The Complete Tales presents: Tales of a Lifetime Episode 1
Rumblings in the Bowels of a City
When I was a kid, this city didn’t have a name. That’s because no-one talked about it. At the time, there was a saying: To open your mouth is to invite a face full of pie. We were raised with the knowledge that we hadn’t seen nothing, we hadn’t heard nothing, and we sure as hell weren’t gonna say nothing more consequential than what the weather was doing.
Ten years ago, you didn’t talk about traffic, because the Family owned the roads, and you didn’t insult the Family. You didn’t talk about celebrities, because the only names you knew were those of the Families. You didn’t talk about the ball game, because every Family had their team, and to back one over another was to court disaster. And you sure as hell didn’t talk about politics. What was there to talk about?
That all changed about ten years ago, now, when the Man rode in through the city gates one day in a big white Cadillac. Said he’d been sent from the chiefs to clean up this town. Declared war on the families, shot old Bobbie Fiorelli dead when the fool pulled iron on him. Didn’t take long for the Families to declare war right back at him, but the Man came powerful and just got stronger. We didn’t think he’d last a month. He’s lasted over a decade, and he’s still going strong.
This city ain’t clean, but it’s getting cleaner. The Man did two things when he came to our city. First thing, he gave us freedom of speech. Most of the old people still won’t look you in the eye, much less tell you what they think of Georgio Pirello, but some of us younger men made ourselves a newspaper, to tell the truth with. We started it when I was 15, and I’m 23 now, so that must be eight years gone, and if there’s ten people in the city who don’t read it then I’ll be amazed, even if most people are afraid to be seen buying it or reading it in public.
Second thing the Man did, was give us a name. Ocean’s Peak, we are now, and that’s all very well, but old habits die hard. For me, this’ll always be the City, a city without name.
A newspaper clipping, Febuary 28th, 1928, taken from police files:
OCEANS PEAK TRIBUNE
MAN DINES WITH PIRELLI AND FIORELLI PATRIARCHS
Can an agreement be reached?
By LANCE CAPRI
Yesterday, the Man, Ocean Peak’s political leader, was seen dining in an up-town restaurant with Oliver Pirelli and Mario Fiorelli, the heads of the city’s largest and most active criminal families.
The unlikely party was seen dining at Estoban, the restaurant owned by Louis Fiorelli, the disowned member of the Fiorelli clan who later married a Piorelli daughter. Although the family outcasts have not been seen in the city for many years – probably on pain of death – their business interests in the city are maintained and kept neutral by a personal friend.
Speculation has been rife about what the Man would have to say to these mob leaders, and what they would have to say – together – to him. The pair have had a long running dispute over…
Yeah, I got lucky with that. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, with my camera. That was about a month ago, and I’ve been the toast of the office ever since.
Surprisingly, though, neither the Man nor the families have even attempted to pay me a visit, which makes me suspect that something even bigger’s going on. Come to think of it, the Man was at the opening of the Barbican arts centre on Monday, but Oli Pirelli and Mario Fiorelli have both been quiet since that photo hit. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen them about at all, which is strange… they’re usually about, and I don’t know what to make of their being quiet all of a sudden. They’re powerful men, and powerful men have a lot to be loud about.
Still, I’m sure they’ll turn up. Men like that don’t get misplaced for long.