FIGHTING THE MOB Max M. Power Published by: Max M. Power at Smashwords o!yri"ht #$%$ Max M.

Power Tha&' you (or dow&loadi&" this (ree eboo'. )ou are wel*ome to share it with your (rie&ds. I( you e&+oyed this boo', !lease retur& a&d write a short re-iew. Feel (ree to dow&load all eboo's by this author (or (ree. Tha&' you (or your su!!ort. .ll ri"hts reser-ed. No !art o( this eboo' may be used or re!rodu*ed or shared by a&y mea&s, -ia re*ordi&", !hoto*o!yi&", ele*tro&i*ally, or i& !ri&t, stored i& a retrie-al system or tra&smitted i& a&y (orm, i&*ludi&" blo""i&", email, or text messa"i&", without the !rior writte& !ermissio& o( the author a&d/or the !ublishi&" *om!a&y, ex*e!t by a re-iewer or re!orter who may 0uote brie( !assa"es embodied i& a re-iew or arti*le to be !ri&ted i& a &ews!a!er, ma"a1i&e, or +our&al o( sorts, i&*ludi&" o&li&e -ersio&s o( said !ubli*atio&s. This is a wor' o( (i*tio&. Names, *hara*ters, !la*es, a&d i&*ide&ts are !rodu*ts o( the author2s ima"i&atio& or are used (i*titiously a&d are &ot to be *o&stru*ted as real. .&y resembla&*e to a*tual e-e&ts, lo*ales, or"a&i1atio&s, or !erso&s, li-i&" or dead, is e&tirely *oi&*ide&tal. Please se&d all 0uestio&s or *omme&ts to: 3riti&" 3ith Power P.O. Box 4#5%6 Housto&, Tx 77#$6 writi&"with!ower8"mail.*om www.writi&"with!ower.*om 9 9 9 9

For Veronica and Gabrielle. Thank you for believing I could become a writer. 9 9 9 9

I would li'e to say a s!e*ial tha&' you to all wome& i& the world. )ou ha-e a stro&"er i&(lue&*e i& the world, more tha& you will e-er '&ow. E-e& i( we do &ot show it at times, me& would be lost without the wome& i& our li-es. I ha-e had the "ood (ortu&e to ha-e bee& i&(lue&*ed by -ery stro&" wome&. From my "ra&dmother who tau"ht me that a la*' o( (u&ds did &ot mea& I *ould &ot li-e a ri*h a&d (ul(illi&" li(e, to my ma&y au&ts who would sla! me arou&d, remi&di&" me how "ood I had it while their ow& *hildre& did &ot. From my mother who always rode my ass, remai&i&" tou"h a&d stri*t, des!ite her (eeli&"s o( wa&ti&" to "i-e i&, ma'i&" sure I wal'ed a !ath o( li"ht i&stead o( sli!!i&" i&to a& abyss o( dar'&ess (ore-er, to my sisters who would !i*' (i"hts with me (or &o other reaso& tha& they *ould be*ause they are my sisters a&d it2s their +ob to torme&t me as su*h. To my dyi&" day I '&ow o&e o( my sisters will still ma'e me s*ream i& (rustratio& a&d smile, that2s what sibli&"s do. From the ma&y tea*hers who !ut u! with the heada*he that was me as a stude&t, des!erately tryi&" to tea*h me somethi&" to the o&e tea*her who !la&ted the seed that "rew i&to my !ath that is writi&". Tha&' you Mrs. 3illiams. From my wi(e who "a-e me the "reatest "i(t o( all, our dau"hter, a&other stro&" woma& that will dri-e me *ra1y be*ause that is her role as a dau"hter. E-erythi&" I do I do (or my (amily, to !ro-ide a better li(e tha& I ha-e. From my ma&y (rie&ds who read what I write a&d dema&d I "i-e them more, to those that threate& I would re"ret it i( I e-er sto!!ed writi&". To Tyra Ba&'s, whom I ha-e &e-er met, but with o&e si&"le "e&eral 0uestio& to the world, u&lo*'ed the (lood "ates that allows me to write so (reely. To the ma&y (uture wome& I will meet i& my li(e a&d i& o&e way, sha!e, or (orm will i&s!ire me to write somethi&". E-e& the bible a*'&owled"es wome& as a "reat army. They *ertai&ly are the ba*'bo&e o( my li(e a&d (or that I wish to say, :TH.N; )O<===: I would li'e to tha&' the members o( my (a& *lub. For !ushi&" me to be a better writer tha& I thou"ht I *ould be. For always dema&di&" more o( me a&d &e-er a**e!ti&" NO (or a&swer, this boo' is (or you. .s always: "Submitted for your approval…" 9 9 9 9 ha!ter % The or!s )our li(e *a& *ha&"e i& a& i&sta&t a&d you will &e-er see it *omi&". The same was true with >o&atha& M*Gre"or. He was stari&" at a soldier. The soldier stood tall, !roud. ?i'e &othi&" o& this earth *ould '&o*' him dow&. E-ery li&e o& his u&i(orm was shar! a&d *ris!. He stood alo&e but whe& you loo'ed i&to his eyes you '&ew he was&2t. This soldier belo&"ed to a (amily@ a (amily that *ared a&d lo-ed him, a (amily who would !rote*t him. >o&atha& &e-er '&ew what a (amily was. He had bee& o& his ow& si&*e he was ei"ht. He had to lear& e-erythi&" o& his ow&. ?ear& how to de!e&d a&d trust &o o&e but himsel(. I& the streets that is all you ha-e to sur-i-e. >o&atha& loo'ed at the !oster a"ai& a&d read the words surrou&di&" the soldier. He read them o-er a&d o-er i& his mi&d. The Few. The Proud. The Mari&es. :Hey= Hey you= Hey soldier boy=:

Sta(( Ser"ea&t Aoyal sat at his des' i"&ori&" >o&atha&. He was o& hold with the !oli*e de!artme&t. Friday &i"ht be(ore 3ar Games a&d he was "oi&" to be late. Aoyal had *ome i& to "et his lu*'y '&i(e he 'e!t i& his des'. That2s whe& he (ou&d >o&atha&. Aoyal was weari&" his "ree& *amou(la"e u&i(orm. He was ready to lea-e +ust as soo& as someo&e !i*'ed u! the !ho&e. He loo'ed at his wat*h as a& O((i*er a&swered the !ho&e. Two mi&utes later Aoyal hu&" u! a&d the !oli*e were o& their way. : ome o& soldier boy, u&tie me= This wire hurts ma&. ?et me "o, I did&2t do &othi&"=: :)ou did&2t do &othi&",: Aoyal as'ed ba*' to him, :Boy do I loo' stu!id to youB: >o&atha& did &ot a&swer. Aoyal loo'ed him o-er o&*e be(ore wal'i&" o-er to >o&atha&2s *hair. He !ulled out a sta&dard issue Mari&e or!s ;CBar '&i(e. It was his lu*'y '&i(e, issued to his "ra&d(ather i& 33II. His "ra&d(ather !assed it o& to his (ather who !assed it o& to Aoyal. He rea*hed behi&d >o&atha& a&d *ut the tele!ho&e wire that held >o&atha& to the *hair. :Try a&ythi&" stu!id a&d that ass whi!!i&" I "a-e you outside will be &othi&".: He held u! the ;CBar to show he was serious.:)ou ha-e &o idea how mu*h trouble you2re i&, do yaB: >o&atha& +ust loo'ed at his (eet, &ot sayi&" a word. This was &ot the (irst time he had stole& a *ar or e-e& "o&e to +ail. This is, howe-er, the (irst time he has do&e it as a& adult. Today was his ei"htee&th birthday. :?iste& boy, do you '&ow where you2re headi&"B: :)ou *a&2t s*are me soldier boy,: >o&atha& res!o&ded, tryi&" to a*t tou"h.:I2-e bee& to +ail be(ore. I '&ow what "oes o&. I '&ow how to beat the system.: :Maybe be(ore, but &ot &ow, this is way di((ere&t.: :>ust 2*ause I2m ei"htee& do&2t ma'e it di((ere&t. >ail is +ail ma&.: :)ou ai&t "oi&" to ounty boy,: Aoyal s&a!!ed ba*', :you2re headi&" to Federal !riso&. )ou +ust tried to boost a Government *ar a&d bro'e the wi&dow. That adds o& destru*tio& o( "o-er&me&t !ro!erty. That2s T!" stri'es o& the (elo&y list.: The words hit >o&atha& hard. This was &ot a mi&or misdemea&or. This was serious. >o&atha& '&ew he was i& dee! shit &ow. : ome o&,: >o&atha& yelled, :let me "o. I swear you2ll &e-er hear (rom me a"ai&.: :Sorry !al, I *a&2t. The !oli*e are o& their way here &ow.: :3hat,: >o&atha& shouted, sho*' (illi&" his e&tire body. >o&atha& +um!ed u! toward the door a&d (ell to the (loor. Aoyal had !ut o&e (oot i& (ro&t o( >o&atha&, tri!!i&" him. He ste!!ed o& >o&atha&2s ba*' a&d "rabbed both his arms. He !ulled the arms toward him, *ausi&" a +olt o( !ai& throu"h >o&atha&2s u!!er body. :Boy, i( I ha-e to brea' a (ew bo&es till the *o!s "et here I will. The door is lo*'ed a&d I ha-e the 'ey. )ou ai&t "oi&" a&ywhere.: :Get o(( me you asshole=: Aoyal ste!!ed o(( >o&atha&2s ba*'. He !i*'ed >o&atha& u! by his waistba&d a&d threw him i&to a *hair. >o&atha& was i& sho*' by what had +ust ha!!e&ed a&d how 0ui*'ly it had ha!!e&ed. He *au"ht his breath a&d made a ta*'li&" ru& toward Aoyal. Aoyal saw it *omi&" a&d ste!!ed out o( the way. >o&atha& ra& ri"ht i&to the (ro&t o( a des'. He hit the des' so hard it '&o*'ed the wi&d out o( him. Aoyal !ulled his ;CBar out a&d hit >o&atha& i& the ba*' o( his head with the butt o( the '&i(e. Aoyal the& +ammed the blade o( the ;CBar i&to the des' &ext to >o&atha&2s ri"ht ear. :?iste& you little !u&', do&2t (u*' with me or I2ll ma'e you sorry.: :)ea, why do&2t you (i"ht me (a*e to (a*e i&stead o( +um!i&" o& my ba*' li'e a "irlB: :.lri"ht,: Aoyal "ot o(( o( >o&atha&2s ba*' a&d ste!!ed ba*', u&butto&i&" his shirt. He !ulled it o(( a&d said, : ome o& tou"h "uy. ?et2s see what ya "ot.: >o&atha& tur&ed arou&d a&d (a*ed Aoyal. He !ut his (ist u! a&d started swi&"i&". For Aoyal, he thou"ht it was li'e (i"hti&" a baby. .(ter >o&atha& missed (or the sixth time Aoyal hit >o&atha& hard, '&o*'i&" >o&atha& (lat o& his ass.

>o&atha& had le(t himsel( wide o!e& whe& Aoyal hit him s0uare i& the &ose. >o&atha& (elt the warm blood ru&&i&" dow& his (a*e. He tou*hed his &ose a&d (elt a +olt o( !ai&. His &ose was bro'e&. .&"er a&d adre&ali&e ra& throu"h >o&atha& as he +um!ed to his (eet a&d rushed Aoyal, this time, ta'i&" Aoyal by sur!rise. Aoyal (ell to the "rou&d a&d >o&atha& *limbed o& to! o( him, !i&&i&" his arms dow&. >o&atha& started !ou&di&" away at Aoyal2s (a*e. Aoyal ma&a"ed to "et his le"s arou&d >o&atha&2s &e*' a&d !ulled >o&atha& o((. >o&atha& 'i*'ed a&d *o&&e*ted with Aoyal2s "ut. Aoyal threw a !u&*h ba*' a&d hit >o&atha& o& the ba*' o( his i&&er thi"h, *lose to his "roi&. They both laid (lat o& the (loor, hurti&". Neither o&e o( them wa&ted to mo-e be*ause the !ai& was so bad. Aoyal, howe-er, "ot a se*o&d wi&d a&d mustered u! e&ou"h stre&"th to "rab >o&atha& by the (ro&t o( his shirt. .s he did, >o&atha& threw his (ist strai"ht u! a&d hit Aoyal with a& u!!er*ut o& his *hi&. Aoyal (ell ba*' a&d >o&atha& tried *rawli&" away. Aoyal *rawled o-er to a des', !ulli&" himsel( u! slowly. >o&atha& did the same. >o&atha&2s (a*e a&d le"s were throbbi&". His bro'e& &ose 'e!t bleedi&" a&d his le" hurt (rom where Aoyal had hit him. Aoyal2s (a*e hurt as well. >o&atha& had bro'e& Aoyal2s &ose as well. His li! was s!lit o!e& a&d bled a little. His le(t eye was hal( way *losed with a *ut o-er his eye. Aoyal ra& a ha&d o-er his stoma*h a&d (elt a *ra*'ed rib. Both Aoyal a&d >o&atha& were i& "reat !ai&. That !ai& *reated adre&ali&e, whi*h seemed to 'i*' them both i& the ass. Aoyal a&d >o&atha& we&t a(ter ea*h other. Aoyal "rabbed >o&atha& by his shirt but >o&atha& ma&a"ed to throw his wei"ht (orward a&d (all o& to! o( Aoyal. >o&atha& !u&*hed Aoyal i& the rib *a"e, *ra*'i&" a&other rib. Aoyal !u&*hed >o&atha& i& the (a*e, ma'i&" his &ose bleed more. Ea*h !u&*h *ame slower tha& the last. Both me& were beate& but &either o&e would admit to it. They were &ow lyi&" o& the (loor, side by side. >o&atha& !ulled himsel( o& to! o( Aoyal a"ai& a&d !u&*hed him i& the (a*e. The !ai& hurt so badly (rom !u&*hi&" Aoyal i& the (a*e that he *ould &ot li(t his (ist u! a"ai&. There was a '&o*' o& the door. >o&atha& '&ew it was the !oli*e. >o&atha& made a des!erate attem!t to *rawl away. The !oli*e, a(ter seei&" the results o( the (i"ht, shot the "lass door, shatteri&" the "lass so they *ould ste! throu"h it. They saw Aoyal o& the (loor a&d >o&atha& *rawli&" away. :Mar0ue1, you "et the boy. I2ll te&d to this "uy.: O((i*er Mar0ue1 wal'ed o-er to >o&atha&, who was still tryi&" to *rawl away, a&d see& that his &ose was bro'e&. O((i*er Mar0ue1 lau"hed to himsel( as he !ulled out his ha&d*u((s. He '&elt dow& a&d *u((ed >o&atha&2s ha&ds behi&d his ba*'. >o&atha& wa&ted to (i"ht ba*' but he was too wea' to resist. :?oo's li'e someo&e "ot their ass 'i*'ed,: Mar0ue1 said. :?oo's li'e they both did,: O((i*er Aamire1 said as he hel!ed Aoyal i&to a *hair. Aoyal hurt all o-er as he sat dow&. :Aamire1, this "uy2s &ose is bro'e&. He loo's busted u! !retty bad. Better *all a& ambula&*e.: :)ea, same thi&" here,: Aamire1 said be(ore *alli&" dis!at*h.:This is (i-e (i-e .dam@ I &eed a& ambula&*e at the Mari&e re*ruiti&" o((i*e i& Miller Pla1a. Two me& with bro'e& &oses. They both loo' !retty beat u!.: Aamire1 wal'ed o-er to Mar0ue1. >o&atha& was sitti&" i& a *hair. :Mi&d telli&" me what ha!!e&ed here 'id,: Aamire1 as'ed. >o&atha& sat i& sile&*e. He lea&ed his head ba*' a&d i&sta&tly reali1ed what a mista'e that was. The blood rushed (rom his &ose dow& i& his throat. That *aused him to start *ou"hi&" -iole&tly as he threw his body (orward betwee& his le"s. :Hey 'id, sit ba*',: Aamire1 shouted at him. >o&atha& +ust *ou"hed u! more blood a&d s!it it o& the (loor. The ambula&*e !ulled u! a&d the medi*s *ame i&side. O&e medi* we&t to Aoyal a&d the other we&t to >o&atha&. :>esus= ?oo's li'e a war 1o&e i& here,: o&e o( the medi*s said.

:>ust !at*h that o&e u! so we *a& hall his ass to +ail,: Aamire1 said !oi&ti&" to >o&atha&. :)ou *a& ta'e the other o&e to the hos!ital.: The medi* loo'ed at >o&atha& a&d as'ed him how he (elt. >o&atha& res!o&ded by s!itti&" out more blood o& the (loor. The medi* !ut his ha&ds o& >o&atha&2s ribs. >o&atha& &early +um!ed out o( his *hair as the !ai& shot throu"h his body li'e a bolt o( li"hti&". :Aamire1,: the medi* *alled out, :this "uy &eeds to "o to the hos!ital too. He2s beyo&d a mere !at*h u! +ob. He *ould ha-e i&ter&al bleedi&".: :So does this "uy,: the other medi* said. Aamire1 loo'ed at both medi*s a&d tur&ed his atte&tio& to the se&ior medi*.:Fred, *ome here a se*, let me tal' to you.: The medi* "ot u! (rom i& (ro&t o( >o&atha& a&d wal'ed o-er to Aamire1. They wal'ed to the (ro&t so &o o&e else *ould hear. :Fred,: Aamire1 whis!ered, :this "uy is "oi&" to be brou"ht u! o& (elo&y *har"es. .ll I &eed (rom you is to !at*h him u! e&ou"h so I *a& ta'e him to +ail. O&*e he "ets there I will !ut him i& the +ailhouse hos!ital.: :3hat about the other "uyB: :Ta'e him to the EA. ?et them !at*h him u!. I2m "oi&" to ha-e Mar0ue1 "o with you to be able to ta'e his stateme&t.: :O'ay.: Fred we&t ba*' to >o&atha&. He too' a &e*' bra*e out o( his ba" a&d !ut it arou&d >o&atha&2s &e*'. He (ixed it so that >o&atha& *ould &ot tilt his head ba*' a&ymore. :?iste& 'id, this will 'ee! you (rom mo-i&" your head ba*' a&d *ho'i&" o& your ow& blood. There2s &othi&" I *a& do about your *ra*'ed ribs. Be*ause you are "oi&" to +ail I2m &ot allowed to "i-e you a&ythi&" (or the !ai& either. Do you u&dersta&dB: :)ea,: >o&atha& "roa&ed.:3hat about seei&" a do*B: :Sorry but you2re "oi&" to the +ailhouse hos!ital. The &urse there will loo' you o-er a&d de*ide i( you &eed a do*tor ri"ht away.: Fred stood u! a&d we&t ba*' to Aamire1 a&d told him >o&atha& *ould be ta'e& away. Aamire1 wal'ed outside to tal' with the two O((i*ers who +ust !ulled u!. Fred wal'ed o-er to Aoyal a&d started loo'i&" him o-er. 3ithi& (i(tee& mi&utes >o&atha& was headi&" to +ail a&d Aoyal was o& his way to the EA. 9 9 9 9 :>o&atha& as your lawyer I ad-ise you that we do &ot ha-e to be here. )ou ha-e &othi&" to say to them.: Sta(( Ser"ea&t Aoyal a&d a >.G lawyer, ?ieute&a&t >aime orri&, were sitti&" at a table whe& >o&atha& a&d his *ourt a!!oi&ted lawyer wal'ed i&. They sat dow& a&d >o&atha& loo'ed at Aoyal2s (a*e. Seei&" how badly his (a*e loo'ed, >o&atha& too' a little !ride i& the (a*t that he had bee& the *ause o( the dama"e a&d Aoyal would &e-er (or"et it. :>o&atha& we ha-e a !ro!ositio& (or you. It2ll *ha&"e your li(e o&e way or a&other,: ?ieute&a&t orri& said. :Do you ha-e a&ythi&" i& writi&",: ?a&*e, >o&atha&2s lawyer butted i&, :*ause i( you do&2t the& we are lea-i&".: ?ieute&a&t orri& may ha-e loo'ed li'e a (ra"ile !usho-er but she was (ar (rom it. She *ame (rom a lo&" li&e o( lawyers who lo-ed to (i"ht. ?ieute&a&t orri& was o&e o( those (i"hters. :<&less you are the "#$ who *ommitted the *rime you ha-e &othi&" to say.: :Ex*use me, but you *a&2tE: :I *a&2t what,: orri& *ut him o((. :)our *lie&t has *ommitted a (ew (elo&ies a&d will be *har"ed i( we so *hoose. He is loo'i&" at twe&ty years total with e-erythi&" I am !re!ared to throw at him. Howe-er, the Sta(( Ser"ea&t here has *o&-i&*ed me to !ut a& o((er o& the table.: :The time (or a deal is o-er,: ?a&*e said with a tou*h o( -e&om i& his to&e.:So u&less the >ud"e has a"reed to somethi&" I do&2t '&ow about the& there is &othi&" you *a& o((er.:

:Oh we *a& do a lot more tha& you thi&' Mr. ?a&*e. 3e are the <&ited States Mari&e or!s.: ?ieute&a&t orri& smiled to let what she +ust said si&' i&.:Now, %onathan,: she stressed his &ame a&d loo'ed o-er to ?a&*e, dari&" him to i&terru!t her a"ai&, :as I said be(ore, you are loo'i&" at twe&ty years i& Federal !riso&. The Sta(( Ser"ea&t here belie-es you ha-e the heart o( a "ood Mari&e. 3hile the Mari&es &o lo&"er ta'e i& !eo!le with re*ords the Sta(( Ser"ea&t has *o&-i&*ed me i&to "i-i&" you a *ha&*e.: :Here is the deal, you *a& +oi& the Mari&es (or a& ei"htCyear term or you *a& "o to !riso&. I *a& tell you that !arole is &ot a& o!tio& (or at least te& years. )ou will ha-e &o (reedoms whatsoe-er.: :>o&atha&, you do&2t ha-e to liste& to those threats a&d lies. 3e *a&E: :Dude, shut u!,: >o&atha& said, raisi&" his -oi*e at ?a&*e.:?et the woma& s!ea'. This is my li(e &ot yours.: Thi&'i&" o( the !oster he stared at i& Aoyal2s o((i*e >o&atha& (a*ed ?ieute&a&t orri& a"ai&, :Now what ha!!e&s i( I +oi& the Mari&esB: :I *a& see you are a smart ma&. O'ay, i( you &I& +oi& the or!s the& you ha-e to ser-e a& ei"htC year term. I( you attem!t to ru& away, you will be *au"ht a&d "i-e& a lot more +ail time to ser-e. )ou will ser-e that time i& a military !riso& as well.: :Howe-er, by bei&" i& the Mari&es you will still be able to 'ee! all the (reedoms that a&y other Mari&e has. )ou will be "i-e& a home. )ou will be (ed a&d *lothed. )ou will ha-e mo&ey to s!e&d a&d you will ha-e the same be&e(its o( -a*atio& as the rest o( us.: :Most im!orta&tly you will ha-e a (amily who will loo' a(ter you. I *a& tell you, i& the or!s we ta'e *are o( our ow&.: :Sou&ds "ood, but what will I do i& the Mari&esB: :>o&atha&, you *a&2t seriously be liste&i&" to this,: ?a&*e blurted out. :I told you, it2s my li(e &ot yours,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*'. :.s (ar as what you2ll be doi&",: Aoyal said as he sat u!, :that2s u! to you. )ou ha-e to ta'e the .SF.B, same as e-eryo&e else. I !erso&ally belie-e you2ll be "ood i& Ae*o&&aissa&*e.: :Ae*o&,: ?ieute&a&t orri& said with sur!rise, :)ou &e-er said a&ythi&" about Ae*o& Sta(( Ser"ea&t. .re you seriousB: :)es Mam2 I am. I loo'ed i&to his re*ord a&d see& that he has bee& o& his ow& (or the !ast (our years. ?i-i&" i& the streets (or (our years without "etti&" *au"ht ta'es s'ill, '&owi&" the la&d, '&owi&" how to ble&d i& a&d hide. ?et2s (a*e it,: Aoyal !aused a&d rubbed his +aw, :the 'id is "ood i& a (i"ht, does&2t '&ow whe& to 0uit. That2s the heart o( a Mari&e.: >o&atha& smiled to himsel( at the *om!leme&t Aoyal had +ust "i-e& him. :3ell >o&atha&, that2s the deal o& the table. It2s &o "ood the mome&t you wal' out that door. .s you said, it2s your li(e. >ail a&d &o (reedoms whatsoe-er or the or!s a&d some (reedoms,: ?ieute&a&t orri& said, holdi&" her ha&ds u! li'e s*ales. >o&atha& sat there a&d loo'ed at Aoyal. Dee! dow& he was really sorry (or what he did. >o&atha& did &ot wa&t to "o to +ail. He was +ust !layi&" the ha&d li(e dealt him. :I( I *hoose the Mari&es, do I "et to lea-e with you &owB: :3e ha-e a "uard waiti&" outside &ow,: ?ieute&a&t orri& a&swered. >o&atha& stood u! a&d loo'ed o-er to ?a&*e, :Dude, you are so (ired.: >o&atha& loo'ed ba*' to Aoyal a&d "a-e him a !artial salute si&*e his wrists were *hai&ed to his hi!s. :I do&2t '&ow i( it mea&s a&ythi&" Ser"ea&t, but I am sorry (or what I did to you. I ho!e you *a& (or"i-e me.: Aoyal stood u! a&d loo'ed >o&atha& i& the eyes.:So&, o&e thi&" the Mari&e or!s has tau"ht me is that it ta'es real "uts to do all sorts o( thi&"s, es!e*ially to a!olo"i1e. )our a*tio&s at my o((i*e a&d +ust &ow show me that you ha-e real "uts. I2m sorry (or my beha-ior as well.: :3ell ?a&*e,: ?ieute&a&t orri& said mo*'i&"ly, :loo's li'e you ha-e &o more busi&ess here. >o&atha& let me be the (irst to wel*ome you to the Mari&e or!s.: :Tha&' you Mam2,: >o&atha& said.:So where do we startB: :3e start by lea-i&" here.: ?ieute&a&t orri& wal'ed arou&d the table a&d '&o*'ed o& the hu"e metal door. That was the si"&al that they were do&e. . De!uty a&d a or!oral wal'ed i&to the

room.:De!uty you may remo-e Mr. M*Gre"or2s *hai&s. The or!oral here will ta'e Mr. M*Gre"or i&to *ustody. He &ow belo&"s to the Mari&e or!s.: :I2m "oi&" to &eed a& authori1atio& to release him,: the De!uty said as he "rabbed >o&atha&2s elbow to es*ort him out. :Good thi&" I "ot that ri"ht here,: ?ieute&a&t orri& said as she rea*hed i&to her brie(*ase a&d ha&ded the De!uty a sheet o( !a!er.:>ud"e Malloy si"&ed his release this mor&i&". .s you *a& see "e&tleme&, I do&2t li'e to waste time. I( you would !lease De!uty, the *hai&s a&d *u((s.: :)es Mam2.: The De!uty too' the *hai&s a&d *u((s o(( o( >o&atha& a&d wal'ed out o( the room, -ery a&"ry. The or!oral !ut his ow& ha&d*u((s o& >o&atha&. Now >o&atha& belo&"ed to the Mari&es. 9 9 9 9 Sta&di&" i& a strai"ht li&e, (a*i&" (orward, eyes (ixed o& a& i&-isible s!ot i& (ro&t o( him, a -ery white, -ery stro&", a&d -ery loud Drill I&stru*tor GDIH yelli&" i& his (a*e, >o&atha& wa&ted to bust out lau"hi&" a"ai& o-er what had +ust o**urred. :Ae*ruit, you better a&swer me= Do I loo' (u&&y to you=: 2'( pale a( you are and a( many freckle( you have on your face) yea you look funny to me,2 >o&atha& thou"ht to himsel(. :No Drill Ser"ea&t,: >o&atha& shouted his a&swer. So (ar >o&atha& had lear&ed that shouti&" is the o&ly way to a&swer a&y 0uestio& i& basi* trai&i&". :3hat did you +ust say Ae*ruit,: the DI shouted. :I mea&, Drill Ser"ea&t, No Drill Ser"ea&t= This Ae*ruit does &ot (i&d you (u&&y Drill Ser"ea&t=: :The& what the hell is so dam& (u&&y boy= 3he& I say sta&d at atte&tio& that mea&s &o mo-i&" whatsoe-er= I do&2t *are i( >e&&i(er ?o!e1 hersel( was sta&di&" i& (ro&t o( you &a'ed a&d !layi&" with your di*', )O<E DOE NOTE MOFE=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t= Sorry Drill Ser"ea&t=: :Sorry= Did you +ust say you were sorry= The o&ly sorry Mari&e is a washed out Mari&e= Is that what you wa&t to be=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, No Drill Ser"ea&t=: :Do you e&+oy other !eo!le2s misery=: the DI2s &ose was tou*hi&" >o&atha&2s (a*e, he was so *lose. :Drill Ser"ea&t, No Drill Ser"ea&t=: :Oh, so you do&2t thi&' it2s (u&&y that Ae*ruit >oh&so& !issed his !a&ts= )ou do&2t thi&' it2s (u&&y that >oh&so&2s >oh&so& "ot him i& trouble=: That did it. >o&atha& *ould &ot hold his lau"hter a&ymore. He busted out lau"hi&" but 0ui*'ly sto!!ed himsel(. :I see &ow,: the DI whis!ered be(ore ste!!i&" ba*' a (ew (eet. Still (a*i&" >o&atha& the Di shouted, :Ae*ruit >oh&so&, (ro&t a&d *e&ter=: >oh&so&, bei&" a s'i&&y &erdy loo'i&" 'id, slowly wal'ed o-er to the DI, 'ee!i&" his head dow&. >oh&so& was ashamed, a "row& ma& !issi&" his !a&ts be*ause someo&e yelled i& his (a*e. :Ae... Ae... Ae*ruit >oh&so&E: :Stri! your !a*'=: the DI yelled, *utti&" >oh&so& o((. >oh&so& dro!!ed the !a*' o(( his ba*' a&d i&sta&tly (elt li"hter. The DI be&t dow& a&d started o!e&i&" the !a*', dum!i&" e-erythi&" out. The DI (ou&d what he was loo'i&" (or. :Mr. M*Gre"or, sta&d &ext to Mr. >oh&so&=: >o&atha& ste!!ed (orward a&d stood side by side &ext to >oh&so&. The DI wal'ed o-er to >oh&so& a&d wra!!ed a ro!e arou&d >oh&so&2s waist. He tied a '&ot a&d wra!!ed the other e&d arou&d >o&atha&2s waist. The DI made sure there was three (eet o( ro!e betwee& the two Ae*ruits be(ore tyi&" o(( >o&atha&2s e&d. :)ou will lear& this lesso&, i( &othi&" else: *"+ #$V$, -$'V$ ' .'# /$0I#&1 His !ai& is your !ai&. I( this ro!e is *ut be(ore I u&tie you both, you 3I?? BE A)IN2 FOA )O<A MOMM.= DO I M.;E M)SE?F ?E.A=:

:Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& both shouted i& u&iso&. :Now you "ot exa*tly (i(tee& mi&utes to "et ba*' i&side a&d *ha&"e= That ro!e better &ot *ome o((= NO3 MOFE=: >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& ra& i&to the barra*'s a&d >oh&so& be"a& to stri!. They both made it ba*' ri"ht at the (i(tee&Cmi&ute mar'. For the rest o( the day they wore the ro!e. Duri&" the mor&i&" ru& >o&atha& was "etti&" (rustrated. ?i-i&" i& the streets, >o&atha& was use to ru&&i&" a&d bei&" a*ti-e. >oh&so&, o& the other ha&d, was a boo'worm that barely !assed PE i& hi"h s*hool. It was almost li'e *arryi&" deadwei"ht to >o&atha&. >o&atha& did &ot wa&t a&y extra !u&ishme&t so he hel!ed >oh&so& as mu*h as !ossible. E-erythi&" they did had to be do&e to"ether. E-erywhere they we&t they were lau"hed at but >o&atha& i"&ored it. Si&*e they did &ot '&ow exa*tly how lo&" they would be tied to"ether, >oh&so& de*ided to ma'e "ood use o( the time. .t (irst, >o&atha& was hesita&t to a&sweri&" a&y 0uestio&s about himsel(. Fi&ally, he "a-e i&. .ll day both me& "ot to '&ow ea*h other better. >o&atha& was starti&" to (eel he *ould trust >oh&so&. >oh&so& did most o( the tal'i&". >o&atha& liste&ed a&d "a-e short a&swers to a&ythi&" he was as'ed. .t the e&d o( the day >o&atha& was sure they would be *ut (ree to shower. No su*h lu*'. Showeri&" was the hardest thi&" to do. .ll the other Ae*ruits lau"hed at >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& i& the lo*'er room. .s mu*h as >o&atha& wa&ted to hit someo&e, he ma&a"ed to *o&trol his tem!er. Slee! !ro-ed to be a&other *halle&"e, howe-er. .(ter "i-i&" it *o&siderable thou"ht, >oh&so& *ame u! with a solutio&. They both sle!t o& the (loor. The (loor was hard a&d -ery *old. >oh&so& be"a& to *om!lai& but >o&atha& told >oh&so& how he use to slee! o& the (loor all the time i& the streets. I& the mor&i&" >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& "ot dressed slowly the& li&ed u! i& (ormatio&. E-eryo&e was sta&di&" at atte&tio& as the Drill I&stru*tors wal'ed arou&d, *ir*li&", li'e a !a*' o( wol-es *ir*li&" a herd, loo'i&" (or a wea' s!ot. Drill I&stru*tor ?eo& was i& *har"e this mor&i&".:Ae*ruits M*Gre"or a&d >oh&so&, (ro&t a&d *e&ter=: he shouted. >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& trotted to the (ro&t o( the "rou!. It has bee& almost twe&tyC(our hours si&*e they were tied to"ether. They had lear&ed 0ui*'ly how to ru& without !ulli&" the other with the ro!e. DI ?eo& was im!ressed o& how 0ui*'ly they had lear&ed to wor' to"ether. It truly was ama1i&" *o&sideri&" how di((ere&t they were. :Ae*ruit M*Gre"or, ha-e you lear&ed a&ythi&" (rom this exer*ise=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es, Drill Ser"ea&t=: :.&d what ha-e you lear&ed Ae*ruitB: :Drill Ser"ea&t, that the or!s is a team, Drill Ser"ea&t= That e-ery ma& de!e&ds o& ea*h other to ma'e it throu"h the day= That whate-er this Ae*ruit does, it a((e*ts e-eryo&e, &ot +ust this Ae*ruit, Drill Ser"ea&t=: :.&d Ae*ruit >oh&so&, what ha-e you lear&ed=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, &e-er to !iss my !a&ts a"ai&, Drill Ser"ea&t=: :I sure i& hell ho!e so=: ?eo& shouted as he a!!roa*hed >oh&so&.:?et2s test that theory shall we,: ?eo& whis!ered i&to >oh&so&2s ear. He stood &ose to &ose a&d shouted, :Ae*ruit >oh&so&= 3ould you say the or!s is a brotherhood=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: :3ould you lay your li(e dow& (or your (ellow Mari&es, your brothers=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: :3ould you trust your li(e to a&y o( your (ellow Mari&es=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: :Glad to hear it Ae*ruit=: ?eo& stayed i& (ro&t o( >oh&so& but tur&ed his head to loo' at >o&atha&, :3hat about you M*Gre"or= 3ould you trust your li(e to this sorry ba" o( bo&es=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, without a doubt Drill Ser"ea&t= This Ae*ruit would trust Ae*ruit >oh&so& with this Ae*ruit2s li(e, Drill Ser"ea&t=:

