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Cebra

Grand Theft Auto: Bohemians & Blackjack

Recommended Posts

Cebra

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We drop in on Julius on his way home sweet home. It's the middle of the night, nary a soul in Chinatown - you're dropped in mid-drive again, on the radio an impassioned soul justifying the recent strikes at universities cross-country. A block down from a police roadblock near the Pink Dilian, a red neon sign practically screaming AUTHENTIC KOREAN MASSAGES above dark storefront windows pulls you forward - go to it and park in the adjacent alleyway, over a sign nailed into the brick: Park here and say sayonara to your tires. Your choice: side door, front door - either way, you'll fall victim to an ambush by landlady Matilda in the reception.

"It's eleven o'clock, Julius. We had an agreement," you hear unaccented out of the darkness. She steps out, arms crossed: black hair in curlers galore lit by the blinking neon.

Rolled eyes, charm on: "C'mon, Melinda, baby, if you hadn't been prowlin' around down here you wouldn't a' heard a thing. Today was a long day."
"It's not prowling, Julius, this is my building. Don't cry to me about a long day until you've had to deny eight happy endings to a gang of Soviet ruffians."

You've been worming to the head of the stairs, an arm on the bannister: "Luckily I chose a different line of work. See you tomorrow, girl."

Up white wooden stairs past three landings: 401 is the destination, top floor - a protrusion on the flat roof. Climb up past an obscene argument on floor two and blaring Up & Atom radio jingle on three. Open the door and get an eye on Julius' flat: a big open space that used to be a storage room, now thrown-together furniture over beaten planks separated by room dividers. Quick scene: Julius tosses his jacket onto a cluttered table and grabs a Pißwasser from the fridge, makes his way behind one of the room dividers to see his brother Winston. The kid's a candlewaster, hunched reading a book lit by a waning taper like it's still 1850.

"Nice to see you home," he mumbles without taking his eyes off the book.
"Don't look up, brainiac."

Julius sips his beer as additional safehouse activities are introduced in small print: surf radio stations, raid the fridge, read the dailies, crash on the couch. Screw around a bit before the last - maybe put on a good song while perusing the paper, current headline Latino Walkouts Strike Southern SA. It makes Winston speak up: "Those Chicano pricks think they've got it hard," and a chuckle. In the missing persons, a Lonny Crowe; wed father of two, last seen after his Bravado Bolt broke down in the Dutch Flatlands.

When you're ready, hit the flowery loveseat to a fade black: a panorama of Chinatown overnight 'til the sunrise, traffic from nil to a steady morning flow. You'll wake to an agitated Winston: "Crack of dawn, lazy-ass. Freddy's callin' all cars."

"Call all he wants, don't mean we gotta show." You sit up to new info: shower at your leisure, but it's only prime to getting blood off your clothes and a shot at the current protagonist's acapella crooning. Try it - head into the remnant-from-Prohibition bathroom, then swap into fresh threads and meet your brother in the hallway. Note the clothes - lots of denim and leather jackets, not a single tee or tank in the running.

Julius: "Why you waiting on me? You said you were takin' the cable cars from now on."
"You mind if we carpool? Not for nothin', Jules, I just wanna sit comfy this morning."
"Hell, you know I don't mind. Just never been a fan of people waitin' on me."

Head down the stairs in a pair straight into a new environment: an incense-clouded hallway full of fat middle-aged men, arms wrapped around Asian girls barely a Jackson. Through the smoke wafts drunkenness; stragglers still getting their money's worth at the sunrise's rooster crow. In the waiting room, a kimono-clad Matilda argues with a man who looks accustomed to it - of note is that her American accent is suddenly gonzo; she can't enunciate her Rs. As Jules and his brother head toward the side door, the man lays one hand too many on Tilda - Julius is nothing if not a bastion of chivalry and you're on him before the hand's back down. The dude's not in the mood for confrontation - nor is Matilda, who rewards Jules by yelling something Asiatically hostile and a hand wave - f*ck off. The man glares, mutters "Bluegum bastard" in a southern accent as Julius puts his hands up and he and Winston head out the side door.

"Coffee's a good stimulant as well," Winston quips outside.

Hop into the Gaia - drive toward the motorcycle icon as it pops up on your radar: Intrepid Courier Service. As you drive by the nearby cable lines they'll be explained - three lines, three routes. Hop on, pay the toll and get some picturesque views from the rooftops as you're carried around the city. Also imperative: they can be used to flee the cops if you're feeling stealthy. Shh.

Julius: "Tell me something, genius - what'd Tilda just yell at me?"
"How the hell should I know?"
"'Cause your book smarts gotta pay off somehow, somewhere."
Win grunts. "I don't know - Cantonese, probably. What you on to?"
Julius chuckles like he's had a private joke going. "The sign outside says Korean massages. Our girl wears Jap kimonos - now you say she speaks Cantonese?" Julius laughs. "I guess our girl's representin' the entire Orient."
Brotherly melodrama: "Jesus, you're right. Is anything in this city sacrosanct?"
"I don't know what that means - but no, I don't think any massage parlors are. Cut out the egghead language, you sound like you're tryin too hard."
"So be it. Can't plow through life with your fists, Jules." He pauses. "You got blood on your sleeve."

You can hear it in their voices - Julius, hard as he may try to distance himself from his upbringing, still has that persistent Carcer City inflection. Winston on the other hand flushed it when he got into college; he's got some Transatlantic imbroglio down pat.

Get the hell out of Chinatown, past Suppleham and under the highway overpasses that zigzag through the city. It's near familiar ground: blue collar district, masonry and smokestacks aplenty - the destination stands out around highway columns and factories with its brickery painted yellow. Park in the side lot beside a blue Malpais pooling oil, get out and head through the garage entrance. As you turn the corner Julius calls back to Winston, who's heading toward the empty lot behind: "Where you goin'?"
"Zeke wanted me to meet him out back; something about his bike acting up."
"Alright. Holler if you need a hand."

Head through to a callback to Kaufman Cabs; a vast grey depot lined on one wall with Dinka bikes and another with concrete office walls that don't quite touch the ceiling. A few workers scattered over leakage stains have their attention on the office door labeled Mr. Peters - or rather, on the yelling behind it. Walk up behind one of the dudes packing his bike as the scene cuts.

Julius pats his shoulder: "Yo Zeke, Win's waiting on you out back."
"I'm headin' out to Lake Callahan, man. What's his business?"
"Dunno, he said your bike was on the fritz."
"She's golden, Jules," he gestures. "What you on about?"
Julius smirks and encourages a change of subject. "Forget it, forget it. 'Sup with Freddy?"
"Oh, the brother's fit to be tied - he got notice on our rent this A.M."
"Sh*t, it's that bad already?"
"Also said there ain't nothing to worry about - I'll take his word for it 'til the walls cave in."

He revs his engine - Julius cuts across and into the dragon's den.

Freddy Peters, back to the doorway, bitching into the yellow phone. Julius takes a seat on the tattered couch opposite Freddy's desk and crosses his arms and legs; free and easy.

"- well you better check again, my friend, because that money got sent out days ago - no, no, I suggest you get off your ass and personally check with your boss because I know that cash's sittin' in his rainy day. Oh, tough guy - yeah, you do that."

Freddy slams the handset down - it bounces off the receiver and they both fall off the desk. He picks it up and turns around massaging his temples.

"Did you pay the rent, Freddy?"
They lock eyes, Jules doesn't back down. A shameless "No."
"Crossed arms turned palms up: The f*ck?"
"I ain't in the mood for condescension, son, not now not ever. Don't think I won't axe you at a moment's notice just 'cause we're goin' down."
"That right, though? We goin' down?"
"No we are not," Freddy pauses. "Not yet."

He picks his pipe off his desk and Julius tosses him a match. Freddy strikes it on the table, finds the pipe dry of tobacco and falls back into his chair.

Julius sighs. "You didn't tell me you were so hard-up, Freddy."
"Didn't see daylight til the statements came in. Cash here, cash there, rent, Carols treatment - ain't no shame in admitting I got in over my head."
"How's Carol doin'?"
"She's copacetic for the time being, and I'd like to keep it that way."
Julius leans forward - business. "What can I do?"
"That's what I wanted to talk about, Jules." Freddy takes a breath, prepares a speech. "The tenets of any good business are that the owner's employees carry the owner's weight. With the owner's weight carried by them, the owner gets to carry the weight of his own obligations, and in return the owner offers a slice of the profits so his employees can do the same. When you and you brother disappear like you did the other day, that entire process falls to sh*t. Where were you?"
Dodge: "I was speaking more future-tense, Freddy."
Freddy stands up, the patriarchal intimidator coming right out. "And Im speaking auld lang syne, boy - answer the question."
Julius doesn't skip a beat: "Hustlin' with them bikers down the Flatlands."

A nod, a thoughtful look out a barred window and a laugh: "Hustlin'. Listen to yourself, Jules. I thought you were past this."
"Past what? Money? I'm sorry if I don't wanna get into the same fix you're in now Freddy, but cash's cash."
"Ain't my business the company you keep in your respite, Jules, but it is when it's on my dime." He turns to face his employee. "Winston's in the swim with them bikers? Ain't heard the best things about those boys and us brothers; seems against his principles."
Julius ignores the question. "Cash and principles ain't square."
Darting eyes: "I never seen that to be true and I ain't gonna start believing it now. Whatever the case you better take this to heart; I say this with love, but I can't afford to f*ck around anymore. You and Win'll always be like sons to me, but I say it's time to hang tough. Ain't gonna be a second warning."
"Understood."
"I hope so - you got a thick skull, the both of you, but I know your heart's in the right place."
"What about the rent, Freddy? Bull sessions ain't gonna keep the depot in play."
"Creditor's a little fish with stars in his eyes who thinks he's some fat cat - you let me worry about him. He gives Julius a stern look. Not you - me. Now go get your brother, I got a contract that'll park us in the black that I want you two on personally."
"Now?"
"Yeah, now. I need you two out in Birchwood noontide."

Freddy picks up the phone to make some more calls - ditch the office back into the warehouse as a trio of courier bikes begin a run out on that new contract, exhaust smoke and engine snarls in their wake.

 

----


Objective: Find Winston.

Open-ended objective; follow the cutscene clues to find your brother, a time lock in the corner: you got 'til 10:00. You grasp the subtext from Julius' reaction to Zeke - no bike needed fixing, Winston's got business on the QT and Jules is always willing to cover for him. Unfortunately it's a real workday, all hands on deck - Winston went toward the alley out back. Make a run for the alleyway - tar snakes and fresh oil poolage make a trail out of it and back onto the main road. Time to get behind the wheel again - hop in your Gaia to the tune of Elmore James and follow the fading tire tracks. Head north on the main road running through and into the Dutch Flatlands. It's early yet; you'll see the few still functional factories have their workers arrive in beaten-down old vehicles, buff union supervisors keeping watch in the parking lots. Construction on the overpasses directs you further into the district - "Hell is he?"

It won't take long before you see a row of cars parked curbside in front of an abandoned foundry, an anomaly in a district still nearly bare of vehicles - slow down, press the interaction button to focus on a sign plastered beside the door: House Of Racial Equality: Join us Monday morning! Julius mutters "Dumbass"; parallel park next to a red Karin Dilettante and get out. A door with one broken glass pane has a note taped to the other on lined paper: NI**ERS DONT YOU WISH YOU WERE WHITE. Julius, stone-faced, rips it down into pieces and heads inside; an abandoned auditorium lit by a single lantern, a circle of folding chairs. He pauses in the entryway: a woman's voice says Welcome.

Julius can barely see, same goes for you: "I'm lookin' for my brother playin' hooky - Winston."
Win plays no fool, mutters some sacrilege and comes forth: "Christ, how'd you find me? He steps up from a chair and approaches his brother."
Julius holds him by the scruff as a mother dog would a pup: "We ain't playin this game again. We got a job to get going."

Everyone's quiet. Julius looks over the circle and we see it from his eyes; four men, two women, all blue-collar black, all eyes on him. One of the girls gets up, speaks up: "Julius. Nice to finally meet you."
She extends a hand, the other clutching a couple dozen paper prints, more advertising for the fabled House of Racial Equality meetings more akin to that of the Epsilon Program.

"Charmed, I'm sure." Julius gives her a quick shake and turns to the door.
"Win, let's split." The girl gives Winston a tug on the shoulder - Julius turns, interest piqued. "What about the posters, baby?"

The situation - the girl's Wins girl, and its her and Jules' first face-to-face.

Julius smirks: "Baby, huh?"
Winston looks back and forth. "Roxy, I was gonna tell him about you."

They play out a scene - Roxanne irked she hasn't been introduced, Julius bemused and uncaring. As they quibble and the rest of the group sits awkwardly a pair of burly men approach the twin entrance doors; one's got a pen. You might infer they showed up to add some extra oomph to their racist tidings they taped and Julius trashed.

They catch Roxy's eye; she sighs and says "Not again" and panic sets in - "Win, they can't be here when Leon shows up. That's the last thing we need."
A voice from the circle: "Goddamn honkies."

Winston sees it coming but can't stop it: "Julius!". Eyes front to the laughing bozos; Julius grabs a fire extinguisher from its broken socket and stampedes. The cutscene ends to action - press the button and Jules sends the vessel into the side of one of their heads, clearing the doors broken glass in the process. Make a split second choice: before anyone can react, either swipe the extinguisher up from the ground or go the route of glass shards. Take out the guy who didn't get grounded - he's got a construction helmet so aim low, don't waste time on protection. Quick glass cuffs or heavy blows from the fire vessel's boot; let him join his buddy on the ground as the HoEs members watch in awe. When the second guy hits the asphalt, you'll be introduced to the grapple: Julius holds him up by his shirt, adrenaline'd by taking the other guy out. You're to perform a finishing move, contextual execution, whatever you wanna call it - the red Dilettante falling victim. Use the triggers to keep your hands around the guy while you walk toward the car - fingers slip and the guy gets away. You've got options; close his head in the door a few times, chokeslam through the windshield, mush him into the wheel well. Done - he's on the floor crying for mommy.

When it's over, nobody speaks and Julius snaps back to reality. Roxanne first "My car!", then Winston, calm as ever: "Lasting impressions."

"Sorry," Julius mutters, and its clear as ever there's a temper bubbling under an aloof surface; now he's a bit red in the face. "Winston."

The brother turns to console his girl; the honkey-caller eggs Jules on and kicks the downed bigot. "Now, Winston." He gets to stepping, Julius hesitates before a trite "Nice to meet you" to Roxanne, who's busy probing the damage done to her hatchback.

