Machines clinked and clanked over the sound of flipping. Convoy belts steadily eased the green onto its next stage. A steam presser pressed onto a thin, green illuminated paper and passed it on, flowing like a stream. All moving like clock work. High above these machines and convoys were anchored beams, used as a stairway to oversee the factory.
Placed in the wall were several venting fans the size of a truck. They slowly turned as rays of light shined through the gaps. Beside these fans in the very top corner of the room was a small office. No doors and no windows - just a desk and a computer. The computers, filled with pop-ups and all sorts of viruses. A greasy hand clicked away as potato chip crumbs spilled all over the keyboard.
"So you can't recall anything from the night before?"
The saggy looking hobo shook his head slowly. People were waking up to a beautiful morning in Salt Lake, except the police force that had to awake to a murder and a missing person. For James Riggly, this was a pretty normal morning but something was off. Ever since the disappearance of his partner, 'Ramasie' as they called him in the station, everything was different. A missing person’s case was never upsetting to James, not only until it was one of his dearest friends was when it hit home. Riggly had been here since five that morning and with all the intoxicated witnesses, getting anything from them was going to be difficult. A group of homeless men sat around, waiting to be interviewed but it was going to be pointless. Red eyed, slurring f*cks as Ramasie would say.
With James, were two other joke of police men. Officer Grey and Officer Saddle. Sitting in the near-by cop car, their arms propped up on the dashboard as they arm wrestled before knocking Grey's pride and joy out of the cup holder and spilling all over the interior - Grey's home batch of hot coffee, black only. They were meant to be helping out with this case, but with their attention span shortening by the minute, it was completely impossible. Everything seemed like it wasn't going to work, until he turned around to see a fairly built and big man. His chest stuck out in Officer Riggly's face. James, for a second, watched as the man’s chest expanded and shrunk as he breathed. This 'thing' was ginormous.
"I saw it all," the man said.
James stood back and looked up at the man. He wore a black leather jacket, shaded glasses, was bold and strangely worse sandals.
"What was it, that you saw sir?"
"If it was them two boys running after the new guy, I was there."
"What boys and what new guy?" asked Riggly.
"They killed poor Travis. He had terminal cancer - he only had another year to live."
Riggly sighed, "Look, sir. You aren't making any sense. I am totally oblivious to what happened."
The man pointed into a certain direction, "Travis, he was murdered over there. That was his name. They killed him because they were two smug kids looking for trouble. We had some gambling going on over here with about fifty people. There was this new guy, George. These two punk-ass kids wandered their dumb-asses over here and started some trouble. They were looking for George. He was probably in debt. George's friend grabbed one of the boys while the other was pulled away by a few other guys. Things turned ugly, and I saw the boys escape - chasing George."
Riggly wrote this down on a small paper pad, "Then what happened?"
"George's friend left and the two boys and George ran in that direction," he said, as he turned around and pointed towards the maze of pillars. The underpass was a complex place. The highway running over it, an aisle of storm water drains surrounding this 'island' type in the middle where the homeless would meet. Around the outside was a wired fence. The drain that flowed around the outside of the 'island' would meet up in the middle, running underground. This, leaving a clear gap out over into the Bronx of the city. Everything past the 'island' were pillars - mazes of them.
Grey climbed out of the police car and clumsily whipped the coffee stains from his shirt. Grey wasn't much taller than James, but slouched. His ginger puffy hair and frizzy moustache covered the grin he always would hide. Riggly then shook the taller witnesses hand and then asked him another question, "Can you please give me a description of the people you saw?"
The giant spoke, "One of the brothers was about 5 foot six. The other was a little shorter.. both dressed in black. George, he wore dark black pants and a flannelette jacket... he has a short beard, more of a goatee," he had to think a bit more, "George's friend, he was about my size and all I remember from him was his nose piercing. It was like a bull piercing through his nose - ugly looking thing..." his voice lowered.
"And why weren't you intoxicated, sir?"
Greg interrupted, "We got a call back from the station. We got to go pick up a few family members of a missing persons case."
Riggly suddenly was reminded of his partner, "Gosh... is it bad news for them?"