:3ell si&*e you ladies trust ea*h other so mu*h I am ma'i&" you two !art&ers=: ?eo& loo'ed ba*' to >oh&so&, :3hat this .$'#S Ae*ruit >oh&so& is that you are &ow res!o&sible (or Ae*ruit M*Gre"or a&d he is res!o&sible (or you= <&less you are seei&" the Do*, you two are &ot to be se!arated, !eriod=: :To see how well you trust ea*h other, your s*ores will be re-ersed also= No matter what we do, Ae*ruit M*Gre"or2s s*ores will *ou&t (or Ae*ruit >oh&so&= 3hate-er sorry wea' ass s*ore Ae*ruit >oh&so& ma'es, it will *ou&t (or Ae*ruit M*Gre"or= Is this u&derstood=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t,: >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& shouted i& u&iso&. :Good= Now Ae*ruit >oh&so& would you li'e me to remo-e that ro!e,: ?eo& as'ed, his &ose o&*e a"ai& tou*hi&" >oh&so&2s &ose. :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: :.&d you trust me Ae*ruit=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: 3ithout loo'i&" DI ?eo& !ulled out his ;CBar a&d *ut the ro!e at >oh&so&2s stoma*h. >oh&so& did &ot e-e& ha-e time to bli&'. :Ae*ruit >oh&so&, I2m &ot e-e& "oi&" to loo', are you still dry=: :Drill Ser"ea&t, )es Drill Ser"ea&t=: :Good= 3e2re "oi&" to ma'e a ma& out o( you yet Ae*ruit >oh&so&= Now "o u&tie your !art&er a&d (all i&=: Iui*'ly >oh&so& we&t to >o&atha& a&d u&tied the ro!e (rom arou&d his waist. The o&ly thi&" "oi&" throu"h >o&atha&2s mi&d was that it was "oi&" to be a lo&" twel-e wee's. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter # ?ast Missio& :So whe& did you two (irst meetB: :I2m sorry Torres,: >o&atha& said startled out o( his daydream, :I was somewhere else. 3hat did you sayB: :3he& did you two (irst meet,: Torres as'ed a"ai&. :Three a&d a hal( years a"o. >oh&so& a&d I were o& lea-e i& .tla&ta. 3e de*ided to "o out a&d (i&d some "irls to !arty with. >o&i was our waitress.: :)ea, till she !oured a beer o& your head,: >oh&so& said, lau"hi&". :Hey, that2s how I '&ew she li'ed me,: >o&atha& said with a hu"e "ri& o& his (a*e.:)ou were +ust +ealous she !aid atte&tio& to me a&d &ot you.: :The hell I was,: >oh&so& s&a!!ed ba*'.:I had all the "irls that &i"ht !al=: :Not all o( them. I had my si"hts set o& >o&i a&d you '&ow me, o&*e you2re i& my si"hts you2re mi&e.: >oh&so& rolled his eyes a&d lea&ed ba*' i& his *hair. He sat (orward a"ai& a&d said, :3hy do&2t you tell Torres why she !oured that beer o& youB: :)ea, why did she !our that beer o& youB This ou"ht to be "ood.: >o&atha& too' a dee! breath as he stirred the (ire the three o( them were sitti&" arou&d. . *ou!le o( .rmy Ser"ea&ts wal'ed by a&d "a-e them dirty loo's. :)ou '&ow i( the .rmy would +ust !ull out a&d let us *ome i&@ the or!s will *lea& this !la*e u! i& &o time.: :Bos&ia is a N.TO !roblem &ot a <.S. !roblem,: >oh&so& a&swered without thi&'i&".:Do&2t try a&d *ha&"e the sub+e*t either, S2I-- IT=: :O'ay, o'ay,: >o&atha& a&swered lau"hi&".:See Torres, lo-er boy here wa&ted to "et laid. For some reaso& I let him tal' me i&to hitti&" the bars early. Sixtee& hu&dred hours early to be exa*t. 3e we&t to this bar where a lot o( "irls (rom Geor"ia Te*h we&t to a(ter *lass.: :>o&i was there waitressi&" to ear& extra mo&ey while she "ot her de"ree. I& wal's two *o*'y Mari&es i& u&i(orm a&d she2s the o&ly waitress (or the &ext hour. 3ell, you2-e see& how hot >o&i is, so I started hitti&" o& her.:

:I2m "etti&" &owhere with her a&d (ast. I mea& i*e *old. Mea&while, >oh&so& is hitti&" o& e-ery !ie*e o( ass wal'i&" by. I do mea& e-ery !ie*e o( ass.: :Now you2re lyi&",: >oh&so& !rotested. :3ho2s telli&" the story hereB: :3ell +ust "et it ri"ht,: >oh&so& s&a!!ed ba*'.:)ou2re "oi&" to ma'e !oor Torres here thi&' I2m a (u*'i&2 (a".: :3ell, you did hit o& that o&e *hi*' who tur&ed out to be a "uy so I2m &ot wro&".: :That bit*h was also dressed li'e a woma& so that does&2t *ou&t,: >oh&so& s&a!!ed as he sat u!, de(e&di&" himsel(. :?o&" hair does &ot *ou&t (or dressi&" li'e a woma&. Now, may I (i&ish my story !leaseB: :)es Sir. Sorry Sir,: >oh&so& said sar*asti*ally. :Tha&' you. Now where was IB Oh yea, %ohn(on,: >o&atha& stressed >oh&so&2s &ame a&d "a-e >oh&so& a loo' to e&sure &o more i&terru!tio&s, :was hitti&" o& e-ery !ie*e o( ass. He e-e& "ot a (ew ta'ers. He wa&ted to lea-e a&d I said sure be*ause I *ould&2t ta'e a&ymore o( Miss I*e Iuee& Bit*h2s attitude.: :I did&2t '&ow >o&i was wal'i&" behi&d me whe& I said that. She heard me o-er the loud musi* too. >o&i wal'ed arou&d to sta&d i& (ro&t o( me, smiled, a&d !oured a& e&tire !it*her o( beer all o-er me slowly.: :Dam&, that is *old,: Torres lau"hed.:But how did you "et her to "o out with you a(ter thatB: :3ell o&e o( the "irls >oh&so& too' ba*' to the hotel was i& *lass with >o&i a&d told me where to (i&d her. I "ot her address a&d by lu&*htime the &ext day I had se&t her te& do1e& roses. I se&t a &ote stati&" I would *o&ti&ue to se&d a do1e& roses e-ery hour u&til she a"reed to ha-e di&&er with me a&d let me a!olo"i1e to her.: :It too' a&other ei"ht do1e& be(ore she *alled me a&d a"reed to di&&er. It was a late di&&er but I too' what I *ould "et. .t di&&er I ex!lai&ed why I a*ted li'e a +er' a&d how sorry I was. I told her we were o& lea-e (or two wee's a&d where I was statio&ed. I tur&ed the *harm o& to 3ar! &i&e s!eed.: :Be(ore I '&ew it she was lau"hi&" a&d started to o!e& u!. I was -ery !olite a&d a*ted li'e a "e&tlema& the rest o( the &i"ht. 3e we&t (or a wal' a&d tal'ed (or hours. She as'ed 0uestio&s a&d I a&swered them ho&estly. 3he& I too' her ba*' to her dorm I as'ed (or a&other date. She said yes.: :I waited (or her outside her *lasses a&d wal'ed her to her &ext *lass e-eryday that we were i& tow&. >oh&so& was !retty mu*h o& his ow&.: :)ea Torres,: >oh&so& i&terru!ted, :he (or"ot what it mea&t to &e-er lea-e a ma& behi&d.: :Fu*' you Bubba,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*'.:)ou did&2t &eed me to !i*' u! *hi*'s either. Do&2t let him (ool you Torres@ >oh&so& here was ma'i&" u! (or lost time bei&" o-erseas. He was i& the hotel room most o( the time, a&d &ot always with the same woma&.: >oh&so& lea&ed ba*' a&d smiled as he !la*ed his ha&ds behi&d his head, !roud o( what >o&atha& had +ust stated. :.&yway,: >o&atha& *o&ti&ued, :a(ter two years o( *alls, letter writi&", a&d brie( -isits whe& o& lea-e, she a"reed to marry me.: :Does she '&ow exa*tly what you do i& the or!sB: >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& loo'ed at ea*h other a&d lau"hed. :)ou mea& does she '&ow I2m a *old blooded 'iller i& the S&i!er di-isio&B )es she '&ows, I told her that o& the (irst date. I did&2t wa&t to start o(( by lyi&" to her.: :.&d she2s o'ay with thatB: :No= She wa&ts me to (i&ish a&d the& "et out. She says ei"ht years is a lo&" time. I mea& these !ast se-e& a&d a hal( years ha-e bee& "reat but I thi&' I wa&t out too.: :3hat,: >oh&so& blurted out sho*'ed.:.re you seriousB .(ter all we2-e bee& throu"h you wa&t to lea-e.: :?oo' buddy, I ha-e a (amily to loo' a(ter. I do&2t wa&t my *hild "rowi&" u! without a (ather. I ha-e six mo&ths le(t a&d the& I2m out.: :)ea but that2s a lo&" way o((, you two are&2t ha-i&" 'ids (or a (ew years,: >oh&so& !rotested.

:Not a&y more,: >o&atha& said smili&". :Bullshit=: :No!e. Dead serious. I +ust (ou&d out this mor&i&" whe& I *alled home.: :3ow ma&,: Torres said.: o&"ratulatio&s= So how (ar is sheB: :>ust ha!!e&ed be(ore we le(t (or here,: >o&atha& said with a& e-e& bi""er "ri& o& his (a*e tha& be(ore. :But you *a& ha-e a 'id a&d still be i& the or!s, why do you ha-e to lea-e,: Torres as'ed, his mood *ha&"i&" (rom a !lay(ul o&e to a sad o&e.:3hat about usB 3e2re your (amily too. 3e "ot your ba*'. )ou trust us do&2t youB: :Torres, you ha-e bee& with our u&it &ow (or what, six mo&thsB: :)ea.: :There has &e-er bee& a 0uestio& o( my trusti&" you "uys. <&til I "ot married the or!s was the o&ly (amily I had. I '&ow I ha-e a home here but we both '&ow I2m &ot "oi&" to "et a& o((i*e +ob i& the or!s.: :.s lo&" as I2m i& the or!s they are "oi&" to 'ee! assi"&i&" me missio&s li'e this o&e. I2m always "oi&" to be !ut i&to *ombat situatio&s. That mea&s I *ould die out here.: :But you *a& easily die i& the streets too,: >oh&so& said. :I '&ow, I '&ow. ?oo', &othi&" is set i& sto&e yet. >ust I !romised >o&i a(ter this missio& is o-er we2ll tal' about our o!tio&s whe& I "et home.: :Dam& >oh&&y, you sure '&ow how to 'ill a mood,: Torres said. :3hat do you ex!e*t (rom a S&i!er, dumb assB .ll he does is 'ill. Shit= I *a&2t ta'e a&ymore o( this, I2m hitti&" the sa*',: >oh&so& said as he stood u!.:I ho!e you *ome to your se&ses i& the mor&i&".: 9 9 9 9 Mor&i&" *ame too soo&. It was still -ery dar' whe& >o&atha&, Torres, a&d >oh&so& were ready to lea-e. There was a N.TO li"ht armor *o&-oy *omi&" throu"h the *am! i& (i(tee& mi&utes. The *o&-oy was deli-eri&" su!!lies to all the u&its s!read out i& Bos&ia. >o&atha&, Torres, a&d >oh&so&, or the &$'T0 T,I", as they *alled themsel-es, are "oi&" to stow away o& the *o&-oy a&d disa!!ear i&to the woods *loser to the hea-y (i"hti&". . he*he& Ge&eral was tau&ti&" the .meri*a&s i&to (i"hti&". His me& had bee& ta'i&" !o! shots at soldiers a&d the& ru&&i&" away. The Ge&eral *laimed to ha-e a lar"e stora"e o( S.M2s a&d Sti&"ers a&d was &ot a(raid to use them. Some .dmiral somewhere de*ided to *all the Ge&eral2s blu(( a&d se&t a !air o( F/.C%J Hor&ets to try a&d "et some aerial !hoto"ra!hs o( the base. The Ge&eral de*ided to show he mea&t busi&ess. He (ired o& the Hor&ets. O&e "ot away a&d o&e was shot dow&. The !ilot, a!tai& Bar&ett o( the Mari&e or!s, was ta'e& !riso&er. . wee' later N.TO re*ei-ed a -ideo ta!e o( the !ilot bei&" tortured. O&e by o&e he was bei&" !assed arou&d i& a *ir*le, with a hood o-er his (a*e, as soldiers beat him. They tied him to a stri!ed s!ri&" mattress a&d hoo'ed it to a battery *har"er. They sho*'ed him re!eatedly u&til he soiled himsel(. The& the Ge&eral *ame o& the s*ree&.:This is what will ha!!e& to e-ery .meri*a& that *omes i&to my ha&ds. )ou ha-e bee& told to lea-e this *ou&try. This is &ot your (i"ht. )our !ilot will stay ali-e as lo&" as he *a& hold out to the torture. )ou will &ot *ome &ear us a"ai&. Next time I release ta!e to the world.: The Trio2s +ob was to "ather e&ou"h i&telli"e&*e so that the Na-y SE.?S *ould retrie-e the a!tai&. :Torres, did you ta'e *are o( the 2last ri"hts2 boxB: :)ea, I did >oh&&y. ?o*'ed her u! a&d "a-e it to the olo&el.: :Good.: The 2?ast Ai"hts2 box was a box where ea*h ma& !ut i& e-erythi&" that ide&ti(ied him, wallets, ri&"s, a&d do" ta"s. They ea*h wrote a letter to someo&e ba*' home as a "oodCbye letter. They lo*'ed it i&side a .6$ *al ammo box a&d had the hi"hest ra&'i&" O((i*er o& the base holds o&to the box u&til they "ot ba*'.

:)o, >oh&&y,: >oh&so& *ame +o""i&" toward >o&atha& a&d Torres.: o&-oy is *omi&". Got e-erythi&" ready to "o. )our ri(le2s se*ure a&d &o o&e '&ows about where we2re "oi&".: :Good. ?et2s do this. ?oo' out Ge&eral, here *omes Death.: :Here *omes Death,: Torres re!eated. :Fu*'i&2 ., here *omes Death,: >oh&so& *himed i&. The three o( them wal'ed o-er to the su!!ly te&t a&d wat*hed as the soldiers u&loaded the su!!lies. They +ust stood there wat*hi&", with hard loo's o& their (a*es. They were wat*hi&" e-erythi&" a&d e-eryo&e arou&d them, loo'i&" (or the sli"htest thi&" that mi"ht be out o( !la*e. .& .rmy Ser"ea&t Ma+or saw the three +ust sta&di&" there, &ot willi&" to hel!. He wal'ed o-er to the trio a&d said, :3hy do&2t you three "et i& "ear a&d hel! u&load those su!!lies.: :Ex*use me Ser"ea&t Ma+or, but that2s *lose e&ou"h,: >oh&so& said as he raised his MC%4 sli"htly, :Please do&2t *ome a&y *loser.: >o&atha& loo'ed strai"ht, his ba*' to the Ser"ea&t Ma+or. 3ithout bei&" distra*ted (rom his s*a&&i&" he a&swered the Ser"ea&t Ma+or2s u&as'ed 0uestio&. :Sorry about this Ser"ea&t Ma+or but who we are is &o&e o( your *o&*er&. .&d you2re &ot *leared to s!ea' with us. .s dumb as that may sou&d, it2s our orders. Now i( you will "o about your busi&ess we will be "o&e whe& the *o&-oy lea-es. For your sa'e, that2s all that &eeds to be said.: The Ser"ea&t Ma+or +ust stood there dumb(ou&ded@ he did &ot '&ow what to say. 3he& the Ser"ea&t Ma+or saw >oh&so& raise his MC%4 to his shoulder the Ser"ea&t Ma+or too' the hi&t to lea-e. He *ould &ot *halle&"e their ra&' be*ause they wore &o i&si"&ia whatsoe-er. The Ser"ea&t Ma+or tur&ed o& his heels a&d wal'ed away. 9 9 9 9 The ride to the i&sertio& !oi&t too' lo&"er tha& ex!e*ted. The i&sertio& was sim!le. .t the lar"est N.TO (ield base two thirds o( the remai&i&" su!!lies was to be u&loaded. Duri&" the u&loadi&" the trio was to ma'e their way to the ed"e o( the base a&d disa!!ear i&to the woods. O&*e "o&e, they were to head to the base where the F/.C%J was shot dow&. Their (irst a&d (oremost missio& was to "ather as mu*h i&telli"e&*e o& the base as !ossible. a!tai& Bar&ett was belie-ed to be dead by &ow so "oi&" i& to retrie-e the body was a -ery dista&t se*o&d. I& >o&atha&2s mi&d, howe-er, it was the exa*t o!!osite. Dead or ali-e, his (irst missio& was to bri&" a!tai& Bar&ett home. E-erythi&" they &eeded was *arried o& them. >ust li'e a SE.? team, o&*e they ra& out o( ammo it was o-er. 3he& &i"ht (ell it was so dar' i& the woods you *ould barley see o&e (oot i& (ro&t o( you. That2s +ust how >o&atha& li'ed it. They wal'ed -ery slowly a&d *are(ully. The bad thi&" was that (i"hti&" had bee& "oi&" o& i& this la&d (or well o-er twe&ty years. That mea&s, o-er the years, so ma&y la&d mi&es a&d booby tra!s had bee& set that they were e-erywhere. .s the three wal'ed they wal'ed i& a strai"ht li&e. >o&atha& is -ery stri*t a&d &ot ma&y !eo!le wa&t to wor' with him be*ause o( it. He made Torres a&d >oh&so& wear the exa*t same shoes as him. Same si1e, same style, same tread. He always wal'ed out (irst a&d the other two ste!!ed i& his tra*'s. This way a tra*'er *ould &ot '&ow exa*tly how ma&y soldiers they were tra*'i&". It may be a *rude !oi&t but it always 'e!t them ali-e. Na-i"ati&" i& the dar' was &o easy tas' either. It too' a lot o( !atie&*e a&d by daybrea' the trio was at the *om!ou&d. They set u! their loo'out !ost a&d sur-eilla&*e e0ui!me&t. Torres was ta'i&" as ma&y !hotos (or i&telli"e&*e as he *ould a&d u!loaded them o& a satellite si"&al ba*' to the .rmy base. >o&atha& sat at the base o( a tree a&d laid his ri(le i& his la!. He !ulled a (ew lar"e bra&*hes o-er himsel(, hidi&" (rom a&yo&e &ot loo'i&" *losely. He lea&ed his head ba*' a&d be(ore he *ould *ou&t to te& he was aslee!. :)ou '&ow >oh&so&, I do&2t see how he *ould (all aslee! that (ast,: Torres said !oi&ti&" toward >o&atha&. :Guess it2s all those years slee!i&" i& the streets. )ou2d be sur!rised at most o( the stu(( he *a& do,: >oh&so& !aused, :or eat.:

:3hy do&2t you two "irls tal' a little louder. I wa&t to ha-e a shoot out early mor&i&" i&stead o( to&i"ht.: :Sorry >oh&&y,: >oh&so& a!olo"i1ed. :>ust "i-e me three hours o( slee! the& you *a& ha-e a tur& >oh&so&. Torres you *a& "o last. Now 1i! it a&d let me '&ow i( a&ythi&" *ha&"es.: Neither o&e o( them said a word. They we&t ba*' to setti&" thi&"s u!. .s Torres was ta'i&" !i*tures, >oh&so& was setti&" u! tri! wires. I( they had to ma'e a 0ui*' es*a!e they were "oi&" to ma'e sure &o o&e *ould (ollow. 3ith e-eryo&e doi&" what &eeded to be do&e the time we&t !retty 0ui*'ly. Ni"ht was a!!roa*hi&" a&d as soo& as it "ot dar' they would mo-e. :>oh&so&, the tra!s set,: >o&atha& as'ed as he was double *he*'i&" his "ear. :)u!. Got e-ery !ossible *hase route *o-ered.: :Good. Torres, a&y *ha&"e o& where a!tai& Bar&ett is bei&" heldB: :No, but we2-e bee& "i-e& orders &ot to "o i&. <&less, o( *ourse, we are ta'i&" hea-y (ire,: Torres a&swered with a smile. :.s (ar as I2m *o&*er&ed, we are ta'i&" (ire i& thirty mi&utes. I wa&t to ma'e this as 0ui*' a&d !ai&less as !ossible. I& a&d out. I wa&t you two to do a double *he*' o& e-erythi&". 3e2re o&ly "o&&a "et o&e shot at this.: Sile&*e (illed the air as e-eryo&e '&ew what they had to do. Ni"ht "o""les o& their (a*es to sile&*ers o& the wea!o&s were *he*'ed o-er a&d o-er a"ai&. 3he& it was time >o&atha& "ot hi"h i&to a tree while >oh&so& a&d Torres we&t dow& to the *om!ou&d. There was a !at*h o& >oh&so&2s a&d Torres2s u&i(orms that *a& o&ly be see& by a Starli"ht S*o!e. This allowed >o&atha& to '&ow exa*tly where they were i&side the *om!ou&d. The tree >o&atha& !i*'ed made a "reat s&i!er !er*h. .&d with the sile&*er o& his ri(le there was &o (lash to tra*e. >o&atha& laid there wat*hi&" as >oh&so& a&d Torres made it i&to the *om!ou&d, setti&" remote ex!losi-es as they made their way to a!tai& Bar&ett. :Death, Si*'le O&e is i& !ositio&,: >oh&so& said as he *rou*hed a"ai&st a wall a*ross (rom where a!tai& Bar&ett was bei&" held. :Ao"er that Si*'le O&e. Si*'le Two "i-e me status.: :Sta&dCby o&e,: Torres whis!ered. >o&atha& mo-ed his ri(le to where Torres should ha-e bee&. .s he s*a&&ed the area he *ould see Torres *rou*hed dow& about two buildi&"s away (rom where he should be. He *ould also see two soldiers sta&di&" arou&d the *or&er smo'i&". This was "oi&" to tur& i&to a serious situatio&. :Si*'le Two, Death. I "ot two bad "uys o& the other side o( your !ositio& smo'i&". Ba*'s are to you. ?oo's as i( threat will lea-e as soo& as they are (i&ished. I( T0IS does "o dow& we do it 0uiet. Draw your blade i& res!o&se.: Torres drew his '&i(e (rom the side o( his ri"ht boot. He held it ready to "ut a&yo&e who *ame arou&d the *or&er. >o&atha& would ha-e to ma'e the *all. He 'e!t his si"hts o& the two me&. They (i&ished their *i"arettes a&d lit u! a&other. The lo&"er they stayed there the better the *ha&*es o( them "etti&" *au"ht. :Si*'le Two, Death. Need you to *ause a distra*tio&. Throw a ro*' away (rom you. I2ll ta'e out the lead, you "ut the tail.: Torres !i*'ed u! a ro*' a&d tossed it i&to a shadow, ma'i&" the two soldiers tur& arou&d 0ui*'ly. They both dro!!ed their *i"arettes a&d raised their .;CK7s. They wal'ed slowly toward where Torres tossed the ro*'. >ust as they !assed Torres, >o&atha& (ired a shot, hitti&" the lead soldier betwee& the eyes, a&d 0ui*'ly loaded the &ext rou&d be(ore the soldier (ell dead to the "rou&d. Torres had the other soldier lyi&" dead o& the "rou&d with his body slit a*ross his stoma*h. Torres stood u! a&d !ulled the bodies i&to the shadows where &o o&e *ould see them. He !i*'ed both soldiers o( a&y -alue, alo&" with their .;s. :Death, Si*'le Two is "ood to "o. Now I ha-e a& .; (or the !a*'a"e.:

:Ao"er that Si*'le Two. ?et2s "et the !a*'a"e a&d "et the 0$-- out o( Dod"e.: .s 0ui*'ly a&d 0uietly as !ossible >oh&so& a&d Torres bro'e i&to the buildi&" where a!tai& Bar&ett was held. The sile&*ers allowed them to 'ill e-eryo&e i& the buildi&" without bei&" dete*ted. The trio made their way out o( the *om!lex, slowly. a!tai& Bar&ett was beate& -ery badly but still wa&ted to (i"ht his way out, a(ter all, he is a Mari&e. >o&atha& 'e!t wat*hi&" the *om!lex to see i( a&yo&e '&ew what was "oi&" o&. So (ar so "ood. :Death, Si*'le O&e a&d Two are o& the yellow bri*' road, headi&" toward O1.: :Ao"er that. Blowi&" the *om!ou&d i& te&.: : o!y Death,: >oh&so& a&swered.:See you at the extra*t.: >o&atha& *ou&ted to te& slowly the& a*ti-ated the remote deto&ator. He !ushed the little red butto& that made the bombs ex!lode. O&e by o&e the bombs we&t o(( i& (i-e se*o&ds i&ter-als. >o&atha& smiled as he wat*hed the soldiers s*urry arou&d li'e a&ts. E-erythi&" was i& total *haos. No o&e seemed to '&ow what to do (irst or where to "o. The (i&al bomb we&t o(( at the armory. The se*o&dary ex!losio&s !ro-ed that the missio& was well worth the ris'. Sti&"er missiles a&d "re&ades ex!loded *ausi&" e-eryo&e to dro! to the "rou&d. .s >o&atha& too' o&e last loo' arou&d throu"h his s*o!e he *ould &ot belie-e what a!!eared be(ore him, the mai& ma& himsel(, Ge&eral Ba1da. This is the o!!ortu&ity o( a li(etime. Ge&eral Ba1da had bee& o& a& u&o((i*ial assassi&atio& list &ow (or o-er a year. There was &o way >o&atha& *ould !ass u! this "olde& o!!ortu&ity. He too' *are(ul aim. :Steady,: he said to himsel( as he slowed his breathi&" dow&. 3he& he "ot the si"ht he wa&ted >o&atha& s0uee1ed the tri""er. The bullet le(t the ri(le without a sou&d. 9 9 9 9 :Do you reali1e I *a& ha-e you *ourt marshaled (or what you2-e do&e Gu&&y= No matter what you T0I#3, you did ex*eed your orders= . SE.? team was wor'i&" out a !la& based o& the sur-eilla&*e i&tel you were se&di&". Those were your orders. S+,V$I--'# $ I#T$- "#-*= 3hat i& the hell were you thi&'i&"B: :Sir,: >o&atha& res!o&ded, :I thou"ht about what was best (or the or!s. I saw the o!!ortu&ity to bri&" home a Mari&e (rom behi&d e&emy li&es a&d I too' it. The or!s has tau"ht me to (i"ht a&d I &" lo-e the wor', Sir.: :Do&2t you (u*'i&2 "et *ute with me so&= .&d Ge&eral Ba1da, why did you shoot at himB: : olo&el, you '&ow as well as I do that Ge&eral Ba1da was o& the "-IST." 3e both '&ow that it is my duty as a S&i!er to ta'e out a&yo&e o& that list that *omes i&to my *rosshairs.: :3ell, sorry to i&(orm you Gu&&y but you &" #"T "et *redit (or that 'ill. I& (a*t, the he*s "et *redit (or e-erythi&" you did, si&*e we were&2t su!!ose to be there. Be*ause o( that I *a& &ot re*omme&d you (or a medal. .ll I *a& do is ho!e your a*tio&s *a&*els out a *ourt marshal. )ou ha-e, what, six mo&ths le(tB: :)es Sir.: :I( you2re lu*'y you2ll s!e&d the remai&der o( that time behi&d a des'. )our tra&s!ort lea-es i& o&e hour. )ou better be o& it. Dismissed.: >o&atha& saluted, :.ye aye Sir,: a&d s!u& o& his heels to lea-e. :O&e more thi&" Gu&&y.: >o&atha& sto!!ed dead i& his tra*'s a&d tur&ed ba*' arou&d.:SirB: :That was o&e hell o( a shot. The world is better o(( without that bastard /+T you did&2t hear that (rom me.: :)es Sir. Tha&' you Sir.: 9 9 9 9 ha!ter 5 First I&trodu*tio& :.&d thirty *e&ts is your *ha&"e,: >o&atha& said as he ha&ded the lady (a*i&" him her *ha&"e.

:Tha&' you Mam2 a&d ha-e a "reat day.: :Tha&' you you&" ma&,: she re!lied. :)ou '&ow I2m real "lad the store was able to stay o!e&. How is Mr. Her&a&de1 doi&" these daysB: :He2s doi&" "ood,: >o&atha& re!lied so(tly. :He2s mo-ed dow& to Miami a&d lo-es it.: :Good. I ho!e you li'e New )or',: she said as she wal'ed toward the door.:)ou tell >o&i hello (or me.: :)es Mam2 I will.: >o&atha& lau"hed as the door *losed. I& a *ity where e-eryo&e is su!!ose to be so rude, so (ar e-eryo&e he2d met had bee& (rie&dly. 3he& he was dis*har"ed (rom the Mari&es (our mo&ths a"o he was &ot sure what he was "oi&" to do. >illia&, his dau"hter, was bor& three mo&ths later. His buddies (rom the or!s threw >o&atha& a&d >o&i a hu"e !arty to *elebrate. Duri&" the !arty he &oti*ed that >o&i loo'ed sadde&ed. .(ter the !arty he we&t to tal' with her. :>o&atha&, I (eel alo&e here. )ou ha-e your (rie&ds that *ome by all the time but I ha-e &o o&e.: :3hat do you !ro!ose we do about that,: >o&atha& as'ed lo&"i&"ly. :I mea&, this is where I2m statio&ed.: :3ere statio&ed,: >o&i *orre*ted. :)ou are&2t i& the or!s a&ymore.: Those words hit >o&atha& hard. He really did &ot wa&t to lea-e the or!s. He lo-ed what he did, he was "ood at. >o&atha& was the best the or!s e-er trai&ed but he lo-ed >o&i more. :)ou2re ri"ht. I2m &o lo&"er i& the or!s.: >o&atha& too' a dee! breath, letti&" it out slowly. :So what would ma'e you ha!!y >o&iB: >o&i loo'ed >o&atha& i& the eyes. Her a&swer was o& the ti! o( her to&"ue but she was a(raid o( what her husba&d would say. She loo'ed o-er at >illia& lyi&" i& her *rib. :>illia& &eeds to be arou&d (amily, real (amily. I &eed to be arou&d (amily >o&atha&. I *a&2t ha&dle raisi&" >illia& alo&e.: :But you2re &ot alo&e.: :)es I am,: >o&i s&a!!ed. :I( you2re &ot at the base with the boys the& you2re out ha-i&" dri&'s with them. I doubt that will *ha&"e. )ou ha-e&2t e-e& (ou&d a +ob yet. Mo&ey is "oi&" to "et ti"ht, (ast.: >o&atha& '&ew where this was "oi&". :)ou wa&t to "o home to New )or' do&2t you,: >o&atha& as'ed, his head hu&" low, the a&swer ha&"i&" i& the air. :)es,: >o&i res!o&ded with tears i& her eyes. >o&atha& !ulled >o&i to him, hu""i&" her *lose. How *ould he say &o to herB >o&atha& thou"ht that si&*e he had &othi&" to tie him dow& a&ymore the& why &ot ta'e >o&i home. >o&i2s u&*le, Geor"e Her&a&de1 ow&ed a *or&er store i& the &ei"hborhood where >o&i "rew u!. The *or&er store has bee& i& the (amily (or twe&tyC(i-e years. Geor"e was ready to retire a&d &o o&e i& the (amily wa&ted it. Geor"e did &ot wa&t to sell it u&less he had to. >o&atha& was his last *ha&*e to 'ee! it i& the (amily. O& the (irst &i"ht i& their &ew a!artme&t, >o&i i&-ited her u&*le o-er (or di&&er. She was "oi&" to try a&d hel! *o&-i&*e >o&atha& i&to ta'i&" o-er the store. :)ou do&2t ha-e to worry about ha-i&" a boss. .&d e-eryo&e is so (rie&dly arou&d here.: :<&*le Geor"e always *loses the store arou&d se-e&. Nothi&" has to *ha&"e o&*e you ta'e o-er. )ou *a& be home (or di&&er a&d s!e&d 0uality time with >illia&. It2s &e-er really busy. )ou wo&2t be o-erwhelmed.: :That2s IF I ta'e it o-er. 3e do&2t ha-e the mo&ey to start a busi&ess,: >o&atha& said, u&sure o( ta'i&" o-er the store. :That2s o'ay. )ou do&2t &eed mo&ey. I2m &ot selli&" the store to you@ I2m "i-i&" it to you.: :But would&2t you "et more mo&ey i( you sell itB: :?oo' >oh&&y, the store is a "ood busi&ess. Peo!le arou&d here de!e&d o& the store. They are ho&est !eo!le who &eed a brea' a&d I2-e always "i-e& them o&e.: :I( I sell the store, how do I '&ow the &ew ow&er wo&2t ru& it i&to the "rou&dB How will I '&ow that what I2-e built with my ow& two ha&ds wo&2t be tor& a!artB:

:How do you '&ow I wo&2t do those thi&"sB: : ause you2re &ot that 'i&d o( !erso& >o&atha&,: >o&i said, *omi&" u! behi&d >o&atha& a&d hu""i&" him. :I trust my &ie*e2s +ud"me&t,: Geor"e said, smili&" u! at >o&i. :>o&i was always my (a-orite. She is a smart a&d beauti(ul woma&.: :That she is,: >o&atha& said with a smile. :I( she *a& trust you with her li(e the& I *a& too. The store would hel! ta'e *are o( her a&d that little a&"el you *reated. )ou would be doi&" me a "reat ho&or by ta'i&" o-er the store.: >o&atha& loo'ed at >o&i. She was "lowi&" with the idea o( >o&atha& ow&i&" the store. That "low brou"ht a smile to his (a*e. He +ust wa&ted to ma'e her ha!!y. :)ou "ot a deal. I2ll do it.: Now >o&atha& had what he always wa&ted, a (amily a&d a home. >o&i was ha!!y. >illia& had other babies to !lay with. >o&i2s sister, Aa*hel, had a so&, two years old a&d a dau"hter, ele-e& mo&ths old. This was the (amily >o&i had bee& missi&". Des!ite e-erythi&" he had heard about New )or' ity, >o&atha& (ou&d it to !leasa&t. Sometimes at &i"ht he would ta'e wal's alo&e dow&tow&. It hel!ed to *lear his mi&d. He '&ew how to sur-i-e i& the streets@ it was his home, where he "rew u!. I& the three mo&ths they li-ed there &othi&" had "o&e wro&". >o&atha& thou"ht that bei&" out o( the or!s would be hard but bei&" arou&d >o&i a&d >illia& e-eryday had *ha&"ed his mi&d. >o&atha& has bee& i& *har"e o( the store &ow (or a wee'. E-eryo&e i& the &ei"hborhood seemed to '&ow >o&atha&2s story a&d *ame by to wish him lu*'. It was tur&i&" out to be a &i*e !la*e to li-e a(ter all. He was daydreami&" about the (uture whe& the bell at the door ra&", alerti&" him to a &ew *ustomer. >o&atha& loo'ed at the door a&d saw three me& weari&" sil' suits wal' i&. The two big men) have to be the mu(cle guy(, >o&atha& thou"ht to himsel(. The (hort guy mu(t be the brain(. O&e o( the mus*le me& lo*'ed the door, tur&ed o-er the *losed si"& a&d !ulled dow& the shade o& the door. : a& I hel! you "e&tleme&,: >o&atha& as'ed as he !i*'ed u! the broom. He wal'ed out (rom behi&d the *ou&ter a&d !rete&ded to swee!. :Now i( you &eed dire*tio&s, I2m a(raid I *a&2t hel! you. I2m &ew i& tow&.: :)ouse hear dat boys, he thi&'s we is lost,: the brai&s said with a ty!i*al thi*' Italia& mobster a**e&t. The other two me& lau"hed. :Geor"e, wat*h da door, mese a&d da &ew "uy here &eed t2 tal' busi&ess.: :Sorry sir but the o&ly busi&ess I ha-e is what2s o& the shel-es. So u&less you are "oi&" to buy somethi&" we do &ot ha-e a&ythi&" to tal' about.: :3ell,: the little ma& said as he stood i& (ro&t o( >o&atha&, :youse mi"ht *ha&"e youse mi&d. See I2m selli&" i&sura&*e. I re!rese&t Mr. ro&us a&d he would li'e t2 ma'e youse a o&*e i& a li(etime deal.: :?et me "uess, I !ay you mo&ey a&d you do&2t trash my store,: >o&atha& said mo*'i&"ly. :Is that how it wor'sB: :See dat boys,: the little ma& res!o&ded, :he i( a smart "uy.: :3hat is your &ame sirB: :My &amesB )ouse wa&t to '&ow my &amesB My &ames is ?ouie, 'id. 3hat2s it t2 yaB: :3ell, -ouie, i( you, 0ewie, a&d &ewie there would li'e to wal' out o( here o& your ow& two (eet the& I su""est you do it &ow. I do &ot a&d will &ot be bullied by a&yo&e.: :Oh really,: ?ouie s&a!!ed. :Is dat a (a*t &ow=: .&"er showed o& ?ouie2s (a*e as it be"a& to tur& red. :BO)S=: Both me& !ulled out a olt (ortyC(i-e !istol a&d !oi&ted them at >o&atha&. ?ouie was still sta&di&" dire*tly i& (ro&t o( >o&atha&. :3ould youse li'e t2 !ay me &ow or do I let da boys ha-e some (u&,: ?ouie as'ed as he stood as tall as he *ould betwee& the two me&, "ri&&i&" loudly. :.re they shar! shooters,: >o&atha& as'ed *almly, &ot !hased at all by ha-i&" "u&s !oi&ted at him.

