Tony Gavel crouched down behind one of the wooden crates that were scattered about the warehouse. He popped the clip of Louise, his .38 special, and checked to see that it was fully loaded. Satisfied he put the clip back in. Tony peered around the crate and could just barely see inside the office. Romeo Cappetta could be seen talking to two men.
Romeo Cappetta was a large man. He looked like one of those gangsters in the olden movies, wearing a black suit and sported a black fedora. He was heavily muscled and second in command of the Irish mob. Tony had been tracking him for some time now. Cappetta was wanted for the kidnapping and murder of Lisa Jackson, a reporter for the Daily Times. She wrote an in depth article on the Irish mob, specifically the boss Keith McCully, and it was obvious that she knew someone on the inside that was feeding her information. Lisa Jackson was taken when she left the office and her body was found a few days later dumped under the 107th street overpass, badly beating and shot in the back of the head execution style. Word on the street was Cappetta did the hit and hadn’t been seen since. Tony had been hired by Dwight O’Toole. Dwight’s a detective for Big City PD and Tony’s ex-partner. The police weren’t having any luck in finding Romeo Cappetta to bring him in. Tony specialized in missing persons and was the best on the force until the Festival Killings incident. The Mayor needed a scapegoat and used Tony. Tony quit the force and started his own private investigator firm afterward. Dwight knows Tony’s methods may be a bit unscrupulous, but they get results.
Tony looked around from his vantage point and didn’t see anyone else walking around. He couldn’t hear what they were saying inside the office. After what seemed an eternity the two men left the office and Cappetta was all alone. Tony waited a few more minutes to make sure no one else was coming before he made his way to the office. Cappetta was sitting behind the desk looking over some papers when Tony entered the room. He had his gun pointed at Cappettas head.
“The police have been looking for you Romeo.” Tony said.
Romeo looked up and saw Tony with his gun aimed at him.
“What a surprise, Tony Gavel. What brings you here?” Romeo said with a smile.
“Cut the shit Cappetta, you know why I’m here. You’re wanted in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Lisa Jackson.”
“Who? Never heard of her.” Romeo said as he shrugged his shoulders.
“You remember her. The reporter for the Daily Times that wrote the article about your boss McCully. I bet he wasn’t happy with some of the stuff she printed. Did he tell you to kill her or did you do it all on your own?”
“Now I remember her. Pretty little thing. I read she was found brutally murdered under the 107th bridge. I had nothing to do with that. I’m a businessman, not a cold blooded killer Gavel.”
“You’re what ever your boss tells you to be. You’re his trained lap dog.”
Romeo’s face turned crimson and he began to reach under the desk.
“Don’t even think about it Cappetta. Keep your hands where I can see them.” Tony said as he waved his gun a little, reminding Romeo about it.
Romeo shrugged and placed his hands back on the desk.
“So what now? You going to just stand there and threaten me with that thing?” Romeo said as he watched Tony. “You’re not a cop anymore Gavel. You’re just a rent a cop, nothing more. Go away and leave me be before you get hurt.”
Romeo Cappetta was right, Tony wasn’t a cop anymore but that freed him from some of the constraints that cops had to deal with doing their jobs.
“Stand up and face the wall Romeo.” Tony said as he pointed towards the wall behind Romeo.
“Or what?” Romeo said with a smug look on his face.
Tony took a step towards Romeo and whipped him on the side of the head with Louise. It was a solid hit and knocked the hat right off Romeo’s head. Some blood began to trickle down where his gun cut Romeo’s scalp. Romeo pushed his chair back and lunged towards Tony over the desk. Tony jumped backwards and Romeo slid right over the desk onto the floor in front of Tony. Tony cocked back the hammer of Louise and pushed the gun right into Romeo’s head.
“Give me a reason Romeo. The cops won’t care about another low life piece of shit getting shot.”
“I’m going to kill you Gavel. You know that right.” Romeo said with his face pushed against the wood floor.
