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THIRD RAIL: A CONCEPT


slimeball supreme
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THEME

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Red Triangle - Red Line - Bohemians & Blackjack - I Rode Mine to LS

 

CRIME, COMMUNISM, AND CAPITAL H

YET AGAIN IN PRE-9/11 LIBERTY CITY, GOD FORBID

THE METROPOLIS THAT GOD FORGOT

 

A COLLABORATION BETWEEN CEBRA AND SLIMEBALL

 

Find yourself in the beaten-down shoes of Derrick McReary and his crew of make-do hitmen and armed robbers - boys killing crooks for a cause. Throughout a multi-year narrative in the height of Liberty City’s 1980’s decay, a setting unexplored in as much nuance and depth, juggle a commitment to criminality alongside counter-cultural politics and a love of the needle.

 

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Three inseparable friends.

 

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Eldest of the infamous McReary clan, with significant distaste for family affairs. Played high school truant with Bucky Sligo to attend Vietnam protests in the seventies; Derrick picked up a young O’Malley on the way and graduated from activism, to rioting, to robbery. After a Vespucci scholarship fell through, Derrick went to prison, developed a taste for the needle while rotting in the can. May have lost the bars, but he didn’t lose the itch. Now a freelancer for his father and associates: Derrick splits his time and his money between his convictions and his dependencies.

 

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Blue-collar Dukes-born communist. A self-taught intellectual who dropped out of school by the tenth grade - fell into Derrick’s crowd of bohemian collegiates and found himself drawn to the ideology more than the free love. Much like Derrick, Buck sees crime as employment; bankroll for his true passions within the militant Marxist left. And he’s willing to do whatever it takes to empower his comrades.

 

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Raised in The Settlecots and homeschooled by a Catholic family from Galway: Aiden never lost the accent, nor the faith, nor the pride in his homeland. A move to Steinway brought O’Malley into orbit of the McReary dynasty and introduced him dually to Liberty’s fledging underworld and Derrick and Bucky’s world of intellectual respite. Fed up with a confederation of ignorant wiseguys, Aiden has three things left: his crew, his girl, and the cause.

 

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JIMMY PEGORINO - Bridge-and-Tunnel mafia brat and pig headed f*cking idiot. Scion of Alderney’s new boss, whose familial connections to the Gambettis and Messinas put him head-first into Irish affairs; now knee-deep in the Sligo-O’Malley stickup crew. A fourth companion playing third wheel, feeling largely out of step thanks to a significant lack in the brains department - though he tries to play it cool. Grows a ponytail in ‘85.

 

JULIA BLEDSOE - Aiden’s longtime girlfriend; he met her a while back at a university club for a university he weren't attending and the sparks flew from there. Largely unknowing of his criminal career if not his criminal past, Julia’s supporting of Aiden’s own delving into activism - even if the protesting ain't always non-violent. To both his and Derrick’s family, Aiden’s love for her is an invitation for scorn, for rather obvious reasons. He loves her all the same.

 

ALISTAIR ‘ALLIE’ O’KEEFFE - Immigrant owner of the infamous Steinway Beer Garden: a close associate of the McReary Crew, longtime friend of the O’Malley family, and significantly connected to the good ol’ IRA. Allie had his tendrils deep in the emigré community peddling petty fraud schemes before being put on the McReary bill; hustling his name onto the deed of a mob bar and sending chunks of cash back home to the Provos on the low. Found his perhaps treasonous activities tacitly endorsed by Big Jack himself - for blood and country, if not for their socialist politics. 

 

FERGAL ENRIGHT - Irish-Catholic lawyer and proud director for the Sons of Eriu Defense Trust. Born, raised, and now operating the SEDT between a Fortside brownstone and South Bohan community center; since the Seventies its been Ferg’s mission to get on just about every goddamn soapbox he can find to spread the gospel on Republicanism. Been banned from entry to Britain twice and violated said ban six times. He’s proud, angry. Some would say a blowhard. He would say righteous.

