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City of Lies 2

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Mokrie Dela
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#1

Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:31 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 30 April 2017 - 12:06 PM.

mwtluEi.png

 

Chapter NumberChapter Name
PROLOGUE
ICrossing Over
IISetting Up
IIIDesert Dusk Deal
IVA Father's Work Is Never Done
PART ONE
OneBounty
TwoFranklin
ThreeScouting
FourPlanning
FiveThe Harwick Heist
SixWe Got a Little convoy

 

Prologue

 

 

Chapter I - Crossing Over

 

America-Mexico Border

 

01:00

 

The truck bounced over the uneven terrain, the track barely wide enough to accommodate the large vehicle. Illuminated only by the moon – the truck didn't have its headlights on – dry, barren branches scratched at the truck's body, low bushes brushing against the wheels as they bounded over the hilly terrain. The engine rattled and growled, struggling with each rise and roaring louder with each dip. The rear of the truck rattled but the men cramped inside showed no signs of irritation.

 

The truck stopped where the track seemed to finally lose its battle with the foliage. Two narrow footpaths, barely visible in the darkness, split in different directions, climbing a steep rise and disappearing into the darkness. The driver – a Mexican whose clothes suggested he was a poor farmer – nonchalantly jumped out of the truck. On the other side another man, in a long coat, climbed out with more measured movements. Both men headed to the back, the former bounding along, on autopilot, as though he'd done it a thousand times – which, indeed, he had. The latter man walked slowly – not through anxiety, but through caution and mainly because he was a man who didn't have to move for anyone.

 

The driver opened the rear of the truck. Enshrouded in shadow, five faces looked at him, their barely-visible expressions blank.

 

“We're here,” the driver said, speaking slowly to negate his thick Mexican accent. The other man silently waved at the passengers and, in perfect order, they climbed out into the night.

 

“Come,” the driver said, leading the men up one of the narrow footpaths. They walked what was likely a mile or two, until they reached a spot unremarkable in every way. The driver looked around and reached down. He swept some of the undergrowth aside, revealing a small tunnel. “This way.”

 

If the men were unhappy about crawling into the dusty tunnel, they did not show it. The driver watched them, lead by the long-coated man, to whom he handed a flashlight, disappear into the tunnel. He would wait for a few minutes before heading back.

 

Inside, after a minute of crawling, the tunnel opened up into what looked like an old mine. The long-coated man waved the flashlight around and spotted the tunnel, held up by crooked wooden slats. Wordlessly, he led his men through the tunnel and, during their arduous walk, illicitly into the United States.

 

Next Chapter: Setting Up

  • AndyGanteks, TomVDC, LevelDockSix and 3 others like this

Carbonox
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#2

Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:07 PM

Well this was a pleasant surprise :D

 

I'm liking your descriptive language in general. Feels more colorful than the original COL - or at least the first 20-ish chapters of it. Keep it up. ;)


Mokrie Dela
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#3

Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:59 PM

Yeah. I figured I might as well put it up! COL(1) was a long learning curve, as most of our projects tend to be. I've spent so long not writing, I've just decided to just go for it! :)


AEsob
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#4

Posted 10 September 2016 - 04:12 AM

Damn. I came back to some awesome things!

 

The prologue as usual, is the most important part of the early story.

 

This is descriptive and beautiful, but it somehow lacks that extra oomph that COL and JIF had going, that power...it is somehow missing.

 

I know that this is just a little part of the prologue and the kick is coming.

 

I'm waiting!


Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela

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    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#5

Posted 22 September 2016 - 01:34 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 09 October 2016 - 10:50 AM.

Chapter II - Setting Up

 

Blaine County

 

15:00 Hours

 

The pickup truck rolled to a stop, its tires scraping on the dry, dusty ground. The door opened and Trevor Phillips stepped out into the blaring sun. He looked around, lazily checking for any danger signs. He flicked the door shut and walked across the desert floor, his footsteps crunching on the sand.

 

“Mister Phillips,” a tall, dark-haired man said in a thick Russian accent.

 

“Ivan,” Trevor sang.

 

“My name is Alex, Mister Phillips.”

 

“Yeah, yeah, so let’s get this going, shall we?”

 

“Wise words, friend.”

 

“We’re not friends, comrade. We’re doing this deal, and that’s it.”

 

“Very well.” Alex waved one of his men over. “Mikhail?”

 

Mikhail was a heavy-set man, a Russian too acclimated to American culture and Burger Shot, Trevor thought. The large Russian stepped forward with a metallic briefcase. He opened it and offered it to Trevor.

 

Trevor took a look inside and sampled the contents.

 

“Happy?” Alex asked.

 

Trevor took a step back, his voice hoarse. “f*ck, you guys aren’t messing around.”

 

“You do not mess around in business. Mister Zhukov has made that very clear. You should know that.”

 

“And Mister jerkoff has chosen wisely with TPI.”

 

Alex said nothing.

 

“If the rest of the shipment is as good as this,” Trevor continued,”then we're going to do a lot of business.” He held his arms out in emphasis.

 

“Excellent. You may take this case, in exchange for the agreed upon deposit. The rest will be delivered to you in exchange for half of the outstanding payment.”

 

“And the rest sent to you once I’m happy it’s all there.” Trevor’s eyes narrowed.

 

Alex smiled, but it was clearly a shallow gesture. “Of course.”

 

Trevor looked back at the truck and gave a thumbs up. From the truck a man Trevor had hired for this purpose approached. In his hand was a cheap Binco-brand rucksack. Trevor handed it to Alex who examined the money.

 

“I am satisfied that it is all there,” Alex said after a minute roughly counting it. At first Trevor found it odd that Alex didn't count every single note. It was as if the Russian was in a hurry to conclude the deal – something Trevor had no problem with.

 

“Good, because I’m getting impatient.”

 

Alex frowned but quickly regained his composure. “Well, Mister Phillips, you know what they say here: good things come to those who wait. And things are definitely coming.”

 

“Excellent.” The men traded the case for the bag.

 

“We have the address," Alex said. "The merchandise will be there tonight. Pleasure doing business with you.”

 

“Yeah,” Trevor growled, backpedaling to his truck. There was something in Alex’s eye that he couldn’t figure out. Either way, he did not trust him.

 

Both parties drove away from each other at the same time.

 

 

 

“All go well?” one of Trevor’s hired guns asked from the back, a heavy machinegun straddling his lap.

 

“Surprisingly, yes. The trade’s going down tonight, but I don’t trust that guy.”

 

“But the merchandise –”

 

“Is all there, yes. But there’s something in his eye. We’ve got to get ready.”

 

 

Trevor drove to where Chef would be waiting to take possession of the briefcase. It’d be on the street in two days, with an estimated half a million in earnings over the next week or two following the receipt of the entire shipment.

 

An hour later, Trevor was at his airfield, crossing the dusty flat with a bag on his back and a shovel. He went to work, a process that took almost three hours. Then he had to pick up his men.

 

 

 

The men Trevor had hired were loyal. He saw to that with his usual aggressive approach, and the promise of money helped, too. He had paid them honestly and generously; he could afford it after all. The men were decent, but they were far from pros; a collection of amateur hunters he’d met through Cletus, and small-time stickup men, hillbillies, mostly; men who spent their days shirtless or in tatty wife-beater tank-tops, patrolling the county on old quad-bikes against immigrants. Trevor kept his personal thoughts from them of course, but they were expendable. He had a strong feeling he’d need them tonight. He also had another trick up his sleeve...

 

 

* * *

 

A bald man, in a well-tailored linen suit, strolled in to the factory with another man who, despite his tailored suit, was obviously a bodyguard; his arms were thicker and his posture was that of a disciplined soldier – of which he had once been.

 

The bald man moved comfortably, like a man who believed he owned the world; a man with money and/or power. He walked through the factory – which was not currently operational – with ease. He found his way to the basement, to which only he had the key. Inside were the men he was expecting to see.

 

The leader – a man in a long coat, stepped forward. He did not speak until the bald man spoke to him.

 

The bald man spoke, his voice American. “Good to see you made it across. Without incident, I trust?”

 

The long-coated man nodded in the shadow; only a couple of weak lights lit the dingy basement. The men – all sitting patiently and completely motionless in the background, showing no discomfort despite being perched on the cold, hard concrete floor – were mere shadows and so was their leader, until he stepped forward into the light.

 

The long-coated man had dark skin and black hair, heavily cropped. His English was perfect.

 

“We are ready.”

 

“Good,” the bald man said. “Everything is in place. I trust that your targets have not changed?”

 

“We have an agreement; we would not break the terms of an agreement. You do not trust us?”

 

The bald man smiled thinly. Uncomfortably. “I must ask. Trust had no place in this kind of thing. I would imagine you do not fully trust me.”

 

Without a smile, the long-coated man nodded. “This is true. And talking of which, where are the men?”

 

“They're here.” The bald man nodded to his bodyguard who spoke softly into a hidden microphone. The long-coated man did not object to the bodyguard's presence; he understood that the American was simply protecting himself. He also knew that, if he wanted to inflict harm upon the hairless American, the big bodyguard would make no difference.

 

The bodyguard nodded back to his boss who smiled again at the middle-eastern. “They'll be here momentarily.”

 

The long-coated man nodded and, for the next couple of minutes, they all waited in silence.

 

The door opened and four dark-skinned men walked in. They were not bound, but they were followed by two men with guns – one a shotgun, the other a sub-machinegun.

 

“The guns are not necessary,” the long-coated man objected.

 

“They are not now,” the bald man said, waving the gunmen away. The two men closed the door after them. “But they were necessary to keep your associates compliant. We were not at liberty to tell them where they were going – as per your instructions. Indeed, we did not know that much, anyway. So without that – and they would likely not have believed us anyway – they would have tried to escape, given the opportunity.”

 

The long-coated man nodded, again without emotion. He then spoke in a middle-eastern language that the American did not understand. The newcomers began to walk forward. The bodyguard tensed but the bald man waved him down.

 

As the first of the men reached him, the long-coated man gripped him in an intense embrace. He repeated this for each of the men. Then he turned to the American, the slightest of hints of a smile on his lips.

 

“You have fulfilled your part of the agreement. Now we have a mission to do. I will take my brothers with their new-found freedom and we will head back through the tunnels. You will not follow.” It was not a question, but the bald man nodded. “Meanwhile my men will move north to carry out their mission. You will not attempt to stop them.” Again, this was not a question.

 

“We share a common goal,” the bald man said. “I have no intention to get in the way. But the police and security services do not share my sentiments. I do not have control of them.”

 

“That is not a problem. My men know how to avoid them and how to handle such a situation. There will be no stopping us.”

 

“Good.” The bald man held out his hand, but the long-coated man did not shake it. Instead he waved some of his men forward and ushered some back toward the tunnel.

 

“We shall talk soon,” the long-coated man said, turning and leading the new men and one of the others down the tunnel.

 

Next Chapter: Desert Dusk Deal


AEsob
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#6

Posted 23 September 2016 - 03:41 PM

Bam.

 

You are back.

 

I do not know if Trevor is really a major character in this one but I have a feeling that we are going to see more of the bald man.


Mokrie Dela
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#7

Posted 09 October 2016 - 10:48 AM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 17 October 2016 - 07:24 PM.

Chapter III - Desert Dusk Deal

 

Night fell on the desert and brought with it a drop in temperature. Trevor strapped heavy body armor to his chest, covering it with a black leather jacket. He slid a metal crash-helmet onto his head, too. It’d stop most small-arms fire, and he hoped they didn’t have any snipers on hand.

 

Soon enough, it was time. It came around quickly – a bad omen, Trevor found. The good deals seemed to come only after a long and tense wait. It only felt like an hour or two since the mid-afternoon deal, and that made Trevor nervous.

 

“Everything set?” he said into his phone from inside the airfield’s tower.

 

“All good here, T.” Ron Jakowski’s voice was rushed, but Trevor knew it was not panicky. “I'm airborne and circling the Airfield.” Trevor could barely hear the buzzing of Ron's engines. Good.

 

“See anything?”

 

“No. They’re not here yet.”

 

“Okay. Let me know if they sneak anyone up.”

 

“Will do.”

 

 

It was only a few minutes before Trevor’s phone rang. He answered, seeing Ron’s name on the screen.

 

“Talk to me.”

 

“I’ve got two heat signatures to the south. Looks like snipers. They sneaked up, and are lying down.”

 

“Definitely snipers. Dial it in.”

 

“Already done, T.”

 

“Good. Anything else?”

 

“They’ve got one at the water tower.”

 

“Fools.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Right, well it’s obviously showtime. Am I on?”

 

“Yes; your tracker’s working.”

 

“Good. Don’t shoot me, or I’ll castrate you.” Trevor thumbed the end call button and stared out of the windows.

 

 

From the tower, Trevor watched the Russians pull up, parking their convoy exactly where he wanted them to. As expected, they avoided parking too close to the hanger, but also ensured they weren’t too far away as to make carrying their delivery too arduous.

 

Trevor’s phone rang.

 

“Trevor Phillips’ Industries.”

 

“Mister Phillips, It’s Alex. We are at your airstrip.”

 

“Give me a wave.” From the ground, beside a black Cavalcade, a man waved. Trevor nodded. “I see you.”

 

“Ah, you’re in the tower.” There was approval in Alex's voice, but more-so there was an arrogance that Trevor disliked. That told him that his instincts were correct.

 

“Nope,” Trevor said, walking down the external steps.

 

“I see you,” Alex said as Trevor neared the foot of the steps.

 

“Good. See you in a minute.” Trevor ended the call. A moment later he was face to face with the Russian.

 

Alex waved for Mikhail to open up one of two trucks. Trevor climbed in and checked the delivery. It looked good.

 

“Happy, Mister Phillips?”

 

“Yes. Now for your money.” Trevor slid out of the truck.

 

“Yes. You have it nearby, no?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Alex looked around. “In the hangar?”

 

“Nope,” Trevor said, deadpan. Alex frowned.

 

“Well, may I see it?”

 

Trevor stared for a moment. “Let’s begin to unload first.”

 

Alex hesitated and looked at Mikhail. At that point Trevor knew. It was on.

 

“Okay,” Alex said after a tense moment. “We shall begin to unload the first truck. I assume you want it in the hangar?”

 

“Yeah, just to the left.”

 

Alex waved and called out to his men in Russian. Trevor had the feeling that his words held hidden orders. Ron was listening via a hidden microphone, and Trevor had his own code too.

 

“Let’s get these babies in their bed,” he said. Get ready.

 

Half of the shipment was in the hangar when Trevor’s man appeared on a Sanchez. The money was held a quarter of a mile away, on two dirtbikes. Half would arrive when the unloading was complete. This he told Alex when the first bike arrived. He could see Alex was unhappy with that, but he shook off his disappointment and nodded for his men to begin unloading the second van.

 

 

The first warning sign was the speed in which the Russians moved. They were not urgent. Killing time.

 

Alex nodded at the money and Mikhail carried it to the 4x4. Trevor knew the look of readiness. He casually approached the hangar, waving for Alex to follow.

 

Alex did, more fool him.

 

“It’s good to do business with people who are not shy,” Trevor said, coyly fishing.

 

“Indeed. I learned of your misfortune with the Chinese. More importantly, I learned that their business partners were unsuccessful.”

