincent opens the door, and Mary is sitting inside. “Mary, come on,” The Wolf says.
She barely registers him.
She merely looks at him.
“Fine,” says The Wolf as he picks her up. “Vincent,” The Wolf says. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, don’t worry, I know not to fuck with you. And if I didn’t,” Vincent points to the bar, “I do now.” The Wolf smiles.
The Wolf watches Vincent drive off with Mary in his arms. After watching him turn a corner, he looks into Mary’s eyes.
“You once told me there was a time and a place to be emo-bitch. That’s now and here.”
Mary’s eyes flicker. Then she slaps Hector. “I’m not a bitch. Asshole.”
“Let’s go,” Hector says with a smile.
ZykeZero’s Bowling Alley:
Jacob Kleinfeld is peering inside, looking with his left hand on the door, his right hand gripping an Uzi. He’s too concentrated looking to see how many Moreno soldiers are in there that he doesn’t hear the motorcycle pull up.
“Well if it isn’t Jakey Wakey,” says The Wolf.
The Wolf stabs him and looks inside. “Huh, ain’t nobody of consequence in there. That makes you ‘O’ for two.”
The Wolf pulls out his sword, sheaths it, and rides back to Rio.
Rio- 2nd Floor:
Mary Beckett sits on a bed in one of the rooms above Rio. It’s where The Wild Boys sleep when they have long nights working. Jessica Allman opens the door with a tray of food in her hand.
“Dinner time?” Mary asks.
“Being gagged in a room kinda makes you lose sense of time.”
“I’ve been hearing a lot of that lately. It’s not your fault. It was some maniac.”
“Got what he deserved.”
“So did somewhere between 10 and 20 guys also. Some guys give flowers to say they’re sorry.”
“Yours slaughters those he thinks responsible… Both are red,” Jessica adds with a sarcastic shrug.
Mary laughs. “Now I feel bad, that was awful. But, no, he knows roses aren’t my thing. How long am I supposed to stay in this room?”
“I thought it was just a ‘wanting to be alone’ thing when they sent me.”
“It’s more of a ‘I feel guilty so I’m gonna keep you trapped in a room so you don’t get kidnapped and trapped in a room’ kinda thing.”
“C’mon. Let’s get you out of here. Let’s go down to the bar with some company.”
Javier Moreno is sitting behind his desk, Fernando Castillo standing behind him against the wall. Vincent Valdez is sitting in one of the chairs in front of the desk with his right foot on his left knee.
Moreno looks severely annoyed.
“You gave her to him?” Moreno asks.
“You told me to kill Jackie Epstein. I killed Jackie Epstein and who looked to be his little brother. You didn’t tell me to kidnap or kill Mary Beckett because you know I would have refused. If you had wanted her gone, you would have went to Antonio and Miguel, not me.”
“Why the hell are you one of my top lieutenants?”
“Because I hold great respect for you. Because I have my own set of rules, and as long as you give me an assignment within those set of rules, I will fulfill it to completion. Because I don’t bullshit you and give you any excuses. And if you ask me to kill The Wolf, I will kill The Wolf. But you didn’t ask me to kill The Wolf you asked me to kill Jackie Epstein.”
“Are you satisfied?” Moreno turns to Castillo.
“Todo bien,” Castillo responds.
Vincent leaves the room, leaving only Moreno and Castillo in the room.
“What now?” asks Castillo. Moreno looks at him but doesn’t say a word. “Okay.”
Rio- 1st floor.
Nicholas has the list of places out on the counter.
“Who’s gonna pick?” ask Nicholas.
“Me,” says Michelle, raising her hand “There,” pointing at David B’s Pawn Shop.
“Well, you’re going because if anyone dies, it your damn fault, and…Simon Phils and….Bob and… Roger.”
“Roger,” says Roger.
“I could shoot you,” says Michelle.
Norah storms into her office, William right on her heels.
“Ma, the people who killed Allison need to pay. I’m the only one who refused this business, and now when I want to, you refuse?”
“I’ve buried one child today, and I tried to prepare myself for hers, just like I’m trying to prepare in case your brother dies as well, but it didn’t work. So I don’t want to bury you, who I am completely unprepared for.”
“I thought the stage of trying to protect me ended when I rode a bicycle.”
“It ends when I die.”
“Ma,” William grabs a hold of her hand, “I have to do this. And with Allison gone and Jackie who the hell knows, I’m one of the few you got left.”
“I didn’t plan for any of this,” Norah says with a sigh.
“I know, Ma.”
William lets go of her hand and walks back.
“Jacob’s gonna look after some Morenos, try to find the people who did it. He left a few hours ago and hasn’t called though. Alexis is going after The Wild Boys. The guy your brother and sister shot was one of them, and I believe it was his intention to kill you.”
“I’ll go with Alexis, keep an eye on her. You rest now, Ma,” William says, kissing her cheek goodbye.
Jessica Allman and Mary Beckett are walking down the stairs into the bar. Hector looks up at her while the group around him is still discussing where to attack that night and clapping Hector at the back for the good news.
“Jessica, can you wait a minute?”
“Where else am I gonna go?”
Mary walks up to Hector. “Wanna go for a walk?”
Hector and Mary start walking down the street outside Rio, side by side, Hector looking at her every few seconds.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Kinda all you can do in that situation. But, I want you to know I understand,” Mary says.
“What are you saying?”
“And I forgive you. Mostly. I mean, letting me believe you were dead for 10 years wasn’t fun.”
“You think it was fun for me?”
“I’m not-that’s- I understand. Because whatever we had-have meant that it would put me in danger. And you said that if you were the reason I died, you’d never be able to live with yourself. And I get that. But the thing is, what I realized gagged and hanging from a ceiling fan, that if I die, it won’t be because of you. It’ll be because of this fucked up place we live in. And I want you to know that because I don’t want you unable to live with yourself because of you being the reason of me dying when it isn’t.”
“Okay, Mary. Thanks.”
“And another thing,” Mary’s tone very different and looking right at Hector, “Do you think I like being the reason those guys died?”
“Those guys were assholes who would’ve killed you had they the chance! And I was looking for you!”
“Gordon looks for people all the time; he doesn’t resort to killing his way through!”
Hector clearly defeated just looks at her.
“You made a promise to me 13 years ago, and you kept it,” Mary says. “I want you to make another.”
“Do I even have to resort to answer? Anything.”
“No one else will die because of me. If it’s self-defense or trying to make this world a better place, okay, but I don’t want to be responsible for their death.”
“Don’t ‘Mary, I-’ me.”
“Good, now-” Mary leans in to kiss him, and their lips meet. Hector looks pretty confused.
“Locked in a room, near-death situation, been rethinking my life. Get with the program.”
Hector and Mary fully embrace each other like they did 13 years ago.
“Yeah, that’s Kleinfeld, all right,” says Simon Phils from the car.
“Well, let’s go introduce ourselves,” says Roger Taylor.
The foursome pulls out their Berettas and shotguns and get to work. One of the Kleinfeld soldiers aims a shot towards Simon. He can’t get away in time. Simon Phils drops dead.
With William riding shotgun, Alexis is driving maniacally.
“Can you slow down? Goddamn.”
“We got a hit over at the Pawn Shop. Gotta make it fast if we wanna catch them in time.”
The work done, the rest of the Boys start dragging Simon into the car. Alexis’ car pulls up in a screech. She rolls down the window and fires randomly, hitting Roger Taylor. Alexis screeches off. Michelle and Bob are left to pick up the pieces.
Hector and Mary are holding hands walking back the way they came. They look up and see Bob and Michelle pull the car up in front of the bar and drag the bodies of Roger Taylor and Simon Phils.
“Oh my god,” says Mary. She’s almost too focused not to notice the car pull up next to her, but Hector realizes it. Hector grips Mary’s hand harder. The windows roll down. Hector puts his free hand on her shoulder to nudge her away. Mary doesn’t budge. She looks at him and mouths, “I love you.” Three shots. Mary falls. Then so does Hector, but of his own free will.
Hector carries Mary’s body into Rio. Gordon first looks at the first two bodies dragged in, then to Hector carrying Mary.
“Is she?” Gordon asks.
“Just now. Outside.”
Hector places her on a table, and starts talking to the entire bar, not turning his eyes away from Mary’s face. “I want everyone to know,” The bar goes silent, “We’re taking a break. There will be no retaliation killing for what happened tonight. Maybe it’s what she deserves, but it’s not what she wanted. Today, we regroup ourselves, so that this doesn’t happen again. We remember those we lost and what we have to do.”
