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Episode 2: A Declaration of Principles


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#1 Godfather

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 07:17 PM

The Complete Tales presents: Tales of a Lifetime Episode 2
or
A Declaration of Principles



We'd all grown older and some of us upwards at the same time. The city was changing just as the world it was in was changing. People had come and gone, though sometimes their legacy remained like a stain. I myself had moved on. I was chief reporter at the Inquirer, had been for three years, and I got to report on all the top stories. Like when the Man stood for re-election as Mayor in '38. He'd been re-elected in '33 by a landslide but with the changing world and a changing country it wasn't guaranteed this time. In '38 though all bets were off and what bets were on, were The Man.

THE OCEANS PEAK INQUIRER
June12th, 1938
THE MAN, THE MAYOR
"I will get tough on Organised Crime



By Lance Capri

The Mayor today promised, that if re-elected he would get tough on Organised Crime. Speaking today outside the Town Hall he said "Organised Crime is a blight on our city, like a scab on this great countries knee. They steal from everyone, rich or poor and give to just themselves. The sooner that we pick the scab and bleed it clean, the sooner we can reclaim this land for the people. I got tough on Organised Crime once before and I'll do it again."

The Mayor, known to many as The Man, said he would reveal yet more policies at his speech, in Ocean's Park later today.


This mornings paper. I had a feeling about this day. It wasn't just that it was the hottest day in the hottest summer since records began but I had a feeling that things would boil over. I licked my pencil, put my pad in my pocket and set off to the speech.

#2 Serpico Pirello

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 07:19 PM

0745

Serpico adjusted his collar. It was pinching him and with the heat, even this early, he felt uncomfortable. He looked in the mirror and messed with his hair a bit. A voice called up to him.

"Serpico! You're going to be late! Do you want some breakfast?"
"No thanks! I don't think I could keep it down," he called back, picking up his cap off the bed, a tattered, oft darned cushion next to it. He headed downstairs.

A woman in an apron came out an looked at him. She smiled.

"You look a picture. I wish I could see you in your new uniform,"
"I'm sure you will at some point, Mrs Pirbright,"

He couldn't bring himself to call her Susan, let alone mum.

"If only Mr Pirbright were here to see you, he be so proud." She beamed at him, before kissing him on the cheek.
"I'll be home around 6pm," he said in the doorway. Serpico smiled back at her before closing the door and heading off to the precinct for his first day of work.

#3 Jachap

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 09:59 PM

The van ground to a halt.  The driver glanced around.  Fields stretched away for miles all around.  Leave Ocean's Peak and you really were in the back of beyond.  Wide blue skies replaced the towering monoliths of steel and concrete and glass in the centre of the city, hedges and trees clustered around instead of slums and dirty back alleys.

There must have been a storm.  A tree had fallen across the road, an aged, hulk of pine.  The driver squeezed the bridge of his nose.  He didn't need this.  Not today.  He just wanted to get home, it was his nephew's bar mitzah.  He opened the door and slid out onto the road, deciding to examine the tree, see if he could set up a tow line and drag it clear.

He looked back for a moment.  There were no cars.  No-one.  The goddamn back of the beyond.  He turned back to the tree and flinched back when he saw the gun barrel, levelled at his face.

"Stay there.  Don't move."  The man standing in front of him had a red scarf pulled up to his nose, a hat rammed down on his head, shadowing his eyes and a long black coat, flapping in the breeze.  The automatic drew the driver's attention most, though.  A shiny, well oiled piece, glinting.  

More men were visible now, similarly dressed, crossing to the van to remove the contents.  Booze.  Lots of it.  A van pulled up, reversing out of a distant field and reversing up.  They moved the drates and kegs across and the van drove off again, hurtling out of sight in a blur of cloud.

There were only two left now.  The man pointing a gun at him and another.

"Hey, Vinny, let's go," said the man standing off, to one side, on the verge.  "Vinny!  Come on!  Leave him.  Let's go!"

The man with the gun uncocked it, stepped back.

The driver turned to the other man who nodded, "Go on, get out of here."

The driver made his way back to the cab of his van.  Perhaps he would get home, after all.  There would be hell to pay at work, but family was more important.  In the long run, he could always get another job.  If he could find one.