 

OSSIAN ‘OSH’ HOY - Massive scary f*cking guy and pointman for the IRA’s American gun smuggling ring. An old friend of Allie O’Keeffe’s from back in the day now finding himself working closely with the local Irish, taking loans and giving favors in exchange for guns and explosive by the truckload. Working indirectly with the SEDT: a legitimate aid organization, sure, but always happy to spare handouts for the right people.

 

JARLATH ‘JOCK’ MUNRO - Former volunteer IRA working with the Provos in Belfast; Jock killed an SAS man. Got tackled by ten others and charged with murder. What’d the scrawny f*cker do? Scrawny Jock held the prison guard at gunpoint, locked the guy in his own cell, and fled the country on a false passport. Rat-faced little man is now working under the name Milo Selkirk on a no-work job at the SEDT. Ferg was happy to do it. A bloody saint, that fecker is.

 

QISTINA THAWRA - The fierce leader of the North Holland based Abolitionist Revolutionary Cadre, Qistina was born Helen: moved between Dukes and North Carolina for much of her youth before radicalizing in community college. So came the name. Associated with the Holland chapter of the Leopards of Leandros before splitting into her own organization in a disagreement over tactics. f*ck appealing to the white establishment, she told them. Send ‘em to the f*cking sky. Since 1977, she’s been serving a forty-year sentence at a women’s correctional: robbed a bank with a grenade and killed a cop in the getaway. The Cadre’s keen to let her out early.

 

BONIFACE POPE - Acting leader of the ARC in place of Qistina. Sagacious and well-read, Boniface is openly homosexual and openly anarchist; the f*cker’s temerity has earned him respect. Respect he wields, but he’s never been much a field operator. His mind has always been his preferred weapon. Writes his own theory in his spare time - has eight books to his name that around six have read. Self-published.

 

OTHMAN OVYO - Logistics and information: the ARC’s fixer. Proud Maoist muscle in the footsteps of Birchwood’s Leopards, Othman worked in community detox programs and youth centers for much of his twenties before snapping over funding cuts. Split his time between Lenin and Malcolm X after that. Ovyo’s found that reform is an idiot’s goal - that a house can’t be built with the master’s tools - and has been on the front lines since he joined the Cadre. Licensed acupuncturist.

 

REJEANNE COKER - From a long line of anti-racists from the deep south; Rejeanne saw the value of intersectionality early on, trailblazed her way through San Andreas colleges - brought women’s lib into patriarchal leftist orgs, moved to San Fierro to stand in solidarity with the black power movement by the 70s and joined up with the ARC. Didn’t long last as a free woman; she soon after got nabbed on some loose ammo laying around during a traffic stop and got sentenced up the river for a decade. Got furloughed in ‘78 though, death in the family. She’s been underground ever since.

 

VICKIE JOYNER-BASS - A Couira native and bonafide red diaper baby, Vickie was a nascent political organizer in the wake of the ‘71 prison riots - ultimately fell in with the Anti-RIMROD Committee, fell out when it lost its momentum against federal pressure and the cooldown in ‘Nam, fractioned with a trusty sisterhood to found ‘From The Barrel’ alongside Swain, Thawra, et al. It wasn’t long lasted. Before long the bunch’d latched onto a movement with greater immediacy and goals in mind: the ARC. Likes to sue the US government in her free time.

 

DEACON COLQUHOUN & GLADIA SWAIN - Now young parents who first met through NoRIMROD in the early 70s, Colquhoun and Swain complemented one another from the beginning: Colquhoun, the academic, was a political theorist and journalist. Swain preferred direct action. They found a fusion of the two; graduated from NoRIMROD to FTB to ARC alongside their friend Vickie Bass and soon went underground. Deacon cashed out his family’s Israel bonds for funding, Gladia fine-tuned her driving skills. Their love for each other matches that of the cause.