 

Trevor allowed his voice to sound casually rushed, off hand. “Who you do business with is important. The O’Neils are out of business. The market is competitive, and you either have it or you don't. I have it. They don't.”

 

A seemingly genuine smile stretched across Alex’s face. “I assume you have nothing to do with that.”

 

“Of course not,” Trevor said. He didn’t like these guys, and wanted it over with.

 

“Bad luck, I suppose,” Alex said. “For what I heard they attempted a takeover while you were securing the deal.”

 

“They f*cked it all up,” Trevor growled, knowing why Alex was saying what he was. “The Chinese could still have made a deal, but they were pussies. Scared of a little competition.”

 

“Well we have no such concerns. Even after the unfortunate incident involving Gregor.”

 

Gregor, Trevor said to himself. The small-time Russian dealer he’d done some successful business with in prelude to meeting Alex. Gregor was one of many expendable assets of Alex, and Alex worked for a bigger man himself – Zhukov. The mention of Gregor – who was killed in an ambush in Los Santos by some of the locals – was the final warning sign. Right now, Ron would have his finger hovering over the big red button. It was then that Trevor realized that Alex was making a big effort to avoid the stack of crates in the hanger.

 

“It’s a shame,” Trevor said.

 

“What?” Alex frowned.

 

“How such a promising deal can go wrong because of stupidity.”

 

“The Chinese?”

 

“No.”

 

Alex nodded. “We cannot overlook such liabilities.”

 

“So this is a takeover?”

 

“No,” Alex said, reaching for his gun. “It’s simple elimination.”

 

“f*ck you!” Trevor shouted, charging toward Alex. The Russian flinched as a series of explosions rocked the airstrip. The charges Trevor had spent all afternoon hiding under the sand detonated, tearing apart the Russian vehicles that had parked right on top of them. In the distance, triggered by Ron, the water tower exploded, and the snipers would be taken out by the home-made drone Ron had flying over the airfield.

 

The Russians that weren’t killed by the explosions began shooting, but Trevor’s men were all ready for it. Trevor’s profanity was their cue, delivered through earphones that were hard to see in the dark.

 

Alex had flinched as his convoy exploded. His head instinctively turned and Trevor kicked the gun from his hand. He pushed Alex to the floor, tossing his used detonator aside like a depleted cigarette.

 

“You are dead,” Alex said.

 

“You first,” Trevor said, shooting Alex in the head. The Russian collapsed in a heap. “Ron –!”

 

Trevor didn’t have the chance to finish his sentence. The shipment in the hangar exploded. The Russians had obviously hidden charges in each crate and the drugs were consumed by the flame – if indeed they contained drugs at all. Trevor was thrown to the ground, strangely doubting the shipments contents as he fell.

 

“sh*t!” he shouted. He looked out to the airstrip and saw the figure of Mikhail, a heavy machinegun in hand. The legs of a tripod swung underneath as The Russian shouted something. He fired.

 

Trevor rolled over Alex’s body and held the Russian in defense of the bullets, despite his armor. Alex was wearing armor too; Trevor could feel it as he grabbed the man’s body. He felt the impact of the bullets pound into the dead man, the force jolting up his arms.

 

“Ron!” he yelled. “Send one just outside the hangar. “Some fat Russian’s shooting at me!”

 

“Okay!” Ron’s voice was crackly and Trevor barely heard it over the gunfire. Five seconds later there was a whooshing sound, and Mikhail disappeared in a splash of sand and fire as the homemade rocket hit.

 

Trevor pushed Alex away and ran to the far side of the hangar where he’d stashed a machinegun. He stepped out of the hanger and began shooting at everyone he could see. His men were told to keep in cover by the hangar and tower. If any were foolish enough to venture out into the open, Trevor wouldn’t feel sorry for them.

 

The gunfight lasted only another two minutes. The Russians fought back, and Trevor’s men fell, but Trevor himself, almost unseen, began mowing them down with his machinegun. Chaos made for the best cover. The sand that hung in the air, kicked up by the explosions, gunfire and hurried scuffed footsteps, helped. It was almost like shooting in fog.

 

Finally the shooting stopped. Trevor dropped the machinegun, which had clicked empty. He looked around, squinting through the dust.

 

The drugs were gone – the booby-trap had destroyed what had been unloaded, and the hidden C4 charges had destroyed the remaining truck. Trevor shrugged at that – it was no loss, he figured; the crates were clearly Trojan horses. Alex’s 4x4 was on its side, flames climbing high into the night. Inside, the money would be gone, too. That wasn't so easily shrugged off.

 

“f*ck!” Trevor shouted, walking out of the hangar. Before him was a wide, shallow crater, charred and filled with car and body parts. Mikhail had been blown apart; only part of his gun remained, painted a charred red. Trevor kicked it away, swearing again. He’d had the shipment placed in the hanger to shield it from the inevitable conflict, but he’d not anticipated them rigging it to blow. He'd thought the shipment would be real, and the money was certainly real. He'd hoped to recover it after the shootout. Now he'd lost both.

 

Above the cackling sound of fire and the distant groans of injured or dying men, Trevor heard sirens.

 

“Everyone get the f*ck out of here,” Trevor said into his microphone. A moment later he saw trucks tearing off from behind the hangar, speeding down the runway, their lights off. He jumped into his truck – parked behind the control tower – and stamped on the gas, steering it off of the track and across the uneven ground.

 

His men had been told beforehand to make sure no one’s body was left behind and he hoped they had listened. If not, he'd punish them. None of the men had any direct connection to him, anyway. He drove, slapping his palm on the steering wheel, shouting, f*ck over and over.

 

Next Chapter: A Father's Work Is Never Done


Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela

    Killed by drones.

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  • Most Creative [Writing] 2016
    Most Talented Writer 2015
    Most Talented Writer 2014
    Most Talented Writer 2013
    Best Story/Poem 2013 "The Storm"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2011 "Justice in Flames"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#8

Posted 17 October 2016 - 07:20 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 11 November 2016 - 10:59 AM.

Chapter IV - A Father's Work Is Never Done

 

The Rockford Plaza was typically busy. Shoppers sauntered about and hungry tourists headed to some of the restaurants, many with bags full of shopping in tow. Stores, both high-end and that catered to the more cost-conscious, were enjoying high volumes of footfall, helped by the characteristic San Andrean sunshine. People had traveled from a morning at the beach, still dressed in shorts and vests, just to experience the acclaimed mall.

 

Among the crowd, his eyes bouncing from person to person with a look of disdain, a lone man walked, seeking out the best spot for his objective. He found it; a large open space with an indoor fountain, lots of seating, most of it occupied. He walked around the fountain, his displeased eyes taking in the grandiose display of arrogance. That his heritage came from a place of more impressive architecture and decor did not bother him.

 

No one paid him any attention. To them, he was another tourist, eager to buy in to the corrupt capitalist regime. His dark skin wasn't out of place; people probably thought it was a well-worked tan, or that perhaps he was Mexican – the latter might actually have led to a few scowls toward him from what he'd observed over the last couple of days.

 

He managed to keep his disdain under control, however. The time would come – soon – that he would no longer have to worry about that. So far, everything had gone smoothly.

 

Yes, he said to himself. This was the spot. He looked around, seeing the hoard of greedy people. He almost smiled, but his mind was too focused.

 

The submachine gun was a small, portable one with a decent ammunition capacity. No one noticed it at first – not until the first shot, and the first burst of gunfire hit several unsuspecting shoppers. Almost instantly, people began screaming as heads snapped round, eyes focusing on the source of the unmistakable sound. People began running a second later, but it was no good for most. The area was so open, the gunman had a plethora of targets and plenty of time before they reached any form of cover. He began to calmly walk around the fountain, waving his gun at the fleeing fools, his aim better than his erratic arm movement might suggest. Before him he saw people begin to fall like dominoes. He had never shot fish in a barrel – although he suspected it would actually be quite a difficult task – but he was aware of the expression, and that was exactly what his task felt like; easy.

 

Americans were all supposed to be armed, he was told. Well, more fool them for not being, or being too cowardly to fight back. Typical Americans, he said to himself, ejecting the empty magazine and slapping in a new one – he had eight. They strolled around the world, acting tough like they owned it, despite being mere babies compared to his great country in age. And yet when they were slapped in the face, they cried like the babies they were. It was all a lie! The world had to see.

 

He'd completed an entire lap of the fountain when the police arrived – fast, he thought. Perhaps they were at the donut shop, adding credibility to that stereotype. And they were fools. Before them was a man shooting people. Clearly he did not recognize their false authority. And yet they tried to do what America did to the world: shout orders with nothing backing them up. A smarter, stronger policeman would stop the threat without delay.

 

“L.S.P.D!” the foolish policeman shouted. “Drop the gun.”

 

Sure, the man thought. I'm shooting your countrymen, what makes you think I'll stop because you said so?

 

Naturally, and according to his mission, the man ignored the command, but not the man giving it. He swung his gun round and drilled several bullets into the man's chest, riding up across his neck and, in an act that would make the men that trained him proud, across the face and head. The second policeman – they always came in two, as cowards do – opened fire. But the man had already quickly side-stepped, his unexpected movement undermining the policeman's aim. It was a simple task to move his arm to take aim at the policeman. Within seconds he, too, was dead. The man then began to walk on, unaffected by what had just happened, dropping the empty magazines as he went.

 

A minute or two passed before more police arrived; he was not counting. When he was out of ammunition, he had one grenade, if he chose to use it. Ideally his aim was to get away, but he knew that was unlikely. And with four policemen running from the far end of the mall, in addition to the two that had just turned up, he knew he'd need the explosive.

 

The newcomers weren't as foolish the first policemen; they opened fire immediately. But he saw them coming and had already taken aim. He also knew he had to change tactics; he ran for cover. He'd hit many shoppers, and was happy with that. But now he had to attack the very machine that sought to protect the corrupt. He opened fire on the police and hit two of them. He turned his aim toward the four approaching policemen, but they were also going for cover. His gun clicked empty and he loaded what he knew it was his last magazine. He looked over at the exits – he'd already noted their locations – and the police had a presence at all of them. The mall was now devoid of living targets, aside from the police. But they had not covered one final exit. He jumped from cover, shooting wild covering fire toward the police. He ran, not thinking about the aim, and slammed into the fire exit door.

 

Sunlight filled his eyes and he forced them open, despite the discomfort. As they adjusted, he saw the police covering the road like America covered the middle east with their military regime. He had still hoped he could get away and fight one more time, but he now knew that was impossible. He dropped his gun as police opened fire. He felt one, then two shots hit him, but he had to stay strong. The grenade was already out, the pin fallen on the ground. He counted. One. Two. Three.

 

He shouted his final words, the sentence punctuated by the detonation of the grenade. His final act was hoping that the blast would not only kill or maim the policemen, but at least injure the onlookers across the street.

 

Across the state of San Andreas, TV shows were interrupted by a breaking news story. Weazel News had interrupted a behind-the-scenes episode of Fame or Shame, and a slightly ragged-looking man sat behind the desk, staring solemnly at the camera.

 

“Good afternoon, I'm Jim Harrison. San Andreas has been rocked by multiple terrorist attacks,” he begun, with no apology for interrupting the scheduled programming. “A lone gunman opened fire at the Rockford Plaza this afternoon, killing at least thirteen civilians and injuring more than twenty, Los Santos Police say. The gunman, who is believed to be middle-eastern in descent, was finally neutralized by brave Police Officers who stormed into the center ahead of SWAT teams arriving on scene. One police officer is thought to have lost his life in the protection of Los Santos shoppers, while another was injured.

 

“Worryingly,” the news anchor continued, “the shooting occurred simultaneously with three other incidents. A suicide bomber attempted to gain access to the Los Santos headquarters of the National Office of Security Enforcement, with the apparent intention of detonating inside the building, but the lone man was stopped at the gate by security. When it had become evident that he was not going to be allowed to pass, with the security guards drawing their weapons, the man detonated his device, killing one of the guards. The second, having taken cover behind the security booth which took heavy damage in the incident, has survived with no serious injuries.

 

“A second suicide bomber was stopped by transit police at the Los Santos international Airport Metro station. The man was shot dead by police as his device apparently failed. Officials suggest that the Metro station had about forty travelers present, who narrowly escaped harm.

 

“And finally, a forth attack destroyed a large portion of the Richards Majestic movie studios. We are unsure how many casualties –”

 

“Jesus,” Michael said, switching off the television. He shook his head, stood, and walked to get a drink.

 

With a glass of whiskey halfway to his mouth, his cell phone started ringing. He sighed and set his drink down.

 

He picked up the phone and saw Tracey's number on screen.

 

“Hey Trace,” he said before being cut off by a panicky voice.

 

“Oh my god, dad!”

 

“What the– Tracey?”

 

“Dad you gotta help me. I'm down at the Maze Bank Arena, for a Fame or Shame audition–”

 

“Again? Jesus, Tracey, didn't you learn from the first–”

 

“They're shooting, dad.”

 

Michael's eyes went wide. “They? Who?”

 

“I don't know. There's a man and he's shooting people. I'm hiding in a cupboard but, oh my god, Dad. I'm so scared.”

 

“Stay there!” Michael turned and ran for his front door.

 

“Okay,” Tracey's shaky voice said. Then there was a loud bang, a thud and a whimper.”

 

“Tracey!” Michael yelled.

 

“I'm okay Dad. I think someone just... I don't think anyone knows I'm in here.”

 

“Good,” Michael said, leaping down the steps, his footing almost lost on loose leaves as he turned for his car. He scrambled in and slammed the Stallion in reverse. With a crunch from the gearbox and a screech of tires, he floored it. “I'll be there soon. Tracey, Stay quiet, but I'll stay on the phone.”

 

As he steered the car onto Palomino Avenue, almost losing control in the process, he reached over into his glove box. His fingers blindly clawed around until he found his phone's hands-free kit. With his foot flat on the gas, he plugged the cable into his phone, and slipped the earphone in his ear.

 

“Hello?” Tracey's voice whispered, as she'd evidently heard the pop as the hands-free kit was active.

 

“I'm here,” Michael said, jerking the steering wheel to overtake a bus. “I'm coming, Tracey.”

 

“I'm scared, Dad.”

 

“I know.” A red light. Michael kept his foot down, slipping through the cross-traffic. “It'll be alright. I'm coming.”

 

Such a short drive had never felt so long. As he neared the stadium, the traffic thickened. He ignored the queues, electing to swing out into on coming traffic or onto the sidewalk.

 

The Maze Bank Arena came into sight, and he steered his car wildly into the car park. He didn't bother with a parking bay; instead mounting the curb by the entrance where he'd found Tracey the last time they were here.

 

As soon as he was stationary, with the parking brake on, he darted out of the car, slipping his phone into his pocket.

 

“I'm here, Trace,” he said, looking around. People were running out of the stadium, and it was a feat to get in. He pushed and shoved, fighting against the tide. Above the crowd's hysteria, heard Tracey's voice sob: “Come quick.”

 

As soon as he was in the doors, his gun was out. No one noticed, such was their hurry to get out, and most had. In the distance, he heard gunshots. Through his phone, Tracey screamed.

 

“Oh my god...”

 

“Stay calm, Tracey.”

 

“Calm?! People are shooting. Dad, people are dying. What if they find me.”

 

“Not before me they f*cking don't.”