:.re dey shar! shooters,: ?ouie re!eated lau"hi&", mo*'i&"ly, "rowi&" a&"rier with all o( >o&atha&2s 0uestio&s. :.re dey shar! shooters,: he as'ed a"ai&, u&able to *o&trol his a&"er, wal'i&" u! *lose to >o&atha&. :3hat da (u*' 'i&d o( 0uestio& is datB I "ot two (u*'i&2 "u&s !oi&ted at youse a&d all youse *a& as' is are dey shar! shooters. The (u*'i&2 &er-e o& this 'id. )ouse must really be (u*'i&2 stu!id=: :No but you are,: >o&atha& a&swered with a smile. >o&atha& "rabbed ?ouie a&d !ulled him dow& to the "rou&d behi&d a shel(. The "uys o!e&ed (ire without thi&'i&" a&d em!tied both ma"a1i&es. .s the shooti&" sto!!ed >o&atha& !o!!ed u! a&d shot both "uys i& the shoulder with ?ouie2s (ortyC(i-e !istol. >o&atha& !i*'ed u! ?ouie a&d !ulled him i& (ro&t, usi&" him as a huma& shield. He held ?ouie by the throat so i( ?ouie tried to "et away all >o&atha& had to do was s0uee1e. :Now do&2t you thi&' your dumb ass boys were +ust a little tri""er ha!!y,: >o&atha& as'ed !lay(ully. :I bet ri"ht &ow the *o!s are o& their way.: :)ouse ma'i&" a /IG (u*'i&2 mista'e youse little shit,: ?ouise shouted as he tried to s0uirm (ree. :Do&2t youse '&ow who I amB: :)ea I do,: >o&atha& a&swered with a smile. :)ou2re a dead ma& i( your boys "o (or their "u&s a"ai&. I do&2t s*are easy a&d I don4t "i-e i& to bullies. )ou2re wasti&" your time.: :Fu*' youse 'id.: ?ouie s!it at >o&atha& but it o&ly (ell o& his ow& *hi&. :*"+S$ F+ 3I#4 &$'&=: >o&atha& s0uee1ed ?ouie2s &e*'. He lea&ed i&to ?ouie2s ear a&d said, :.(ter today, i( you e-er *ome ba*' here a"ai& I2ll 'ill you. That2s a !romise.: >o&atha& let "o o( ?ouie2s &e*' a&d s!u& him arou&d. He !u&*hed ?ouie hard i& the rib *a"e a&d "rabbed his arm be(ore ?ouie (ell. He twisted ?ouie2s arm a&d the& bro'e it. >o&atha& !u&*hed ?ouie hard o& the &ose a&d bro'e that too. This time >o&atha& let ?ouie (all to the "rou&d. 3ith the three me& lyi&" i&+ured o& the "rou&d, >o&atha& 'e!t the "u& !oi&ted at them. It did &ot ta'e lo&" (or the !oli*e to show u!. They 'i*'ed o!e& the door a&d saw >o&atha& !oi&ti&" the "u& at the "uys o& the (loor. :Put it dow&,: the lead O((i*er shouted as he aimed his "u& at >o&atha&. :Put it dow& &ow=: :O'ay O((i*er but I2m the ow&er o( this store,: >o&atha& a&swered *almly :P<T THE G<N DO3N=: . (ortyC(i-e ma"a1i&e is hea-y a&d will usually slide out o( the "u& with ease o& its ow& whe& the release butto& is !ushed. >o&atha& !ushed the release a&d the ma"a1i&e (ell to the (loor. He slid the slide ba*' to e+e*t the rou&d i& the *hamber. :There. No more da&"er,: >o&atha& said as he let the !ie*es dro! to the (loor. He !ut his ha&ds i& the air. :Now, *ould you so 'i&dly ta'e your "u&s o(( o( me a&d !oi&t them to the "uys o& the (loor.: :Not till I "et some a&swers !al,: the O((i*er s&a!!ed. :?oo's to me li'e these "uys "ot shot a&d you2re the o&e holdi&" a smo'i&" "u&. Did I miss somethi&"B: :)ea, I2m &ot the bad "uy here.: :Oh yea,: the O((i*er lau"hed to himsel(. :)ou must be stu!id. Do you ha-e a&y idea who these "uys areB: :O(( the to! o( my head I would ha-e to say ?arry, urly, a&d Moe,: >o&atha& a&swered. :They thou"ht they *ould *ome i&to my !la*e o( busi&ess a&d demand mo&ey. That do&2t (ly with me a&d I wa&t to !ress *har"es.: The other two O((i*ers hel!ed the three "uys to their (eet. >o&atha& *ould see &ow that these O((i*ers were o& the ta'e. They were treati&" >o&atha& as i( he was the bad "uy. It was time (or a blu((. :I do&2t thi&' !ressi&" *har"es would be a "ood idea,: the lead O((i*er said. :I mea&, this is a deli*ate situatio& we "ot here. )ou would&2t wa&t to !ut a&y o( Mr. ro&us2 boys i& +ail. It ma'es him mad. Not to me&tio& more !a!erwor' (or me. So why do&2t you +ust "et the mo&ey these "e&tleme& &eed a&d e-erybody2s ha!!y.: :So the& you2re sayi&" you will not arrest these "uys,: >o&atha& said loud a&d *lear, still holdi&" his ha&ds o-er his head.

:Boy you really are a (u*'i&2 idiot.: :No that would be you. Guess you do&2t '&ow how to read a&d s*a& a room,: >o&atha& said !oi&ti&" toward a *amera i& the *or&er. :I "ot you boys o& ta!e, with (ull audio too. I also ha-e hidde& *ameras throu"hout the store.: :)ouse "i-e me dat ta!e youse little !u&'=: :Pi!e dow& ?ouie. )ou ai&t "etti&" shit,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*'. ?ouie "rabbed the O((i*er2s "u& a&d !oi&ted it at >o&atha&. :How bout I waste youse a&d +ust ta'e da ta!eB HuhB: :."ai&, you *a&2t read shit (or brai&s. See that si"&,: >o&atha& !oi&ted to u&der the *amera, :I do&2t 'ee! the ta!es here. It2s bei&" re*orded i& a sa(e lo*atio& (ar away (rom here. So i( you 'ill me the "uy wat*hi&" this ri"ht &ow will *all the real *o!s a&d "i-e them the ta!es.: :)ouse little (u*',: ?ouie yelled. :3ell O((i*er, it2s your *all. 3e both '&ow they2ll be ba*' o& the streets i& the mor&i&". >ust su*' it u! a&d do the !a!erwor'. I( &ot the& Mr. ro&us will lose a *ou!le o( *o!s (rom his !o*'et.: :This ai&t o-er youse little (u*'. I2ll "et youse ba*' (or dis.: ?ouie tou*hed his &ose a&d (elt the blood at his li!. :Nobody draws blood (rom mese a&d li-es.: :I2ll be loo'i&" (orward to it,: >o&atha& said a&d blew ?ouie a (a'e tau&ti&" 'iss. :Oh, O((i*er, I2ll be by the statio& i& a& hour to si"& !a!ers a&d "i-e my stateme&t. I am !ressi&" *har"es. I +ust ha-e to *lea& u!.: The O((i*er !ut his "u& away a&d wal'ed u! to >o&atha&, &ose to &ose. :)ou are a dead ma&.: :My (rie&ds *all me DE.TH,: >o&atha& said *almly, :so I "uess you2re ri"ht.: The O((i*er shoo' his head a&d lau"hed to himsel(. :God dam& asshole,: is all he said as they all wal'ed out the door. 9 9 9 9 Mar*o ro&us is a tall mus*ular ma& with a short tem!er. 3he& he "ets a&"ry he li'es to hit somethi&", or more im!orta&tly, someo&e. Mar*o had +ust be*ome the boss two mo&ths earlier whe& his (ather had a massi-e heart atta*'. No&e o( the other (amilies '&ew what to thi&' o( Mar*o yet@ he is you&" a&d still has to !ro-e himsel(. Des!ite his (ather2s wishes, Mar*o "rew u! i& the streets a&d '&ew how to (i"ht but he was also a& edu*ated ma&. He ear&ed his MB. (rom Har-ard. His (ather, Mar*o Sr., use to say it was im!orta&t to ha-e a !a!er edu*atio& as well as a street edu*atio&. Mar*o had both, o( that there was &o doubt. The ro&us Family has a re!utatio& (or bei&" brutal. There is &o better way to ma'e a& exam!le out o( someo&e the& to be &o holds barred brutal. No o&e i& their ri"ht mi&d would ris' bei&" o& the re*ei-i&" e&d o( that brutality. Mar*o was ha-i&" di&&er at his (a-orite restaura&t, ?ui"i2s. It was a small hole i& the wall +oi&t that ser-ed authe&ti* Italia& (ood. . lot o( !la*es rushed the (ood, &ot !re!ari&" it *orre*tly. ?ui"i too' !ride i& his (ood a&d that2s why Mar*o Sr. e&+oyed it so mu*h. ?ui"i still ra& the !la*e a&d "a-e Mar*o >r. the same treatme&t as his (ather. 3he&e-er Mar*o was there the restaura&t was *losed. No o&e was allowed i& without Mar*o2s !ermissio&. He was sitti&" dow&, *ra*'i&" o!e& *rab *laws whe& ?ouie wal'ed i&. ?ouie swallowed hard as he thou"ht about what was *omi&". He slowly wal'ed o-er to Mar*o2s table a&d stood there sile&tly, waiti&" (or Mar*o to say somethi&". Mar*o loo'ed u! at ?ouie with a& e-il eye a&d we&t ba*' to *ra*'i&" his *rab *laws. He let ?ouie sweat a little be(ore he loo'ed u! a"ai&. :Sit da (u*' dow& a&d tell me what (u*'i&2 ha!!e&ed yesterday,: i& a& a&"ry but *ool to&e. :Tell me why I had to s!e&d a thousa&d dollars o& bail (or you a&d my &e!hewsB .&d while you2re at it, you wa&&a tell me how you let them both "et (u*'i&2 shot with your ow& "u&B Now I "otta liste& to my baby sister2s shit be*ause her boys "ot shot.: ?ouie sat there i& sile&*e, stari&" at Mar*o. :3ell,: Mar*o s&a!!ed, shouti&". :Fu*'i&2 a&swer me or I2ll 'ill you mysel(.:

:Mar*o youse "ot t2 belie-e me, it was&2t myse (ault. I did&2t thi&' der would be trouble. Dis &ew "uy did&2t seem t2 *are who youse is. He had a smart mouth o& him a&d it too' mese by sur!rise.: :Too' you by sur!rise,: Mar*o re!eated. :3hy should that sur!rise youB I se&t you i&to (u*'i&2 New )or' ity@ it2s full o( smart asses. 3hat made this "uy di((ere&tB: : ause most !eo!le do&2t "et smart whe& it *omes t2 youse (amily,: ?ouie a&swered de(e&si-ely. :Most !eo!le "et s*ared, as it should be. Dis "uy +ust stayed *ool, e-e& whe& Geor"e a&d hris !ulled out der "u&s. Dat2s whe& he ambushed mese.: :.mbushed you= 3hat the (u*' did he doB: :3ell, he uh,: ?ouie swallow a&d too' a dee! breath, letti&" it out slowly. :He "rabbed mese a&d threw mese t2 da "rou&d. De& he !i*'ed mese u! a&d used mese as a huma& shield. He sho*'ed mese be(ore brea'i&" myse arm.: :.&d your &ose,: Mar*o s&a!!ed be(ore letti&" out a dee! si"h as he whi!!ed his mouth *lea&. :O'ay ?ouie, this is what you do. )ou "o to his house a&d 'ill that bit*h wi(e o( his. Ta'e Geor"e a&d hris with you, so they *a& "et a !ie*e o( her too. I wa&t you to ta'e Gi&o to 'ee! a wat*h out a&d to (i&ish the +ob.: :)ouse "ot it boss,: ?ouie said with a smile. :3hat about da babyB: :3hat babyB: :Da so& o( a bit*h has a baby.: :;ill it,: Mar*o a&swered *oldly, :I do&2t wa&t a&yo&e i& his (amily ali-e.: :3hat about him,: ?ouie as'ed with a hi&t o( worry i& his -oi*e. :)ou ha-e your (u& with his bit*h. Gi&o will ha&dle this asshole.: Mar*o loo'ed o-er his le(t shoulder. :Gi&o, "et o-er here.: :)a boss,: Gi&o a&swered as he strolled u! behi&d Mar*o. Gi&o was the "uy Mar*o se&t whe& he wa&ted a +ob do&e ri"ht a&d whe& a *lear messa"e &eeded to be se&t. Gi&o '&eeled dow& o& Mar*o2s ri"ht side. :Gi&o, I wa&t you to do what you do best. I wa&t you to use this "uy to se&d a messa"e. ?et the boys ha-e their (u& (irst be(ore you ha-e yours. I wa&t a (u*'i&2 blood bath so bad that &o o&e would dare *halle&"e me a"ai&.: :Sure thi&" boss,: Gi&o said as he be"a& to smile. :3a&t I should 'ill this (u*'er (ast or *a& I toy with him a littleB: :See ?ouie,: Mar*o said lau"hi&" to himsel(, !oi&ti&" dow& at Gi&o, :this is why I lo-e this "uy. He lo-es his wor' but its busi&ess be(ore !leasure.: Mar*o loo'ed ba*' to Gi&o, :I2ll let you de*ide. I( you "ot the time, (u*' with him. I( &ot the& do it 0ui*', but I do&2t wa&t a&y booms.: :)ou "ot it boss.: Gi&o stood u! a&d wal'ed out the (ro&t door li'e a ma& o& a missio&. ?ouie stood u!, too' o&e last loo' at Mar*o a&d le(t without sayi&" a&other word. Geor"e a&d hris were ri"ht behi&d ?ouie. 9 9 9 9 >o&i M*Gre"or is a -ery smart a&d beauti(ul woma&. >o&atha& teases her all the time about bei&" short, o&ly (i-e (oot o&e i&*hes tall, but ha-i&" a "reat body most "uys would 'ill (or. She had lo&" brow& hair a&d lar"e dee! "ree& eyes that a !erso& *ould loose themsel-es i&. 3he&e-er >o&atha& loo'ed at >illia&, he was tha&'(ul she loo'ed li'e her mother. >o&i was !layi&" with >illia& i& the li-i&" room. The &ews was o& a&d she was waiti&" (or >o&atha& to *ome home. It was barely six o2*lo*' a&d >o&atha& did &ot *lose the store be(ore se-e&. >o&i was "lad to be ba*' home, surrou&ded by her (amily but a(ter what ha!!e&ed the day be(ore at the store, she wa&ted to lea-e. New )or' was &othi&" &ew (or >o&i@ she "rew u! arou&d "a&"s a&d the Ma(ia, >o&atha&, howe-er, did &ot. >o&i '&ew >o&atha& had it rou"her "rowi&" u! i& the streets but she also '&ew he would &e-er "i-e i& to bullies. >o&atha& did &ot '&ow the ro&us (amily a&d what they were *a!able o(. E-e& i( he did '&ow, >o&i '&ew dee! dow& i&side he still would &ot ha-e "i-e& i&. It made her worry.

>o&i was tryi&" to "et >illia& to *rawl to her. >illia& li'ed bei&" o& the (loor, e-e& thou"h she did&2t *rawl mu*h, it was &ot li'e how other babies *rawl. .t (i-e mo&ths, she *rawled arou&d -ery low to the "rou&d. >o&i swore >o&atha& was tea*hi&" >illia& the :S&i!er rawl.: >illia& loo'ed a lot li'e >o&i, but she *ould see a lot o( >o&atha& i& her too. .s she wat*hed >illia& !lay with her (ather2s do" ta"s a *old *hill *ame o-er her. She sat u! a&d loo'ed toward the (ro&t door. .t that mome&t e-erythi&" seemed to "o i&to slow motio& as the (ro&t door was 'i*'ed o!e&. >o&i +um!ed to !rote*t >illia&, s*oo!i&" her u! o(( the (loor a&d holdi&" her ti"ht. I& wal'ed (our me& i& suits. Ai"ht away >o&i '&ew who they were. Gi&o *losed the door behi&d them, sta&di&" "uard. ?ouie loo'ed >o&i u! a&d dow& a&d "ot a hard o& i&sta&tly. He smiled as he wal'ed o-er toward >o&i. :God dam& youse (i&e,: ?ouie said with a smile, li*'i&" his li!s as a hu&"er (illed his eyes. :3ell boys, I "et t2 (u*' dis bit*h (irst. Get her u!.: >o&i s*reamed, :No,: as Geor"e a&d hris li(ted her o&to her (eet. hris !ulled >illia& out o( >o&i2s arms. >illia& was *ryi&" loudly so hris threw her with all his mi"ht at the (ro&t door. 3he& she hit the door, she sto!!ed *ryi&". The blow had *rushed her s'ull, 'illi&" her i&sta&tly. :Hello bitch): ?ouie said sta&di&" i& (ro&t o( >o&i, !ulli&" out a swit*hblade '&i(e. :?et2s see dat (i&e body o( youse.: ?ouie "rabbed her blouse a&d be"a& ri!!i&" it o(( with his '&i(e. >o&i tried to stru""le a&d ma&a"ed to 'i*' ?ouie i& the shi&. :)ouse should&2t ha-e do&e dat.: ?ouie made a (ist a&d !u&*hed >o&i as hard as he *ould i& the &ose, brea'i&" it. :That2s (or myse &ose.: ?ouie li(ted >o&i2s head u! a&d saw a bloody mess a*ross her (a*e. He too' the '&i(e a&d *ut o(( >o&i2s bra, ex!osi&" her (irm to&e breast. :3O3,: ?ouie said ex*ited. :How bout dem '&o*'ers boysB >ust the way I li'e 2em too, bi", rou&d, a&d real.: ?ouie "rabbed both o( >o&i2s breasts, s0uee1i&" them a&d !ulli&" o& her &i!!les till they !o!!ed out o( his (i&"erti!s. :So(t but (irm. Oh yea, I li'e these.: hris tied >o&i2s ha&ds to"ether a&d !ulled dow& her !a&ts. >o&i was sta&di&" there *om!letely &a'ed a&d *ryi&". Geor"e had tied >o&i2s blouse arou&d her mouth, "a""i&" her so she *ould &ot s*ream. ?ouie !ushed >o&i o& the (loor as he dro!!ed his !a&ts. :Now bit*h, I2m "oi&" t2 show youse how a real ma& (u*'s !ussy.: ?ouie be"a& to ra!e >o&i while Geor"e a&d hris held her arms abo-e her head. 3he& ?ouie was (i&ished he stood u!. He !i*'ed u! >o&i a&d be&t her o-er the so(a. :God dam& boys, dis bit*h has a ti"ht !ussy li'e a -i*e "ri!. I2-e "ot t2 (u*' it a"ai&.: ?ouie thrust dee! a&d hard i&side >o&i. He !ulled the "a" (rom arou&d her mouth so he *ould hear her s*ream. ?ouie s!a&'ed >o&i2s ass a&d s0uee1ed her breast. :)ouse '&ow youse li'es it bit*h. )ouse '&ow youse wa&t mese to (u*' youse all &i"ht,: ?ouie said lau"hi&". 3he& ?ouie (i&ished ra!i&" >o&i a se*o&d time, he !ulled >o&i dow& a little lower. 3ithout a&y war&i&" or mer*y, ?ouie +ammed his !e&is i&to >o&i2s ass. :. real bit*h ta'es it i& the ass,: ?ouie shouted, *o&ti&ui&" to lau"h. >o&i s*reamed loudly (rom the !ai& a&d be""ed ?ouie to sto!. ?ouie would &ot sto! u&til he was do&e. ?ouie !ulled out a&d hris we&t i&. hris be"a& to ra!e >o&i harder a&d more -iole&tly tha& ?ouie had. Geor"e too' his tur& a(ter hris. Both me& had ra!ed >o&i (rom behi&d a&d i& the ass. >o&i had !assed out (rom the !ai&. Gi&o "ot some *old water a&d !oured it all o-er >o&i2s (a*e, re-i-i&" her. He laid her o& the (loor o& her ba*'. :I bet dis bit*h swallows,: ?ouie said with ex*iteme&t. :Hey boys, +a*' o(( a&d try t2 ma'e it i& her mouth.: ?ouie, Geor"e, a&d hris be"a& to +a*' o(( as Gi&o li(ted >o&i o&to her '&ees. He held her mouth o!e& a&d ?ouie stood dire*tly i& (ro&t o( her. He shot his *um i& her mouth a&d all o-er her &e*' a&d

breast. Gi&o *losed >o&i2s mouth a&d 0ui*'ly !i&*hed her &ose to ma'e her swallow the *um. He re!eated this (or Geor"e a&d hris. 3he& they were do&e, they all "ot dressed a&d le(t. Gi&o *losed the door behi&d them, slidi&" a table to blo*' the door so we would &ot be disturbed as he we&t to wor'. Gi&o we&t to the 'it*he& a&d "ot a *utti&" '&i(e. He !i*'ed u! >o&i o(( the (loor a&d threw her i&to the so(a. Gi&o the& !i*'ed u! >illia& a&d be"a& to *ut her o!e& i& (ro&t o( >o&i. >o&i had bee& "a""ed a"ai& but s*reamed as loud as she *ould. She tried to throw hersel( at Gi&o but she was so wea' that she (ell to the (loor. Gi&o did &ot say a word as he too' out all o( >illia&2s or"a&s a&d threw them arou&d the room. >o&i was tryi&" to *rawl toward Gi&o, des!ite the !ai& she was i&. Gi&o dro!!ed >illia& to the (loor a&d !i*'ed u! >o&i by the hair. He threw her i&to the so(a a"ai& a&d sat o& to! o( her la!. :I thi&' ?ouie was wro&",: Gi&o said as he ra& the ti! o( the '&i(e dow& >o&i2s &e*' a&d a*ross her breast. :These loo' (a'e to me. ?et2s (i&d out shall weB: Gi&o loo'ed dee! i&to >o&i2s "ree& eyes as be be"u& to *ut o(( her le(t breast. The !ai& a&d horror i& her eyes ex*ited him sexually. He be"a& to *ut o(( her ri"ht breast a&d rea*hed *limax as she s*reamed i& !ai&. :Dam&, you do '&ow how to ma'e a ma& *um,: Gi&o said be(ore thrusti&" the '&i(e i&to >o&i2s stoma*h a&d *utti&" u!ward to her &e*'. He !ulled the '&i(e out 0ui*'ly a&d slashed a*ross her throat. :That2s (or ma'i&" me rui& this !a&ts you slut,: Gi&o said as he stood u!, letti&" >o&i2s or"a&s s!ill out o&to her la!. Gi&o loo'ed at his wat*h. Se-e& (i(tee&. >o&atha& should be "etti&" home a&y time &ow. Gi&o mo-ed the table out o( the way be(ore wal'i&" o-er to the 'it*he& a&d stood loo'i&" o-er the bar i&to the li-i&" room. He did &ot wa&t to miss the rea*tio& o& >o&atha&2s (a*e whe& he wal'ed i&. Gi&o did &ot ha-e to wait lo&". >o&atha& had !ut his 'ey i& the door whe& he &oti*ed the door '&ob loo'ed li'e it had bee& 'i*'ed i&. Pa&i* a&d (ear (illed him as he o!e&ed the door 0ui*'ly, *alli&" >o&i2s &ame. >o&atha&2s (a*e be*ame horri(ied as he see& >o&i lyi&" o& the so(a, s!read ea"le style. He ra& to her, tryi&" to yell (or hel!, but &o words *ame out. >o&atha& (ell to his '&ees i& (ro&t o( the so(a a&d li(ted >o&i2s head. >o&i was *o-ered i& blood a&d her or"a&s were lyi&" o& the (loor i& (ro&t o( >o&atha&. >o&atha& loo'ed arou&d a&d saw >illia&. He "e&tly laid >o&i2s head ba*' dow& a&d we&t to >illia&. 3he& he "ot *lose >o&atha& see& her head was bashed i&. >o&atha& !i*'ed her u! a&d held >illia& i& his arms. His eyes were red (rom *ryi&" but still &o sou&d would es*a!e his li!s. >o&atha& held >illia& ti"ht as he ro*'ed ba*' a&d (orth. :Sto! !lease. I2m "etti&" all teary eyed,: Gi&o said as he *losed the (ro&t door. >o&atha& was too sho*'ed to mo-e. He sat there *ryi&" as he held >illia& *lose. :Mr. ro&us says that o&e way or a&other you alway( !ay him. No ex*e!tio&s=: .t heari&" the &ame ro&us, >o&atha& was "i-e& a se*o&d wi&d. He sto!!ed *ryi&" a&d "e&tly laid >illia& dow& o& to! o( >o&i. He stood u! a&d as i( (or the (irst time he really "ot a "ood loo' at Gi&o, es!e*ially the &i&e millimeter with a sile&*er i& his ha&d. :)ou did this,: >o&atha& as'ed betwee& *le&*hed teeth. :I "utted them yea,: Gi&o a&swered with a hu"e smile o& his (a*e, :but ?ouie, Geor"e, a&d hris were the o&es that (u*'ed your bit*h. Had her moa&i&" li'e a whore, be""i&" (or more. She too' all three at the same time. E-e& had them *um all o-er her body. She wa&ted to su*' my di*' too but I do&2t (u*' whores.: >o&atha& made a mad dash at Gi&o. He was so a&"ry that he *ould &ot (eel !ai&. Gi&o shot him twi*e i& the shoulder but it did &ot slow dow& >o&atha& o&e bit. >o&atha& '&o*'ed the "u& (rom Gi&o2s ha&ds a&d wra!!ed both his ha&ds arou&d Gi&o2s throat. :I2m "oi&" to 'ill you,: >o&atha& said be(ore s&a!!i&" Gi&o2s &e*'. Dro!!i&" Gi&o to the (loor >o&atha& see& the '&i(e Gi&o used to "ut >o&i a&d >illia&. He !i*'ed it u! a&d we&t ba*' to Gi&o2s body.

:Mr. ro&us li'es se&di&" messa"es. I2ll se&d him a (u*'i&2 messa"e.: 9 9 9 9 ha!ter K The Messa"e E-e& thou"h ma&y !eo!le *lassi(ied Mar*o ro&us as a mo&ster, he saw himsel( as a *ultured ma&. Mar*o e&+oyed loo'i&" at (i&e art a&d liste&i&" to *lassi*al musi*. He also e&+oyed "oi&" to a& o!era or sym!ho&y. .&ti0ues, howe-er, was what he was most !assio&ate about. Mar*o ow&ed a& a&ti0ue sho! a&d art "allery as his (ro&t busi&ess. It made (or a& ex*elle&t (ro&t be*ause both a&ti0ues a&d art drew i& bi" mo&ey. Mar*o was able to hide his Ma(ia a*ti-ities well. E-ery mor&i&" Mar*o would *ome i& early to loo' at the !ai&ti&"s o& the wall. It hel!ed to *lear his mi&d (or the day. Mar*o was sitti&" i& his o((i*e liste&i&" to Ba*h. The door was *losed a&d he was (a*i&" the ba*' wall. He was (eeli&" -ery relaxed a&d ready to start the day whe& ?ouie wal'ed i&. :Mr. ro&us,: ?ouie said so(tly as he *losed the door behi&d him, :e-erythi&" we&t "reat. The boys a&d mese had our (u& be(ore the mother(u*'er "ot home.: :3hat about Gi&oB: :Mese a&d the boys le(t him there. He said he was "oi&" to ha-e his (u& too.: :Did he *all youB: :No. Maybe he had a little too mu*h (u&. He mi"ht ha-e do&e da bit*h himsel(. I mea& she was a real (i&e bit*h boss. Ni*e ti"ht !ussy a&d a hard (irm ass.: Mar*o s!u& arou&d to loo' at ?ouie. ?ouie *ould see that Mar*o was &ot amused. Mar*o !i*'ed u! the remote to his D !layer a&d tur&ed o(( Ba*h. :That2s &ot Gi&o2s style,: Mar*o said as he lea&ed ba*' i& his *hair, *o&*er& slowly *ree!i&" i&. :)ea boss, but a(ter seei&" dis bit*h, e-e& *"+S$ would (u*' her.: :?ouie, I2m "lad you had your (u& but wat*h what you say about i&dy. I !ut u! with you 2*ause you2re a (u*'i&2 "e&ius at ma'i&" me mo&ey. Do&2t e-er disres!e*t i&dy li'e that a"ai&. This is the lo-e o( my li(e, the mother o( my *hildre&. I would &e-er *heat o& her.: :Boy,: ?ouie said lau"hi&" to himsel(, :I *a& seese da headli&es &ow, 2Mob boss wo&2t *heat o& his wi(e.2 Now that2s &ews.: Mar*o lea&ed (orward i& his *hair a&d said, :?ouie *ome 2ere.: ?ouie lea&ed i& *lose toward Mar*o. Mar*o "rabbed the ba*' o( ?ouie2s &e*' a&d slammed him hard i&to the to! o( his des'. Pai& shot throu"h ?ouie2s body as his &ose be"a& to bleed u&*o&trollably. :Myse (u*'i&2 &ose=: :Do&2t you ever test me a"ai&,: Mar*o stated, tryi&" to re"ai& *o&trol o( his a&"er. :Ne-er 0uestio& me, my i&te"rity, or my word. Now "o "et *lea&ed u! a&d (i&d Gi&o.: ?ouie stumbled out o( Mar*o2s o((i*e without sayi&" a&other word. Mar*o loo'ed at the bloody mess o& his des' a&d o& the (loor as he tried to *alm dow&. He &eeded to "et some air. He &eeded to "o some!la*e a&d relax. : arlo, "et i& here=: arlo was Mar*o2s erra&d boy. He dro-e Mar*o arou&d a&d did what was as'ed o( him. :)ea bossB: : arlo, *lea& this shit u!. I2m "oi&" (or a wal'. I wa&t this shit *lea&ed u! by the time I "et ba*'.: Mar*o "rabbed his suede leather *oat a&d !ut i& o&. He wal'ed out o( his o((i*e, lea-i&" arlo there stari&" at the blood. :O&e more thi&",: Mar*o *alled o-er his shoulder, :someo&e (i&d Gi&o a&d ha-e him *all me o& my *ell.: 9 9 9 9 .&tho&y Serrato was o& his way to wor'. He was a medi* with FDN) ?atter 55. E-e& thou"h .&tho&y was the &ewest "uy o& the team he was &ot a roo'ie. .&tho&y had bee& a medi* (or &i&e years a&d +ust mo-ed to New )or' a wee' earlier.

.&tho&y was still lear&i&" the tra&s!ortatio& methods i& the *ity. Si&*e he2d bee& wor'i&" arou&d the *lo*' he (elt he had &o time to ex!lore his o!tio&s. Slee! was +ust too im!orta&t to !ass u!. For the time bei&" .&tho&y wal'ed. .&tho&y li-ed a hal( mile away a&d *ould ma'e the wal' i& &o time. O&e thi&" .&tho&y &oti*ed was that &o o&e was (rie&dly. He !assed by a (ew homeless !eo!le that would as' (or mo&ey. That was the exte&t o( his *o&-ersatio& with others o& his way to wor'. Today, howe-er, was "oi&" to be di((ere&t. . blo*' away (rom the (irehouse stood a ma& waiti&". He had a thi*' !u((y wi&ter style +a*'et o&. It was *ool outside but &ot *old e&ou"h to &eed that hea-y o( a +a*'et. The +a*'et was also 1i!!ed u! all the way, a&other si"& that somethi&" was wro&". The ma& 'e!t loo'i&" toward the (irehouse. He wat*hed e-eryo&e who *ame *lose. 3he& the ma& s!otted .&tho&y he lo*'ed his stare o&to him. .&tho&y started wal'i&" slower a&d the& sto!!ed all to"ether as the ma& started wal'i&" toward him. .&tho&y rea*hed i&to his +a*'et !o*'et a&d !ulled out his '&i(e. He held it i& the !alm o( his ha&d, ready to use it i( &e*essary. :.re you Petty O((i*er, Se*o&d lass, .&tho&y SerratoB: :I use to be,: .&tho&y a&swered *autiously. :3ho wa&ts to '&owB: :Gu&&ery Ser"ea&t >o&atha& M*Gre"or, Aetired. )ou wo&2t &eed that '&i(e you2re hidi&".: :I2ll be the +ud"e o( that,: .&tho&y said as he wat*hed >o&atha&2s e-ery mo-e. :)ou use to be a or!sma& with the SE.?S ri"htB: :No&e o( your busi&ess,: .&tho&y s&a!!ed. :Now what do you wa&tB: :I "ot a "u& shot wou&d that I &eed hel! with. I *a&2t show you here a&d I *a&2t "o to the hos!ital. I &eed someo&e I *a& trust. I use to be Ae*o& so who better to trust tha& a SE.? or!sma&.: :3hat ma'es you thi&' you *a& trust meB: :Be*ause we both belie-e that you &e-er lea-e a ma& behi&d. I( I *ould "o to the hos!ital I would. I( I "o I2m "oi&" to be dead withi& a& hour. Please hel! me. The wou&d is (ourtee& hours old. I &eed your hel!. Do&2t lea-e me behi&d.: :How do you '&ow who I am a&d where to (i&d meB: :I *alled a "ood (rie&d o( mi&e who wor's i& I&tel. I told him what I &eeded a&d he "a-e me your &ame. ?oo' I '&ow e&ou"h to '&ow &ot to !ush a SE.?. So what do you say, will you hel! meB: :I2m late (or wor' as it is but o'ay. Follow my lead a&d do&2t say a&ythi&".: :)ou "ot it.: >o&atha& wal'ed side by side with .&tho&y. They wal'ed i& sile&*e. .&tho&y had >o&atha& wait outside while .&tho&y *lo*'ed i&. E-eryo&e was u!stairs wat*hi&" TF or !layi&" !ool. .&tho&y *ame ba*' dow& a&d o!e&ed the ba*' o( the ambula&*e. :Hey *ome o&, I "ot (i(tee& mi&utes. I said I was showi&" a& old Na-y buddy arou&d.: >o&atha& *limbed i&to the ba*' o( the ambula&*e a&d *losed the doors behi&d him. He sat o& the stret*her a&d u&1i!!ed his +a*'et. :Got two &i&e millimeter slu"s i& the le(t shoulder,: >o&atha& stated. :I wra!!ed it u! ti"ht but I2m (eeli&" drai&ed &ow.: .&tho&y *ut the wra!!i&"s o(( o( >o&atha&2s shoulder. He see& the two holes a&d *he*'ed >o&atha&2s ba*'. The slu"s were still i&side. :I2m "oi&" to ha-e to *ut you to "et the bullets out. I *a&2t "i-e you a&ythi&" or else I ha-e to (ill out the !a!erwor'. a& you ha&dle the !ai& without ma'i&" a&y &oiseB: :Thi&' you *a& "et it out i& u&der te& mi&utes,: >o&atha& as'ed, tryi&" to mas' the !ai& with lau"hter. :I( so, let2s "et to it.: .&tho&y !i*'ed u! a s*al!el a&d his "ri!s. He *ut i&to >o&atha&2s wou&d a&d slowly slid the "ri!s i& to retrie-e the bullet. >o&atha& did &ot ma'e a sou&d. He +ust *losed his eyes a&d slowed his breathi&". .&tho&y &oti*ed tears were (lowi&" dow& >o&atha&2s (a*e. :Sorry i( the !ai& is too mu*h (or you.:

:I2m &ot *ryi&" be*ause o( the !ai& i& my shoulder,: >o&atha& a&swered, :I2m *ryi&" (or my wi(e a&d dau"hter. O&e o( the (u*'i&2 mobs here 'illed them. That2s where I "ot the slu"s. Dumb (u*'er a*tually used ball bullets i&stead o( hollow !oi&ts.: :Ma'es it easier to ta'e out,: .&tho&y &oted. >ust the& .&tho&y be"a& !ulli&" out the (irst bullet. He "ot it out a&d dro!!ed it i&to a !a&. He !ut some al*ohol o& the wou&d be(ore "oi&" ba*' to "et the se*o&d bullet out. :I2m sorry about your (amily. a& I as' what ha!!e&edB: :Three "uys *ame i&to my store a *ou!le o( days a"o, as'i&" (or i&sura&*e mo&ey.: >o&atha& *losed his eyes to hold ba*' the tears. >o&atha& (i"ured .&tho&y had a ri"ht to '&ow si&*e he was ta'i&" a ris' by hel!i&" him. .&tho&y tried to *o&*e&trate o& what he was doi&". .s he liste&ed to >o&atha& s!ea' it be*ame harder to do. :Out o( e-erythi&" I2-e see& i& *ombat, I do&2t thi&' a&ythi&" *a& *om!are to that. I2m real sorry ma&.: :Tha&' you.: >o&atha& loo'ed dow& at his shoulder a&d said, :Fix me u! "ood do*. I *a&2t "o to the hos!ital (or a&ythi&". The *o!s are loo'i&" (or me too.: :The *o!s should be able to hel! you.: :No,: >o&atha& *orre*ted. :This "uy has *o!s i& his !o*'et. I heard o& the &ews that I am the !rime sus!e*t.: :I "ot some mo&ey i( you &eedE: :Tha&'s,: >o&atha& *ut .&tho&y o(( be(ore he *ould (i&ish his thou"ht. :I2m a s&i!er so I2ll do what I do best, disa!!ear. I2-e already made a mo-e. I +ust ha-e o&e more to ma'e be(ore I "o.: 9 9 9 9 ?ui"i2s was em!ty a"ai& a&d e-eryo&e was o& ed"e. Mar*o was -ery a&"ry. He heard o& the &ews that >o&atha& was the !rime sus!e*t i& the murder o( his wi(e a&d dau"hter. I( Gi&o did his +ob ri"ht they will &e-er (i&d >o&atha&. The o&ly thi&" is that &o o&e has heard (rom Gi&o. Mar*o sat dow& to eat but he did &ot ha-e mu*h o( a& a!!etite, somethi&" dee! dow& i&side told Mar*o to 'ee! his "uard u!. He loo'ed dow& at the Aa-ioli i& (ro&t o( him. The mere si"ht o( it be"a& to *hur& his stoma*h. He !i*'ed u! the !late a&d threw it at the wall. :3HEAE THE F< ; IS GINO=: Sile&*e. No o&e wa&ted to say a&ythi&". A.SH= The u&mista'able sou&d o( "lass a&d dishes brea'i&" *ame (rom the 'it*he&. Mar*o +um!ed out o( his *hair a&d e-eryo&e (a*ed the 'it*he&. :?ui"i, what the (u*' is "oi&" o& i& there,: Mar*o yelled toward the door. No a&swer. The& more dishes *rashed to the (loor. Mar*o !oi&ted to o&e o( the "uys there (or his !rote*tio&. The "uard !ulled out his "u& a&d we&t i&to the 'it*he&. . si&"le dish bro'e this time the& sile&*e. :3hat the (u*' is "oi&" o&,: Mar*o shouted a"ai&. The& without war&i&" the "uard *ame (lyi&" throu"h the swi&"i&" door. He la&ded o& to! o( a table (a*e dow&, brea'i&" the table (rom the sudde& im!a*t. The body lay o& the (loor lim! a&d li(eless. Mar*o, arlo, a&d the remai&i&" two "uards wal'ed slowly toward the body. .s they "ot *lose they *ould see a si&"le bullet hole i& the "uard2s head. E-eryo&e !ulled out their "u&s. Mar*o had bee& *arryi&" his si&*e Gi&o we&t missi&". He saw a body at the swi&"i&" 'it*he& door a&d started (iri&". The other "uys did the same. They (ired u&til ea*h "u& was em!ty. :Guess dat ta'es *are o( dat (u*'er huh boss,: o&e o( the "uards said, !roud o( his shooti&". Mar*o loo'ed at him as i( the ma& was stu!id. :3hy do&2t you "o see who it is "e&iusB >esus (u*'i&2 hrist, what the (u*' do I !ay you (orB: Be(ore the "uard *ould ste! (orward ?ui"i2s body *ame *rashi&" throu"h the door. He was (ull o( holes a&d >o&atha& was usi&" him as a shield to "et throu"h the door. >o&atha& 0ui*'ly (ired three rou&ds while e-eryo&e was still i& sur!rised. I&sta&tly the two "uards a&d arlo (ell to the (loor, ea*h with a bullet i& their head.