Go - it's not too long a drive out to Birchwood, pull a left and get on the Great Ocean Highway southbound. It's quiet for a bit, no music, and the tension builds into its inevitable conclusion on both parts: "The f*ck is wrong with you?"
"Me? What's wrong with you, Mr.-f*ckin-Albatross - all in for individual responsibility 'til some fox comes knocking with tidings of an equal nation?"
"Oh, give it a rest."
"Hard pass. We been coastin sh*t-job to sh*t-job for the better part of a Goddamn motherf*cking decade, and now that we settled in homey with Freddy on the cusp of him giving us the business, you choose now to go pachyderm?"
Scoff, avoid: "Go pachyderm? Charles Darwin, now?"
"Those age-old scrolls ain't all paperweights to me. Really-truly."
"We are fighting for a better future-"
"Why can't you do that when it ain't on Freddy's dime? Why weren't you out cavortin' with Roxy Parks when I got home last night, you gotta wait 'til daylight?"
"Don't belittle our cause, Jules. Speaking of last night - burning the midnight oil?"

No answer; easy clam. "Thought so. Let's leave it at that then."

Traffic lets up - drive past SF International as a Luxor makes its final leg overhead and head onto the minibridge out of town. Pull the softtop down with the press of a button - bright shiny day itd be a shame to waste, travelling alongside the deep blue San Fierro bay chock full of sailboats and mini-yachts, floating penthouse suites for the dignified millionaire with a hankering for seasickness, hookers, and blow. Washed up on the shore below the bridge lays Guillermo's Gullet, the craw of Holt Bay full of washed up detritus of all varieties; a famous dumping ground for the city's abused, unwanted, inconvenient women by their men who forgot about high tide.

"That discussion barred, you got anything else on where we're headed?"

Winston's had the scoop from Freddy - a simple delivery op, year-long fixed-fee contract for a legion of talented drivers to transport seafood both statewide and cross-border. Wholesale. Tasty. Report to Thomas Sclafani, Birchwood docks. Tick tick tick - depending on how fast you caught up with Winston you might be pressed for time: the meeting's set for 10.

It's on the bayside of the town, a bunch of wooden warehouses separated from Birchwood at large by a big field of cattails. Drive up to the gate; a hulk asks plain "You from Intrepid?" Julius nods and you get inside, directed to the two-story main building right along the water. When you park up another man asks which one of you is Julian - neither, of course, but Winston is escorted elsewhere to the truck-packing depot while you're to play messenger. Head up the wooden-planked outdoor stairs into an office overlooking the dock. Notice the fish factory's fond of goons sidestepping slimy planks, one-handing luparas and smoking like chimneys.

Knock on the metal door to the top office and an eyeball appears in the peephole slat - it opens to another big guy with a cigar who points you to an off-dressed fellow attempting to peel an orange with a pen, legs propped up on a desk in front of a window overlooking the dock. He ignores you until you take a seat across.

"Orange?"
Julius makes himself comfortable. "Nah, I'm an apple man."
"Gimme a good Empire any day."

He manages the peel and starts popping slices like candy without a word; you don't feel like playing.

"I'm here for Intrepid CS. Was told you had some work for us, Mr. Sclafani."
Smirk. "May be the case, but Tommy's probably three sheets to the wind by now. I'm Moe Rothenberg, well met." He extends a sticky hand; Julius opts him to switch and they shake.
"Julius Cole. I'd introduce my brother but one of your jockeys took him for a seaside tour."
"When we seal the deal with a new service we like to have both eyes and ears on the ground to get things up and running. Way your boss tells it, you bend the ear while your brother bends the knee."
"Freddy said that?"

Moe nods, Julius sits back in his chair and looks past him at the dockworkers outside, shuffling from boat to truck bed.

"Maybe I passed judgement a touch early on you rattin' your boss out as blotto when you don't know me from Adam. I learn my boss likes to tell tall tales and we might both have some authority problems."
"Don't take it like that," Moe says between orange chunks and a half-smile. "Some men are built to lead and some are built to follow. Freddy says you like to ask questions - ask away."
Julius drops the Freddy issue. "I think the million dollar question is why you're farmin' out leadfoot work. We usually get hired when people want their goods moved on the QT. Must be some prize seafood."
"It is, but the truth is having you on contract cuts a lesser blow to our bottom line. Bunch of professional redneck schmucks on retainer from Lenapia - that crops the quota bad."

Moe waits, Julius not buying it - point in question being what's contained in those transport trucks. You've done it before - illicit goods, a quick run, even out of state - but not in full employment for 365. That never ends well.
"Contract's signed and sealed anyway. Figure the least I could do is give you the rundown when your boss assures me you're his top guy. It's all kosher, my friend."
"About the last thing I'd call seafood."

Moe laughs; he's taking a shine to the kid. The rundown he gives: ¾ of Intrepid on retainer until mid-69 - transport comprising trucks, boats, helicopters for out of state. Sclafani's goods run supply lines all the way to Couira City and east - good money and a good word for future endeavors. Drivers paid by shipment, the company at large paid off at end of contract. "The goods are factory-sealed and to stay that way."

"How could I say no?" says Julius to gainful employment.
"Glad you're on board, kid. One more thing," Moe says, and reaches into a desk drawer.

He pulls out a .38, slides it across. Julius eyes it, we get a close up: serial number etched off, funny tape on the grip.

"Stick-ups are a menace as ever. Extra precaution, pay no mind."

Julius takes it and fits it in his holster, they shake on the deal sans sticky hand. Leave through the metal door, find Winston down below with his eyes following the lupara-holders on their patrols.

Eager to split, smelling of fish, he asks Julius if he's ready. Head to your car - as you reach it, a bulky black Stretch pulls through the gates and heads to the main building. A goon puts his lupara on the roof to open a door; out comes some fella clearly feeling no pain beside a mouse of a man. The first gives the guard a firm slap across the face for daring to risk nicking the paint - he tosses the shotgun into the grass nearby and heads inside as Mr. Mouse guides the walk and the sentinel scrambles for his gun.

"Seafood my ass."

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+ .38 Revolver

 

Post-mission phone call(s)

1st - Freddy Peters (optional)

Freddy: Gordon, if it's you again I'm gonna sh*t.

Julius: Don't do that, Freddy. It's your star employee.

Freddy: Hear no evil, son. Shoot the breeze with Sclafani?

Julius: Never heard nothing. I still ain't met the cat, just some Jew callin' seafood kosher. Odd fish you chose.

Freddy: Rothenberg? He's fine fettle, a real smooth talker.

Julius: Real smooth. Slid a gun right across the table at me - fabric taped barrel and all.

Freddy: They're finicky types these cats, wait 'til you meet Sclafani. It's all for protection, Jules, ain't gotta worry.

Julius: I ain't worried, just wonderin' what you pulled me into.

Freddy: I pulled you into your own game, son. Everything's set up above board, just play your part and we all come away flush.

Julius: If you say so. Give Carol my love.

Freddy: Will do. See you at the top.

Edited by Cebra

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Cebra

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Pull the Piranha curbside up to the Boccinos' bungalow, architecturally a carbon copy of your uncle's - just a bit more orange and a bit less fastidiously landscaped. Up the driveway you'll run into Sebby himself, frazzled and dazzled in a beige two-piece, wiping his nose with one hand and playing some fingertip rhythm with the other. "Ettore home?" Dante asks, and before the question can register you get your answer: "Yup yup, bedroom, gotta go, move by night" as he hops into and guns his guinea gunboat.

Head inside, past the sunflower wallpaper and shrill canary kitchen - as you're about to turn the corner to E's bedroom Dante sees him outside, perked up in a lawnchair with his eyes up as twilight beckons the stars. The night sky mirrors the strip's neon a few blocks down - cotton candy clouds misting under a purple canvas, minus all the noise, risk-takers, and drunkards. Dante pulls two fingers to the back of E's head - "Bang bang, sei morto." Ettore looks up and lets you know you scared the sh*t out of him, he could've easily lunged at you with that bottle of Stronzo he was holding under the chair and you better work on your reflexes 'cause next time you won't get him so easy. Dante squats to meet his height and chuckles: "You said you'd bring the waves but I'm only seeing the ones crashing behind your eyes."

"Stronz' brings out my best and brightest," Ettore says, taking a swig and offering it to Dante who takes one himself.
"Such as?"

Ettore acts philosophical, poses The Thinker, comes up blank. "I didn't say I was quite there yet."
"Well, take a shot. Perfect night to get into some trouble, E. Stars falling in lines over a bottle of fine Italian liquor."
"It ain't liquor."
"You buy it at a liquor store. Tastes like sh*t, though."
Ettore leans forward and grabs the bottle back from you: "We should get the old gang together."
You pause, the thoughts start running with a caveat. "We ain't sticking up that juggling gigalo that hangs around Tequila Sunrise again."
"No, we're not." E falls empowered, huffs up over his lawn chair towering over you. "I got eyes on that pork store on Sequoia, you know the one with the skinny guineas playing house out front?"
"Yeah, those skinny guineas are holding heaters because it's a Couira City drop. Try again."
"No, D - you seek the big time then this is our ticket. We cleared what, a C-note last time we stuck up some cidrul' playing tourist? We pull a heist on this joint and I guarantee we'd clear a couple grand at min. F*ck the big names, we pay tribute to your uncle and the old man - we buy our way into La Penisola's grand opening."
"My uncle's in tight with Couira. You know that."
"Money talks. It's a marriage of convenience, don't make me talk down to you."
"You know what? If your heart's set I'm in. It's been too long."

You stand tall to Ettore, who downs the remnants of the booze and throws it at his cement fence and makes the neighborhood dogs bark in unison. "Goddamn suburbia. Let's roll."

Head out through the gate and make a call - if you're fed up with the Piranha then jump into Ettore's red Hellenbach GT; he's in no state to drive. When you first sit in, there's a pause - longer one, and Dante finally speaks up: "You gonna tell me where we're headed? You think I've kept in touch with the 'old gang', you got another thing coming."
"Okay, okay," E says, and if you're in first person you'll see him pull a fifth of something fiery brown from the glovebox. "Let's lay it all out."

Let him gather his thoughts and press the gas - slow rolling through suburbia aimed toward the glitzy strip. You'd imagine that neon glow makes a decent night's sleep difficult as Ettore begins checking them off. "Danny Z's serving one-to-three midwest on a solicitation beef."
Dante butts in: "No kidding, I thought cooze cruising was legal 'round here."
"Pump the brakes Casanova, don't worry - guy was thirty seconds past the county line into Mendelson. Let's see - head up to the Red Light district. Last I heard Ricky Rouge was working a corner."
Go ahead - "Ricky f*ckin' Rouge? Don't tell me you're talkin' about Rick Vitro."
"Yes indeedio. Rouge means red like the ol' neighborhood itself but he's green as ever. You think that's the kicker, wait 'til you hear about Hal."
"All ears."
"Oh, it's a good one. After we all pulled that gas scam a few years back he scrammed off to Los Santos. Got hitched, real nice all-American honeypie, last I hear he's ready to settle down like a fine law-abiding citizen. One day he calls me up to say honeypie's screwing spics by the handful - what to do? He puts the moves on his brother-in-law's secretary to settle the score and the tramp has him nabbed for adultery. Before long he's swapping cigs up in Bolingbroke and his honey's free at home to be the town bicicleta."
"Oof," Dante mutters with a drip of sarcasm. "Greek tragedy. We all got the same thing coming."

You're gonna want to swing around the long arm of Yeardley Boulevard instead of heading through to the madness of Venturas' heart. The Red Light district belies its name - it's semi-paved streets glow in more of a nebulous pink mist. The clock's nearing midnight and you're in dreamland - corner girls and triple-X theatres drowning in rowdy sidewalk-queuers, neon outdoor signage conforming to code, daring to show a pair of ankles. "Man, I haven't been here in years."

Windows down, cross near one of those corner shops and one of those girls comes calling from out a crowd: "Buying or window shopping?" in a suspiciously deep vocal fry.
Ettore can't contain his giddiness between fits: "This place has changed, eh?"
Dante squirms. "What do I say?"
"I am still human, honey," with a twirl showing off layers of fishnet. "Test drive?"
"Err, I'll pass. We're looking for Rick Vitro. Ever sing his song?"

The walker shakes, leans on the car, still trying to show off the goods as some theatre-goers hoot and holler at the gunshow.

"Ricky Rouge."
"You got business with Ricky?"
"Not the kind of business you knuckle down, but that's a yeah."

She nods like you've spoken in secret code and fuses back into the queue.

"This place always been so Goddamn degenerate?"
E cops a chuckle: "Go smoke your sausage, you stifled sister. Get with the times."

Out from the horde emerges Ricky, not so much rouge as tan in olive threads that couldn't pull him apart from a hobo smugshot lineup; open bowling shirt leaving scars on display - behind each a story better left untold.

"Oh, the two ays! Must be near a nickle since we last stacked a deck."
"Must be," Dante says under a smirk. "Gotta say, Rick - words fail me."
"What, these finooks? Needs must when the devil drives. Took some business classes, can't say they went untried."

Someone opens the floodgates and the crowd flows into the theatre; your eye is caught to the outdoor signage as its neon triple-Xs start blinking in unison - come one, come all, and as they head in a couple more streetwalkers gather under the neon and chew some chew and give the Hellenbach an eyeful. Pink glow, exotic environs - hitherto the intro to your ladies of easy virtue.

"So what's the play here? Pay me some mind after all this time, I hope you're onto something worthwhile."
The two ays take turns waiting for the other to pipe up - the plan isn't much of a plan, but ol' Ricky doesn't need to know that. E - "Those magic fingers are gonna take a safe is all. There's a couple grand in it on ice - butcher shop, nobody's gonna know nothing."
"Couple Gs being held in a meatmarket safe? I'm real tickled you thought of me, but sounds like that wishful thinking I've gone fine without for half a decade."
Dante pipes in, creeping peeved as he's been checking his watch. "It's a drop shop, I hear some small-time crew. And you can rest easy about any browbeating, tribute to the powers-that-be is gonna be cut equally. Whaddya say?"

White lies - no discussion. "I say you'd best be true blue, Dante. I'll bite."

After Ricky hops in you get the idea that the three musketeers are now winging it; no planning and no forethought springing to faking it until you're making it.

"Who's next?"
"You know I think we're about sewn up - the picklock, the brawn and yours truly the brains. Anything more and we're taking a loss," Ettore leads into the new.