Saddle called out from the car, and Greg shook his head, "No. Good news," and off he raced as he jumped into the car and it quickly sped off. The two always abused the police siren, and they wailed off through the underpass - running over boxes and trash before skidding to the left and exiting the place.
When Officer Riggly turned back to the witness, he had gone. Only three bums, all drooling and swaying stood there. He slightly shook his head in disgrace. He was really seeing how poor the police force was becoming with a total of 800 missing people in the past month and numerous cases of murder. The orange sunlight beamed across the sky, lighting up the underpass. The only way James could see it for this 'George' to escape, would be only one reasonable route. Running straight through the maze of pillars and clearing himself into the south Bronx. Except, George was mentioned as the 'new guy'. New guy meaning have little to none idea of his environment. The concrete jungle, having an appetite for the naive; George, being a suitable meal.
The roar of early morning traffic above blocked his thinking process. How else could the suspect could of escaped? Surely he wouldn't of took a leap of faith into the water drain and even if he did, how would he had survived the rapids of the dark, dark water. This case had to be blown open even more. With no information, and people going missing every day... something had to be going on behind closed doors.
His leg itched, but he couldn't scratch. He was physically unable to. There was no indication of his where-about's, except an eagle that would screech every few hours. The sound of pressure running through pipes was heard and soon enough, followed by the drip-drop of water - sometimes hot, other times cold that would roll down his back. The rope that was tied around both wrists and behind his back soon left a burning rash.
Brruuuu... the pluming ploughed again. All he had to look down at was his badge. Humiliating, it was. 'Officer Syd Ramasie', it said in fine print. His black jean shorts where his knees were - torn. He had been sitting on his knees for days. He was cold and the only sunlight he got, would be when the sun would rise and for a few minutes it would shine through the small window of the basement. It's warmth gave him hope.
What do they want? Am I a hostage? Ramasie looked around the room. The darkness would show nothing. Not even the glow of the sun would light the damp room. He had overhead someone speaking in Italian, upstairs. Now and again, the door would creek open, before slamming shut. Ramasie knew exactly what they were talking about, as he was part Italian himself. He remembered overhearing a conversation worth knowing about.
"Armanno... how much longer are you going to keep them...?" a voice asked softly. Them? Ramasie thought. The voices continued, "Until he says so..." but who was 'he'? He had to feeling he wasn't alone, and he wasn't. For many days, he sat in total darkness not even knowing that another person sat in the room. It was a women. The women that caused all of this. Ramasie had no clue what was happening on the outside. America and England were on the brink of war, last he knew. The U.S had intervened a cargo boat - Chinese Cargo boat heading for England. The word through the grapevine was that the 400 foot boat was holding a test medicine. The use of the medicine was unknown to him. But with all the information that was gathered, one link in the medicine that was removed or put in would change the entire 'make-up' of the pill.
The government were paying more attention to other international situations, instead of looking in their own backyard. Murders were on the rise, and people missing... he huffed in irony. It was only time before this drug slipped through the cracks and entered the underworld. If the test drug did make it to the black market, it would cause all hell to break loose. It was like the Cold War all over again, but instead of who can build the nuclear bomb first, it was who can create this 'super drug', probably to fuel the rage of their soldiers - leading to national black market sales. Quantity, in the millions. It would be a devastating blow to what is already happening in the crisis. He was sure the drug had already hit the streets. So positive that he could pinpoint the location of it in his local area - Tooele. Ramasie knew that the Italian creeps that were keeping him hostage, worked in the Tooele region. One of their 'comrades' was only killed over there a week ago. Probably related to this 'test drug' issue.
The world was descending into a death spin, and at a fast rate.
Morning sunlight showered the city of Salt Lake like a coat of snow. As the city slowly was awoken, so were Anthony and Ross. Early morning dew settled on the beam on their front porch. Across the street in the park, a council worker trimmed away at a luscious green hedge and a nearby neighbour cleared his driveway with a leaf blower.
Inside the household, a beeping sound was heard with a few seconds of silence. The house was dark and laid in a thick layer of shadow. A window was left slightly open in the living room and the wind whistled. Ross sat on the floor, with his back on the leg of the lounge - opposite to him, was Ant in the same position. Vivid memories flashed through his mind, and dark bags hung beneath their eyes.