 

He charged through a set of double doors, following a sign for Fame or Shame. “This f*cking show,” he snarled.

 

He forced himself to slow down through the corridor. It wouldn't do to run recklessly into the sights of a gunman.

 

“Tracey,” he said, keeping his voice down. “How many are there?”

 

“I don't know!” Her voice was barely audible through her quiet tears. “I heard the gun and the screams, and I just ran. Everyone was running. I just hid.”

 

“Good girl,” Michael said, not knowing what the hell to say. “Just hang in there.”

 

He led with his gun now. Each corner he took, his eyes were constantly looking down the sights. One more corner and he saw a figure. He took aim, but realized the figure was a body, slumped up against a wall. White letters on his black T-shirt stated his former occupation: Security.

 

“What the hell is going on?” Michael muttered.

 

“What?” Tracey whispered.

 

“Nothing.”

 

Michael turned another corner and found himself in the abandoned studio, cameras still rolling. He had the presence of mind to step behind them; he didn't want to be on the news once they recovered the footage.

 

“Tracey,” he whispered. “I'm at the studio. Where did you go?”

 

“I don't know. Everyone was running so I followed them, but I must have gone wrong. I was on my own, in a hallway.”

 

“Okay,” Michael said, turning. “They would have been running for the exit.” That meant the way he came. He hurried to the doors that he'd just come through, once again stepping behind the cameras. He began to backtrack until he found another corridor, heading off in another direction. He followed it.

 

The size of the building suddenly struck him; He might be forever trying to find Tracey.

 

“How long were you–” His question was interrupted by Tracey yelping. In the distance he heard a thud and a rattle. “What's going on?” he asked.

 

“Someone's trying to get in!”

 

He heard a muffled voice – a man. The voice spoke again, this time angrily.

 

Michael was jogging now – as fast as he could with his gun still up. Where ever Tracey was, he'd see a man outside trying to get in.

 

“f*ck, Tracey, where did you go?”

 

“I just ran. I heard a voice so I hid.”

 

He shook his head and pushed forward. As he turned the next corner, he heard a voice. Two voices, and not through the phone.

 

A loud bang sounded through his phone, and Tracey screamed. He heard constant shouting now, both through the phone and down the hallway. He ran round another corner and saw a dark skinned man hitting the door with his shoulder.

 

“Hey!” Michael shouted, knowing Tracey would hear him through the door. The man looked up and fumbled for his gun. Michael's was already up, so he fired, hiting the man in the forehead.

 

Things got quiet all of a sudden. Tracey had gone silent.

 

“It's okay,” Michael said, now outside the door. “I'm here.”

 

Silence.

 

“Tracey!?”

 

The door rattled, then opened. Tracey stood there, her hair messy, her makeup smeared. She instantly jumped forward into Michael's arms.

 

“It's okay,” he said softly, brushing her hair back.

 

“What the hell is wrong with us?” Tracey said after a moment. “Why can't we be a normal family?”

 

“I'm not sure we're a family anymore,” Michael said. “But I'm still your dad.”

 

It was odd. Michael was used to sarky comments about his parenting, but Tracey didn't have any to say. Instead, she simply whispered: “I wish we were.”

 

Michael swallowed and nodded. “Let's get out of here. Stay behind me.”

 

Tracey nodded.

 

 

As they headed back down the hallway, more gunshots echoed. Tracey flinched, and Michael quickly held his hand out. He looked her in the eyes and wordlessly nodded. As they reached a corner, he told her to wait.

 

He peered round the corner and stared down the hallway ahead. Empty.

 

“Come on,” he said. He'd barely finished speaking when Tracey hurried out on wobbly legs.

 

They moved through the stadium, Tracey waiting at each corner while he checked ahead.

 

Ahead, a voice shouted, followed by more gunshots. A moment passed, with Michael waving at Tracey to get low. Rushed footsteps approached. Michael pressed himself against the corner wall and leaned out of cover.

 

The running man – looking similar to the man Michael had just shot – flinched. A gun came up and fired, missing. Tracey screamed. Michael ignored her and returned fire. The man fell.

 

“Come on,” he said again. Tracey stepped round the corner gingerly and whimpered upon seeing the dead man. “Don't look,” Michael said, grabbing her hand. “Just go.”

 

A minute later, they were in the lobby, looking out at the car park outside. Red and blue lights filled their view, but they ignored them. Michael hid his gun, but soon realized the police were ignoring him, too; they suddenly began to exchange gunfire with another gunman.

 

“Who are they?” Tracey asked as they reached his car. Michael stamped on the gas and bumped up onto the plaza outside the stadium, weaving his way through to the road. He didn't wait to see if anyone saw him, instead accelerating hard. The gunfire faded, drowned out by his revving engine.

 

As they reached Davis Avenue, a rumble filled the air. Tracey turned in her seat, the color that had just begun to return to her face quickly drained again. Michael looked in the mirror, seeing the unmistakable sight of an explosion. While Tracey recoiled from the horror that filled her naive eyes, Michael merely sighed, wondering how much therapy his daughter would now need. While Tracey questioned who the men were, Michael had no such question. The news had already told him.

 

Next chapter: Bounty


Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela

    Killed by drones.

  • Zaibatsu
  • Joined: 01 May 2009
  • None
  • Most Creative [Writing] 2016
    Most Talented Writer 2015
    Most Talented Writer 2014
    Most Talented Writer 2013
    Best Story/Poem 2013 "The Storm"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2011 "Justice in Flames"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#9

Posted 11 November 2016 - 10:58 AM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 28 November 2016 - 05:00 PM.

PART ONE

 

 

 

Chapter One - Bounty

 

Michael de Santa walked down the steps from the Richards Majestic movie studios offices, into the golden sunlight. It had been a long day – longer than normal with the city coming under attack. He'd walked with Soloman, assessing the damage as the LSPD maintained a strong presence. Every employed security guard had been called in; holidays canceled and rest day's interrupted. He felt like watching the sun disappear over the ocean, knowing the streets would be quieter than normal. He walked toward his car – a midnight purple convertible Stallion. It was an old car, but Michael preferred the classics. It had a little wear and tear to it – mainly around the wheel arches – but it ran well. He paused, staring at the blob of white on the black soft top. He looked up to the orange sky and sighed.

 

“f*cking birds,” he said.

 

He got in and keyed the ignition. The Stallion's V8 engine coughed and reluctantly spluttered to life. As frustrating as that was, Michael knew that, once it got going, the engine would run well. He looked at the time and flattened his suit jacket. There was still a good hour or so of sunlight left, so he might as well make the most of it. He hit the switch to bring the vinyl roof down – a custom feature that cost a figurative arm and leg to get installed; it was Vinewood after all – and drove to the pier to watch the sun set.

 

 

He expected the pier to be deserted but there were several people there. Still, there was a somber mood in the air. Leaning on the railing, looking out over the ocean, Michael took a deep drag of a hand-rolled cigarette, then stared at it cynically. He sighed and tossed it into the dark, foamy water half-smoked. He reached into his pocket, pulled out the carton and stared at it. They just weren't doing anything for him anymore, apart from shortening his already pathetic life. He threw them with an annoyed grunt over the railings, too. He stood back.

 

Might as well go home.

 

He walked back to his Stallion and headed to the convenience store on San Andreas Avenue. Inside, he looked around, seeing the cashier making no effort to even ask if he needed assistance. He walked up to the counter and pointed at the shelving on the wall. The cashier – a man of middle-eastern descent – looked nervous. Michael knew why the man looked nervous; when things such the day's events happened, people – in fear or anger – tended to look at anyone foreign as responsible. Michael guessed the man had already received a torrent of abuse and perhaps was expecting – or had already been victim to – physical assaults.

 

“Give me some whiskey, pal,” he said. The cashier turned and reached for a bottle. “No, no, to your right.” The man moved his hand. “Keep going.... Yeah, that one.” Michael couldn't help but take note of the security camera and where the backdoor was. Once a thief, always a thief.

 

The cashier put the bottle in a bag.

 

“Anything else?”

 

Michael nodded. “Make it two. And grab a beer for yourself; you look like you need it.”

 

“Thank you, sir,” the man said, exhaling in relief.

 

With the whiskey paid for, Michael headed home, wishing the man well.

 

 

Michael's home was in the Vespucci Canals, on the north side of Imagination Court and Prosperity Street. As he turned off of Prosperity and onto the Imagination Court side street, Michael noticed a familiar truck parked to one side.

 

“Jesus, what now?” he asked the air, reversing into his parking spot under the apartment building. He raised the roof, locked the car and climbed the steps to his apartment. He waited a moment before managing to open the front door, making sure his pistol was on hand.

 

The TV was on; Michael could hear the Republican Space Rangers’ annoying trill. He pulled out his gun and crept through the hallway, pausing in the doorway to the living room.

 

“Put that away, Mikey, Jesus Christ.”

 

Michael sighed and did as he was told, stepping into the room and out of the shadow of the hallway. Trevor immediately began to laugh.

 

“Jesus, Michael, you're not looking good,” Trevor said, waving at Michael's rugged appearance.

 

Michael rubbed his hand across his thick stubble, aware that his scraggly hair needed a cut; there was just no point. “Alright, so I could do with a shave...”

 

“You look ridiculous.”

 

“Yeah, well, you look like a sex offender.”

 

Trevor pointed aggressively toward Michael. “That was never proven.” He looked around. The living room was about half the size of Michael's old one and dark; the curtains were pulled up. There were empty whiskey bottles sitting on the coffee table along with discarded pizza and Chinese takeout boxes. It was still neat by Trevor's standards, but for Michael's? It was a pigsty. “You should hire a maid,” Trevor said sarcastically.

 

“Sure,” Michael said indifferently, putting the bag of liquor on the coffee table.

 

“What are you doing with yourself now, Mikey?”

 

“Working at the movie studios mainly. Why?”

 

“Must have cost a fair bit, this place.”

 

“Are you kidding? Most of what I had left went to this place, the car, and movie funds. You know how hard it is to get a movie green-lit these days?”

 

Trevor waved his hand. “Ah, you get a camera and film a bunch of pricks singing and dancing. So what? I got to say, though, I like it.”

 

“You like what?”

 

“This,” Trevor said, sweeping both hands out to gesture at the apartment. “This... sh*thole. So much better than your last house. That wasn't you. This, though... It's small, its dark and dingy and dank –”

 

“It's not dank.”

 

“But!” Trevor shouted theatrically, sticking a single finger up. “For you it's cozy. It's homely. Your old house was Los Santos, it was Michael de Santa. This... This is Michael Townley.”

 

“What are you, a real estate agent? Can the bullsh*t, Trevor. What are you doing here?”

 

“Can’t a man come and see his long-dead buddy?”

 

“Jesus, are you still on about that? I thought we were past that.”

 

“Relax, cupcake. Open your curtains, get some sun in –”

 

“It's nighttime, Trevor.”

 

“Well go get a caffeine enema or a manicure, or whatever it is you Los Santonians do. Oh, and you really need to restock your fridge.”

 

“I've got all I need.”

 

“Oh, you mean the bottles of beer? ”

 

Michael sighed. “Yeah.”

 

“Yeah, see... you kinda don't.” Trevor lifted up an empty bottle.

 

“Jesus, Trevor, what the hell?”

 

“Hey, you took forever to come home.” Trevor leaned forward, placing the beer on the table. “But relax, big guy, I didn't touch your whiskey, or your left-over junk food and microwave meals-for-one.”

 

“How kind of you.”

 

Trevor sighed, slumping heavily back on the sofa. “Sit down, big guy.” He slapped the sofa beside him. Michael did so.

 

Trevor lowered his voice. “They still not seen the light?”

 

“No, and I can't say I blame them.”

 

“They just don't appreciate you like I do.”

 

“Give it a rest, Trevor. You know whenever I see you I don't know if you're going to kill me or hug me.”

 

“It's an endless battle,” Trevor said, his voice reanimating. “But seriously, you don't need them. Look at me, I'm–”

 

“T, what the hell’s going on? I'm not after life advice and you stink of sweat and gunpowder and now my beer.”

 

Trevor sighed and thumbed the TV remote. Weazel News 24 flashed up, reporting on a shootout at an airstrip near Sandy Shores. Over a dozen men were dead, after reports of gunfire and explosions.

 

Trevor said. “They've been going on about this all night, and whatever the hell's been going on down here.”

 

“Well after today, that's not surprising, but considering you're here... What the f*ck did you do?”

 

“Got into a little fight with the Russians.” Trevor shook his head.

 

“So why are you here?”

 

“They stabbed me in the back.”

 

“What’s that got to do with me?”

 

“You’re the expert at that, I figured you might have some advice.”

 

“You know what?” Michael jumped to his feet. “Screw you, Trevor.”

 

“Maybe later,” Trevor winked but turned serious again. “I want to repay the favor.”

 

“Again; what’s this got to do with me?”

 

“I want you to talk to Lester. Get some intel on these guys.”

 

“Jesus, Trevor. You could have contacted Lester yourself. What, you’re going to fight the Russian Mafia?”

 

“If it comes to it, yeah. Not in an all-out, straight up fight. I'm not stupid. But think guerrilla warfare. You know, use their weaknesses against them and all that.”

 

“I'm not sure the Russians have any weaknesses, T.”

 

“Everyone has weaknesses, Michael.”

 

“Even you?”

 

“Even me.” Trevor's words were drawn out and emphasized.

 

“Go on then, what’s yours?”

 

“I love too much. Come here.” Trevor said, opening his arms.

 

“You’re f*cking crazy,” Michael said, picking up what he hoped was at least a half-full bottle of beer. It was empty. “If you’ve pissed the Russians off, then you’re f*cked. In fact, get the f*ck out of here.” He pointed to the door. “I don’t want them coming here looking for you.”

 

Again Trevor waved at Michael's apartment. “Because this is so much better? Whatever happened to the old Michael, Michael? The one who'd bring the fight to the enemy instead of getting into bed with them?

 

“He got old.”

 

“He got pathetic. So you won’t even help a friend in need?”

 

“Not if it means getting my head cut off, Trevor.”

 

“They won’t cut your head off, Michael. They’re all dead.”

 

“Then who are you trying to get back at?”

 

“Their bosses.”

 

“Then they’re not all dead.”

 

“Alexi Morodov and his men are, yes, but his boss is who I hold personally responsible for f*cking up an otherwise pleasant evening.”

 

“And all you want is for me to talk to Lester?”

 

“He’ll listen to you more than me.”

 

“You'd be better to just let it go, Trevor.” Trevor stared and Michael sighed. “Fine, but you’ve got to get out of here. Stay away from my home Trevor. I've had enough sh*t for one day.”

 

“Oh, ‘f*ck you’, leave me out there to die, is that it?”

 

“No it ain't like that and you know it. But not here – never here. If they just tried to kill you, which I'm guessing is what that's about,” Michael pointed at the TV, “then there's a good chance they'll be looking for you, and you're not leading them here if they follow you.”

 

“They won't be looking for me yet, and they won't be looking for me here, anyway.”

 

“You can't know that.”

 

“Fine,” Trevor said, standing. He picked up the beer bottle and turned to leave, pausing in the door way. “Talk to Lester.” A moment later the front door slammed.

 

* * *

 

The next day was overcast, as though the skies were morning the violence the city had seen previously. There was a chill in the air, enough to warrant a light jacket.