He heard the gun cock again.

Swivelling he yelled, "No ple-"

The man shot him in the heart.

"What in God's name-" began the man standing on the verge,
"You shouldn't have used my name, Johnny."
"He wouldn't have told-"
"You shouldn't have used my real name.  Don't do it again."
"Okay, Vinny, okay."


The two men walked away.  Gun smoke wafted in the breeze.

#4 NoWave

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 11:00 PM

One last job.

If he heard Johnny Dark say the words "One last job" once more then he was going to tell him where he could stuff his help.  He had been working to earn Dark's help for 11 years now.

If Dark didn't help him this time, well...

Walking around town, his mind drifted onto other things.  That man Vincent for one.  He seemed skilled.  Crazy, but there was noone in this business who wasn't.

If he couldn't get Dark's help directly, he would see if he could at least get Vincent's help.  Anyway, he knew some very dark things about Johnny Dark.  Like who had actually killed Vincent's parents.

#5 Janek

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 08:00 AM

Over the last 10 years, J had grown up. A lot. So much so, that he earned the prefix "Big."

Under Fung's guidance, he'd mostly learned to control the bouts of anger he sometimes had as a young boy. Sadly, he was something of a loner, and still suffered from loss of temper if provoked enough. Fung put this down to the mental trauma he'd suffered as a result of his parents' murder. No doubt he'd overcome it in time - it'd just need one major defining event to change his view on life.

Still, Big J had made good progress in the last few years, and had expressed an interest in one day travelling to Asia with Fung - he'd learnt a lot about the culture, and respected it greatly. Of course, it was unlikely they'd get there anytime soon, what with the newspapers speaking of Japan's war on China. And there was that other reason...

---

Big J walked in to find Fung sat at his candle-lit desk, eyes closed. An assortment of financial documents was in front of him.

He recognised that Fung was doing one of the meditative exercises that he'd taught J, to overcome stress.

"What's wrong?"

Fung opened his eyes, looked at the young man. "Nothing.. nothing. Just sorting out the finances."

"What is it? I thought the teahouse was doing well? We shouldn't have any problems, surely."

The old man sighed. "There's a lot of.. financial commitments. We'll be fine, J. We'll be fine."

Big J didn't look convinced, but decided to leave it to Fung's judgement.

"I'm going out, do you need anything?"

"No, thank you."

Big J left the office at the back of the teahouse (which was closed today), and went outside. He spotted two men with red dragons on their jackets, giving him a dirty look. He thought nothing of it, and walked on past.
Ah! Harvard University! The special jail where people with too much math are imprisoned forever and forced to teach each other about poems.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#6 Tichinde

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 11:30 AM

"I'm getting too old for this" muttered Walker as he removed his bloodied gloves. Five years ago a punk like that wouldn't have lasted two minutes.

He watched the body bag sink into the lake, the lead weights pulling it down.

Walker made a mental note to ask The Man for some time off to re-attain his physical peak. He'd likely say yes. The Man liked Walker. "A true asset" he had been called. Yet still  he was only "The Man". You couldn't buy The Mans trust with gold bars.

As he walked back towards his apartment (a beautifully furnished, modest place. A gift from the man), Walker reminisced.

He'd been searching for jobs for two weeks. He'd had some odd offers of work from shady characters in bars but he had turned them down. He had finished his soda and left. Suddenly there were bright lights, a screech of tires. Walker dived and rolled. Running feet! Walker got to his feet in time to see there were three of them. Plus at least one in the car. The three didn't last long. Two of them lay dead in the street. The third limped away.

Walker turned. The driver had gotten out of the car. His hand was bandaged. That face....it was the mugger. He got back in the car and fled. Someone clicked their fingers. Walker spun round. A man and what were presumably his goons, their faces shaded by the street lamp behind them. "That was very impressive. I believe you are looking for work."
"Yes I am."
"I have many opportunites for a man of your obvious talents." The man clicked his fingers. A goon walked forward. Walker tensed himself, saw a flash of gun metal as the goon walked past a lit window. Five of them plus the boss. Four guns, all likely pointing straight at me. Shit. The goon held out a card. "You should call me." The man and the goons walked away.