14 years ago…
Hector Rodriguez sits on his bed playing his Gameboy. His mother enters the room.
“So….Cuando está llegando su novia?”
“She’s not my girlfriend, Ma.”
“Cual? La rubia? Por qué no?”
“Yeah, Mary. She doesn't feel that way about me. But anyway, yeah, she said she’d come at 1:30, but now it’s already 2. Damn.”
“No me dice ‘damn.’ Conyo.”
The doorbell rings.
His mother opens the door to Mary Beckett.
“So you must be Mary, right?” Hector’s mother asks.
“Yeah, is he here?”
“I certainly hope he is, or there’s an imposter in his room. ‘ECTOR!”
“I’m right behind you, Ma. Jesus.”
“No me dice eso, conyo.”
“Right,” Hector says. “Let’s go.”
Mary and Hector walk down the steps.
“Let’s turn the corner, then we can hold hands. I’m pretty sure she’s watching,” Hector says.
“Aww, you care what your mom thinks of you.”
“Yeah, you’ve never had a Puerto Rican mother, so I’ll let that slide.”
“What did she say to you just now?”
“ ‘Don’t blaspheme. Fuck,’ more or less.”
Now in Rio…
The Wolf is cleaning his sword at a far away table. The rest of the Wild Boys are drinking their sorrows away on the actual bar, playing games while they do it. Except for Nicholas and Julie that is. They sit a few seats away watching like parents would children playing a board game. Gordon walks over to his old friend. The Wolf doesn’t stop cleaning his sword.
“How are you?”
“She forgave me. I’m not sure if I deserved it, but she forgave me. So I don’t feel like shit, well, more shit anyway. But I feel like I should, you know?”
Gordon nods. “Why the day of remembrance though? I thought you’d want to get the people who did this.”
“I do. But not for her. She made me promise her not to kill anyone because of her.”
“Not to me. And I know that look on your face. I’m not crazy, I’m not seeing her alive when I’m awake, but as long as I have her memory, she’s alive to me. And that’s why I won’t go after them tonight.”
“They’re young. I’ve been doing this since I was, wow, 17. This is the only day of break I’ve had. They don’t deserve that. Give them some rest when I could not.”
Nicholas turns to his wife.
“Let’s go for a walk.”
DRD’s Repair Shop:
Javier Moreno looks at an old Mustang engine. He’s looking at all the grooves, all the levers, the mechanics of it.
William Kleinfeld enters from a door and points his Jericho at the Don. Moreno doesn’t look back.
“Your mother told you I’d be here alone. Didn’t she?”
“You wouldn’t mind giving an old man a few minutes, would you?”
“I guess not,” his gun still pointed at Moreno.
“Good.” After a pause, Moreno continues. “I made this from scratch. Yeah, I never was good at school, but I was good at cars. Hated being that stereotype too, but cars, they made sense. All the gears fitting in place, an entire reaction. Maybe if I applied this to school, I wouldn’t have been so bad. But here, I made things, things that worked. Everything serving a purpose and meaning. So every once in a while I come back here, and I go to the place where things make sense because things rarely do.”
“What are you trying to do?”
“She never told you, did she? Admittedly she never told me either, but I figured it out.”
Moreno says something that William refuses to believe. William shoots him, and Moreno falls dead.
Nicholas and Julie are walking.
“Do you think I’ve done the right thing? Going to war against both mobs?” asks Nicholas.
“I think you did the right thing given the situation. It was that or leave.”
“Yeah, I think that, but then I think of all people that died. Karen, Simon, Roger.”
“If they wanted out, they would’ve been gone by now. It’s not your fault. Again, they probably would have come after us one day or another.”
“I just don’t know anymore.”
“You know what I know?”
“Something incredibly cheesy yet mood lifting?”
“You’re my husband, the honorable, good man I married. And I wouldn’t change a damn thing.”
“And correct, I might add.” Nicholas kisses his wife. Jessica runs up to Nicholas and Julie.
“Jessica,” Nicholas starts, “what are you-” BANG! Nicholas falls to the ground, bleeding form his stomach.
“What did you do?” says Julie.
“That’s for sending Roger to his death.”
The Wild Boys, Richard Phillips, Gordon Reynolds, and The Wolf return to Rio after burying Nicholas Rhodes. Michelle goes behind the bar and gets several shot glasses along with a flagon of tequila. She starts pouring and handing them out to everyone. They all raise their glasses and drown them.
“What the fuck now?” asks Bob Kimball.
“The fuck you mean, ‘what the fuck now’?” says The Wolf. “We finish what we’ve been doing. We find someone who knows where Jessica is and make him tell us. Then we find her and whomever she’s working for and-well, you should know the drill by now.
“This ain’t for what they did. It’s because if we don’t, this whole cycle will continue. How long before another Nicholas Rhodes comes and tries to do something about it, only to get shot again? He knew the risks, as you do now. So we move on.”
“We few. We melancholy few,” says Warren. He almost downs another shot until The Wolf stops him.
“By ‘move on’ I mean in the next thirty minutes. We can’t be shooting each other on account of drunken despair. Get your shit ready, I’ll be back in a bit with where Jessica is.”
“I’m going with you,” says Gordon. “I feel pretty damn useless sitting around here doing nothing.”
“Fine. Do something and drive.”
A Previous Pub, 10 minutes later.
Chris Moses is sitting, drinking his drink, watching the game. Suddenly, he feels the chair kicked out from under him, but before he falls, he’s caught at the cuff of his neck by:
“We’re gonna have a chat in the back room.”
The Wolf pushes him forward into a small room, lit only by the light bulb hanging from the ceiling with a chair sitting underneath it. Gordon Reynolds is standing with his back facing The Wolf and Moses. He turns around.
“The fuck, man? I didn’t do nothing.”
“Never said you did,” says Gordon. Gordon nods at The Wolf. The Wolf throws Moses in the chair and guards the door.
“You’re gonna sit in that chair, arms on the armrests, legs spread out. I’m not gonna waste my time tying you down; we both know you’re not getting out of here unless get what I need. So,” Gordon takes out his Mateba revolver, and removes all the bullets except for one. He spins the cylinder, and snaps it shut. “You’re gonna tell me what I need to know with my version of Russion Roulette. I’m gonna start slow, with your hands, and each time I don’t like answer you have, I’m gonna pull the trigger, then proceed to a body part of greater importance to your person.
“Now,” Gordon says, jamming the tip of the barrel on Moses’ right hand. “Who is Jessica Allman working for?”
“She’s a bartender in Rio, for the Wild Boys, ain’t she?”
CLICK. Gordon moves to Moses’ kneecap.
“Okay, okay, she’s working for Morenos now. Goddamn, I’ve heard that hurts.”
“Where is she?”
“Fuck if I know.”
“That’s two down. Next one has a one in four chance. Not too good for,” Gordon moves it to Moses’ crotch, “your balls.”
“Shitshitshitshit, yeah, mighta heard. Sweet Irony’s Pool Hall, I think. That’s the best I can give ya.”
“Sing enough for ya?” asks The Wolf.
“Like a canary.”
“Good, now can I leave?” asks Moses.
Gordon points the gun at his head and pulls the trigger. BANG!
“Shitfuck! Goddamn! My eyes!”
Moses stumbles around blindly while The Wolf and Gordon leave.
“Blanks?” ask The Wolf.
They arrive back at Rio. Julie is loading shells into her shotgun. Lebron Simon is singing an obscene tune by himself with a bottle in his hand.
“What did I say?” says The Wolf.
“You’re nots the boss of me,” says Lebron.
“But the pink elephants are?”
Lebron mumbles some other unmentionables, then takes another swig.
“Right,” The Wolf continues, “We’ve got ourselves a lead, so we’re gonna go. Except that guy,” pointing at Lebron.
“Will he be okay by himself?” ask Stephanie.
Lebron falls out of his chair.
“Probably not, but it’s better than if he comes,” says The Wolf. “Julie?” She doesn’t respond, just keeps doing what she’s doing. “Julie,” he says a little more forcefully. It’s enough to take her out of her trance. “You good?”
“Good, everyone follow my ‘cylcle. Try not to get lost. And try not to die.”
They stop a block away and look on.
“There’s a couple guys in front, quite a bit more on the inside, from the looks of it,” says Drew Ridgely. “I ain’t got a damn clue in hell how we’re gonna do this. We start shooting, it might be enough to get her spooked and run.”