 

“The Russians?” Lester was visibly and audibly puzzled. Michael had driven to his home on Amarillo Vista; both men were reluctant to talk on the phone.

 

“We are talking about Trevor, remember?”

 

“He’d be better to just walk away.”

 

“You think you can tell him that?”

 

Lester sighed. “I suppose. What’s he want then?”

 

“For you to dig up some dirt on them.”

 

“Alright, I can do that. But keep your distance from this one. Only Russians I know about are not nice people.”

 

“You don’t have to tell me. I told him to keep this sh*t away from me.”

 

“Did he listen?”

 

Michael shrugged. “Again–”

 

“'You know Trevor.' Of course. We’ll trade the information on the down-low.. Then, you give it to Trevor.”

 

“Why not just give it to Trevor yourself?”

 

“You came to me, remember? And I don't particularly want a new best friend, least of all a Russian one.”

 

Michael sighed. “Okay.”

 

 

* * *

 

It took less than a day. Michael, in shorts, an open Hawaiian shirt, sandals and shades walked toward the beach, the weather having reverted to the typical warmth of southern San Andreas. Lester was sitting on a bench, looking out at the gentle waves of the Pacific Ocean, a box of donuts on his lap.

 

Michael sat beside him and lit a cigarette. He took a deep drag and exhaled, aware that he'd thrown his last lot away. Was it habit or addiction? He didn't know; the cigarette soothed him.

 

“Fine view,” Michael said.

 

“Yes, it is,” Lester replied. He held the box of donuts up. “Donut?”

 

“Yeah,” Michael took the box and selected a donut. Below the donuts was a small folder containing the information Trevor wanted. He took a bite, closing the lid and looked out across the beach.

 

“What we spoke about,” Lester said. “It’s serious business. Keep your distance.”

 

“Don’t worry; I don’t want anything to do with it.”

 

“Keep it that way is what I say.”

 

“Don’t worry, Lest,” Michael said, standing. “Like I said, I don’t want a part of it.”

 

“Good,” Lester said. Michael stood, walked off, and once he was far enough from Lester, dialed Trevor. He arranged a meeting out by the Vinewood sign.

 

 

Trevor was sitting on the hood of his truck when Michael pulled up. From inside the donut box, Michael pulled out a small manila envelope and got out of his car. He slapped it into Trevor’s hands.

 

“Why is this sticky?” Trevor asked.

 

Michael shook his head. “That’s it, alright?”

 

“That’s it? What is this, Michael?”

 

“I don’t want any of this. I’ve got my own problems to worry about, and looking over my shoulder for crazy Russians isn’t my idea of fun.”

 

“You have no sense of adventure,” Trevor almost yelled.

 

“You keep going down this road, and you’re gonna get yourself killed.”

 

“They started it, Michael. I'm not like you, I won’t just roll over and let them f*ck me.”

 

Michael turned back to his car. “Fine, whatever. Just keep it all away from me.”

 

He drove through the hills for a while – for two reasons. Firstly, he needed to cool off. Secondly, he wanted to make sure no one was following him. He didn't think anyone was. He was just pulling into his carport when his phone rang again. He looked down at it and sighed.

 

“Trevor?”

 

“We’ve got a problem.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Meet me. Now.”

 

“I told you, Trevor, that's it.”

 

“That's it? That's it?! That's not it, Michael. I'm not joking around. Meet me. Now.”

 

Michael sighed again. “Alright. Where?”

 

“Somewhere quiet. And don't bring that attitude with you.”

 

Michael looked out of the Stallion's window, at his small apartment. He thought about what his life was. Trevor had called it; his life was pathetic, a far cry from his old life. He did miss it, but those days were behind him. Hell, he said to himself, all days are behind me. “The oil field,” he said, giving in.

 

“I’ll see you there.”

 

 

Michael changed gear and made a quick U-turn. He certainly wasn't about to go all out and draw attention to himself, but he drove with urgency. He reached the oil fields soon enough. He accelerated hard up the hill and pulled the E-brake,coming to a dusty stop, just feet from Trevor. Michael leaped out of the car.

 

“What the hell’s going on?”

 

“The Russians.”

 

“What about them?”

 

“They know.”

 

“Know what?”

 

“About me.” Trevor sighed and handed Michael his phone. Listen.”

 

Michael listened to the answerphone message and his blood ran cold. The message said, in no uncertain terms, that there was a price on Trevor's head.

 

“Are they following you?” Michael demanded. “Have they followed you to my home? They want to kill you. I told you, Trevor, didn’t I say?”

 

“Yeah, well it’s too late for I-told-you-sos, isn't it? No, they didn't follow me here. They didn't follow me to you.”

 

“Really,” Michael said in an unbelieving tone.

 

“Think about it. If they did, they'd be here now. Look around.”

 

Michael did so. There was an uneasy quiet around them. In the distance the traffic scrolled by on the nearby freeway with a soft sighing which merged with the gentle breeze that rustled the leaves of bushes. A helicopter silently crawled across the sky over downtown and an unseen bird sang a brief song. He saw no one else. They were alone.

 

“What the hell happened?”

 

Trevor shook his head. “We had a deal. They decided they didn’t care about our agreement. They made a move.”

 

“And surprise, surprise, you survived.”

 

“What's that supposed to mean?”

 

Michael shrugged. “So what, this is some sort of revenge?”

 

“Looks like it. I had a deal a while ago with one of their guys. We'd been doing business for a while, but this time we were jumped. I guess they blame me.”

 

“And what the hell does it have to do with me?!”

 

Trevor shrugged. “I thought you could help.”

 

“Figures. They think you f*cked them over, you run right to me. Jesus, Trevor, I didn't have any part of this. What do you want from me?”

 

“I'm thinking you might have an idea.”

 

Michael shrugged. He walked in a rough circle, pacing the dry ground while his mind raced. “Well, we might be able to pay them off.”

 

“Pay them off?”

 

“Yes. They're businessmen, right? Like Mardrazo, if we give them something big enough...”

 

“What, then? How much?”

 

“How much, Trevor? How much are you willing to part with?”

 

“I never said I was going to pay them out of my pocket.”

 

“Well I don't have much, you know that.”

 

“And that's careless of you.”

 

“Partly.”

 

“Then we get some more.”

 

“What are you asking of me, Trevor? A comeback tour.”

 

“Exactly.”

 

“And what happens when they do it again?”

 

“They won’t do it again if they’re dead.”

 

Michael laughed. “Nah-uh. Ain't gonna happen, T. No way can you take out the entire Russian Mafia. Can’t be done. It’d be suicide.”

 

“It worked with Devin and Merryweather, didn’t it?”

 

“Goddammit, Trevor. We got lucky, then. That Percival guy threw us a bone. Haines was just corrupt, so it died with them, not to mention they were much smaller than the damned Russian mafia. Now you've got an entire crazy gang of mercenaries after you. Jesus, a little field-craft wouldn’t have gone amiss. Thanks to you I might be in the sh*t, and I didn’t even do anything!”

 

“Call it penance for Brad. I don’t care.”

 

“That's just it; you don't care. Not about me, or anyone else but yourself.” Michael sighed and walked around, perplexed.

 

Trevor gave it a moment. “If we pay them off, we won't need to fight them. Like you said; make it worth it.”

 

After a moment, Michael turned back. “Do you have a target in mind?”

 

“Not yet. A bank, I guess.”

 

“f*ck, T. Man, this is some heavy sh*t.”

 

“You can always run away again.”

 

Michael shook his head. “I… You know what? f*ck you.”

 

“f*ck me? No, f*ck you!” Trevor roared. He took a few steps away and took a breath before turning back. “You think Franklin will be on board?”

 

Michael shrugged. “I don't know, and this isn't his fight. It ain't fair on him to pull him down, too.”

 

“Life isn't fair, Michael.”

 

“Yeah,” Michael breathed. “Tell me a-f*cking-bout it.”

 

Next Chapter: Franklin


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#10

Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:20 AM

Man, this is as good as your previous works, and it can even be better. Keep up the great work  :)


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#11

Posted 28 November 2016 - 04:59 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 09 December 2016 - 11:01 PM.

Thanks, Prasdana

 

Chapter Two - Franklin

 

Franklin Clinton sat in a restaurant atop the cliffs in Del Perro overlooking the beach, the last crumbs of a fine meal on the plate in front of him. He exhaled in satisfaction, dropping a white napkin onto the plate and picked up his beer. He looked around, seeing many other patrons enjoying the food. The restaurant bustled gently with voices and the clanging of cutlery on crockery. An unseen man laughed and Franklin turned to look out of the window. Across the road, the land dropped away, an infinite sparkle of blue stretching to the horizon beyond. A streak of gold flickered on the water from the setting sun. A yacht crept across the ocean, silhouetted against the glowing sky. Franklin had spent his entire life in the city, but rarely appreciated how many picturesque vistas were just moments away. There was always something more pressing going on.

 

He leaned back, smoothing out the rumples in his three-piece suit with his palms. Life was good, he told himself, almost even believing it. He sipped at his eight-dollar beer, a local brew that only the rich could afford regularly. It tasted much like any other, if he was honest.

 

A minute passed and the waitress appeared to collect his plates. He ordered desert – a mango cheesecake – and watched the sunset as he waited for it to arrive.

 

“Hey, Franklin.”

 

Franklin looked up at the man who’d unexpectedly sat across the table without permission. He also wore a suit, although one of a more understated fashion to Franklin’s. The man slid off a pair of shades.

 

“Michael? What the hell are you doing here?”

 

“Been a while, ain't it?”

 

“Yeah. I thought you’d retired again.”

 

“Yeah well, I guess it didn’t stick.”

 

“Again?" Franklin reached for his beer, feeling as though he suddenly needed alcohol. What you got yourself into now?”

 

“How long have you got?”

 

“Why do I get the feeling I don’t want to know?”

 

Michael smiled, but Franklin could see the darkness behind it. “I’ve never claimed to be perfect, Frank. I’ve not been a good dad, but I try, you know?”

 

“What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“We split, Frank.”

 

“sh*t, Amanda?”

 

“Yeah.” Michael sighed. “I gave her everything and... it wasn't enough.”

 

“Man, what is it with money and problems?”

 

“Tell me about it, kid.”

 

“Something tells me you didn't come here just to tell me that.”

 

“No. I got a visit from Trevor yesterday.”

 

“Why do I get the feeling this isn’t good?”

 

“Because it isn’t. Turns out Trevor had managed to piss off some Russians.”

 

“sh*t, Russians? For real?”

 

“Yeah. What makes it worse is that he came to me, and now I'm worried they'll be after me, too.”

 

“You?”

 

“Yeah."

 

"Why?"

 

"Guilt by associationm I dunno."

 

"Man, what he want then?"

 

"He wanted me to get Lester to get some information on them so he could… well, you know Trevor.”

 

“He’s going to take on the entire Russian Mafia?”

 

“As I said; you know Trevor.”

 

“And? I can tell there’s more.”

 

“They've put a price on his head.”

 

Franklin blinked. “And now you’ve come to me.”

 

“Don’t worry. I’ve made sure I wasn’t followed. This place is upmarket enough that no one can see in from outside anyway.”

 

“I hope so, Michael. If you’ve led them to me, and if I get mixed up in this…”

 

“That’s why I'm here. I think you can guess what we need to do.”

 

“’We’? You mean you.”

 

“I was hoping it would be ‘we’.” Franklin scowled. "We’re talking a comeback tour. You’re good, kid. We need you.”

 

Franklin looked around, not as much looking at the restaurant but at his lifestyle. All of a sudden, he felt it was at risk.

 

“I’ve got everything sweet, man. I got all the paper I need, I got garages of fast cars, I got a place out in Chumash… I don’t need to pull any more heists, Mike.”

 

“I know that. Look, Franklin, the Russians are after Trevor, and we're thinking of trying to pay them off.”

 

“sh*t, man, if it’s money you need. Most of mine is tied up in property but I can give you some. How much you need?”

 

Michael shook his head. “I'm not taking your money, Franklin.”

 

“I'm offering to give it to you. You’re not stealing it.”

 

“That’s yours. I can’t take it.”

 

“But you take other people’s.”

 

“That’s different.”

 

“How?”

 

“I know you. I helped you get that money.”

 

“Yeah, you and Lester. I’ve been smart with it, Mike. I’ve got more than one account, some off shore, not all in my name. I’ve got cash locked up around town and I’ve got investments and businesses. I’ll make the money back, Michael. And you'll pay me back.”

 

“Easier said than done, Franklin.”

 

“What?”

 

“Forget it.”

 

The waitress appeared with two cheesecakes. She placed one in front of Michael who picked up a fork.

 

“Man, you’re a cheeky one.”

 

Michael shrugged and took a bite. “It’s good,” he said.

 

“Yeah, I'm glad you’re enjoying it. I thought you said you weren’t taking my money, yet you’ll eat food I’ve bought.”

 

“It’s what, five dollars?”

 

“Triple that.”

 

“For a cheesecake!?”

 

Franklin shrugged. “It’s a good restaurant.”

 

Michael shook his head. “Well it's good, but I'm not sure it's worth that much..." He sighed. "I'm asking for your help, Franklin. Simple as that.”

 

Franklin sighed. “sh*t, I guess I ain't got much choice. I ain't turning my back on you. But we gotta do this smart, man. You were this big-time hustler; you learned a trick or two. We keep our heads down and keep things quiet. The Russians can't know me, man.”

 

Michael smiled. “See? I said you were good.”

 

“And what about Trevor? He gonna be able to keep quiet? We can’t draw any attention to ourselves. I don’t want the Russians targeting me because of sh*t Trevor did. I need your word that we’ll be ghosts, man.”

 

“You’ve got it, Frank.”

 

Franklin sighed and nodded. “Alright, I'm in. What’s the plan?”

 

“Well first we need a place to plan it out. My house is out, and taking in to account everything you just said, we can’t use any of yours. Doing them at any of Trevor’s is asking for trouble.”

 

“So we need a secure place.”

 

“Yeah. I guess we could use Lester but, I dunno, I kind of want to keep him out of this.”

 

“You want to pull something off with just the three of us?”

 

“Yeah. It can be done if we choose the right target.”

 

“And what is the target?”

 

Michael tapped his nose. Not here. Franklin nodded.

 

“So we need a place?” Franklin glanced out of the window again, the sunset suddenly looking ominous.

 

“Some place secure. Preferably one we can approach unseen.”

 

“I’ll see what I can do, but we might have to get Lester to help on this. I don’t want even a small warehouse connected with me.”

 

“I understand,” Michael said, setting the fork aside with a fraction of the cheesecake remaining. He stood. “Be careful, Franklin.”

 

“If you think I need to, you shouldn’t have come here.”

 

“Precaution.”

 

Franklin nodded wordlessly.

 

Michael looked out the window. He knew the restaurant windows were tinted to offer privacy to its clientele; he’d seen that from the street. No one could see in, and he’d not seen anyone come in since he’d sat down. Franklin was clear, he decided.

 

“I’ll call you. So far, you’re clean. We’ll aim to keep it that way.”

 

“Yeah, alright, homie.” Franklin nodded as Michael stood. “I said that before, remember? I’ve got your back, Mike.” Michael straightened his jacket and turned to leave.

