“It’s gonna be hard sucking dick with that busted lip.” Sharon tells me as she tosses a bag of frozen peas on the table.
I’m leaned in over a keyboard and the bright white light of a google page is the only illumination in the room.
“I’ll find a way.” I say absentmindedly. “There’s got to be a connection. There’s no way I trailed this lead incorrectly.”
“You don’t think he was lying?” Sharon asks.
“I mean, yeah, at first. But I checked the entire room, and I couldn’t find a single sign associating them with those freedom fratzies.” I was referring to the Fraternity of Freedom.
“Put those peas on your lip.” I see Sharon motion to the bag on the table.
“Then I started thinking,” I say. “what if the fratzies knew about my relationship with Aaron, and leaked false info right into my hands. Made me kill a club of innocent druggies and put me at risk of becoming national threat number one.”
“Risk?” Sharon challenges.
“Well let’s face it, they’re gonna think it’s a drug crime. Kingpin versus kingpin, you know, eye catching stories for headlines.”
“Why would they do that, though? Why not just kill you?”
“That’s what I was thinking.” I finally turn to her, wide eyed and excited. “Then I realized there is a tie between the fratzies and these drugged up dancers.”
“The fratzies stand for one thing, which is what? Freedom from government. The head honcho from that club was Galvin Masto-something-something, who is related to David Masto-something-something who is running for mayor of this very city. They used me to send a warning to him.”
“Are you gonna use those peas?” Sharon asks. “Because now they’re thawing for no reason.”
“But why Galvin and David, right?” I look back at my google page, where I’m wikipedia’ing David and all his known associates. “I just found this.”
On the screen, under a picture of two men with arms over each others’ shoulders, reads: David Mastrovaki and Bryce Jordan after graduating from Yale together.
“David and Bryce used to be fucking friends!” I look back to Sharon but she’s away into the darkness, probably returning the peas to the freezer.
“They’re friends!” I yell.
She doesn’t respond so I return to the screen. Old friends turned to rivals. This intricate story’s winding up nicely into a gut-wrenching conclusion. If only Aaron wasn’t involved. Sharon reenters to room.
“You missed it.” I mutter.
“David and…” I cock my head. “Have you been listening?”
“Blah blah, revenge, old friends, same old story right? You’re just gonna end up saving the day, I know how it goes.”
The sun is rising as I’m slithering through traffic on a brand new Triumph Thruxton I stole from a bike dealership just a few blocks form Sharon’s apartment. David Mastrovaki. That motherfucker’s going to be the definition of scapegoat. I just have to get to him before nine A.M., when press will surround him as he makes his public statement undoubtedly condemning his brother for his choices in life. I check my wrist for the time and see I still have three hours left. Plenty of time.
Like any good corrupted politician, David has secured his estate with cameras on every corner and generic bodyguards patrolling the grounds 24/7. I park the Thruxton at the fence and hop over its spiked ridge nimbly. A camera spots me as I engage in combat with bodyguard #1. Bruce lee likened himself to water, but I’m embodying those inflatable tube guys they put in front of car dealerships as I’m dodging fists and kicks. When I strike back I become a gattlegun, jabbing in rapid succession until I knock this guy down. He has a walkie on his belt, so I grab it and speak into it.
“I’m here to kidnap David Masta-something-something.” I look the camera directly in the lens. “If you are trying to escape, do not take the south entrance. That is where I’m coming up.”
I’m a sucker for a challenge.
The south entrance opens up into a mudroom and as I open the door I run into three guys with handguns who must’ve never used them before. I know this because they hesitate to shoot, and losing your murder virginity is a choice nobody wants to make. I use that second to grab one guy and I wrap my fingers around his so that my index is over his trigger. Pew pew pew. Three men in three seconds. I’m a god. Enter a family room decorated with pictures of the same family with the same smile in different scenarios. There is a staircase that winds up to the second floor, and I take it two steps at a time. A guard comes down it and stops shocked when he sees me. I use the railing as support and I kick him in the jaw. He topples over and falls down to the first floor. Another guard shoots, misses by about seven thousand miles, and I tackle him to the ground. I pommel him twice before grabbing his face with both my hands and smashing it into the ground. He’s out. I grab his gun and shoot four guys as they turn the corner into the stairwell. My adrenaline is pumping. David’s bedroom is next. There they are. A family of four in their PJ’s scared half to death. A bullet whizzes past my right ear. A guard – their most trusted, I assume. He walks forward as he shoots again and misses… again.