“So, let’s do something that’ll grab their attention,” says Siobhan Fahey.
“Anybody bring any grenades?” asks John Wesson. “I sure as hell didn’t.”
The Wolf looks at the pool hall to his motorcycle and back. “No. Shit no. Just….goddamn it.”
“What?” asks Sarah Dalin.
Stephanie slowly raises her hand. Stephanie punches her on the shoulder.
“I thought you quit.”
“I took it up again recently,” Stephanie says with a shrug.
“You got a light?” asks The Wolf.
The Wolf pulls out his sword, examines his motorcycle, and says without looking at her, “I got the stupidest goddamn idea I have ever had.”
Back in Rio, Lebron staggers to his feet, looks at the list made 5 days prior and leaves the bar. He calls a taxi.
“Where to pal?”
“No offense pal, but a drink ain’t what you need at this time.”
“Drive,” Lebron says giving him a hundred.
“Yes, sir, Mister Sir.”
Lebron stumbles into John’s, past Kleinfeld soldiers. He sits at the bar and orders a drink.
“Hey,” says a Kleinfeld soldier who grabs him by the neck. “Your doggie pal killed one of ours yesterday. How ‘bout you heel back to him?”
Lebron laughs, pulls out a Beretta, and shoots the soldier dead. “Yeah, he never did like those jokes.”
Unknown to Lebron, Norah Kleinfeld has been standing behind him the entire time. She shoots him twice in the back of the head.
Inside the pool hall, a couple of Moreno soldiers are playing.
“8-ball. Corner pocket.” He scratches the cue ball as the ball goes in. “Goddamn it.”
“What? You won.”
“No,” the soldier says pointing at window.
The Wolf on his motorcycle is sliding towards the pool hall. He jumps off before:
The motorcycle crashes into the bar. Some of the staggering soldiers see The Wolf smile and wave at them, then a line of fire enters the bar. No one notices that its leading towards the motorcycle before:
Downstairs, Vincent Valdez, Jessica Allman, and Fernando Castillo listen to the commotion.
“The fuck was that?” asks Vincent.
“They found me,” says Jessica. “This can’t be good.”
“You two,” Fernando Castillo, former second in command, now head, says. “Check it out.”
“I’ll go first,” says Vincent.
Vincent and Jessica move up the stairs. They get up and encounter The Wild Boys in a Mexican standoff.
“Now,” says The Wolf, “I’m pretty sure you guys can kill all of us before we kill you, so drop ‘em.” They do. “Kneecaps,” says The Wolf.
The Wild Boys aim at their legs, and they fall to the ground.
“Move,” says Julie. She cocks her shotgun, and the Wild Boys part. She walks up to Jessica lying face up.
Tears in her eyes, Jessica pleads for her life. Julie doesn’t listen.
The Wolf goes to Vincent.
“Who else is here?” Vincent moans in agony, “Tell me who else is here, Vincent.”
“I’ll take care of him,” says Sarah Dalin.
“All by yourself?”
“Or I’ll die trying.”
“Right. Everyone cover an exit on the outside. On the outside!”
“He’s downstairs- Oh God,” says Vincent.
“Come on,” The Wolf says carrying him. “Let’s get you to your car.”
The Wolf carries him to an alley where Vincent’s car is parked. The Wolf puts him in the driver’s seat.
“You gave me one last day with her, so I’ll give you this.” The Wolf takes out Vincent’s car keys and puts them in ignition. “You drive. You drive until you reach some hospital outside of town. You leave town and never come back. Understood?”
“How’re your legs?”
Sarah Dalin slowly steps down the stairs, trying not to give away her position. On the bottom step, she is tapped twice in the chest by Fernando’s bullets.
“Cabrona. You think I’d get killed by the likes of you?”
Sarah Dalin is laughing.
“Que cadajo are you laughing about?”
“To answer your question: yeah I do.”
Still laughing, she rips open her shirt, showing lights around her stomach. She stops laughing and dies with a smile on her face.
Drew Ridgely and Michelle George were walking outside Rio, doing the nightly guard walk since Nicholas Rhodes and Mary Beckett were shot on their doorstep. They’re chatting away, carrying their shotguns on their shoulders.
A car pulls up.
“Get down,” Drew tells her. He fires some shells, but not before Drew is shot in the chest. The car drives away, Michelle shooting at it, as Drew dies on the sidewalk.
Inside the car, Miguel Cerdo is trying hopelessly to put pressure on Antonio Rivera’s wounds.
“Goddamn it man.”
“Fuckers shot me, didn’t they?”
“Bunch of assholes.”
“What? How can they be cunts and assholes at the same time?”
Antonio Rivera dies before he can answer.
Inside Rio, the Wild Boys are celebrating their success the previous night.
“Give it up to Gordon who found out where the three assholes were hiding1” says The Wolf. The Wild Boys reply with whooping noises and pats on Gordon’s back.
“Unfortunately for you,” everyone turns around and sees Michelle on the ground, moving slightly, along with Alexis Kratavlos and several Kleinfeld soldiers all pointing their guns at The Wild Boys, “There’s two mafias in this town. But thanks for doing our work.”
“If you wanted us dead, you’d’ have killed us already. So why are you here?”
“To get you. Just you.”
“And the understanding is if I don’t go, you’ll shoot us all.”
“Right. Well,it’s been a blast. Pretty literally the last day.” The Wolf turns to Gordon. “It’s been good knowing you.”
“You’ve been in bigger scrapes than this.”
“I don’t think I’ll make it out this time. And even if I could, part of me doesn’t want to. These Boys, they can last. I can’t. They’re not a part of this world. I am. When it dies, so do I. Take care” Hector says, holding out his hand. Gordon shakes it.
“You know it. Now,” The Wolf says turning to Alexis, “we flying coach?”
Inside the car, Alexis sits next to The Wolf in the back seat.
“Assuming I’m a dead man, how ‘bout you tell me why the Kleinfelds want me dead this moment all of a sudden?”
“Something about circle of life. From Kleinfeld borne, to Kleinfeld return.”
“That file got everywhere, huh?”
13 years ago, moments after Paloma Rodriguez’s funeral.
A man approaches the young Hector.
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
Hector doesn’t respond.
“Can we talk in private?”
“You the lawyer?”
They walk out far away from the crowd around the casket.
“I heard what happened. I also saw your reaction during the eulogy. It’s not your fault.”
“Didn’t know lawyers cared about feelings,” Hector says without looking at him.
“It was mine,” Hector looks up at him in fury, his right fist clenched. “I used to work for the Kleinfeld crime family; if you read the papers, you’ve heard of them. That was, until a few months ago. I quit. I did a good job of staying hidden, too good.”
“Get to the part where it involves my mom.”
“They thought they would lure me out by getting to her.”
“Why the fuck would they think that would work?”
The man goes on to say other circumstances about his past that Hector does not hear because he tries punch him in the nose.
The man catches the punch easily.
“You think I don’t want to punish those who did this?”
“If you’re my father, you’ll teach me how to kill the assholes who did this.”
“As your father, I won’t let you go down the same path as me.”
“I don’t care about your goddamn path. All I care about is that just buried my mother, and I can’t get this feeling out of my stomach that I could have prevented it. If anything, it’ll make that feeling go away.”
Back in the car…
“Where’d you go?” asks Alexis.
“Dead man’s memory lane,” The Wolf says with a smirk. “We’re stopping.”
“Yes. An abandoned warehouse. You might remember it.”
10 years ago…
“Where the guy who killed my mom killed my father and held and tortured Mary? I gotta say, points for continuity.”
“Yeah, well, the ending’s going to be…a little different.”
“Give me your. Best. Shot.”
“How about four?” she says after signaling four soldiers who appear to the left and right of Alexis and to the left and right behind The Wolf. They take aim on The Wolf, leaving him in the center of a square.
Alexis drops her hand, and the soldiers shoot until their clips run out.
10 years ago…
Mary, slightly bruised, is sleeping in her bed, Hector holding her. Hector has waited for her to sleep for the past three hours. He gets up after she emits the smallest snores.
“Whuzzgoing?” Mary awakens.
“Nothing, just thirsty. I’m gonna go out to a local convenience store for a sec. You want anything?”
“Nah. But thanks.”
“No. Really. Thank you.” Mary sits up and kisses him. Hector has tears in his eyes. “What?”
