Episode Two, "Metastasis", Part Two
"Oh, f*ck. F*ck, f*ck, f*ck!" Carmine Fortunato threw his hands into the air in acquiesced surrender. "Arrrrrh, of course they sent you."
Joel and Slugger pinned him to the car he was about to enter. "What? Did you think Leo was up to this job?"
"F*ck, I dunno," Carmine said with obvious impatience. "Alright, what is it today, a beat-down or you gonna clip me right here in the street?"
"You know, Mister Scarcarell, I don't think like Carmine's attitude," Joel said. Slugger plunged his knee into his victim's abdomen, not too hard, but hard enough to send him crashing to the ground, the papers he carried exploding into the air like confetti.
Joel knelt down as Fortunato sat, doubled-over, on the ground desperately coughing to regain his breath. "Do you understand how just a little consideration can help you avoid situations like these?" Joel explained.
Numbers nodded and spluttered a croaky "yes" as he struggled to regain his breath.
"The Boss has given your operation to me. So, while you once paid-up to Phil, now you pay me." Joel looked at Carmine who had restored normal breathing. "Any problems with that?"
Carmine rocked back and forth on the ground. "Look, Joel, it aint... I mean no disrespect, but I'm between a rock and a hard place here." Joel gestured to Slugger who grabbed Carmine by the shoulders and raised him against the car again, perhaps for another knee in the gut.
"No! I'm being straight," Numbers said urgently, arms raised to defend vainly himself. "The Lost have taken over the operation. They've got me by the balls. I...-"
"What? You're paying them now?"
"No, they own me," Carmine said urgently. Joel and Slugger looked at eachother, mystified. "They..."
As his sentence ended abruptly, his expression relaxed completely.
"Oh, what the f*ck TOOK you?!" Carmine said, addressing someone behind Joel and Slugger. The duo, holding Carmine, shot glances behind them to see a tall, greasy guy wearing a leather jacket pointing a sawn-off shotgun at them.
"Hey, fellas," Leather-jacket said. "Mind letting him down?"
Pulling a small keychain device from his pocket, Carmine shouted at the greasy biker-type, "Does this f*ckin' thing even work, Geary? Or is it some elaborate joke by you f*ckers?" The gunman just shrugged. "What the f*ck took you?"
"Ah, trouble inside. Don' worry, we got here."
Another man, African-American and also in a leather jacket, holding a pump shotgun appeared from around the corner and walked slowly toward them.
"Alright, fellas, let's not get crazy here," Joel said, raising his hands in a half-hearted surrender.
"No, f*ck you, Joel," Carmine shouted, slapping Joel weakly across the mouth. Joel scowled with great displeasure. "Don't you ever f*ckin' come near me again, you hear me?" Carmine picked up his papers, and opened the car door.
"What do you want with these guys?"
Pointing to the gunmen, Carmine offered a final thought, "You do whatever the f*ck you like. I just don't want to see either of them again." With that, Joel and Slugger stood idle as Carmine drove away.
"You heard the man," Geary said. "Step into my office," he added, pointing them into the alleyway.
"Fellas, you're making a big f*ckin' mistake here," Joel warned. "You don't want to do this."
"Shut the f*ck-up," the second guy shouted as the four men walked into the alley. "You're dancing with The Lost, now, dickweed."
"You heard Big Tim," Geary added.
Slugger stopped walking. Instead, he spread his legs, wide, and walked backward, backing into Big Tim.
"What the f..- Get f*ckin' walkin' forward, lurch," Tim shouted contemptuously, pressing the shotgun into the back of Slugger's head. When compliance was not forthcoming, he hit Slugger with the butt of the gun.
Slugger doubled-over forward, causing Geary to emit a loud laugh in appreciation of his compadre's act. However, Slugger did not, as expected, fall to the ground. Instead, he doubled over, his head almost touching the ground, and, reaching behind himself, grabbed the legs of his escort, and yanked them out from under their owner using his own backside as the fulcrum.
Big Tim could barely register a "What the..-" before his feet were forward of Slugger's and gravity pulled him to the concrete with alarming force, splitting his skull as it impacted with the ground.
His fingers reflexively pulled the trigger and fired buckshot into the air.
The sheer speed of Slugger's actions caught Geary off-guard. And as he turned his sawn-off toward Slugger, Joel seized the moment and rammed him so that the barrel blast fired effectlessly into the dumpster. Slugger completed their ballet by kneeling, drawing his weapon and firing into Geary.
Joel crashed into a pile of discarded boxes, the shotgun fell to the ground and the biker bolted around the corner, away from Slugger's second bullet that plunged into the wooden fence.
Slugger ran to pursue him, but Joel shouted after him: "Let him go."
Instead, Slugger gave an arm to help Joel stand-up. "F*ck. Nice f*ckin' work, my friend," Joel said gesturing to the leather-jacketed guy lying on the ground, a great pool of blood under his head. "All that f*ckin' training... Sh!t, I knew there was a f*ckin' reason I kept you around."
Slugger gave a smirk, and Joel suggested they move the body into the dumpster. Fortunately, with two shotgun blasts and a couple of pistol shots echoing from the alleyway, witnesses were not sticking around to watch the aftermath. Police sirens could, however, be heard.
So, they leapt the fence, and ran. And, making their way through people's yards, Joel considered their predicament.
"We got the Five Families after us, the Russians, maybe some Irish f*ckers," he said. "What's a bunch o' bikers added to the mix, aye, my friend?"
"F*ckin' aye, Boss. F*ckin' aye."
"But, we better let Sammy know."
Not too far away, in a green, wooden home along Aspdin Drive, Bruno Narducci was at the kitchen bench in Gino's mother's home fixing a sandwich for his boss when Gino's phone rang. Bruno collected it from the bench.
"Yeah, okay." Walking into the adjoining lounge, he placed the plate on a side table to Gino's lounge chair and handed the phone to Gino. "It's Sammy."
"Yeah." Bruno didn't try to listen to his Boss's conversations, it was less stressful that way, but this he couldn't help but hear.
Gino's frustration overflowed into torrid rivers of expletives. Bruno's chin dropped as he heard the plate he'd just put down fly into the brickwork of the electric fireplace.
"So Joel's got us at war with The Lost, and Lou says the Pavanos are shooting at us?" That summarisation didn't help Gino's stress, letting fly another string of sailor-worthy expletive screams. Objects flew through the room, chairs were kicked into walls.
Finally, an eerie quiet descended on the lounge.
"Bruno," Gino called out.
"Yes, Boss?" Bruno stood still in the hallway, not sure if he should risk embarassing the boss by entering the room.
"That stress councillor... Ella?"
"Yeah," Gino confirmed. "Call her. Eh, use your phone. Mine ... appears to be broken."
"Sure, boss," Bruno replied. Sensing the urgency of the matter, he added, "Right away."
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