:Hello motherfucker, *are to "uess who I am,: >o&atha& said, stari&" at Mar*o, his "u& aimed at Mar*o2s head. :)ou2re the asshole I se&t my boys a(ter,: Mar*o a&swered *almly. :I heard your wi(e wa&ted to 'ee! (u*'i&2 my boys a&d lea-e you.: >ust the& >o&atha& 0ui*'ly (ired two more rou&ds, ea*h (i&di&" their tar"et with ease. O&e i&to ea*h o( Mar*o2s '&ees, dro!!i&" him to the (loor as his '&ee*a!s shattered. :I *ould 'ill you ri"ht &ow but wasti&" the bullet is too "ood (or you. I2m "oi&" to ma'e you su((er. Ni*e a&d slow. )ou2ll be be""i&" me to 'ill you whe& I2m throu"h. )ou a&d all your ma(ia buddies are "oi&" to die. O&e by o&e I2m "oi&" to !i*' you "uys o((. )ou, howe-er, Mr. ro&us will be the last to die.: >o&atha& 'i*'ed Mar*o i& the (a*e with all his mi"ht, ma'i&" Mar*o2s body (ly ba*'ward. 3he& Mar*o rolled o-er to loo' at >o&atha& he saw the 'it*he& door swi&"i&". There was a small bowli&" ball ba" lyi&" o& the (loor. :I ho!e you e&+oy your "i(t Mr. ro&us, you2-e ear&ed it,: >o&atha& shouted (rom the 'it*he& as he wal'ed out the ba*' door. Mar*o heard the ba*' door *lose a&d *rawled to the ba". He u&1i!!ed it a&d (ell ba*' i& horror (rom the *o&te&ts o( the ba". Gi&o2s se-ered head was stari&" u! at Mar*o ro&us. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter 6 The 3ar Be"i&s Mar*o ro&us made his way out o( the o!era -ery slowly. He had to use a *a&e to wal' arou&d si&*e both his '&ee *a!s were shot six mo&ths earlier. There were two limos waiti&" at the bottom o( the stairs. :Ho&ey you "o o& home,: Mar*o whis!ered i&to his wi(e2s ear as he 'issed her &e*'. :I ha-e some busi&ess to atte&d to. Gi-e the 'ids a 'iss (or me.: :O'ay,: i&dy ro&us res!o&ded. She 'issed Mar*o "oodbye. : hris, ma'e sure he does&2t !ush too hard "oi&" dow& these ste!s.: :)es Mam2. I2ll ma'e sure Mr. ro&us is (i&e.: i&dy 0ui*'ly made her way to the se*o&d limo. Mar*o wat*hed her lea-e. She was still as beauti(ul as she was the day Mar*o (irst laid eyes o& her. Six (oot two with lo&" "olde& brow& hair, o&e hu&dred (orty !ou&ds, a&d &ot a& ou&*e o( (at o& her. .(ter three 'ids, it ama1ed Mar*o how i&dy has bee& able to 'ee! her (i"ure. The o&ly thi&" that "rew was her breasts. She we&t (rom a *u! to a (ull D *u! a&d it was all &atural. Mar*o *ould &ot *om!lai& about that. Des!ite e-erythi&" that has ha!!e&ed o-er the years he still lo-ed her with all his heart. : ome o& hris, let2s "et to this meeti&".: :)es Sir.: hris !ut his arm arou&d Mar*o a&d li(ted him o(( the "rou&d. hris 0ui*'ly made his way dow& the stairs, letti&" Mar*o dow& slowly at the bottom. The dri-er was sta&di&" &ext to the o!e& door, waiti&" (or Mar*o to "et i&side. .s Mar*o *limbed i& to the limo he see& two me& sitti&" at the (ro&t *or&er, their (a*es *o-ered by shadows. The dri-er !ulled out a !istol with a sile&*er a&d shot hris i& the head betwee& the eyes. He sho-ed Mar*o i&side the ba*' o( the limo a&d slammed the door shut. Mar*o sat u!, tryi&" to o!e& the door. :)ou2re wasti&" your time,: o&e o( the me& said *almly. :The doors *a& o&ly be o!e&ed (rom the outside. Oh, i& *ase you "et a&y bri"ht ideas, the "lass is bullet !roo(. The i&side here is sou&d !roo( too so &o o&e will hear you s*ream. I ha-e bee& authori1ed to shoot you i( I ha-e to, so do us all a (a-or a&d relax. )ou2re &ot "oi&" a&ywhere.: :.&d who the (u*' are you,: Mar*o s&a!!ed, still tryi&" to o!e& the door.

:3e are Grim Aea!ers,: the ma& a&swered *oldly. :Mr. ro&us you ha-e a& a!!oi&tme&t with Death himsel(, so let2s &ot 'ee! him waiti&" shall weB: Mar*o tried to s!ea' but he (elt a shar! !ai& sudde&ly i& his throat. He !ut his ha&d to his &e*' a&d !ulled out a short (at dart. His eyes "rew lar"e as his -isio& be"a& to blur. Mar*o dro!!ed the dart be(ore !assi&" out. 9 9 9 9 The air was *old a&d shar!. 3i&ters are -ery -i*ious i& New )or'. Mar*o wo'e u! o& the de*' o( a (ishi&" boat whe& a (i-e "allo& bu*'et o( i*e water was throw& o& him. :3a'e your ass u!, this ai&t a (u*'i&2 Motel 4=: Mar*o bli&'ed a (ew times as his -isio& be"a& to *ome ba*'. He *ould ma'e out (our "uys weari&" bla*' ta*ti*al *lothi&". He *ould &ot ma'e out a&y o( their (a*es be*ause they were sta&di&" i& the shadows. Mar*o laid o& the de*' shi-eri&" (rom the *old *hill. He loo'ed dow& at himsel( a&d (or the (irst time he reali1ed that he had bee& stri!!ed dow& to his u&derwear. :Get the (u*' u!=: :Fu*' you,: Mar*o s&a!!ed. :Do you reali1e who I amB )ou are all dead=: :Mr. ro&us you are i& &o !ositio& to tal' about death.: The ma& tal'i&" ste!!ed (orward i&to the li"ht. :I .M DE.TH=: Mar*o was sho*'ed to see that it was >o&atha& who had brou"ht him there. The ma& who made him a *ri!!le, the ma& he2d bee& loo'i&" (or (or the !ast six mo&ths. :)ou are o&e dead so& o( a bit*h,: Mar*o shouted. :Mr. ro&us, you2-e bee& loo'i&" (or me (or six mo&ths. )ou ha-e *o&ta*ts a*ross the *ity a&d the *ou&try. )ou ha-e a *o&tra*t o& my li(e (or (i-e hu&dred thousa&d dollars a&d you ha-e&2t heard a si&"le word about me. Sorry Mr. ro&us but your threats are mea&i&"less.: :I, o& the other ha&d, ha-e "athered a lot o( I&tel o& you. )ou2-e bee& a -ery busy ma& Mr. ro&us. Ma'i&" allia&*es with the bosses i& Miami a&d Fe"as. I&-esti&" millio&s o( dollars i&to ea*h (amily. ?ouie has ma&a"ed to tri!le your i&*ome i& the !ast (our mo&ths.: :3hy you e-e& be*ame the head boss o( all the (amilies i& the >ersey New )or' area. I thi&' I let you ha-e e&ou"h su**ess. Now the war I !romised you be"i&s.: :Four !eo!le .+ST die i& this war. My dri-er too' *are o( o&e so &ow three remai&. Geor"e, ?ouie, a&d you Mr. ro&us. .ll o( you must die. I( you try to ru&, I2ll start !i*'i&" you o(( o&e at a time, but I will 'ee! my !romise Mr. ro&us@ you will be the last to die.: :Fu*' you= )ou ai&t "ot the balls to !ull it o((. 3ho the (u*' do you thi&' you are, the (u*'i&2 Pu&isherB: :No Mr. ro&us,: >o&atha& a&swered with a smile, :you are wro&". I do ha-e the balls. Besides there are two ma+or di((ere&*es betwee& the Pu&isher a&d mysel(. First, he2s a *omi* boo' *hara*ter a&d I am -ery mu*h real.: To !ro-e his !oi&t, >o&atha& wal'ed o-er i& (ro&t o( Mar*o a&d li(ted him to his (eet. He !u&*hed Mar*o i& the stoma*h a&d elbowed him i& the ba*'. >o&atha& "rabbed Mar*o2s ri"ht arm a&d 'i*'ed it u&til it bro'e. :.&d se*o&d,: >o&atha& *o&ti&ued, (li!!i&" Mar*o o-er o&to his ba*' so he *ould see i&to his eyes. :The Pu&isher was .rmy. Me, well I2m a Mari&e. )ou do&2t (u*' with a Mari&e u&less you wa&t to die.: >o&atha& li(ted Mar*o ba*' o&to his (eet. He wal'ed ba*' toward the shadows the& !i*'ed u! a small !ail. >o&atha& threw the *o&te&ts o( the !ail at Mar*o, *o-eri&" him with (resh (ish "uts. :)ou "ot two days Mr. ro&us. Two days to ma'e your !ea*e with God. .(ter that I2m *omi&" a(ter you a&d there is &o !la*e you *a& hide. Aemember Mr. ro&us, I .M DE.TH=: >o&atha& exe*uted a ru&&i&" (lyi&" 'i*' at Mar*o2s *hest. The solid hea-y boots >o&atha& was weari&" '&o*'ed the wi&d out o( Mar*o. The im!a*t (rom the 'i*' se&t Mar*o to!!li&" o-er the ed"e o( the boat. Mar*o (ell i&to the i*y *old New )or' harbor, s*reami&" whe& his head !o!!ed out o( the water. The (ree1i&" *old stabbi&" at his s'i& li'e a thousa&d ti&y &eedles at o&*e. :Ho!e you *a& swim Mr. ro&us. It2s a mile to the &earest shore. Ha-e a "ood &i"ht.:

9 9 9 9 :>esus >oh&&y,: Torres said as the boat be"a& to mo-e away (rom Mar*o, :the (u*'i&2 head o( the e&tire Ma(ia (amily. .re you (u*'i&2 &utsB: :He was&2t the head whe& he 'illed >o&i a&d >illia&. I( you do&2t wa&t a&y !art o( this the& lea-e Torres. No o&e (u*'i&2 as'ed you to *ome rememberB: : ome o& >oh&&y, it2s &ot li'e that,: Torres !rotested. :)ou '&ow I2m with you &o matter what. It2s +ust@ you do&2t thi&' we mi"ht be "etti&" i& o-er our heads hereB That2s a lot o( !eo!le who will be dyi&". O&*e we start there2s &o tur&i&" ba*'.: :>oh&&y, Torres is bei&" *autious,: >oh&so& i&ter+e*ted. :This is some hea-y shit we2re about to "et i&to.: :>oh&so&, you thi&' this is easy (or me,: >o&atha& a&swered ba*', swallowi&" the (ro" that was buildi&" u! i& his throat. :I *ould ha-e 'illed that (u*'er six mo&ths a"o but that would&2t ha-e do&e a dam& thi&". 3e swore to !rote*t this *ou&try (rom all e&emies, (orei"& a&d domesti*.: :Do&2t "i-e me that shit >oh&&y,: >oh&so& *ut >o&atha& o((, a&"ry about where >o&atha& was "oi&" with this *o&-ersatio&.:Do&2t you sta&d there a&d !rea*h to me about duty a&d ho&or. I2-e bee& by your side si&*e day o&e brother. I2-e bee& i& the shit with you. My ha&ds are +ust as bloody as yours. 3e2re with you ma&. 3e +ust wa&t you to be o&e hu&dred !er*e&t o& this.: >o&atha& loo'ed at >oh&so& a&d Torres. He tried to read their (a*es a&d '&ew doubt was there. :3hat about you Aoyal,: >o&atha& *alled to Aoyal, who was dri-i&" the boat. :3hat do you thi&'B: :Hey, I2m here brother. 3e started out (i"hti&" ea*h other but we2ll (i&ish it (i"hti&" to"ether. )ou +ust lead the way.: :O'ay the&,: >o&atha& said smili&". :?et2s dit*h this boat a&d ma'e our way ba*' to the a!artme&t. I2ll *all our medi* a&d let him '&ow what2s "oi&" dow&. 3e2ll hammer out the details at the a!artme&t.: :Oh o&e more thi&" be(ore we "o >oh&&y.: :)ea Aoyal, what is itB: :)our s'i&&y ass loo's &othi&" li'e the Pu&isher.: They all lau"hed (or a (ew se*o&ds a&d the& we&t to se!arate *or&ers o( the boat. They ea*h stra!!ed a di-i&" ri" to their ba*'s a&d +um!ed i&to the harbor. No&e '&ew whi*h way the others were "oi&". They +ust '&ew were to meet u!. 9 9 9 9 It too' Mar*o two hours to swim a hal( mile. Sea "ulls 'e!t di-i&" at his head, ho!i&" the smell o( (ish "uts was the real thi&". 3ith his ri"ht arm bro'e& Mar*o had to use o&ly o&e arm a&d his le"s to mo-e. The (ree1i&" *old water did &ot hel! either. Mar*o thou"ht (or sure that he would drow& be(ore he e-er made it to shore. The o&ly thi&" that 'e!t him "oi&" was his a&"er. Mar*o was thi&'i&" o( di((ere&t ways he wa&ted to 'ill >o&atha&, &o&e o( whi*h seemed torturous e&ou"h. O&e thi&" Mar*o '&ew (or sure, he was "oi&" to be the o&e that 'illed >o&atha&. Mar*o be"a& to stru""le +ust to stay abo-e water. The water was +ust too *old. He saw a bri"ht li"ht shi&i&" i& his (a*e. His (irst thou"ht was that he had died. He let his body "o lim! as he a**e!ted the (a*t that he was dead. The rushi&" water i& his mouth made him reali1e he was -ery mu*h ali-e. :I thi&' he2s ali-e,: a -oi*e shouted (rom behi&d the li"ht. :Hey you, *a& you hear meB: :)ea, "et me out o( this (u*'i&2 water=: :)ea Bill he2s ali-e,: the -oi*e said to a&other ma& i& the boat. :Get us *loser Bill.: Mar*o (elt relie-ed. He had bee& sa-ed. .s the boat "ot *loser he *ould ma'e out a symbol o& the side o( the boat. S0IT1 %u(t what I need. The fuckin4 cop(. The "uy who had bee& yelli&" rea*hed o-er the side o( the boat a&d !ulled Mar*o out o( the water.

:Good thi&" we (ou&d you (irst boss,: the O((i*er said, wra!!i&" a bla&'er arou&d Mar*o. :There are (our boats out here loo'i&" (or you. The "uys i& the other three are strai"ht shooters.: It was the& that Mar*o reali1ed these "uys were o& his !ayroll. He was "lad to see them. :Get me the (u*' out o( here. I2m (u*'i&2 (ree1i&2.: :O'ay boss. 3e "ot some hot sou! (or ya, should hel! warm you u!.: :Tha&'s boys. Aemi&d me tomorrow to "i-e you "uys a bo&us. )ou2re "o&&a hel! me !ut this (u*'er away.: :)ou "ot it boss, whate-er you &eed.: The boat dri-er throttled u! the e&"i&es a&d headed (or shore. 9 9 9 9 The hallway ree'ed o( shit a&d !iss. .s .&tho&y wal'ed dow& the lo&" dar' hallway he wished >o&atha& had *hose& a *lea&er lo*atio&. He u&derstood >o&atha&2s thi&'i&" thou"h. This !la*e was so ru& dow& that &ot e-e& the Ma(ia bothered with it. I& all ho&esty the buildi&" should ha-e bee& *o&dem&ed. Nothi&" i&side the buildi&" loo'ed sa(e. .&tho&y had &oti*ed (our ste!s missi&" o& the stairs. The (loor *rea'ed loudly, as i( s*reami&" with e-ery ste!. There was &o way a&yo&e *ould s&ea' u! a&d sur!rise the "uys i& the room. 3he& .&tho&y sto!!ed i& (ro&t o( the door he heard two *li*'s as the lo*'s were bei&" u&lo*'ed. The door o!e&ed +ust wide e&ou"h (or .&tho&y to wal' i&, the& the door slammed shut. Torres lo*'ed the door a"ai&. :Tha&'s (or *omi&" .&tho&y,: >o&atha& said. :?et me i&trodu*e you arou&d.: .&tho&y wal'ed o-er to the o&ly !ie*e o( (ur&iture i& the room, a& old woode& table. Ma!s o( the *ity were s*attered all o-er the table. :.&tho&y is a (ro" ma&. He2s a medi* with the (ire de!artme&t so he2s "oi&" to be our !oi&t ma& (or "etti&" !at*hed u!.: .&tho&y li(ted his ha&d u! i& a hello "esture. :The rest o( us are Mari&e Ae*o&,: >o&atha& ex!lai&ed. :So you2re the o&ly s0uid here. The "uy o& your le(t there is Torres.: :Hello,: Torres said. :Hello,: .&tho&y res!o&ded with a (irm ha&dsha'e. :Next to him is Aoyal.: :Hello,: Aoyal said, !utti&" his ha&d (orward. :Hello,: .&tho&y res!o&ded with a&other ha&dsha'e. :.&d this s'i&&y !ussy here is >oh&so&.: :Hey .&tho&y,: >oh&so& said "rabbi&" .&tho&y2s ha&d a&d sha'i&" it wildly. :O'ay >oh&so&, i( you2re do&e bei&" a dumb ass we *a& "et started.: :Sorry >oh&&y.: :O'ay (irst order o( busi&ess. Tomorrow we ma'e our (irst hit. 3e2re "oi&" to !i*' o(( the little "uys, the &obodies.: :>oh&&y, why are we "oi&" to hit the &obodies i&stead o( the bi" boysB: :Sim!le Torres, it "i-es us the eleme&t o( sur!rise. I2ll dro! the (oot soldiers, ma'i&" the a!tai&s start doi&" dirty wor'. It2ll be totally ra&dom to them. I2ll rotate betwee& &obodies a&d somebody2s. E&ou"h so that &o o&e *a& (i"ure out who will be &ext. The o&ly thi&" these "uys will '&ow (or sure is that &o o&e will be sa(e.: :So the two day deadli&e you "a-e ro&us,: Aoyal as'ed. :3as a lie,: >o&atha& (i&ished. :This way he does&2t ha-e time to war& a&yo&e. I( I start out small I wo&2t ha-e mu*h trouble.: :3hy do you 'ee! sayi&" I,: .&tho&y as'ed, with *o&*er&. :.ll o( us are i&-ol-ed here.: : ause .&tho&y, this is !rimary my war. I( by some mira*le we are *au"ht I i&te&d to ta'e all o( the blame. I( I2m the o&ly o&e !ulli&" the tri""er tha& I "et the worst o( it.: :Got it,: .&tho&y said with a &od. :So where are you "o&&a stri'e (irstB:

:I (i"ure the (irst "uy to (all will be Paul Gerardo, he2s Mr. Lee2s dri-er. 3he& Mr. Lee does&2t "et !i*'ed u! o& time he2s "o&&a be !issed. Mr. Lee will the& *all Sully. 3he& Sully shows u! at Mr. Lee2s home that2s whe& the se*o&d shot will be (ired. Mr. Lee does&2t ha-e a&y *hildre& so we do&2t ha-e to worry about that.: :3hat about those who do ha-e 'ids,: Torres i&terru!ted. :The 'ids are &ot to be hurt. 3e will ma'e sure they are &ot arou&d. I( we ha-e to do a s&at*h a&d "rab the& we do it. S!ouses a&d *hildre& are the o&ly i&&o*e&t o&es here.: :3hat are you usi&",: Aoyal as'ed. :I2m "oi&" to bri&" out Hera (or this missio&.: :I was wo&deri&" what ha!!e&ed to her,: Torres blurted out. :Do you thi&' she2s u! (or the tas',: Aoyal as'ed. :.re you 'iddi&" Aoyal,: >oh&so& as'ed. :Hera is the best at this. Sa-ed my ass more tha& I *are to *ou&t.: :3ait a mi&ute. I thou"ht it was +ust the (i-e o( us,: .&tho&y said. :3ho is HeraB: :That2s ri"ht I (or"ot, you &e-er met Hera,: >o&atha& said, embarrassed that he (or"ot the most im!orta&t member o( the whole missio&. :I2m sorry .&tho&y. 3al' with me.: >o&atha& tur&ed .&tho&y toward a room i& the ba*'. I&side were (our (ield *ots a&d bla&'ets *o-eri&" them. :My (rie&d, this is Hera.: >o&atha& ya&'ed o(( the bla&'et o( o&e o( the *ots. .&tho&y smiled as he laid his eyes o& Hera. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter 4 The First Shot Paul Gerardo had o&ly o&e +ob i& the Ma(ia, to dri-e. Paul also had a hu"e a&"er ma&a"eme&t !roblem. .&y little thi&" set him o((. For this reaso& Paul was &o lo&"er allowed to *arry a "u&. It was sa(er (or e-eryo&e that way. No o&e i& the ro&us (amily li'ed Paul. E-eryo&e said Mar*o would be better o(( without Paul but the o&ly reaso& Mar*o 'e!t Paul arou&d was be*ause he was i&dy2s se*o&d *ousi&. Sta&di&" at (i-e (oot (i-e a&d wei"hi&" two hu&dred sixty !ou&ds, Paul was &ot someo&e you wa&ted to see (irst thi&" i& the mor&i&". Paul2s hair was thi&&i&" a&d loo'ed li'e a dead a&imal was li-i&" o& to! o( his head. He had a (at (a*e with two *hi&s, a&d a third be"i&&i&" to (orm. Paul2s belly hu&" wide o-er his waistba&d. ?oo'i&" throu"h his s*o!e, >o&atha& tha&'ed God that Paul &e-er had *hildre&. >o&atha& *ould &ot ima"i&e little -ersio&s o( Paul ru&&i&" arou&d, he shuddered at the -ery thou"ht o( it. :I "ot six (ortyCei"ht,: Torres2s -oi*e said i&side >o&atha&2s ear. :Ao"er that. Six (ortyCei"ht here,: >o&atha& a&swered. :)ou ready with the ro*'sB: :Ao"er that. Aeady to throw the ro*'s o& your *omma&d.: :3ait o&e.: >o&atha& loo'ed throu"h his s*o!e a"ai&. Paul was still i& bed. His alarm was su!!ose to "o o(( at se-e& am. :O'ay, (irst ro*' throu"h the bedroom wi&dow.: :Ao"er that.: Torres li(ted a 1i! "u& made o( PF !i!e. >oh&so& lit the (use a&d the ro*' i&side the 1i! "u& we&t (lyi&" throu"h the air, *rashi&" throu"h Paul2s bedroom wi&dow. The sou&d o( brea'i&" "lass wo'e Paul u!. He +um!ed out o( the bed a&d loo'ed out the wi&dow. Torres a&d >oh&so& !rete&ded to be 'ids ru&&i&" away. :God dam& 'ids,: Paul shouted at &o o&e he *ould see. :Stay da (u*' away (rom here=: :Good +ob "uys,: >o&atha& said with a smile. :He2s u! a&d mad. 3he& he2s i& the shower lau&*h the se*o&d ro*'. Hera will ta'e *are o( the rest.: :Ao"er that.: >o&atha& o!e&ed the bolt o& his ri(le a&d loaded a si&"le rou&d i&to the ma"a1i&e. He *losed the bolt, loadi&" the rou&d i&to the *hamber.

:O'ay Hera,: >o&atha& said, rubbi&" the side o( his ri(le, :we2-e bee& throu"h a lot to"ether. )ou2-e always ta'e& *are o( me. I ho!e you are u! (or this. I need you to be dead o&. I '&ow you wo&2t disa!!oi&t me.: :There he "oes a"ai&, tal'i&" to his ri(le,: >oh&so& said to Torres lau"hi&". :>oh&&y you '&ow Hera is &ot "oi&" to a&swer you ba*' ri"htB: >o&atha& i"&ored >oh&so& a&d loo'ed i&to his s*o!e. Paul was sta&di&" i& the middle o( his bedroom &a'ed, s*rat*hi&" his ass as he loo'ed at the bro'e& "lass. Paul did &ot belie-e i& *urtai&s a!!are&tly. Dis"usted, >o&atha& wat*hed Paul wal' i&to his bathroom. >o&atha& too' a dee! breath a&d let it out -ery slowly. :3e2re lo*'ed a&d loaded >oh&&y.: Sile&*e (illed the radio as >o&atha& set his si"hts o& the bathroom wi&dow where Paul2s u!!er body was -isible. :I .M DE.TH. )our li(e is mi&e to&i"ht. I ta'e it without remorse, whe& I ha-e you i& my si"ht.: :Get ready,: >oh&so& stated, :he2s starti&" his *ha&t.: :There is &o tur&i&" ba*' whe& I "et the *all. )our time has *ome a&d &ow you must (all. )ou *a&2t see me, you do&2t e-e& '&ow I2m &ear. The& you (eel the *old, dar'&ess (ills you with (ear.: Torres li(ted the 1i! "u& to his shoulder a&d aimed it at the bathroom wi&dow. :I& a s!lit se*o&d, as you ta'e your last breath, you '&ow your li(e belo&"s to meE FOAE IE .ME DE.TH=: >oh&so& lit the (use o& the 1i! "u&, se&di&" a&other ro*' (lyi&" throu"h the air. .s the ro*' im!a*ted the wi&dow, s*atteri&" the "lass, >o&atha& !ulled the tri""er. Hera se&t the si&"le 7.4#x5M rou&d hurdli&" toward Paul2s head. Paul had &o *ha&*e to rea*t to the "lass brea'i&". The bullet had (ou&d its tar"et. Blood s!attered a*ross the o!!osite wall as Paul2s brai&s ex!loded out o( his head. There was total sile&*e o& the streets. The !eo!le o& the street or i& their homes &e-er e-e& heard a shot ri&" out as >o&atha& u&s*rewed the sile&*er at the e&d o( Hera. :First missio& *om!lete.: 9 9 9 9 >ose!h Lee&o!olis was a bi" ma&, six (oot (our i&*hes a&d three hu&dred !ou&ds o( solid mus*le. He &e-er li'ed his last &ame. >ose!h "rew u! i& the Bro&x a&d with a& u&usual &ame as Lee&o!olis@ he "ot i&to (i"hts all the time. He was a s'i&&y little 'id but that did &ot sto! him (rom beati&" u! a&yo&e who *halle&"ed him. >ose!h2s (ather, Da&iel, thou"ht he would use that a&"er a&d a""ressio& a&d tur& it i&to somethi&" !ositi-e. Da&iel si"&ed >ose!h u! (or boxi&" lesso&s. >ose!h too' to boxi&" easily. He would s!e&d hours at the "ym wor'i&" out a&d bee(i&" u!. >ose!h wa&ted to be*ome a Hea-y 3ei"ht ham!. .t the rate he had bee& (i"hti&", >ose!h was well o& his way. >ose!h dro!!ed out o( hi"h s*hool i& te&th "rade a&d started (i"hti&" !ro(essio&ally. He *ha&"ed his (i"hti&" &ame (rom >ose!h Lee&o!olis to :Mr. Lee.: .(ter a year Mr. Lee was a well '&ow& &ame a&d had be*ome a *o&te&der. He was u&de(eated at (orty a&d $ with thirtyCei"ht a*tual '&o*'outs. His last !ro(essio&al (i"ht was a"ai&st a "uy +ust starti&" out. There was &o way he *ould mat*h Mr. Lee2s s!eed a&d stre&"th. It was "oi&" to be a& easy (i"ht. I& the lo*'er room be(ore the (i"ht, Mar*o ro&us Sr. *ame to ha-e a *hat with Mr. Lee. Mar*o told Mr. Lee that he was "oi&" to ta'e a (all i& the se*o&d rou&d. There was a lot o( mo&ey ridi&" o& this (i"ht, (i-e hu&dred thousa&d dollars to be exa*t. Mar*o said to ma'e it loo' "ood or else. Mr. Lee was &ot "oi&" to let a&yo&e rui& his shot at the title. 3he& the bell ra&" starti&" the (i"ht Mr. Lee *ame out swi&"i&". The other (i"hter did &ot '&ow what hit him. FortyCei"ht se*o&ds i&to the (i"ht Mr. Lee was sta&di&" o-er '&o*'out &umber thirtyC&i&e.

.(ter the (i"ht Mar*o Sr., Mar*o >r., a&d (our other hu"e "uys *ame i&to Mr. Lee2s lo*'er room. Mr. Lee threw the (irst !u&*h be(ore a word was s!o'e&. I( he was "oi&" to "o dow& he was "oi&" to "o dow& (i"hti&" a&d he was "oi&" to ta'e as ma&y o( them dow& with him. The (i"ht lasted two mi&utes. Mr. Lee was the o&ly o&e sta&di&" a&d ready to hit a&yo&e who stood u!. Mar*o Sr. (i"ured the mo&ey he lost o& the (i"ht *ould be made u!. He wa&ted Mr. Lee wor'i&" (or him. Mar*o Sr. !ulled out his "u& a&d shot Mr. Lee i& the ri"ht ha&d. Mr. Lee would &e-er (i"ht a"ai& so he had to wor' (or the ro&us (amily or die. Mr. Lee be*ame the (amily2s mo&ey tra&s!orter. .t twe&tyC(i-e he be*ame a lower ra&'i&" a!tai& but a a!tai& &o&e the less. That was (i(tee& years a"o. Mr. Lee loo'ed at his wat*h. It was se-e& (ortyC(i-e, Paul was late. Mr. Lee tur&ed o& the tele-isio& to see i( the &ews was re!orti&" a&y ma+or tra((i* a**ide&ts. He wat*hed (or (i(tee& mi&utes the& tur&ed it o((. Mr. Lee loo'ed at the *lo*' a"ai&. He !ulled out his *ell !ho&e a&d dialed Sully Delmo&t2s &umber. Sully was Mr. Lee2s *ousi&. :Hey Sully it2s me. I &eed you to !i*' me u!. )ea the little shit is late a"ai&. Mr. ro&us wa&ts me at his house by ei"ht thirty. No, &o. He does sou&d !issed about somethi&" so mo-e your ass. Fi-e mi&utesB O'ay, see ya the&.: Mr. Lee hu&" u! the !ho&e a&d loo'ed u! at the *lo*'. Ei"ht te&. I( Sully did arri-e i& (i-e mi&utes that would "i-e them (i(tee& mi&utes to "et to Mar*o2s house. There was &o way they would ma'e it i& time. Mr. Lee de*ided to wait (or Sully outside. .s he wal'ed out the door Sully was s!eedi&" dow& the street. Mr. Lee smiled a&d started dow& the ste!s to his *ur-ed dri-eway. >o&atha& was sitti&" i& a tree tra*'i&" Sully ra*i&" toward him. .s Sully i&*hed *loser >o&atha& started re*iti&" his :I .M DE.TH: *ha&t. It was a*tually a !oem he wrote o&e day o& the ri(le ra&"e. >o&atha& (ou&d out that by re*iti&" this !oem to himsel( his &er-es a&d mus*les be*ame relaxed. Heari&" the words i& is ow& ears seemed to sooth his *o&s*ie&*e, *o&-i&*i&" himsel( that what he was about to do, ta'i&" a li(e, was &ow +usti(ied. Sully !ulled i&to the dri-eway, still dri-i&" (ast. He lo-ed s!eed. Be(ore Sully was able to hit the bra'es >o&atha& !ulled the tri""er. The bullet sailed throu"h the air beauti(ully, hitti&" its tar"et with !i& !oi&t a**ura*y, 'illi&" Sully i&sta&tly. Sully (ell (orward o& the steeri&" wheel. His (oot was still o& the "as. The *ar hit the ed"e o( the dri-eway a&d (lew i&to Mr. Lee2s house. Mr. Lee +um!ed out o( the way as best he *ould. Mr. Lee was de(i&itely "oi&" to be late &ow. 9 9 9 9 Mar*o threw his *ell !ho&e a*ross the room, hitti&" the (ar wall. Mar*o was still (eeli&" *old (rom bei&" i& the i*e *old water o( the Hudso&. The (amily2s !erso&al do*tor had *ast Mar*o2s arm. The Do*tor told Mar*o he was su((eri&" (rom hy!othermia a&d &eeded to stay warm or he would *at*h !&eumo&ia. Mar*o was weari&" two !airs o( so*'s, sweat !a&ts, two sweaters, a&d wra!!ed i& a hea-y bla&'et. :3hat2s "oi&" o& boss,: Matthew Gaudy as'ed. Matthew was the ro&us2 a!tai& o-er the west side o( New )or'. :Lee wo&2t be *omi&". Sully *rashed his *ar i&to Lee2s house. The *ar is hal( i& a&d hal( out o( his house.: :SullyB 3hat ha!!e&ed that he *rashed,: Shau& ;elly as'ed. Shau& is a&other a!tai& wor'i&" di((ere&t lo*atio&s i& >ersey. :He "ot a bullet i& his head. Shit= There is &o way we *a& hide this (rom the *o!s. Shau& *all o&e o( your boys a&d tell 2em to "o (i&d Paul. He should ha-e !i*'ed u! Lee.:

:Sure thi&" boss,: Shau& a&swered as he !ulled out his *ell !ho&e a&d *alled o&e o( his (oot soldiers. . mi&ute later he hu&" u! the !ho&e a&d &odded his head at Mar*o. :.ll set boss. So what2s "oi&" o&, some other (amily ta'i&" us o&B: Mar*o stood there i& sile&*e. Shi-eri&" *old, he was tryi&" to *alm himsel( dow&. He !ulled the bla&'et arou&d himsel( ti"hter as he wal'ed ba*' to his *hair. Mar*o sat dow& a&d loo'ed at e-eryo&e i& the room. E-eryo&e was waiti&" (or Mar*o to say somethi&", loo'i&" at Mar*o (or (ear they mi"ht miss somethi&" i( they loo'ed a&ywhere else. :Some o&e tur& u! the (u*'i&2 heat. I2m (u*'i&2 (ree1i&2 my &uts o(( o-er here.: Matthew was *losest to the thermostat. He "ot u! a&d mo-ed the &eedle to &i&ety de"rees. It was already ei"htyC(i-e de"rees i& the room. E-e& thou"h it was wi&ter, the other me& i& the room were hot. Matthew sat ba*' dow& without sayi&" a word. :It2s &ot a&other (amily tryi&" to mus*le i& o& us,: Mar*o (i&ally a&swered. :It2s that (a""ot who shot me six mo&ths a"o.: :It2s +ust o&e "uy. No !roblem boss, he2s dead,: Matthew res!o&ded, :I2ll "et all my "uys o& it.: :Matthew, what, you "ot shit (or brai&s,: Mar*o s&a!!ed with harsh -e&om i& his to&e. :3e2-e bee& tryi&" to "et this "uy (or six mo&ths. Six (u*'i&2 mo&ths= )our boys *ould&2t *at*h him i& that time.: :)ea *ause the little shit ra&,: Matthew a&swered, tryi&" to de(e&d himsel(. :No stu!id, he did&2t ru&. He2s bee& wat*hi&" us. He '&ows e-erythi&" about us. He2s bee& ri"ht u&der our &oses the whole (u*'i&2 time.: Mar*o s&ee1ed hard. His &ose was be"i&&i&" to ru& while his a&"er built u!. :This asshole is&2t alo&e either. He2s "ot at least three others with him. 3e are &ot +ust "oi&" to 'ill these assholes. I wa&t them ali-e.: Mar*o too' a dri&' o( S*ot*h, tryi&" to warm his blood, be(ore *o&ti&ui&" o&. :I am !erso&ally "oi&" to brea' bo&es. I wa&t these (u*'ers tortured. I wa&t them to be" us to 'ill 2em.: Shau&2s *ell !ho&e be"a& to ri&", i&terru!ti&" Mar*o. Shau& !ulled it out a&d a&swered it 0ui*'ly. :<h huh. )ea. Good +ob. Get o-er here 0ui*'ly.: Shau& hu&" u! the !ho&e a&d loo'ed at Mar*o. :Paul2s dead. Shot i& the head while ta'i&" a shower. o!s a&d &ews are all o-er his house.: :F< ;,: Mar*o shouted. 9 9 9 9 Tara ?y& Dittus was sitti&" at her des' at the New )or' Times. Growi&" u!, Tara had always wa&ted to be a serious +our&alist a&d wor'i&" (or the Times was o&e o( the best ways to do that. Six wee's out o( *olle"e her dream was *omi&" true, o&ly thi&" is she was i& the mail room &ot the &ews room. It was as i( someo&e was !layi&" a +o'e o& her. Si&*e Tara was a (reshma& i& hi"h s*hool she2d writte& (or the s*hool !a!er. She e-e& be*ame the se&ior stude&t editor her >r. )ear. O( *ourse that was a small tow& s*hool !a!er i& Iowa. 3he& Tara mo-ed to New )or' to atte&d N)< she '&ew she would ha-e to start at the bottom a&d wor' her way u!. She may ha-e bee& a little (ish i& a bi" !o&d but Tara was determi&ed to "row (ast. Grow she did. .(ter her (irst year i& s*hool the (a*ulty editor o( the s*hool !a!er a!!oi&ted Tara as the lead re!orter. She was "ood at "etti&" the stories &o o&e wa&ted a&d made the best o( them. Tara be*ame a bi" (ish. The day Tara "ot the &ews that she, a small tow& "irl (rom Iowa, would be wor'i&" (or the New )or' Times be*ame the best day o( her li(e. Tara *alled her !are&ts a&d told them the &ews. They told Tara how !roud they were o( her. .s the !ostma& brou"ht i& the ba"s o( mail, Tara wo&dered what her !are&ts would thi&' o( her &ow. How !roud would they be that their bi" time re!orter is wor'i&" as a mailroom *ler'B Tara still loo'ed (or stories e-erywhere. She wrote what she *ould a&d sli!!ed her arti*les i&to the editor2s mail. <&(ortu&ately the editor did &ot li'e the idea o( Tara s&ea'i&" her wor' i&.