During the following week, Walker couldn't get any work at all. Not even as a delivery man.


He'd had no choice, he called the number on the card. Strings had clearly been pulled, The Man always got what he wanted. And now he was here. "Dealing" with "Annoyances".

Walker let himself into his apartment and changed into clean clothes. He checked himself in a mirror and set off to report to The Man.
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#7 Ednos

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 04:42 PM

Another knife fizzed through the air and embedded itself in the wall, Ednos stood up , he was bored. Tommy had said they needed to lay low after the last man they beat up but Ednos didn't see why, it was only one guy and they hadn't got him too bad, he got off luckily compared to some others. But Tommy had insisted, saying something about not wanting to tread on the wrong peoples toes and Ednos always obeyed Tommy's orders so he was doing as Tommy said, not going out, not doing anything, he was sick of it. Tommy had gone out to "Take care of some business" so Ednos decided since Tommy could go out there was nothing stopping him, he moved to go to the door but as he did so it burst open and Tommy fell over the threshold, a stream of blood flowing from his chest

#8 Tony

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 07:54 PM

The stack of paperwork on Jake's desk seemed to be getting larger by the minute.  A soft thump identified yet more had landed on his desk but Jake was too preoccupied to work out who'd set it there - he couldn't get this damn gum off the bottom of his shoe.  Looking up with a sigh, Jake abandoned his battle with the yellow-grey substance and went back to reading the report on yet another murder.

"I swear, this place is going to hell in a hand-basket", Jake murmered to himself.  The sudden clatter of his phone ringing jolted the concentrated scowl off his face.  Reaching forward he whipped the handset off its cradle and pressed it to his ear, laconically intoning, "Detective Jake O'Malley, what can I do fer yer".

"Hey Detective O'Malley, what you can do for me is try and get home on time tonight."  Victoria's quiet authority cut through the stream of information his mind was sieveing.  He hadn't been home on time in two weeks.  Victoria was beginning to find real success as a lawyer and they'd not had chance to celebrate.  Damn, he'd better make an effort tonight.

"Hey baby.  I'll be there, count on it.  Listen hun, I can't talk, I'm snowed under.  I'll see you tonight, okay?  Love you."  She echoed his sentiment as he reached across and replaced the handset.  As he leant back in his chair to continue reading the report of what was certainly another gang hit, Detective Lieutenant Jed Lane shouldered his way through his office door, slamming it into the partition wall next to it.  With a grin, Jake looked up from his report, "What's up Jed?".

#9 Konstantine

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 08:59 AM

The body was found at 8.00am by an old lady, doing whatever old ladies do at the time. Suspended in the alley, arms outstretched and reaching up as if to try and embrace the heavens, the heavy-set thug was obviously dead. It looked as if he had been gutted. Surpringly enough, the woman screamed.

In ten minutes, the first policemen arrived - a young man whose face looked like a junior member of that Fiorellis clan, if it had been given, say, ten years to mature.

"Detective Conner?" The young man looked up as his runner quivered as much as voice quavered.

"Pass a message to Lieutenant Lane - he'll know what to do"

The runner ran, and 'Conner' looked on the body with a faint smile. He had tried to sever the links from the past, he hadn't even contacted his family. Looking at the face of the thug in a tableu of pleading for mercy from the sky, it seemed that this thread was well and truly cut.

Another reminder from the past discarded. He waited for the police backup that would no doubt turn up shortly. This was one of the Man's men, this would go right to the top - no-one who did this carelessly would survive for long. The search would be fruitless of course, because 'Conner' was careful.

#10 Dystopian Rhetoric

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 11:47 AM

"That was, without a doubt, the most boring trial I have ever seen," yawned Alex as he walked down the steps leading up to the City's largest courthouse.

"It was fairly dire," came the response from his comrade in tedium, "remind me never to practise any sort of law that involves planning regulations, I don't think I could take the boredom, I'd probably explode after a couple of weeks."

Alex nodded. These past weeks had been some of the best and worst of his life by degree, college seemed to agree with him, he seemed to be making a genuine connection with people for the first time in his life, he'd never really fit in back in the Russian Quarter. They settled on a bench, and he turned his head towards her and smiled. Yes, this was definitely the happiest he had ever been.