Tony rammed his knee into Romeo’s back and dragged his hands behind him. He pulled out two zip ties and restrained Romeo’s hands. Once Tony was done he patted down Romeo. He pulled a 9mm out of a shoulder holster and took Romeo’s phone and wallet out of his pocket along with a pack of cigarettes and one of those fancy golden zippo lighters. Tony slipped the phone, cigarettes and lighter into his jacket pocket and opened up the wallet. Inside was the usual stuff, money, credit cards, a debit card. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“Don’t move Romeo.” Tony said as he got up and went over to the desk.
Tony opened up one of the drawers and found Romeo’s keys. He slipped them into his pocket and continued looking through the drawers. Nothing out of the ordinary could be found. Warehouse invoices, an appointment calender, pens, papers.
“How do you plan on getting out of here?” Romeo asked smugly. “You know my boys are all over the place.”
Tony shrugged as he did a quick search in the computer. It all seemed legit. A typical warehouse inventory with clients names and what they were storing here, shipping schedules, pick up times.
“I’m not worried about it. They won’t take a shot with you standing next to me. I doubt any of your goons are expert marksmen.”
Tony was just about to close up the computer when he noticed Lisa Jackson’s name next to a shipping crate.
“What do we have here? You sure you want to stick with the story of not knowing Lisa Jackson? It seems she has something stored in the warehouse. Let’s go take a look.”
Romeo’s face turned a shade of red and his arms strained against the zip ties. Tony quickly moved back around to Romeo and smacked him in the back of the head again with his gun. Tony reached down and pulled Romeo up by his arms. Romeo resisted at first but decided against it and got up.
“That’s a good lap dog.” Tony said. “Let’s find what Mrs. Jackson was storing here shall we?”
Tony stuck his gun in Romeo’s back and lead him towards the area where Lisa Jackson had her storage crate.
The warehouse was dimly lit and the air smelled like rotten wood and sea water. This particular warehouse was deep in the docks district at the end of Shore Road, right against the water. It had a berth where ships could pull up and get loaded and unloaded as well as docking bays for the trucks that depart on a regular basis. Many of the warehouses that were in this area were owned by various criminal elements that lived in Big City. Cops tended to stay away from the Docks District unless they were called. Prostitution ran rampart through the docks as well as many of the various drug dealers that lived in the city. Someone high up in the police force must have been paid off to have this area ignored, but thats how it has always been since before Tony joined the force.
Tony lead Romeo through the warehouse at a quick pace trying to avoid as many people as possible. It wasn’t too hard considering it was well past midnight and there’s a skeleton crew working tonight. Sooner or later someone would notice the mess in the office and come looking for Romeo, but Tony was hoping they would be long gone by then. After a few minutes of searching Tony was able to find the crate that belonged to Lisa Jackson. Tony pushed Romeo down to the ground in a sitting position and held the gun close to his head.
“Stay still and don’t make a word and you might live through the night.”
“It’s you that might not live through the night Gavel. You’re making a big mistake. Cut me loose and I might forget this happened.”
Tony backhanded Romeo across the face. Romeo spit some blood out of his mouth and glared at Tony.
“Shut up Romeo.”
Tony looked over the crate. It was small compared to some of the other crates around the warehouse. It was sealed tight and Tony had no way of opening the crate unless he found a crowbar somewhere. He didn’t want to chance walking around the warehouse anymore than he had to with Romeo in tow. Frustrated, Tony pulled out his cell phone to call Dwight.
“Shit.” Tony cursed as he looked down at his phone.
Romeo started laughing again. “What’s the matter Gavel, no cell reception? We have it blocked inside the warehouse.”
Tony put the phone in his pocket and looked at the crate again. It was a normal shipping crate, smallish in size. It had a shipping label addressed to herself at the newspaper, The Daily Times. Without a crowbar Tony had no chance of opening the crate. Frustrated he gave up and grabbed Romeo by the back of his shirt and tried to haul him to his feet. Romeo was stubborn at first and refused to budge.
Tony placed the gun to the back of Romeo’s head.
“Nows not the time Romeo.” Tony growled.
