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Chapter 4 (New Gang in Town)

As I watch Galaxy City fall behind me in the rearview mirror of my car, I get the feeling that things are spinning out of control. Yeah sure, I schemed behind Jimmy’s back with the Skulls. They gave me information and backing that helped me rise through the ranks in the organization. I didn’t much think about it back when we started this relationship. I would give them information on operations, shipments, things they wanted to know about; and they returned the favor. No big deal right? But since Arnold Kole has taken over as the leader of The Gish chapter of the Skulls, things have changed dramatically. No longer satisfied to live and let live, the Skulls are out for blood now. The word is after they bring the Hellions under their control, the next step is to do away with the Outcasts. I guess they need the soldiers that the Hellions can offer to hit a crew as big as the Outcasts. Regardless, they need someone to run the Hellions after Big Jim is iced and that’s going to be yours truly, Alexander DeMarco. No hard feelings Jimmy, it’s just business.

Lets see, how long have I know Jimmy? I guess we ran into each other the first time right after his parents bought the farm in that big fire. Yeah it’s a shame about that, loosing his folks and all. He still has no idea that it was me who poured the gas in the basement on that crappy old building. I made a nice chunk of change from the slumlord that owned the deathtrap. Guess he had it insured through the roof. Anyway, it was right after that, we both joined up with the High Park Hellions. He said he was looking for a way to take care of his baby sis Kate. Not that he’ll have to worry about that much longer. Arnold Kole and his Skulls will take care of that for sure. Me? I was looking for the next big score and maybe some kicks along the way. I moved up the ranks as time went by, made it all through the Blood Brother ranks; but Jimmy was always one step ahead of me. God that pisses me off! It’s not like he’s got the stones to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. He is soft and this outfit will never be what it could under his leadership. Hell, the reason the Skulls are calling the shots now is Jimmy let them get too powerful.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, Jimmy. When the last big boss bought the farm, the other Hellion outfit leaders got together and decided Jimmy was the man for the job. So up he goes, promoted all the way to Damned. While I’m stuck as a Fallen. God I had to grit my teeth when I was around him, all the sucking up I did.

‘Sure Mr. Sullivan. Whatever you say Mr. Sullivan.’
‘Can I do anything for you Mr. Sullivan?’

I still get sick to my stomach thinking about it. But in the end it worked and I was promoted to one of Jimmy’s lieutenants. It was about then that I was contacted by the Skulls. It happened one day while I was over at the Arena. If we have to have all these damn capes running around sticking their “do-gooder” noses in everyone’s business, at least I can get some entertainment watching them kick the crap out of each other. Anyway, back to the story. The Skulls wanted some information on what rackets Jimmy had going in High Park and if he had any plans for moving into The Gish. For that information they responded in kind with info on minor Skull actions on the border of our territory. Nothing major you understand, but stuff like gambling houses, brothels, warehouses with stolen goods, stuff like that. Minor as it was, it did allow me to look good to Jimmy. I was the guy who had his ear to the street. I knew what was going on and who was involved; just the kind of man Jimmy wanted as his chief lieutenant.

As I enter the Row, the car radio starts squawking some news about some group of superheroes, The Internationals, and how they had taken down Doc Vahzilok in his secret underground lair. Way to go Doc. Another perfect opportunity wasted to take some capes out of action permanently. Oh well, that’s his problem; mine is keeping Jimmy clueless about the schemes around him.

I park my car in the lot behind the offices and enter through the back door. There are the usual group of guys hanging around smoking and joking and generally getting in the way.

‘Don’t you guys have something or someone to do?’ I demand as they turn to look at me.

‘Uhh, no Mr. DeMarco. We finished that shakedown job on the new dry cleaners that just opened over on Grant and Pine. He understands how things work now and will be coming across each month with our cut.’ One of them replies with a big goofy grin on his face. I swear he looks like a damn dog waiting for a pat on the head.

‘Okay sounds good. But get the hell outta here, would ya? You guys are stinking up all the air in this place. For Christ sakes go rob a grocery store and get yourselves some soap or something.’ I say with a grin.

‘Sure thing Mr. DeMarco.’ They say and start moving toward the back door as a group.

I walk down the hall and see Tony sitting at his customary desk outside Jimmy’s office. He’s kicked back with his feet on the desk and reading the paper. I can guarantee that things are going to change when I take over around here. Crap like this will not fly when I’m the big boss.

‘Heya Tony. How’s tricks?’ I ask.

‘Same old, same old. Nothing going on but the rent’

‘Ha. That’s pretty funny buddy. The big boss man in his office?’ I ask.

‘Yeah sure Big Jim is in. Go on ahead. As a matter of fact he was asking around for you earlier.’

I knock on Jimmy’s door and enter when he calls out. Here is the big boss himself, sitting behind his desk and holding a picture of his mom, dad and kid sis from back before the fire. Man, this guy is soft and when he finds out that the Skulls have Kate, he is going to come running to the rescue and straight into a bullet.

‘Good afternoon Alex. How are you doing today?’ Jimmy asks.
‘Doing pretty good Big Jim. I’ve got a lead on a good racket that could turn into a big payoff.’

‘Great! That’s the same old Alex we know and love around here. Always got his ear to the ground.’

‘I’m just glad that I can help the bottom line. Everything I know, I learned from watching you boss.’ I say with a smile even though it makes my stomach turn.