But then... it would all be over soon by the looks of things, there was after all, one thing about university life that had not agreed with him. His eyes drifted from his companion's face to his own feet, clad in cheap, worn boots, all he had been able to afford. His parents had provided as much as they could and his part time job covered a few expenses, but unless he came into a sudden windfall soon there would be no way he would be able to continue to pay the school fees.

He felt her lean in towards him, and put her arms around him. He suspected that she knew the reason for his sudden bouts of sullen behaviour, but then he also knew that she would never admit to it. He returned the embrace as he drifted further and further into melancholy.

#11 Serpico Pirello

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 05:33 PM

Serpico breezed into the Station a few minutes early. It was still quiet and he didn't have to wait at the main desk before being seen.

"Serpico Pirbright, reporting for duty," he said to the Sergeant
"Ah. Right. I better call Detective O'Malley."
"Detective? I'm uniform," said Serpcio confused.
"I know, I know, but you're with O'Malley today. He needs a Blue with him for the rally."
"Rally?" asked Serpico but the Sergeant had already picked up the phone.

O'Malley's Desk

O'Malley was looking at the photograph Jed had shown him of the body.

"I'm off there shortly. They got this film round to me,"
"Looks like Mob work to me," said O'Malley.

The phone started ringing.

Jed picked up the photo and put it into the folder. He smiled and waved to Jake, who waved back as he reached for the phone.

"Detective Jake O'Malley, what can I do fer yer?"
"I've got a Serpico Pirbright here"
"That the rookie I'm getting for the rally? You better send him up."

#12 Konstantine

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 05:52 PM

Konstance arrived a few minutes later - there had been no point staying any longer, they had wanted to cut the body down and there was nothing more that could be done.

A brief amount of time passed, enough for the young detective to grab a coffee, a pastry and the night's reports. How depressing - a few marches and demonstrations against The Man's election campaign, all put down with the standard full-force that had been ordered. You would have thought that someone with some brains would have organised such things.

As he was reading the folder, a thin envelope fell out. It was addressed to him. Perhaps that does not convey the importance of it, it was addressed to him. Konstance Fiorellis. No-one was supposed to know he was alive. There was a shout from down the hall, which snapped him out of his paranoid fears and into the here and now.

#13 Masked Dave

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 10:39 PM

Tony sat in the anteroom to The Man's office, idly tapping his hands on his knees. The Man's secretary looked over the top of her glasses at him. He stopped tapping.

After a couple more seconds of silence he spoke, "You sure he knows I'm out here?"

"Yes," hissed the secretary, not looking up from her paperwork. "You've not even been here fifteen minutes yet."

"Sorry," Tony muttered.

The door to The Man's office opened up and Tony jumped to his feet expectantly,

"Ah, Mr. Miller. So good of you to drop by at such short notice, please come in."

That was the way of The Man, mused Tony, all smiles and politeness, if you met him on the street you'd probably never know the power he weilded, and not just as Mayor.

Tony followed him into his office and shut the door behind him. The office was, as always, implecably tidy. Not a thing out of place and not a speck of dust anywhere, the man kept his office as he kept his life, his hair short and tidy, his white suit spotless, his face scrubbed and clean shaven. The Man took a seat behind his large desk, upon which everything was organised in straight lines and nothing without purpose. He arched his fingers and stared at Tony as he sat down, it was all buisness now, this was the side of The Man that the public didn't see, and they should be grateful for that.

"I have a little buisness opportunity for you," he said, his accent giving him no particular origin, "are you aware of the current difficulties in China Town?"

That was another thing with The Man, he used words like 'difficulties' instead of calling them what they actually were. He'd never order you to kill a man, but he'd tell you that 'there was someone I'd like you too meet' or that a new 'client' had come to his attention.

"You mean the turf war between the Red Dragons and the Purple Hand?" replied Tony, who did call things what they were, "Yeah, I've heard some stuff."