Romeo sighed and got to his feet. Tony pushed the gun into Romeos back and they began walking towards the exit. Tony kept careful watch, looking for any workers or some of Romeo’s goons that may be lurking about.
“So why is the Irish mob so interested in running this warehouse Romeo?” Tony asked.
Romeo looked over his shoulder at Tony and gave a shrug. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m a legitimate businessman. I don’t belong to the Irish mob.”
Tony rolled his eyes at Romeo’s statement. After a few minutes of walking Tony jabbed the gun into Romeo’s back.
“Stop” Tony whispered.
The exit to the warehouse was right around the corner. Tony and Romeo were standing in an aisle of shipping crates and roughly twenty feet away was the exit to the warehouse being guarded by two men. The door to the exit was padlocked shut. One of the guards looked to be no older than 18, holding a shotgun. His greased red hair was combed back and he had a cigarette hanging from his mouth. His companion looked much older. Closer to 40, with a shaved head and holding a shotgun as well. Both of them had on overalls with some company logo on the front. The older man had a walkie talkie in his hand and was talking into it.
“The exit is secure. Anyone have eyes on the boss yet?”
Static could be heard coming over the radio before a voice could be made out.
“Negative. We started a search of the warehouse. If he is still in here we will find him. Stay at the exit and keep your eyes open.”
“Roger that.” Baldy said as he scanned the area.
Baldy looked over at the red headed kid and nodded to the left.
“You keep your eyes peeled in that direction and I’ll watch over here. If you see the boss yell.”
The red headed kid began walking to the left scanning the nearby crates looking for anything out of the ordinary, shotgun pointing straight ahead. He walked slowly, dragging his feet along as he poked his head down each aisle. His hands were sweating and his fingers twitching near the trigger of the shotgun.
“Get a hold of yourself” the kid said as he took a deep breath and continued searching the nearby aisles.
Tony dropped back a few yards, with Romeo in tow, and cursed under his breath. Romeo looked Tony up and down and grinned.
“I’ll give you one last chance to get out of here alive. Let me go and I’ll forget you came here tonight.”
For an answer, Tony smacked Romeo in the back of the head with his gun. Romeo glared at Tony but said nothing.
“There’s always a way.” Tony mumbled to himself as he looked around the area. He was in an aisle of crates on either side of him, stacked 20 feet high. They were on metal shelving with wooden pallets underneath the crates so a forklift would have easy access to pick them up. The lighting was dim with large circular overhead lamps spaced every 10 feet. Near the exit where baldy was standing was a fire extinguisher attached to the wall. The padlock made it impossible to leave without the key and Tony had no idea which of the two thugs is carrying it.
“Which way to the loading bays?” Tony asked Romeo.
“Go screw yourself Gavel. I’m not helping you.” Romeo said as he spit on the ground at Tony’s feet.
“I could easily kill you where you stand and my buddies at the station would have no problems with that. One more low life mobster dead.” Tony said while brandishing the gun in Romeo’s face.
Romeo glared at the gun and sighed. Romeo mumbled something but Tony couldn’t make out what he said.
“What did you say?” Tony asked as he leaned in closer to Romeo.
Romeo lashed out with his head at full force smashing into Tony’s face, breaking his nose instantly. Tony stumbled backward as Romeo rushed around the corner towards the exit.
“Over here Mark, around the corner. Get him.”
Baldy turned towards the yelling as he saw his boss rushing at him. He dropped his gun and ran to Romeo trying to help him.
“Forget about me you idiot and get Gavel.” Romeo yelled.
“Who?” baldy asked confused.
Romeo kicked baldy in the ass towards the shotgun.
“Pick up your gun and get Gavel. He is over there.” Romeo nodded his head to where Tony was.
Once Romeo ran around the corner yelling, Tony began stumbling away from the area as quick as he could. He was seeing stars and his nose was leaking out blood, but after a minute he was able to run. He sped down the aisle as fast as he could looking for a place to hide. The crates were tightly packed and there was no room to hide anywhere around the area. Tony turned the first corner and ran back towards Romeo’s office. There had to be another way out he thought as he picked up speed.