Anthony cleared his throat and looked around in a dazed state of mind. The silence piercing his ears. All of a sudden, the beeping sound was heard again and it came from the kitchen. Ross mumbled to himself in his deep sleep as Ant climbed to his feet and looked over at the clock which hung above the brick fireplace. The time was 8:20AM - he rubbed his eyes and walked towards the phone on the kitchen counter. A thin layer of black scum settled over the underused kitchen - the tiles on the floor, the only thing used. The yellow patterned tiles were slightly faded.
"You have... six new messages, received at..." his mind trailed off as he turned around to see Ross who still looked sound asleep. "To play new messages, press 7 ... beep," his fingers pushed the button.
"Anthony..." a voice was heard over the speaker phone, "It's me, Tyler," there was a lot of chatter going on in the background, "I'm at the police station..." there was another short pause, "It's Sandra, they've found her," and the call ended abruptly. Both brothers sat there in slight astonishment.
"We're leaving," said Anthony.
He twiddled his thumbs as he walked towards the coats that hung beside the doorway. He gripped the coat and pulled it over and through his arms before he stared over at Ross, "Are you going to get ready or not." Anthony's white polo shirt was covered in dark red blood stains from the thrashing events that occurred the night before. The reality really begun to kick in for both of them. They were now both criminals. Anthony, not even thinking twice about killing an innocent homeless man for no reason at all and Ross, just as bad for witnessing it all and letting it all happen to begin with. Ross watched as Ant walked down the hallway, throwing his shirt and pants in the washing machine before he headed to his bedroom, pulling out drawers and grabbing a hand full of paperwork, plans and sketches of their 'diverse' plans.
"Ant.. let's just forget about what happened last night. And, you know, let's just move on. Who ever tried to drug you, or hurt you is now gone... long gone," Ross said.
Anthony gripped the paper in one hand and clinched his teeth - his neck muscles slightly showing before turning around and eye balling his brother. The intensity was growing in the room but he soon snapped out of it as he heard the breaks of a car outside in their driveway. "Hold all this," Ant said as he passed the paperwork to Ross. Quiet chatter was heard from outside and Ross peeped out the window - trying to get a view but just couldn't as a large pine tree in their garden blocked the view. Anthony rolled his fingers along a bookshelf and pulled out a few books, looking down at them for aimlessly throwing them into his brothers arms. Anthony then ushered Ross out the hall, down the hallway and into the living room before opening the small door to the fireplace.
"Hurry, throw it in."
With no regrets, Ross watched as the paper work plunged from his hands and landed in the last smouldering heap of ash in the dome of the fireplace. Snnzick, Ant lit a match and dropped it onto the paperwork. Good ridden. There was no time for messing about as Anthony soon rushed towards the kitchen and opened up a few cabinets - most being empty. His hand reached down then got a hold of a window cleaning product and ripped off a few strips of paper towel.
"Ross, who is outside... what are they doing?"
Ross peered through the viewing hole in the door. His face lowered and his stomach gurgled. Two colours that made him almost dry-breach - blue and red. A police car sat in the driveway as one police officer sat in the driver’s seat, with a map covering his steering wheel as the other stood standing in their driveway as he blew cold air onto his hot cup of coffee.
"Sh*t," Ross muttered under his breath, "It's the police Ant."
When he turned around to look for Anthony, he was gone. The thing was, Anthony expected this to happen. Tyler had probably mentioned about himself and Ross and the police insisted to come pick them up. Anthony sprayed the cleaning liquid onto the desks and bookshelves before thoroughly drying the evidence with the paper towel. Why he was doing this, you may ask was because he knew that since Sandra's disappearance that everybody would be a suspect to this - including family and friends. If the police 'some-how' uncovered what the two brothers had done, they would be looking at a life sentence in the can.
He crumpled the paper towel in his hand and pushed his foot on the leaver to open the bin in the kitchen. Just as he did that, there were several knocks at the front door. Not knowing if this was related to the disappearance of Sandra of the killings of the night before, they both were feeling nervous. Ross looked over at Anthony, who stood beside him, as he slowly opened the door. Anthony held his breath, which felt forever and he watched as sweat dripped from his brothers forehead.