 

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JOHN JACK MCREARY - The McReary patriarch. Spends his time between Dukes and his old home in Purgatory; moved to the outer boroughs to raise his boy. Unfortunately, his boy didn’t much care for him. A legend in underworld circles for sheer balls and propensity for trigger-pulling - McReary pulls off hits and muscle-work for two of Liberty’s five families: pro bono work for an admiring Jon Gravelli, and a similar alliance with Sicillian professional Memo Smokes. He trusts neither.

 

MAUREEN MCREARY - Long-struggling housewife and former troublemaker in her youth, Maureen found comfort in the church and married her first flame in her teens: turned a young Mrs. Jack McReary. In a household where bark quickly turns bite, she remains a devout Catholic and Derrick’s anchor to home. May the Lord have mercy.

 

FRANCIS MCREARY - Self-destructive brother of Derrick’s with a clear conscience yet, Frankie is in the process of eschewing the family business in favor of religious education. Now entering the seminary, Frank’s own latent vices won’t stop him from preaching, nor exalting his values upon the weary masses. A boy desperate for meaning: just not in Derrick’s pinko ways, or his father’s criminality.

 

‘KIT SPOILS’ WHELAN - In the absence of his first born, a father-son relationship formed between one Roderick Whelan and boss Jack McReary. Now Big Jack’s right-hand man, Kit has a surplus in brawn and one f*cked up brain - several trips to a psych ward both in his youth and during prison-time and an insanity plea in the early Seventies. Big Jack trusts him enough as his main enforcer, though necrotic gray matter and a Thorazine prescription leave something to be desired.

 

CRAIG TOLMIE - Professional hitman and clean-up expert: taught Jackie a trick where you cut the bodies up and spread them at different points on the West River shoreline. Sick f*ck. Has a van in his shed called the Meat Wagon used to shuttle bodies, both alive and not-so-alive, from burial ground to burial ground.

 

GRIFF ‘THE BERK’ BISSET - Former altar boy steered away from the church while Big Jack’s second son went and stayed; Griff the Berk serves as an aide-de-camp and lieutenant primarily selling guns and pot for cheap. Despite being a weaker link, Griffin also handles the odd bit of finance, being one of the few Irish entrusted by the Italians to work construction no-shows.

 

KENNY & MERRICK KEIR - Young pair of up-and-comers with a taste for heroin - both for selling and the occasional and not-so-occasional use. Offer Derrick a discount now and then in exchange for an odd job or two: finding themselves rather wary of violence, at least for their profession.

 

DERMOTT ‘DARBY’ MCENIRY - Old muscle with three kids, two of whom want nothing to do with him. Darby is a confidant of Jack’s: comes down for supper with the big man, swaps stories, gives pertinent advice on high profile issues. Always has a couple bucks in his jacket for Patrick and Katey, a couple words of wisdom for Frankie and Derrick. His guidance - let as much blood as possible, and reap the weak for all they have.


 

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SIMONE ‘MEMO SMOKES’ TRUNGALE - A demanding, entitled psychopath who got his name for an affinity for tobacco: cigars and cigarettes. Made his bones for the Pavanos killing a dissident from Italy on behalf of Mussolini himself, but skipped for the Messinas when Don Zio became persona non grata. Became Joe ‘the Mess’ Messina’s consigliere, helped settle a squabble in Montreal between the zip family, ensured tons of coke for his fellas in the city. Now acting boss after ‘Tommy Waters’ Bisacquino got sentenced to 30 years in ‘79. He’s intent on becoming official boss. Some don’t like that. Memo don’t care.

 

HARVEY NOTO - The protege of Memo Smokes: a born gangster, moneylender extraordinaire, wise beyond his years in a graduating class of wiseguys who can’t keep their mouths shut. Would’ve been made Gambetti if it weren’t for family ties to Trungale himself, a man he serves dutifully and without hesitation despite Memo’s hostilities. Through his own back-breaking work, even has Trungale’s arch-nemesis Jonnie Gravelli working hand-in-hand with the Messina's now-a-days. Hal Noto never had time for rivalry - just business.