"Yes, well, the leader of the Red Dragons is a particular friend of mine and he knows somebody I think you'd like to meet."
"It's amazing how deep we had to drill to find our key difference,
but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate."- Lu

#14 Konstantine

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 08:11 AM

The problem had been a broken coffee machine, eliciting the shouts of a group of angry policemen with caffeine dependancy issues. He closed his office door, sat down and opened the letter. It was a single, almost blank sheet of paper with just one line.

There will be an attempt on his life tonight

That was it, no signature, no explanation, no details. Konstance's fingers thumped on his desk; what to do...

On the one hand, this could seem to be a godsend, a way to get rid of the man responsible for the past. But to remove the leader at the moment would do no good, there were so many parties that would spring up and vie for power it would be like leaping out of a frying pan into another, identical frying pan.

Instead, what the city needed was another party of power, another contendor in the power struggle. He stroked his chin and imagined applauding crowds and cheers. And he was lost in ambition - something continued for a time, but what it was and what it did was not entirely human.

The paper was scrunched up, burned and eaten: unless an anally-retentive spy pieced his stool samples together in a vein effort to know what he'd eaten, there would be no trace of his tipoff. He decided that the best course of action was to keep the man alive, for the time being. He decided to assign himself to the security arrangements - the best way to make sure the man remained safe. For the moment.

#15 Tony

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 09:54 AM

"Detective O'Malley?"  Serpico stood nervously in the doorway to Jake's office, looking every bit his 18 years.

"Hey there kiddo, take a seat for a minute while I get myself sorted out." Jake gestured towards the empty wooden chair planted square in front if his paper-strewn desk.  "Name's Detective Jake O'Malley but you can call me Jake."  Jake offered a hand as he stood up, which Serpico grasped and shook firmly before sliding into the proferred chair.

Crossing the office quickly, Jake wrapped his gun holster round his shoulders,  tightened the clasp and threw his leather jacket on - a birthday gift from Victoria.  "Where you from, kid?"

"Right here, Oceans Peak."  Nodding as he adjusted his gun holster and slid an extra magazine onto the clip on his belt-loop, Jake stopped and looked up at Serpico.

"Why'd you become a cop, kid?  We don't get as many young recruits as we might, the lure of organised crime's pretty strong in this city."  As he said this Jake pulled his Beretta from his desk drawer and pushed it into the holster resting against his chest.

Serpico looked faintly un-nerved by this question, "I er.... it's just something I've always wanted to do.  Y'know, ever since I was a kid."  Jake looked like he was about to comment, possibly on the fact that Serpico was still a kid in his eyes, but he merely nodded and took a step towards the door.

"Let's go shall we?  This rally ain't gonna' wait all day for us."

#16 Serpico Pirello

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 11:40 AM

Jake stopped in the doorway. He looked back at Serpico.

"You got a gun kid?" he asked
"No, I just came straight here. I need to get my unifrom too," stuttered Serpico
"Don't worry about your uniform. Just means old ladies will start talking to you and you can't tell them to get the hell away. Pick up your gun and badge then meet me downstairs,"

Jake left the room. Serpico followed slowly and headed for the front desk.

"Where do I get my gun from?" he asked the Sergeant.
"Thrid on the left," he said glancing up.
"And my badge?"
"Lord above. Didn't O'Malley do anything for you?"
"Told me to meet him downstairs,"
"Yeah, that's his problem. Doesn't do details well," said the Sergeant getting up and opening a draw "I'm the one who fills in his arrest-work because he can't be bothered," He handed Serpico his badge. "Third on the left," he said before sitting down.

Serpico went down the corridor and picked up his gun from third on the left. He'd held a gun before, in training, but this was his. Power surged through him. He holstered it in the accompanying holster and went looking for O'Malley.

#17 Konstantine

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 12:53 PM

Konstance stepped out of his office, and straight into the young recruit. A bitter comment about 'looking where you're going' was cut short when the detective saw the new recruit's face.

The colour drained from his face as a flash-memory of heard gunshots echoed. Konstance rushed away from the young man, leaving him looking confused at the reaction.

It must have been that kid who sent him the letter, they must be after him. Konstance began to sweat - suddenly the safe haven of the police station lost all of its security.

If this was a test, then he was convinced he'd have to pass it with flying colours. He continued with a renewed vigour, armed and armoured he set off to check the rally's arrangements.