Tony heard yelling coming from the exit area and could hear footsteps close by. As Tony turned another corner he saw one of Romeo’s goons holding a shotgun. Luckily for Tony it was another scrawny kid. Tony was just over 6 foot and in excellent shape from a strict regimen of boxing and swimming. As the kid stopped and raised his shotgun, Tony lowered his shoulder and barreled into him at full speed. Tony’s speed and muscle were more than enough to send the kid flying, his shotgun falling to the floor as he crashed into a stack of crates. Tony grabbed the shotgun and started running again. He was close to the office but didn’t want to trap himself inside. As Tony kept running he began to notice the little fire sprinklers up along a water pipe above the crates.
Tony rifled through his pockets and grabbed the zippo lighter and pack of cigarettes. He put Romeo’s phone in his pants pocket, along with the wallet and slipped off his jacket. Tony looped around and made his way back towards the exit. After a few minutes Tony stopped and jammed the cigarette pack under a crate and lit the pack on fire hoping it would catch. Tony rounded another corner and tucked his jacket in between a pallet and crate and lit the jacket on fire with the zippo. Tony watched as the old dried out wood from the pallet caught fire and smoke began to billow out.
Satisfied, Tony ran a few aisles over and made the last few yards to the corner. He looked towards the exit and Romeo was standing there, shotgun in hand watching for any signs of Tony. No other sounds could be heard in the immediate area, the goons probably searching further away. Tony crouched at the corner watching and waiting. After another minute an alarm sounded and the automatic sprinklers went off. Tony could smell the fire burning and a layer of smoke forming over the crates.
Romeo cursed as the water poured down throughout the warehouse. He looked towards where Tony lit the fire and could see the flames raising to the roof of the warehouse. A large stack of the crates had probably went up in flames and was spreading to the nearby crates.
“I’m going to kill you Gavel.” Romeo yelled looking around the area, not moving from his spot. “There’s no way out.”
Just out of the corner of his eye, Romeo caught movement and turned. He saw Tony raising his gun and heard the shot go off. Romeo dodged to the side just as the light bulb shattered overhead covering the area around the exit into darkness. A second later the lights to the left and right of Romeo were shot out as well. Sirens could be heard in the distance as Romeo got to his feet.
As soon as Tony shot out the last two lights he ran full speed to where he saw Romeo dodge to the ground. He had one chance at this and hoped Romeo wouldn’t move. Tony couldn’t see but he heard Romeo getting up right before he smashed into him. Tony held on tight to his shotgun as he heard Romeo’s clatter to the ground. As Tony fell on top of Romeo he smashed down with all his strength to where Romeo’s head should be and heard a crunching sound while Romeo went limp underneath him.
Tony got up and dragged Romeo to where the exit should be and lit the zippo. Tony could see the exit door and padlock. Tony backed up about 10 feet and aimed the shotgun at the padlock and pulled the trigger. A deafening roar sounded and the padlock shattered into pieces as the buckshot hit it. Some pellets ricocheted and hit Tony in the chest and arms. Cursing Tony grabbed Romeo and dragged him outside as the first lights of the firetrucks could be seen in the distance.
Arthur Freely knocked on the back door of the Pot’o Gold and waited. As he looked around the alley his hands automatically reached for his hair and brushed through them. He began biting on his lower lip while waiting for someone to answer the door. A few seconds later a little window slid open and a pair of blue eyes stared at him. Arthur wiped the sweat from his brow and said “Turnstile”. The pair of eyes looked him over and the window shut. A second later the door opened and a large man stood blocking the entrance to the back room of the Pot’o Gold. The man was close to 6’3 and must’ve weighed close to 300 pounds. He was dressed in a black suit and Arthur could see a 9mm pistol hanging from a shoulder holster under his armpit. He had a jagged scar going down his left cheek. The man scowled as he looked Arthur over.
“Mr. McCully ain’t going to be happy to see you Arthur.” The man said.
Arthur gulped and resisted the urge to flee back out into the street and away from this place. He held up a brown paper bag and shook it.