 

“Oh,” Michael said, turning back at the last moment. “Thanks, Franklin.”

 

Franklin sighed and sliced off some of his untouched cheesecake as Michael exited the building. For a brief moment he found himself wishing he’d left Los Santos, perhaps heading to Vice or somewhere else with warm sun and golden sands, but no. This was his home.

 

Next Chapter: Scouting

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#12

Posted 04 December 2016 - 01:11 PM

Franklin joins the action, finally :D Another great chapter from you. I'm just wondering, what year does this story happening? Lol. Sorry if you are confused, my english isn't perfect.

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#13

Posted 04 December 2016 - 01:40 PM

Franklin joins the action, finally :D Another great chapter from you. I'm just wondering, what year does this story happening? Lol. Sorry if you are confused, my english isn't perfect.

I don't state the year, but it's a while after the events of GTA v (ending c, obviously)

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#14

Posted 05 December 2016 - 10:37 PM

 

Franklin joins the action, finally :D Another great chapter from you. I'm just wondering, what year does this story happening? Lol. Sorry if you are confused, my english isn't perfect.

I don't state the year, but it's a while after the events of GTA v (ending c, obviously)

 

 

Oh great. I'm gonna finished your story  :cool:  Just letting you know, I still like reading your first story (City of Lies 1) occasionally, lol.

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#15

Posted 09 December 2016 - 10:32 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 09 December 2016 - 11:00 PM.

Chapter Three – Scouting

 

Michael had spent the day driving his Stallion around the city, looking out for a suitable place to hit. He'd allowed himself to play through a one-man robbery on a liquor store, but it just wasn't worth it. He needed something bigger, but he couldn't go too large. Not yet. He wasn't sure if Franklin was in or not, and in truth, he wouldn't blame him if he wasn't. He pulled up to a red light, wondering just why he was scouting and not Trevor. Logically, Michael knew that was because Trevor would probably get shot within ten minutes. He had to admit he didn't know how the Russians operated. He guessed they weren't like the street gangs that Franklin hailed from, hanging out on the streets making it impossible to traverse their territory without being noticed. What was the Russians' territory? Did they respect such boundaries? Did they even care about claiming their own turf? He found himself pivoting his head, looking for a Russian – a futile act; he wouldn't know a Russian by sight, and he was probably being paranoid.

 

He knew better than to pull over outside a bank and start taking notes, though; he would pull over in parking bays, near a street vendor or a park. A folded up map was laid out across the top of the dashboard and he wore glasses, a Hawaiian shirt and shorts and a sun hat. He thought he looked like any average tourist. Once he'd got a few possibilities, he decided to go back home and come up with a plan.

 

* * *

 

He had a list and sat in his living room going through it. He checked each one out on his laptop, visiting their website and studying the local map. He would cut the list down to three possibilities and scout each one. Then he’d settle on the best one.

 

It actually felt good. Like the old days, almost. He wasn’t leaving anything to anyone else. He’d present the final three options to the crew and they’d discuss things, and he’d finalize the plan with them, but he was doing it. Not Lester. He wasn’t accepting a plan thrown into his lap by some outsider. He was calling the shots; he was making the decisions, building the job from the ground up.

 

Michael fetched himself a half-full bottle of whiskey, lit a cigarette and began looking up on the locations on the internet. Hours ticked past, with the TV on as nothing more than background noise. He scratched notes in spidery handwriting on the legal pad beside him, sipping at his whiskey after every other line. He set the pad down and sighed, feeling the muddiness in his head from the alcohol. The smell of stale smoke hung in the air, enough that even he could notice it and the TV had switched from its brainless daytime programming to evening family films and from that to more mature movies. He checked the time, seeing that midnight had long since passed. With another sigh he picked up his pad, cleared his internet history and shut the computer down. He took a final shot of whiskey before turning in for the night.

 

* * *

 

Franklin had actually managed to find a decent place to plan things. Located just off Jamestown Street and was a small warehouse, less than a minute from the flood control, a short walk from the Metro and with enough roads nearby to use cabs. Its location in the city’s gangland was a big plus; even the Russians wouldn’t want to spend too long in there. If trouble went down – if the Russians turned up – they’d have good escape routes, and the Russians would find themselves surrounded by people that would shoot them the second they saw a gun.

 

“This is a good place,” Michael said, looking around. There was one main shutter-door and two on-foot exits – one to the side and one to the back, which led into a small alleyway. In the middle of the garage sat a dark-gray Lampadati Fugitive. The windows were darkened, but there had been little other improvements to the look of the car.

 

“What’s the deal with the car?” Michael asked, looking at it.

 

“Backup plan,” Franklin said. “It’s got over twenty five g’s worth of mods under the hood. Bulletproof tires, even reinforced glass. Machinegun turrets were extra.”

 

For a second Michael wasn’t sure if Franklin was joking about the machineguns.

 

“You’re not leaving anything to chance, are you?”

 

Franklin shook his head. “There’s another ten K in there too, in case we have to leave town quickly.”

 

“You’re really paranoid, kid.”

 

“Ain't like that, Mike. I'm just looking at the possibilities. I’ve heard about some of these Russians. They’re not like your local street gang; you ain't gonna fool them wearing a bandana and a hat, nor are you going to outrun them by going a few blocks and hiding in a motherf*cking dumpster. They get onto us and we gotta split…” Franklin tapped the car’s hood. “It’s armored, too.”

 

“Right, so we’ve got a warehouse with a f*cking tank in it. Great.”

 

“And I'm guessing we’ll need a crew.”

 

“Possibly.”

 

“You, me, and Trevor? That gonna cut it, dawg?”

 

“Probably not, no. But I'm not sure who we can bring in on this one. I don’t want to hire some random stick-up men.”

 

“Yeah, do that and all you’ll get is some two-bit hustler cats. By the time the money goes where it needs to, they’d already be singing like a f*cking canary.”

 

“We do this, we gotta do it right. Like you said: quiet.”

 

“Robbing a bank ain't never quite, man. Someone’s going to find out eventually.”

 

“If we do it right we’ll be long gone.”

 

“If Trevor does it right.”

 

“He can be quiet when he needs to.”

 

“I hope so, man.”

 

“You know so, Frank. Anyway, personnel...”

 

“Know anyone?”

 

“Not really. You?”

 

“sh*t, I can ask Lamar.”

 

“No,” Michael said, shaking his head. “No way, kid.”

 

“Enough of that already, man. Look, Lamar’s my homie, alright? He ain't gonna shy away from sh*t like this, and he can handle himself. Besides, we all saved his ass from that mill that time, right? He ain't gonna turn his back on a debt.”

 

“Ain't a debt, Franklin.”

 

“So call it a favor returned, then. Look, we need help and we need dawgs we can trust. Ain't getting nowhere picking up some street thug.”

 

“sh*t,” Michael breathed, turning and pacing across the warehouse. “You’re right. Hell, I know a guy we worked with before – that guy from Liberty, remember?”

 

“Not really, homie.”

 

“You know, that gunman, said he did some big scores on the east coast?”

 

“sh*t, Patrick or something?”

 

“That’s the guy.”

 

“You think we can trust him?”

 

“Hey, he ain't turned states yet. Lester looked into him and said he was alright. Guy took scores on the east coast, and he's still here...”

 

“Well that makes five of us, I guess.”

 

“That’ll have to do, I suppose.”

 

* * *

 

Michael decided that it was time to case out the three joints again. This time he decided to illicitly borrow a car from a car park, hoping that by the time it was reported stolen, he'd have dumped it and be long gone.

 

The first belonged to a no-name bank and wasn’t as obvious as most banks. He walked in and stood in line for a few minutes, looking around as most people did. He allowed himself to eye up an attractive woman at the front of the queue and when she looked as if she was about to turn, he’d look around. In doing this he noted where the cameras were. He’d mentally noted where the secure door that led behind the counter was and where the office-like cubicals were. Finally when he reached the front of the queue, and was beckoned over by the woman behind the counter, he asked about signing up for a Fleeca Card. The woman was polite and cheerful, spewing all the information she’d leaned on her first day.

 

Michael left the building with a few leaflets and an application form. He turned and walked down the street, dropping the leaflets in a nearby bin. He saw a store where he could get a drink. Behind his shades, his eyes scanned the buildings, looking for local security guards or CCTV. He was aware of the road, the parking bays and the density of the traffic. He buzzed with excitement. He felt like a spy, or Judd Parker, or a young but experienced pro once again. It felt good.

 

While he drank his coffee, he drew a crude diagram of the bank on the back of the application form, noting where things were before he forgot. He drew out squares to symbolize the adjacent stores, and decided he needed more information on them.

 

One was a clothes store, and he spent five minutes browsing before leaving with nothing other than the location of their cameras. He also checked the parking and decided it was busy enough. Finally, he decided he’d got enough information. He felt good about this location. The bank backed onto an alleyway, giving them a second escape route. The security cameras could be dealt with quickly. The security guards – two were visible – could be handled, as could the crowds. The alarm would trigger, and that prompted Michael to drive to the nearest police station – a drive that took little over five minutes. He estimated three minutes at the most to get in and out before the heat was turned up.

 

“Off to number two,” he said.

 

 

The second location was a high-end fashion store that sold thousand dollar suits and expensive jewelry. Michael knew they could move the jewelry through Lester, and even the clothing could be supplied to, perhaps, acquaintances of Franklin’s and Lamar. Still, he knew the store would close at the end of the day with a healthy balance in their tills, or locked in the safe.

 

His routine was much the same. He entered the store and wandered about like any other prospective customer. Although he appeared to look at the stock, his eyes were on the cameras – small black domes that hung discretely from the ceiling. There would be no way to see what direction they were pointing in, and there appeared to be too many to disable manually. None of the crew processed hacking abilities, so that meant they’d have to grab the tapes.

 

He noted where the checkouts were, as well as the emergency exits. A retreat through the stockroom and out the delivery entrance would be a good escape route, he thought. The store had a security guard on post by the entrance, but Michael didn’t think he was armed. A nightstick hung from his waist, but he didn’t look like he was carrying a firearm, though the guard probably thought of his arms as guns.

 

The third location was an electronics store that sold top-of-the-range electronics. He knew this one was a bit of a push, but the building had a huge warehouse; he’d learned this because the store was on Weazel news a month ago after some counterfeit electronics were reported to have been sold in many stores across the city. They were not one of the culprits, but the news program had the reporter in the warehouse, walking through the store and out the front door as they spoke to the camera. Michael recognized the location as he scouted it. The reporter reminded him of Amanda when she was young.

 

He decided that this location would need a different tactic. No way could they march in and hold the place up. Cops would be there before they could pick up even a few DVD players. No, he said to himself, they’d have to do it at night.

 

After checking the store out, Michael left and headed home. He wondered if his home was being watched or not. Paranoia tugged at his mind, suggesting that the Russians had followed him to all the locations, but he was sure that was not the case. The Russians wanted Trevor dead. So far, he'd not had trouble. If they were watching him, they would have done something already, wouldn't they?

 

He spent the evening thinking up of plans for each location, and he’d present them to the crew the next day.

 

Next Chapter: Planning


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#16

Posted 09 December 2016 - 10:56 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 27 January 2017 - 11:38 AM.

Chapter Four - Planning

 

It was a too-warm day and the air was humid. A tropical storm sat ten miles off the coast, the news said, and Franklin wondered if that was why it was so muggy. He kept thinking of the Russians Michael had mentioned. He’d found out a little about them, and what he learned was not good. They were shady, not claiming territory like the street gangs did, and operated more like mercenaries than a gang, which, he supposed, they were. Also from what he'd learned, despite their similarities, they made Merryweather look like schoolboys. If rumors were to be believed, they owned a few places around the city, the most likely of which was a private club downtown.

 

He walked into the warehouse after Michael’s message had reached his email account. It was disguised as a birthday party for a man called Rob. He knew Michael was just being careful, and he knew the value of that, but he also thought Michael was going a bit over the top. He found it funny that Michael had thought the same about him and the Felon that sat in the warehouse. Still, he made sure to reach the warehouse without tails.

 

“Hey, Frank.” Michael was waiting in jeans and a polo shirt.

 

Franklin nodded in reply, seeing he was the last to arrive. “What’s cracking?”

 

“Right, first,” Michael said, holding his cell phone up. “Phones. From now on, we do not use our own phones for business. You all got some disposable ones, prepaid cards and that like I asked?” there was a murmur of affirmation from the men. “Good. Keep your phones at home. No specifics on the phone. No details. We keep our heads down, people. We gotta be smart here. Make sure you get here unfollowed. Franklin, Patrick, Lamar; I’ve no reason to believe you’ll be followed, but that doesn’t mean turn up in a bright yellow Patriot and park by the front door. Remain inconspicuous. Normal-looking cars you can blend in with, take cabs or whatever. Park down the block. Leave your cells, tablets, whatever at home. You all done that, right?”

 

The men nodded.

 

“Good,” Michael continued. “We gotta be invisible.” Trevor opened his mouth to say something but Michael stopped him with a held-up hand. “Don’t say, it Trevor. If we poke our heads up too high, we’re going to get them cut off. Trevor, you know as well as I do how easily that can happen. Make too much noise and everything goes to sh*t. We’ll all be f*cked. Be sensible. There’s a lot of heat on this one. A lot. We ain't got safehouses set up, so keep sharp. You heard of dry-cleaning?”

 

Lamar piped up. “I know how to use a washing machine.”

 

“I'm not talking about cleaning your clothes. It’s a term, meaning counter surveillance. Detecting, losing and avoiding tails.”

 

“sh*t,” Franklin said, “I can do that. Drive around the block and sh*t, see who follows?”

 

“And take cabs,” Michael said with a pointed finger. “I’ve seen it a lot in movies and books and documentaries. For some reason you take three cabs, zig-zagging across the city.”

 

“This ain't a film, Mikey,” Trevor said.

 

“No,” Michael replied. “This is real. As I was saying, it makes it harder to follow. You walk in the front of a shop and out the back, hail a cab. It’s hard to single out one cab in this town, so it’s a good way to be invisible. Keep your own cars at home. Make sure no one follows you.”

 

“And think about what you wear, too,” Patrick said. “One thing a friend of mine back east pointed out. You’re walking through gang central in a thousand dollar, three piece Italian suit, you’ll stand out. Throwing on a high-vis vest if you're heading down the docks, or a hunting jacked out in the sticks makes sense.”

 

“Good point,” Michael said. “Right that’s the lecture over. We’re all grown-ups, and we’re all smart enough to do this.”

 

“Sorry,” Trevor growled. “But who put you in charge?”

 

Last thing you were in charge of didn't end too well, remember? That's why we're here.” Michael changed gears. “Lamar, Patrick, this is your chance to walk away.”

 

“Hell no, man,” Lamar said. “I'm good for this. No mad-dog cat’s gonna scare me away.”

 

Patrick nodded. “I’ve worked with the mafia in L.C. This is neither new nor scary.”

 

Michael nodded. “We’ve got some options. I want to know what you all think of them.”

 

“Alright,” Franklin said. “sh*t, let’s go through it then.”

 

Michael pulled some paperwork from a bag he carried. He began pinning it to a notice-board on the wall of the office they all sat in.