“Nothing. Go back to sleep.”
After waiting another half hour for her to go back to sleep, Hector goes out using the fire escape. In the alley, a cop car waits, with Lt. John Reynolds on the hood.
“What took you so long?”
“Turns out, tortured girls have a hard time sleeping.”
“You didn’t tell her?”
“It’s better this way. What’s going to be the story?”
“That you died when a drunk taxi cab driver hit you on the sidewalk.”
“Just me and you.”
“Not even Gordon.”
“Maybe one day.”
“If he becomes a cop, you mean. You got it?”
“Your father’s sword? Yep.”
“Good. I’ll take on his former moniker. But playing the different side. I’m pretty sure Moreno’s will be sympathetic to me. Not my cause, but to me.”
“Someone’s gotta protect people like Mary from people like that. Might as well be me.” Hector ties the sword to his belt. “Let’s go.”
Fuck this, Hector thinks, My last thought won’t be me regretting I left her.
The Wolf is kneeling. “All right,” The Wolf says, as he’s taking off his trench coat. “That hurt. A lot.” The coat falls with a clang of some bullets caught in the weavings.
“I go into gunfights with an overly large knife and win. I ain’t stupid. However,” The Wolf staggers to his feet. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to take that much damage.” The soldiers are scared stiff, as is Alexis. “But while I got your attention-” The Wolf smiles, and blood trickles out his mouth. He lunges for the soldier at Alexis’ left, cuts his head off at the mouth. He runs over to the soldier on Alexis’ right and cuts his head vertically. The Wolf continues, unrelenting, to the soldier at the back right, and cuts him in half from left shoulder to right hip. He rushes to the soldier on the back left, cuts off his left leg, and while the soldier is on the ground, stabs him in the heart.
Without stopping for a beat, The Wolf throws his sword at Alexis, missing her head, but taking off an ear.
“So that you have physical proof,” The Wolf says panting, “that it took you four armed men to kill me, and I still could have killed you. You tell your mistress that.”
The Wolf smiles, blood trickling down his chin. He acts as if he was tightening his own tie, then falls to the ground, motionless.
William Kleinfeld sits in his mother’s office. He’s rubbing his forehead with his palm, clearly suffering from a migraine headache. Alexis Kratavlos enters sporting a bandage over her right ear.
“You look like shit,” she says.
“And coming from you, that means a lot.”
“Fuck you. Where the hell have you been the past few days?”
“Corner of Amaretto and Jack Daniels.”
“Goddamn it,” Alexis says, trying to pick William up.
“Nah, I’m good sitting.”
“Get the fuck up.”
“You’re not my mother. And even if you were, I still wouldn’t do a damn thing.”
“Then what the hell?” Alexis asks, sitting down next to him. “Your sister was shot right in front of you, and you kill the guy who put the gun in front of her.”
“My mother and father were the ones who put her in front of gun.” He pauses. “One down,” he adds sarcastically.
“She raised you and birthed (borne?) birthed you. Don't talk about your mother like that.”
“I’ll talk about my mother however damn well I please. It’s you who can’t talk about her like that.”
“What the hell are you so damn touchy about?”
William drops his hand and looks straight at Alexis.
“Why the fuck would I tell you?”
Alexis raises her hands and stands up. “I give up!”
“No, you’re not,” says Norah Kleinfeld as she enters the room.
“Good, we know where the last Moreno is.”
“And where is that exactly?”
Chris Moses turns around and finds Gordon Reynolds.
“The fuck, man? It took me two hours to see properly after what you did.”
“Where’s Miguel Cerdo?”
“Why the fuck should I tell you?”
“I won’t use blanks this time.”
“Goddamn it. Apartment 65, the complex on the corner of 86th and Askers.”
“The road that goes all which way?”
“Yeah, the guys who live on that street call it Askewd”
Gordon Reynold’s cellphone rings. He picks it up.
“Yeah. Yeah. 86th and Askers. Apartment 65. See you there.”
Gordon walks out to Richard Phillips sitting in a car the motor running.
“That was quick,” Richard says.
“He remembered me.”
“Oh. So where to?”
Miguel Cerdo is packing frantically. He’s stuffing anything and everything into three different suitcases he has lying around. The door breaks in. Michelle George and the Wesson Brothers enter pointing their guns at Cerdo, who’s standing in front of a window, arms filled with trinkets. Cerdo drops his contents.
Alexis and William arrive at the apartment complex.
“Go up,” Alexis orders. “The only way to get over whatever-the-hell-it-is is to remain busy, and this here is work. You’re gonna do the Miguel Cerdo job. Now go.”
“You heard me, Evander.”
“Get your ass up there and come back in fifteen minutes, or I will leave you.”
Richard Phillips and Gordon Reynolds arrive a short time later and park in a darkened alley.
“I’m gonna go see how everything’s going,” says Gordon. “You want to join.”
“Nah, I’m fine right here.”
Richard pulls out a crossword puzzle and gets to solving.
Gordon walks into the complex. He finds the stairs and William Kleinfeld at the bottom pointing a gun at him.
“Whoa there,” Gordon says raising his hands.
“You’re with them aren’t you?”
“The Boys? Yeah. You’re William, right?”
“Yeah. Gordon Reynolds?”
“Yep. Now, I know about your family.”
William laughs. Gordon ignores it and continues.
“Now, you’re not the type to get into this business.”
“Yeah, I didn’t think so either until a few nights ago.”
“That was you? I heard him die, but I didn’t know who.”
“Yeah, well, we all get half truths most of the time.”
“No kidding. Now, William, I strongly suggest you go ahead and put away your gun and walk out that door.”
“Because Julie’s had a shotgun on you since you laughed a couple minutes ago.”
William looks over his shoulder to see Julie on the top stair pointing down at him.
“Now, if you removed your gun, I’m sure she’d be happy to let you go as I would. This ain’t your life, and we both know it. But if you keep that gun on me- well, it looks like we got ourselves a Mexican Standoff.”
William pauses to think about the predicament, then lowers his gun and runs out of the complex.
“Thanks,” says Gordon.
“Don’t,” says Julie.
“How long are they tak-” A series of shots are heard, along with a crash. “There we go.”
Miguel Cerdo is falling out the window. Underneath him is Richard Phillips’ car, with him in it. Richard only has the chance to say, “Fuck me” before he’s crushed.
28 years ago…
Javier Moreno is eighteen years old. He’s waiting in the park for someone. He’s watching out for lookouts.
Norah Kleinfeld sneaks up behind him and covers his eyes.
“Guess who?” Norah asks smiling.
“A person that, if I’m seen with, will lead to me being in giant trouble along with that person,” replies Javier, not amused.
“Way to be a buzzkill,” Norah says releasing him. “So, what’s up?”
Javier pauses, unable to look at her. “We can’t do this anymore.”
“What’dya- did someone find out? And even if they did, I thought you didn’t care.”
“Then why? Things are going good.”
“‘Well.’ But that’s not the point. The point is,” he pauses again. “I mean, how well was this ever going to turn out? Like what, you fake pretend your death, so I kill myself, then you actually kill yourself?”
“Stop blathering about Shakespeare and get to the damn point.”
“We have an expiration date.”
Norah pauses. “Yeah, well, doesn’t everybody?”
“So am I.”
“Just…it’s better just to break it off now than when we’re bitter enemies later.”
“The hell are you talking about? Stop being vague.”
Javier pauses, then seems as if he’s about to explain himself, until, “Just, forget about it,” and walks off.
Norah stays, clearly hurt.
At the same park today, Norah Kleinfeld has just finished telling her son what happened that day. William is silent throughout.
“That was the last time I talked to him. A couple of days later, your Uncle Ari was killed. I was pretty pissed at him. But I mean, I understood. His father was…well…his father. His main goal was to take over after his father after what he did to his mother. It’s a long story. So I understood that he had to do whatever it took to get by. And I was somewhat grateful for the fact that he knew I would never forgive him for it.
Then a few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with you. I knew it was his, but I married Jacob and Allison’s father a few months later to give you a figure in your life. It was when I was with you that I realized how caged this life is, how predetermined. That’s why I never wanted this for you. Partly because of that, and to see if the sins of the parents don’t befall the children. If a child born out of both families could lead a peaceful life, that would be enough proof for me. Okay?”
“Let’s go back. Alexis wants to talk about the Wild Boys.”
“I doubt she’ll be verbose.”