If I wanted you to write me (torie( I would have hired you a( a reporter. Tara remembered those words the editor yelled at her the &i"ht be(ore. Tara de*ided that mor&i&" that she was &ot "oi&" to e-er write (or the Times. She *ame to terms that her dreams were &ot "oi&" to *ome true. Tara started sorti&" the mail i& the !ostal ba". The early mor&i&" load was &ot as bad as the lu&*h time load. .ll mail must be sorted a&d deli-ered &o later tha& two !m. Tara was hired to +ust sort the mail, but i& the !ast wee' she2d (ou&d hersel( ha-i&" to deli-er it too. This +ob was so u&(air. It too' Tara thirty mi&utes to "et the mail sorted a&d ready to "o. She wal'ed ba*' to the (ro&t o( the mail room to see i( a&y other ba"s had show& u!. Tara (ou&d a si&"le e&-elo!e lyi&" o& her des'. She !i*'ed it u! a&d saw it was addressed to her. T.A. ?)N DITT<S )O<A ?IFE IS .BO<T TO H.NGE. )O<A BIG BAE.; IS INSIDE. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter 7 Brea'i&" the Story Tara2s eyes "rew lar"e as she read the *o&te&ts o( the e&-elo!e. Thou"hts be"a& ra*i&" throu"h her head. Is the letter real or was someo&e i& the &ewsroom !layi&" a !ra&'B Is this a testB I( the story is real what do I do with itB Tara *ould try "oi&" to the editor but that had its draw ba*'. Tara *ould "et (ired or worse yet, the story *ould be ya&'ed (rom her *om!letely. The letter did war& that i( the story was ta'e& (rom Tara the editor would be sorry. ould that be a threat o& his li(eB :S*rew it. I2m &ot "oi&" to s!e&d the rest o( my li(e dow& here i& the mailroom.: Tara "rabbed her +a*'et a&d headed to the editor2s o((i*e. 9 9 9 9 :Mr. Aoss, I2-e "ot somethi&" you &eed to loo' at,: Tara said as she wal'ed i&to the mor&i&" meeti&" with the re!orters. E-eryo&e sto!!ed what they were doi&" a&d loo'ed at Tara. Tara loo'ed at their (a*es a&d saw she still had sur!rise o& her side. She de*ided to *o&ti&ue (orward be(ore someo&e threw her out. :Someo&e +ust shot two o( Mr. ro&us2 me& a&d se&t me a letter to !ri&t to Mr. ro&us. This is bi" &ews a&d I am the *o&ta*t !erso&.: :Miss Dittus what the hell are you tal'i&" about,: Mr. Aoss blurted out a&"rily. :Soo& the &ews will be re!orti&" two se!arate shooti&"s. O&e is Paul Gerardo a&d the other was at Mr. Lee2s house, a Sully Delmo&t.: Tara loo'ed at her wat*h a&d held u! a !ie*e o( !a!er. :I& te& mi&utes Mi*hael ;lei& will be the &ext o&e to "et shot. It2s all laid out i& this letter that was se&t to me i& the mailroom.: :?et me see that,: Mr. Aoss s&a!!ed as he wal'ed o-er to Tara a&d rea*hed (or the !a!er. :Not so (ast,: Tara said, !ulli&" the !a!er away (rom Mr. Aoss. :I seem to ha-e "otte& the ex*lusi-e o& this. I wa&t this story.: :3hy you little bit*h,: Mr. Aoss said, his (a*e tur&i&" red with a&"er. :How the (u*' do I e-e& '&ow it2s realB: :Boss it2s real,: o&e o( the re!orters said !oi&ti&" to the TF. He tur&ed u! the -olume a&d e-eryo&e liste&ed. :E what seemed to be a& i&te&tio&al shooti&". ."ai& the -i*tim was shot i& the head while he was ta'i&" a shower. Nei"hbors say they &e-er e-e& heard a "u& shot.: :The -i*tim2s &ame is bei&" withheld but sour*es tell us that he was a member o( the ro&us (amily. This is Emily S!ar' re!orti&" li-e, Fox Fi-e News.: :Tha&' you Emily,: the &ews a&*horma& said, :."ai& to re*a! our to! story, a ma& was shot i& his home early this mor&i&". <mE we are re*ei-i&" i&(ormatio& that a&other ma& has bee& shot while dri-i&" his -ehi*le. For more we are "oi&" to S*ott Peterso&. S*ottB: :>oh& we are at the home o( >ose!h Lee&o!olis. .!!are&tly arou&d ei"ht this mor&i&" a *ar dro-e i&to Mr. Lee&o!olis2 home. The dri-er, (ortyCsix year old Sully Delmo&t was !ulli&" i&to the

dri-eway whe& he was shot i& the head. Poli*e are &ot releasi&" a&ymore i&(ormatio&. They are &ot sayi&" whether or &ot there is a *o&&e*tio& betwee& this shooti&" a&d the o&e earlier. 3e have bee& able to *o&(irm that there is a *o&&e*tio& betwee& Mr. Delmo&t a&d the ro&us (amily. 3e2ll bri&" you more as the story de-elo!s. S*ott Peterso&, Fox Fi-e News.: Mr. Aoss tur&ed o(( the TF as he tur&ed to (a*e Tara. :3ell Mr. Aoss,: Tara stated, smili&" as she raised a& eyebrow at him. :3hat2s it "o&&a beB Do I "et to write this story or do I be"i& my *arrier as a tele-isio& re!orterB I2m sure (omeone will allow me to do this story +ust to "et the ex*lusi-e.: :3hy you,: Mr. Aoss as'ed *oldly, (eeli&" tra!!ed i& a *or&er. :3he& I (i&d that out so will you,: Tara a&swered, tryi&" to sou&d *o&(ide&t amidst all the *haos. :Times ti*'i&" Mr. Aoss.: :Fi&e, you *a& write the story.: 9 9 9 9 "To the bo((e( of organi5ed crime6 *our time i( up. The day( of organi5ed crime are over. For anyone thinking of getting into organi5ed crime) change your mind. For tho(e of you who have committed crime( you have nowhere to hide. *our name( are on my li(t) from the low live( in the (treet( to '-- the top bo((e(. In(ide of (i7 month( you will all be dead. *ou have committed great (in( on the innocent. .ay God have mercy on your (oul becau(e I will (how you no mercy. To the brethren of the 2olice &epartment) do not try to (top me for you have your own problem(. $vil ha( crept into your rank() tainting the hard work of hone(t "fficer(. .en you tru(ted) men you called your friend) leader( you confided in. I have their name() too. I have decided to let the 0one(t "fficer( 8udge the other(. Soon certain people will receive all the evidence you will need to get the(e (cum off the (treet. To '-- the bo((e() no matter the nationality) thi( i( directed to you. If you deal) or have dealt with .arco ronu() you are marked to die. There are a few bo((e( from ,u((ia and hina who have #"T dealt with .r. ronu(. 'lthough you 0'V$ committed crime( that are de(erving of &$'T0) I am giving you one chance. *ou have until &ecember fir(t to leave the country and never return. *our home country can deal with you. 0owever) if you &" #"T leave) or you return to thi( country I will fall down on you and take your life. *ou will not be able to hide. To the children of the men who are about to die) you are on borrowed time. If you live a good peaceful life you need not fear me. If you turn to a life of crime) your life will belong to me. There i( no (topping me for you can not (top &$'T0. *ou can not catch a gho(t. *ou can not de(troy a (hadow. .ake no mi(take) I am coming. Thi( i( not a crime) T0IS IS %+STI $. *our life belong( to me) &$'T0 9 9 9 9 :Boss, did you read the Times this mor&i&",: ?ouie as'ed as he wal'ed i&to Mar*o2s !ool house. ?ouie (lew i& (rom Miami &o&Csto!. :)ea I saw the !a!er,: Mar*o s&a!!ed, his blood !ressure risi&" (rom the stress o( it all. :I read the letter. I& *ase I did&2t read the letter it2s all o-er the radio a&d TF. I wa&t these assholes dead by the e&d o( the day=: 9 9 9 9 Fi&*e&t Tor&elly laid dow& the !a!er a&d rea*hed (or his tele!ho&e. He dialed a &umber a&d waited (or a& a&swer. :Tal' to me,: the -oi*e o& the other e&d a&swered. :To&y, Fi&*e&t.: :)ea Fi&&ie, what do you wa&tB:

:)ou read the !a!erB I thi&' we &eed to "et the (amilies to"ether a&d ha-e a little *hat with Mar*o.: :I already se&t word to Gary a&d .&tho&y Mur*heddy. 3e are "oi&" o-er i& a& hour.: Fi&*e&t loo'ed at his wat*h. Se-e& (ortyC(i-e am. :Fi&e I2ll be there.: Fi&*e&t hu&" u! the !ho&e. He made a&other *all a&d the& le(t (or Mar*o2s house. Someo&e was "oi&" to !ay (or the letter i& the Times. 9 9 9 9 :Someo&e "et me a *o!y o( the Times,: a!tai& 3ol( yelled outside his door. a!tai& 3ol( sat ba*' dow& at his des', wat*hi&" the mor&i&" &ews. : a!tai&, you wa&ted to see meB: :Not u&less you ha-e the (ro&t !a"e o( the Times=: :Ai"ht here a!tai&.: a!tai& 3ol( rea*hed u! a&d s&at*hed the !a!er out o( Dete*ti-e >o*'2s ha&d. Tall a&d sle&der with a medium musta*he, hris >o*' lo-ed to +o'e arou&d. Not mu*h +o'i&" "oi&" o& today thou"h, &ot with what was !ri&ted about dirty *o!s i& the !a!er. The lar"est *ity i& the *ou&try is about to be i& a& u!roar. 9 9 9 9 Tara *ould &ot belie-e the bu11 whe& she wal'ed i&to the buildi&" o( the New )or' Times. Tele-isio& re!orters wa&ted to tal' with her. E-eryo&e was as'i&" the same 0uestio&s: Did she '&ow the 'illerB How did she "et su*h i&side detail to the shooti&"sB Did she '&ow who was &extB Se*urity was outside waiti&" to es*ort Tara i&side the buildi&". Mr. Aoss did &ot wa&t Tara tal'i&" to a&yo&e. Tara truly did ha-e a hot ex*lusi-e. The story would &ot last six mo&ths as the *o&ta*t !romised. Mr. Aoss had to stri'e while the iro& was hot. .lready at se-e& thirty i& the mor&i&" the Times has bee& sold out o( e-ery !ri&ti&". ?ast time that ha!!e&ed was the day a(ter Pearl Harbor. The Times has +ust out s*oo!ed e-ery other &ews media. Tara was ta'e& strai"ht to Mr. Aoss2s o((i*e. .&other ma& was sitti&" a*ross (rom Mr. Aoss. : o&"ratulatio&s Tara,: Mr. Aoss said as Tara wal'ed i&to the room. :Tha&'s to this "e&tlema& here you ha-e +ust be*ome the hottest re!orter i& New )or'.: 9 9 9 9 ha!ter J . Mob Di-ided Mar*o was sitti&" i& his bi" leather *hair holdi&" a "lass o( S*ot*h. It was ei"ht thirty i& the mor&i&" but that did &ot matter to Mar*o. His head was throbbi&". >o&atha& was be*omi&" more o( a !ai& tha& Mar*o was use to. Mar*o2s bro'e& arm was a *o&sta&t remi&der o( that (a*t. :Boss, you "ot -isitors,: >oh&, o&e o( Mar*o2s (oot soldiers, said as he wal'ed i&to the de&. :I told you I did&2t wa&t to see a&yo&e >oh&,: Mar*o s&a!!ed, &ot loo'i&" u!. :I thi&' you2ll see me Mar*o,: Fi&*e&t Tor&elly said wal'i&" !ast >oh&. He too' o(( his hat a&d o-er*oat, ha&di&" them to >oh&. :Get me a dri&'.: >oh& loo'ed at Mar*o. Mar*o wa-ed his ha&d u!, telli&" >oh& to lea-e the room. :)ou2ll be ex!e*ti&" more -isitors,: Fi&*e&t a&&ou&*e to >oh&. :Bri&" them here ri"ht away.: >oh& wa&ted to say that he2s &ot a (u*'i&" butler but Mar*o "a-e >oh& a serious loo'. >oh& too' the hi&t a&d le(t the room without sayi&" a&other word. :3hat *a& I do (or you Fi&&ieB: Mar*o s&ared. :)ou *a& tell me who this asshole is that wrote that letter i& the !a!erB 3hy did he me&tio& you by &ameB: :It2s the asshole who did this to me,: Mar*o said li(ti&" his bro'e& arm. :He thi&'s he *a& s*are me.: :Seems to me that he2s "otte& the better o( you twi*e,: Fi&&ie said as he sat dow& a*ross (rom Mar*o. :Is&2t this the same "uy who shot youB That2s &ot "ood (or busi&ess.:

:3hat the (u*' are you tryi&" to say,: Mar*o blurted out loudly. :He2s &ot tryi&" to say a&ythi&",: To&y am!oraliee said wal'i&" i&to the de&. The Mur*heddy brothers were wal'i&" i& behi&d him. :Mar*o I !erso&ally do&2t thi&' you *a& ha&dle this "uy. He should be dead by &ow but is&2t.: :He will be,: Mar*o s&a!!ed de(e&si-ely. :I( you had a&y balls,: Gary Mur*heddy said, :the& he would be ta'e& *are o( already. I&stead he ma'es a (ool out o( us all. I do&2t li'e bei&" made to loo' li'e a (ool Mar*o.: :)ea well, i( the shoe (its Gary,: Mar*o s&a!!ed. :3hat did you +ust say,: Gary "rowled as he +um!ed (orward toward Mar*o. To&y ste!!ed i& (ro&t o( Gary to hold him ba*'. :Boys *alm dow&,: Fi&*e&t said a&"rily. :Gary wat*h your tem!er. Mar*o wat*h the i&sults.: Fi&*e&t too' a dee! breath be(ore *o&ti&ui&". :Fa*t is Mar*o, your (u*' u! is ma'i&" us loo' bad. This was su!!ose to be a sim!le i&sura&*e !ayme&t. I&stead you ha-e bee& (a*e to (a*e with this "uy twi*e. Both times he *ri!!led you a&d 'illed your boys.: :Now he2s started shooti&" your "uys i& their ow& homes. Se&ds a letter to the Times (or the e&tire world to see. Sayi&" how he2s "o&&a 'ill all o( us i&side o( six mo&ths.: :He2s e-e& threate&ed the Aussia&s. I ha-e to deal with those *ommie bastards. They do&2t li'e bei&" *alled out. I2m sorry Mar*o but I do&2t thi&' you should be ru&&i&" the (amilies a&ymore. )our (ather would tur& o-er i& his "ra-e, God rest his soul.: :I am still i& *har"e Fi&&ie. I2m the o&e that u&ited all the (amilies. I made more mo&ey (or all o( you i& the !ast (i-e mo&ths tha& you made yoursel-es i& the !ast te& years= Do&2t you dare (u*'i&2 threate& me i& my ow& home=: Mar*o stood u! a&d wal'ed o-er to the bar. He swallowed what was le(t i& his "lass a&d !oured himsel( a&other S*ot*h. Mar*o swallowed that "lass a&d !oured a&other. He *arried it o-er to Fi&*e&t. :Next time you wa&t a dri&', (u*'i&2 !our it yoursel(. Now are we do&e here,: Mar*o s&a!!ed, dari&" a&yo&e else to *halle&"e him. Fi&*e&t loo'ed o-er at the other three me&. They all sli"htly &odded toward Fi&*e&t. :)ea Mar*o we2re (i&ished.: Fi&*e&t swallowed the *o&te&ts o( the "lass the& stood u!. :)ou are &o lo&"er i& *har"e o( our (amilies. )ou are o& your ow& Mar*o.: Fi&*e&t, To&y, Gary, a&d .&tho&y wal'ed out o( Mar*o2s de&, &ot sayi&" a&other word. Mar*o was le(t alo&e to stew i& is thou"hts. His heada*he i&*reasi&" with e-ery !assi&" mome&t. 9 9 9 9 :)ou are o& your ow& Mar*o.: >o&atha& liste&ed with ex*iteme&t at Fi&*e&t Tor&elly2s last words. This was "reat &ews. :Did you hear that to&e,: >oh&so& as'ed sur!risi&"ly. :Did his -oi*e *ra*' a bitB: :)ea I thi&' it did,: >o&atha& a&swered. :They all sou&ded a bit s*ared to me. That2s "ood. Out little demo&stratio& wor'ed yesterday.: :)ea but Fi&*e&t was ri"ht about o&e thi&",: >oh&so& said, :the Aussia&s are "oi&" to be ma+orly !issed.: :It2s the hi&ese I2m more worried about,: >o&atha& res!o&ded. :The Aussia&s will be ta'e& *are o( all at o&*e.: :.&d +ust how the hell do you !la& o& doi&" that,: Aoyal as'ed with ea"er&ess i& his to&e. :I& o&e wee' omrade Lis'i& is "oi&" to ha-e a !arty o& his !ri-ate ya*ht,: >o&atha& ex!lai&ed. :O&ly mob "uys a&d sex "irls are "oi&" to be o& the boat. 3e ta'e the boat (rom them. 3e bri&" alo&" some CK a&d ta'e *are o( all o( them. Those that do&2t atte&d will be !i*'ed u! a&d ta'e& out i& the mor&i&".: >o&atha& loo'ed at Aoyal as the wheels be"a& to tur& i&side his head. Aoyal thou"ht it was ris'y ta'i&" a& e&tire boat hosta"e. There are a lot o( thi&"s that *ould "o wro&". :3hat about the wome& >oh&&y,: >oh&so& as'ed. :3hat are we "o&&a do with themB: :S&at*h a&d "rab. 3e2re "o&&a bri&" them ba*'. 3e2re &ot the bad "uys here.:

Aoyal still had his doubts but >o&atha& is i& *har"e. He has yet to be wro&", always !la&&i&" out to the -ery last detail. :Promise me you2re thi&'i&" a&d &ot (eeli&" o& this o&e,: Aoyal -oi*ed his o!i&io&. :)ea Aoyal I2m thi&'i&. My emotio&s are i& *he*'. I e-e& "ot us s!e*ial !rote*tio&.: :3hat are you tal'i&" about,: Aoyal as'ed, loo'i&" *o&(used. 3ith !er(e*t timi&" Torres wal'ed i&to the room *arryi&" a box. Torres wal'ed o-er to the table a&d !la*ed the box o& to!. :Here you "o Aoyal,: >o&atha& said as he o!e&ed the box. :Aubber body armor. )ou wear this u&der your -est. It2ll ta'e some "etti&" use to but it2s li'e weari&" two -ests. That, alo&" with the (la' +a*'et o-er the -est a&d you are *o-ered. These e-e& *ome with the body armor !a&ts. These bad boys will sto! a .K$ but i( you "et shot i& the le" it2ll hurt li'e hell.: :How did you ma&a"e to "et these >oh&&y,: >oh&so& as'ed. :I had them *ustom made with that mo&ey I wo& i& Fe"as,: >o&atha& a&swered sim!ly. :E-erythi&" is !er(e*tly le"al "uys.: >o&atha& loo'ed at Aoyal a&d *ould see *o&(li*t i& his (a*e. :Aoyal i( you "ot somethi&" wor'i&" the& let us '&ow. )ou *a& sit this o&e out (rom shore.: :No >oh&&y,: Aoyal res!o&ded slowly, :&o. I2m i&.: 9 9 9 9 )uri Lis'i& was sitti&" dow& eati&" di&&er alo&e. His wi(e, .&"eli*a, had ta'e& the 'ids home to Mos*ow so they *ould -isit their dyi&" "ra&d(ather. .&"eli*a2s (ather was dia"&osed with lu&" *a&*er a year earlier a&d &ow he is i& the hos!ital waiti&" to die. )uri thou"ht his (atherCi&Claw, Boris, to be a !i". Boris had &e-er li'ed )uri. They ar"ued o-er e-erythi&". 3he& the old 3ar e&ded Boris was "lad to see the *olla!se o( ommu&ism. )uri '&ew that demo*ra*y was "oi&" to rui& his Mother Aussia. )uri le(t a&d too' .&"eli*a with him to New )or'. He '&ew someo&e i& the Aussia& ma(ia a&d it was &ot lo&" be(ore )uri be*ame o&e o( the to! mus*le me& i& the ma(ia. )uri e&+oyed bei&" arou&d me& (rom the motherla&d who still belie-ed i& the old ways. The old ways were the best, *old a&d 0ui*'. )uri loo'ed u! as Fi&*e&t Tor&elly wal'ed i&to the di&&i&" room. )uri !oi&ted at the *hair to his ri"ht with a stea' '&i(e, sile&tly telli&" Fi&*e&t were to sit. )uri *o&ti&ued to *ut a&d eat his stea', ma'i&" Fi&*e&t wait. :Now Mr. Tor&elly,: )uri said as he swallowed a mouth(ul o( stea', :would you li'e somethi&" to dri&'. I ha-e bottle o( Fod'a (rom Mos*ow. Fery "ood,: )uri added !olitely i& his thi*' Aussia& a**e&t. :No I2m (i&e. 3hy do&2t we "et to why I2m here,: Fi&*e&t a&swered im!atie&tly. :)ou '&ow why you here I thi&',: )uri said *almly be(ore sho-eli&" a&other lar"e !ie*e o( stea' i& his mouth. :)ou '&ow o( this ma& i& !a!erB: :)ea I '&ow who he is,: Fi&*e&t s&a!!ed. :He2s "+, !roblem a&d we *a& ha&dle him.: :I would li'e to '&ow who he is !lease. I wa&t to '&ow who is threate&i&" my li(e. I am &ot to be made loo' li'e (ool. )ou u&dersta&dB: :?oo' ".,'&$,: Fi&*e&t said, stressi&" *omrade, :we *a& ha&dle this "uy. He will be dead by tomorrow &i"ht. I ha-e all my "uys loo'i&" (or him.: :Fi&*e&t, Fi&*e&t,: )uri said so(tly, !utti&" dow& his (or', :*alm dow&. )ou are (rie&d. 3e ha-e tru*e &oB I allow you time you &eed. I wa&t hel! you. )esB: :."ai&, we do&2t &eed your (u*'i&2 hel!=: Fi&*e&t !ushed his *hair ba*' to sta&d. )uri, howe-er, +ammed the stea' '&i(e i&to Fi&*e&t2s le(t ha&d, !i&&i&" his ha&d to the table. :Fi&*e&t it is rude to lea-e whe& tal'i&",: )uri said *almly, as i( &othi&" had +ust ha!!e&ed. :)ou are &ot my (rie&d. )ou i&sult me a&d my (amily. )ou let ma& threate& my (amily. I& Aussia this mea&s death. )ou wa&t die Fi&*e&tB: :)ou2re (u*'i&2 *ra1y you *ommie bastard,: Fi&*e&t shouted as he tried !ulli&" the '&i(e (ree o( the table. Fi&*e&t "e&tly !ulled o& the '&i(e ha&dle a&d sto!!ed, the !ai& was ex*ru*iati&".

:?et me hel! you,: )uri o((ered. )uri "rabbed Fi&*e&t2s le(t wrist a&d ya&'ed the stea' '&i(e out with his other ha&d. Fi&*e&t (ell ba*' i&to his *hair loo'i&" throu"h the hole i& his ha&d. )uri was smili&" ba*' at Fi&*e&t throu"h the o!e&i&". :No o&e threate&s my (amily. )ou are reaso& this ma& atta*' me. )ou must !ay !ri*e.: Fi&*e&t tried to rea*h (or his "u& but )uri was mu*h (aster. )uri slit Fi&*e&t2s throat with the stea' '&i(e. Fi&*e&t "rabbed at his throat, tryi&" to sto! the blood that was (lowi&" out o( his throat. His body was be"i&&i&" to "o i&to sho*', it re(used to do a&ythi&" Fi&*e&t2s brai& was *omma&di&". I& a matter o( se*o&ds Fi&*e&t Tor&elly (ell (orward dead. )uri dro!!ed the '&i(e o-er Fi&*e&t2s head. The '&i(e la&ded, blade dow&, i&to the table at Fi&*e&t2s throat. )uri smiled to himsel( as he wal'ed out o( the room. Soo& the Italia&s will be dead a&d the Aussia&s will *o&trol New )or'. 9 9 9 9 >immy 3a& hu&" u! the !ho&e a&d loo'ed a*ross his des' at his two so&s. :That was )uri. He *alled to tell me that that !i" Tor&elly is dead. )uri *ut his throat.: :)ou2re shiti&2 me,: Da&&y 3a& said. Da&&y is >immy2s oldest so& a&d &ext i& li&e to ta'e o-er the Triads whe& >immy is "o&e. :Does this mea& we2re "oi&" to war with the Italia&s,: Tra& 3a& as'ed, loo'i&" at his (ather with ea"er&ess. :Maybe Tra&,: >immy a&swered. :The Aussia&s are. I( they as' (or our hel! the& they2re "oi&" to "et it.: >immy 3a& too was (rom the old ways. hi&a a&d Aussia are &ot mu*h di((ere&t whe& you "et dow& to the details. Both are ommu&ist *ou&tries, both are hard o& !u&ishme&t, *old o& emotio&, a&d do &ot show a&y mer*y. >immy a&d )uri had met (i-e years earlier. Both me& were a(ter a "uy who stole te& thousa&d dollars (rom ea*h (amily. )uri ha!!e&ed to (i&d the "uy +ust mi&utes be(ore >immy showed u!. .(ter a short *o&-ersatio& betwee& the two leaders they de*ided to share i& torme&ti&" their !ri1e. . (rie&dshi! e&sued. The Aussia&s a&d the Triads ha-e had a tru*e e-er si&*e the&. >immy '&ew that )uri would &eed his hel! to ta'e o& the Italia&s. .(ter readi&" the letter i& the Times, >immy wa&ted them all dead. I( this ma& who *alled himsel( :Death: wa&ted >immy 3a& the& >immy was ready. :. war i( *omi&" boys, there is &o mista'i&" that. I wa&t e-eryo&e to lay low. Da&&y, tell your boys to wor' the mar'ets a&d see what they *a& (i&d out.: :De(i&e 2wor'2 !o!s.: :Get +obs,: >immy s&a!!ed, a&&oyed that he has to ex!lai& himsel(. :I do&2t wa&t them '&o*'i&" a&yo&e arou&d, +ust wor' li'e e-eryo&e else. They &eed to be as low 'ey as !ossible. I &eed eyes e-erywhere.: :)ou "ot it.: :Tra& "et your *om!uter "ee's to wat*h the &ets a&d see what they (i&d. See who2s tal'i&" a&d about what. Fi&d out what you *a& (rom the *o!s as well. Ta! e-erythi&" you *a& thi&' o(.: :Sure thi&".: Both boys loo'ed at their (ather to see i( there were a&y more orders. >immy dismissed them with a wa-e o( his ha&d as he sat ba*' i& his *hair. :I am ready (or Death,: >immy whis!ered to himsel(, alo&e i& the room, :I ho!e Death is ready (or me.: 9 9 9 9 >o&atha& sat o& his *ot liste&i&" to the *o&-ersatio&s o( the day. This is the best way to ha&dle the mobs, '&ow their e-ery mo-e. It too' >o&atha& two mo&ths to set u! his bu"s but he ma&a"ed to bu" e-ery hi"h ra&'i&" !erso& i& the ma(ia, Italia&, Aussia&, a&d hi&ese.

>o&atha& (i"ured that he would ha-e the ma(ia hel! him i& his war. Not o&ly will they be tryi&" to 'ill him but they2ll be tryi&" to 'ill ea*h other too. The little "uys would ta'e *are o( ea*h other while >o&atha& !i*'ed o(( the bosses. The e-e&ts o( the day !ro-ed >o&atha& ri"ht. )uri had de*lared war o& the Italia&s. ?ittle did )uri '&ow he was about to die. >o&atha& tar"eted the Aussia&s (or total a&&ihilatio& (irst be*ause they were the smallest. That was the "ood thi&" about the Aussia&s, they all stayed to"ether. Their &umbers were also small. >o&atha& laid o& his *ot, stari&" at the *eili&", "oi&" o-er the !la&s (or hi+a*'i&" )uri2s boat. .s the boat ex!loded i& his head, >o&atha& (ell aslee!. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter M O&e Dow&, Two to Go The Demetri is a lar"e !arty ya*ht. The !arty bei&" held to&i"ht would &ot be a !roblem (or the boat. The tables were bei&" set u! a&d the dri&'s !oured. The *rates that the *rew was bri&"i&" aboard were su!!ose to be (ull o( (ood. The deli-ery tru*' had bee& late a&d the *oo' was "etti&" &er-ous. ou&ti&" the last *rate as it *ame aboard, the *oo' breathed a si"h o( relie(. His "uests would be arri-i&" i& two hours. He hated to rush his *oo'i&". 9 9 9 9 <! i&side the !ilot2s room >o&atha& was setti&" a CK *har"e. Dow& below i& the e&"i&e room >oh&so& was doi&" the same thi&". The !la& was that whe& the boat ex!loded there would be &othi&" le(t but small *hu&'s. The a!tai& o( the Demetri was lyi&" o& the (loor u&*o&s*ious a&d bou&d with du*t ta!e. He &e-er saw >o&atha& *omi&". The a!tai&, howe-er, would at least wa'e u! a&d with o&e ma+or heada*he, so would the e&tire *rew (or that matter. Torres had "o&e aboard early a&d s!i'ed all the dri&'s. Aoo(ies were i& e-ery water bottle, e-ery bottle o( wi&e, a&d e-erythi&" that *o&tai&ed li0uid. Si&*e it was i& mi&or dosa"es it would ta'e a while (or the roo(ies to ta'e e((e*t. Those that !assed out 0ui*'ly would be lau"hed at (or &ot bei&" able to hold their li0uor. This was how >o&atha& was ho!i&" to ta'e o-er the boat without (iri&" a shot. The (irst "uest had arri-ed at six !.m., Boris Na"asie. Boris stood tall at six (oot two, wei"hi&" two hu&dred (i(ty !ou&ds. Boris was )uri2s &umber o&e hit ma&. He *laimed to be a &atural bor& 'iller, a true assassi&. O&e loo' at him would s*are the bra-est o( souls i( they had to (i"ht him ha&d to ha&d. Boris lo-ed his +ob. He too' !ride i& his 'ills. I( he *ould hel! it, &othi&" was e-er rushed but sometimes it *ould &ot be hel!ed a&d a (ast slo!!y 'ill was &e*essary. 3he&e-er !ossible, Boris &e-er 'illed the same way twi*e. 3ith o&e hu&dred twe&tyC(i-e 'ills to his &ame, (i&di&" a di((ere&t way to 'ill someo&e was be*omi&" a *halle&"e. >o&atha& had studied Boris *losely. He '&ew he would "et o&ly o&e *ha&*e at 'illi&" Boris. The more >o&atha& studied a&d stal'ed Boris the more he be"a& to thi&' a bullet to the head would not 'ill him. That2s whe& >o&atha& "ot the idea (or to&i"ht. I( blowi&" Boris to !ie*es did &ot do the tri*' &othi&" would. Boris, howe-er, had o&e ma+or wea'&ess, hot beauti(ul wome&. The o&ly wome& he would be see& with are the o&es e-eryo&e would be loo'i&" at. To&i"ht was &o ex*e!tio&. .&astasia was the 'i&d o( woma& who "ot !aid by the hour a&d she was &ot *hea! either. She *ame with a !ri*e ta" o( (i-e hu&dred dollars a& hour. 3he& .&astasia wal'ed i&to the room all eyes were o& her. .&astasia was six (oot (i-e with lo&" (lowi&" dar' red hair. Her *hest a (ortyC(our D, "rabbed the atte&tio& o( e-ery male a&d (emale she met. She had a sle&der body with lo&", (irm, to&ed le"s. Her eyes were a dee! emerald "ree& that *ould *a!ti-ate whome-er she wa&ted a&d tal'ed them i&to obeyi&" her e-ery *omma&d.