 

“Option number one: a small bank up in Vinewood. Nothing huge about this place, but a bank is a bank. Location’s good; decent road access and it’s got a back door that leads to an alleyway. Small-time civilian security guards, very few cameras.” Michael pinned up another sheet of paper.

 

“Number two –”

 

“A clothes store…” Trevor objected with a scowl. “What, we’re going to steal some Y-fronts?”

 

“Not just any store,” Michael said. “High-end fashion. A pair of pants in this store will cost two hundred dollars. A T-shirt, sixty. Their jewelry ranges from fifty dollars right up to a couple of K.”

 

Trevor whistled through pursed lips. “Must have a lot of rich customers.”

 

Michael shrugged. “It’s Vinewood. Now it’s a store, so there’s your usual security, but I doubt they’re carrying anything more than Nightsticks. Didn’t look like they were packing, anyway, and I doubt they'll take one for their meager salary. I'm thinking we can hit this place as they’re about to close, take their day’s earnings and some of the better stock, too. Franklin, Lamar, you know any guys who could move some high-end suits?”

 

“For sure, man,” Lamar said. “I know about a dozen.”

 

“You going to sell them to them or give them to them and hope they pay up later?” Franklin said. “’Cause I wouldn’t put too much trust in them remembering you when they’ve got ten grand burning a hole in their pockets.”

 

“Man, you're some untrusting ni**er,” Lamar said defensively. “Don’t sweat it, I know a few cats who’d happily buy them, and you can't hustle a hustler.”

 

Michael nodded. “Okay, we can sort that out later. Now for option three: an electronics store. This one’s a little unorthodox, but I'm thinking we go in after dark and take the most expensive stock.”

 

“Try to do it without setting off an alarm?” Franklin said. “We’d need a tech-guy.”

 

“Yeah, but I’ve got an idea for that: we follow one of the workers home and take his security pass.”

 

“Would have to be a manager or security guy,” Patrick offered.

 

“Good point. That can be done though.”

 

“I think we’d get more money with the first one,” Trevor said. “I know a guy who can move the electronics, and I'm sure Lamar does too, but I think we’ll get more with the bank, and quicker, too.”

 

Patrick nodded. “I agree; cold hard cash as opposed to trying to fence stolen goods. Less risk.”

 

“Not necessarily.” Trevor's objections fell on deaf ears.

 

“So the bank it is then?” Michael asked, looking around and getting emphatic nods. “Right.” Michael put the discarded plans in his bag. He pinned up more of the information about the bank. He pointed at a crudely drawn layout.

 

“A four-year-old draw that?” Trevor mocked. Michael ignored him.

 

“Main entrance here, straight to the counters.”

 

“Bulletproof glass?” Patrick asked.

 

“On the counters? Yeah, probably, but some skillful crowd control will get around that. Cameras are here, and here.” Michael tapped the crude map. “We go in, we need to take them out immediately. Then we work the crowd, get into the teller cages and take the money.”

 

“From the safe?”

 

“Yeah. We can make the management open it.”

 

“They got cash machines in there, right?” Lamar said. “What if we hit them too?”

 

Michael screwed his face up. “What if the guys in the banks don’t got access to them?”

 

“Shoot the motherf*ckers open.”

 

“They’re designed to withstand that.”

 

“You think they’d withstand a small shape charge?” Patrick asked.

 

Michael shook his head. “Probably not, but set them off and we’ll have cops on us in seconds and risk burning the money up.”

 

“We’ll have cops on us anyway.”

 

“Three minutes, I reckon.” Michael said. “In and out in three.”

 

“Escape?” Franklin asked.

 

“Two options. Out the front or out the back. Out the back, into a waiting car – Franklin you’ll be the driver, I reckon. Try to get out of there before the cops show up. Way I figure it is, if we’re quick enough, and get out the back before the cops arrive, we should avoid any heat completely. And if the cops arrive, it’s a good retreat point and gives us a bit of a head start in running.”

 

“Assuming the motherf*ckers don’t surround the place.”

 

“If they do, Frank, we would have been too slow. Soon as we hear sirens, we’re gone, even if we haven't got all the money.”

 

“Right,” Trevor said. “So the way it goes you come up with two gameplans. Got any ideas?”

 

“We walk in the front, two of you take the crowd, one of us works the manager, the other takes out the cameras – possibly with a shotgun. Manager opens the safe, we take the cash and out the back door.”

 

“That sounds loud, man.” Franklin said. “Cops will be there quick.”

 

“Got any ideas to make it quieter?”

 

“What if we cut their power? Take out the cameras and lights that way.”

 

“Then how will they open the safe?”

 

“Won’t it be on a separate circuit?” Patrick offered.

 

“What makes you say that?” This came from Trevor.

 

“Alarm systems have their own circuit, usually. Take out the CCTV circuit and the others won’t be touched. It's a security feature we can exploit.”

 

“How do we do that without being seen?” Michael asked.

 

“Pose as electricians. We turn up, in an electricians truck, walk in with our tools, disable the cameras, then call the others in.”

 

“Hey,” Michael said, smiling. “I like your thinking. Alright, option two – we steal an electrician’s truck, get some coveralls, go in as regular maintenance and disable the cameras. Then as you said, the other two come in through the front, and we do the rest to the book; crowd control, get the manager to open the safe. Yeah, I like that.”

 

“One problem,” Trevor said, standing. “We won’t be able to just walk in out of the blue. They’d have to call in the electricians.”

 

“sh*t. Yeah, you’re right.”

 

“Intercept them,” Patrick offered. Eyes snapped to him. “If we take out the power transformer a day or two ahead, the electronics company will come and repair it real quick like, right? Then we can contact the bank and say we’re from the electronics company and we want to check their main power supply. Or what if we sabotaged the air-conditioning units they have on the roof?”

 

“Damn, that’s good,” Franklin said with a grin. “How do we mess up the air con?”

 

“Just get a guy up there to pull out the fuse. They’ll call the electricity company, and we simply intercept them.”

 

“We’ll have to find out what company it is,” Michael said, taking charge again.

 

“Just ask them.” Patrick shrugged. “Pretend you’re from City Hall or something doing a survey.”

 

“Hmm. That might work. You reckon you could do that?”

 

“sh*t, if I talk to a lass in there, definitely.”

 

“Good. That’s your job then. We’ll camp outside the electricity company, follow the van that leaves to go to the bank and intercept them.”

 

“We going to kill them?” Michael couldn't figure out if Patrick's voice was filled with hope or concern.

 

“No. We hit them with masks on, tie them up and possibly knock them out in the back of a van. We’ll let them go afterward.”

 

“A lot of prep work for a small bank, Michael,” Trevor protested.

 

“The on-site money, in the safe and in the registers, plus whatever’s in the ATMs – if we can find a way into them… It’ll be a nice score. And don't forget the five Ps; Proper planning prevents poor performance.”

 

“I hope you’re right.”

 

“Right,” Franklin said. “So let me get this straight. Patrick’s going to find out what electricity company they use, then we’ll sabotage the air conditioner. Two of us will wait and kidnap the electricians. Then we’ll dress up as them, go into the bank and disable the alarm and cameras. Then what?”

 

“Call in the other two. We hit the place, you join in, we get away without an alarm.”

 

“Or,” Trevor said. “We run in, shoot the cameras, get the manager to open the safe, shoot open the ATMs and grab what we can and run out the back. Simpler, and doesn't have Patrick waltzing in asking questions about their systems. They'll remember that.”

 

“I like Franklin’s idea,” Patrick said. “And call me Packie, by the way. Everyone else does. sh*t, I wish my boy back in LC was in on this. He’s a useful one to have around when sh*t goes down.”

 

Michael shook his head. “If we do this right, sh*t won’t go down. We keep calm, stick to the plan, and we should be sorted.”

 

“But then there's the X-factor,” Trevor said. We’d want a backup plan in case the cops crash out party. They’re rude like that.”

 

“We’ll all be armed. Right let’s talk setup. Franklin, I want you to provide the getaway car. You’ll be driving and waiting in the alley. We come out the door, jump in, and you floor it. Something fast, but not too conspicuous. Something that can blend in with traffic. All goes well we won't need the speed, but it'd be good to have it.”

 

“It’s LS, dawg, anything will blend with Vinewood traffic. But I got ya.”

 

“Also we need a van to keep the electricians in.”

 

“I got that,” Lamar said. “I got a van.”

 

“Not your own, fool,” Franklin added.

 

“Nah –” Franklin cut him off with a hard stare. “Alright; I’ll boost one.”

 

“Don’t draw attention to yourself. Outfits and the electrician’s truck we’ll get on the day. Patrick, I want you and me on those guys. You’ll follow my lead when we go in. T, you’re with Lamar. You’ll come in when we call you. That cool?”

 

“That is as cool as a body in a mortuary.”

 

“Yeah,” Lamar agreed. “I'm good for working with this cat. We ain't going to no mortuary though.”

 

Franklin sighed. “It's a motherf*cking simile, you remedial-ass–”

 

“Right,” Michael interupted. “I think that’s everything.”

 

“Hold up a minute,” Patrick said. “What about guns?”

 

“Right, guns. Can any of you get some off the street?”

 

“sh*t, homie,” Lamar chuckled. “That’s like asking if you can buy deep-fried dog in Little Seoul.”

 

“Don't like dog,” Trevor said. “Too tough. Squirrel, however... Cat's good too.”

 

“This motherf*cker eat roadkill?” Lamar laughed.

 

“Hey, when you gotta eat, you gotta eat. Much like going to the–”

 

“Alright,” Michael said. “Lamar, I’ll take that as a yes?”

 

Lamar nodded.

 

“Silence them?” Franklin offered.

 

“Won’t matter,” Michael said. “If we need to use them, we’ll already be in sh*t.”

 

“How will we know we’re on the right electricians?” Patrick asked. “I mean, what if we follow ones on way to a different call-out?”

 

“I still got that cop outfit,” Trevor said. “You know, Michael, the one from that thing with the cars?”

 

“What about it?”

 

“How about I do a little traffic stop and ask them where they’re headed.”

 

“sh*t, that's actually a good idea,” Patrick said.

 

“Of course it is, Paddy,” Trevor said with a forced smile. “Because I am brilliant.”

 

“Alright,” Michael agreed. “But don’t lose your cool, T. Just find out and let them go. No bullsh*t.”

 

“Don’t talk to me about bullsh*t, Mikey.”

 

“So we good then?” Franklin asked.

 

“Yeah,” Michael said. “Patrick, go find out who services their electric and air con. In the meantime we need a van – Lamar?”

 

“Yeah, I said I got that, homie. You're getting forgetful in your old age.” Trevor laughed at that. Franklin even managed a small chuckle.

 

“Yeah, f*ck you too. Guns as well?”

 

Lamar nodded.

 

“And I’ll get the car,” Franklin added. “Four door,” he clarified.

 

Next: The Harwick Heist


Prasdana21
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#17

Posted 10 December 2016 - 09:41 PM Edited by Prasdana21, 10 December 2016 - 09:42 PM.

It's awesome to see Lamar and Packie in your story. Nice Niko's reference haha. Man, I don't know what else to say but I never have complains with your stories. Just keep up the great work mate.

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#18

Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:21 AM

A sequel to City of Lies, I was all over 1st one, Nice going Dela

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#19

Posted 25 January 2017 - 01:03 AM

Out of curiousity, do you still write this story? I'm a BIG fan of your work man.


Mokrie Dela
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    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#20

Posted 25 January 2017 - 09:41 AM

Yeah, don't worry. I've been busy with work over the last few months, is all :)

Prasdana21
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#21

Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:58 AM

Yeah, don't worry. I've been busy with work over the last few months, is all :)


Great, and take your time, no need for a rush :)
  • Mokrie Dela likes this

Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela

    Killed by drones.

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    Most Talented Writer 2015
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    Best Story/Poem 2013 "The Storm"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2011 "Justice in Flames"
    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#22

Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:36 AM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 30 April 2017 - 12:07 PM.

Chapter Five - The Harwick Heist

 

Michael got the call from Franklin, who'd found a decent car in the airport's long-term parking lot. He'd tweaked the engine, making minimal upgrades, mainly getting the engine tuned to keep the cost down on the assumption that the take would cover the cost. Michael conceded that it would, knowing that they'd be glad of the extra performance if things did go wrong.

 

For Patrick, Michael had arranged a meeting in person. He didn’t want Patrick giving details on the phone and definitely didn’t want to receive a lot of calls. If someone was watching, that would be a big giveaway that something was up. He traveled across Los Santos as usual, making sure he wasn’t followed, something he felt he was getting good at. Patrick was sitting at a Bean Machine in Legion Square. Michael sat with him.

 

“How’s it going?” He was sure to keep his voice low but also to avoid leaning in and whispering – that would draw attention. To his credit, Patrick did the same.

 

“Good. The air con units are maintained by a company called Shoot the Breeze. Not city electric or anything.”

 

“So not electricians?”

 

“No, private air con specialists.”

 

“How did you get the information?”

 

“I figured walking in and asking about the air con, only for it to apparently fail would be suspicious.”

 

“So what did you do?”

 

“Made sure I wasn’t seen, and made my way to the roof. The air con units all have Shoot the Breeze stamped on them. I did an eyefind search; they’re based down in Cypress Flats in a small building. I drove past it afterward. Nothing special. They look like a low-budget operation, popular because they're cheap, I guess. You know what companies are like, doing anything to save money.”

 

“Good work, Patrick.” Michael nodded. “And you’re being careful?”

 

“Yeah. I saw my share of sh*t in LC. I know the value of being careful.”

 

“Good,” Michael said, looking around. “Frank’s got the car and is overseeing the guns and van with Lamar, you’ve located the air con company.”

 

“So it’s coming together.”

 

Michael nodded. He sipped on a coffee.

 

“This is good,” Patrick said. Michael looked at his coffee. “No, not the coffee. I mean this – the work. I did some moves back in LC, worked with some big people. Good people. But nothing like this. Well, there was this one...” Patrick caught himself. “It’s good, you know? Feels nice and professional, like.”

 

Michael smiled. “I'm glad you’re comfortable. You’re not bothered by the dangers?”

 

“I’ve faced danger before. We’re not on the right side of the law to worry about being safe.”

 

“Ain't that the truth? Still, we’re not talking of your average risk of police.”

 

“Russians, Italians, Albanians, it’s all the same. A bullet’s a bullet. Cash is cash.”

 

Michael drained his coffee cup and stood. “Right, well no time for relaxing. As soon as Lamar gets the van, we’re good to go. Keep yourself ready, Patrick.”

 

“No worries.”

 

* * *

 

Michael was feeling good about things. He hadn't thought of Amanda or the kids since he'd begun. Everything was in place, and they were ready. He had a good feeling about the personnel; Patrick had renewed his confidence in him and even Trevor seemed to be behaving. Wonders never cease, Michael thought.

 

Michael had the first job. He stepped out of a cab a few blocks from the bank and strolled down the street, dressed in a plain gray suit. There was nothing remarkable about him; just another man people would quickly forget, if they even noticed him at all. He turned down at the intersection and made his way to the alley which serviced the rear of the bank and its neighboring establishments. With a quick look to make sure he wasn’t being watched or followed, he leaped onto a ladder that took him to the roof.

 

He’d already mapped out where the bank’s air conditioner unit was. He crossed the roof quickly, hunkering down to prevent being seen from the street. He reached it and pried the control panel open. It was a simple process of pulling the fuses, and the hum and rattle of the air conditioner unit instantly ceased. He turned and headed back down.