Ricky demands an approach, gives heed to an old idea: delivery truck parked metal to brick - opened side panel and the group cuts in and gets out without a head knocked. The old pals say they'll head down to Post OP HQ just up the road and swipe a van, you're on duty of getting the necessary brickbreaking tools. From a weeklong tenure at a warehouse on the east side Ettore knows they're packing the necessities and more.

They get the car. Pushed out the driver's, you'll find yourself laid bare in the Red Light District - trudge down they alley behind Rick's joint and through the bubblegum gloom you see a clean ol' Miter hugging a wall with its owner necking a tramp beside it. Your best bet is to steal the thing quiet, he's too tied up to take note. Pick the lock and you're in - the man screams bloody murder as you hightail it down the road. Crawl the streets past midnight, old school R&B humming from the AM. Street traffic's light and so are the neon clubs, jazz and pizzazz lines lining up the sidewalks alongside hoods with no innocent destination in mind.

Your destination's a masonry plant - E said no guards, "What kinda prick's gonna steal some bricks?", but a cruiser's playing nightwatch by the gates as two flatfeet gorge on donuts inside. Eye's drawn to blips, both explained - the masons' breaktime is taken outside working walls and they're fond of tossing their eCola bottles into a sewer grate. Option one's the oldschool approach, tossing one into the cop car's quarter panel and making a run for it down the streets, through empty train cars and over knocked fences until they're air behind you. Play it long enough and the opportunity presents to lock the fellas into a boxcar themselves; you'll have all the time in the world as they yell and tell until sunrise. If you're not feeling any grief then hobble over to a nearby payphone for option two as Dante mimics a street hood to the local county PD; wringing the department's desire to pillage the Lojack Lounge a couple streets down. Dispatch works fast, the cruiser lights up and takes off, and you're wide open. Keep either method in mind for future reference; you're nearly always better off playing the distraction game than an outright fight.

Once the peacekeepers are taken care of you'll make quick work of jumping the wrought iron gate. Hug the brick wall down to the southeast corner and you'll see why the cops are playing safeguard - Dick's Brickwork doubles as an overnight truck stop; keep your feet close to the ground or you'll come face-to-face with some drowsy gun-toting midwesterners all but willing to extend stand-your-ground laws to the golden state. Dante's on his own for this one, no directions in your face - use common sense to trek to the storage shed holding your fabled tools and pick the lock, a touch more difficult than that of the Miter. You need a trunk at hand, so pull the car into the lot and take your pick; if you're so inclined you can grab a sledgehammer and keep it for good measure at the same time. Once you're loaded creep back out just in time to find a Post OP boxvan barreling down the road toward Centanni's - "Oh for God's sake" - you better keep to the bumper to satisfy that competitive edge.

Follow close and the van will pull up adjacent to Centanni's - Ettore cuts it a little close and claws the starboard side against the brick grain. Pull the Miter up beside and the scene will cut to Dante tossing the drill inside; he and E get to work on boring as Rick starts sorting through the mail scattered all over the box floor: "Damn, Fran's two-timing old Tommy with Joe!"

"Quit the quidnunc and come lend a hand."
"Sorry, Dante. These hands need to be fresh in the flesh if you want any safes cracked tonight."

The minigame's similar to breaking into the Humane Labs in V - align the jackhammer with the indicated outline onscreen and weaken the structure. Grabbed the sledgehammer beforehand and Dante also gets the opportunity to deal the death blow - you're inside. The trio head in through their makeshift entry and wait for Ettore's lead. "Nice. This is your gig, Streak. Where we headed?"
Ettore plays it like a dog sniffing out his owner on a bender. "What I heard, the end of the rainbow's in the office."
"Jesus Christ, 'Tor", Rick says after you clamber out of the bathroom you've bored into. "Another foot eastward and we'd'a drilled right into the freezer. Can't hurt to case the joint beforehand."
"I do my best work off the cuff."

The office is past the freezer room of pig heads and meat hooks, wood-paneled and parquet-floored - the safe's in the corner under a brilliant gold crucifix.

"Tasteful. Very Christian; I like this guy already." Rick pulls his tools and a glove and gets to work.
"I think we're in the clear on this one, D, but I fear you'll feel untapped if I don't give you something to do. Wanna play watchman?"
"I'd love to."

Outside, out back - the front leads to dead-end foundries and a single gentleman's club frequented by ungentlemanly men. Play it by ear, no going-ons out back but a few meat trucks sleeping tight under an awning; Dante comments on the thrilling task just as some headlights signal a roadster speeding down a nearby alley straight towards you. No cutscene; make a judgement call.

Pull your gun but give ol' speed racer the time to make a move, the driver pulls the car broadside in front of you, exits aiming a lupara over the roof.

"The f*ck you doing, motherf*cker? Step away from my store or I'll blow your Goddamn head off!"
Dante's looking down the sights: "Ditto mac, put the gun down and we'll talk."

Fatty goes on a terrific rant of threats and challenges, at a few points flailing his gun into the night sky before settling - if you're confident in your decision, a headshot's all it takes to merge this approach into the second, otherwise you're prodded to listen to the man. Holster your pistol and he'll come around the car; D gets a sawn-off barrel in the small of his back. "How many inside?"

D ignores, asks how he got word of the intrusion. "Silent alarm, bub. Courtesy of The Ear of Couira."

Inside, Rick's still working the safe and E's nowhere to be found. Fatty orders Rick up and begins negotiation; he'll only call his friendlier paisan if you give up who sent you.

"You tyros are done, you hear me? I'm gonna get the brass, f*ckin' everyone down here and you're gonna tell 'em everything. Just a pair of flappin' gums when it's over."

Your cue as Ettore emerges from the shadows holding that trusty sledgehammer; press the indicated button and you'll learn how to disarm. A rhythmic button mash and D pulls his fingers back for the shotgun, bashes him over the head and E moves in, misses his shot and tumbles forward. You've got the lupara and an angry lardass so you can hit where the drunkard can't - pull the trigger and Fatty flies out of the service door you just came in, settles dead in a red mist on the concrete outside.

Alternatively, had you shot the tub earlier the rest would play out the same - only outside instead of in.

"Why can't this f*cking sh*t ever go smooth?" Ettore rises.

Camera at the lupara barrel; E and D lean out the doorway to get an eye on the corpse.

"That's him, that's Fatty Gemelli," mumbles E running his hands through his hair.
"Who?"
"The f*cking owner of the f*cking store, you Goddamn gagguz'! He was supposed to be down south. This was supposed to be a simple job!"
"Oh he's down south alright. Don't get maudlin on me, you prick, this whole thing was your gig."
"F*ck it, nobody knows we was here. Go pull the car 'round, I'll get Rick to scratch before the red and blues show."
D grabs his arm - "We are not coming off a job playing catch-up with a body on me. He's gonna crack that safe."
"No, Dante, he is not. I love the thrill of the chase but I am not risking an accessory bid on account of your conscience."

Dante ignores his glazed friend, turns to Rick.

"How much longer on that thing?"
"It's a dura, this one. Ten minutes give or take, but something tells me we're about to split."
"What about the sledgehammer?"
"Useless without a crowbar."
E runs up tipsy. "Rick, we're getting out of here. Chalk it a loss."
Rick takes offense, slams his tools down. "Same old sh*t. Off the cuff my ass, it's always amateur hour with you. Small-time crew - Goddamn Couira City?"
"Amateur hour? Compared to what, the trials and tribulations of peddling queer ass in the Red Light like a mezzofinocch'?"

Their quibble fades into the back as we see Dante give the office a 360. His eyes return to the safe and drift upwards, slow, and the camera pans to life-sized golden Jesus on a gilded cross. Salvation.

"E, you still know that guy that works at the foundry?"

You're saved the tedium of pulling it off the wall; cut to black and back and you're in the Miter, back where Ettore and Rick ditched the car in exchange for the van. They take off in silence, a zoom out from first person shows the crucifix pinned to the roof rack. Head two streets west to that foundry to complete the mission - Dante mumbles four-letter words at himself as he covers the car with a tarp, ditches it to wait for sunrise so they can swipe up some excuse for profit from the meltdown.

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+ Random Encounter - The Chicks of Sir Rick

 

+ $150.00

 

+ Lupara

 

Post-mission phone call(s)


1st - Jacky Gallo (mandatory)
Dante: Rory's Rugs, how may I help you?
Jacky: I thought I told you to knock that off, you sound stunad. What you going to do when a would-be employer calls?
Dante: I'll answer like that and he'll think I'm a go-getter with a mind for business. Win win.
Jacky: Mmhmm. Have you heard?
Dante: Heard what?
Jacky: A friend of mine's store got hit last night. Stole a crocifisso, the animals, and shot the owner dead.
Dante: Yeah, Centanni's. I saw in the daily. Too bad, they had good capicola.
Jacky: Thieves broke in through the brick so they wouldn't set off the door alarm, Dante. I thought it sounded old hat.
Dante: Nothing particular to using power tools to get a job done. What, you think it was me? We gave that up years ago, you know that.
Jacky: Of course not. Whoever would hit a drop of our friends from the east would be throwing down the gimlet. Especially with a body on them.
Dante: Damn sure.
Jacky: At any rate, our friends are flying someone in. Jon thinks I should give you a call when the welcome wagon arrives.
Dante: Sure thing, Uncle Jacky.
Jacky: You keep an eye out for the animals that put Sal Gemelli in the ground. Stunads will've skipped town if they know what's good for them.
Dante: If they knew what was good for them they wouldn't be stunad, would they? I'll see you at home.

2nd - Rick Vitro (optional)
Rick: Bella's Bagnio, Ricky Rouge on the horn.
Dante: Rick.
Rick: Dante? Hey. Didn't think I'd hear from you again.
Dante: If a job going to sh*t stopped me then I'd have never seen you after '63. Ettore serve you your slice?
Rick: A box and a half of ziti at the cost of a life. No wonder we stopped rolling. When are you gonna cut him loose?
Dante: Rick, we all grew up in the gulch. Can't just cut someone loose like that.
Rick: F*ck, I did, and I've been doing just swell on that count.
Dante: Yeah, you did. I'll let you know when I wanna take up soliciting closet queens and we can all tell the same tale.
Rick: You do that. Come around and I'll give you a two-for-one special, my treat.
Dante: Don't hold your breath.

----

Las Venturas Retractor
By Titus Zell
Staff Writer

---- A nighttime burglary at Centanni's Meat Market in the North Side has left a man dead and the store light of a religious memento. Salvatore Gemelli was found dead on the premises of his famed pork store on Sequoia Street early this morning. When police arrived and combed the area, they found that a hole had been bored into the women's lavatory under the outside cover of a Post OP boxvan and Gemelli's prized golden crucifix had been filched. "We're relivin' the early years all over again," says Michael Caputo, sergeant with the Las Venturas Police Department. He is referring to the so-called Glory Hole Gang of yesteryear, known for their covert robberies under the cover of night, committed by penetrating the target's vulnerable spots using power tools. The exploits of the gang were previously believed to have come to an end in 1963, when a botched robbery in Mendelson resulted in three dead. With this new development considered, city councilman Robert Decker has vowed to outlaw the nighttime practice of parking vehicles adjacent to dwellings, much to the chagrin of both businessmen and sensible citizens alike.

Rumors had been swirling around town of late relating to Mr. Gemelli's organized crime connections to Couira City; within his office safe was over $4,500 in small bills cash and numerous unserialized firearms. District Attorney Duane Banyal declined to comment on any further developments. Mr. Gemelli left behind a fiancée, Miriam Ordóñez, who when approached by The Retractor broke down in tears: "I only wanted green card!"

Mr. Gemelli was 46.

Edited by Cebra

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In honor of breaking 10,000 views I thought I'd provide a rundown of all the updates that B&B has received over the past few months. The overall process has been pretty slow-going (it's been three years since I first posted!) but thanks to a bunch of helpful conversation and suggestions with members over the past few months the topic has gotten another jumpstart. Instead of having to parse through the entire topic to find what's been updated vs. what hasn't, here's the list:

 

- The map has gone from zero to hero and is finally 100% finished.

- San Fierro's location list has been updated, with the particular additions of the districts Lusitano Hill, Sastre Outlook, Nocaro Esplanade, and The Valley.

- The Characters list has received plenty of rewrites and new additions, ranging from the virtuous yet vain Leon King to the misanthropic bunch of the Cazzini crime family.

- The Weapons section has been completely revamped with categorized icons representing each individual hand-cannon.

- The tracks of the Radio section have been both reorganized and added to, with over 240 songs representing the particular feel of the west coast 1970s.

- The list of civilian vehicles has been completed -- 154 period-appropriate vehicles ranging from the new, vaguely familiar, and oldies from the 3D era.

- The Features section has received numerous additional gameplay components, from an explanation of the lockpicking minigame to weapon storage and mailing systems.

 

A special thanks is due to MOB for all his advice and contributions. As always, feedback is welcome and encouraged. The next mission is in the works and suggestions for the future are appreciated.

Edited by Cebra

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----

 

The mission begins through a phonecall placed at home between wetwork jobs - a cutscene at the Pryor apartment, Doug picking at his empty fridge in the kitchen as Joanna enters and almost exits with Bonnie in tow, stopped by Doug's pique with the phone to his chest: "Why have a goddamn fridge when its always empty?"

"I'm going to the market on Cristo to try and fill it, thanks for your concern."
"With what money? We got eggs; yesterday you said you wanted to make a quiche."
"An egg quiche? Eggs are the base of a quiche, not the whole shebang."
"Forget it then. Even I know fifteen different ways to cook em on their own."
"Bonnie needs formula."
"No, she needs sustenance. And I know a much better way for her to get it."
"I'll get you some fruit, too. Maybe some vitamins'll knock that chip off your shoulder."

Out she goes with the baby - "I don't wanna see the bill, Jo!"

Phone up. "Hello."
"Don't let me interrupt your marital squabble, Mr. Pryor."
"Water under the bridge. Who's this?"
"Calvin Leung. We discussed that I'd reach you through Mr. Ying when we needed you."
"Mister, mister, toss the Ps and Qs, Calvin. We're all equals here."
"So you say. Are you available, Mr. Pryor? I'd like you to come down to the Pink Dilian."
"Can I bring a friend?"
"Excuse me?"
"Friend, pal, buddy. Sidekick if you will. Assuming you need some work done; I can vouch."
"No."

Click. "F*cker."

Get going, it's only a couple blocks over. Down the steps he takes a long glance at 102 - Marcus. Joanna's taken the car so you might have to hoof it - two west and one north and you're in the heart of Chinatown again, arches and all. Early morning has nothing on Johnny-on-the-spot Oriental foot traffic, carts and pedestrians alike, vendors offering succulent smoky pork buns and fried rodent along the sidewalks. Buy something on account of Dougie's empty fridge and make it to the Dilian, still not pink but this time surrounded by Asians in red leather.

