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Chapter 2 (The Infiltrator)

So I’m sitting in my office going through business as usual, when Tony at the front desk tells me my little sister Kate is at the door. Since mom and dad died in a tenement fire back 10 years ago, Kate is all the family I have left. Times were tough back then, with Kate, only 12, and me only 18 years old, all on our own. Hell, the only reason I got messed up with the gangs in the first place was to put food on the table and keep Kate off the streets. Sometimes when I’m all alone I remember some of the things I have done to fight my way to the top of the Kings Row organization. I’m not proud of what I have become. Long ago, I was just a good kid with rotten luck. Now I’m one of the most well known men in the Row. Power, money, fame, women, I have them all. But none of it lets me sleep well at nights. I still have that good kid conscious I guess. Not that it matters, when you have become as dirty as I am, you can never get clean again. Regardless, I’d do it all again for Kate.

Kate walks through my door and I swear the room gets brighter. That kid has a million dollar smile.

‘Hey baby sis, what brings you down to my dark and dreary office? Not that I mind, I could use some good news right about now.’ She walks over and gives me a hug. It’s hard to realize that it’s been 10 years since we lost mom and dad and that scared 12 year old girl is now a 22 year old woman.

‘Since when do I need a reason to come visit my favorite big brother?’

‘I’m your only big brother you joker!’ I reply. ‘Yeah, well there is that’, she smirks.

‘Actually, I have someone I would like you to meet’, she says as she flops down on the couch in the corner, against the wall.

‘Someone? Would this happen to be a “guy” someone?’ I quiz with a raised eyebrow.

‘Well yeah, it is a “guy” someone as a matter of fact. But don’t go getting all protective big brother on me. This guy got me out of a pretty bad spot of trouble’

‘What happened?’ I demand.

‘Now don’t go getting all worked up about this, like I said I’m fine. But this morning I was headed over to tell you about my tuition coming due for the semester at the university. Next thing I know four Skulls had grabbed me and pulled me into the alley’

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what Kate said next. All I could hear was my own heartbeat pounding in my ears as a wave of rage washed over me. How dare those punks come into my territory and mess with my family. I swear to God, I’ll burn them all to the ground! I won’t leave a single Skull alive in the entire Row! The next thing I know, Kate is shaking me by the shoulder.

‘Are you even listening to me?’ she asks incredulously. ‘I’m sorry sis, I just lost control for a moment when I thought about someone hurting you’, I confess.

‘Well you don’t have to worry about that this time. Just when I thought things were going from bad to worse, this guy comes flying in from out of no where and drops one of the Skulls before he even knows what hit him. A few punches later and another is writhing on the ground and the rest are making tracks as fast as they can. I bought the guy a cup of coffee afterwards and he mentioned that he was looking for a job. I thought maybe you could use him somewhere’

A guy who can take out two Skulls in as many seconds and save my kid sister to boot. Yeah, this sounds like someone who I could find a use for. ‘Sure, I’d be glad to meet this gladiator.’ He sounds like someone who could fit in around here. ‘Tony, send in the gentleman who arrived with Kate.’ I say into the intercom on my desk.

The door opens and he walks in. Black hair, hazel eyes, a little over six feet tall, athletic build, nothing spectacular about him; just a regular looking guy.

‘Hiya pal’, I say as I stick out my hand. ‘Seems I owe you a debt of gratitude. Kate just told me about this morning’s unpleasantness. Thank god you were there.’ He shakes my hand, a firm, calloused grip. There is strength in that handshake. Seems there’s more to this guy than meets the eye. ‘I’m Jim Sullivan, but most folks around here call me “Big Jim”.’

‘I’m just glad I was there and could help out’, he replies. ‘I’m Mike’.

‘Well Mike, Kate tells me you are looking for work. Are you new to the Row?’

‘Yeah, I just arrived in Paragon City and am a little short on cash. Kings Row was all I could afford.’

‘I understand that. Kate and I were born and raised in the Row. Only way life gets better here is if you make it better for yourself or leave for greener pastures. I could use a guy whose quick on his feet and has a good head on his shoulders if you’re interested. You won’t get rich working for me but you wont starve either.’

Mike shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘Sure, I could use the work. As long as it’s nothing illegal.’

Now that’s a good question I think to myself. What is illegal in a place where there is a shortage of legal. Really that’s a matter of opinion. Once long ago, I felt the same way…nothing illegal. But time and circumstance has a way of changing those opinions.

‘Yeah, for the guy who saved my kid sister, sure we can find something nice and legal’, I reply with a laugh. These Skull punks in my neighborhood concern me. I don’t like them moving in on my territory. Why don’t I hook you up with a couple of my guys and you start canvassing the area looking for more Skulls. If you find any, give them a message that it’d be healthier for them to be elsewhere.’

‘Yeah, sure, I can help out with that’, Mike replies.

‘Great, go see Tony at the front desk and he’ll give you a couple of bucks, an address and some names to ask for when you get there.’

With that, Mike shakes my hand and turns toward the door. But before he can reach it, we both turn toward a quiet cough from the corner.

‘Talk about a third wheel! I felt like you guys forgot all about me!’, Kate laughs. She rises from the couch and walks over to Mike and takes his hand. ‘I just wanted to say thanks again for helping me out. I really don’t want to think about how bad it could’ve been if you hadn’t come along’

Mike gives her a quick nod and walks out the door on his way to see Tony about the job.

‘I like him Jimmy.’ Kate says as she turns to look at me. ‘He reminds me of you back when we were kids.’

Yeah I can see it too I guess. Quiet but with a look of determination; like he’s on a mission. My mission back then was to build a better life for Kate and me. I wonder what this guy’s mission is……


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