 

“It’s done,” he said on the phone, turning out of the alley and once again becoming another unknown pedestrian. “How’s the kids looking?”

 

Down in Cypress flats, Trevor, dressed in a police uniform and sitting on a police bike, held his phone to his ear. Softly, he said, “Quiet as a mouse down here. I reckon the next call-out they get will be our guys.”

 

“Well we won’t see an instant reaction. Probably be a while until they call. I'm coming to you. Keep watching.”

 

“Yeah, if a truck leaves, I’ll be on it.”

 

Michael ended the call and made his way to Franklin, who was waiting a block away.

 

 

 

Trevor watched as two men climbed into a utility van. They swung out onto the main road and accelerated into the sparse traffic. Trevor hung back for a minute before quickly catching up to them. He blasted his sirens and the truck – having noticed the bike-cop wasn’t overtaking – wisely pulled over.

 

Trevor dismounted and walked calmly to the driver’s side door. The driver had lowered the window.

 

“Turn off the engine,” Trevor barked, playing the role of a cop having a bad day. The driver obeyed.

 

“Everything alright, officer?”

 

“No. Shut up until I say you can talk.” The driver sunk back into his seat. “Did you know how fast you were going back there?”

 

“Er… yeah, we’re under the speed limit.”

 

“You sure about that? You seem to be riding it pretty hard. In a rush?”

 

“We’re on a call-out. We gotta get there quickly – I mean, we’re not speeding or driving dangerously –”

 

I’ll be the judge of that. Where are you going?”

 

“A bank up on Harwick.”

 

Bingo! “A bank? Why in such a rush, you robbing the place?”

 

“Oh god, no. They’ve got a faulty air conditioner. We’re going to check it out. You must know how hot it is out here this time of year.”

 

“Yeah, well I don’t have an air conditioner on my bike, and I definitely don’t have one at home, so cry me a river. You have your license and registration?”

 

The driver nodded and went for the glove box.

“Whoa, hold up there, cowboy,” Trevor said, stepping back, his hand on the gun on his hip. “Nice and slow, alright?”

 

“S-sure.” With shaky hands, the driver handed over the documents.

 

“Can you both step out of the vehicle please.” The men obeyed. Trevor ushered them to the side of the vehicle. “Hands up,” he said, guiding their arms up against the utility truck “You seem a little nervous there, pal. Got any illicit materials in there?”

 

“No.”

 

“You’re not an illegal, are you?” Trevor held up the license. “’cause I’ll find out.”

 

“No, I just want to get to the job before I get fired.”

 

“Wait here and don’t move.” Trevor walked to his bike where he placed a phone-call, making it look like he was using his radio. “I’ve got them,” he said.

 

“Copy that,” Lamar said from behind the wheel of the Burrito. He accelerated gently until he passed Trevor. He turned to Patrick in the back behind him. “Nice and quick, Irish-dude, yeah?”

 

Both men had balaclavas on, and Trevor’s helmet and aviators combo did a good job of obscuring his face. Lamar left the van in drive and leaped out. Patrick slid open the side door.

Patrick went for the one closest to the rear of the van. He grabbed him from behind and dragged him into the van. Lamar did the same, but on foot and from the side. Quickly, the two men were tied up, gagged and blindfolded. Patrick jumped out of the van, slamming the sliding door behind him and into the utility truck. He followed Lamar’s van round the corner and out of sight. Trevor also followed.
 

Michael and Franklin arrived a few minutes later to find the workmen unconscious.

 

“They can’t see anything if they’re out cold,” Trevor said, having changed out of his cop outfit and into a plain gray hooded top. “Besides, their whimpering was annoying me.”

 

Michael nodded. “Right, well at least they’re not dead. I suppose it’ll make this easier.” He waved Patrick over and the two set about taking the men’s clothes. They slipped the overalls on over T-shirts and shorts. The transformation complete, Michael and Patrick climbed into the utility truck. Trevor got in Franklin’s Washington, to follow Lamar to the lockup, where the Burrito would be safe for a while. With the van out of sight, Franklin drove back up to Vinewood. He let Lamar and Trevor out and proceeded to park behind the bank.

Meanwhile, Michael led Patrick into the bank, the company baseball caps pulled down to hide their faces.

 

“How’s it going?” Michael said to the bank manager who hurried out to meet them. Sweat lined his forehead and his tie was loosened. Michael could feel the warmth in the building. The bank manager explained how the air conditioning was not working – as if he needed to – and Michael promised to check it out.

 

“Breakers?” Patrick asked. The manager didn’t hesitate. He showed him to a utility room out the back. Thankfully, the bank manager didn’t hang around. He turned and approached the cashiers.

Patrick was glad the breakers were labeled. The handwritten stickers were abbreviated but he quickly found the ones conveniently marked ALRM SYS and CCTV. He exited the room and waved at Michael who waited near the back door.

 

Michael pulled out his phone, dialed Trevor’s number and said one word: “Go.”
 

Trevor led Lamar in through the front doors, needlessly kicking them open. Both were masked. One of the window panes cracked and the doors bounced shut. He quickly swung the gun at the few customers, while Lamar headed for the security door.

 

“Knock, knock, homie,” he said. The bank manager hesitated but wasn’t going to let him in. That’s when Michael calmly pressed the barrel of his gun to the man’s head. Both he and Patrick were now wearing masks.

 

“Are you not going to let the man in?” Michael asked. The manager nodded and buzzed Lamar in. “Watch the staff,” Michael said to Lamar, pointing at the cowering employees. He looked up to check on Trevor who seemed to have everything under control. Then he waved Patrick over.

 

“Registers,” he said. Patrick nodded.

 

Michael led the bank manager to the vault. The man was reluctant but Michael carefully reminded him – with a prod of his gun – that there was little choice. A couple of minutes later the vault was open. Michael led the man back to join his employees.

 

“So far, so good,” Patrick said, stuffing the last of the money from the registers into his bag. He gave the bag to Lamar, who slung it over his shoulder, quickly returning his gaze and weapon to the staff. Trevor had ushered the customers through the security door to join them and with them under Lamar’s watch, Trevor took the butt of his gun to the two ATMs that stood against the far wall.

Michael and Patrick filled up four bags with the money from the vault, taking almost all of it.

 

“What the hell?” Michael said with a frown, hearing the noise coming from the front room. He and Patrick had one bag each on their backs, and they dropped the others, rushing forward with their guns drawn.

 

Trevor was repeatedly hammering the butt of his gun into the remaining ATM. With several grunts and profanities, the ATM opened. Trevor quickly emptied it.

 

“All done?” Michael asked. Trevor replied with a single extended finger, but he hooked the bag onto his back and strolled toward the security door. Just before moving through it, however he froze. Patrick and Michael stared, first at the front door, then at each other.

The sound of sirens was unmistakable, but also was quite normal for Los Santos. The helicopter, a small dot in the sky, implied otherwise.

 

“That’s more than one,” Patrick said, hearing the doubling of the rotors' rhythm.

 

“Right,” Michael called. “And we’re off.” He waved Patrick, Lamar and Trevor toward the back and checked the room quickly before following them.

 

Trevor led them out the back door, picking up one of the spare money bags as he went. Patrick grabbed the other one. For a second, Trevor thought he’d see a squad of cops, guns up, but the alleyway was quiet and empty, save for Franklin’s Washington. The sirens sounded distant.

 

Trevor didn’t waste any time. He opened the car door, throwing the bag in and ran round to the far side. Patrick piled in the back beside Lamar as Michael ran out of the door. He jumped in the front.

Franklin didn’t need to be told what to do. As soon as the door shut, he accelerated. He didn’t burn rubber, but moved with a controlled urgency. He reached the end of the alleyway, and Michael stared out of the window.

 

The edge of the building crept by, revealing the road and nearby intersection slowly. He held his gun by his legs – out of sight, but ready. He could see the red and blue flashes of police lights reflecting on the road and buildings, but no responding vehicles were visible directly.

 

“We’re good,” he said. “Go!”

 

Franklin turned onto the road, heading away from Harwick Avenue. All three passengers in the back turned their heads, watching the road behind them. They were sure they’d see the cops any second now. The helicopter was nearing too, close enough that they worried it’d spot them.

 

Michael kept watching forward, for any cops from that direction. But Franklin remained cool. He turned onto the next street, and joined the flow of the unsuspecting traffic. He drove several blocks before turning down an alley. Out of sight, the men climbed out of the car. Michael and Patrick stripped off their jumpsuits and masks. They stuffed these in the trunk with the money.

 

“I’ll see you back at the warehouse,” Michael said. He and Patrick walked through a narrow passageway to the next street, where they’d catch a cab. Neither spoke.

 

“Where the hell are they going?” Lamar, now in the front seat and with his mask off, asked.

 

“Heading off on foot,” Franklin said, stating the obvious.

 

Trevor chipped in. “A car with five people in it might draw attention. Three, not so much. We don’t want to draw attention.”

 

“Ah, sh*t, yeah. They gonna be alright though?”

 

Trevor shrugged. “Cops are way back there, probably scratching their heads.”

 

“Still we need to get this car off the street,” Franklin said. “In case anyone saw it.”

 

“What we gonna do with it, homie?”

 

“sh*t, ni**er, I thought I’d put it up on Craplist. 'For sale, getaway car used in recent bank robbery. Low mileage, possibly a lot of heat.' What you think, fool? We’ll torch it.”

 

“I’ll deal with that,” Trevor said. “I’ll take it out of the city and torch it in a nice secluded area.”

 

“Cool, man. Just don’t get yourself caught by the cops.”

 

The last task of the day would be to transfer the money into another vehicle – a Premier that Michael would deliver to a location for Lester, who would arrange for the money to be laundered. The location of the Premier was pre-arranged, and was in Marrieta Heights.

Franklin pulled the vehicle over in the warehouse forecourt, parking out of sight from the main road. The men waited for a few minutes until Michael arrived with Patrick.

 

“We all good?” Michael asked.

 

“Yeah, I think so, homie,” Franklin said. “Didn’t see any cops.”

 

“Good.”

 

“You?”

 

“Yeah, we’re good. So there’s the car.” Michael pointed. “Let’s get the money in the trunk.” That took less than thirty seconds.

 

“This is where we part ways, gentlemen,” Michael said. “Keep your heads down. We’ll meet at the warehouse in a few days, hopefully with more money in our accounts.” Trevor climbed into the Washington as Lamar and Franklin walked away.

 

“Be careful, T.,” Michael said, tapping the Washington’s roof. “Don’t get pulled over.”

 

“You know, your lack of faith in me is really quite disturbing,” Trevor replied. “Would it hurt you to be nice for once?”

 

Michael flashed a mocking smile. “Pretty please, Trevor, f*ck off.”

 

Trevor mumbled something and drove off.

 

Michael turned to Patrick. “You need a ride?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“So what’s the deal with you two?” Patrick asked as Michael merged with traffic. “You not trust each other?”

 

“In a word, no. We… well let’s just say we’ve got history.”

 

“sh*t, don’t talk to me about history. We’ve all got plenty of that.”

 

“Oh that’s right – LC, right?”

 

“Yeah,” Patrick said, missing Michael's sarcasm. “Like I said, I ran with some big people.”

 

“I remember you saying,” Michael said dryly.

 

“You were this successful bank robber – didn’t you run with big people?”

 

“Wasn’t the way it worked, Patrick.”

 

“Packie’s fine.”

 

“Alright, Packie. Anyway we didn’t work for any mob boss. We were our own crew.”

 

“So were we, but back out in Liberty, there was a crew on every corner. We worked with some, fought with most.”

 

“They good men?”

 

“Pretty much. My brother – well, one of them; there’s three stories right there. Anyway he was like the leader of the pack, you know? But he went away, another died… The whole family was f*cked up. But I had two good men – really good. One was called Gordon–”

 

“I don’t need their names, Packie.”

 

“Alright, fine. Well I’ve said Gordon now anyway. He was good – loyal and sh*t, you know. But this other guy – he was a f*cking diamond.” Packie started laughing. Michael flashed over a confused and intrigued stare. “Sorry, you won’t get that joke. Biggest pie we had our thumbs in was these diamonds. We… f*ck it – we kidnapped this mob guy’s daughter, and exchanged her for the diamonds, only–”

 

“Let me guess, it all went to hell.”

 

“Spoken from experience.”

 

Michael shrugged. “Life experience, yeah, you could say that. It's a recurring theme in this business. Or at least it seems it.”

 

“Well anyway, this guy of mine was a machine. We hit the Bank of Liberty – I think I told you that.”

 

“Yeah,” Michael said, his mocking of Packie too well hidden for the Irishman to notice. I think you did.”

 

“Not too many men like that in the world.”

 

“Ain't that the truth. Reminds me of Trevor – back then. I mean, he's unhinged, yeah, but back in the day, he was like a wrecking ball. And best of all, he was on my side. sh*t, we felt like we could take the world, and hell, we would have tried. But you can never fully trust anyone, you know.”

 

“Even you?”

 

“Especially me. This isn’t a career that can span a lifetime you know.”

 

“Depends how fast you live.”

 

“That’s one way of looking at it.”

 

“Michael, I'm not some novice kid who’s never done this before.”

 

“I can see that. The way you handle yourself… Yeah, I can see that. You're cool, calm... you handle yourself well.”

 

“Exactly. I’ve got no illusions about this. I know the risk we live with, but live fast, die young, right?”

 

“In theory, but not in practice, kid.”

 

“You can call me Packie, but not kid, old man.”

 

Michael laughed. “Fair enough, Packie.”

 

“Anyway, what’s next?”

 

“I honestly have no idea. Lester will arrange payment, hopefully that’ll settle some things.”

 

“I don’t think a little bit of money is gonna pay these Russians off.”

 

“Everyone wants money, Packie.”

 

“Yeah, but… I knew a guy in LC, worked with the Russians. Take it from me, if they’ve got your head in their sights, you ain't gonna pay them off, not unless you’ve got a few dozen million.”

 

“You saying we need something bigger?”

 

“Bigger than– ”

 

Not out loud.”

 

Packie held his hand up. “A few thousand isn’t going to get the Russians off Trevor’s back.”

 

“Alright. Well we need to set things up then.”

 

“We better be careful – if they’re watching.”

 

“They ain't got eyes everywhere, but we gotta assume they have. It’s gonna be tricky pulling off something big. I’ll talk to Lester.”

 

“Yeah, do that. In the meantime, I think we need to figure out how to buy us some time.”

 

“Any ideas?”

 

“Not really.”

 

Next: We Got a Little Convoy...

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Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela

    Killed by drones.

  • Zaibatsu
  • Joined: 01 May 2009
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  • Most Creative [Writing] 2016
    Most Talented Writer 2015
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    Best Story/Poem 2013 "The Storm"
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    Story/Poem of the Year 2010 "City of Lies"

#23

Posted 30 April 2017 - 12:03 PM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 30 April 2017 - 12:03 PM.

Chapter Six - We Got a Little Convoy...

 

It took a few days for the money to be laundered. Once done, Lester contacted Michael, who set up the meeting with Franklin and Trevor.

 

“Pay day!” Trevor cackled as he sat on the hood of the Felon in the warehouse.