You might expect suspicion but don't get it - walk into more red, carpets and ceilings and serpents and pagoda lights. To your left behind a fish tank and wall dividers sits Calvin with a group of like-minded Chinese who don't give two looks your way. Calvin rises and meets you in the hallway, continuing the trend of abstract dress shirts with his Gordian knot now hanging around his neck.

"You made it fast."
"Yeah, and I walked. I ran track in high school."
"Of course."

His hand guides you toward a separate table near the kitchen, past old ladies sipping tea to a band of fellows significantly less sophisticated-looking than the oldies at the first - the man's in a rush, typical courtesy be damned. He lets you go: one plays with a yo-yo, another picks cuticles, another's cheek-down asleep. Calvin starts off on the first in Cantonese, words here and there, a few "gwai-lo"s of which Doug's lived in San Fierro long enough to get the gist. Yo-yo makes eye contact - cheeky, ballsy prick under long hair and a wide grin.

"Mr. Pryor," Calvin gestures, looks at you and speaks snappy. "Wei, Arnie, and Oscar. You're going for a ride."
"The royal you, or you mean with them?"
"With them. Make fast friends; Wei's new in town and I'd like you to show him a good time, even as an outsider."
"Hope were not reading the same dictionary." To yo-yo Wei: "English?"

Wei nods and continues the smile of a man with no intentions to become a fast friend.

"Tell him to head on over to Niptown for a mojo massage - they'll knead that gall right outta you. It's a good time, trust me."

You get a laugh from Oscar and dead eyes from Arnie; you might get the idea the former's been feigning sleep and perhaps he's a bit of a flake. Calvin takes off in his newfound speed - "important business" - and heads back to his table of negotiation; you notice he's walking with a limp. Oscar wipes eyes, heads up and off towards the back door. Use your intuition to follow his impressive height, passing through the kitchen of nebulous steam and curt Chinese ordering around, knife slams and tenderizers - out the back to a familiar car that you're left to steer.

"What's the gig, Greg?"
"My name is Oscar. Regular collection to show Wei here the way of the world. I don't know why you're here."
"Maybe Calvin thinks you guys are going softhave me swoop in and save the day like last time."
"Swoop all you want, but today won't need saving. To the massage parlor on Cerent Street."

Quiet down a few avenues, run parallel with a streetcar before the emigrant pipes up.

"Such hot sh*t you think you are. I been here two weeks and all you Americans the same - I have big gun and I must shoot. I don't need you to show me how things are, yang guizi."
"My friend Calvin says I do. Get into the American spirit, Wei, polite small-talk included. Spill about how your English's so good before we go beat on some folks, it'll help you grow on the inner disconnect."
"Small talk." Laugh. "In Yangshan I lived in complex with a landlord; Englishman come to study Mao Zedong Thought. Only white devil I know until America. Being a landlord not so good in Yangshan - public execution for them to disseminate land to farmers. I say I was farmer, get the house, which I then offered to the Dragon Head's cousin in exchange for higher position. Not America."
"That's what I'm talking about, amigo. Way to break the ice. Welcome to the land of the free, home of the indebted - you'll fit right in."

You'll find the parlor blends, dime a dozen; its facade somehow comes across as both prime residential property and typical sh*thole storefront alike in its position atop Calton Heights. "Anything I should know?" - Doug to Oscar, an attempt to force words, but Arnie's up to bat.

"Deadbeat's rubber stamp as they come. Name's Bertrand. Thinks his big win's on the upswing any day now - he's been from the wops to the Chicanos to us, thirty Gs in the hole. Calvin thinks we make his last wits fly out his ass and maybe he'll at least cough up the juice."
"He was talking to me."

You look inside past cheap display gimcracks to a fat stressball sitting behind the counter, white as they come in an Asian-themed establishment, hand on the thigh of a masseuse.

"What's the play?"
Oscar's already out of the car, Wei's on his way inside - "We lay into him. Simple as."

Inside you might think the very appearance of three Tongs and a pissed off vet did the job - Bertie's shaking at the sight, sweating bullets trying to look cooler than a subzero cucumber. He sends off a tattooed succubus in back and steadies: "Oscar, boy! Who're these fellas?"

A thumb at Wei - reverted to intimidation through his yo-yo - and index at Arnie, Doug takes charge: "Clarence and Maxwell. Men of the cloth come to damn this unholy place." He laughs at himself, Oscar does harder, deep and roaring, at a joke lame even by Dougs own standards.

Game time - glass displays of knock-off memorabilia, wicker chairs, tall bonsai and thin walls sitting in wait to inspire a payment. Make fists fly; kicks, breaking glass, smoke from drywall holes to the tune of Oriental massage music
; "Come on guys," Bertie pleads from behind the counter between the sound of crunching glass. "The executive game's tonight! I'll get it all back!"


A meter with a minimum and a breaking point - the damage incurred is to get it to the sweet spot in between the two extremes, but don't destroy too much; a totaled store gives Bertie nothing to lose and he'll make a run for it. The scene cuts at the right spot; Wei's had enough of the crying yang guizi, hops the counter and uses his yo-yo for a chokehold - Bertie's gone uncle in under ten and the gang can't help laugh. "I have no money!" rings too true, you realize something else is needed to cover the interest alone. The yo-yo goes limp and Wei sends Bert reeling over the counter and crashing head first onto one of those glass displays.

Back to gameplay as he howls over some glass in his eye, step over him and into the back through some beaded curtains. Arnie's hand stops you: "You go in heavy. I know the clientry." Doug pulls his piece from his holster with a smile and Oscar leads the charge - in another clouded hallway, topless masseuses and a couple knights in flannel armor. One tries to pull rank on Oscar, who promptly backhands him into the wall, and Doug feels free to do the same further down. Clear rooms, illicit actions behind closed doors, a weapon or two laid bare on cheap wood as its owners cower at your own.

The gang won't find much; all roads lead to the door at the end of the hallway - a garbage-filled parking lot out back, a slick new Sentinel gleaming in the sun between beaters. Doug gives Oscar a look, ESP permission to check the door: unlocked, f*cking idiot. He raids the glovebox, pulls the pink slip. Bertrand Young. F*cking idiot.

Oscars thrilled and doesn't hesitate to show it, but the moment's cut short by a yell and breaking glass way back in the reception. You're to stay alert, but don't hesitate to think fast and hotwire the thing in anticipation of what's to come. More yelling - something Slavic, rough, and a bloody Artie is the one to come back: "Go! Get back to the Dilian and don't f*ck around!"

No answers - get in and gun it, out the alleyway and a powerslide in either direction leaves you in the lap of gun-toting Sovietsky on your trail in a tawny Rancher. You're too close to the resto to make a beeline without the Russians riding your ass; take a detour up Elwood Avenue and use the element of surprise to toss them - a sudden sharp turn between Victorians and the ute spins on its wheels and flips; you're free. Drag it long enough and they'll start to take potshots - detracting from your payout - and the best course might be to pull down a familiar alley and return fire until they've fled or are dead.

When you pull around the back of the Dilian you're met with Calvin; a shawl draped around his neck, frantically signalling you into a nearby garage. You can sense the bemusement radiating off Doug.

"I miss a red carpet expo?"
"Can it, chatterbox."

Doug stands back and Calvin comes forward, examining the Sentinel for damagedoors, mirrors, trim, prone for the undercarriage.

"Could be worse but this covers a tenth of the float, max. Not even what the juice has amounted to. It compounds, you know."
"I don't. You asked me to tag along on this gig to show Wei the good American work ethic, and that I did. The rest is not my territory, Calvin."
A retort interrupted by a lightbulb: "Mr. Leung - where are the others?"
"Hopefully on the way with a couple heavy Reds in tow. Your friend Bertrand has a real network around him - you weren't the only one hoping to collect today."
"Yes, that was a calculated risk. I had faith in your abilities and I didn't expect you to flee."
Doug laughs, lights up and blows smoke in his employer's face: "Following orders. I'm not a fan of playing insubordinate, especially when the upshot comes so cheap."
"That's not what I've heard."
"Oh yeah? What have you heard?"

Calvin straightens himself, still a half foot short of the man hes playing superior to, and looks up at the sun before starting.

"We don't have to like each other, Doug, but you'll find I know things only a select people do. I have no doubt you'll come in use, and if you play your cards right we can do great things together. But that demands respect. Separate from our mutual friend."
Dougs thoughts run wild, Calvin answers unasked questions: "Eddie Segal. Steven Ho."

Doug swallows, more pissed than confused, but the car interrupts their own tango. Calvin snaps out of it, pulls the garage door closed and heads to greet his entourage, and Doug watches as a newly invigorated Wei jumps from the backseat in kung fu pose.

"That don't happen back home!" He comes for Doug, grabs his shoulder with a bloody hand.

"Maybe I grow to like this place."

 

piUfBpw.png

No reward.

 

Post-mission phone call(s)


1st - Winky Marquez (optional)
Winky: Caller, you're on the air.
Doug: Ha, you as a disk jockey - that could've worked out, you know.
Winky: Gave it a try freshman year, didn't pan out. Dougie, I hear you've been putting in work for our Tongy friends.
Doug: I'm a summer student. Believe it or not I've got more pull working for you.
Winky: Gotta start somewhere. Under whose belt?
Doug: Calvin the crepehanger. That's why I called - what's the guy's deal? I've worked with my fair share of screwballs but I can't get a read on him.
Winky: He's just playing his part. All roads lead to the Dragon Head.
Doug: What?
Winky: Yeah, Kong, Quang, something chinky like that. The man upstairs - eventually the screwballs get tired of dealing with the John Q. Publics themselves and send you up. Just gotta fight through the fog of bullsh*t in the meantime.
Doug: Chinky, eh? What happened to extolling the virtues of your ancient ancestors?
Winky: I'm set, who gives a sh*t? That whole Ying thing might've been pushing the envelope anyway. These f*cks'll give you nothing if not a fair shake.
Doug: That's what worries me.
Winky: Worry not, amigo. I just told you we're set.
Doug: No, you said you're set.
Winky: E plutonis unum, right? Sh*t, I gotta split Dougie. I'll see you later.
Doug: Hope so.

 

----

 

San Fierro Day Journal

By Roy McCarthy
Opinion

---- A recent spate in ethnic crime of late has led the citizens of San Fierro to ask a singularly obvious question: is our great city falling to sabotage by the apparatchik agenda? Crime is surging in certain areas of note: Vista Park and Suppleham, both neighborhoods with one distinct trait in common - a demographic push for transparently pinko legislation. After falling victim to last year's public parade of anti-American exhibits of affection that has unreasonably been given the moniker the Summer of Love, both boroughs have developed a significant swell in criminal activity perpetrated by brutes of the Maoist and Soviet variety. Have we fallen victim to a systemic infiltration of our society by those who intend to provoke the downfall of America? Experts say no - that such activities can be attributed to a socioeconomic disparity that results in a last resort to achieve success through crime - but we know better than to believe them. We are being perverted from the inside out. Only we can resist this permeation of our society's fabric by the red menace before it's far too late.

Edited by Cebra

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Francesco Bonomo

Congrats on breaking 10k views and we thank you for posting not just one, but two mission back to back. I've been waiting a long while for the next installment. Great work, Cebra.

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Cebra

Congrats on breaking 10k views and we thank you for posting not just one, but two mission back to back. I've been waiting a long while for the next installment. Great work, Cebra.

Thanks man. I figure it can't hurt to try and pick up the pace - three years and I'm down seven whole missions. I keep going at that rate and I'll be done in 2028. :D

 

Julius' next mission will follow shortly. Stay tuned.

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Cebra

dz9z8p1.png

 

Head on over to Stanislaw Choppers any time between dusk and dawn, the place no less bustling in the absence of daylight - dozen choppers with a half dozen custom warpaints, that orange inferno of light drawing you into the blaze. Park up in the one space set aside for your kind: CAGES HERE - a first being that one’s already there.

As Julius gets out your eye’s drawn to a shape behind a nearby chain link - big, no lights, but the burning tips of cigarettes in the cab. He gives it half a staredown before heading inside to displays of camaraderie; blowtorches replaced by booze, rock and roll - Sweet Jane on scratched vinyl. Dave notices you first and tosses a beer - caught and pulled to the side Julius walks up. Dirk and his toadies AWOL, the only bikers on scene being those less tattooed and less likely to attack you with a blowtorch for your taste in records.

“Speak of the devil.”
“And appear he shall,” snipes Julius. “How’s business?”
“Hunky-f*ckin’-dory.”

He motions to "the man beside; black, tall, and tank-like with eyes on another realm trying to bore into the soul of a stranger.

“Julie, this is Doctor Keno Rizzo - our Providence Eye into the gutterpups of this great city.”

Jules goes for a shake, the doctor instead points a closed fist and waits on you to reciprocate, surges ecstasy when you do: a masterfully enigmatic “Motherf*cker.”

Bemused and beaming, J turns to Dave and points outside. “I think you got a couple shadows down the path. That those foregoing ‘narc probers’?”
“No, just the gooks. They’ve been pissier than a chick on the rag ever since we tried to bust up that deal up over the gate. You’d think keeping an eye out would be easier said than done for them, you know?”

He makes slant eyes, laughs, nobody budges. “I let Dirk off his chain and they’d be air.”
“In nobody’s best interests,” Rizzo butts, briefly more lucid than he gives off - a crack interrupted by his sight of something spectacular on the ceiling between spots of mildew.
“Dave.” Julius pulls him away by shoulder: “I’m impressed at this show of brotherly love but camaraderie ain’t my forte. You got something for me?”
“I do, matter of fact. Sure you don’t wanna let loose a spell?”
“Give it to me.”

He pulls away, directs you into the office of concrete as he chugs something brown. Julius follows, settles inside and keeps eyes on Doc through the window - eyes up, speaking in tongues or something, hand gestures galore - Dave watches you watch until the spell’s broken. “What’s this dude’s deal?”