 

HARRISON ‘HARRY THE HAT’ HALL - The right-hand man of Harvey Noto: a talented pimp, pusher, veteran, and degree-holding lawyer who nigh-exclusively manages the Messina Family’s skin businesses. Served years in Vietnam with an honorable discharge and funded his law degree pushing chicks out of hotels. Only ever caught for two crimes: going over the speed limit in ‘78, and lying he was half-Jewish to get into college. Now he lies he’s half-Italian. On it goes.

 

DIODATO ‘MART DIO’ MARTIGNONI - Highly influential caporegime in the Broker wing of the Messinas, loyal only to Tommy Waters. No nonsense; he sees the paths being taken by boss Memo Smokes as detrimental to the family’s already shaky reputation. He’s stockpiling weapons. He’s expecting war. He knows Smokes ain’t one for negotiation. Now the de facto boss of a triumvirate of captains preparing for a coup: alongside his pal Freddy Rigs and a wannabe geep named Dodo Lank. It’s up to Harvey Noto to make sure they don’t pull the trigger.

 

PANCRAZIO ‘CRAZY PANS’ MARTIGNONI - Son of Mart Dio; his nickname may be a bastardization, but the fella’s got a reputation for being f*cking crazy. Brazen hitman under his father’s crew and proudly at his every beck and call, Crazy Pans is being groomed to take over the capo position when his pops (hopefully) gets acting boss from Tommy Waters. Owns a pretty boat.

 

SIGISMONDO ‘JOE MUNDY’ FONTANA - North Broker capo and personal friend of Memo Smokes. One-time cohort of Harvey Noto through blood ties, ditto with Tommy Waters himself before his trip up the river; Joe Mundy’s made his allegiances known all the same. Chummy as they come with new-into-the-fold Sally Boy but significantly less so with Joe Ootz the kick-up bum, Mundy acts primarily intermediary for Memo Smokes himself. The man needs all the insulation he can get - and Joe Mundy’s keen to provide in exchange for the looming spoils of loyalty.

 

EUTIMO ‘JOE OOTZ’ DI NUOVO - Similarly nicknamed soldier of Joe Mundy with reams of personal problems: a drug-addicted son, a tumultuous second marriage, and a severe deficiency in earn despite a mountain of hits to his name. Only one light in the darkness; his protege. A whiny, frugal little man.

 

SALVATORE ‘SALLY BOY’ MANGANO - A Florida-born wiseguy only recently brought into the Messina family fold as the trainee of Joe Ootz. A small-time diamond thief and self-proclaimed expert, Sally’s excited to get made and often lets his stature - 6’2, built like a f*cking ox - do the talking more than the few words he’s willing to say. He’s quiet like that. Earn and brawn.

 

CARLO ‘CARLIE BREEZE’ TORTORA - Taught in the way of the hit by Mart Dio and Crazy Pans, Carlie Breeze is Carlie Breeze for the blocks he ties to ankles of men now sleeping in the Humboldt River. A professional killer who finds joy in his work: Tortora balances a dedication to murder and decapitation with an admiration for the Shaolin - he’s a lover of Byron Fu flicks who spent three years learning kung fu in Hong Kong. There’s rumors he still finds it handy.

 

MELVIN ‘THE SKIV’ SCHIAVONE - Bantonvale capo and common mediator within and outside the family; mostly thanks to the deep, deep roots of his family tree. Fireworks salesman, pigeon coop keeper, many-a cousin to many-a wiseguy - Broker Mel the Wiseguy Broker has aligned himself with the interests of Memo Trungale, but is always looking for a compromise.

 

MARK ANTHONY & ALFREDO VOLPE, JR. - The teenage sons of infamous Dukes capo ‘Freddy Rigs’ Volpe, Sr.; top Bisacquino loyalist and Francis International truck hijacker. The dynamic duo are never too far apart; and always ready to get their hands dirty for the good of their family name. Mark? A lowdown legbreaker always happy to crack skulls. Fredo Junior? Long faced weasel along for the ride.