"Well good morning you two,"
A smile slowly grew on Ross' face but for Ant, it was just confusion. There stood a male police officer, with slicked back hair with a crinkled map in his hand and beside him, was a funny looking guy. His orange hair puffed out like a small afro and his moustache wriggled when he spoke, "You don't have to worry about Sandy no more," he spoke.
Sandy? Ant thought. There was no response from the brothers, just a smile and a shrug. The four of them glanced at each other for a few seconds before Anthony turned and looked at them, "That's great news. We actually got a phone call from Tyler before."
"Oh damn," Saddle said, "I love breaking good news to people. Anyway," he sighed, looking back towards his partner before looking at their car, "We should be heading off to the station now boys." The two both nodded and both followed the two towards the car.
"I've seen that look of fear on people faces' before," Officer Grey smirked, "You boys both thought you were in trouble, didn't you?" he continued, starting the engine to the car as Saddle added, "Buckle up." Anthony just ignored what Grey had to say, and watched as there house backed away from them as they reversed from the driveway.
The unknown scares every single human being on the planet. It is that thought of, what is in there, what is going to happen and will I die? Darkness, hellish images. The feeling of being trapped and no escape, no return - no way back; like an event horizon. Anthony awaited anxiously to hear the news of Sandra, but was scared. Not only scared for her, but himself.
The room was lightly lit. The moon light was bright that night. Not only bright but big. Sloppy Joe Lights was bustling with busy customers tonight from all over St Louis. Cars filled the parking spots and neon lights covered the walkway - reflecting off the puddles of water. A sea of umbrellas and jackets flowed. The strip club was packed to the rafters. Glazed smoke was lit up by a pink light that shun across the club. Dancers emphasized their moves in their hips and rubbed their body up and down an oiled up pole. Music played loudly and several TV screens played MTV, nonstop.
Groups of people lined up at the bar, demanding booze. A women bar tender poured a glass of sparkling champagne and passed it to a carter - a middle aged man, dressed in a black and red vest with a white rose. Sounds of glass bottles clicked together over the loud sound of shouting and cheering.
The champagne glasses travelled past the bar and into a small backroom that lead to an elevator. The cater rattled his key and swiped it over the scanner, before the metallic doors of the elevator separated and he entered before pressing the button to the top floor. As the elevator rose, he watched through the glass walls of the night club as the music slowly faded and a 'ding' sound was heard.
Floor 13 - smoke hung high on the ceiling as smooth jazz was played on a vintage record player. Vintage furniture was placed around the room, and a group of men in suits sat on two couches - both adjacent to each other, discussing 'mafia gossip' as they puffed their cigars and blunts. The rain outside became heavy and was heard as it splashed up against the glass window. The wood in the fireplace crackled.
The cater nervously walked up the Danny Bannza - notorious mafia kingpin who took over the 'family business' at age 19, now running over 50 clubs and bars across America. His suit was as pale brown with a bronze necklace. Danny's neck muscle protruded noticeably and was always seen clicking his fingers together; just a bad habit. Bannza tapped his blunt on his brown ashtray. "About time, kid," he spoke loudly as he snatched the glasses from the cater. A bigger looking guy sat across from Danny. This guy could barley fit in his suit as his bottom button for his blazer stretched his suit - his name was 'Fat Dog,' and he sounded like a child from the grade 1 at lunch time. His voice had never fully dropped, and he constantly would squeal when he laughed. Fat dog spoke, "That guy over in Salt Lake... what's his name?...Devon, isn't it?" he continued, "Did you hear the news?"
Danny raised a brow as he sipped his champagne, "He didn't get whacked did he?" he asked in anticipation. Other men leaned over to hear the news that Dog wanted to tell.
"Yeah. It was in the paper. His car killed him," he said.
"Like an accident?" another mobster asked.
Fat Dog looked both left and right slightly before replying, "His car blew up and killed him without him even being in it."
Danny coughed on his beverage, "You sh*ttin' me? Jesus..." his voice lowered as he bowed his head. Everyone in the room slowly went quiet and the cater boy stood there feeling uneasy.