“Believe it or not I don’t keep him ‘round for erudition.” He finishes off the bottle, tosses the remains of his smoke into it and lights another. “Like I said, gutterpups.”
“I don’t follow, man.”
“Matter of fact I don’t rightly know if it’s Keno Rizzo or the other way around. We’ll say Doctor Keno.” Hand waves: “Howbeit he’s a loony son of a bitch - one of my boys ran into him at the coast of the Greenie shore, sticking up some poor biddy with the brush end of a broom while dronin’ on about polar bears and tribadism.”
“And now he’s here.”
A chuckle that turns into a coughing fit: “Ain’t it something how things work out. You seen those prints been up the last few weeks? Every lamppost from Elwood to Burgundy, every f*ckin’ corner.”
“Not my grounds.”
“Seems your grounds to me, but what do I know. The uh, the acid tests, I think they’re callin’ em. Y’know, dust. Never bought into that sh*t - eternal consciousness at three bucks apiece? Sucker a minute.”
“I dunno. All some folk need is the promise of wild blue yonder to get through the grind.”
“Oh man, you’ll fit right in with these fellas. It’s his work. Tonight’s the night, matter of fact - you’re gonna hitch Dr. Livingstone over there to the promised land. His car.”
Eyes back out: “Can I put him in the trunk?”
“No, that’s the gig - trunk’s full up, San Andreas sunshine. Not usually my wing but these fellas were cryin’ for it.”
“That’s it? Straight delivery?”
“F*ckin’ A, I got no other use for the sh*t. Time to liquidize. Maybe you’ll make some friends.”
Julius walks: “You got it,” but gets stopped short in the doorway.

“One more thing. The chinks outside, they gotta be dealt with. Doc’s right, you know, so no rubbing out by misadventure or anything. Just dealt in the way we deal.”
Julius stays silent, receives elaboration: “Dirk wouldn’t show. You know,” Dave points to the good doctor, “considering. He got some guys playing license plates down by the distillery down on Borrachera. Hit the road with ‘ol bruiser over there - draw ‘em to Dirk and the harbingers and give ‘em some three dollar haircuts. I don’t want that cage driveable neither.”

Julius exits the office, drops the beer, and heads backs into the garage, gives Keno a pat and a point: “Let’s go, daddy-o.” He follows you out, follows your gaze as Jules again eyes the stalkers down the way: “We time pressed?”
“Daylight.” He starts to hum a tune.

Hop into his car, the anomaly under the cages section - brand spanking new Voodoo. “Two streets west of Windy Windy. Big brown stone.”
Julius lumps it: “Brown ... stone?”
“Brown brownstone.”
“We call ‘em townhouses on this coast, doc. We got a little detour to make, anyway.”

Ride slow up to that field fence - Tong cigarette tips flagging you down. Jules rolls the window down and makes it count, flips the bird: “Eh goo-goos, let’s go for a ride! Arnold got something to show down!” and pops two off into the night sky before speeding off. You gain control as the Triads start their engines, pull out of the lot - Jules cackles at their eager virtue. You’re not going far with them shadowing; dead-of-night void gives way to a spattering of yells, bikes revving.

“You in a state to throw down, Rizzo?”
“You buy the ticket, you take the ride. Turn up the music.”

The beginnings of That's Not Me - twelve bikes next to the distillery, Dirk clasping his .44 before he makes an I.D. - slam the brake as the Triads slow, slide it broadside as everyone comes to a stop in sync. Julius hops out, points Dirk and his cronies to the Surfer and they register before you can say assault. The Triads try their hand, five come out, three armed - knife, knife, and a goddamn nunchuck. Get to work, Rizzo going kamikaze at the fellas as they play defense against fourteen gorillas. If you can get in on the chaos before the Dirk wing finishes them, throw down with Nunchuk to get a chance at swiping the weapon unsold in stores. For good measure Dave asked you to wreck the ride - simple as slashing the tires, though no one’ll stop you from wrecking some glass on the way out.

After the vehicle’s taken care of the scene cuts to Dirk, hollering with his pals as one of the Triads tries a death crawl across the street. He passes his booze along, gives Julius a look: “So he’s got some stones after all!” and hones in on the Chinaman.

“Bought myself a television just to watch your people starve. Better than any cheap sh*t on the radio.”

Triad makes a swipe at him, knife tucked in pants, hits his mark low at Dirk’s ankle and gets a flat foot in the back of the head as the bikers holler at the scene. Dirk’s famous rage steps in, grabs the Tong by the hair and drags him to the curb as Julius watches from afar and Rizzo plays with sky demons. The picture comes clear to J - Dirk pulls the man face down, teeth on the curb, grating, razing, and you gain control just in time to play hero - you can rush him before the other foot comes down. If not the sound’s not a pleasant one - a hard stomp, a scream, teeth flying left and right as half the bikers palpitate and the others go wild. The first option brings you Julius’ own wrath - “Arnold said no more blood than needed, and that means no poor motherf*ckers gettin’ their f*ckin' jaws snapped!”, met by Dirk’s assertion that some lessons only come through teeth in the gutter. He splits with the help of two others, limps away before an argument can be had, choppers roaring as they head back to home base, leaving Julius and the doctor and a crawling Chinaman potentially toothless.

Eyes on the body, limp, half-dead in the street. Red mist. “Let’s go, doc. Let’s split.”

Settle back in, ride uptown through little to no traffic and plenty of panhandlers and do-no-gooders under crumbling overpasses - not a word over the little diversion, the Tongs, the task at hand. SF at the wee hours is a sight - a ghost town broken apart by bums and dope fiends alike driven home by the hauntings of Sun Ra.


“So, uh... how’d you get in with those fellas?”
“They have killer mescaline. Dabble a bit in brown, too. A taste here and there and we’re all rainbows. In exchange for very little, such situations excluded.”
Julius snorts at doc’s sub-Saharan accent playing funny against slang: “Yeah, I’m familiar. You know I think I got an idea by now, but maybe you wanna clear the air on what the hell an acid test is in the first place.”
“An event like no other, brother. Dallas procured us some live music for this one - grooviest stuff I heard since Los delfines maricas down in Argentina. Have you been?”
“To Argentina? Nah. Who’s Dallas?”
“Dallas is the star.” He dies down. “I’m feeling a bit faint, my friend - maybe you should drive.”
“Mhm, I don't know what you drivin' but it ain't this car. Who’s Dallas, my man?”
“He organizes. Procures the product. Dallas is the man.”
“Looks like you’re procuring tonight.”
“He’s preoccupied. Writing a book. Oh, I feel this will be a very difficult night.”
“Don’t say that, man.”

The conversation’s a dead end - but by then you’ll be up in the heights anyway. You’ll see the destination; indeed brown, a miracle. Jules gives his retinue a nudge who tells him to back it up the alleyway, stop at a green garage of corrugated metal, pop the trunk. Someone’s standing at the ready, hops out a back door and gestures you in as a couple more concrete chumps start to bring the trunk packages through and in.

Doc looks back: “Trust me, brother. Come meet the band.”

The doorman bumps Rizzo, leads you up a flight of stairs surrounded by peeling wallpaper leading red brick - an electric guitar growls, loud voices, laughter. Around the corner the scene is entropic, a good dozen men and women on tables, on the floor, on each other; one shirt for every three, purple canopied walls, blackout curtains.

Julius laughs and whispers “This nigga'.” A separate group of merrymakers huddled around a guitar turn to you and give Rizzo a standing ovation for his artful act of turning the corner.

Resumed guitar tuning - one fella walks up as Rizzo walks away, offers a shake: “Bikers or backers?”
Julius shakes, says “What?”
“Bikers it is. I see you’ve come with Rizzo - you look a little too square to take that on alone.”
“Maybe so.” A call to Dave. “Is it Keno Rizzo or Rizzo Keno?”
“I doubt he knows himself to tell you the truth. I’m Dallas Bloomfield.”
“Julius Cole. Nice to put a face to the name - I read your articles. Doctor said ‘Dallas’, I shoulda supposed.”
“I know what you’re thinking, man - no, he’s not licensed in the state of SA. I don’t think he’s licensed anywhere, but he’s a loyal friend. You gonna hang around?”
“Might for a while. What’s the whyfor?”
“Expanding horizons, man.” He gestures you to the ball of hair tuning his ax in the corner.

“You heard’a the Suicidal Failures? Local guys but real men of the world - that’s their frontman Rocky Muñoz. They’re our track tonight. You talk to him, whatever you do, don’t bring up Milk. Chick on the floor is our woman Mona.” Topless, hips like a wild rose. J doesn’t push.

Guided walk, big suit standing by: “Slick dick next to him’s their manager Henry Katz. Thinks we’re bosom buddies ‘cause he pals around with the f*cks at ZAP. Scumbag supreme.”

Dallas begins checking them off, rotating: “Ol’ pig commissioner Jack Lange, Post columnist Artie van der Linde, disgraced scion Noah Shrewsbury. We get an assortment.”

“Rest of the band’s fashionably late - as in two hours - but we got all night. Rest of the crowd wandered in off Hedone. We got enough to go ‘round thanks to you.”
“Off the streets? You don’t worry ‘bout UC?”
“A pig can samba with the best of us given the motivation. I’m not vexed.”
Julius gives the place an eyeful. “Alright ... but what do y’all do?”
“We drop acid and listen to Rocky and the band.” He points to a desk by a broken window covered in papers and pot. “You scratch down your address on the notepad, pocket it, and we get going, man. No holds barred. Sometimes we get a couple wake up in the valley, sometimes in the back of a caddy car. You’re in it to win it but at least you got your address down.”

You’re in it now - you know the names, you know the score. Acid test indeed - the intentions of man. Jump into traffic with your eyes closed but at least you’ve got your addy. Julius gives the place a final lookdown - voices come calling from another room: “Dallas! We need one more to unpack!”

“You in, man? It’s alright if you ain’t, but I got a feeling this is your scene whether you know it or not.”
The job at hand - make friends. “I think I'mma kick back and watch this one. Rain check?”
“We’ll be here ‘til PD raids us. I give it a month, tops, so we got a couple left in us.” He looks his groupies over. “Arnold’s garage - we’ll run into each other there.”

A man of no goodbyes - Dallas runs off to what looks like a kitchen without appliances and leaves you to mingle. Hobnob with the madcaps - Commissioner Lange on a tangent about the department’s approach to psychedelics, Shrewsbury sh*tting on the submachine gun, Muñoz practically getting down with Mona with his guitar in one hand. Katz eyes you, keeps his gaze wherever you go but hasn’t a word.

You’ll find a friend in the ol’ doctor, who makes conversation about the Argentinean dream while gradually losing layers of clothing. The door’s open for when you’ve had enough, but stick it out long enough to find the missing links of the Suicidal Failures stumble in to immediate applause - they gather as Muñoz disappears behind a curtain with Katz, reappears invigorated a moment later as the set begins. The dozen merrymakers pop microdots in unison to the easing in of an electric guitar gradually growing, growling, popped to a synthesizer and haunting tenor.

Stay for the ride of dimmed lights and red candles or prowl the streets to find a cab in the hours before dawn. The guitar will keep.

piUfBpw.png

+ $75.00

Edited by Cebra

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Lock n' Stock

Sounds a bit like Ride to Hell, except if it were actually good.

 

Pitch this sh*t to Rockstar ASAP.

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Cebra

Sounds a bit like Ride to Hell, except if it were actually good.

 

Pitch this sh*t to Rockstar ASAP.

Ha, if only. Glad you're liking it.

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Guest

I've seen this thread once when I used to roll on this website anonymously in the past, I remember Julius Cole used to be Samuel L. Jackson. I guess you decided to change it?

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Cebra

I've seen this thread once when I used to roll on this website anonymously in the past, I remember Julius Cole used to be Samuel L. Jackson. I guess you decided to change it?

Kudos for the 69th post. ;)

 

Yeah, you're correct. Jackson was the first one that came to mind for the role. I had envisioned his role in Pulp Fiction somewhat influencing the sort of character Julius becomes over the course of the story. I thought it over a while though and I think it's hard to separate him from his voice, which I think would've worked to the detriment of the character considering his role as Frank Tenpenny in SA.

 

I wasn't sold on Chiwetel Ejiofor at first because, well, he's English, but it helps that his voice isn't so distinctive as Jackson's that it's the first thing you think of when you imagine him in the role. He was solid in American Gangster, even in a minor role.

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Hendrik498

 

I've seen this thread once when I used to roll on this website anonymously in the past, I remember Julius Cole used to be Samuel L. Jackson. I guess you decided to change it?

Kudos for the 69th post. ;)

 

Yeah, you're correct. Jackson was the first one that came to mind for the role. I had envisioned his role in Pulp Fiction somewhat influencing the sort of character Julius becomes over the course of the story. I thought it over a while though and I think it's hard to separate him from his voice, which I think would've worked to the detriment of the character considering his role as Frank Tenpenny in SA.

 

I wasn't sold on Chiwetel Ejiofor at first because, well, he's English, but it helps that his voice isn't so distinctive as Jackson's that it's the first thing you think of when you imagine him in the role. He was solid in American Gangster, even in a minor role.

 

Hey, hope you remember me, the guy with the Little Jacob DLC idea. I was away for the a year but now I'm back and ready to invest more in the DLC.

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Cebra

 

 

I've seen this thread once when I used to roll on this website anonymously in the past, I remember Julius Cole used to be Samuel L. Jackson. I guess you decided to change it?

Kudos for the 69th post. ;)

 

Yeah, you're correct. Jackson was the first one that came to mind for the role. I had envisioned his role in Pulp Fiction somewhat influencing the sort of character Julius becomes over the course of the story. I thought it over a while though and I think it's hard to separate him from his voice, which I think would've worked to the detriment of the character considering his role as Frank Tenpenny in SA.

 

I wasn't sold on Chiwetel Ejiofor at first because, well, he's English, but it helps that his voice isn't so distinctive as Jackson's that it's the first thing you think of when you imagine him in the role. He was solid in American Gangster, even in a minor role.

 

Hey, hope you remember me, the guy with the Little Jacob DLC idea. I was away for the a year but now I'm back and ready to invest more in the DLC.

 

That I do, glad to see you back. I hope your father's doing alright.

 

But yeah, last I recall you were planning on giving my missions a read-over. Whenever you're ready I'd be happy to hear your feedback. :)

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Cebra

LIlF5Of.png

 

Don’t sit around too long after the disaster at the butcher shop - Jon Gravelli’s waiting on you. He’s at a house not too far from your own digs - the south part of Arcadia Willows where the outlands are made not of sand blown in from the Ahwati Desert but carefully manicured lawns.

 

Keep to the street - driveway’s full up, lime Roachee boxing in a begrimed Schyster Bayadere, rental tags still hanging from the rear view. Up the drive it’s birds chirping across palms, sprinklers peppering - then a low-flying Hunter blazing saddles across the sky, over the mountain range to the area-not-to-be-mentioned. Dante shields his eyes from the sun and watches it disappear, rings the bell and waits. Gravelli answers in a blue velour robe and a mutt comes charging between his legs to nip at your heels: “What the f*ck is that thing?” Dante asks between defensive kicks.