Norah laughs. “Come on,” she says, taking hold of his hand. “Let’s go.”
Alexis is pacing the office as Norah and her son walk in.
“What took you guys so long?” Alexis asks.
“Family matters,” Norah responds.
“Well, we weren’t the guys who took out Miguel Cerdo. It was The Wild Boys.”
“You said if you killed The Wolf, they would’ve backed down.”
“Yeah, well,” William enters, “she’s just pissed he pulled a sanitary Mike Tyson on her, and it was all for nothing”
“Shut the hell up, Will.”
“Stop it, both of you.” asks Norah. “They need to be dealt with. Now. Grab my coat, we’re going.”
Julie Bennet-Rhodes is guarding the bar, pacing down and up the street, shotgun on her shoulder. She’s standing on a corner in front of an alley. Down the street, a car is coming. She’s seen the car before, when The Wolf was taken. She sees it gather speed.
The Boys hear their call and run out of the bar and start shooting at the armored car, making dents only.
Julie, shotgun cocked and ready, hears footsteps behind her in the alley, turns around, and finds Norah Kleinfeld holding two pistols at her.
“Decoy?” Julie asks.
“Not here though.”
The two fire off rounds into each other, and both fall down, dead.
William and Alexis see what just occurred and flee out back of the alley.
William sits in his mother’s office. He looks at her empty chair. He isn’t sure how long he’s been sitting, staring at it, but he knows it’s been far too long. Alexis enters slowly.
“Will?” Alexis asks.
He doesn’t hear her.
“Will?” A little more forcefully. He breaks out of his trance.
“Will, you haven’t been able to string together a sentence all day. What’s wrong?” He gives her a look that says, “what the fuck do you think?” to which she adds “Besides the obvious.”
“This fucking sucks. Subject. Adverb. Verb. Equals sentence. Happy?”
Alexis sits down next to him and looks at him carefully.
“Because, like it or not, I’m all you have left.”
“We shouldn’t have left her there,” he says.
“We didn’t have a choice. More of them might have come, and we’d be outnumbered. She would’ve known that. We got her back later though, didn’t we?”
Will doesn’t answer.
“Come on, what else?” she asks.
“Whaddya mean, what else?”
“That isn’t it. Well, I mean, it is, but not completely. There’s something else still bothering you. You’re kinda easy to read.”
“Fine, you’re harder to read than most guys. It’s more ‘you haven’t lost that look that you’ve had 5 days ago’ kinda thing.”
“You really want to know?”
“I really want to know.”
“And if I told you, not only would it not leave this room, but you wouldn’t either?”
“It’d be kinda a dick move for me to leave someone in grief.”
William pauses, then exhales.
“You have a vagina,” Alexis interrupts smiling. “Along with the meat and two veg.”
“What, no,” William says laughing. “But, uh,” he stops laughing, “My father is, was the late Javier Moreno.” Alexis stops smiling. “And yeah, he told me before I shot him. And I confronted my mom about it and she told me everything yesterday. How she became pregnant shortly before they broke it off. And I was at war with a crime family that I was kinda a part of, but not really, so…kinda having mixed feelings about all of this. Yeah.”
Alexis doesn’t say a word and just stares at him
“Kinda wished I had the vagina story with the way you’re looking at me right now.”
“I’m so sorry. For that, and my reaction just now….So…how are you?”
William laughs sarcastically.
“Well, how am I supposed to react to that?”
“I don't know.”
“And I was willing to help you out.”
“You’re right. So to answer your question, I’m a little lost. I’m thinking I never should have quit being an architect, but at the same time, I don’t see how I could have done anything different. Like, I’ve been looking at that chair for I-don’t-know-how-long, and I keep seeing her there, and if Jake was here, he’d be taking her spot, but he isn’t. So, that leaves just me, but I don’t think I can.”
“Of course you can. You’re the son of Norah Kleinfeld. Baddest JAQ in the city. And the son of Javier Moreno. You’re doubly qualified.”
“I don’t think I want it. Do you want it?”
“My loyalty was to your mother. So, no.”
“My mother’s dead. Go right ahead.”
Alexis sighs. “Your mother is still with you. You carry a piece of her always. So, no, she isn’t dead. So, no, I won’t sit in that seat.”
“Then who will?”
Alexis grabs William by the back of the head and places an open mouth kiss on his lips. “Wake up,” she says softly. “This city is yours for the taking. With the exception of a few orphans that need to be taken care of, you rule this city.” Alexis lets him go and stands up. “So don’t fuck it up,” she adds in a normal tone. Then, she walks away.
William sits there shocked, touching his lips.
“So, the part where you said I had a part of my mother in me- that make you part lesbian?”
“Shut up!” Alexis says over her shoulder.
Gordon Reynolds is on the phone with his wife.
“Yeah, everything’s fine….Don’t worry about me….I’m fine….Yes, I’m sure…Well, yeah, he was my best friend since as long as I can remember…I’m not-I don’t want to talk about this over the phone,” he says turning away from The Boys at the bar. He lowers his voice. “Yeah, but I gotta keep face for these guys. They lost him, and they lost the closest things to parents they have. Anyways, how’s things going on out there?....Good? Good…..I know, I miss you too….Love you too, bye.”
“Hehe,” says Warren. “He loves his wife.”
“Because he’s not a dick, Warren,” says Stephanie.
“I’m gonna take a walk,” says Gordon.
“Sure,” says Stephanie.
“You want one of us to go with you?” asks Michelle.
“Nah, I just want to be alone, you know?”
Gordon walks out.
“Send someone after him anyway.”
“Warren!” says Stephanie.
“What? That street’s practically a graveyard, amount of people that’ve died there.”
“He wants to be alone, and he can protect himself.”
“Yeah, well, he can be alone in here.”
“Warren, his best friends and his partner died a few days apart. He’s away from his wife.” Stephanie grabs Jake Wesson before he goes out the door. “Let him be alone with his thoughts for a while.”
Gordon hails a cab.
“Lonely night, pal?”
Cassie’s Right Way In, one of the more popular strip clubs in New Drake City. Owner, Kleinfeld. Gordon walks in, passes the poles, straight to the bartender.
“Where’s Alexis Kratavlos?”
“That information’s gonna cost you?”
“No kidding.” Gordon pulls out his gun and places it at the bartender’s forearm. “Bullet’s about, what, five bucks? Maybe?”
“Well today’s your lucky day, Detective,” says Alexis already pointing her Jericho at his chest. “You get that information for free.”
She plugs him with a few slugs to the chest. Gordon remains motionless. Alexis goes to check his pulse, and Gordon plugs her with a few of his own.
“Ain’t karma a bitch? Well, yeah, it is,” are Gordon’s last words.
Back in the Kleinfeld office, William is standing behind his mother’s desk. Two soldiers enter.
“Sir, Alexis, Gordon Reynolds killed her about thirty minutes ago.”
“What do we do?”
William sits down in his mother’s chair.
“We move on.”
Willaim Kleinfeld is sitting behind his desk. Inside his office are three lieutenants of the new Kleinfeld Family.
“What we have here,” says William as he unfurls some building blueprints, “are the schematics to Rio, the place where we know the Wild Boys work out of. Now there are structural weaknesses here….here…and here. All they need is a little push, and humpty dumpty will come crashing down. We’re a mafia, right? Let’s make it look like an accident.”
The seven remaining Wild Boys are thinking about what they should do.
“Nick’s gone. Julie’s gone. The Wolf’s gone. So’s his pal Gordon. I think it’s time we fold our hand,” says Warren Cuccurullo.
“Fuck that shit, man,” says Bob Kimball. “We do that, they died for fucking nothing.”
“If we don’t, we all die for fucking nothing.”
“If we leave, we’re eventually gonna die for fucking nothing, and then we got to live with the guilt that we made Nick and Julie die for fucking nothing, so shut the fuck up, Warren!” says Michelle George.
“….Goddamn, you’re touchy.”
“She right, Warren,” says Stephanie Duffey.
“We really only got one option,” says Siobhan Fahey.
“Go inside Kleinfeld HQ and take out whoever the fuck’s on top?” asks Warren.
“No shit,” says Jake Wesson.
“So, The Wesson brothers want to go in on this suicide mission as well?”
“The fuck else are we gonna do?” asks John Wesson.
“Leave,” says Warren.
“Are you that fucking naïve that you think they’ll just let us go?” asks Stephanie. “We are the fucking group that have killed a couple of their higher ups,” says Michelle.