“Nobody trained you guys to shoot under pressure.” I shake my head.
Another shot lands right into my chest and I fly backwards. Don’t worry: kevlar. The guard stands over me so I kick his gun from his hand. Roll to my palms, hop into my feet. I strike, he blocks. He strikes, I block. Knuckles roll off of forearms and kicks blocked by shins. He misses a beat and I land one on his chin. A weak blow, but I follow it up with a headbutt and he staggers back. I Sparta-kick him in the chest. He’s down, so I grab a book about leadership and smash it into his face to knock him out. Heaving, I look up at the Mastrovaki family and grin. “I need one of you.”
Fast-forward 5 hours and I’m in a dark room with the future mayor of our city strapped to a chair and his phone in my hand.
“I don’t know who that is…” Mr. Mastrovaki mutters through curtains of bloody spit. Just a broken nose to make the threat real. I’m scrolling through his contacts. No Bryce Jordan to be found.
“You graduated from Yale together. Wikipedia has a picture of you two making out.”
I toss his phone into his lap.
“You killed my brother.” Mastrovaki realizes. He looks at me with teary eyes. “Why? Why all of this?”
I feel a tingle of guilt. Just a tingle though, the kind you feel in your balls and usually you can just fuck it out.
“I need you to get…”
The front door opens, illuminating our surroundings, and I hear Sharon enter behind me. “Goddamnit.” She scolds.
I sigh, frustrated.
“Are you torturing someone again?”
“Sharon, I need some space.” I grunt.
I hear her “ugh” behind me and scuffle away. “I’m gonna need to change the locks.”
“I don’t know a Bryce, I’m telling you!” Mastrovaki screams.
“Listen.” I walk up to him and get close. I’m grinding my teeth and clenching my fists. “I do not have time for your lies. I need you to contact Bryce. Now.”
“So I can find the man he works for and put them both in the ground.”
Mastrovaki looks down and shakes his head. Silence means he’s weighing the scales. Considering the consequences.
“If I contact Bryce, my family will be in danger.” He mumbles.
“He won’t have the chance to touch them.” I paradigm shift to good cop.
“He’s not alone.” Mastrovaki looks up at me. “He has his hands in every organization in the city.”
“I don’t care if he’s got his fingers in the asshole of god himself, nobody will touch your family if you help me get to him.”
“How can you promise me that?” Mastrovaki pleads.
“What are we, in third grade? You want a fucking pinky promise?”
Mastrovaki begins hyperventilating the louder I get. The pain is getting to him. I need him to contact Bryce before he passes out.
“I’m going to cut your hand free.” I stalk around him and cut free his left hand. He’s right handed. “Pick up your phone. Dial his number. Tell him you want to meet him to hear what he wants. You’re willing to do anything to keep your family safe.”
Mastrovaki doesn’t say anything but begins scrolling through his contacts. There’s one titled Bethany, and he dials it.
“Speaker.” I say, and Mastrovaki obliges.
It rings three times until there’s an answer. Silence first, before a less than intimidating voice breaks it.
“I thought I told you never to contact me.” Bryce says.
“I’m sorry.” Mastrovaki is crying. “Please, Bryce, I’ll do anything.”
Another silence. Bryce likes his dramatic pauses, it seems. “You think I killed your brother.” He says finally.
Mastrovaki looks at me and I shake my head. Don’t fuck this up.
“I want my family to be safe.”
“I didn’t kill your brother, David.” Bryce says. “We used to be friends. I told you I wouldn’t involve you as long as you kept your head down and I never had to see your face again. Now you’re running for fucking mayor, and you’re calling me crying your fucking eyes out.”
This guy’s got a potty mouth.
“Bryce…” Mastrovaki is red in the face. Shaking.
“What do you want, David?”
He looks up at me again. “I want to see you.” He says quickly. “I want back in.”
Silence. Of course. Then a sigh. “Fine. Meet me at 2480 W. Simmons. A warehouse. Be there in the next thirty minutes.”