 

Gravelli nudges the thing, gestures in: “Pain in my ass is what that is. Chihuahua. Not my choice.”

“That’s not a dog, it’s a f*ckin’ rat.”

 

He closes the door behind you, walks and talks as he leads you to the back living room. “This place - can’t walk two feet without some kinda animal sinking his teeth into you. What can I do for you, Dante?”

 

Cut short by the entry of a model-worthy blonde in orange who scoops the mutt up with one and a purse in the other: “I’m late for work, Jono. Gimme a call later, alright?”

 

Nod, kiss goodbye, Jono’s hands low, and she goes out the front door with a half abashed bow at Dante as her little monster snarls. “Hey, ain’t she from the Bahama?”

 

Pink Swan sunlighting at Queen’s Crown Jewels.” Gravelli leads you into a conversation pit, pops a glass on a bar cart and begins pouring before asking what’s your poison. “Drink?” He’s cooled since the girl left - you get the idea that a no would probably mean doubling up his own.

 

“Sure. Something brown,” Dante says to an already-poured something brown.

 

He gives a glance outside: professionally trimmed hedges, stone walls against the back of the lot leading into a waterfall pool: “Mr. Cangelosi’s a generous man.”

 

Hands the drink: “That he is. Siddown.”

Sit on one of the loveseats - cute place, healthy variety of orange shades and wild plants and carpet and sunlight. Professionally decorated most like, Cangelosi’s contacts not settling for any less and Gravelli opting not to put up a fight to prolong the process.

 

“How’re things, Mr. Gravelli?”

“How the f*ck d’you think, kid? Your uncle tell you about the casino?”

“Don’t think so. What’s up?”

He sits across a red table on cabriole legs. “When we signed you onto Silver Sixes it was made unduly clear to you that it was not a no-work and definitely not a no-show. I told you that - specifically. Carlo says you only been by twice in the past month.”

“I been occupied on the side. My uncle said it’s alright, Mr. Gravelli. Something about Local 369, that it’s all covered.”

 

Gravelli downs his drink, gets up and pours himself another one from the cart - Dante still hasn’t touched his own, plays it sober to a quickly mellowing Jono. “Sure. Look, kid - when I was your age I got pinched on a 1040 discrepancy and ended up doing sixteen months for attempted murder. A bunch of bullsh*t you can be sure, but the whole thing’s a goddamn house of cards.”

 

He sits back down, gives Dante a chance to speak who instead opts to sheepishly sip at his liquor.

 

“All I’m saying is you’re a far f*ckin’ cry from bein’ equipped to take on the IRS - that’s how they took down Vin Colella, you know. We all hold our own in this thing. You need to put in some hours before the curtain-raiser.”

“You set a date?”

“A couple weeks, give or take. Carlo’s been having some, eh, headaches, and if he keeps it up that’s something else you can add to your fast growing list of responsibilities.”

Dante downs his drink, stands up and goes for a shake of fault: “I’m sorry, Mr. Gravelli. I don’t want to let nobody down.”

He takes it, corrects. “Anybody. Your uncle sees something in you. I’m waiting for the day.”

 

He leads you back out front and stops short at the door, opening a new line of thought on the front stoop.

 

“Not all business, though. I want you to do a favor for me, though. Personal. The girl you seen, her name’s Dee - works the stage at the Swan, we’ll say she has a way of drawing the flies to the honey. Sonny and I want her brought over to La Penisola. I made an offer, Sonny made another - her boss is a mule-headed Jew f*ck.”

 

Jono’s worked himself into a tizzy: “Who ever heard of forcing feather girls into contracts? F*ckin’ cocksucker.” He’s got a strange way of showing it; no kicks nor flaring veins, just a straight gaze ahead of irate words.

 

Dante uses the trail off to push and lighten: “Fellas who wanna rehash a Bobby Fontaine situation?”

“That’s cute. You know the club. Two-bit Pavano joint ran by Baby Bats.”

“No sh*t, he's still around? You really want me to put the squeeze on him?”

“Within reason. He don’t know you from Adam, kid. Play the jealous steady, take a bat to his car, I don’t give a damn. I want the honor of taking her contract to the shredder myself.”

“I’ll get it done.”

 

Dante starts walking, Gravelli calls back: “Show this out, kid. I’ll see what I can scare up with Carlo.”

 

As close as it’ll come to a promise of the big leagues, at least for now - jump back into your ride and pull out into the hot sun. You’re served a reminder of the tool shop on Coventry Parkway; plan ahead if you’re going to brute force your way into a breach of contract. The streets up there are cool and quiet, the tendency of Las Venturas - nightfall and daylight reversed, sidewalk jaunts of bobbing cowboy hats and covert millionaires in tennis gear alike headed to the courts.

 

The Pink Swan sits at the southernmost end of The Strip, perilously straddling the line between the glory of its neighbors and the seediness of Champlain Avenue’s joints further down. It testifies to its name - a giant pink swan, wings extended, backing red cathode rays; a cursive name, restaurant, coffee shop, casino, the whole shebang. The lot’s mostly empty, a couple night campers excepted and a silver Benefactor Magnum parked by the side entrance; vanity plate OHBATS - bingo.

 

You can head inside and things’ll play out all the same, but gift OHBATS a few dings courtesy of your newfound inner demolition man; a hammer, sledge, metal bat to the windshield, target the shiny gleaming rims or play some golf with the side mirrors. As intended the racket brings out a skinny Vinnie with a million questions, slicked hair with matching leather jacket who flies back inside the second he finds his answer. The scene cuts to Dante heading under the entrance awning with his weapon; leaning against a pink marble column and lighting a cigarette while waiting for the inevitable uproar to make its way outside.

 

It does, fast.

 

Baby Bats - fantastic three-piece navy blue suit on a skeletal frame; he comes running out in his bifocals with slick Nick at his side, a seething rage arching his shoulders to a height exaggerating his minuscule frame: “What the f*ck are you doing to my car, you f*cking wop?”, a dig that finds his ginzo buddy unperturbed.

 

Dante plays it up, pops the smoke between his lips, lifts his weapon sky high and brings it down on the roofline, - it dents like it’s made of clay with glass and premier grey enamel seesawing across the lot. He’s having a grand ‘ol time: “Totaling it! You should get a better pair of glasses, pal!”

 

Bats sics the unarmed goon on you with a wrinkly finger - a decent sized unarmed goon; he comes charging like you’re holding a muleta in front of your face, rallies you into the side of the car and pulls your bludgeon from your hands. He tries to bash your head in but you can dodge it - he f*cks the car up even worse in the process. As you continue to skirt his blows Bats runs back inside yelling for help but it seems nobody’s around. Avoid getting squished until the goon’s out of juice and disarm him if you can’t brute force your way to completion - get your weapon back and turn his head into pulp until he falls to the concrete mumbling sorries in the crunching of broken glass.

 

Run in through the open doors. The place’s barren inside, a sight usually reserved for those from the inside track - gilded adornments and a whole lot of pink neon left unlit in the daytime. It’s almost eerie; the floor, the pit - rows upon rows of slot machines sitting empty, silent, but the adorned pink wig wags above still flashing back and forth like some pony playing phantom. Find Bats - he’s around, playing some f*cked up sort of hide and seek around or under the roulette and craps tables. Dante taunts him with playground derision, knows he can’t be far - both exits are wide open, open season; the only alternative the padlocked count room that’s still cinched down the hall. Maneuver through the table-made corridors, crouch to check underneath the tables. You might come upon a wallet or two dropped in the huff of a losing streak; help yourself at the cost of some unlucky midwest schmuck realizing his dilemma at McCarthy International.

 

If you don’t find Bats fast enough he’ll find you; a golf club to the back of the head that knocks you flat. The man’s got a mean drive but the follow up’s not great, not swift enough to kick your own weapon away. Dante rises feeling around for blood, a bit dizzy, met with “Who let you loose, cocksucker? Think some gonif’s gonna take me down after all, huh? Think so?”

 

Up, a bit wonky - sidestep him through a shaky cam, balancing Dante in the process. You’d think you’re an easy target in this state but the pioneer of Las Venturas isn’t the most nimble despite his name. Tire him out like his goombah shield outside with a new approach - a hit with the club will knock the wind right out of you. A kick here and lopsided punch there and you know he’s no match when he goes down flat onto a blackjack table with the golf club hovering above in Dante’s hands, panting and sweating buckets: “Uncle, uncle! You want money, is that it? You want--I--I got money, loads of it, a f*cking boatload of cash in the safe in my office. That's what you want, right?”

Dante drops his threat, plays along. “That’s the spirit, you f*ckin' bull. Lead the way.”

 

He lets Bats down, shadows him, finds himself hard pressed to keep his mouth shut. “I gotta say, I expected more outta you. The tales I heard growin’ up, the ire of Baby Bats and his metal sock...”

“I knew you weren’t some two-bit hood. You know whose radar you’s gonna be on now?”

“Hearing folk tales don’t make me any more than a two-bit hood. But I ain’t worried.”

 

Bats fidgets with his office keys as he makes his way there, tries to single the one out, fails and relents to Dante: “It’s the one with the green sticker on it.”

“Bifocals ain’t doing you justice?”

“Not anymore.”

 

Dante finds it and lets the man in - the situation’s taken a bizarre turn, the facade of a brazen robbery turned a pity for a man long ago feared far and wide; remnants of the first play, Dante’s still holding the club as he follows Bats’ mope to the safe in the black marble wall and leans on a centered desk. The room overlooks the parking lot, a couple palms; no strip sights, nothing that can’t be found at the Checkout further on Las Cruces - as they say, God ain’t making more real estate. Bats fiddles, Dante looks over his shoulder - stacks of paper, dollar piles rubber-banded, a pistol; he steps forward and swipes the gun from a Bats growing agitated who’s taken to mumbling to himself, Yiddish and English mixed and matched, fetching the bills and placing them on the desk like a gambler’s cashed his chips.

 

“Ain't money.” The mumbling rises to a heat: “Ain't money.”

“What?”

“Just get it over with, you mamzer. I told you I won't be taken by no gonif. Never! Who sent you - was it Mazursky? After all this time? No - Costigan. Soon so shall it be by you. The veneer has faded.”

“What the f*ck are you talking about?”

 

Bats steps forward ready to throw hands again, instead takes one more and collapses in the desk chair.

 

“I know what you're here for. I want to know who. I won't be taken by no gonif and in lack of a reasonable request.”

Dante's out of his element, unsure whether to reach for bemusement or amusement - settles for neither. “You're outta your tree. I wanna see the contracts for your feather girls.”

“Huh?”

“The contracts. They in the safe?”

“The contracts? You're here for the contracts? That's what this’s for?”

 

He’s howling now, slaps a palm down on the desk to get across the hilarity of his little fit. “Yeah, yeah, they’re in the safe,” he squeaks out between roaring whoops.

 

Dante holsters his gun, head shaking, and goes for the goods. Bottom shelf next to a box of Cubans and two fifths of absinthe, a pile of brass fastened papers. You’re in control to take it all or stick to the mandate; the contraband’s worth a pretty penny in the right markets, otherwise the smokes are good for a sunset dinner to watch the Strip scenery at Watcher’s Eye.

 

He flips through, each a second glance until he lands Dee Hofstadter; executive dancer, whatever the f*ck that means, details of the non-compete clause complete with the penalty laid out in green terms.

 

“Poor girls.”

Bats echoes, wiping his tears dry with a handkerchief. “Poor girls, poor girls. We’re putting them through school. Tell that to your ungrateful c*nt.”

“I got what I came for.”

 

That’s it - the money Bats laid out on the table in his moments of clarity’s still there for the taking if the pity factor’s run dry - $2500.

 

“I thought I was done for,” he mumbles to no one in particular.

“This ain’t no Fort Knox, I’ll tell you that.”

“Nobody’s had the gall to rob a casino. Not even in the light of day.” He pauses and gives a second thought: “Lemme guess. It’s Kathy. No, Dee. It is, eh? I knew the shiska was getting ideas. You tell her to enjoy her time in the kitchen.”

“Will do.”

 

Dante gets to walking: Bats takes a tone worthy of his name: “Don’t let me ever see your f*ckin’ face again.” Half way down the hall you hear the laughs start growing again.

 

Leave from where you came in. The protection’s still writhing next to the Benefactor, gives off an extra moan when he sees your return. There’s a payphone on the south wall - head over and make a call. Gravelli’s home phone rings, rings, no answer on the end - Dante makes it to La Penisola instead.

 

It picks up, a voice on the other end: “Yeah?”

“Carlo, hey - Dante. I got something to give Jon, he around?”

“You mean Mr. Gravelli?”

“Yeah, I mean Mr-f*ckin’-Gravelli. How many Jons you know out here?”

“I got three on the moving crew alone. Lotsa Seans too.”

“That’s what happens when you run to the Micks for all the manual labor. He around or not?”

“Yeah, he’s around, you f*ck. Come on down.”

“On my way.”

 

It’s a little walk if you’re feeling it - cutting through an artificial pond between the Swan and The Algiers leads you right into the back entrance. Pre-landscaping; lots of unmarked asphalt and gravel under mismatched Biffs, construction crew giving Dante a nod as he walks by.

 

Inside’s ramping up; workers on scaffoldings a couple feet from the ceiling, on their backs wiring electrical for the chandeliers the Johnny Q. Publics can swing from during their cataclysmic loss tantrums. They’re everywhere - maneuver through the brow sweat Michaelangelos into the same back office in which you first met Dante - Carlo’s behind the executive desk with his sleeves rolled up, in the midst of getting sh*t from Gravelli. The two give a quick glance toward Dante as he walks in the room but Jon finishes his sh*t-shoveling duty before daring acknowledge a job well done, something tied off with a “but don’t let Valentino catch you saying that.”

 

“Who’s Valentino?” Dante makes himself comfortable, sits deep on one of the plush brown armchairs facing the desk.

“You don’t know no Valentino?”, Carlo asks.

 

Dante shakes his head, gives Gravelli a look in the corner to ask if he’s being f*cked with, gets met with stone.

 

“Don’t matter, it’s nothing. Settle up your business with Jon.”

 

Gravelli approaches the desk seat, tells Carlo to get to stepping without a word and takes the seat. It’s been adjusted to compensate for Carlo’s height - can’t have the big man looking small - bringing the already lanky Jon Gravelli to tower over you. Carlo stands idly by the door - “Go play in traffic,” Gravelli orders.

 

The door closes. “Like a vulture, this guy. Likes it up there by the sun and you know he’ll pick your bones clean. You get it done?”