#18 Ednos

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 01:00 PM

The body hit the floor with a dull thud, Tommys' blood slowly meandering its way across the floor, staining the wood red. Ednos rushed over, picking up Tommy and cradling his head in his hands.
"Tommy , Tommy? Please don't go, I need you, your the closest to a family I've had these last ten years." He said, a tear running slowly down his cheek.
"Sorry Kido, but I think my time is up."Tommy said with what was probably meant to be a smile but came out as a grimace.
"Oh shit,shit.Who did this to you, who?"
"Dont mess with the man." Tommy coughed up blood as he said this and his breath came in rappid gasps."Goodbye Ednos."

#19 NoWave

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 03:29 PM

OOC: Dammit Ednos, this is really confusing...

Tommy walked into Dark's office.  "They're dead.  All of them."

"Nice work Tommy.  Why, I think you've almost earned your keep here."

Tommy looked up at this.

"I think it's about time I helped you sort out what we've been planning."

Tommy struggled to contain his excitement.  This was it.  This was what he'd been working for.

Dark wasn't like the man.  He didn't pussyfoot around what he wanted to say.

"The mayor will be coming out of the Pintocha cafe at 7:30 pm.  There's a rifle on the roof.  You'll only get one chance.  Don't screw up."

Tommy smiled and bowed, forcing down his excitement,

"Thank you mr. Dark."

Tommy turned to leave.

"Tommy."

Tommy turned around.

"We're finished now, gettit?  Once you make your shot you leave town, immediately.  If me, or any of my boys see you again, we'll kill you, you understand?"

"I got it Johnny."

Tommy turned to leave.

#20 Tichinde

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 12:38 PM

Walker was waiting outside The Mans office.

The door opened "Come in Mr. Walker"

The Man was sat at his expansive desk. "I trust all went well."

"Smooth as a whistle Sir. Except.."
The Man interuppted "Except?? Never in ten years have you ever said 'except' to me while making a report. Well? Spit it out man."

"It took longer than anticipated. I would like to take a short break to get back into a training regime." Walker said.

"Ahhh, I fully understand" Said The Man "Can't have my workers getting flabby. You're still on the active roster but I will see that you get fewer jobs for a few weeks."

"Thankyou Sir."

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting to go to." Said The Man.

Walker turned and left the office. Not quite what he had been after but better than nothing. Walker tried to recall The Mans schedule for the day. The Pintocha cafe at 5.45pm. Some meeting with some small time guy who wants moving up. If the small time walked out of the cafe Walker would be very surprised.

Walker headed for his apartment.
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#21 Jentastic!

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 08:21 PM

Victoria sauntered into the ramshackle place, looking every bit the smart female lawyer she indeed was.

"The usual, Mrs O'Malley?"

"Yes, thankyou."

"That'll be $100."

"Of course."

The woman grabbed for the cash that Victoria languidly held out for her and watched as the young woman seated herself in the chair. Shaking her head, she wondered why Mrs O'Malley came back time and time again. She'd kill herself one of these days.

"Are you sure - "

"Just take your money and do your job."

***



Victoria flicked her hair back over her shoulder as she picked her way out of the hut in her high heels. Snapping open her handbag she took out her 'to-do' list. Pen in hand, she crossed one item off the list. It now read:

See client - Mrs Simkins (Divorce)
Abortion
Shopping

She replaced the list in the handbag, and walked away down the road.
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#22 TSP

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 09:14 PM

Outwardly, Jed was still the same successful man he had always been. The death of his son had hit him hard, but he'd taken some leave from the job and had come back to break some big cases. He was widely tipped to make Chief of Police before the end of the year, and he still had his loving wife.

Inwardly, things were different. His compassionate side, the side that allowed him to take pity on men who had simply made a few mistakes, had died with his son. It had been replaced by determination. It mattered not who had fired the bullet that killed his son that fateful night ten years ago, the mob was responsible. He had pursued mob cases with fervor, and his desire for revenge was gradually swallowing his life. His obsession had driven away his wife, he knew this, he could have stopped her leaving, but he chose not to. He had told nobody that his wife had left, not even his good friend Jake O'Malley. He'd tried to say something earlier, but Jake was more interested in the D'Arbo Case, and the security arrangements for the rally.