 

OLIVIERO ‘OLLIE LULU’ GLIUGLIU - The liaison between the Messinas’ Canadian friends: the Cazzini crime family. A serial divorcee and native Quebecois who ostensibly manages a Bohan jeweler and a Montreal pizza parlor. Both are fronts for cocaine and heroin trafficking. Neither sell very good product.


 

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JON GRAVELLI - Somehow both flamboyant and quiet, somehow both a modernist and traditionalist, somehow both conservative and liberal in his leadership: ‘Teflon’ Jon Gravelli is the much-revered boss of Liberty’s most powerful mob family. A man with exuberant taste in clothes and cars but a habit of keeping his mouth laced shut. A man with a rolodex of proteges to his name in an ever-revolving list of one young, preeminent killer after another. A pragmatist, a stern but cautious voice, a horny old f*cking bat, a titan. Jon Gravelli today, off the back of his predecessor Sonny’s death in federal penitentiary, has modernized a crime family. Sought to mend broken relations with the long-maligned Messina clan. Placed a firm grasp on the white collar - on construction racketeering and union corruption. But the man, ever specious, keeps one eye open and the other shut with his ban against drug dealing. He has clear favorites. Many aren’t pleased.

 

BART ‘THE CHINK’ CHIARUGI - Long-suffering underboss of the Gambettis; a traditionalist in the wholly-untraditional Gravelli regime. Passed over for the boss position after Sonny Cangelosi’s passing and resentful since his death in ‘78, Chiarugi’s respect among the ranks and own personal, wide-ranging profits in less-than-savory business has seen good enough reason for Gravelli to keep him installed as underboss. He’s emasculated. Chiarugi was mentored by men who killed for less. A spry little gossip, Bart Slopes has seen fit to bend the world to his whim from the shadows: a world of backchat, sh*ttalk, and finger-crossing to the face of his boss. His ‘boss’, oh how he loathes it. Wouldn’t even help bail out his son! Disgrazia, he says. Many listen.

 

PETER REA - One of the most ambitious wiseguys in Liberty’s LCN: Jon Gravelli’s protege in the early Seventies, hijacking whiz on the FIA-to-Zephyr route, loan-enforcer, hitman. A charismatic, cocky son of a bitch finding himself a friend to many and an enemy to many more - he’s arguably Jon Gravelli’s unofficial second underboss; captain of a highly profitable Dukes crew with a team of knuckleheads to his name. It’s said Pete Rea is exempt to any family rules: drug dealing, profit splitting, breaking laws of silence - it’s a blind spot that makes Pete a mafia prince. A blind spot soon to be exploited by an envious Bart Chiarugi.

 

‘BOBBY BUFFET’ MAISTO - Lennox Island’s own Pete Rea: just sans ambition, charisma, reputation, and most everything else except position. A f*cking idiot goombah like Bobby who can't take a jab at his expense half as good as a fist? He'd have fallen off the bottom rung anywhere else if it weren't for him being such a goddamn suckup. And Bobby Buffet, brutish Lennox Island greaseball, always sucked up big to Bart Chiarugi - got him position number two. Unsurprisingly most despise him - just not to his face.

 

REGGIE ‘THE REDHEAD’ DELLO RUSSO - Psychopath murderer and recently-made member of the Gambetti crime family. Though Reggie answers to one Gino Sbarra; he runs his own crew out of a Broker nightclub used simultaneously as a hangout and a cemetery. An enterprising car-thief and drug dealer, Redhead Reg formed a particular bond with Bart the Chink around the same time Jon befriended Jackie the Mick - his team serving a third purpose as Bart’s personal hit squad.