“It’s all here just like I promised.” Arthur said.
The man grabbed the bag out of Arthur’s hand before he had a chance to put it away. Arthur tried to take it, but the man shoved Arthur in the chest knocking him down to the ground and opened the bag. Inside, the bag was filled with 20 and 50 dollar bills. It had to be close to $3,000. The man looked through the bag before closing it and slipped it inside his suit jacket. The man looked down at Arthur.
“Wait here. Don’t go anywhere.”
The man closed the door. Arthur got up and wiped off his pants. He ran his hands through his hair and looked around the alley once more. No one could be seen in either direction but Arthur was still nervous. This was a bad part of town to be standing in a dark alley in the middle of the night. Especially what was going on the other side of the door. It felt like an eternity before the door opened but in reality it was only a few minutes.
“The boss says you can come in. He wants to see you.”
The man patted down Arthur looking for any weapons, satisfied that Arthur was clean he lead the way into the Pot’o Gold.
The back room of the Pot’o Gold was usually cluttered with boxes of cheap whiskey and cases of imported ale’s and other various items that a bar needs to run on a daily basis. Tonight was a different story. Friday night the Pot’o Gold was home to Keith McCully’s poker night. Keith McCully was the head of the Irish mob and every Friday he invited various people that he did business with to participate. He also invited people that he owed favors too or people that he was trying to get into his organization. A few others made the cut as well, people that might have owed McCully money or others that McCully knew would be a sure bet at losing. Keith McCully was in the business to make money and his poker games were no exception.
There were seven tables set up around the room. Some of the were full while others just had a few people sitting at them. Most of the people sitting at the tables were dressed in expensive suits. Arthur recognized a few of the people playing poker. At one table he saw James Hahn, head of The Black Lotus, a local Asian street gang that specialized in opium and cocaine sales. It’s been rumored that McCully is looking to get into the opium business with Hahn.
Sitting to Hahn’s right was another street gang leader by the name of Mark Sanches. His gang, The Warlords, are in the market of selling military grade weapons and other various armaments. The sold to everyone and didn’t discriminate. They were neutral and everyone respected them and feared them. In the last eight years not one group tried to move in on the weapons trade since Sanches took over. He is a ruthless killer and will do anything to protect his investments. The third person at the table Arthur didn’t recognize. She was a stunning looking woman, dressed in a long sleeveless jade colored gown. Her jet black hair was shoulder length and she had piercing emerald colored eyes. She looked like a wolf among sheep and Arthur guessed she was a dangerous person.
A few of the other tables had people that were in McCully’s crew drinking ale and playing seven card stud. They were laughing and having a good time ignoring the other tables around them. Bits and pieces of the conversation could be heard of some of their most recent exploits. There were 9 people in all and most likely they were all packing heat to make sure things did not get out of hand. One of the last tables in the corner had a mixed group of people. They were not as well dressed as the others but the money on the table proved they had income to spare. From the looks of them, they were probably informants, and riff raff trying to make an impression to get into McCully’s gang.
There were a few scantly clad women working the room carrying trays of alcohol and other stronger beverages. They would stop at tables and drop off the drinks and get orders from the various people in the room. Some carried food to the tables while others would just stand and watch at certain tables waiting for any orders that they players would give. Arthur knew some to be call girls, high end ones at that. They all worked for Keith McCully. Arthur was sure they would give more than just food and drinks if asked.
The big man made his way to a door in the back of the room and knocked on it. After a moment he opened the door and pushed Arthur inside.
“Here he is boss. He’s clean.”
Keith McCully was sitting behind a large oaken desk wearing a midnight black three piece suit, with a neatly pressed white silk shirt and red tie. He was a handsome man in his early forties, his dark brown hair had streaks of silver running through it. He was sporting a goatee. He had the build of a construction worker. When he stood up you noticed his short stature. If he was lucky, he was pushing close to 5’6”. Not one person ever mentioned his height though. The man carried himself like he was over ten feet tall. He oozed power and confidence. When you looked into his black eyes you knew he’s a dangerous man not to cross.