Foolish, really. The Man running for mayor had caused controversy, from both sides. Certain high standing city officials backed The Man as if he were an angel, while others engaged in protests claiming he was the devil incarnate. Didn't they see that, ultimately, it didn't matter? No matter how much change was promised, no matter how the next politician claimed the city would be a safer place, it wouldn't be. Innocents would always die. Corruption would always be rife. Good men would always lose everything. The Man would be no worse than the man before, nor the man after. It didn't matter who held the role.

Jed stared at his gun, contemplating using it for a split second, before going back to the pages of the D'Arbo Case and wondered if the mysteries it hinted at would shed some light on the ten year old unsolved case file he kept in his top draw. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it did matter who fired the bullet after all.

#23 Janek

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 12:02 PM

Big J returned from the shop, walking in to find Mr Fung engaged in conversation with a man in a purple robe, younger than Fung, but still fairly old. The man glanced up.

"Ah! You must be J. I've heard a lot about you."

"Uh.. hello."

"It's nice to put a name to the face. Oh! Name, yes, how rude." The man offered a hand, which J shook hesitantly. "I'm Yun Chin."

"Mr Chin is an old friend of mine," Fung interjected. "From the Purple Hand."

"Is that some kind of gang?"

Chin smiled. "Gang? No, no. Just a group of people with the same beliefs. Peace. Tranquility. Anyway, I should probably go now. Nice to meet you, J. Farewell, friends." Purple robe swooshing, he briskly and confidently strode out of the teahouse and down the street.

"Interesting guy."

"Yes. I've known him for many years. He only recently came back into town. W-" Fung was interupted by shouting from outside.

Big J immediately dashed into the street, Fung followed slowly.

"You shouldn't have come into our territory, old fool!" A pair of men had blocked Yun Chin's path.

"I have no quarrel with the Dragons." Chin spread his hands in a gesture of peace. "Kindly let me pass."

"Oh, but we have a problem with you!" With that, the two Dragons lunged at him. In a flash of purple, Chin ducked under their punches, throwing one of them over his shoulder. The other man then tried to kick, but Chin brought his arm up to block it with incredible speed. This knocked the Dragon off-balance, and he was immediately sent sprawling by Chin's well-placed fist.

The first Dragon was back on his feet. He went to his companion, and helped him groggily get up. "You.. you've not heard the end of this!" With this, the pair staggered away down a side-alley. Yun Chin brushed off his robes, and continued to wherever he was going.

"Cool!" J turned to Fung. "Who could teach someone to fight like that?"

"It was me."

"Woah! Can you teach me to fight?"

Fung replied sternly. "No! I abhor violence. I will not be responsible for teaching a child. Do not speak of it again."
Ah! Harvard University! The special jail where people with too much math are imprisoned forever and forced to teach each other about poems.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#24 Dystopian Rhetoric

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 02:56 PM

"But you know I'm never comfortable around your parents Annie..."

Annie shook her head and continued to knot Alex's tie.

"It's only for a few hours Alex. And don't forget, these are the sort of people you need to know, no good in being a lawyer unless you have friends with influence."

"Please... I don't need another one of your father's matras on success, they aren't any more true coming from you than they are from him."

"At least he tries. You don't have to act all sullen every time we go for dinner."

"I'm sorry... it's just... difficult. You can tell he doesn't really approve. He's polite enough on the surface, but the friction is still there."

"Nonsense. He does like you really, that's just how he is. In fact he was so impressed with you last time we went to dinner... well I'll let him tell you."

She smiled and straightened the tie, then walked over to the dresser and picked up her purse.

"Where was this place again?"

"A delightful little place, excellent food. The Pintocha Cafe."

#25 Jen

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 03:10 PM

“Paola?” Pipo called softly, there was no answer.

“Looks like she’s not here, Mr Marinaro” Caesar said as he followed Pipo into the luxurious office.

Paola Fiorelli and Pipo Marinaro had taken control of the Fiorelli assets and had spent five years slowly building business. They’d avoided as many illegal things as they could to keep the Man off-guard. He couldn’t even send out one of his barely tolerated hitmen when they were acting so cautious. The office was in a generously appointed house in one of the better districts of Ocean’s Peak, they’d learnt that it wasn’t clever to be too ostentatious.