“They’re not just gonna let us go. Not alive, anyway,” says Siobhan.
“As I’m being overruled by a lot; then what?”
“We gather whatever ammunition we got and haul ass to Kleinfeld HQ,” says Michelle. “Since you’re being kind of a bitch, Warren, you take the deathtrap lookout walk while we start putting shit in cars.”
Warren walks outside Rio looking out for anyone suspicious while the rest of The Wild Boys take equipment to the cars.
Warren hears a noise in the alley and goes to inspect it. He sees a Kleinfeld lieutenant place something on the side of the wall, with numbers.
“Huh,” Warren says. Warren then shoots the lietenant with his shotgun, but not before the lietenant fires off a round into Warren’s gut. Warren staggers, then walks back to the bar using his gun as a cane.
As soon as Warren enters the bar, he falls to the ground. Stephanie goes to see him. Stephanie says, “Keep loading,” to the others.
“What happened? She asks.
“You guys need to leave.”
“We’re barely halfway done.”
“Yeah, I don’t think the guy placing the bomb in the alley gives a shit about that.”
“It’s fucking brilliant. They’ll probably call it a gas leak or whatever…”
“Yeah, he’s losing a lot of blood. Michelle!” Michelle comes. “Go to the alley, see how long they left us.”
Michelle leaves and comes back quickly. “We got less than two minutes.”
“Leave me,” says Warren.
“That’s the blood loss talking.”
“You’re gonna need all the ammo you need, and I’m just dead weight. I didn’t want part of your goddamn plan anyway.”
“Fine. Everyone, double time! Grab whatever you can carry, and let’s get out of here!”
The Boys are at the cars when the bomb goes off. A piece of shrapnel hurdles toward Jake Wesson.
“JAKE!” is John’s last word as he pushes his brother out of the way and takes the piece of shrapnel to his heart.
Michelle George’s apartment. The temporary headquarters of The Wild Boys. Stephanie is pacing. Bob sits quietly. Michelle and Siobhan are approximating the amount of ammunition they have. Jake sits in a corner loading his shotgun.
“How much we got?” asks Stephanie.
“Around 200 each of shells and bullets,” says Michelle.
“You think that’s enough?”
“I don’t think there’s chart dictating the necessary amount of ammunition to entering a mafia hideout and surviving.”
“Do you think it’s enough?”
“Whether it is or it isn’t, we got to go.”
“Thanks for the input.”
“Would I have liked a bit more? Yes, I would. But we don’t, so let’s get this fucking over with and kill the Kleinfeld motherfucker or die fucking trying.”
“Agreed,” says Jake, not looking up.
Stephanie nods her head. “Okay. Let’s go.”
The five of them walk side by side, Berettas at their hips or shotguns on their soldiers, into Kleinfeld Headquarters.
Bob points a Beretta at a guard’s head. The other Boys surround him pointing their guns outward toward the guards now pointing guns at them.
“Which floor is your boss on?”
The Boys fire into the crowds of guards trying to get to the elevator. After what seems like a very long time, all five finally make it into the elevator. Siobhan hits the 14 button with the butt of her Beretta.
“Fuck,” says Siobhan.
“The fuck did you expect, a walk in the park?”
“I expected a walk in the desert, not fucking up Mt. Everest.”
The door opens.
“Fuck this shit, I’m going first,” says Siobhan and rushes out of the elevator, taking out both guards with little effort. She kicks her way into the office.
Siobhan falls back dead, William Kleinfeld holding the smoking gun.
“Wrong move,” says Jake.
“You just wasted the element of surprise,” says Bob.
“If there was only one of us, it would’ve been a good plan,” says Stephanie.
“Except there’s five, well, now four, of us.”
They all raise their guns towards William.
William chuckles. “Well, I ain’t got all-” They unload the rest of their ammo into him.
The Wild Boys look at each other and breathe a sigh of relief.
Monday, September 7, 2009
James Goldberg sleeps in his bed. The clock strikes 3:33 in the AM. The door breaks as two men enter. They riddle him with bullets before he has any last words to say. The two men walk to leave the room. The leading man stops in his tracks when a sword is put against his neck.
“José,” says The Wolf.
“Both of you drop the piece, and both of you get in the hallway.”
The Wolf moves his sword away from its precarious position.
“Moreno didn’t say anything about this hit,” The Wolf says.
“Then how did you know?”
“I have my methods. So why’d you kill a Klienfeld sergeant?”
“Orders,” says José.
“By Moreno himself,” says Marco.
“One of ours disappeared three days ago. Wound up in a river this morning.”
“So, it’s starting again,” says The Wolf.
“War’s starting up again, yeah.”
The Wolf slashes José across the chest and stabs Marco in the chest, then walks away.
Javier Moreno wakes up in his bed. His mistress slowly stirs.
“Just need some water, go back to sleep.”
He walks out of his room and into his office. He turns on the lights to find The Wolf sitting behind his desk laying back with his feet on it.
“This ain’t what I signed up for,” says The Wolf.
“What you sign up for and what you actually get are rarely the same thing.”
“Yeah, well, consider this my resignation. And unless you want to start this war of yours as a heavy underdog, I suggest you just let me leave.”
“There’s a folder in the right-bottom drawer you might want to look at.”
“If I wanted to play games, I’d go ahead and buy myself a Wii.”
“You’re going to want to look at it, Hector Rodriguez.”
The Wolf drops his feet and opens the drawer with his hands slightly shaking. He puts the folder on the desk and opens it. Inside he finds his mother’s obituary, his father’s obituary, and his own fake obituary, among other things from his past. Also inside it are week-old pictures of Mary Beckett in gun-sights.
“The fuck is this?”
“Didn’t know Nationwide had loyalty insurance.”
“Joke all you want, but this is how I’m keeping you inside this city. You leave, she dies. You stay, you die.”
“Third option. I stay, you die.”
“You don’t think that’s the only copy of the file I have do you? Even if you managed to kill me and get out of this building alive, you’d have to deal with Castillo who will either kill her himself or, at the very least, release the information to the papers. How long will it be until she dies by Kleinfeld hands?
However, you’ve done good work for me, and for that, I’ll let you leave this building. Maybe say goodbye to her.”
The Wolf gets up and walks to the door. “Pray we never meet again. For your sake. If that file has everything on me, you know what happened to the last guy who threatened her life.”
Gordon Reynolds’ apartment:
The phone rings.
“Quién cadajo is calling at this hour?”
“I’ll be sure to tell him off, Paulina,” Gordon picks up the phone. “Yeah.”
“Wake up, Gordon.”
“Hector, why the hell are you calling-” Gordon sighs, “What’s happened?”
“Kleinfeld Moreno War started tonight. I quit. Mary’s in trouble.”
“The first two I pretty much get. But wasn’t the last one the reason you fake killed yourself.”
“Ain’t irony a bitch? Yeah, so what’re my options?”
“Clint Eastwood, or Toshiro Mifune, in your case.”
“Even if I didn’t just burn the Moreno bridge, there’s no way in hell I could work the Kleinfeld angle because of, well, you know.”
“Sorry, you kinda woke me up at five in the morning, so excuse me if my wits are a little slow at the moment.”
“The Wild Boys.”
“They still sell cyanide in capsule form, right?”
“No really. The end result is the same.”
“It may take some slight negotiation on your part, but they should be able to help you. I mean, they hate them as much as you do now.”
“I’m gonna need you with me, can you get to Rio in an hour?”
“Where the hell are you? It’s not that far.”
“I gotta make a stop first.”
Mary Beckett’s apartment:
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a second.” Mary tosses on a robe and opens the door to two men in police uniforms. “What’s going on?”
“We were sent by Gordon Reynolds to take you to a safe place. You’re in great danger.”
“No shit,” says The Wolf then he stabs both of them through the head at once.
Mary looks in shock from Hector to the bodies to back to Hector.
“Yeah…so…I’m alive. Sorry about that.” Mary just stares at him with utter contempt. “As much as I love an awkward conversation, we need to go.”
“If you think I’m going anywhere with you-”
“It’s only out of self-preservation, yeah.”
“I was gonna say, ‘you’re insane,’ but I see your point.”
“I’ll fill you in on the way, but these guys weren’t sent by Gordon. Get some things; we need to go. Don’t make me carry you.”
“Can I change? I don’t want to be wherever it is I’m going in a bathrobe.”
“Fine. But don’t do your hair, it’s a waste of time.”