Keith McCully gestured to the seat in front of his desk. A smile ran across his lips that did not reflect in his eyes.
“Have a seat Arthur.” McCully said as he finished signing his name on some paperwork that was in front of him.
Arthur sat down and waited for McCully to finish. Arthur ran his fingers through his hair and began biting on his lower lip. He did that when he was nervous. Maybe coming to see McCully wasn’t a good idea Arthur thought as he watched the man.
The door closed behind Arthur and he sneaked a quick peek behind him. The man was gone and Arthur was left alone in the room with McCully. Arthur turned back towards McCully and noticed him staring at Arthur. He didn’t look happy.
“You’re late with your payment Arthur.” McCully said in a low tone. His hand resting on a hammer that was sitting on the desk.
Arthur swallowed and took a deep breath before answering.
“I’m sorry Mr. McCully. I had some problems gathering the money but I promise it is all there like I said it would be.”
McCully dumped the bag of money on the table and began counting it. He sorted the money and counted it quickly. After a few minutes he looked at the stack in front of him and shook his head.
“It seems it is short Arthur.” He said as his hand griped the hammer tighter.
Arthur began sweating and wiped his forehead with his sleeve.
“There’s $3,000 dollars there like our arrangement.” Arthur whispered.
Keith McCully looked over the pile one more time before answering.
“$3,000 was the price when you were supposed to pay me two weeks ago. You’re now two weeks late. There is interest to be paid Arthur. You still owe me $1,000 more.”
Arthur looked around the room trying to find the nearest exit. He was sure the door was blocked on the other side by the bouncer. There was no other exit in the room. He was trapped with one of the most ruthless people he knew and he owed him money. Arthur began rubbing his hands together.
“Well Arthur? You were told about the interest if you didn’t get my money back to me in time weren’t you? You didn’t think I was running a charity did you?” McCully asked.
Arthur gulped as he shook his head.
“No one told me about Interest Mr. McCully. I swear. I know you’re not running a charity. I really needed the money Mr. McCully.”
McCully stared at Arthur for a few minutes not saying anything. Arthur began sweating more and couldn’t help but wipe his forehead with the sleeve of his jacket to get the moisture off his face and out of his eyes. Arthur wasn’t sure if he was going to get out of here alive and started getting jumpy. His legs began to shake as did his hands.
“It’s not my problem that you’re a degenerate gambler Arthur. Maybe if you weren’t high all the time and actually cleaned yourself up, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
“Please Mr. McCully. I swear. No one told me about the interest, otherwise I would’ve brought that as well. Please don’t kill me. I can get you the money. I can have it here in a few hours.” Arthur whimpered as tears rolled down his cheeks.
McCully eyed Arthur one more time and nodded as he released the hammer. McCully stood up and walked around the table. Arthur flinched as McCully placed his hand on Arthur’s shoulder.
“I believe you Arthur.” McCully said. “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll have one of my guys drive you home to get the money. If you bring it back to me than we won’t have a problem and I will consider your debt paid in full.”
McCully walked back around the table and opened up one of the drawers and pulled out an apple and placed it on the desk. He picked up the hammer and stared at Arthur.
“If for some reason you can’t get me the money like you promised.”
McCully slammed the hammer down onto the apple making it exploded. Apple pieces and juices sprayed all over the desk and Arthur driving the point home.
Arthur wiped the apple chunks off his face and swallowed.
“I promise Mr. McCully. I won’t let you down. I can have it for you real soon.”
McCully put the hammer down amid the apple chunks. He pressed the button on the intercom and spoke.
“Send Stitch in here please.”
A few moments later there was a knock on the door and then a man walked into the office. Arthur turned to look at the man. He was about the same height as Arthur and had shoulder length unkempt red hair. He was dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt with black combat boots. Both of his eyes were black and he had a busted nose that hung off center. He had three scars on his face. Two were along his right cheek that went from ear to jaw. They still looked fresh and had recently been stitched up. The last was on his forehead going from one side of his head to the other. The man smiled at McCully and Arthur noticed he was missing some teeth along the bottom of his mouth.