 

“Not quite, T,” Michael said.

 

“What?”

 

“Well this money's to pay off the Russians, remember? Only people getting paid here is Packie and Lamar.”

 

“Sh*t,” Trevor sighed. “Alright. So what's our next move?”

 

“I guess to set up a meeting with the Russians.”

 

“Wait, man,” Franklin said. “So we just walk up to them, hand over the money, and that's it?”

 

“Hopefully,” Michael said, though his voice showed doubt.

 

“Bullsh*t, man,” Franklin said, shaking his head. “What's going to stop them just taking the money and icing whoever gives it to them?”

 

“One of us goes in, the others set up position to watch over.”

 

“So who's going in?” Trevor asked.

 

“sh*t, homie, I ain't doing it.”

 

Trevor turned and stared at Michael.

 

Michael sighed.

 

“Hey, Mikey, it's your plan.”

 

“sh*t, alright. So where do we meet them?”

 

“If you prearrange something, they'll probably set up some kind of trap. Give them notice and they'll have shooters in place, I'm sure.”

 

“Alright. Trevor, where's Alex's boss set up?”

 

“I don't know. I think we'd need Lester to locate whatever place he hangs out at. You're not thinking of just walking in there are you?”

 

“Maybe. If they're not expecting it, they can't set up an ambush.”

 

“sh*t, Mike,” Franklin said. “I don't think walking into the lion's den is a better plan.”

 

“We'll see what Lester says.”

 

Michael had spoken to Lester and received an address. He drove there, pulling over across the street from it and took a photo on a disposable camera. Through sheer thoroughness, he took a photo of the building opposite, then drove to pick up Lester.

 

He arrived at the warehouse with Lester in tow. Franklin and Trevor were already there.

 

“You're late,” Trevor said, his tone somewhere between aggravated and joking.

 

Michael just waved him off as he walked over to the hood of the Felon, sitting on it beside Franklin. Trevor was standing, leaning up against the wall, his arms folded. Lester hobbled to the cork noticeboard on the wall. He began pinning things to it.

 

“Right guys,” Lester began. “Alexi Morodov's boss is a man named Victor. Now the good news is that the Russians out here aren't too large of a syndicate. The bad news is what they lack in numbers they make up for in brutality. That isn't to say that they're not a small army, however. Victor himself runs and owns a small restaurant-slash-bar. Not the kind you'd take your wife and kids to for Sunday lunch, mind you. We're talking private functions.”

 

“So is this where we're doing it?” Franklin asked.

 

“Most likely.” Lester pointed to one of the photos Michael took. It showed the outside of a nondescript building, the front of which was mostly glass.

 

“Looks about as exciting as the piss I took earlier,” Trevor groaned.

 

Lester tapped a printout of some blueprints. “I managed to snag these off of the land registry's database.” Lester smiled playfully, chuckling awkwardly to himself. “Their security looked like a thirteen year old programmed it. The bar isn't much more exciting inside as it is outside. The bar and restaurant is on the second floor. First floor seems to be storage and loading bays.”

 

“Is the glass bulletproof?” Trevor asked.

 

“According to authorized planning permission, it'd withstand small arms fire.”

 

“But nothing heavy?”

 

“Probably not.”

 

“What are you thinking, T?” Michael asked.

 

“Thinking about what Franklin said. If they don't play ball, you'll need a bit of backup. A heavy machinegun would do that. And if we should happen to kill this Victor, so be it.”

 

“Well that would be convenient,” Michael admitted.

 

“We could just do that and skip these shenanigans.”

 

“Okay,” Lester said, ignoring Trevor's comment. “So from what Michael's told me, you're planning on walking in, giving this guy some money, and walking out. That's assuming he goes for the deal. If he doesn't, you're going to lay down heavy gunfire, and kill them all?”

 

“Hanging around long enough to kill them all is probably a bit too risky,” Michael said. “If they don't go for it, I'm more concerned about getting out. Covering fire, that's what they call it, isn't it?”

 

Lester spoke up. “And I'm guessing Franklin will be the getaway driver...?”

 

Franklin shrugged. “I guess so, man.”

 

“Wait a minute,” Michael said. “What's stopping Trevor's heavy gunfire from hitting me? If I'm in there, how will he know where I am?”

 

Trevor shrugged. “That's your problem.”

 

“No, it ain't. You think I'm walking in there without some kind of assurance that I won't get shot?”

 

“You know what year it is?” Lester asked.

 

Trevor and Michael stared. “Yeah,” they both said in unison.

 

“Then you know there's simple, readily available technology that can help? Michael wear a GPS beacon. Maybe even a microphone, so he can give the 'go' to start shooting, or you can hear if he's in trouble. You can get these augmented reality glasses that could overlay the location of the GPS so Trevor could physically see where Michael is.”

 

“Yeah,” Michael said. “Assuming they don't search me and find the GPS.”

 

“Shove it up your ass. They won't search there.”

 

“Yeah, f*ck you, too, Trevor.”

 

Trevor turned to Lester. “I was being serious.”

 

“A GPS tracker can be hidden well enough. Michael, you're a fan of spy movies, you'll know; you can hide it in your shoe. A microphone could be hidden as easily.”

 

“Strapping it to my chest? Too obvious.”

 

“Again, hiding it in your shoe, disguised as a watch...”

 

“Can you get that sorted, Lester?” Franklin asked.

 

“Yeah. Give me a few days and it'll be done.”

 

“What about the gun?” Franklin stood. “I don't have anything like that. What are we even talking of, anyway?”

 

“f*ck it,” Trevor said, “why not a minigun?”

 

“How are you going to move it?” Michael asked. “If sh*t goes down, you open fire, Franklin picks me up, we then pick you up. You'll have to move fast. You can't do that, lugging a hefty minigun.”

 

Franklin perked up. “What's that the army use? You know the one with the magazine belt and the legs on it?”

 

“M249, I think,” Trevor said. “They used to call it the SAW. Good choice, actually.”

 

“Can you get one?”

 

“I don't think Ammunition sell that sh*t – only it's smaller brother.”

 

“That means stealing it?” Franklin asked.

 

“Pretty much.”

 

“From where?”

 

“The military, most likely.”

 

“It's not worth trying to break into the military base for one gun,” Michael protested.

 

“Well, no,” Lester said. “But they military does undertake exercises and they do transport things. I'll look into it and see if I can find anything out.”

 

* * *

 

“We've got lucky,” Lester said, having met the three of them again; he didn't want to say anything on the phone. “The military are shipping some weapons across country in a small convoy tomorrow. How you do it is up to you. Me, I'd find a way to stop the convoy, take out the security and then swipe the guns.”

 

“Sounds familiar,” Michael said.

 

“It should, pretty much the same as before the Paleto score.”

 

“Easiest way I can see,” Franklin said, “is to hide some sticky bombs on the ground. Fake a breakdown, to stop the convoy, detonate the stickies, then we move on the guards.”

 

“Don't want to blow up the whole convoy,” Michael said. “That'll destroy or at least damage the weapons.”

 

“Convoy's what, three vehicles?”

 

“Could be two,” Trevor said. “But I doubt that.”

 

“One sticky for the front vehicle, one for the back. Leaves the middle one – I assume with the goods – untouched.”

 

“Won't the explosion from one reach the other?” Michael asked.

 

“Military have procedures for everything,” Lester said. “They won't stop bumper to bumper. They'll keep a little distance between them for that reason.”

 

“We can't assume there's three or whatever, though,” Michael said. “We'd need confirmation.”

 

“sh*t, that's easy enough,” Franklin said. “Overtake them on a bike, note how many there are and the distance between them... They won't think twice about a biker zipping past.”

 

“Alright, so that's the plan,” Lester said. “Armour and weapons, gentlemen. SMGs would work best.”

 

* * *

 

The convoy left the Los Santos docks, where the shipment of weapons had come in. Franklin watched from atop of the building on the peninsular off of Dutch London Street. He watched the convoy climb the on ramp and head east toward Cypress Flats. He was sure the convoy would head for the freeway, and from there it was a simple run to the air force base. Michael and Trevor would be waiting by the Zancudo river, catching a bite to eat or chilling or whatever, likely at the service station just off Route One.

 

Franklin climbed down to street level and jumped on his bike – a Bati 800. He rode at a controlled speed toward Popular Street, where he dismounted and waited for the convoy to pass, heading north. He jumped back on his bike and followed, hanging as far back as he could. The convoy turned west onto the Olympic freeway, and Franklin followed. The freeway allowed him to hang even further back, keeping the convoy just barely in sight. The convoy turned north on La Puerta Freeway, then west on the Del Perro Freeway. Franklin kept his speed in check, feeling the itch to open up the throttle that was only natural when riding a fast bike.

 

He expected the convoy to follow the freeway all the way to the military base, but they soon pulled onto the off ramp just before the Del Perro tunnel. The convoy turned north, and Franklin allowed himself to accelerate a little to catch up.

 

By the time he'd turned north on Rockford Drive, the convoy had pulled away a bit more. He could just about see them, a couple of blocks up, but he kept his distance. He reached for his phone and, while awkward, managed to hit Michael's number. He had a hands free kit hooked over his ear in his helmet, so talking on the phone wasn't a problem.

 

“Mike,” he said. “Tongva Valley, Route Eleven. Head down that road, I'll meet you and we'll set up. There's a good place we can rent boats from there.” He added that last bit out of caution or paranoia, should anyone hear their phone call. He found it a little over the top, but he knew it'd please Michael's film-buff paranoia.

 

The convoy followed the road north and once it passed the turn for Marlowe Drive, Franklin opened the throttle up. He zipped past the convoy, counting the number of vehicles – three, just as they'd thought. He sped up the road and saw a car coming the other way, flashing its headlights. Michael and Trevor would recognize his bike, and he slowed down, pulling over as the car did. A second vehicle – an old, battered pick-up truck, pulled over too.

 

“How many?” Trevor asked, jumping out of the pickup with the enthusiasm of a child.

 

“Three. Two small Mesas and a truck.”

 

“Probably about ten men then?” Michael said.

 

“Around that I'd say.”

 

“Well we'd better get set up then.”

 

Franklin guided the placement of the charges. Then Trevor and Michael positioned their vehicles in such a way that it would appear that they had crashed into each other, blocking the entire road.

 

 

The convoy approached just as Michael and Trevor were beginning to feign an argument over the staged fender-bender.

 

Franklin watched with mild amusement as the fake aggression in the staged argument began to turn real. He was glad he had the detonator for the charges and he hoped both men would switch their focus when it counted.

 

"Oh, so us country folk don't deserve to use the roads? Just 'cause you can afford a fancy car that makes you own the road?" Franklin thought Trevor fitted the role of a country boy well. He was certainly dressed that way; a red plaid shirt and scruffy jeans. He wore a hat with flaps and large aviator sun glasses. Michael wore chinos and a hooded top.

 

"No, but I wasn't the one swaying across both sides!"

 

"Guys, they're here," Franklin said as the convoy approached.

 

 

It was at this point that Trevor shoved Michael. Michael swiped back with a punch that was either poorly aimed or deliberately missed – the look in their eyes made Franklin question how staged the fight was. Trevor grabbed Michael and pulled him, as though starting a fight. He grabbed the hood, pulling it over Michael's head and dragging him with it.

 

"Hey." One of the guys from the convoy called out, now standing beside the truck and approaching. "The hell is going on here? move this sh*t!"

 

"What's going on?" Trevor shouted back, aggravation clearly still present in his voice. "I'll tell you what's going on, padre. We're taking your sh*t!"

 

Franklin reacted instantly before the guard did. He thumbed the detonator. There was just enough time for surprise and recognition to sweep across the soldier's face before the charges went off. The lead vehicle reached for the sky and exploded as a simultaneous blast sent the rear vehicle spinning to the side of the road in an angry flash of white. The guard was  knocked sideways by the blast but reached for his gun as he recovered.

 

Michael already had his automatic pistol out and drilled a rapid three rounds into the guard's body. Franklin vaulted and slid across the hood on Michael's car, his Uzi drawn and leading. As his feet hit asphalt, his gun was up and seeking targets. Trevor was running to the other side of the flaming wreckage.

 

Franklin ran up the right hand side, opening fire on the truck that stood behind the flames. A soldier was scrambling to get out but he was quickly cut down by Franklin's gunfire. None of their weapons were silenced, and soon the sound of their guns were joined by that of the surviving soldiers'.

 

It turned out the rear vehicle had parked just short of the charge; the explosion has only knocked it back, crumpling the hood. Soldiers had jumped out, and were now shooting back.

 

Franklin kept close to the truck, using it as cover and focusing his shots on the soldiers his side. He had no idea how Trevor was faring.

 

Michael was taking more precise shots, and between him and Franklin, the soldiers on his side were all down. Franklin waved him over to Trevor's side, where gunfire still sounded.

 

Michael ran behind the truck, his gun up. A soldier was shooting toward Trevor and he acted instinctively. He bought his automatic pistol up, took aim, and squeezed the trigger. The soldier fell and quiet filled the air. A noise caught his attention and he spun to see Franklin climbing in the back of the truck. He was about to help him when a single gunshot sounded.

 

Michael spun back to see Trevor standing over the soldier, a pistol pointed at the dead man's head.

 

"What the hell?" Michael cried out.

 

"Being careful. Can't have any survivors. It's not nice, I know, but we gotta be sure."

 

"I ain't shooting all these guys in the head."

 

"Don't then. I will." Trevor walked up to the next soldier.

 

Michael sighed and shook his head before turning to help Franklin.

 

Franklin had smashed open several crates and found the one with the M249 heavy marine gun in. He slid it toward Michael who quickly carried it toward his car, just as another gunshot sounded.

 

"Man what the hell's he doing?" Franklin asked as Michael returned for the next box – they'd decided to take as much as they could to make I look like street hoodlums who were taking everything, as opposed to professionals who were after on thing in particular.

 

"Don't ask," Michael replied.

 

It took only a couple of minutes to get the weapons in the trunk of Michael's car. They didn't take everything but they took enough to make it look right.

 

"Are you done you crazy bastard?" Franklin called out as he jumped out of the truck, having figured out what Trevor was doing.

 

Trevor was next to the flaming wreckage, standing over the last soldier when he saw Franklin.

 

"I am now," Trevor replied. He held the pistol up. "And all with their own gun!"

 

"Right let's move!" Michael said with a shake of his head. "Torch it."

 

"Sir, yes, sir!" Trevor theatrically stood to attention and saluted. He threw a charge under the front of the truck, and one at the back before jumping in his pick up. Michael was already speeding off, but as sirens began to echo from over the hills. Franklin sat in his bike, waiting. Trevor checked Franklin was clear, then detonated his charges.

 

"We're good kid!" Trevor shouted.

 

Franklin gave Trevor a thumbs-up and accelerated hard, heading north, too. He hoped Trevor's truck performed better than it looked, or at least he got far enough away before he passed any cops.

 

All three were meant to take different routes to the meeting place. Trevor was given the most direct, to make sure he stuck to it, with Franklin taking the scenic route – the latter still got the first.

 

The guns were loaded into a van, along with Franklin's bike. He would drive it back to their warehouse in Los Santos. Trevor and Michael would both destroy their vehicles – something that Franklin would do later. He'd bought it anonymously off of Craplist for cheap specifically for today's mission.





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