“Gordon got me a motorcycle.”
“Of course he did.”
The Wolf and Mary park about a block away from Rio.
“Go in first. Tell them Morenos are trying to kill you and they should protect you,” says The Wolf.
“What about you?”
“I’m gonna have some ‘splaining and I don’t know how it’ll go down. You’ll go in, I’ll wait five minutes, then go in myself. If everything goes well, I’ll give you an explanation as well. Honest.”
The Wolf waits until he thinks she’s safe. Then enters.
Ten Wild Boys point guns at him including one near the entrance that points one at his temple.
“The Wolf. You know you’re not allowed in here,” says Lebron Simon.
“Yeah, I can explain.”
“And why should we let the lap dog of Don Moreno explain?”
The Wolf sighs, then, in one fluid motion, grabs the arm with the gun pointed at his temple, restrains the Wild Boy the arm is attached to, and points the Wild Boy’s gun at the back of the restrainee’s head.
“Because if you don’t, I’ll use this guy’s brain as a pretty shitty silencer.”
“I thought he didn’t use guns,” says one of the younger Wild Boys.
“I don’t like using guns. There’s a difference. But the real matter at hand is that the new mafia war is here. I know what previous ones have taken for you, so I expect you probably want to be the ones to stop it. I quit because of what a war would mean. It’s not what I wanted, so I quit. I’m a dead man anywhere else, so I came here.”
“I’m not sure why we should get involved though,” says Nicholas Rhodes. The gang parts to let Nicholas through. “If what you say is true, that means more will die, yes, but not here.”
“That’s why I didn’t join your little brigade 10 years ago. You just pick up the pieces, but you don’t solve the real problem at hand.” Nicholas steps closer to take a look at The Wolf. “I don’t think you’ll recognize me, but you might remember what I said after my mother’s funeral. ‘Your cause is like putting a bandage on a goddamn amputation.’”
“Lower your guns.”
Everyone but Lebron obeys. “Nick, I don't like it.” Nick answers with a stare that makes Lebron obey. The Wolf releases the Wild Boy, ejects the magazine and the bullet in the chamber, and gives the Wild Boy his bulletless gun.
“What the hell happened here?” asks Gordon as he walks in with Paulina, both seeing all the guns out.
“You’re late,” says The Wolf.
“You still haven’t answered why we should get involved,” says Nicholas.
“We have a chance to end the series of wars. We get both at the same time instead of letting one thrive while the other survives. Both gone at the same time.”
“You know how slim that chance is though, right?”
“Better than the chances they’ll let you survive this war either way. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but they’ll eventually get tired of the agreement you have with them. They’ll think they can do better, that they can run this bar better and bleed this area dry. That’s when they’ll say to hell with the truce and come after you. And it’s usually in the war frame of mind that the thought occurs. Only one of them will come after you if you’re lucky.”
“What about the kids?” says Julie Bennet-Rhodes.
“You got a place out of town you can take them too?”
“There’s a summer house we sometimes take them too,” says Nicholas.
“Take them there.”
“Paulina, you’ll go with them, right?” asks Gordon.
“Yeah,” says Paulina.
“This isn’t everyone, right?” asks The Wolf.
“No, half of them are sleeping,” says Nicholas.
“Well, wake them up. I think it’s time to blow this scene, get everybody and the stuff together.”
“3.2.1. Let’s jam,” finishes Gordon.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Eventually growing in number, they are the protectors of the five block radius around the bar. Everyone knows not to mess with the Wild Boys. Or should know.
Today is Kleinfeld pickup day. It being a slow afternoon, the only member that guards the door while Jessica is cleaning is Roger Taylor. He keeps making slight glances back at her every once in a while. Jessica smiles without looking up. A large balding man who looks like he’s pushing sixty but is actually in his mid forties, strolls into the bar past Roger during one of his glances back. Roger quickly unholsters his Beretta and points it at the back of the man’s head, stopping him in his tracks.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Silverberg. Ari Silverberg.”
“The pick-up guy?”
Roger, still with his gun on him but getting a better look at him, continues. “Yeah, well that means you probably got a piece on you, and I know this isn’t your first time, so just give it to me, so she can give you the money, and you can get go get yourself a bagel on the way back to your mistress.”
“I’m not packing.”
“Sun reflection on your waistband says you are.”
“I’m gonna be out of here in about 30 seconds, do I really need to go through the precautions?”
“I’m not sure I trust one of your types for 3 seconds, let alone 30.”
“Roger,” Jessica interjects. “Just drop it. The sooner he’s gone, the better.”
Roger lowers his weapon and resumes his post at the door listening paying close aural attention to Jessica. Silverberg goes to the bar.
“Thank you, miss.”
“Just take the money and go,” Jessica says handing over a yellow envelope over the counter rather harshly.
“What would you say if I just pocketed the money and told my boss that you refused to give me the money?” Silverberg whispers to her.
“ I’d say you’re a weasely bastard, but that’s just me.” She says in a normal tone.
“See, that wasn’t the answer I was looking for,” Silverberg continues to whisper. “I was expecting something along the lines of ‘what can I do to insure that this won’t happen?’”
“Not what you’re implying, that’s for sure,” Jessica whispers, disgusted at Silverberg.
“You think you have a choice. Cute.”
Silverberg grabs her by the neck and yanks her over the bar. Roger, hearing the disturbance, turns around and points his gun once again on Silverberg, but not before Jessica grabs Silverberg’s Jericho and points it just under his chin.
“Your move,” she breathes.
Silverberg gives a weak smile, as if saying, “You wouldn’t dare.” Upon feeling the greater pressure on her neck, she fires a shot into his head; while a split second later, Roger fires one into his back. Silverberg’s grip slackens as he falls to the floor. Jessica starts stroking her neck, and Roger steps over the newly forming pool of blood to see if she needs any help.
“Dude, WHAT THE FUCK?” Lebron Simon walks in. “I just cleaned the floor this morning.”
“Where’s Nick?” Roger asks.
“With Julie down the street? I don’t know.”
“Give me your phone, he needs to know about this.”
Ten minutes later, Nicholas Rhodes enters the bar with his wife Julie behind him.
“Jessica, tell me what happened.”
“He told me he was going to pocket the money if I didn’t do, well, what you’d expect a guy like him wanted me to do. When I refused, he dragged me across the bar-”
“Then I heard what was going on,” Roger interrupts, “and shot him before he could do anything else.”
“That explains shot to his back,” says Nicholas.
“I shot him twice.”
“Well, I didn’t think we had magical bullets that could fly in circles. Cut the bullshit, and tell me what really happened, Jessica.”
“Well,” Jessica starts, “the first part of what Roger said was true, but as he was dragging me, I got the gun from waist holster and pointed it at him in the hopes that he’d let me go. He didn’t. I shot him.”
Nicholas sighs. “That’s the reason we have every Kleinfeld and Moreno check in their piece before they step in here every month. Lebron.”
“Get a couple of trash bags, windex, Kaboom, whatever, to clean this up.”
“I just cleaned it this morning.”
“Well, it needs cleaning again. Get Jack, Steve, Karen, I don’t know, anyone else to help you then.” Nicholas then turns to Jessica and Roger who have turned to walk away. “And you two,” they stop in their tracks, “when they get back with the trash bags, you’re gonna put the late bastard in the trunk of your car, drive uptown to Kleinfeld HQ, deliver the body, and say the exact story you told me. How much money do you each have on you?”
“300,” Jessica says.
“200,” says Roger.
“You’re gonna give her the 500 bucks you guys got on you, along with the cash they were supposed to receive, an explanation, and an apology, and you should be good.”
Roger exhales, which Nicholas takes as disrespect to the plan. “What, you want to take on that mob all by yourself? Go ahead, I’ll put the cash we were supposed to pay them in a pool in how long you’ll last. What do you think, ‘3 seconds’ sound like a good bet?”
“I didn’t mean that. I was breathing out from the situation that happened not 20 minutes ago.”
“Better be. I’ll call them so that they know to expect you.”
Jessica and Roger, having changed into a blue dress and a suit respectively, walk out of Rio to the car with the recently departed cargo in the truck. On their way, they meet Steve and Karen who greet them with a middle finger and a “Thanks a lot, asshole.”
With Roger driving, they make their way 20 blocks north into Kleinfeld territory.
“Don’t speed,” Jessica says.
“Yeah, my first reaction was to drive like a bat out of hell with a body in the trunk.”