Me& were &ot the o&ly o&es "aw'i&" either. 3ome& also *om!eted (or the .&astasia2s atte&tio&. Strai"ht wome& who &e-er e-e& *o&sidered a&y lesbia& thou"hts wa&ted to ex!erime&t with .&astasia. O&ly wome& who were beauti(ul a&d sexy "ot that !ri-ile"e. She would allow them to ex!lore her body be(ore tea*hi&" them how to !lease her. It *ame easily to her. .&astasia always (ou&d it (u&&y that strai"ht wome& *ould &ot wait to su*' her &i!!les or eat her out. These wome& were the lu*'y o&es@ they "ot to ha-e sex with her (or (ree. Numerous times duri&" a !arty .&astasia would be hit o& by me& with &o a-ail. The !romises o( !leasure a&d e*stasy were all lies. The o&ly o&es re*ei-i&" !leasure were the me& so she made sure she "ot !aid to (u*'. The me& always !aid a&d always *ame ba*' (or more. .&astasia swore &o ma& would e-er (u*' her (or (ree, so she thou"ht. The day she met Boris was the be"i&&i&" o( her hellish &i"htmare. Boris saw .&astasia a&d wa&ted her. He as'ed her (or sex a&d she told him &ot a *ha&*e i& hell. That &i"ht while .&astasia was "i-i&" her *lie&t a blow +ob Boris 'i*'ed i& the door a&d shot him i& the head. He made it -ery *lear that i( she did &ot !lease him he would 'ill her. That was two years a"o. Boris was the o&ly ma& who &e-er !aid her. I( she was &ot wor'i&" the& she was (u*'i&" Boris. .(ter to&i"ht, howe-er, .&astasia would be (ree. 9 9 9 9 The Demetri was sitti&" dead i& the water twe&ty miles east o( Else Isla&d, well !ast the +urisdi*tio& o( the <.S. oast Guard. O&e hu&dred (i(ty three Aussia&s were below dri&'i&" a&d tal'i&". )uri was !layi&" host, wal'i&" arou&d a&d tal'i&" to e-eryo&e. O&e by o&e, )uri we&t to *ertai& !eo!le a&d whis!ered i& their ear. . &od o( their head a&d a sla! o& the ba*' si"&aled the messa"e was u&derstood. The &i"ht was *lear a&d *ool. The stars were shi&i&" bri"ht. It was a -ery !ea*e(ul &i"ht (illed with &o worries. The "uests were e&+oyi&" themsel-es while )uri we&t to a !ri-ate room. I&side were the six me& )uri had whis!ered somethi&" to. Des!ite what his "uest saw )uri was &ot ha!!y. :Boris, why ha-e you &ot 'illed boy,: )uri s&a!!ed as the door *losed behi&d him. :He2s -ery "ood. No o&e see him. He 'ills the& -a&ishes without tra*e. )ou see !a!ers *all him AE.? SNIPEA.: :I do&2t *are= I wa&t him dead=: :)uri,: I-a& ;o((, )uri2s ri"ht ha&d ma&, *ut i&, :Boris is &ot to blame. He has &e-er (ailed you be(ore.: :I '&ow,: )uri a&swered. :I sorry Boris. It2s &ot your (ault. My bastard (atherCi&Claw has &ot died. He will stay ali-e +ust to !iss me o((.: E-eryo&e lau"hed. :)ou should e&+oy the !arty,: I-a& *o&ti&ued. :Boris will do his +ob.: :)es but my wi(e has see& the &ews. She *alls me to (i&d out what "oi&" o&. She worry be*ause bastard (ather o( hers say I will die too. She wa&t to *ome home. I wa&t him dead be(ore she *ome home.: :I will (i&d him tomorrow. He will die slowly. I ha-e *ome u! with "ood !la&.: )uri !i*'ed u! his "lass a&d em!tied it. E-eryo&e else i& the room did the same. :O&e dri&', the& you tell us Boris.: I-a& stood u! a&d !oured Fod'a out o( a *rystal bottle where )uri 'e!t his best Fod'a. E-eryo&e '&ew this was the "ood stu((. It did &ot ta'e lo&" to em!ty the "lasses i& the room. This was i&deed the "ood stu((. >o&atha& had !erso&ally s!i'ed the bottle. )uri2s -isio& be"a& to blur. The room be"a& to s!i&. He *ame *rashi&" dow& hard as he !assed out. E-eryo&e else i& the room (ell shortly a(ter. >o&atha& wal'ed i&to the !ri-ate room a&d smiled. He mo-ed 0ui*'ly to du*t ta!e e-eryo&e. The amou&t o( roo(ie he !la*ed i& the Fod'a was e&ou"h to 'ee! e-eryo&e '&o*'ed out (or hours but >o&atha& was &ot "oi&" to ta'e a&y *ha&*es.

He *he*'ed his wat*h. Ni&e (ortyC(i-e. Ho!e(ully most o( the "uest dow&stairs should be !assi&" out. I& (i(tee& mi&utes Aoyal a&d Torres will be !ulli&" u! alo&" the Demetri to be"i& the o(( load. 9 9 9 9 : omi&" i& o& your !ort side. Do you ha-e e-eryo&e readyB: :Aed Aoute O&e where ha-e you bee&B )ou2re (i(tee& late.: :Had a little trouble lea-i&" the do*'. 3e2re "ood to "o.: :Ao"er that,: >o&atha& said, :I "ot you o& slow a!!roa*h.: :That2s us.: :Pull i& slow. 3a&t to exe*ute i& te&.: :)ou "ot it.: Aoyal !ulled the small (ishi&" boat alo&" side the Demetri. . lo&" woode& !la&' was !la*ed betwee& the two boats. >oh&so& a&d Torres be"a& tra&s!orti&" the *rew o-er to the other boat. Mostly e-eryo&e was !assed out. Aoyal, >oh&so&, Torres, a&d >o&atha& were all weari&" bla*' hooded mas's i& *ase someo&e wo'e u!. 3he& the *rew was tra&s(erred, the wome& were &ext. .ll i& all tra&s(erri&" e-eryo&e too' twel-e mi&utes. Torres we&t ba*' to the (ishi&" boat to "et her ready to lea-e. >oh&so& *he*'ed the last o( the C K *har"es. >o&atha& was busy dum!i&" "asoli&e all o-er the boat. >o&atha& had mo-ed e-eryo&e to the mai& de*'. This way whe& he wo'e u! )uri, he *ould see >o&atha& lea-i&" the boat. He made his way to the !la&' a&d saw .&astasia sta&di&" i& (ro&t o( Boris. She was hu""i&" hersel( ti"ht, *ryi&". >o&atha& wal'ed u! behi&d her, !la*i&" his le(t arm arou&d her shoulders. She s&i((ed, tryi&" to dry her tears. >o&atha& (elt sorry (or her. Some !eo!le may &ot see it as ra!e be*ause o( her !ro(essio& but that2s what it was e-ery time Boris sle!t with her. :.re you sure he2s "oi&" to die,: .&astasia as'ed so(tly. :)es,: >o&atha& a&swered 0ui*'ly. :That "ree& bri*' o& his *hest will do the tri*'.: :)ou !romise,: she whis!ered betwee& sobs. :I !romise. I2-e 'e!t my word to you so (ar. )ou *a& trust me &ow.: >o&atha& had 'e!t his word. Two mo&ths a"o he had a!!roa*hed .&astasia by !rete&di&" to be a *lie&t. 3he& she we&t to the hotel room to meet him she was sur!rised at what she saw. :I do&2t wa&t sex,: >o&atha& had told her, sitti&" i& a *hair by the door. :Sex or &ot, I "et !aid the same,: .&astasia s&a!!ed ba*', a&&oyed. :I2m &ot "oi&" to !ay you a&ythi&". Please sit dow&,: >o&atha& said !oi&ti&" at a *hair a*ross (rom him, :I ha-e i&(ormatio& that2s "oi&" to *ha&"e your li(e.: :)ou do&2t ha-e a&y mo&ey,: she shouted. :No,: he res!o&ded *almly. :)ou2re "oi&" to wish you &e-er messed with me asshole. No o&e +er's me arou&d. I2ll ha-e you 'illed.: :By who,: >o&atha& as'ed *oldly. :BorisB )ou2re "o&&a *ry to himB: That "ot her atte&tio&. She was about to say somethi&" but &othi&" *ame to mi&d. How the hell did he '&ow about Boris, &o o&e '&ew about BorisB :I( you wa&t him out o( your li(e (ore-er you2ll sit dow&.: .&astasia stood stari&" i&to >o&atha&2s eyes. She was tem!ted to storm out but somethi&" dee! i&side told her to stay. She sat dow& a&d >o&atha& be"a& telli&" her about his !la&. The more he ex!lai&ed what he wa&ted the more she '&ew >o&atha& was real. .&astasia started "i-i&" >o&atha& all the i&(ormatio& he &eeded to !ull o(( to&i"ht. >o&atha& had 'e!t e-ery !romise he made to her. :I '&ow I2m a hoo'er but &o o&e e-er made me (eel as *hea! as he did,: she sobbed, loo'i&" away (rom Boris. She (a*ed >o&atha&, who was still weari&" his mas', :I wish you *ould 'ill him a hu&dred times o-er. He deser-es it.:

:There2s &othi&" I *a& say or do to ma'e your hurt "o away,: >o&atha& o((ered. :Belie-e me I '&ow. The o&ly thi&" I *a& o((er you is a *ha&*e at a &ew li(e. Get yoursel( *lea&ed u!. )ou2re better tha& this.: :Tha&' you. I will try to ma'e somethi&" o( my &ew li(e.: .&astasia 'issed >o&atha&2s *hee' a&d too' the "lass o( water he had bee& holdi&". She '&ew it *o&tai&ed roo(ie. She was !re!ared (or the massi-e heada*he she would ha-e whe& she wo'e u!. It was !art o( the deal. This way she loo'ed li'e a -i*tim li'e e-eryo&e else. >oh&so& hel!ed her a*ross the !la&'. >o&atha& was le(t alo&e aboard the Demetri. Aoyal be"a& to !ull the boat away a&d "et a mile away (rom the Demetri. 3ell !ast the blast radius. >o&atha& !i*'ed u! a (i-e "allo& *a& o( "asoli&e. He started !ouri&" it o&to the heads o( the me& he had tied to"ether. )uri wo'e u! (rom the s!lash o( the "as. :3hat are you doi&",: )uri yelled. >o&atha& i"&ored him. He *o&ti&ued with setti&" the timer (or the bomb. )uri 'i*'ed a&d s*reamed but >o&atha& &e-er loo'ed i& his dire*tio&. )uri2s yelli&" wo'e three other me&, i&*ludi&" Boris. They all shouted threats i& E&"lish a&d Aussia&. 3he& >o&atha& (i&ished he wal'ed o-er to Boris. 3ith his steal toe boots, >o&atha& 'i*'ed Boris i& the +aw with all his mi"ht. Blood (lew (rom Boris2 (a*e o&to )uri2s. :That was (or .&astasia. )ou si*' twisted mother(u*'er.: He !ulled o(( his mas' a&d loo'ed at )uri. )uri stared at him with a bla&' loo'. :)ou do&2t '&ow me so sto! tryi&" to (i"ure it out. )ou 0'V$ bee& hu&ti&" me (or two wee's &ow.: :)ou are a (u*'i&2 dead ma&=: :No my (rie&d, you are,: >o&atha& a&swered with a smile. :I su""est you ma'e your !ea*e with God *ause i& sixty se*o&ds you2re '-- "oi&" to hell.: >o&atha& !ushed the start butto& o& the timer. The red li"hts that made u! the &umbers be"a& *ou&ti&" dow& (rom sixty. >o&atha& +um!ed o-er the bow o( the Demetri i&to the water. There was a loud s!lash as >o&atha& we&t i&. >o&atha& too' a dee! breath a&d be"a& swimmi&" away (rom the boat u&derwater. 3ith (li!!ers o&, he was able to swim away with s!eed. I& his head he was *ou&ti&" the time dow&. .t (i(tee& se*o&ds to ex!losio& >o&atha& *ame u! (or a&other breath o( air. Filli&" his lu&"s he loo'ed ba*' at the Demetri. He (i"ured he was about hal( a mile away. >o&atha& we&t ba*' u&der the wa-es a&d swam toward the (ishi&" boat. He *o&ti&ued to *ou&t dow& i& his head. Three. Two. O&e. BOOM= The Demetri is &o more. >o&atha&, bei&" te& (eet u&derwater, *ould (eel the heat blast. hu&'s o( wood a&d body !arts were la&di&" all arou&d him. Hot metal *ut throu"h the water li'e bullets. . !ie*e o( metal +abbed i&to the ba*' o( >o&atha&2s ri"ht le". . +olt o( !ai& shot throu"h his body as the hot metal seared his (lesh. .&y &ormal ma& would ha-e s*reamed out i& !ai&, &ot >o&atha&. The Mari&es had tau"ht him to i"&ore !ai& a&d *o&ti&ue o& with the missio&. 9 9 9 9 :So& o( a bit*h that hurts=: :Easy >oh&&y,: .&tho&y said tryi&" to !ull the shra!&el that lod"ed itsel( dee! i&to >o&atha&2s le". :O( all the (u*'i&2 lu*'=: >o&atha& *o&ti&ued to *urse to himsel( as .&tho&y stit*hed his le" *lose. The heat o( the metal was so i&te&se that it *losed the wou&d by bur&i&" the (lesh arou&d it. The *old&ess o( the water hel!ed to *ool the metal so as &ot to *ause mu*h dama"e.

:>oh&&y I *a&2t (i"ure out i( you2re lu*'y or u&lu*'y,: >oh&so& said. :)ou "et hurt worse tha& a&yo&e else I '&ow but it2s &e-er serious.: :)ea, whate-er (u*'er,: >o&atha& "ru&ted throu"h the !ai&. :I "et all the s*ars.: :That you do,: >oh&so& a"reed. :No ar"ui&" that. I still *a&2t belie-e we !ulled it o((.: :Me either,: Aoyal said as he dro-e the -a&, :Sorry I doubted you.: >o&atha& did &ot a&swer. He was dri(ti&" o(( to u&*o&s*ious&ess. 9 9 9 9 :This is o&e hell o( a mess,: Dete*ti-e >o*' said aloud as he loo'ed at all the !eo!le tied u! a&d !assed out o& the (ishi&" boat. :.re they dead ?ouB: :No, +ust !assed out,: ?ou Ta&ly shouted ba*', a you&" *o! who +ust made Dete*ti-e. :My "uess is they were all dru""ed.: :No shit Sherlo*'= ?et2s "et them out o( here the&. Ta'e them to the hos!ital a&d start 0uestio&i&" them.: :)es Sir.: Dete*ti-e >o*' was sitti&" i& his a!artme&t i& Ma&hatta& wat*hi&" a -ideo o( last wee's >ets "ame whe& he heard the ex!losio&. He loo'ed out his wi&dow to see a (ireball out i& the harbor. He loo'ed out i& horror. Fi-e se*o&ds later his !ho&e, !a"er, a&d *ell !ho&e were all "oi&" o((. This was "oi&" to be a busy &i"ht i&deed. 9 9 9 9 .&astasia was strai&i&" to (o*us her eyes as a bri"ht li"ht was shi&&i&" i&to them. She tried swatti&" at the li"ht a&d hit a& arm. :Mam2, Mam2, are you o'ayB: :3hat ha!!e&edB: she as'ed stu&&ed, :where am IB: :)ou2re i& the New )or' Harbor. 3e were ho!i&" you *ould tell us what ha!!e&ed.: .&astasia too' a *ou!le o( dee! breaths. Her head was s!i&&i&". >o&atha& had war&ed her about tal'i&" too mu*h while her head was still (u11y. She dra&' some water that ?ou o((ered her a&d that hel!ed to *lear her head. :I do&2t '&ow what ha!!e&ed,: .&astasia said whe& she *ould see *learly. . si"& the dru" was weari&" o((. :?ast thi&" I remember was dri&'i&" a "lass o( water while tal'i&" with my date.: :Did you see or hear a&ythi&" u&usual,: ?ou as'ed so(tly, ho!i&" to "et somethi&" use(ul. :No,: .&astasia a&swered slowly. :Hey Dete*ti-e loo' at this,: a u&i(ormed O((i*er shouted as he li(ted somethi&" u! (rom the (loor, :It2s a head=: Flashli"hts were shi&&ed i& the dire*tio& o( the O((i*er as he held u! a huma& head. .&astasia re*o"&i1ed the head. It belo&"ed to Boris. E-e& thou"h hal( the (a*e was bur&ed there was &o mista'i&" it was Boris. I&side she was smili&". She would ha-e smiled o& the outside i( &ot (or the throbbi&" i& her head. >o&atha& had 'e!t his word. Boris was dead. Dete*ti-e >o*' wal'ed u! to the u&i(orm O((i*er. :3hat the hell are you doi&" tam!eri&" with e-ide&*e=: He (li*'ed his *i"arette away toward the !ilot2s tower. It la&ded i& the middle o( a& o!e& s0uare. Flames i"&ited as the 'erose&e bur&ed slowly. Dete*ti-e >o*'2s eyes "rew lar"e as he made out the messa"e be(ore him. Aussia&2s Dead O&e Dow& Two to Go DE.TH 9 9 9 9 ha!ter %$ Busted :The blast that shoo' New )or' Harbor last &i"ht has &ow bee& *o&(irmed to be the wor' o( DE.TH. Poli*e were still i&-esti"ati&" the blast but there seemed to be &o &eed a&ymore.:

:DE.TH se&t a&other letter *laimi&" res!o&sibility (or the ex!losio&. 3hile we *a& &ot *o&(irm yet, DE.TH is *laimi&" to ha-e 'illed e-ery member o( the Aussia& Ma(ia.: :The Demetri, whi*h is re"istered to Aussia& *rime boss )uri Lis'i&, le(t this -ery do*' last &i"ht. There was a -ery !ri-ate !arty i& atte&da&*e whi*h &I& *o&sist o( mostly Aussia&s. The Demetri has yet to retur& whi*h adds *redit to DE.TH2s letter.: :Tara ha-e the !oli*e released the &ames o( the -i*tims that were s!ared,: the a&*hor i& the &ews room as'ed. :Tom, the !oli*e at this mome&t are sto&ewalli&" us, sayi&" it2s too early i& the i&-esti"atio& to re-eal a&y i&(ormatio&.: :Tha&' you Tara. That was Tara Dittus re!orti&" li-e (rom New )or' Harbor.: ?I ;. Sile&*e (illed the room. No o&e wa&ted to loo' at Mar*o ro&us. Mar*o too' a dri&' o( his bra&dy, (i&ishi&" the "lass. :Bout time this asshole did somethi&" ri"ht. .t least he "ot rid o( those *ommie bastards.: :3hat you wa&t us to do about the hi&'s,: Matthew as'ed. :3hat do you mea& Matthew,: Mar*o as'ed sar*asti*ally. :Is there a !roblem with the hi&'s I do&2t '&ow aboutB: :It2s +ust that they were i& ti"ht with the Aussia&s. They2re "o&&a wa&t a !ie*e o( this asshole. 3hat s*ares me the most is that they2-e bee& 0uiet si&*e Fi&&y was 'illed. It2s &ot li'e them to be so (u*'i&2 0uiet a&d "o i&to hidi&".: :3ellE: :Boss,: >osh wal'ed i&to the room, '&owi&" he better tha& to i&terru!t a meeti&" but this was im!orta&t. :Sorry Boss but you better tur& da &ews ba*' o&.: Mar*o "rabbed the remote a&d tur&ed the TF ba*' o&. O& the s*ree& was a !i*ture o( >o&atha&. This *ha&"ed e-erythi&". So (ar &o o&e but Mar*o a&d his boys '&ew that >o&atha& was the o&e 'illi&" !eo!le. The !oli*e sus!e*ted him but were &ot ready to !ost a&y i&(ormatio& yet. Now here he was, his (a*e bi" as day o& the tele-isio& i& dessert *amo (ati"ues. Mar*o tur&ed u! the -olume. :3e &ow "o li-e to Tara Dittus with this ex*lusi-e story. TaraE: :Tha&' you Tom. 3e2re sitti&" i&side our &ews -a& with a ma& who *a& !ro-e he '&ows who the 'iller '&ow& as DE.TH really is. 3e will *o&du*t this i&ter-iew u&til we "et to our studios. Sir, *ould you tell us who you are how you '&ow the ide&tity o( DE.THB: : or!oral Sha&e Aamos, <&ited States Mari&e or!s, Aetired.: 9 9 9 9 >oh&so& s!it out his *o((ee as he heard the &ame a&d -oi*e o& the &ews. He tur&ed arou&d a&d *o&(irmed what he (eared dee! dow& i& his "ut. It was i& (a*t Aamos. :>oh&&y "et your ass u!,: >oh&so& shouted o-er his shoulder. :)our !i*ture is o& the &ews= 3e2re busted=: >o&atha& +um!ed o(( his *ot as i( he was sho*'ed with %$$,$$$ -olts. He made his way to the TF a&d *ould &ot belie-e his eyes. The ma& was holdi&" u! a !i*ture o( three me& sta&di&" to"ether i& dessert (ati"ues. Aamos, >oh&so&, a&d >o&atha& were (lexi&" their mus*les i& a !lay(ul "esture. >o&atha& still remembered the day that !i*ture was ta'e&. It was the day he re*ei-ed Hera. The three me& were (rie&ds +ust out o( S&i!er trai&i&". >o&atha& was ra&'ed &umber o&e i& the *lass a&d Aamos was &umber two. O&ly o&e !oi&t se!arated >o&atha& a&d Aamos (rom re-ersi&" the ra&'i&"s. Aamos always (elt he was the better S&i!er. The day the !i*ture was ta'e& was the be"i&&i&" o( 3ar Games i& )uma, .ri1o&a. Dessert war(are was somethi&" the military was trai&i&" hea-ily (or.

The missio& was (or the S&i!ers to ma'e their way i&to the .rmy *am! a&d sabota"e as mu*h e0ui!me&t as they *ould. They were "i-e& !ai&t bullets, blue (or re"ular rou&ds a&d red to simulate armor !ier*i&" rou&ds. Ea*h ma& had *ertai& tar"ets they were su!!ose to hit. They were "etti&" ready whe& To&y Aeddi&" *ame by with a *amera. The you&" !ri-ate was always ta'i&" !i*tures. Aamos, >oh&so&, a&d >o&atha& thou"ht it was (u&&y to (lex mus*les a&d ma'e mea& (a*es. .s the me& were !a*'i&" their "ear a&other -isitor *ame to see >o&atha&. He had a ri(le *ustom made (or >o&atha&. It was Hera. Aamos was u!set be*ause he should be the o&e to ha-e the ri(le &ot >o&atha&. >o&atha& had used mo&ey he wo& (rom a bet o-er who would "raduate at the to! o( s&i!er s*hool to !ay (or Hera. 3he& the me& le(t, Aamos s&u*' ba*' a&d too' Hera out with him. He made it to >o&atha&2s tar"ets (irst a&d (ired Hera usi&" real bullets. He le(t the ri(le where >o&atha& *ould (i&d it. >o&atha& would be a**used o( re*'less e&da&"erme&t a&d be throw& out o( the or!s. Aamos (elt >o&atha& &e-er belo&"ed i& the or!s a&yway be*ause o( the reaso& he was admitted i&to the or!s. .s (ar as Aamos was *o&*er&ed >o&atha& was not a real Mari&e. Bad lu*' (or >o&atha& tur&ed out to be the best thi&" to ha!!e& to him that day. By a stro'e o( !ure lu*' two !ri-ates ste!!ed o& >o&atha& as they were o& their way to the how Hall. >o&atha& was *a!tured. His missio& e&ded be(ore it be"a&. The shots that *ame (rom Hera *ame while >o&atha& was bei&" i&terro"ated by his *a!tors. Aamos was busted. .t the *ourt marshal >o&atha& testi(ied a"ai&st Aamos. Aamos was *o&-i*ted a&d as (ar as Aamos was *o&*er&ed, >o&atha& was the reaso& he s!e&t two years i& ?ea-e&worth. Now he was ba*' to "et his re-e&"e. 9 9 9 9 :I ser-ed with these two me& i& this !i*ture. The three o( us were i& S&i!er trai&i&" to"ether. This ma& i& the middle is your 'iller. His &ame is >o&atha& M*Gre"or.: :Mr. Aamos, how *a& you be so *ertai& that this ma& is the same ma& *alli&" himsel( DE.THB: : u1 dat2s what he *alled himsel( i& trai&i&". He thou"ht he was better tha& e-eryo&e else. E-e& had a !oem he2d say as he made his 'ills. .lways *alli&" himsel( DE.TH.: :.&d you said you ha-e 2,""F this is the same ma&,: Tara as'ed, tryi&" to draw out the i&ter-iew. :)es.: Aamos rea*hed i&to his !o*'et a&d !ulled out a bullet. . 7.4#x5M bullet. :This bullet is the most *ommo& bullet used o-erseas by (orei"& *ou&tries. It (its a& .;CK7 ri(le. Our troo!s *a&2t use these *u1 we ha-e di((ere&t style wea!o&s.: :I& the (ield a s&i!er has o&ly what he ta'es with him. I( he ru&s out o( ammo the& he2s +ust SO?. >o&atha& had a s!e*ial ri(le made (or him that ta'es this style bullet. The barrel has &o "ro-es or mar'i&"s i&side so it lea-es the bullet *lea& o( tra*i&" mar's.: :Be*ause the ri(le is a bolt a*tio&E: :I2m sorry,: Tara i&terru!ted. :. Bolt .*tio&B 3hat is thatB: :It mea&s the shell is&2t e+e*ted automati*ally whe& the "u& is (ired. )ou ha-e to ma&ually slide a bolt ba*' to extra*t the shell a&d load a &ew rou&d.: :I2m sure the !oli*e ha-e (ou&d tra*es o( the bullet but #$V$, a shell *asi&". The reaso& is as s&i!ers we2re trai&ed &ot to lea-e a tra*e o( our !rese&*e.: The TF (lashed the !i*ture o( the three me& with a white *ir*le arou&d >o&atha&2s (a*e. The& a *lose u! o( >o&atha& was show&. :Mr. Aamos, you said this other "e&tlema& may be i&-ol-ed as well.: :)ea,: Aamos a&swered, a&&oya&*e *learly writte& all o-er his (a*e. :The other "uy2s &ame is Ty >oh&so&. He is li'e a little do" o& >o&atha&2s heals. They &e-er "o a&ywhere alo&e. I bet my li(e i( you loo' u! his whereabouts he disa!!eared about the same time as >o&atha&.: :.&d why ha-e you de*ided to *ome (orward with this i&(ormatio& &owB: :Sim!le, da reward "ot bi" e&ou"h (or me.:

:3ell there you "o.: Tara loo'ed ba*' toward the *amera. :)ou heard it here (irst. This is Tara ha&&el Fi-e, Fox News.: :Tha&' you Tara,: the a&*horma& said. 9 9 9 9 :That2s it >oh&&y= It2s o-er= 3e are so (u*'i&2 dead=: : alm dow& Torres,: >o&atha& a&swered *almly. :3e2ll be (i&e. 3e '&ew it was o&ly a matter o( time be(ore we were (ou&d out. 3e +ust &eed to bee( u! our se*urity. 3e &eed to mo-e to the warehouse.: :But the whole *ity '&ows what you a&d >oh&so& loo' li'e.: :)ea but &ot what you, .&tho&y, or Aoyal loo' li'e. The e&tire *ity will be o& ed"e to&i"ht. ome tomorrow we start O!eratio& Ome"a.: :)ou thi&' we2re ready (or that >oh&&y,: >oh&so& as'ed. :Ho&estly, &o, but time is ru&&i&" short. I( we sur-i-e this wee'e&d the& we are o& borrowed time. 3e ha-e to e&d it by Mo&day mor&i&".: The other three me& loo'ed at >o&atha&. They '&ew that he was ri"ht. 3ith his (a*e !lastered all o-er the &ews e-ery ma(ia *o&&e*ted !erso& would be loo'i&" (or him. It would o&ly be a matter o( time be(ore the rest o( them were dis*o-ered. They were already li-i&" o& borrowed time. 9 9 9 9 :3hat do you thi&' hrisB Thi&' this "uy is a "ood "uyB: :Not sure yet ?ou,: hris !u((ed. :It2s hard to say ri"ht &ow.: The two me& *o&ti&ued to +o" i& sile&*e. hris lo-ed to +o" e-ery mor&i&" be(ore wor'. It was re(reshi&" a&d hel!ed him thi&' better. It hel!ed to bri&" *larity to a *louded *ase. The o&ly other !la*e Dete*ti-e >o*' "ot this 'i&d o( *larity was i& the +oh&. Si&*e he &eeded to tal' thi&"s o-er with ?ou, +o""i&" was the o&ly o!tio&. There was &o way i& hell he was "oi&" to tal' to ?ou while sitti&" o& the !ot. :The "ood thi&",: hris *o&ti&ued, :is that he2s "ot or"a&i1ed *rime dow& i& the !ast mo&th. These "uys are s*arred a&d hidi&". I& my boo' that2s a "ood thi&".: :But he2s still *ommitti&" murder,: ?ou *ou&tered. :Te*h&i*ally that2s true. But we both '&ow he2s doi&" what we all wi(h we *ould do. He2s &ot 'illi&" i&&o*e&t me&, he2s 'illi&" (u*'i&2 mo&sters.: :Iuestio& is, whe& he2s *au"ht, will a +ury buy thatB: :Hell, I do&2t e-e& thi&' there will be a trial. .&d i( there is, (i&di&" a +ury is "oi&" to be tou"h. This has made world wide &ews. <&li'e the D. . S&i!er, this "uy is bei&" dubbed a hero.: : ome o& hris, a heroB: :Some !eo!le thi&' so.: :3hat about youB )ou thi&' he2s a heroB: :Hell yea I do,: hris s&a!!ed ba*'ed. :My (ather was 'illed by a wise "uy o-er a !ar'i&" s!a*e. . (u*'i&2 !ar'i&" s!a*e. It did&2t matter that I was with him or that I was (i-e, that (u*'i&2 asshole was "oi&" to shoot me &ext.: :The *o!s would&2t do a&ythi&" about it whe& my mother *om!lai&ed. O&e &i"ht two "uys bro'e our door dow& a&d ra!ed my mother. They told her &ext time she *om!lai&ed they would be ba*' to ra!e her a"ai&.: :She died i&side that &i"ht. My mother use to be a beauti(ul woma& but (rom that day (orward she was a 1ombie. She was always a(raid. .ll *ourtesy o( Mar*o ro&us Sr.: :Dam& hris. I did&2t '&ow.: :Not somethi&" I li'e to tal' about.: The two me& *ame to the e&d o( the trail. They wal'ed ba*' to the !ar'i&" lot slowly without sayi&" a&other word. They sto!!ed a&d stret*hed outside o( ?ou2s *ar. 3he& they (i&ished stret*hi&" hris said, :?et2s "et ba*' to the o((i*e to start o& last &i"ht2s !a!er wor'.: Dittus.

They both "ot i& the *ar. ?ou tur&ed the radio o&. ?ou lo-ed Salsa musi*. . so&" was be"i&&i&" to !lay. ?ou li'ed the beat a&d tur&ed u! the -olume. Sudde&ly the so&" sto!!ed a&d was re!la*ed with stati*. :This is Mario Ai-era with brea'i&" &ews. The ide&tity o( the 'iller '&ow& as DE.TH has bee& made '&ow&. Ae!orts are sayi&" that >o&atha& M*Gre"or, a (ormer Mari&e S&i!er is i&deed the ma& 'illi&" o(( the mob. 3e2ll 'ee! you u!dated as more re!orts *ome i&.: hris did &ot hesitate. He 0ui*'ly "rabbed his *ell !ho&e. ?ou !ut his little red !oli*e li"ht o& to! o( his hood a&d "u&&ed the e&"i&e. :Nealy, >o*'. 3e +ust heard o& the radio that some "uy &amed M*Gre"or was (i&"ered as the s&i!er.: :)ea,: Nealy *o&(irmed. :It was all o-er Fox News about a& hour a"o. Some "uy who use to wor' with M*Gre"or blabbed to a re!orter. Dey e-e& showed the so& o( a bit*h2s !i*ture.: :3hatB Now the whole *ity '&ows what this "uy loo's li'eB: :Dat2s &ot all. Dis "uy (i&"ered a&other "uy as a& a**om!li*e. 3e did some di""i&" a&d (ou&d he disa!!eared a(ter resi"&i&" (rom da Mari&es. O&e mo&th a(ter our boy s!lit tow&.: :Tha&'s Nealy.: :O&e last thi&". Da hie( is loo'i&" (or you. He2s hi"hly !issed o(( too.: :>esus. >ust what I &eed. O'ay Nealy, we2ll be i& i& te& mi&utes.: hris *losed his !ho&e a&d rolled his eyes. :3ell,: ?ou as'ed as he wea-ed i& a&d out o( tra((i*. :3ell the hie( is loo'i&" (or us,: hris a&swered. :Not "ood.: :I2m "uessi&" &ot.: :The "ood &ews is that our de!artme&t did&2t lea' M*Gre"or2s &ame. Some !u&' loo'i&" (or the reward mo&ey blabbed to Fox News. The "uy ser-ed with our boy. E-e& (i&"ered a& a**om!li*e.: :)ou2re shiti& me. 3e "ot a&other &ame to "o o&.: :)u!. Nealy already loo'ed him u!. Disa!!eared a(ter resi"&i&" (rom the or!s o&e mo&th a(ter our boy s'i!!ed tow&.: ?ou was liste&i&" to hris a&d &ot !ayi&" atte&tio& to the road a&ymore. He did &ot &oti*e the two white (lower deli-ery tru*'s o& either side o( him. The *ar i& (ro&t o( him was dri-i&" slow a&d slowi&" to a sto!. : ome o& asshole, MOFE IT,: ?ou yelled at the *ar i& (ro&t o( him as he laid o& the hor&, ho&'i&" it o-er a&d o-er. hris blew out a lo&" breath be(ore loo'i&" out his wi&dow. .dre&ali&e (illed him as he reali1ed what was about to ha!!e&. :3e2re bei&" hi+a*'ed=: ?ou loo'ed out his wi&dow but it was too late. ?ou was blo*'ed i&. The dri-er o( the *ar i& (ro&t "ot out. He !oi&ted a& .AC%6 at the two O((i*ers as he wal'ed toward the *ar. The !asse&"er door o& the le(t -a& o!e&ed. :Ge&tleme&, !lease ste! i&to the -a&. )ou are &ot to be harmed. )our !rese&*e is re0uested.: ?ou a&d hris loo'ed at ea*h other. ?ou slowly lea&ed (orward to rea*h (or the !istol he 'e!t u&der the dash. :Sorry but we already remo-ed all (irearms (rom your -ehi*le. Now i( you !lease, "et i& the -a&.: Both me& ste!!ed out o( the *ar with their ha&ds raised. They wal'ed o-er to the ba*' o( the (lower tru*' a&d *limbed i&side. >o&atha& was sitti&" i& the ba*' with a (ortyC(i-e !istol !oi&ted i& their dire*tio&. :Ge&tleme& !lease ha-e a seat. )our li-es are about to *ha&"e (ore-er.: 9 9 9 9 ha!ter %% ou&tdow& to Ome"a

?ouie was sweati&" u&*o&trollably as he ste!!ed o(( the ro&us !ri-ate +et. He had heard about what ha!!e&ed with the Aussia&s. The e&tire (amily "o&e. He was "lad they were "o&e but ?ouie has bee& shitti&" bri*'s si&*e Mar*o se&t (or him. ?ouie was sa(e i& Miami. Mar*o '&ew this a&d wa&ted to use ?ouie as bait to draw out >o&atha&. ?ouie did &ot li'e it but he was &ot about to tell Mar*o &o. The limo !ulled u! a&d ?ouie 'e!t ba*' as the door o!e&ed. He has bee& +um!y about "etti&" i& limos si&*e Mar*o was 'id&a!!ed i& his ow& limo. :?ouie "et your little weasel ass i& here,: Mar*o shouted (rom i&side. :)es Sir Mr. ro&us.: ?ouie ste!!ed o-er to the limo a&d "ot i&side. The limo s!ed o(( as soo& as the door was *losed. :Iuit your (u*'i&2 sha'i&",: Mar*o s&a!!ed at ?ouie. :This ai&2t my limo. This thi&" is bullet!roo(. )ou2re sa(e,: Mar*o !aused with a smile, :(or &ow.: :Sorry Mar*o, +ust &er-ous. The bosses dow& i& Miami se&d their best.: :.re they se&di&" a&y hel!B: :No,: ?ouie hesitated, :they said they do&2t wa&t to "et mixed u! with this "uy. Not a(ter what ha!!e&ed to the Aussia&s.: :Those (u*'i&2 assholes,: Mar*o "rowled. :.(ter all I2-e do&e (or them. No matter, I2m &ot "oi&" to &eed 2em &ow that I ha-e you.: :3hat do you ha-e i& mi&d bossB: :I2m "o&&a *all a meeti&". I2m "oi&" to o((er him you. )ou2re the mai& !erso& he wa&ts. 3he& he *omes (or you the& we2re "oi&" to "et him.: BOOM= The limo be"a& swer-i&" a&d slowi&" dow&. Mar*o a&d ?ouie dro!!ed dow& below the wi&dows. They were &ot "oi&" to ta'e a&y *ha&*es o( a bullet *omi&" throu"h the wi&dows. The limo was o& the side o( the hi"hway. >oh&, the dri-er, "ot out o( the limo with his "u& draw&. He was loo'i&" arou&d waiti&" (or a&ythi&" to ha!!e&. He *ou&ted to te& a&d relaxed. >oh& !la*ed his "u& i& his shoulder holster. He be"a& wal'i&" arou&d the limo to *he*' (or dama"e. 3he& he "ot to the (ro&t !asse&"er wheel he *ould &ot belie-e his eyes. . hi"h heel shoe was sti*'i&" out o( the tire. . blow out due to a woma&2s shoe. >oh& o!e&ed the !asse&"er door a&d !ressed the i&ter*om butto&. :Hey boss, &othi&" to worry about. 3e "ot a (lat.: :From what,: Mar*o yelled. :. (u*'i&2 hi"h heel shoe. Got stu*' i& the tire whe& I ra& it o-er.: :. (u*'i&2 shoeB: :)ea. It2ll ta'e te& mi&utes to *ha&"e the tire. 3e2ll be out o( here i& &o time.: Mar*o a&d ?ouie be"a& to lau"h. They both really were o& ed"e. Mar*o !oured himsel( a "lass o( bra&dy. He *ould &ot wait u&til he !erso&ally 'illed >o&atha& a&d re"ai&ed *o&trol o-er New )or'. The (ro&t o( the limo was bei&" lowered as >oh& (i&ished *ha&"i&" the tire. He rolled the old tire ba*' to the tru&'. 3ith a thum! the tire was dro!!ed i& the tru&' alo&" with >oh&2s dead body. >o&atha& wal'ed to the (ro&t o( the limo a&d "ot i& the dri-er2s seat. He laid the '&i(e he used to slit >oh&2s throat o& the seat beside him. 3ith the doors lo*'ed a&d the metal s*ree& betwee& the (ro&t a&d ba*' i& the u! !ositio&, >o&atha& !ulled o&to the (reeway. Mar*o a&d ?ouie had &o idea they were the o&es bei&" 'id&a!!ed. 9 9 9 9 .&other ty!i*al Saturday &i"ht (or Tara Dittus. .lo&e i& her a!artme&t with a Stou((er2s Pi11a a&d a -ideo (rom the *or&er Fideo Mart. Tara did &ot u&dersta&d it. She is o&e o( the best re!orters i& New )or'. She was e-e& re*e&tly -oted o&e o( the sexist wome& o& lo*al TF. )et she2s home alo&e with &o boy(rie&d to *all. Not e-e& her so *alled (rie&ds wa&ted to "o out with her si&*e she started *o-eri&" the s&i!er story. She bro'e the bi""est story i& the *ou&try, the true ide&tity o( :DE.TH:, a&d she had &o o&e to *elebrate it with. Tara (elt she really &eeded to "et some &ew (rie&ds.