“What’s up boss?” Stitch said in a heavy Irish accent.
McCully smiled at Stitch and nodded towards Arthur.
“I need you to drive Mr. Freely to his house to pick something up for me. Make sure he gets it and bring him right back.”
Stitch looked at the smashed apple on the desk and then gave Arthur an evil looking smile.
“No problem boss. How long does he have to pick up this item?”
McCully looked at Arthur for a moment.
“I’ll give him two hours. That should be more than enough time. Don’t you agree Arthur?”
“Very well.You have two hours Mr. Freely. Don’t waste it. Thank you Stitch.”
Stitch walked over to Arthur and grabbed his shoulder and yanked him up to his feet. Stitch was a lot stronger then he looked.
“Let’s go buddy. Times a wasting.”
Arthur looked back at the apple on the desk one last time as he let Stitch lead him out of the office.
Stitch lead Arthur to the parking lot of the Pot’o Gold pub. It was filled with some very high end cars as well as what you would expect from low to middle class people. Stitch walked up to a beat up black pick up truck. In the bed of the truck Arthur could see various landscaping equipment. A chainsaw and a sawzall were sticking out from under a large blue plastic tarp along with a shovel and other various things. Arthur wasn’t sure if Stitch was a landscaper or if he used this truck to dispose of bodies that Mr. McCully didn’t want found.
Arthur reluctantly got into the cab of the truck next to Stitch and sighed. Hanging from the rear view mirror was a small leprechaun holding his hands out into fists, looking like he was ready to get into a fight. There were various fast food containers littering the floor and a big map folded up on the seat between them. Stitch started up the truck and looked over at Arthur.
“For your sake I hope you have the money.” Stitch said. “By the looks of it though it doesn’t look like this will end well for you Mr. Freely. Where to?”
Arthur knew he was in big trouble. It took him weeks to scrounge up the $3,000 that he owed. He didn’t have any other money in his apartment that he knew of. He had to come up with something or he thought this might be his last day on earth.
“The Yards.” Arthur mumbled.
Stitch looked at Arthur one more time and shook his head.
The Yards were a beat up part of Big City. It was located near the old railway system that Big City used to use to import and export most of their goods. It used to be a thriving community when the rail system was in full swing. Homes sprung up around the yards at a fast rate and many of the workers lived there. When Big City built up the port and became a major seafaring city the railway system and the Yards became a thing of the past. Many people lost their jobs and the rail system began breaking down. Broken down trains and large sections of broken tracks were seen around the main hub. The rail system hasn’t been used in years and now lies in shambles. Most of the workers that lost their jobs moved away and the area became home to a lot of hoodlums and gangs.
The houses were mostly broken down and graffiti marked most of the buildings around the hub. Most of the denizens of the hub were homeless and lived around the central hub. They built a little community out of make shift tents. Fires were always going in metal barrels littered around the hub.
The few houses that were left standing housed the last few rail workers that stayed. Old Timers they were called. No one really bothered them and they knew to keep their mouths shut at what they saw happening around them. The gangs ran the area and did a lot of their business in the hub. The cops never came into The Yards anymore unless they were specifically called in. The whole area reeked of poverty and despair.
The drive to the Yards had taken close to forty minutes. Arthur sat in silence during the whole ride and Stitch left him to his thoughts. When the Yards came into view Arthur began fidgeting. He was still unsure what he was going to do. He knew that Stitch would kill him if he didn’t get what McCully wanted. He probably took this truck so he could get rid of the body once it was all done. Arthur had to come up with a plan quick.
“Where to Mr. Freely?” Stitch asked as he pulled into the Yards.
Arthur lived in a small one story house that looked like it was about to collapse. It was in shambles. The yard had overgrown with weeds and the roof was missing tiles. The walls had mold and vines growing along it. There was a small metal fence that wrapped around the yard. Stitch pulled up in the driveway and shut off the car. He reached over and grabbed a small handgun out of the glove box. Arthur frowned and looked at Stitch.