“I’m just trying to help.”
“If you had let me done my job, we wouldn’t be here.”
“You’re blaming what just happened on me?”
“No, I blame it on the guy in the trunk. But maybe if he didn’t have the gun, he wouldn’t have tried that shit. You know, kinda like the gun made him feel like Superman?”
“And if he was planning on doing what he did, he still would have done what he did.”
“You heard me. Then you would have still shot him, and we’d still be in this car.”
“Like I said, most of the blame rests on the guy in the trunk.”
10 blocks go by without a word.
“You sure you wanted to wear that?” Roger asks.
“The dress. Might make some think you had it coming.”
Jessica looks at him incredulously. “Are you serious?”
“No,” Roger says with a smile.
A second passes. Then Jessica starts hitting Roger over and over on the shoulder.
“Hey, driving with body in trunk here!”
“How-dare-you-asshole!” Jessica starts laughing, then a second later starts bawling. Clearly not what Roger intended, he pulls over the car.
After about 30 seconds of letting her cry her eyes out, Roger puts a hand on her shoulder. “What he did was unforgivable. You don’t got a damn thing to be sorry about. If it wasn’t you, it’d be some other tough-as-nails gal. All right?”
“We got about five blocks to go. You good, or do you want to stay here a while?”
“I’m good. Imgoodimgoodimgood. Oh, and here’s the 300, I’m supposed to give.”
“Where are you going to magically summon up 300 dollars?”
“I lied. I said I had 200 when I had 5. I’m not letting you pay for almost getting raped.”
“Thanks,” Jessica says softly.
“I’m Roger Taylor, this is Jessica Allman. I believe my boss Nicholas Rhodes already talked to yours,” he says to a large guard next to the elevator.
They get in the elevator and push the 14 button to go on the longest elevator rides of their lives.
“You okay?” Roger asks after what seems like 5 minutes of silence.
“Stop asking me that.”
Another seemingly 5 minutes go by.
“Sweet Jesus, are they too cheap to-” The doors open, so Roger doesn’t finish his slight against the Kleinfelds.
“Her office is down the hall, to the right,” says a guard.
They enter the room, which has a few couches, a desk, and a few chairs in front of the desk. Behind the desk sits Norah Kleinfeld, the middle-aged head of the Klienfeld family. Behind her stands her two lieutenants, Alexis Kratavlos and her son, Jacob Kleinfeld.
“I understand there was an incident with this month’s payoff,” Norah says.
“The guy you sent got a bit physical with her, so he got shot,” Roger responds. “I’m sorry about what happened, but I’d do it all over again.”
Norah pauses. “Jacob, will you wait outside with…”
“Sure thing, Ma,” Jacob says. Jacob signals Roger to come with him and walks towards the door.
“I want the door to remain slightly open,” says Roger as he holds Jacob by the shoulder.
“Of course,” says Norah. Roger releases his grip.
In the office:
“I just want to say how truly sorry I am about what happened. I don’t blame you for what you did; I should have had better judgment for who I send to pick up a package.”
“I assure you that this will never happen again, and you can tell your boss Nicholas that he has my word.”
“Yes, ma’am,” her voice nearly cracking.
“Would you like some water?”
“N-no, thank you.”
Outside the door:
“So, you tapping that?” Jacob asks. Roger doesn’t respond nor does he look at him. “Wow, you must really like her, huh?” Roger clenches his hand tighter. “To think, how much easier it would have been if either of you just…. let it happen.” Roger stares at him for the first time, and he’s about to punch him in the eye when a woman walks up to Jacob.
“Hey Jake, have you talked to Bill lately?”
“What? No, sis.”
Roger exhales and relaxes his fist.
“He said he’d take me to go see that new film showing at the art house theater on 83rd, and he isn’t picking up his phone.”
“Allison, he’s probably working and turned it off. You know how Big Bro gets when he’s in that designing mood. I’m sure he’ll call you later. In fact, how ‘bout you go wait for him at the coffee shop next to the theater? You know he hates this place.”
What next? Roger thinks.
Back in the office:
“I don’t want to start a war with your group when it’s so advantageous of me to keep the peace. It would be needlessly bloody and costly. Why do I need dead men for roughly 75 square blocks when I have 2 and a half burroughs?”
“Any other peckerwoods try to lay a hand on you or any other gals of yours, try to keep ‘em alive for us. We’ll make a better example of them,” says Alexis.
Jessica nods again.
“Jacob, show Roger back in here.”
They both reenter the room.
“I’m guessing you have the keys for the car with the late Ari?” asks Norah. Roger hands them to her. “And you probably have this month’s pay, but that won’t be necessary.”
“It really is,” Roger says as he puts the yellow envelope on the desk.
Norah looks at Roger and pauses, then takes the envelope, opens it, and counts the money. “There’s 500 extra.”
“For your trouble.”
“Please, there’s no need for that.”
“Just take it, so we can go.”
“All right. I’m sure we can have a car take you back to Rio, at the very least.”
Norah nods and has two men escort Roger and Jessica out of the building.
During the 20-block walk back, Roger and Jessica fully realize just how lucky they were to still be alive.
Friday, September 4, 2009
“Show him in.”
She puts the file in a drawer in a desk and locks it. Putting the coffee in a safer position, she stands up.
“Gordon,” she says with a hug.
“Mary,” he replies as he lets go. “Well, it looks like you’re pretty busy.”
“Good to see the city pays you for something.”
“Well, it sure ain’t for delivering the paper.”
“So, what, you need a search warrant?”
“No, it’s- everything going okay here?”
“What the mountain of papers, the bottomless cup of piss coffee, and the going home and waking up at the same ‘M’? Peachy.”
“Long nights, huh?”
“Good to know.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just been-”
“Busy. I gathered.”
“Look, why are you here?”
“Um…to see how you were doing here. To see if you were doing all right. What with the change and all.”
“I told you I outgrew the ‘big brother’ routine eight years ago; you could’ve done this with a phone call.”
“I didn’t think I needed a reason to greet one of my oldest friends. Also didn’t think I’d get into a fight.”
“I don’t need protecting.”
“Yeah, well, tell that to the last guy.”
“Did Hector put you up to this?”
Gordon pauses. “Hector’s dead.”
Mary stares at him for a few seconds.
“You never could lie very well.” Mary storms off to her desk to the locked drawer while Gordon says under his breath, “Yeah, well, I ain’t the lawyer.”
“I’m not stupid,” Mary says as she thrusts the file into his hands. “Read.”
Gordon sighs and does as he’s told. “It’s just a bunch of foggy witness reports; I’ve interviewed a bunch of these guys, they ain’t sure of half of what they’ve seen.”
“Yeah, well, the half they are sure of involves an insignia with a Wolf and an ‘F.’ How about you tell me what the hell the city vigilante is doing with Hector’s family’s coat of arms?”
Gordon pauses again. “I’m gonna go.”
“He let me think he was dead.”
“I’m not the right person you should be talking to.”
“You know what I went through.”
“I went through it myself. I know.”
“For nine years, God, I remember those weeks where all I did was just lie in bed. I remember saying his eulogy at the funeral.”
“Really, I know. Can we go to a different subject?”
“Did he ever love me?”
“I’m not answering a question you damn well know the answer to.”
“Why are you defending him?”
Mary stares at him. “That’s it? That’s why?”
“Again, I’m not the person you should be talking to.”
“Then I won’t.”
Gordon sighs. “How long?”
“Few hours, give or take. I have to finish this paperwork. I’ll be more mad at it than I am at you.”
“Huh. Bureaucracy can not suck some times.”
Gordon’s walking down City Hall’s steps at night. He turns right next to an alley next to his parked car.
“Never again,” Gordon says to the shadows.
“That pissed, huh?” asks The Wolf as he walks under the streetlamp.
“I ain’t making peace between you two like the old days. If you hadn’t noticed, this ain’t then.”
“I know. How pissed is she?”
“You know how pissed I got four years ago when you told me you faked your death?”
“Gave me a black eye, one of the only two I’ve ever gotten.”
“Yeah, add four years of woman scorned atop the fact she had to find out herself.”
“My balls hurt thinking about it.”
“Yeah, well, suck it up next time, and either stalk her yourself to see how she’s doing, or actually talk to her.”
“She seeing anyone?” Gordon stares at him. “Sorry. If I talked to her, you think she would forgive me?”
“If I said yes, would you talk to her?”
“No. Because I love her.”