. di&" ra&" out (rom the 'it*he&. Tara wal'ed o-er to the sto-e. She *ould smell the !e!!ero&i a&d mushrooms (ill the air as she too' the !i11a out. She too' a dee! breath a&d let it out slowly. God, this was "oi&" to be "ood. 3ith the !i11a i& o&e ha&d a&d a diet o'e i& the other, she made her way to the *ou*h. The heater was o& but Tara !ulled her S!o&"e Bob S0uare Pa&ts *om(orter u! o-er her. S!o&"e Bob seemed to be the o&ly stable ma& i& her li(e ri"ht &ow him a&d :DE.TH.: Tara !ushed the !lay butto& a&d waited. Mouli& Aou"e was the !i*' o( the &i"ht. She lo-ed e-erythi&" about the mo-ie. The si&"i&", the da&*i&", the storyli&e, it was her ow& !erso&al (a&tasy. Her (a-orite !art o( the mo-ie was *omi&" u! whe& there was a '&o*' at the door. She "rowled as she !aused the mo-ie a&d "ot u!. :3ho is it,: she shouted wal'i&" toward the door. :Twe&tyC(our hour (lower deli-ery.: Flower deli-ery. 3ho would se&d her (lowersB Tara loo'ed throu"h her !ee! hole a&d saw a hu"e bou0uet o( roses, lila*s, a&d lilies. She o!e&ed the door with a -ery lar"e smile o& her (a*e. :.re you Tara Dittus the &ews re!orterB: :)es I am.: :Great. 3here do you wa&t theseB They2re 'i&d o( hea-y.: :Oh sorry,: Tara o!e&ed the door wider a&d let the ma& i&to her a!artme&t. :3ho are they (romB: :I2ll tell ya as soo& as I loo' at my !a!erwor'. 3here do you wa&t themB: :<m, o-er there o& the 'it*he& bar.: The ma& set the (lowers dow& a&d !ulled a sli! o( !a!er out o( his ba*' !o*'et. He u&(olded it a&d ha&ded it to Tara. :Ni*e !la*e you "ot here.: :Tha&'s,: she res!o&ded as she too' the !a!er (rom his ha&d. She o!e&ed it a&d bar'ed, :Is this some 'i&d o( a +o'eB: :No Mam2,: Torres a&swered. :)ou bro'e the story o& him (or a reaso&.: Torres !oi&ted at the !a!er i& Tara2s ha&d. It was a !i*ture o( >o&atha&. :He would li'e you to +oi& him so he *a& ex!lai& his reaso& a&d "i-e you the bi""est story o( your li(e.: Tara stared at Torres as he wal'ed o-er to the door a&d *losed it. Her heart be"a& ra*i&". :.&d i( I re(use,: Tara s&a!!ed, tryi&" to sou&d bra-e. :Please do&2t. I will ma'e you u&*o&s*ious i( I ha-e to but I would !re(er it i( you *ame alo&" willi&"ly.: Tara stood there, sile&tly !rayi&" that she was &ot about to die. 9 9 9 9 >o&atha& sat i& a *hair loo'i&" dow& i&to the bottom (loor o( a& aba&do&ed warehouse. He was waiti&" (or Torres to retur& with Tara. >oh&so& a&d Aoyal wal'ed o-er to where >o&atha& was sitti&". They ea*h "rabbed a *hair a&d sat dow& ba*'ward, *rossi&" their arms a*ross the to! o( the ba*' o( the *hair. :Hey >oh&&y, you &eed to tal',: >oh&so& as'ed. :No >oh&so&. I2m +ust "etti&" ready i& my ow& way.: :)ou sure about this,: Aoyal as'ed. :;i&d o( too late (or me to ba*' out &ow,: >o&atha& a&swered 0ui*'ly. :)ou "uys ha-i&" se*o&d thou"htsB: Neither ma& a&swered. >o&atha& loo'ed them both i& the eyes a&d *ould see doubt (illed their (a*es. :.lri"ht "uys. S!ill it. O&*e I "o dow&stairs there is &o tur&i&" ba*'.: :>oh&&y you '&ow I lo-ed >o&i too. I u&dersta&d how you (eel but do&2t you thi&' you2-e "o&e a little too (arB ;illi&" all those !eo!le wo&2t bri&" her ba*'.: :.&d you Aoyal,: >o&atha& said, &ot a&sweri&" the 0uestio& +ust yet. :)ou thi&' I2m "oi&" too (arB:

:?oo' ma&, we +ust wa&t to ma'e sure you are ready (or this. The or!s tau"ht us to ha-e ho&or. Do you see a&y ho&or i& thisB: :)es I do,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*' *oldly. :How ma&y times ha-e we bee& ordered to sta&d dow&, sta&d bye, while i&&o*e&t !eo!le were bei&" slau"hteredB How ma&y times were we ready to "o i&to a situatio& a&d at the last se*o&d it was *a&*elled due to some bullshit !oli*yB: :)ou two do&2t '&ow what it2s li'e li-i&" o& the streets. )ou do&2t '&ow how ma&y times I had to "o hu&"ry be*ause I stole somethi&" to eat o& someo&e else2s tur(. )ou do&2t '&ow how ma&y times I2-e "otte& beate& u! be*ause o( mo&sters li'e ro&us.: :>oh&&y, we2re &ot 0uestio&i&" your !ast. 3e2re brothers till the e&d. 3e2re here (or you but do you reali1e what you2re as'i&"B )ou2re as'i&" us to (ollow you i&to the "ates o( Hell.: :>o&i a&d >illia& are i& hea-e&, but I do '&ow I2m "oi&" to Hell whe& I die. )ou2re ri"ht about that >oh&so&. But I was headi&" to Hell long be(ore I met >o&i. There is &o way God *a& (or"i-e me (or some o( the thi&"s I2-e do&e or ha-e&2t do&e.: :)ou remember our se*o&d missio& >oh&so&B The o&e i& Ni"eria.: :3hat does that ha-e to do with a&ythi&",: >oh&so& a&swered, &ot wa&ti&" to thi&' ba*' to that missio&. : ause that2s whe& my tri! to Hell started. Aemember we were se!arated (or two hoursB: >o&atha& did &ot wait (or a res!o&se. :I we&t ahead s*outi&" a&d *ame *lose to a -illa"e. I too' a !er*h a&d started my s*a&.: :I *ould see two soldiers torturi&" the me& a&d boys o( the -illa"e. Three others were ra!i&" the wome& out i& the o!e& where e-eryo&e *ould see. Those that *ould &ot mo-e o& their ow& a&ymore were bur&t ali-e. I heard their s*reams. I *a& still hear their s*reams.: :Se-e& bullets. .ll it would ha-e ta'e& was se-e& (u*'i&2 bullets to sto! that "e&o*ide. Our orders were NOT to e&"a"e (or a&y reaso& with the lo*als. I (ollowed my orders.: :3he& I meet those !eo!le o& my +ud"me&t day what am I su!!ose to tell them, I was +ust (ollowi&" orders so I had to let you dieB: :I '&ow I *a& &ot sto! e-il but I *a& at least try to sto! it here. My (amily was i&&o*e&t a&d they were slau"htered. S?.<GHTEAED=: :)ou did&2t see them. )ou did&2t tou*h them. )ou did&2t ha-e to lose the o&ly thi&" that mattered to you.: :So yea, I2m ready (or this. I2m "oi&" to a-e&"e my (amily. I2m "oi&" to destroy the mo&sters that 'illed my baby. I2m "oi&" to destroy his e&tire em!ire.: Both me& loo'ed >o&atha& i& the eyes. They '&ew he was ready. They '&ew i( he had to he would *o&ti&ue his +our&ey alo&e. They *ould&2t let him do that. :So what do you !la& to do with those o( us who are i&&o*e&tB: >o&atha& s!u& arou&d. He saw Torres a&d Tara sta&di&" i& the stairwell. Aoyal a&d >oh&so& stood u! a&d wal'ed away toward the stairs. >oh&so& sto!!ed &ext to Tara, sta&di&" shoulder to shoulder with her. :Be "e&tle with him,: >oh&so& whis!ered. :He2s lost so mu*h already.: Tara stood there dumb(ou&ded by the *om!assio& i& the re0uest. :Miss Dittus, !lease ha-e a seat,: >o&atha& said so(tly, sta&di&", waiti&" (or her to *ome to him. Tara loo'ed behi&d her. Torres was there to ma'e sure she did &ot ru& away. Aelu*ta&tly she wal'ed toward the em!ty *hair >oh&so& le(t (or her. She too' o&e last loo' at the stairs be(ore sitti&" dow&. The stairwell was em!ty. :Do you !la& to 'ill me too,: she as'ed as her a&d >o&atha& sat dow&. :No Miss Dittus,: >o&atha& a&swered *almly. :I am &ot a 'iller o( i&&o*e&t !eo!le. E-ery !erso& I2-e e-er 'illed deser-ed it.: :So you2re !layi&" God the&,: Tara s&a!!ed. :Not at all,: >o&atha& a&swered, &ot (a1ed by Tara2s a&"er. :I loo' at a ma&2s li(e, the "ood a&d the bad. 3as he a "ood !erso& or a& e-il bei&"B I( his li(e was&2t worth shit, i( he had &o "ood&ess i& his

heart, the& a&d only the& do I ta'e his li(e. Belie-e me Miss Dittus, e-ery ma& I2-e e-er 'illed deser-ed to die.: :Says who,: Tara s&a!!ed. :)ouB 3ho are you to +ud"e i( a !erso&2s li(e was worth, how did you !ut it, oh yea, shit=: :)ou "ot s!u&', I li'e that about you.: >o&atha& lea&ed ba*' i& his *hair a&d let his breath out slowly. :E-eryo&e dies Miss Dittus. Nature is *ruel i& this (a*t. There are those who are *ruel to others. No matter how liberal you may be, we '-- ha-e it i& us to 'ill someo&e. Do you thi&' Hitler should ha-e li-ed to *o&ti&ue his *am!ai"&B: :.re you *om!ari&" Mr. ro&us to Hitler,: Tara a&swered harshly. :No, o( *ourse &ot,: >o&atha& a&swered with a *hu*'le. :No o&e was as bad as Hitler, althou"h Saddam *omes *lose. 3hy do&2t we dis!e&se with the !leasa&triesB: :O'ay the&,: Tara said with -e&om. :3hy do&2t you tell me why you 'id&a!!ed meB: :I( you wish to see it as 'id&a!!i&" I u&dersta&d but you did *ome o( your ow& (ree will. I *hose you, Miss Dittus, be*ause you were &ot a *orru!t re!orter. That2s why I se&t you that letter at the Times.: :I& a way you owe your &ew (ou&d *arrier to me. I2m o((eri&" you the ex*lusi-e. )ou are "etti&" a (ro&t row seat to the e&d o( or"a&i1ed *rime i& New )or'.: :Do you really thi&' you2re "oi&" to sto! all *rime i& New )or'B That2s a little &ai-e do&2t you thi&'B: :'ll *rime,: >o&atha& a&swered. :No, I *a& &ot sto! all *rime but I have ma&a"ed to slow it dow& 0uiet a bit. rime ha( "o&e dow& i& this *ity.: :I destroyed the Aussia& ma(ia. Tomorrow will be the e&d the Italia& ma(ia. Mo&day will be the e&d o( the Triads. )ou will see it all ha!!e&.: :3hy me,: Tara as'ed a&&oyed. :I already told you. )ou2re &ot a *orru!t re!orter. I wa&t this story told !ro!erly. I wa&t e-eryo&e to '&ow the real reaso& why this is bei&" do&e.: :To a-e&"e the death o( your wi(e a&d dau"hterB: :)es.: Tara *hu*'led to hersel(, :Not ashamed o( that reaso& at allB: :3hy should I beB It2s the truth. Others will be able to wal' the streets o( New )or' without (ear. They *a& li-e their li-es i& (reedom. E-eryo&e will wal' away with their ow& !erso&al (eeli&"s about the destru*tio& o( the ma(ia but as (or me, re-e&"e is my moti-e.: :O'ay. Say you do 'ill all the to! "uys i& the mob. 3hat !re-e&ts others (rom *omi&" i& a&d ta'i&" o-erB: :Sim!le,: >o&atha& a&swered, :(ear.: :FearB )ou2re 'iddi&" me ri"htB: :Do I loo' li'e I2m 'iddi&"B Miss Dittus o&e thi&" is (or *ertai&, I will disa!!ear whe& this missio& is o-er. I will be wat*hi&" (rom a(ar. I( a&yo&e tries to start a&ythi&" u! they will be ta'e& out be(ore they *a& su**eed.: :.&d what about their *hildre&,: Tara s&a!!ed ba*'. :Do you !la& to 'ill them tooB: :The *hildre& still ha-e a *ha&*e to ma'e somethi&" o( themsel-es. I u&dersta&d I2m about to lea-e some *hildre& (atherless but I2m "i-i&" them a "i(t i& retur&.: :Gi(t,: Tara i&terru!ted, :what "i(tB: :. *ha&*e at a "ood li(e. . *ha&*e to ma'e a di((ere&*e. . *ha&*e to be*ome "ood. I do, howe-er, u&dersta&d the &eed (or re-e&"e. .ll I ha-e to say is that whe& they "row u! a&d they still wa&t their re-e&"e, I will meet them. I will (i"ht (air. I will reu&ite them with their (athers.: :That2s 'i&d o( harsh.: :?i(e is harsh,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*' with a shout, ta'i&" them both by sur!rise. >o&atha& sat there loo'i&" Tara i& the eyes. She stared i&to his eyes too, &ot (li&*hi&". She (elt she was loo'i&" i&to his soul. Ma&y di((ere&t (eeli&"s were ru&&i&" throu"h her mi&d. I& a se&se, she (elt sorry (or him. The way he lost his (amily was tra"i*. She thou"ht about her (ather ba*' home o& the (arm. 3ould he "o *ra1y i( his (amily was 'illedB

.&other !art o( her (elt >o&atha& was a *old blooded 'iller. 3ho was he to !ass +ud"me&tB .lthou"h she *a& &ot ar"ue that !eo!le are (eeli&" sa(er si&*e >o&atha& started. She was "rate(ul too (or her *areer. .s mu*h as she hated to admit it, >o&atha& did "i-e her her *areer. :O'ay Mr. M*Gre"or, what would you li'e me to do,: Tara (i&ally as'ed with a si"h. >o&atha& made a *utti&" motio& a*ross his throat. Tara2s eyes "rew lar"e as she thou"ht she was about to die. The li"hts *ame o&. Tara loo'ed arou&d a&d saw a -ideo *amera !oi&ted o-er her shoulder at >o&atha&. Aoyal e+e*ted the ta!e a&d ha&ded it to >o&atha&. He loo'ed Tara o-er, 'ee!i&" the ta!e *lose to him. :)ou will be ta'e& home &ow Miss Dittus. I as', (or your sa(ety, you stay there u&til Tuesday mor&i&".: >o&atha& ha&ded her the ta!e. :Here is your story. I as' you wait be(ore airi&" that, i( you a&&ou&*e my !la&s a lot o( i&&o*e&t !eo!le will die i& the *ross (ire. The *hoi*e is yours thou"h. It2s your story.: Tara did &ot '&ow what to say. She was stu&&ed. Slowly she too' the ta!e (rom >o&atha&. He stood u! a&d !oi&ted toward the stairwell. She stood u! a&d hu""ed him. Tears started to (ill her eyes. :Good lu*' to you,: Tara whis!ered. She tur&ed arou&d a&d (ollowed Torres out o( the warehouse. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter %# Ome"a Bri"ht li"ht bli&ded Dete*ti-e >o*' as the hood *o-eri&" his (a*e was ya&'ed o((. His heart be"a& to beat wildly. Fear be"a& to (ill his soul as he started to !ray. Prayi&" he was &ot about to die. hris 'e!t bli&'i&" his eyes, tryi&" to "et some relie( (rom the white li"ht. . lo&e silhouette sat dow& i& (ro&t o( him. The li"ht was dire*tly behi&d the silhouette so he *ould &ot ma'e out the (a*e. He '&ew who it was sitti&" i& (ro&t o( him. :3hat do you wa&t with me,: hris blurted out i& a hu((. :Aelax Dete*ti-e,: >o&atha& a&swered *oldly, se&di&" a *hill dow& hris2 s!i&e. :I( I wa&ted to 'ill you I would ha-e do&e it at the *ar. .re you hu&"ry, thirstyB: :I *ould use some water,: hris a&swered so(tly, his throat drier tha& the Mo+a-e dessert. :.ll ri"ht,: >o&atha& stood u! a&d wal'ed o-er to a table where the li"ht was. He lowered the li"ht so it was &o lo&"er bli&di&" the Dete*ti-e as he !oured the water. :I2m sorry about all this but this really is (or your ow& !rote*tio&.: :I do&2t &eed (u*'i&2 !rote*tio&,: hris shouted ba*'. Somethi&" i&side o( him s&a!!ed, (illi&" him with a&"er. :)ou2re &o better tha& the me& you 'ill. I was o& your side u&til you 'id&a!!ed Ta&ly a&d me.: :I2m sorry you (eel that way.: >o&atha& wal'ed behi&d Dete*ti-e >o*' a&d u&lo*'ed the *u(( holdi&" his ri"ht ha&d. :Here2s your water.: hris too' the water a&d dra&' it dow& 0ui*'ly. He was -ery thirsty be*ause his throat was sore (rom yelli&" so mu*h. 3he& he (i&ished the "lass the delayed rea*tio& (rom his ha&d bei&" (reed hit him. :3hy did you (ree me,: hris as'ed, sho*'ed. :Be*ause maybe it2ll !ro-e to you that you are &ot a !riso&er here. Now, i( you !romise &ot to do a&ythi&" drasti*, I2ll u&lo*' your other ha&d a&d your (eet.: hris loo'ed u! at >o&atha& a&d saw that he was si&*ere. His ha&ds a&d a&'les were hurti&" (rom the *u((s. His le"s were (alli&" aslee! a&d he &eeded to stret*h. :)ou ha-e my word,: hris said so(tly. :I &eed to stret*h my le"s.: >o&atha& rea*hed i&to his *oat !o*'et a&d !ushed a butto&. .ll the lo*'s o!e&ed. hris was (ree. hris be"a& to rub his wrist, tryi&" to "et the blood (lowi&" i& his (i&"ers a"ai&. Slowly, he li(ted o&e le" at a time, (ully exte&di&" his le"s. They ti&"led as (eeli&" was *omi&" ba*' i&to his le"s. :3here2s Ta&ly,: hris as'ed, barely reali1i&" that his !art&er was &ot !rese&t.

:He2s sa(e i& a&other room. For &ow, I wa&ted to tal' to you i& !ri-ate.: >o&atha& sat ba*' dow& i& (ro&t o( hris. :I2m sorry to hear about your (ather a&d the a(ter e((e*ts to your mother.: :Oh yea, what do you '&ow about it,: hris s&a!!ed a&"ered a&d a&&oyed. :I heard e-ery word o( your *o&-ersatio& with Dete*ti-e Ta&ly i& the !ar'. I !la&ted a bu" o& you. So &ow you u&dersta&d why I2m doi&" what I2m doi&".: :It2s still a"ai&st the law,: hris *ou&tered, wal'i&" o-er to the water to ta'e a&other dri&'. He !i*'ed u! the !it*her, seei&" the i*e (loati&" i& the water, he &eed to 0ue&*h his thirst. Iui*'ly he started dri&'i&" strai"ht (rom the !it*her, *old water slidi&" dow& his throat a&d his shirt. :So is murderi&" a& i&&o*e&t (amily,: >o&atha& *o&ti&ued as hris dra&' the water. :)et &othi&" was do&e about it. 3hat would ha!!e& i( I ha&ded my (amily2s 'iller o-er to youB )ou '&ow as well as I do that he2ll be ba*' home i& (our hours a&d &ot "o to +ail. Is that +usti*eB: :No,: hris a&swered. :I a"ree the system is bro'e& but thi&' about what2s "oi&" to ha!!e& whe& you 'ill ro&us. )ou2ll be loo'i&" (or a&other tar"et. )ou2ll &e-er be able to (ill that -oid.: :I( you2re tryi&" to tal' me dow&, you2re bar'i&" u! the wro&" tree.: >o&atha& wal'ed o-er to the *urtai& i& the room a&d !ulled it o!e&. :Ha-e a loo' Dete*ti-e.: hris wal'ed o-er to the wi&dow a&d saw two me& ha&"i&" (rom the *eili&" i& the *e&ter o( the warehouse. It too' hris a (ew se*o&ds be(ore reali1i&" who it was ha&"i&" there. :How did youB: :I extra*ted them both,: >o&atha& a&swered *oolly. :They are -ery mu*h ali-e, (or &ow.: :They loo' dead.: :No,: >o&atha& reassured hris. :>ust beat u!. They, a(ter all, did try to resist,: >o&atha& said with a smile. :They ha-e dished out a lot o( !u&ishme&t o-er the years. Now it2s *omi&" ba*' to them. They will be the last i& all this to die.: :3hat are they *o-ered i&,: hris as'ed, loo'i&" at the me&2s &a'ed bodies a&d seei&" somethi&" smothered o-er their bodies. :Ho&ey a&d bird seeds,: >o&atha& a&swered with amuseme&t. :Some su&(lower seeds mixed i& there as well.: :)ou2re 'iddi&",: hris said stu&&ed. :3hyB: : ause I2m about to o!e& all the wi&dows to the outside. They are "a""ed so they *a&2t s*ream. I2ll lea-e it to &ature to deal with them while I2m "o&e. Now i( you2ll ex*use me Dete*ti-e, I must be "oi&"B: :Goi&",: hris as'ed. :3hat about meB: :)ou are "oi&" to stay here Dete*ti-e,: >o&atha& a&swered 0ui*'ly. :I( you !re(er I *a& restrai& you a"ai&. I( you loo' a*ross the warehouse o-er there you *a& see your !art&er. )ou *a& tal' with him usi&" that !ho&e o& the wall.: :That bu*'et i& the *or&er to your le(t is the toilet. There is !le&ty o( water (or you to dri&' i& that *ooler o-er there a&d (i-e MAE2s o& the table. That2s all I ha-e to (eed you, I2m sorry.: :)ou2re "oi&" to be i& here (or the &ext (ortyCei"ht hours, mi&imum, so I su""est you do ma'e it last. There2s also a little TF so you do&2t "et bored. Goodbye Dete*ti-e.: >o&atha& wal'ed toward the o!e& door. hris tried to rush him but >o&atha& mo-ed 0ui*'ly, 'i*'i&" hris i& the "ut a&d '&o*'i&" him to the (loor. >o&atha& wal'ed out the door a&d shut the dead bolt lo*'. 9 9 9 9 O!eratio& Ome"a is &ow i& !la*e. >o&atha& (ou&d it (itti&" to &ame this o!eratio& Ome"a, the END. This is "oi&" to be the e&d o( the ma(ia i& New )or'. He was sitti&" outside St. hristo!her2s atholi* hur*h. Mar*o had told e-eryo&e to meet at St. hristo!her2s i( he did &ot show u! a(ter !i*'i&" u! ?ouie. They would re*ei-e i&stru*tio&s (rom Father .&drews a(ter Mass e&ded. By >o&atha&2s *ou&t e-eryo&e i& the ro&us (amily was there that he had &ot 'illed already. Mostly (oot soldiers. .ll the other heads a&d their a!tai&s ha-e bee& 'illed ex*e!t (or Mar*o2s (amily.

3hat was "oi&" to be di((i*ult is "etti&" e-eryo&e out who is i&&o*e&t. >o&atha& had bee& thi&'i&" about it all &i"ht lo&". He (i&ally *ame u! with a solutio& a&d did &ot li'e the idea -ery mu*h. It was harsh but it still "ot them out ali-e a&d that2s what2s most im!orta&t. >o&atha& loo'ed at his wat*h. Fi-e mi&utes to "o. Slowly "as was (illi&" the *hur*h, ma'i&" e-eryo&e i&side li"ht headed. .ll the doors ha-e bee& boarded u! shut a&d the (ro&t door *losed with a steel rod. Fi-e more mi&utes a&d e-eryo&e should be u&*o&s*ious. The (a*t that this had to ha!!e& at a *hur*h >o&atha& hated but he did &ot *hoose the time a&d !la*e, Mar*o did. >o&atha& +ust exe*uted the !la&. . timer be"a& ri&"i&". >o&atha& loo'ed at his wat*h, it was time to exe*ute. >o&atha& ste!!ed out o( his *ar a&d ra*'ed the slide ba*' o& the Mmm i& his ha&d. The sile&*er was i& !la*e. This was "oi&" to be 0ui*' a&d hard. >oh&so& a&d Aoyal wal'ed arou&d (rom the ba*' o( the *hur*h. They &odded they were ready as they both li(ted u! their "u&s, also with sile&*ers o& the barrel. :God, God, you ready u! there,: >o&atha& said, the radio mi*s arou&d his throat !i*'i&" u! his e-ery word. :Ao"er that,: *ame the re!ly. :Dro!!i&" di-i&e i&ter-e&tio& &ow.: Torres was o& the roo( o-er the s'yli"ht. He was "oi&" to dro! two tear "as "re&ades i&to the *hur*h. .&yo&e still awa'e (rom the '&o*' out "as would be re&dered hel!less by the tear "as. :Bombs away,: Torres said as he bro'e the s'yli"ht. He dro!!ed the tear "as i&. >o&atha&, >oh&so&, a&d Aoyal !ut o& their "as mas's. >o&atha& &odded a yes. >oh&so& a&d Aoyal !ulled the doors o!e&. >o&atha& rushed i& (irst, (ollowed by >oh&so& a&d Aoyal, *losi&" the door behi&d them. The iro& rod was &ow !la*ed o& the i&side, this way &o o&e *ould *ome i&side behi&d them. The three me& swee! the *hur*h ma'i&" sure e-eryo&e was u&*o&s*ious. I( a&y o( Mar*o2s me& were still awa'e a&d mo-i&" they were "oi&" to "et a bullet betwee& the eyes. : lear=: : lear=: : lear,: >o&atha& shouted the last *o&(irmatio& that there was &o threat !rese&t. :God, we are all *lear. Pre!are the tra&s!ort.: :Ao"er that,: Torres re!lied. :Getti&" tra&s!ort.: >o&atha& rea*hed i&to the ba" he was *arryi&" o-er his shoulder. He !ulled out two lar"e rolls o( du*t ta!e. It2s ama1i&" the thi&"s a !erso& *a& do with du*t ta!e. The three me& be"a& to wra! Mar*o2s me& with the ta!e. 3ra!!i&" both ha&ds a&d (eet (irst the& a small stri! was !la*ed o-er ea*h ma&2s mouth. .ll i& all, it too' te& mi&utes to ta!e a&d *arry all the me& to the exit door. O&*e e-eryo&e was i& (ro&t Torres brou"ht a (lower deli-ery -a& to the side e&tra&*e. 3ith both doors o!e&ed wide &o o&e *ould see what was bei&" *arried (rom the *hur*h i&to the -a&. It was the !er(e*t *o-er to *arry these me& out. >o&atha& wa&ted to lea-e i& three mi&utes. Bei&" *are(ul a&d deli*ate was &ot a& issue &ow. The me& were dra""ed a&d throw& i&to the ba*' o( the -a&. The -a& had bee& modi(ied to ha-e a *a"e i&side. There was &o way these me& were "oi&" to es*a!e. Two mi&utes had !assed whe& the last ma& was throw& i&to the *a"e. The doors were lo*'ed a&d Torres dro-e away. >oh&so& a&d Aoyal were "oi&" to be traili&" the -a&. >o&atha& was to ta'e a di((ere&t route ba*' to the warehouse. He was wal'i&" arou&d the *hur*h to "et ba*' to his *ar whe& the hairs o& the ba*' o( his &e*' +um!ed u!. >o&atha& (ro1e a&d !la*ed himsel( a"ai&st the wall. Slowly he *re!t toward the (ro&t o( the *hur*h. He saw a bla*' Oldsmobile sitti&" i& (ro&t o( the *hur*h ste!s. I&side were three hi&ese me& with automati* u1is !oi&ted at the (ro&t ste!s. They had see& >o&atha& "o i&to the *hur*h a&d were waiti&" (or him to *ome out. >o&atha& !ulled the &i&e millimeter out a&d loo'ed at the *ar a"ai&.

>o&atha& '&ew he was o&ly "oi&" to "et o&e shot at this. .s (ast as a shot he was, there was &o way he would be able to s0uee1e o(( more tha& two rou&ds be(ore the me& be"a& (iri&" ba*' i& his dire*tio&. >o&atha& too' a dee! breath a&d let it out slowly. ?oo'i&" toward the s'y he whis!ered, :>o&i i( I die ri"ht &ow I2m sorry I was&2t able to (i&ish what I started. I lo-e you baby.: >o&atha& *ould see >o&i holdi&" >illia&. She was smili&" at him. I& his head he heard her whis!er, :I lo-e you too. It2s &ot your time yet but we2re waiti&" (or you baby. I lo-e you.: . tear ra& dow& his *hee' as he smiled. Seei&" >o&i "a-e >o&atha& a re&ewed stre&"th. He loo'ed at the *ar dire*tly i& (ro&t o( the Oldsmobile. That was his tar"et to ru& to. :?et2s do it,: >o&atha& said to himsel(. >o&atha& be"a& ru&&i&" toward the *ar, (iri&" the !istol as he ra&. He ma&a"ed to "et o(( three shots be(ore dro!!i&" to the (ro&t o( the *ar. Three shots were e&ou"h to ta'e out the two me& i& the (ro&t seat. Now he had to worry about the "uy i& the ba*' seat. The third "uy had (ired i& the dire*tio& >o&atha& was ru&&i&", barely missi&" him. He "ot out (rom the ba*' seat a&d raised the u1i o-er his head !oi&ti&" dow&ward ready to (ire. >o&atha& laid dow& (lat o& the "rou&d as the third "uy (ired two 0ui*' burst i&to the *ar. Slowly the shooter made his way toward the (ro&t o( the *ar. >o&atha& waited !atie&tly. 3he& the shooter2s le" was ex!osed >o&atha& (ired two rou&ds i&to his le(t le". The shooter (ell hard, (iri&" his u1i out o( re(lex as he (ell. .s soo& as his head *ame i&to -iew >o&atha& !la&ted his last rou&d betwee& the shooter2s eyes. >o&atha& too' a dee! breath, letti&" it our slowly as he stood u!. He wal'ed o-er to ma'e sure the shooter was dead. He breathed a si"h o( relie( whe& he was *ertai& the shooter was dead. >o&atha& !i*'ed u! the u1i a&d extra*ted the ma"a1i&e. He em!tied the ma"a1i&e o( its &i&e millimeter bullets so he *ould use them himsel(. He re!eated this with the other two me&. Sire&s ra&" out i& the dista&*e. >o&atha& ra& toward his *ar. .s he rea*hed (or the door ha&dle the *ar ex!loded, throwi&" >o&atha& te& (eet i& the air a&d slammi&" him i&to the "rou&d hard. His ears were ri&"i&". He *ould &ot hear a thi&". >o&atha& tried to sta&d u! but (ell ba*' dow&. His head was s!i&&i&". He tried to sta&d o&*e more, a"ai& (alli&" ba*' dow&. It was the& he &oti*ed a sheet o( metal sti*'i&" out o( his le". Ta'i&" a (ew dee! breaths to bra*e himsel( (or the !ai&, >o&atha& ya&'ed the metal out o( his le", !ulli&" a *hu&' o( meat out with it. The !ai& started !um!i&" adre&ali&e throu"h >o&atha&2s body. Throu"h the (lames o( his *ar he *ould see two me& wat*hi&" him. O&e o( the me& raised his arm a&d (ired his "u& toward >o&atha&. The bullets missed but >o&atha& !rete&ded to be hit a&d (ell ba*' to the "rou&d. .s the me& wal'ed *loser to him, >o&atha& held his !istol ti"ht. !ait for it. lo(er. 3he& the ma& raised his "u& a"ai& >o&atha& (ired his. Both me& (ell dead. >o&atha& tried *rawli&" toward the street. >immy 3a& had de*ided to stri'e (irst a&d stri'e hard. >o&atha&, howe-er, was &ot about to be slowed dow&. 9 9 9 9 .s Torres !ulled i&to the warehouse his stoma*h be"a& to *hur&. Somethi&" was &ot 0uite ri"ht. He loo'ed at his wat*h. >oh&so& a&d Aoyal should be !ulli&" i& shortly. Torres tur&ed o(( the e&"i&e a&d "ot out o( the tru*'. 3he& he slammed the door shut the li"hts tur&ed o&. Torres *ould see >immy 3a& sta&di&" i& (ro&t o( the tru*'. He "la&*ed u! to where Mar*o a&d ?ouie were ha&"i&". Dete*ti-es >o*' a&d Ta&ly were also ha&"i&" u! &ext to Mar*o. :Oh shit,: Torres said out loud as he raised his ha&ds u! o-er his head. :Oh shit is ri"ht,: >immy a&swered ba*'. He whistled loudly. Twe&ty me& wal'ed out o( the shadows a&d stood arou&d >immy. :3hat is this, a "a&" rumble,: Torres said with a *hu*'le i& his to&e. >immy lau"hed to himsel(. :Bra-e i& the (a*e o( death. I li'e that.: :Pal, I2m &ot a(raid o( death,: Torres a&swered. :I wor' (or him.:

>immy !ulled a "u& (rom his +a*'et a&d aimed it at Torres. Torres did &ot e-e& (li&*h. >immy (ired two rou&ds i&to Torres2s *hest. Torres (ell ba*' a&d laid still. >ust the& the (loor be&eath >immy a&d his boys (ell o!e&. 3ithout war&i&" >immy 3a& (ou&d himsel( o& the (loor o( a metal *ellar. He loo'ed u! to see the (loor abo-e *losi&". >immy a&d his boys were i& total dar'&ess. >oh&so& ra& o-er to Torres. Aoyal had his !istol draw&, ready to (ire at a&yo&e who would *ome out o( the shadows. :Torres, Torres, you o'ay,: >oh&so& said, '&eeli&" dow& &ext to Torres. :No I2m &ot o'ay,: Torres shouted, !ai& i& his -oi*e. :I was shot. This (u*'i&" -est hurts li'e hell.: :.t least you2re ali-e,: >oh&so& said, sla!!i&" Torres a*ross the stoma*h. : ome o& "et u!.: Torres sat u! slowly, *ou"hi&" (rom the !ai& i& his *hest. >oh&so& o!e&ed Torres2s shirt a&d !ealed o(( the rou&ds stu*' to the bullet!roo( -est. He *hu*'led to himsel( as he hel!ed Torres ta'e o(( the -est. :3hat too' you "uys so lo&",: Torres hu((ed, his lu&"s (eeli&" li'e they were about to ex!lode. :Sorry Torres,: Aoyal said. :That2s my (ault. I saw they were sta&di&" o-er the *ell so I s&u*' arou&d to !ull the tra! door.: :>oh&&y *alled,: >oh&so& added. :They "ot him "ood at the *hur*h. He2s "oi&" to be late "etti&" here.: :So what do we do with these (u*'ers,: Torres said !oi&ti&" at the -a&. :?et >oh&&y (i"ure that out,: >oh&so& a&swered with a smile. :He2s "ood at that sort o( thi&".: The three me& wal'ed o-er to their su!!ly room. Aoyal wa&ted to *arry a& MCK ri(le i&stead o( his !istol, i&*ase someo&e else showed u!. >ust as Aoyal *hambered a rou&d i&to his ri(le Tra& 3a& wal's i&to the warehouse with Da&&y ri"ht behi&d him, both me& *arryi&" u1is. Torres raised his MCK (irst a&d (ired. Tra& (ell without (iri&" a shot. Da&&y rea*ted 0ui*'er a&d du*'ed behi&d the (lower -a&. More Triads (iltered i&to the warehouse, (iri&" as they ra& i& behi&d the -a&. Torres, >oh&so&, a&d Aoyal s!read out i& di((ere&t dire*tio&s. The (ire(i"ht had started, bullets (lyi&" ra!idly as the (ull automati* wea!o&s were (ired. The "u& (ire e*hoed loudly throu"hout the warehouse. The battle lasted (i-e mi&utes be(ore the last rou&d was (ired. >oh&so& slowly wal'ed toward the (lower -a&, his wea!o& ready to (ire. The -a& loo'ed li'ed Swiss *heese with all the holes i& it. >oh&so& wal'ed arou&d the -a& slowly. O&e !erso& was barley mo-i&" so >oh&so& shot him dead. : lear,: >oh&so& shouted. .(ter (i-e se*o&ds o( sile&*e a *hill ra& dow& >oh&so&2s s!i&e. He should ha-e heard Aoyal a&d Torres yell *lear as well. The (a*t that they did &ot mea&t somethi&" was wro&". >oh&so& wal'ed arou&d the warehouse, still 'ee!i&" his MCK at the ready. He saw Aoyal lyi&" o& the "rou&d. Iui*'ly >oh&so& dro!!ed to Aoyal2s side a&d (elt (or a !ulse. Aoyal had &o !ulse. He had a bullet hole i& his throat. >oh&so& shoo' his head &o. He *ould &ot belie-e Aoyal was dead. >ust the& he remembered Torres. Getti&" ba*' u! >oh&so& !ut his ri(le at the ready. He s*a&&ed the area. Dead bodies laid e-erywhere. Fi&ally he s!otted Torres lyi&" o& his stoma*h i& the su!!ly room. >oh&so& ra& toward Torres a&d sto!!ed +ust short o( him. There was &o &eed to *he*' his !ulse to see Torres was dead. >oh&so& tried to *at*h his breath. He had bee& arou&d (alle& Mari&es be(ore but this time was di((ere&t. This was more !erso&al. Tears (illed >oh&so&2s eyes. To >oh&so&2s ama1eme&t Torres *ou"hed. >oh&so& dro!!ed to the (loor a&d rolled him o-er slowly.