“Julius, you don’t have to call Mr Marinaro when we’re in private,” Pipo said, leaning back against the desk.

“I’m sorry,” Caesar said, leaning against the desk beside Pipo, “It doesn’t feel right to call you Pipo in your own house”

“You’re one of my oldest friends, Julius,” Pipo said, putting a companionable arm around Caesar’s shoulder, “Why shouldn’t you call me by my name?”

“It’s hard to step away from the formality that you’ve made me use all these years,” Caesar said, leaning his head against Pipo’s shoulder. Pipo looked down at his friend and kissed him softly on the forehead.

“What if Paola shows up?” Caesar said, pulling away from Pipo.

“She won’t,” Pipo said, standing up and crossing to shut the door, “She’s going to that rally”

-----

Paola was on the other side of town stepping out of a shower in a dingy hotel. This was one of the worst districts, all the better for concealment. She towelled off and pulled her somewhat crumpled clothes back on.

“Same time next week, girl?” a male voice called from the other room.

“Sounds good, Danny,” Paola came back into the bedroom and walked over to the bed. She smiled and kissed Danny once on the cheek, “Money’s on the table as usual. Worth every cent”

Paola walked out and down to the street level. A slick, black car rolled up outside the hotel and she slid into it.

“Where to now, ma’am,” the dark driver said as he pulled out into the street.

“15th and 4th, George, the café on the corner please,” Paola said, raising a compact to adjust her make up.

“Very well, ma’am,” George said.

-----

Sophie had arrived at the Tribune office even earlier than usual this morning. She was hoping that by being there early she could get out on one of the decent jobs. Her mentor, Steven Parker, had promised he’d try and get her assisting on the rally – but only if she got there early enough. Normally the assistants didn’t arrive until after the assignments had been given out.

Jeffrey Marks, the Editor-in-Chief, had to smile at the girl’s eagerness. She’d been following all the stories about the Man as often as she could and Jeffrey was happy to use that eager nature to get the best out of the girl. She’d also been instrumental in uncovering some dirty business in the high court last week that had turned into front page material when that O’Malley girl had gotten involved. The Senior Partners were probably praising the day they took on the young woman.

“Sophie?” Marks called her into his office.

“Yes, sir?” Sophie said, sitting on the edge of a chair.

“You know Parker’s going to be working on the Rally today, yes?” Marks asked slowly.

“Yes, he said,” Sophie was almost breathless with expectation.

“Normally I wouldn’t send anyone out with him…but after what you pulled off last week I think you’re ready to start covering bigger events,” Marks finished.

“Really?” Sophie smiled, “My first big job?”

“Yes, you’d better run down and catch him before he heads off,” Marks smiled at the girl, “He can bring you up to date on the rally”

Sophie practically ran from the room. Despite what Marks’ had said there was no need for her to be taught about the rally. Not one member of the Fiorelli family was unaware of it, and what it could possibly mean. She knew that Paola would be there in the background – watching to see how it would affect the business. It was a big day for Ocean’s Peak – and she’d be right there with the Tribune.

-----

Tony had finished morning rehearsals and was leaving the little theatre when Adie came bounding up to her.

“Hello, kid,” he said as she gave him an excitable hug.

“Hey, big bro!” she replied with a smile, “You gonna check out the rally?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Tony said as Adie linked her arm with his, “It’ll be so crowded”

“Paola will be there,” Adie said, “And I bet Sophie gets sent down there. The Tribune will be all over this”

“You really think Soph will be there?” Tony asked.

“Any money,” Adie smiled, she knew that the best way to get Tony to go anywhere was to mention his twin sister.

“Ahh, alright,” he said, “But think I don’t know what you’re doing”

“What?” Adie said innocently.

“Paola probably said you couldn’t go unless someone went with you,” Tony gave her a mock hard look.

“Aww,” Adie pouted, “I can’t hide anything from you”

“Of course not,” Tony said, “I’m an actor after all. My business is lying”
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I lost some time once...it's always in the last place you look for it. Violent Becoming Downtown, Olympus Town