"Show some respect kid, get everyone a drink for a salute,"
And off went the cater to soon return with a large bottle of vodka, pouring it slowly into each persons glass - then closing the glass lid to the bottle and standing back, beside Bannza. They all raised their glasses and stared at the thick layer of smoke on the ceiling.
"You're in a better place now. No f*cker can touch you up there. Salute," said Danny, and as quick as he finished the sentence, the word, "Salute," was heard from everyone around the room before sculling their drink and hissing from the harshness of it. Paintings on the wall stared at the cater.
"And what about Pawl? Did he give the stuff to Robbie?"
Fat Dog laughed with his high pitched squeal and shook his head, "The police would of taken it for evidence. I mean, holding a painting while being blown to smithereens isn't suspicious?" he said. Danny didn't find this funny at all, he frowned so much that it left an awkward silence in the room, "You got to be f*cking joking. We had a client willing to seal the deal, with blueprints and plans and a large amount of cash on the line and you find humor in this from that small cranium of yours?" he stood up.
"No, it isn't funny," he said, "It's just.."
"Just shut up, unless you want that jaw of yours missing. We had to opportunity to make millions from this deal, alright?"
Another man in the room spoke, "Danny, you have to realize that the boat with the product on it was seized by the American government. And soon enough, it will get to us. But for now.." but he was interrupted,
"But for now? We don't have all the time in the world. We have clients that want to buy this sh*t and you think we can just sit around and wait for it to be given to us? You got to be f*cking joking," Danny yelled furiously.
"This Robbie guy?... what happened to him, where is he? And what about Pawl? That Chinese f*ck needs to be whacked," said Terry - a forty year old gangster who worked in the timber industry. Terry didn't have much of a style sense, except wore a black shirt with a black jacket and blue denim jeans.
Dog spoke, feeling nervous - you could see it on his face, "Robbie. Well, we haven't got anything back from him. He hasn't responded... well, not at least yet he hasn't," and there was a pause, "Pawl, he called me up yesterday. Said he has lost business since what happened to Devon. Happened right out his shop."
Danny settled down and sat back down, continuing to sip his beverage, "So you're saying Devon, our boy Devon, got killed out from of Pawl's Pawn shop? Right after he took the painting and was heading to Robbie's?"
"That's right. But I ain't worried about the police, man. They can't do jack. They'll probably just auction off the painting at at f*cking Christmas party. Salt Lake police force are crap," he proceeded to undo his button on his blazer, "What I'd be worried about," he continued, sitting back and relaxing a bit more, "I'd be worried about this guy going around - goes by the name of Adivious Silver,"
"Probably a anonymous name," said Terry.
"Adivious is meant to be behind all of this 'drug bust' that happened out in the Pacific Ocean on that boat. Some say he is a cop, others say he is working with the CIA and people even go that far to say he is just some punk that landed himself on a pile of gold... pure luck?.. I don't buy it," scuffed Dog.
Another man spoke in the room, John Kramer - early 20's but with an attitude of a 70 year old mobster, "They say his presence is so strong, that if you saw him, you'd cry," before inhaling a blunt.
"So why don't you cry when you guys are with me?" Danny joked, with a cigar hanging out of his mouth.
John joked, "Your presence is about as strong as Fat Dog's wife," and the room went up in complete laughter. Even Fat Dog found it hilarious and began squealing. Danny was the only one that didn't find humor form this. The cater, standing beside Danny chuckled a bit. Bannza snapped his head up and looked at the kid.
"F*ck you," Danny said, before drawing a pistol and shooting the cater in the throat. The bullet, going through his neck and out the other side, hitting a painting on the wall - the bottle of vodka falling from his hand before smashing into pieces on the floor. Everyone quickly stopped laughing and were in shock to see the kid gasping for air.
"Just shoot him in the god damn head," someone yelled out.
Danny stared down at the kid, "I want to let him know that he is dying,"
Blood spilled all over the carpet, "It doesn't matter, I thought he was a cop anyway. He's heard too much." Danny called up security, told them to dispose of the body, "In a creative way," he said. The night went on, and the club below pumped with music, as money was thrown onto the stage.
Money, green dollar bills. The mafia were behind something greater... something more powerful.