:Ha&" i& there Torres. )ou2re "oi&" to be alri"ht.: :)ou2re a (u*'i&2 liar,: Torres *ou"hed a"ai& as he "as!ed (or air. :Aoyal,: Torres whis!ered, *o&*er&ed *learly i& his to&e. :He2s "o&e,: >oh&so& a&swered so(tly. Torres shoo' his head &o. He "as!ed hea-ily be(ore *ou"hi&" u! blood. :)ou a&d >oh&&y "otta (i&ish it. It2s all you. It was&2t (or &othi&" ri"htB It was&2t (or &othi&"B: :No, it was&2t (or &othi&",: >oh&so& a&swered, holdi&" Torres2 ha&d, tryi&" to *om(ort him. :)ou '&ow what to do.: :)ea buddy. I '&ow what to do.: Torres *ou"hed a"ai& a&d too' a dee! breath. He held >oh&so&2s ha&d ti"htly. :Sim!er Fi brother,: Torres said, tears rolli&" dow& his (a*e. :3HOO)..: :3HOO). brother. 3HOO)..: :3HOO).,: Torres whis!ered with his dyi&" breath. 9 9 9 9 ha!ter %5 Fi&ishi&" It >oh&so& was i& the ba*' o( the warehouse whe& he heard >o&atha& yelli&". Ge&tly he laid Torres dow& &ext to Aoyal. Slowly a&d with mu*h sad&ess he *o-ered both me& with a tar!. :>oh&so&= Torres= Aoyal,: >o&atha& *o&ti&ued to yell as he s*a&&ed the warehouse slowly. :I& the ba*' room,: >oh&so& yelled o-er his shoulder. He *ould &ot ta'e his eyes o(( o( his (alle& *omrades. >o&atha& lim!ed his way to the ba*' room. .(ter seei&" all the dead bodies he had 'e!t his !istol draw&. He was ready i& *ase someo&e was holdi&" the others as hosta"es. He was &ot, howe-er, !re!ared (or what he (ou&d. :>oh&so&, where is Torres a&d AoyalB: :There,: >oh&so& whis!ered, !oi&ti&" dow& to where the two me& laid. :3hat ha!!e&ed,: >o&atha& as'ed, (i&ally holsteri&" his !istol. :)our (u*'i&2 *rusade blew u!= That2s what ha!!e&ed,: >oh&so& yelled, tur&i&" to (a*e >o&atha&. He was (ull o( ra"e a&d was about to u&leash it. :)our !erso&al war *ost them their li-es=: : alm dow& >oh&so&. This wo&2t bri&" them ba*'.: >oh&so& rushed >o&atha&. >o&atha& (ell easy due to the loss o( blood (rom his le". He *ould barely sta&d o& his ow&. :How (u*'i&2 dare you= )ou do&2t e-e& (eel sorry (or their deaths=: >oh&so& !u&*hed >o&atha& i& the (a*e. :)ou do&2t e-e& *are=: >oh&so& !u&*hed >o&atha& a"ai&. >o&atha& allowed >oh&so& two more hits. >o&atha& *au"ht the third !u&*h a&d ma&a"ed to !ush >oh&so& o(( o( him. His le" was throbbi&" with !ai&. :IE*areE: >o&atha& said as he tried *at*hi&" his breath. :I &e-er wa&ted them to die.: :But they did=: >oh&so& sat u! with his ba*' a"ai&st the wall. >o&atha& sat u! a"ai&st the o!!osite wall. They loo'ed at ea*h other li'e two tired soldiers a*ross a battle(ield. :>oh&so& you *a&2t 0uit &ow. Aoyal a&d Torres were my (amily. They were my brothers.: :They did&2t deser-e to die >oh&&y. )ou !romised o&ly !eo!le who &$S$,V$& to die would die. Now they2re "o&e.: :I '&ow,: >o&atha& !leaded, :but we "otta (i&ish it. 3e *a&2t let their deaths be (or &othi&".: :)ou (u*'i&2 asshole,: >oh&so& said +ust loudly e&ou"h (or >o&atha& to hear. He was *hu*'li&" u&der his breath. :)ou mu(t be Torres2s brother. Torres wasted his dyi&" breath to tell me the same thi&".: :I &eed you >oh&so&. I &eed your hel!.: >oh&so& stood u! a&d wal'ed o-er to >o&atha&. He rea*hed his ha&d dow& to hel! li(t him u!. :?et2s "et you !at*hed u! you lu*'y so& o( a bit*h.: 9 9 9 9

>o&atha&2s le" was wra!!ed u! ti"ht. Si&*e the warehouse has &ow be*ome a battle(ield the wou&d was dressed as a battle(ield dressi&", 0ui*' a&d slo!!y. :So what are we "oi&" to do with >immy 3a&,: >oh&so& as'ed, loo'i&" >o&atha& strai"ht i& the eyes. >o&atha& s*ooted himsel( o(( the table a&d &early (ell. His le" was still -ery wea'. He had lost a lot o( blood a&d would &ot be able to ru& i( he had to. That did &ot *o&*er& him &ow, howe-er. Ai"ht &ow someo&e had to !ay (or the deaths o( Torres a&d Aoyal. Someo&e was "oi&" to die. >o&atha& loo'ed arou&d the room, tryi&" to "et a& idea. Something good >o&atha& thou"ht to himsel(, (omething worth revenge. Slowly he made his way to the wea!o&2s lo*'er. There stari&" him i& the (a*e were (our "re&ades. Torres lo-ed usi&" "re&ades. >o&atha& &e-er u&derstood why but ri"ht &ow he lo-ed them too. 3ithout sayi&" a word >o&atha& "rabbed the "re&ades a&d wobbled out the room toward the tra! door where >immy a&d his boys were bei&" held. He li(ted a small door so he *ould loo' dow& i&to the *ell. >immy 3a& held u! his ha&d to blo*' the bri"ht li"ht (loodi&" his eyes. :Hey you (u*'er, +ust thou"ht you should '&ow your so&s are dead=: >immy a&swered by (iri&" a !o! shot at >o&atha&. Si&*e his eyes were &ot yet ad+usted to the li"ht the shot we&t wide. :Now it2s time to +oi& them,: >o&atha& said *almly. >o&atha& !ulled the !i&s out o( the "re&ades, dro!!i&" all (our i&to the *ell. He dro!!ed the door *losed a&d wobbled away. BOOM= BOOM= BOOM= BOOM= >o&atha& 'e!t wal'i&" away. >oh&so& strolled u! to the door a&d o!e&ed it slowly. . *loud o( smo'e rose u! li'e a Phoe&ix. He *ould hear *ou"hi&" a&d moa&s *omi&" (rom the me& below. Most o( the me& were still ali-e but &ot all o( them had all their body !arts. Aa*'i&" a (resh rou&d i&to the *hamber o( his MCK >oh&so& smiled. :?i'e shooti&" (ish i& a barrel.: >oh&so& o!e&ed (ire, ma'i&" sure he shot e-ery ma& dow& i& the !it. Not a si&"le soul was "oi&" to sur-i-e. Torres a&d Aoyal2s death would &ot be mea&i&"less. 3he& he em!tied his ma"a1i&e &o o&e was mo-i&". The +ob had bee& do&e. >o&atha& wat*hed (rom a(ar as >oh&so& reloaded his ri(le a&d be"a& shooti&" a"ai&. >o&atha& was &ot about to sto! him. >oh&so& &eeded to "et the !ai& he (elt out o( his system. Sile&*e (illed the warehouse as the last rou&d (ired. The o&ly sou&d that *ould be heard was >oh&so& breathi&" hea-ily. Slowly he tur&ed arou&d a&d (a*ed >o&atha&. The two me& stared at ea*h other, sile&tly readi&" o&e a&other2s mi&d. It was time to (i&ish this war. >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& wal'ed o-er to where Mar*o, ?ouie, hris, a&d Ta&ly were ha&"i&" (rom the *eili&". Slowly >oh&so& lowered hris a&d Ta&ly. They were too wea' a&d did &ot try to mo-e. :I2m sorry about all this Dete*ti-es, but it2s about to e&d. Those two u! there are the o&ly o&es le(t.: :>o&atha& you ha-e to let the law deal with them,: hris !leaded, des!erately tryi&" to "ather his stre&"th. :Sorry Dete*ti-e. I did&2t *ome this (ar to wait &ow. Besides, you "ot !roblems o( your ow& to worry about.: :3hat do you mea&,: hris as'ed *o&*er&ed. >o&atha& slowly lowered hris i&to a *hair. >oh&so& was ri"ht behi&d them *arryi&" Ta&ly o-er his shoulder. Ta&ly was u&*o&s*ious so >oh&so& laid him o& the (loor &ext to Aoyal a&d Torres. :3hat I mea& Dete*ti-e are the *roo'ed *o!s i& your de!artme&t. I ha-e a list o( &ames (rom !atrol *o!s to +ud"es, all the way u! to your !re*ise a!tai& 3ol(.:

:Now I '&ow you2re lyi&",: hris s&a!!ed de(e&si-ely. : a!tai& 3ol( is as strai"ht as they *ome.: :Sorry to disa!!oi&t you but I ha-e !roo(.: >o&atha& rea*hed i&to the su!!ly lo*'er a&d !ulled out a !oli*e du((el ba". He wal'ed o-er to hris, dro!!i&" the ba" at his (eet. :I&side you will (i&d &ames a&d their *rimes. There are also -ideo a&d *assette ta!es o( them brea'i&" the law, all do&e i& the !ast te& mo&ths.: :HowB How did you "et thisB: :I &e-er le(t New )or',: >o&atha& a&swered with a smile. :I2-e bee& wat*hi&" e-eryo&e who dealt with the ro&us (amily. The list ex!a&ded to other (amilies a&d other O((i*ers. )ou ha-e all the !roo( you &eed.: :Now i( you2ll ex*use me Dete*ti-e, I ha-e busi&ess to atte&d to. >oh&so& will remai& here to hel! !at*h you u!. ."ai&, I2m sorry Dete*ti-e,: >o&atha& said -ery si&*erely. :I &e-er mea&t (or you to be harmed.: >o&atha& wal'ed out o( the room a&d lo*'ed the door behi&d him. It was time to ma'e Mar*o a&d ?ouie !ay (or their *rimes. Both me& were ha&"i&" motio&less. >o&atha& lowered them slowly, letti&" his mi&d sa-or what was about to ha!!e&. O&e thi&" was (or *ertai&, !ai& was "oi&" to be i&-ol-ed. >o&atha& "rabbed the (ire hose o(( o( the wall a&d tur&ed it to (ull stream. The water rushed out hitti&" Mar*o a&d ?ouie li'e a to& o( bri*'s. 3here they o&*e were motio&less they were ali-e a&d mo-i&" &ow. >o&atha& made sure to hose both me& dow& e0ually. The streami&" water was "i-i&" both me& a beati&", *ausi&" them to be too wea' to (i"ht. >o&atha& tur&ed o(( the hose, dro!!i&" it to the (loor. His eyes were (illed with tears. This was it. >usti*e (or >o&i a&d >illia& would (i&ally be ser-ed. 3ithout sayi&" a word >o&atha& strolled u! to Mar*o a&d "rabbed the to! o( his hair. Mar*o rea*hed (or >o&atha&2s ha&d but was too wea' to sto! him. :Gotta ma'e sure you do&2t "et away.: >o&atha& dra""ed Mar*o to the wall. There were !i!es ru&&i&" u! the wall to the *eili&". He too' out a !air o( ha&d*u((s a&d *u((ed Mar*o to the !i!es. He the& 'i*'ed Mar*o i& the (a*e with his "ood le". >o&atha& almost (ell o-er (rom the wei"ht o( his body. He ma&a"ed to ho! ba*'ward a&d re"ai& his bala&*e. O&*e he was stable a"ai& he made his way o-er toward ?ouie. ?ouie was ma'i&" a !oor attem!t to *rawl away. :)ouse stay away (rom mese=: :Not a *ha&*e i& hell bub,: >o&atha& shouted. ?ouie was "oi&" to su((er more tha& Mar*o. ?ouie was "oi&" to su((er the same way he made >o&i su((er. :)ou are "oi&" to !ay (or what you did to my (amily.: >o&atha& *au"ht u! with ?ouie a&d rolled him o-er o&to his ba*'. He !u&*hed ?ouie hard o& the &ose, brea'i&" it o&*e more. >o&atha& "rabbed ?ouie2s arm a&d dra""ed him a*ross the warehouse o-er the dead bodies. He had a room all !re!ared (or ?ouie. I&side the room there was a hoo' ha&"i&" dow& (rom the *eili&". O& the table laid a ro!e a&d a dull ma*hete. There was a -ise "ri! bolted to the table as well. :First you bro'e her &ose. The& you ra!ed her a"ai& a&d a"ai&. The& you "utted her. Now you2re "oi&" to ex!erie&*e the same thi&" she (elt.: .t heari&" those words horror (illed ?ouie2s soul. He was truly terri(ied. Now ?ouie '&ew how his -i*tims must ha-e (elt e-ery time he *ame arou&d them. He use to lo-e that !ower, the !ower to ma'e !eo!le a(raid (or their li-es. >o&atha& li(ted ?ouie to his (eet a&d (a*ed him toward the table. ?ouie was sta&di&" dire*tly i& (ro&t o( the -ise "ri!.

>o&atha& smiled as he see& the terror o& ?ouie2s (a*e. ?ouie tried to stru""le but was too wea' to really !ut u! a (i"ht. >o&atha& "rabbed ?ouie2s !e&is. He !ut it i& the -ise "ri! a&d *losed it ti"ht. ?ouie s*reamed a&d tried mo-i&" ba*'ward but the !ai& *aused by the -ise "ri! *ha&"ed his mi&d. :This is (or >o&i,: >o&atha& said as he raised the ma*hete o-er his head. I& o&e 0ui*' motio& he swu&" the blade dow&ward, *utti&" ?ouie i& two. ?ouie (ell to the (loor s*reami&". His ha&ds we&t to his !e&is o&ly to (i&d what he already '&ew. It had bee& *ut o((. His eyes "la&*ed u! a&d saw >o&atha& o!e&i&" the -ise "ri!. His !e&is (ell to the (loor i& (ro&t o( him. ?ouie *ried (rom the !ai& he (elt. >o&atha& li(ted his "ood le" a&d stom!ed dow& hard o& ?ouie2s !e&is. Blood s0uirted out at ?ouie as >o&atha& *o&ti&ued to stom! it (lat. >o&atha& li(ted ?ouie ba*' o&to his (eet a&d be&t him o-er the ed"e o( the table. :NO= NO= Please do&2t (u*' mese=: :3hy &ot,: >o&atha& shouted@ his words hard a&d deadly. :>o&i be""ed you to sto! a&d you would&2t would you=: >o&atha& rea*hed i&to a draw u&der the table a&d !ulled out a !lasti* (at tube. The tube was (our i&*hes rou&d a&d three i&*hes lo&". He held it i& (ro&t o( ?ouie2s (a*e. :)ou see this,: >o&atha& whis!ered i&to ?ouie2s ear. :This is a remote bomb. I&side is some CK a&d a remote deto&ator. There is a timer o& it too. I set the timer (or two mi&utes.: >o&atha& !aused to let it si&' i& be(ore as'i&", :Guess where this is "oi&"B: :No= Please God &o=: >o&atha& !la*ed the bottom o( the tube o& a woode& sti*'. 3ith o&e ha&d he held ?ouie dow& a"ai&st the table. 3ith the other ha&d he sho-ed the tube i&to ?ouie2s ass. He used the woode& sti*' to !ush the tube i& dee!er. 3he& it was as dee! as it was "oi&" to "o >o&atha& !ulled out the sti*'. Next >o&atha& "rabbed the ro!e o(( the table. He tied ?ouie2s ha&ds to"ether, ma'i&" a small loo! betwee& his ha&ds. He the& wal'ed o-er to the wall a&d lowered the hoo' with a swit*h. :This room was used to slit the throats o( *attle be(ore they were but*hered. Now it2s "oi&" to be used to but*her the but*her.: :I did&2t 'ill your wi(e,: ?ouie !leaded, *ryi&". :)ou were there. )ou 'illed her. She died be*ause o( *"+=: >o&atha& li(ted ?ouie o(( the table. He dra""ed ?ouie to the hoo', !la*i&" the loo! i& the hoo'. He the& wal'ed ba*' o-er to the wall to raise the hoo'. He raised ?ouie hi"h e&ou"h that his (eet &o lo&"er tou*hed the (loor. He too' the ma*hete a&d *ut dow& the middle o( both ?ouie2s le"s. Fi&ally he stabbed ?ouie i& the stoma*h. :I& (i-e mi&utes you2ll bleed out. I& o&e mi&ute I2m "oi&" to start that timer i& your ass. It2s a ra*e to see whi*h o&e 'ills you (irst.: >o&atha& wal'ed out o( the room a&d *losed the door. Slowly he made his way ba*' to Mar*o. Mar*o saw e-erythi&" that >o&atha& did to ?ouie. He was a(raid >o&atha& was "oi&" to do the same to him. :Stay the (u*' away (rom me=: >o&atha& i"&ored Mar*o. He "rabbed his hair a&d li(ted him to his (eet. :3at*h Mar*o. 3at*h as your boy dies.: >o&atha& !ushed the deto&atio& butto& to start the *ou&tdow&. He li(ted Mar*o2s head, ma'i&" him wat*h ?ouie s0uirm. ?ouie sto!!ed mo-i&" (i&ally. His body we&t lim! as his heart sto!!ed beati&". >o&atha& had timed it !er(e*tly. Thirty se*o&ds a(ter ?ouie2s body sto!!ed mo-i&" the CK ex!loded. There was &othi&" le(t o( ?ouie. :I( I *ould, I would 'ill you o-er a&d o-er a"ai&. .s it is, you are "oi&" to +ust die.: >o&atha& loo'ed Mar*o i& the eyes. :I 'e!t my word Mr. ro&us. I destroyed your em!ire. I 'illed all your boys. Now you are the last to die.:

>o&atha& rea*hed dow& with both ha&ds o& either side o( Mar*o2s head. He "rabbed Mar*o2s ears a&d li(ted him o&to his (eet a"ai&. >o&atha& !ulled out a !lasti* '&i(e. He wa-ed it i& (ro&t o( Mar*o2s (a*e. Mar*o2s eyes "rew lar"e. >o&atha& sho-ed the '&i(e i&to Mar*o2s stoma*h, brea'i&" the ti! o(( i&side o( Mar*o. >o&atha& stood o-er Mar*o, wat*hi&" him die slowly. It too' Mar*o (i-e mi&utes to die. Fi&ally the war was o-er. 9 9 9 9 E!ilo"ue :This is a!tai& >o*'.: :Hello Dete*ti-e. I see you2-e do&e well (or yoursel(.: :Hello >o&atha&,: hris said sur!rised. :3here are youB: :Now, &ow Dete*ti-e,: >o&atha& a&swered !lay(ully. :)ou2-e bee& as'i&" me that (or three mo&ths &ow. Ha-e I e-er a&swered youB: :No.: :Ha-e you (i&ally "i-e& u! tra*i&" my *allsB: :)es. How did you '&owB: : ause my tra*er alarm is&2t "oi&" o((.: :3hat *a& I do (or you >o&atha&,: hris as'ed as he tur&ed arou&d to loo' out his wi&dow. :I u&dersta&d you2-e had a -isitor as'i&" about me lately.: :Peo!le as' me about you all the time.: :This "uy wor's (or the "o-er&me&t. I *a& tell by the way he a*ts.: :)ou2re ri"ht,: hris a&swered sur!rised, althou"h dee! dow& he '&ew he should&2t be. :He2s I..: :The& that mea&s your !ho&e is ta!!ed,: >o&atha& said shar!ly. :GoodCbye Dete*ti-e.: :No. 3aitE: The li&e we&t dead. ."ai& >o&atha& had -a&ished without a tra*e, almost as i( he &e-er existed. hris too' o&e last loo' at the !ho&e be(ore ha&"i&" u!. :3ell he '&ew you were (rom the "o-er&me&t. Said he *ould tell by the way you a*ted.: :3hat did he say,: Bria& Aamstead as'ed a&&oyed. Bria& was a se&ior I. a"e&t. :He said you were ta!!i&" my !ho&es.: :3hat elseB: :Nothi&". He hu&" u!.: :He2s "oi&" to try to *o&ta*t you i& some other ma&&er. 3e will be wat*hi&" so a*t &ormal whe& he does.: :3hat do you wa&t with himB: :Sorry a!tai& but that2s *lassi(ied i&(ormatio&.: :Do&2t (or"et he2s wa&ted (or o-er three hu&dred *ou&ts o( murder i& the triCstate area. I( you *at*h him he2s ours.: : a!tai& I2m I.. !$ "et him (irst.: :Fi&e but I wa&t to i&terro"ate him,: hris s&a!!ed. : a!tai&,: Bria& rolled his eyes as he stood u!, :you are &othi&" more tha& bait here. 3hether you li'e it or &ot, you2-e bee& ordered to hel! us. My two a"e&ts outside will stay with you all day. Do&2t ti! him o(( or else we2ll '&ow.: Bria& shoo' hris2 ha&d a&d wal'ed outside. He s!o'e with the two a"e&ts outside the o((i*e the& le(t. hris hated ha-i&" to wor' with the I.. The truth was he did &ot wa&t >o&atha& *au"ht. rime had remai&ed dow& si&*e the death o( Mar*o ro&us. . (ew small time wa&&abes tried starti&" their ow& ma(ia but >o&atha& was there to s0uash them li'e the *o*'roa*hes they were. :I wish I *ould hel! you >o&atha&,: he whis!ered, :I wish I *ould hel! you.: 9 9 9 9

>o&atha& wat*hed Bria& wal' out o( the !oli*e buildi&". E-ery day at the same time he we&t to see hris a&d wait (or >o&atha&2s *all. >o&atha& was &ot sure who really had the u!!er ha&d but he was &ot "oi&" to ta'e a&y *ha&*es. Bria& had (ou&d a Deli he lo-ed. He we&t there e-ery day a(ter lea-i&" hris2 o((i*e. Today whe& he ordered his roast bee( o& rye Bria& was "oi&" to re*ei-e a ma+or sur!rise. :>oh&so&, the bird +ust le(t the &est,: >o&atha& said i&to a dis!osable *ell !ho&e. :Headi&" your way.: :Ao"er that,: >oh&so& a&swered. :Pre!ari&" the !a*'a"e &ow.: >o&atha& hu&" u! the *ell !ho&e a&d !ut away his bi&o*ulars. He too' the battery out o( the !ho&e a&d threw it o-er i& a dum!ster as he wal'ed away. >o&atha& was &ot "oi&" to tail Bria&, he already '&ew where to "o. 9 9 9 9 :Aoast bee( o& rye, extra mayo.: :Tha&'s 'id,: Bria& said, ta'i&" the sa&dwi*h (rom the 'id behi&d the *ou&ter. He !aid the *ler' a&d sat dow& at his booth to eat. The 'id wal'ed to the 'it*he&. :God I hate that "uy.: :)ou did "ood,: >oh&so& said. :Here is your mo&ey.: The 'id too' the mo&ey a&d wal'ed out the ba*' door. >oh&so& +ust !aid him o&e hu&dred dollars to disa!!ear (or a& hour. >oh&so& mixed su!er exClax i& with the mayo. Now all he had to do was wait. He *ould see Bria& e&+oyi&" his sa&dwi*h whe& the exClax 'i*'ed i&. There was a restroom a*ross the lobby. Bria& stood u! a&d his stoma*h bubbled more. He ra& as 0ui*'ly as he *ould, holdi&" his stoma*h a&d !i&*hi&" his *hee's *losed. He ho!ed he made it to the stall i& time. >oh&so& *ould &ot hel! but lau"h as Bria& ra& throu"h the door a&d made his way to the me&2s room. >o&atha& *ame arou&d the *or&er where the ele-ators were. He wal'ed i&to the me&2s room (irst, !istol draw& a&d ready to (ire. >oh&so& wal'ed i& behi&d him a&d stayed at the door. >o&atha& did a 0ui*' s*a& o( the room. Bria& was the o&ly ma& i& the stalls. From the smell a&d sou&ds *omi&" (rom the stall the exClax hit Bria& hard. >o&atha& 'i*'ed the stall door o!e&, !oi&ti&" his "u& at Bria&. :)ou so& o( a bit*h,: Bria& moa&ed as more li0uid shot u&*o&trollably (rom his rear. His "u& was also draw& but he *ould &ot aim it. :3hat do you wa&t with me,: >o&atha& dema&ded. Bria& did &ot a&swer. He was i& !ai& a&d doubled o-er. :.&swer the 0uestio&,: >o&atha& shouted, ready to shoot i( he had to. :3hat do you wa&t with meB: :Do you mi&d,: Bria& hu((ed, bra*i&" himsel( (or the &ext rush o( li0uid. :)ou did this to meB: :I &" mi&d,: >o&atha& a&swered, "etti&" im!atie&t. :Now a&swer the (u*'i&2 0uestio& or ?a&"ley "ets a&other star o& the wall.: :IE: Bria& !aused to "ru&t as more li0uid es*a!ed his body. :I was se&t here to re*ruit you.: :Ae*ruit me (or whatB: :)ou (u*'i&" bastard,: Bria& a&swered. :This hurts li'e a so& o( a bit*h.: :Too bad,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed. :3hat does the I. wa&t .$ (orB: :To 'ill,: Brai& s&a!!ed ba*'. :That i( what you do best.: :;ill whoB: :3ho e-er we tell you to.: :I do&2t wor' that way. I do&2t 'ill i&&o*e&t !eo!le.: :Nobody2sE: Bria& "ru&ted a"ai&, :&obody2s i&&o*e&t. )ou o( all !eo!le should '&ow that.: :I do&2t ta'e orders (rom a&yo&e a&ymore so you2re wasti&" your time.: :Tal' to me (airly. I thi&' you2ll *ha&"e your mi&d.:

>o&atha& thou"ht about what Bria& said. Maybe i( he liste&ed he *ould "et the I. o(( his ba*'. :O'ay toss me your "u&s.: Bria& dro!!ed his !istol o& the (loor a&d 'i*'ed it out o( the stall. :Both o( them !lease,: >o&atha& said. :)our a&'le too.: Bria& "ru&ted as he li(ted his le" hi"h e&ou"h to !ull out a&other !istol he had holstered o& the i&side o( his ri"ht a&'le. He dro!!ed it a&d 'i*'ed it out o( the stall. >o&atha& ste!!ed ba*' toward the si&'s. He ho!!ed u! o&to the *ou&ter, still !oi&ti&" his !istol at Bria&. :Do you mi&d,: Brai& as'ed, wa-i&" his ha&d dow&ward, so >o&atha& *ould lower his !istol. :Sorry but you2re I.. That mea&s I do&2t trust you out o( my si"ht. O&e wro&" mo-e a&d you die.: :Fi&e.: Bria& (i&ished u! a&d wal'ed out o( the stall slowly. He (elt li'e a herd o( *attle had +ust ru& o-er his stoma*h. He wal'ed o-er to the si&' (urthest away (rom >o&atha&. Ai"ht &ow he wa&ted to 'ee! his dista&*e (rom >o&atha&. He did &ot ha-e the u!!er ha&d a&d that u!set him. :O'ay, start tal'i&",: >o&atha& said harshly. Bria& had bee& s!lashi&" his (a*e with water. He tur&ed o(( the water a&d loo'ed at >o&atha&. :Bei&" a Mari&e s&i!er you '&ow about the li(tB: :)es. I *rossed Ge&eral Ba1da o(( that list.: :I '&ow. That was a& im!ossible shot. )ou *aused a lot o( trouble with that shot.: :3hat2s your !oi&tB: :My !oi&t is you2re the best our *ou&try has e-er trai&ed. )ou !ro-ed that with your little !erso&al war with the ma(ia. Now we wa&t you to wor' (or us.: :I told you I2m do&e ta'i&" orders.: :The !eo!le we2ll as' you to 'ill are o& the list. )ou '&ow e-eryo&e o& that list deser-es to die. I( you did wor' (or us it would be u&der Bla*' O!s di-isio&. )ou would&2t ha-e to 'ee! loo'i&" o-er your shoulder. )ou *a& li-e your li(e u&til we *all (or you.: :.&d i( I re(useB: :The& we2ll hu&t you dow& a&d bri&" you to +usti*e. Des!ite what you thi&', you are not u&*at*hable.: :I '&ow I2m &ot but it be*omes a (u& "ame does&2t it,: >o&atha& said smu"ly. :I2ll thi&' about your o((er.: :3hat do you mea& you2ll thi&' about itB 3hat2s to thi&' aboutB: :3ell (or o&e, where will I li-e,: >o&atha& a&swered +o'i&"ly. :There2s &owhere i& the States where I2m &ot wa&ted.: :)ou *a& li-e i& Euro!e. 3e2ll "i-e you a& ex!e&se to li-e o&, !ass!orts, &ew ide&ti(i*atio&. .&ythi&" you &eed.: :.&d I will ha-e the (i&al say o& who I do a&d do &ot shootB: :)es.: :Sou&ds li'e a "ood o((er. 3hat do you thi&',: >o&atha& as'ed o-er his shoulder. :3hat about me,: >oh&so& said as he wal'ed arou&d the *or&er, his !istol aimed at Bria&. :3hat about you,: Bria& s&a!!ed. :Hey &ow,: >o&atha& said, (a'i&" bei&" o((e&ded. :Play &i*e. This here is my ri"ht ha&d ma&. I do&2t "o a&ywhere without him.: :The a"e&*y o&ly wa&ts you,: Bria& s&a!!ed. :That2s my o((er,: >o&atha& s&a!!ed ba*'. :)ou do&2t "et me without him. .&d I wa&t (i&al say o& all tar"ets. I may be a 'iller but I do ha-e a se&se o( morality.: :Fi&e,: Bria& hu((ed. :I2ll "et him a**e!ted i&to the ."e&*y also. O&ly *at*h is you ha-e to lea-e with me &ow.: :3hyB: : ause you still ha-e to "o throu"h trai&i&" at the (arm.:

:O'ay,: >o&atha& said. :But we2re &ot lea-i&" with you &ow. 3e2ll meet you at ?a&"ley two wee's (rom today.: :That2s &ot a**e!table,: Bria& s&a!!ed ba*' a&&oyed. :It2s "oi&" to ha-e to be. Ai"ht &ow I ha-e the u!!er ha&d a&d I2m "oi&" to 'ee! it that way. Now, what2s your &ameB: :Bria& Aamstead.: :Now I '&ow who to as' (or at ?a&"ley,: >o&atha& said with a smile. :Now Mr. Aamstead i( you would !lease, dro! your !a&ts.: :3hatB: : a&2t ha-e you (ollowi&" us whe& we lea-e,: >o&atha& ex!lai&ed. :)our shoes a&d !a&ts !lease.: Bria& stood there loo'i&" at the two !istols !oi&ted at him. .(ter waiti&" te& se*o&ds he 'i*'ed o(( his shoes a&d dro!!ed his !a&ts to the (loor. :3hat &extB: he s&a!!ed at >o&atha&. :Now your +a*'et a&d shirt.: Bria& did as he was told. He was sta&di&" there weari&" his so*'s, boxer shorts, a&d a white ta&' to!.: :>oh&so&,: >o&atha& said, &ot ta'i&" his eyes o(( o( Bria&. >oh&so& ha&ded his !istol to >o&atha& as he wal'ed toward Bria&. He too' out a !air o( ha&d*u((s a&d &odded his head toward the ha&di*a! stall. Bria&, holdi&" his ha&ds out i& (ro&t o( him, wal'ed i&to the stall. He sat o& the (loor a&d wra!!ed his arms arou&d the toilet. He was &ot about to try a&d (i"ht. >oh&so& ha&d*u((ed Bria&2s ha&ds arou&d the toilet. He stood u! a&d wal'ed out o( the stall. :I( you2re really I. you2ll be out o( those *u((s i& less tha& (i-e mi&utes. 3e will be i& ?a&"ley as !romised. See you i& two wee's Mr. Aamstead.: >o&atha& a&d >oh&so& wal'ed out the door, lea-i&" Bria&2s *lothes i& the trash *a&. >o&atha& too' the !istols with him. Slowly the two me& wal'ed out i&to the streets o( New )or', disa!!eari&" without a tra*e. Bria& ma&a"ed to "et the *u((s o(( o( him i& three mi&utes. .s he "ot to the door he saw his *lothes i& the trash. He *hu*'led to himsel(. :3el*ome to the I. Mr. M*Gre"or,: Bria& said as he retrie-ed his *lothes. The E&d 9 9 9 9

Max was bor& i& %M77 i& Sto*'to&, ali(or&ia. There Max stayed u&til he was (i-e, whe& his (amily mo-ed to Housto&, Texas. Max still li-es i& Housto& where he wor's (ull time a&d writes i& his s!are time.