“Done as dust.” Dante slides the papers across the desk. You can tell he’s trying to hold it in and fails: “Give it to me straight: the f*ck is wrong with Baby Bats?”

“Lots,” Gravelli spits, donning reading glasses and giving the papers a lookover. “Narrow it down.”

“The man I heard about growing up’s gone with the wind. F*ckin’ nutso. Went after me with a golf club and started rambling about Lou Mazursky and veneers and c*nts.”

“C*nts?”

“Don’t get too excited; as in ungrateful.”

 

Gravelli waves it away, drops the glasses satisfied with his lookover, interlocks his fingers on the desk. “I’d think you youngins would have your finger on the pulse of this town.”

“Not when it comes to the old-timers, funny enough.”

“He’s got cancer of the brain or some sh*t. Gone oobatz like his car plates. The Pavanos’re trying to save face by keeping the man up, but it ain’t working out so well. He still breathing?”

“Far as I know. Disgraziad’.”

“Never meet your heroes, kid. Especially when they ain’t long for this world.”

 

Gravelli stands with the paper and heads to the back wall; a cut-out section in the oak paneling juts out and he places the contract in to be shredded.

 

“I had a talk with Carlo.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. His plate’s full and your uncle thinks time spent sitting on your ass at home might be better used solving our problems.”

“Can’t say I disagree. Gets numb after a while anyway.”

“Right.” Gravelli sits back down and cracks knuckles. “Come down here whenever and I’m sure he’ll have something for you. See what it’s like to work with a deadline breathing down your neck.”

“I’ve always found those motivational.”

 

Gravelli looks up at the grandfather clock in the corner, ticking away, and to the window next to it - hardhats hauling in baccarat tables smothered in stretch wrap.

 

“Give it time.”

 

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+ $75.00

Edited by Cebra

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Cebra
Posted (edited)

I live!

 

For those of you still following along, I've had to nix my radio stations because the forum update is from the hell zone. 

 

Should any of you be yearning for the days of yore where the forum was functional and still had a discernible style, you can find an archive of B&B here.

 

That said, please try to enjoy:

 

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Pocilga Lodging, apartment 10. It’s familiar ground but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise — down a flight from Doug’s quarters it’s somehow a whole world darker and dingier, peeling forest paint and wood blinds coming off their rails half-covering smudged windows.

 

The chained light bulb fizzles and burns out, the red end of Doug’s cigarette all that can be seen around shade as he knock-knock-knocks. He leans on a cranking radiator in wait, tosses the cig on the floor and eyeballs down the hall at strange sounds coming from 9.

 

The door opens a peep, an eyeball above the chain lock: “Doug? Sh*t. Come in.”

“I would’a made an appointment if I’d known it’d be this f*ckin’ complicated.”

 

Marcus hurries you inside, shuts the door behind, relocks the chain. The place is stuffy visualized; incense and tobacco clouding throws and clothes strewn willy-nilly in a place maybe half as big as your own. Bay windows papered-over; SAN News, protests and paragonism. Doug looks around: count your blessings, as they are.

 

“You’re acting more uptight than a nun in a whorehouse. I come at a bad time?”

Marcus sits at a formica table covered with ashtrays: “They’re all bad.”

 

A good in, but then he continues.

 

“I borrowed some dough. Don’t you get involved.”

 

“Gave that up a while ago. Look, I finally got us a job, Marc.”

 

“No bullsh*t?” He goes still: “Don’t bullsh*t me on this, Doug.”

 

“No bullsh*t.”

 

Marcus hits the table, turns the frown upside down. He lights a cigarette in his fervor, speaks through his lips.

 

“F*ckin’ A—knew you’d come through eventually. When do we start? Where?”

“ASAP. It’s a deterrent gig, you know. Nothing heavy, just gotta look tough. That kinda thing.”

“For who?”

 

Doug hesitates. “Marquez et al.”

 

Marcus does the same, two beats too long. “F*ck that.”

“You don’t got the luxury of being fussy, amigo.”

“F*ck yes I do, unless I wanna wash up in the Gullet with no fingers. That’s not how I get my rocks off, but you do you. I’ll take my chances.”

 

Doug knew it was coming, didn’t prep. “That...hasn’t even been established. Look, it’s not Winky himself per se, it’s the Triads. Y’know, on his behalf. F*ck, you don’t need to know the ins n’ outs, just stand still and look like a hard-hitter.”

 

The two have a stare; ritualistic, as old as the friendship.

 

“You stopped being able to bullsh*t me back in the Corps, Douglas.”

“I’ve never been a great pitch. I know you know I owe you.”

 

Marc smiles all teeth: “You do. Shall we go?”

 

The rhetorical answer speaks for itself; back out and go down the steps as Marcus follows you. The car’s been idling streetside — a hobo gawking through the window for goodies takes off with a shopping cart in tow as you approach. You’re headed to the docks, San Fierro this time — the unnamed tract between the official port and the bayou of the Flatlands. It’s a short drive peppered with late—day street corner panhandlers seeking small change or spare dust, whichever comes first.

 

Marcus tunes the dial to WCTR - union brat John Tamburlaine, AKA Union Jack, quacking back against the growl of Harbormaster Andy Bialek; back-and-forth aplenty about the very destination you’re headed to, filling the silence:

 

“- stark changes in worker’s rights. Instead, we’ve seen decreases in every little component and piece of the docklands: 12% down on imports and 5% in employment count, 32% decrease in average lunchbreak time, 19% decrease in injuries…”

 

“Alright, who’d you borrow from?”

“Jesus, I almost thought you’d let it slide. Is it really so much to ask that you butt the f*ck out?”

“Yeah, it is.”

“Too bad. You ain’t my priest.”

 

Someone sputters as you trudgeon through the financial district, through 5 PM traffic luckily absent a gridlock; the Hasselhoff Monolith’s construction site finally broken ground, cement trucks to spare.

 

“But you’re still gonna confess. I’m vouching for your talent here and it really ain’t gonna help our prospects if you start waxing liable in the near future.”

“Ouch.”

“If this deal works out you should be able to cough up the vig at least. Get ‘em off your back, whoever they are. Come on.”

“I went to the payday loans on Vannatter, alright? F*ckin’ Ruskies up to the rafters. By the time I found one that could speak the local tongue I’d talked myself into 20% tacked onto the principal.”

Doug whistles: “20%? Maybe I spoke too soon.”

“I’ll tell you right now, I ain’t doing this unless it’s worthwhile.”

“No, you’re doing it unless you wanna get kneecapped — don’t kid yourself.”

 

The exchange is bookended by Tamburlaine overprounouncing: “ ...and facts don’t care about your feelings. This is the 20th century, and your techniques and your management processes are stuck in the 18th.”

 

Crossing the gate into Port Authority, there’s no resistance — PA on strike, union issues, political issues, something about a reduction or renaming or reorganizing, thanks given to the very same hardass union brat John Tamburlaine on the radio, AKA Union Jack — outstepping his Las Venturas roots in Local 369, sticking his nose into the ports across the river.

 

Marcus asks where you’re headed — “the waterfront”. Nothing further — scope the place out. You might have to start riding headlights; the orange sky’s tasting a burnt flame as the city’s famous fog sets over the bay. Pull around warehouses, some barren from floods — the Quest Sound retaining wall having split half a year past, high tides spilling onto concrete, companies splitsville; traded for higher elevation.

 

Get to the payphone.

 

After a short time Doug’s patience will run out; nobody’s around, the legit workers are sitting in standstill on the 416, the nightcrawlers are held back yet by the orange tinge. Doug kills the engine as the radio makes a cut after Bialek loses it and calls his adversary a “sniveling little f*cking rat.”

 

Make for a payphone nearby, get out and let Doug dial.

 

“It’s me — yeah, it’s me. Listen, your guy ain’t showed.” He snaps a couple times to dissuade Marcus from fiddling through the glovebox. “I don’t like it. You told me this wasn’t gonna happen or I wouldn’t’ve stuck my neck out.”

Calvin on the other end, unmoved through static: “Relax, take a breather, have a smoke. This guy is A—1 on a scale you haven’t even tipped. If he wasn’t going to show, he would have let me know.”

“He’s not f*cking here. You said the waterfront — another step and I’m practicing my backstroke.”

“He’ll show. Red Blade — wait it out.”

 

Click — Doug hangs it up and kicks the pole. He heads to the concrete edge, looks down into the watery abyss and lights a cigarette. Before long Marcus’s next to him, bumming one for himself and trying to look thoughtful.

 

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I heard down the grapevine that Marquez was the Tongs’ new connect.”

“Yeah. So?”

“So, you said this was on his behalf.”

“Out with it, bucko.”

 

Marcus takes a long drag and looks around; the place is too quiet — just buoy bells and waves hitting the retaining wall. “Just ‘cause it’s my first day on the job doesn’t make me a schmuck. Word travels fast in our little complex, Doug. Winky Marquez is a two—timing bum — the Wing Wangs don’t trust him further than they can throw him. They’d take him out just as soon as they put him in.”

 

Doug hits back: “That’s a very insightful take from a man busy running scared from the Ruskies.”

 

“I hold all my Bolshevik bands in equal regard — conniving. So, am I right or am I right? We’re here over Winky’s head. Maybe in exchange for Winky’s head?"

 

Nobody’s right, nobody’s talking — Marc cuts in on the answer when he catches eyes between warehouses, a tone reserved for situations that befit it: “Is that our guy?”

 

A Red Blade indeed — shadowed by a trio of red-and-blues waving their colors into the sky.

 

“I’d put money on it.”

 

The two stand idly, bemusedly; Marcus cusps his holster in anticipation as the fracas comes racing down the concrete, sirens wailing — and the chase shoots right past, hair flailing in the slipstream, further into the docks.

 

Whatever he was expecting, Doug springs: “That’s our payday on the run! Get in!”

 

Jump back into the driver’s seat and try to catch up.

 

Your ride tops out at about 120 HP, sad to say — you might be driving the same model as SFPD standard issue but it’s clear as day they’ve been tuned sky high — so keep deft at the wheel as the police poach your payday through the docks.

 

Try to stay close around tight corners and wailing sirens as the pair try to form a plan, hoping the heat hasn’t called for backup. “Doug, you’ll lose the front half of this piece of sh*t if you try to take out their fender” — plan one’s out. They come to a compromise — level your car’s right side with the copper’s left and Marcus will “christen this new gat with the pigs’ tires”.

 

Your timing needs to be spot—on, as do your alignment skills — there are long stretches of straight concrete running parallel to warehouses, but an equal amount of hard turns in the dead—end district.

 

After the first shots are fired you know backup’s coming in fast, but not too fast; if you’ve a steady hand Marcus will make quick work of the other two cruisers — a crash into bricks, barriers, boxes — before they can return fire. If not, you’ll face down a few more — two or three until you figure out what you’re doing. Feel compelled because once bullets start flying the coppers get more aggressive, if not against you; they’re after the Blade’s precious cargo. As they ram your payday the trunk will open and bricks will fly — and the payday’s lost for everyone.

 

When one car remains someone makes a crucial miscalculation — a concrete barrier between them and a 20 foot drop into the bay. The Blade drifts 90 degrees to a broadside stop, the cop hitting breaks, you hitting them harder — two beat cops jump out, too far from their element; the driver aiming at the Blade and the passenger looking her sights down at you.

 

A waterside standoff.

 

The cops try authority phrases — “Hands up! Now!”, spread between you and the escapee. You and Marc have your doors for cover — he’s already drawn his piece, you’re left with little choice but to follow suit over the driver’s door.

 

The female cop calls for advice from her partner; he snaps back “Keep on ‘em!”. Taking advantage of the impasse, the Blade’s driver crawls out the passenger side — the car’s whole body giving him leeway. But rather than run, he opts for dialogue, plops a sawed—off down on the roof and talks turkey:

 

“This is all a big misunderstanding. Get back in your cruiser and hit the dirt and we’ll all forget about this.”

 

The cops have less leeway, continue their marching orders: “Put your f*cking hands up!”

 

Doug looks for an angle, Marcus pipes up: “Someone better come up with an out here or I’ll gladly shoot every Goddamn one of you!”

 

“Shut the f*ck up, Marcus!”

 

He’s too slow on the draw; Blade continues, points down the next alley easy peasy: “Run. There, just down there. Run.”

 

The demand doesn’t ring; they don’t budge. Doug starts off: “Alright, look —”

 

Buckshot—everywhere. Gameplay segues in as you and Marcus dive for cover behind your doors, paint chips flying and shell casings hitting pavement. It might seem time to pick some shots off but its not; cutscene’s back, people yelling, a sawn—off cracking on the ground, someone making a run for it.

 

Nobody says a word before you’re on the run too—a quick look at the coppers: the guy prone and pooling red; girlie writing in pain but alive, reaching for her revolver a short step away. Looking back, Marcus walks up and kicks it, wags a cool finger like he’s no worse for wear.

 

Before things can settle down, a cruiser pulls up—then another, and with them another contingent of contentious cops whose barrels you’re looking down before they can even step out. Blade pumps the forend, blasts slugs through windshields and hoods as Doug and Marcus fly prone when the police return fire over screams.

 

Marcus yells “Go!” over bedlam, gestures his pistol toward an idling step van with its ass halfway in a loading dock.

“What?!”

“Get in the f*cking truck, Doug!”

“We go together!”

 

Time your sprint just right to avoid flying bullets—sideways blindfire to encourage a ceasefire on the blue boys’ end and it’s a go.

 

You make it, so does Marcus—holed up on the other end of the step van you see Blade dive and disappear.

 

“We can’t move with these assholes shooting at us, Doug!”

 

Lean out of cover and make your shots count; a pop-up encourages you to shoot legs, arms, when it comes to public servants—a swift kneecapping or disarming brings about a lot less attention than an outright cop killer. Dispatch as many as you can with Marc’s help; when enough are down he starts pulling on the truck’s sliding door and it gives. Inside, you come face-to-face with your new found ally Blade - you’ve got the same plan and the other side door’s given for him too, but that doesn’t stop guns from being drawn at faces.

 

Doug, backed by Marcus: “You made this pop off—find your own truck, asshole.”

“Now ain’t the time to split hairs, baby.”

 

He’s familiar.

 

Bennie jumps into the driver’s seat and tells you to hold on as the remaining cops surround the van—slam the door shut as instructed and he guns it in reverse, scraping the top of the van across the garage and into the warehouse as workers yell and scatter out of the way. Out the other side he guns it again—this time with tight turns around barrels and shipping containers as everyone’s too tense to speak. He comes to a stop in a tight alleyway behind another warehouse; Marc jumps out first, clearly pissed, takes a little stroll down the way and lights up.