‘Hey Alex, I need your help with something. I’m concerned about Kate. She had a run in with some Skulls here in High Park this morning. She’s ok thanks to a new guy that I just put on the payroll, but I’m concerned that she might be targeted. They might be after her to get to me. I need someone who is squared away, and that I can trust, keeping an eye on her. Would you mind taking care of that for me?’

‘Sure boss; anything I can do to help. You know I’m your man.’

‘Thanks Alex. I really appreciate it. You are one of my best guys in the organization. She left here about an hour ago, so I’m guessing she is back in Galaxy City at her apartment. Here is the address.’ He says, handing me a slip of paper.

‘I’ll get on it right away Big Jim. Don’t worry about a thing.’ I say as I head out the door.

I head back to my car in the back lot and call Mr. Kole on my cell.

Ring, Ring

‘Yes Alex. What can I do for you?’ Kole says in that “better than you” tone that he uses.

‘Mr Kole, Big Jim just asked me to keep an eye on his sister. He is afraid the Skulls have her targeted’ I confess into the phone.

‘Perhaps Big Jim isn’t as stupid as you claimed he was Alex’

‘Don’t worry Mr. Kole. He has no clue what’s going on. I guarantee it.’

‘Yes Alex you do guarantee it. You guarantee it with your life. If anything goes amiss I will have no other course of action but to believe you have betrayed me….and act accordingly.’

‘Don’t worry Mr. Kole. I’m your man.’

‘Yes of course you are. Do you have Ms. Sullivan’s address?’

‘Yes sir. Big Jim asked to me to go by her place.’

‘Wonderful. Go there and destroy the place. Give me the address and I will have one of my men deliver a note you can take back to Big Jim. It will let him know that we have his sister and if he wants to see her again, he will meet us at a location of our choice.’

I provide the address and hang up. Now I get to drive back to Galaxy City and trash Kate’s place. Who knows, maybe I’ll find something good there too; maybe some cash or jewelry lying around. It’s for sure that after tonight, Kate won’t be missing it. Mr. Kole will have her done away with after Jimmy and that’s a fact. Maybe I can ask him to give her to me for services rendered. Today is turning out to be a good day and it looks like it’s going to get a lot better.

I arrive at Kate’s apartment. It’s one of those high-rise joints that are on the north side of Gemini Park. Big Jim has been taking care of his baby sister. I ride the elevator up and it only takes a few seconds to get her door open. The apartment is quite nice and has a homey feel to it. There are lots of pictures of Jimmy and Kate; even a few of dear old departed mom and dad. I’m going to have a damn good time tearing this place apart.

An hour later, I’m back in the car headed back to the Row. I have Mr. Kole’s letter in my pocket and I can’t wait to break the news to Jimmy that his baby sis is in the hands of the Skulls. I park in the back lot and burst through the backdoor, send people scrambling behind cover and drawing weapons.

‘Hey! What the Hell!’
‘Holy crap Alex! I almost put a bullet into you!!’

I don’t say a word but blow by Tony and rush into Jimmy’s office.

‘Mr. Yamamoto, I need to call you back. Something just came up.’ Jimmy says into the phone as he turns toward me and notes the panicked look on my face.

‘What’s wrong Alex? Is it Kate?’ He demands of me.

‘Big Jim, she’s gone! I went there just like you said. I saw some Skulls in the area so I decided to go up to her apartment and make sure everything was ok. The place had been trashed and she was gone. But I found this letter.’ I say as I hand him Mr. Kole’s letter.

Without another word, he rips open the envelope and begins to read the letter. I watch as a look of panic is replaced by one of killing rage.

‘Those son of a bitches! They have Kate and are demanding that I meet them at the old abandoned Marx Warehouse down on Industrial Avenue tonight at midnight.’ He says as he pounds his fist on his desk. ‘They want a fight, I’ll give them a fight.’

‘Tony, get together all the guys that are available. Hell, call in everyone. Yes that’s right…Everyone! I want everyone here ten minutes ago!’ He yells into his intercom.

‘Boss calm down.’ I say. ‘Lets take this one step at a time. Do you really want to take a whole bunch of guys with you guns blazing? Kate could be in more danger if you do.’

He falls back into his chair and I can see him realize that they have him over a barrel. Go in with the troops and start a war with Kate in the middle, or go into that warehouse all by himself and put his neck under the blade? It’s no decision of course, he’ll do anything for baby sis, just like I knew he would.

‘You’re right as usual Alex. I can’t do anything that could get Kate hurt. I need a few moments alone please Alex.’

I turn to leave the office and he calls one last order. ‘Alex tell Tony to cancel calling in the troops. There’s no need, I’ll be going in alone.’

As I close his door, I can’t help but smile. This is going to be a great day.

MEANWHILE ON THE OTHERSIDE OF KINGS ROW…..

In a dark room Arnold Kole, leader of the King’s Row Skulls, sits in front of a video monitor waiting for a transmission. As the monitor comes to life, he sees a shrouded figure sitting in front of flaming torches. Electricity plays across the background and occasionally arcs across the figure with no apparent effect. The torches and the shroud make it impossible for Kole to see the figure clearly; but the shadowy figure’s voice is deep and commanding.

‘Is all in accordance with your instructions?’ The shadow asks.

‘Yes Lord. All has been prepared and the plan goes forward and you have instructed’ Arnold Kole replies subserviently.

‘Excellent. Prepare for my arrival tonight’

‘Yes Lord. We will await your arrival and guidance.’

The screen goes dark and Arnold Kole sits alone as darkness fills the room.


TO CHAPTER 5 >



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