“Is that really necessary?” Arthur asked as he got out of the car.
Stitch looked around the area as he slipped the gun into his pants behind his back. “One can never be to careful in this neighborhood Mr. Freely.” Stitch said with a smile. “Better hurry up. Times almost up.”
Arthur lead the way inside. As he entered his house, he flipped on the light switch. The inside of the house was just as bad as the outside. There was garbage strewn all around the place. Stacks of newspapers were piled everywhere the eye could see. Pizza boxes and soda cans littered the floor. There was a small TV sitting on a milk crate in the middle of the room in front of a yellow colored couch that was missing it’s legs. The place had a damp mildew odor about it.
Stitch looked around the room with disgust. “You live in this dump?”
Arthur ignored him and went into his bedroom and flipped on the light. Stitch followed close behind. The bedroom consisted of a box spring laying on the floor and a small end table with an alarm clock on it. There was a small wooden dresser in one end of the room and clothes covering the bed and floor. There was a closet along the wall that was missing the doors. A few beat up looking jackets were hanging in the closet.
Arthur went straight to the closet and began going through the pockets of the jackets. Stitch looked around the room for a moment before settling his eyes on Arthur. He pulled out the gun and held it by his side. Arthur rifled through all the jackets and found a few crumbled up dollars and some change and slipped them in his pockets before going to the dresser. He went through the clothes in there as well as the clothes about the room. After a few minutes he had about $7.43 in total.
Next Arthur went into the living room and began rummaging around the place looking for any money he may have hidden. Stitch was getting impatient as he noticed Arthur’s lack of success.
“Mr. Freely, we both know you’re wasting my time and yours. You have no money in this dump. Let’s just face the facts and go back and see Mr. McCully.”
Arthur turned to look at Stitch and noticed the gun for the first time in his hands. Arthur took a deep breath before speaking.
“He gave me two hours and I will use them. I know I have money here somewhere. I just have to find it. Give me a break will you.”
Stitch shrugged his shoulders and looked at his watch. He checked out his gun and took off the safety before settling on Arthur again. Arthur was now on his knees digging under the couch cushions and trying to reach under the broken couch. He found a few more bills that he quickly put into his pocket before continuing on. It took Arthur about ten minutes in total to check the whole living room before he headed into the kitchen. Stitch stayed close behind looking at his watch every few minutes and shaking his head.
The kitchen was the cleanest place in the whole house. Everything was put away in it’s proper place and the counters and appliances were clean. Stitch walked passed Arthur and opened up the fridge and took out a cold beer. He sat down at the small table and put his gun down as he popped open the beer and took a swig. Arthur looked at Stitch with disgust but hurried towards the pantry. He opened it up and took out a few coffee cans. Inside one of the cans was a small stack of money. It was rolled up and rubber banded. It consisted of mostly tens and fives with a few twenties sprinkled in. Arthur smiled as he slipped the money roll into his pocket. Stitch noticed the roll and gave Arthur that evil smile.
“You might get out of this yet.”
Arthur looked over at Stitch as he sat at the table drinking his beer. Stitch was ignoring him now and looking at his watch every now and then as he looked around the room.
“Why is your kitchen spotless, but the rest of your house a dump Arthur?” Stitch asked him absentmindedly.
Arthur began taking out some pots and pans and found another small roll of cash hidden inside one of the pasta pots. He slipped that into his pocket and snuck a peek at Stitch. Stitch was ignoring him now and had a phone in his hand. It was one of those new smart phones and Stitch was busy doing something on it. Arthur grabbed the biggest pot he had and smashed it down on Stitch’s head. With a loud thump Stitch’s head slumped forward and hit the table. Arthur hit him again as Stitch fell to the floor. Arthur kicked him once in the stomach but Stitch made no sounds. Arthur stomped on Stitch’s cell phone and shattered it before grabbing the gun off the table. Arthur rifled through Stitch’s pockets and found the keys to the truck. Looking down at Stitch’s body one last time, Arthur wiped the sweat from his brows and ran out of the house.