 

Bennie steps out, beaming. “I’ll take my word of thanks.”

 

Doug gives it in the form of a right hook to the jaw—Bennie topples.

 

He’s flat, Doug’s got a gun on him. Bennie whines.

 

Cupping his nose and speaking between his fingers: “Goddamn! Uncle, alright? Uncle!”

“Give me a reason why I shouldn’t pop your f*ckin’ skull open, asshole.”

“Well, your boss wouldn’t very much like it for one, fella.”

“Yeah? You think he likes to find cop corpses on his bill?”

“Lemme up.”

 

He reaches out for a hand—Doug hesitates, contemplates more blunt force trauma; settles on holstering his piece and helping red man rise to his feet.

 

“Sh*t. I ain’t had the blood pumping like that since track.”

“Answer the question.”

“It couldn’t be helped. What, d’you and your buddy wanna take a rap for pig poaching? You should be thanking me, baby.”

 

Doug steps back, looks down the narrow alley they came from to see if Marcus is around—nay but fog.

 

“Listen.” Bennie scoffs. “Listen to me. I don’t know much about Calvin Leung, but I do know he’s got a stick of epic proportions up his ass. And now all I have to answer for this deal is cops with holes in ‘em and a car I’m gonna have to go liberate from impound. So yeah, you want thanks, you got it. Thank you for making my life just a bit more complicated.”

“Aw, sh*t,”—there was a reminder somewhere in there. “Goddamnit, I just bought the damn thing. $3200 in the hole to ditch in a deal gone bad.” Bennie laughs. “That shine was custom.”

“I wish I could commiserate but my only problem’s with the 15-odd kilos in the back.”

 

Sirens start wailing in the distance. Doug and Bennie peek around the corner—Marcus hightailing it himself, springing along the water wall’s edge back to Port Authority, .45 in hand.

 

“Your friend can run.”

“He ran track too.”

“Look, man— I need that car. I got a little something inside too that really don’t need to get into the pigs’ hands. Throw me a bone here.”

“Who am I, Recovery Ray? You f*cked this deal, my man. I don’t know if the Tongs won’t gut you and toss you into the Bay after this.”

“Hundred bucks, come on. A little markdown for busting my nose up but I’ll do you one good, baby. The name’s Bennie B. and it comes with a rep.”

“Never heard of you. And I got bigger things on my plate now by your grace.”

 

Doug starts to walk in the direction Marcus ran; Bennie calls: “$250 and whatever else’s in the car’s yours. Just get me my stuff.”

Doug doesn’t look back: “Good luck, baby.”

 

The cops are out for blood—follow Marcus’s lead in sneaking out the docks, avoiding the perimeter being set up, and blend back into the curious crowds forming on the outside. Images come to mind: a distinctive muscle car impounded in the company of the family sedan and 15 kilograms of heroin.

 

A sigh full of “Sh*t.”

 

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No reward.

 

Post-mission phone call(s)

1st - Calvin Leung (mandatory)

Calvin: This is Leung.

Doug: Wasn’t my fault.

Calvin: Oh, you. I solemnly hope you haven’t f*cked us over so soon.

Doug: Believe it or not I’m angry too - I’m short a couple hundred rounds of ammo and my wife has no car.

Calvin: I don’t want to hear your sorrows, I have enough. I trust you plan to return our wares to its rightful owner, one way or another?

Doug: Trust you may.

Calvin: Good. You can bring it to Oscar’s apartment when you’ve delivered. He lives on McAllister Street.

Doug: Sure. But first tell me the deal with your contact—Bennie? Real eccentric you picked. Hope you realize it kicked off thanks to him.

Calvin: We’ve assessed the situation as we see it. You need not worry about him, just recover our product. I’ll be in touch with you, Mr. Pryor.

 

2nd - Marcus Vogel (optional)
Marcus: If you call here again I’m gonna find your ass and kick it six ways to Sunday.

Doug: No Ruskies here, just calling to see if you’re alive. Practicing your disappearing act?

Marcus: Doug - yeah. Think I made the right choice, you listen to the news?

Doug: Not the worst kickoff we’ve had.

Marcus: Ha, remember Papa Lupe’s chop-shop? That was a sh*tshow.

Doug: I’ll never be able to look at motor oil the same way again.

Marcus: The not-so good ol’ days. Fair to say I’m not welcome back next time?

Doug: F*ck that, I’ll try to square it with the Tongs. They’ve taken to me.

Marcus: We getting paid?

Doug: Collect on delivery, so it sounds like I’m gonna be making a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the impound lot in the Coastlands. Wish me luck.

Marcus: Sh*t, you’ll need a damn sight more than that.

Doug: Hmph.

Edited by Cebra

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Money Over Bullshit

Welcome back. And happy belated 4 year anniversary 😊

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Cebra
On 1/9/2019 at 10:23 PM, Money Over Bullsh*t said:

Welcome back. And happy belated 4 year anniversary 😊

I think I'm a month late and a dollar short.

 

Thanks though man. I won't acknowledge the 4 year part though, I'll develop an existential crisis. ;)

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Cebra
Posted (edited)

RwzjEQX.png

Special guest spot by slimeball supreme

 

----

 

You’ll be cruising down West Greenwich when you spot him, nestled up in Saratoga Hill on a park bench, whittling away into a notepad, muttering to himself with the backdrop of the Painted Ladies right behind him. Take a moment to check your surroundings, strollers clashing with hippie types staring into the clouds, skyscrapers poking out in the distance. You get in proximity: by approaching or even just walking by absentmindedly, he’ll snap out his trance, look toward, and wave you over.

 

Mon ami, my friend!”

 

Doug stops. A scrunch of the brow, “Uh…”

 

“Yes, you! Come on, sit down.” He pats the empty seat, “I don't bite!”

 

Unsure, Doug pauses. Looks to his left, his right, then shrugs.

 

“Okay. Sure.”

 

What’s the harm? Take a seat, hold a moment as the camera swoons to keep the Victorians in view and the man, rubbing his nose, center stage.

 

He puts an arm back. “Ah. This town… it’s a modern day Florence, eh? Paris of the Pacific!”

 

“I mean, sure. Try to imagine Paris being a little more… grand.”

 

“I take it you haven't been?”

 

Doug doesn't reply. His look says it all.

 

“What's your name, mon gars?

 

“Uh… Doug.”

 

“Doug! Doug. I like that. Doug. I’m Stephane. Stephane Le Roi.”

 

“You French?”

 

“Québécois, good man. Montreal, eh. Not the best town to get the mind going. But this?” He gestures out, book on his lap, to the park in front of him. “Inspiration centrale. I'm a writer, you see.”

 

You get a look into the journal for a moment. Garbled chicken-scratch, barely legible. He slams it shut. “Nice. I guess.”

 

“You look like you can handle yourself, friend.”

 

“Sure. I was, uh… I was military. Marines.”

 

Stephane gets up, brushes himself off. “How about you and me, we take my car, you can tell me all about it. Might give you a little cameo in my book.”

 

Doug’s face is blank.

 

“...and a few bucks for your trouble. I need to get somewhere. Down Sollozzo, crosstown. Near Little Hanoi.”

 

Doug shrugs. “Fine.”

 

Do the same, dust yourself off, exit the park. Across the road, through the square’s dusty gravel and cut grass, lies Le Roi’s steed - a Pfister Rebelle. Pristine. Doug'll wolf whistle, “Nice whip, padre.” He laughs, “Y’gave me the whole, ah, starving artist vibe there.”

 

“Partly am now, heh. Mon bébé, she’s about all my royalties. But I'll double it this go, believe you me.”

 

So far, you likely haven't driven the most luxurious of vehicles, so admire the red leather bucket seats and the cigarette lighters while you can. You're eastward bound - trading prime real estate for tenant-free townhouses. Le Roi, ever giddy, starts the conversation.

 

“You got any war stories?”

 

“Everyone’s got stories.”

 

“I mean some real stuff. Rough and rugged terrain, crawling through the muck on your bedaine, knife in your gritted teeth kinda’ stuff, you get me?”

 

“And this is going in your book?”

 

“Something like it. It's called Hashville Horizon. Or, think I will, I don't know. Contemporary crime novel, cusp of the 70’s, three wiseguys in a city called Hashville.”

 

“Why Asheville?”

 

“No, no -- Hashville. You know... hash.” He does a little ‘puff puff’ with his fingers.

 

Doug, bewildered, just nods. “Uh… I don't think there are any cities called ‘Hashville’ though.”

 

“Hashville is kind of, like, based on San Fierro. I'm renaming all the landmarks, a bunch of brands, all kind of stuff.”

 

“...why?”

 

“Going for satire. We live in trying times, good man. Communism, hippies, the war, all kinds of things. Puttin’ a man on the moon. Crisse, they'll be writing about us come a couple decades, I promise you that much.”

 

“So it’s a satirical crime novel about… communism?”

 

“Oh, no. Not just that. It’ll be about, kind of like, everything. It'll be the next great American novel.”

 

“Written by a Canadian.”

 

Exactement!

 

You slow on Sollozzo, block or two away from Doug’s own pad, parallel a couple storefronts. Two tough looking Suppleham scumbags milling around in the alleyway.

 

“This your spot?”

 

“Yessir. Well. Not quite. Just wait here a second, I'll be back a moment, don't you worry.”

 

Let him go, he waddles off, starts conversing with the tough guys. Asks for blow.

 

Of course.

 

La Roi pulls a wad out a plump pocket, slicker of the two dealers pulls a baggie full of white to match. You can just make out the thank you's when crack - Stephane tumbles to the ground.

 

One has a bat. The other’s rifling his jacket pockets. Hop out the car, rush on over, though Chucky won't be pleased:

 

“Để lại bây giờ, người đàn ông nhỏ bé.”
F*ck off, little man.

 

“Để thằng ngốc một mình,” Doug snaps back.
Leave the fool alone.

 

Charlie with the baseball bat can't help but laugh. “Quỷ có một nền giáo dục, eh? Tiệc tùng nào!”
Devil has an education, eh? Let’s party!

 

It's a two-on-one, so stay nimble: bat means slow swings but counter too sloppy and fists’ll be on you fierce. Tackles mean the same outcome, fists behind you while bat boy pummels you in the stomach. You can ease the fight by pulling a weapon yourself, skip it entirely by pulling a piece and the hoodlums’ll scatter quick.

 

La Roi’s knees are shaky, help him up: “You speak Vietnamese?” he’ll stutter.

 

Doug’ll shrug, through bruises or otherwise. “Picked up a bit in the corps. One of the few. It helped.”

 

“T- thank you.” In an instant he perks up a bit, spots the wad of cash dropped by either frantic or sprawled goons. “You can have this,” he says. “I already got my tricks. You get the treat.”

 

“You said you were gonna pay me anyway.”

 

“Did I? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Sure. Thanks, Doug. Hey, I'm not feeling so good. On account of the, err,” he stops, feels his back. “Yeah. You mind taking me to my place? I'll throw in an extra few bucks.”

 

The player has a choice: accept, decline. Saying no leaves you here, wish-you-well’s and La Roi'll hobble off back to his ride. But who can pass up driving that baby again? Throw up a thumb and help him back, hop on in and drive. You're westward bound again, La Roi’s spot is up East Greenwich. Doug opens this time.

 

“You still want that war story?”

 

Through scars, La Roi’ll perk. “Certainly.”

 

“Okay. You wanted some good sh*t, right?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“Okay. Well…” Angle the camera right and you’ll get a good glance in the car, La Roi pulling out his journal again and readying a pencil. “We were up the gulf. The Tonkin.”

 

“So naval combat?”

 

“I mean, sure, I don't know. It's hard sailing, squad’s on a PCF tryna’ keep it low key. Sea isn't choppy or anything but there's always that worry guys’ll spot you. Boats moving to Da Nang, y’know, it ain't abnormal, but if you land wrong you got the dinks on you heavy.”

 

“So you're sneaking up the gulf?”

 

“I wouldn't say sneaking. Just, being careful. I remember, it's funny. There was this fella named Dutch, y’see we called him that because he reminded us of, y’know. Dutch London. Real cowboy, scowly, had these lines on his forehead. Guy‘d get pissed if you called him that to his face.”

 

“What was his real name?”

 

“Funny enough, it was Cal. Like the guy from Bullwhip Fury. Like it all pointed to him, but he hated the name, said it's because Dutch never served and all that. And he was a Freemason. He didn't like that, either.”

 

Dutch London was a Freemason?”

 

“I don't know if half the sh*t that came out his mouth were true, so take it with a grain of salt. But apparently, yeah.”

 

Beat. “Huh.”

 

“This loony motherf*cker, the boats slowing down and going the long route, up a river with these twisting inlets and all that. He dunks his hand in the water. We’re going pretty fast upstream so water’s lickin’ us all, he tells us it's warm.”

 

“So what?”

 

“So the guy rips off his shirt, throws his boots, jumps on in. Nothing else, no warning other than ‘water’s warm’.” Doug chuckles, “He's from Delisle so I'm half thinking he can't even swim. Babić is shouting, like, ‘Brother what the f*ck are you doing?’ and--”

 

“Babić?”

 

“He's driving the boat. But Dutch, he just, he doesn't say sh*t back. He's just in the water like it's nothing. So of course we gotta turn the boat around, try pick him up, Babić is going nuts. Yelling his head off at Dutch, Dutch just says we got time to kill.”

 

“So?”

 

Doug cracks up, “So we said f*ck it. All jumped in.”

 

“So you just… you went for a swim?”

 

“The water was warm.”

 

“And nothing else happened?”

 

“That's where it ended. Dutch didn't even get nothin’ for it, Babić ended up goin’ in himself. It was fun.”

 

“No action or anything?”

 

“Buddy, you know how much a hardass Babić was? This was a blue-moon experience, might as well be action. Throw that in your book.”

 

“It's a crime book. I need, y’know--”

 

“You asked, I told. Not everything was doom-and-gloom, partner. Remember that. Saw a lot but I had my lucky breaks.”

 

La Roi just sighs.

 

Roll up to La Roi’s pad on Charge Street, half-stingy apartments, weeds by cement. “This is it.”

 

“This is it?”

 

“This it is. Budget living is a luxury that cannot be overstated.”

 

Doug smirks. “That, I don't know.”

 

He’ll thank you, throw a few more bills in your lap. “On me.”

 

Out the car, he’ll walk the stairs and you can only watch. Don't touch the whip, it's locked and alarmed, but examine. 

 

Won't be the last time you see it.

 

piUfBpw.png

+ $75.00

 

Edited by Cebra

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