 

EUGENIO ‘GENIE’ SBARRA - Reggie the Redhead’s babysitter. Longtime confidant, somehow simultaneously, of both Jon Gravelli and Bart the Chink. Broker farm baby who traded military service for a Weir Ridge barbershop when the recruiters told him no, brittle bone disease don’t cut it in the army. Discouraging, sure, he wanted to f*cking kill Krauts, but he settled for killing Italians on behalf of Teflon Jon instead. After a stint as a personal aide to the boss, he’s now a middle-man for both Jon and Bart’s proxy crews. Whichever man he favors may get an upper hand when conflict inevitably knocks at the Gambetti door.

 

‘JOHNNY CHEESE’ PEGORINO - Together with his brother and underboss ‘Vinny Lumps’, and septuagenarian consigliere Sergio ‘Sergie Goggs’ Serradifalco; Johnny Cheese runs the Pegorino Crew. Crew, family, family, crew - depending on who you ask the family across the West River are either a glorified bunch of hick Tudor farmers; or willing puppets of the Gambetti regime. They’re both. Johnny personally answers to Jon Gravelli and works hand-in-hand with the Dukes-based McReary Gang. His son Jimmy, the dullard, is personal friends of Big Jack’s son Derrick. Big Jack is friends with Jon. Jon is friends with Johnny. Johnny’s an old friend of Jack. On and on it goes.

 

APOLLO ‘CHICK’ POMPA - High school dropout with impulse control disorder - record on paper might not support him but the numbers do. Rare example of a friend of Jon’s just as much personal as business, Chick Pompa’s nevertheless had a hand in nearly every business deal that’s bought the don his kingdom - Messina connects on scag, a paper trail for his social club Stanzino, the works. He’s his number one, no doubt about it. Lowkey business acumen rivals his big f*cking mouth, but the former’s taken precedence of late: more than anything Chick enjoys taking a break from it all, sailing off the Florida coast in his shiny new cabin cruiser. He called her Titania.

 

SEYMOUR ‘ELMER TROUT’ ODIO - Senior capo specializing in the waste management business; Elmer Trout runs contracted dustcarts all over Broker and Lennox Island. Helped the Gambettis run garbage hauling in the city under a common alias for going on three-or-four decades. The man has his loyalties to the family’s older guard through the honorable Bart Chiarugi - seeing both him and his protege Joe ‘the Jew’ lo Giudice take up as some of his most vocal supporters. A modest, grandfatherly figure with a keen eye for surveillance; both against and for the family.

 

ROCCO ‘ROCKY SYKES’ SIACCALONE - Stone cold killer. Another of Gravelli’s greatest confidantes and fiercest loyalists, he’s never been shy to back up his words with the kind of dirty work that makes eager rounds in OC division break rooms. Good personal friend of the don and Chick Pompa alike, he’s never abandoned the bones he made as fixer. When that drunk cop killed Butchie Bove’s kid? Rocky Sykes dealt. Nosy cowboy cops poked their nose where it don’t belong? Rocky Sykes dealt. High profile bodies jammed the grinder? Rocky Sykes dealt. How does he deal? With brass knuckles, blowtorches, and acid. 

 

RICKY ‘WITH THE HAIR’ CECCHIN - One of Gravelli’s closest lieutenants and a sycophant to his core; serving as an aide and second advisor when the consigliere isn’t available. Unfortunately, hasn’t got much in the way of advice. A likable toady with a thing for spray tan and the kind of jokes that won’t trigger a crisis of the ego.

 

MAFFEO NICHOLAS ‘MUFFY’ CHIARUGI - The greaseball son of Bart Slopes; got his name from his father’s affinity for leaving historical documentaries on while he worked. Loved the Renaissance stuff, the Venetian doges and the popes and the princes. You’d be lucky to get that sh*t out his son, though. A stunted, slimy little cockroach; a pimp and a drug fiend with an inferiority complex and sh*tty dress sense. His f*ckups never precluded his father’s love. You don’t touch his boy.

 

THURGOOD ‘RED TEDDY’ MOORE - Grew up in Dukes: Lenape father, half-Italian mother. As a result, grew up alongside wiseguys. Entrusted by Jon Gravelli as muscle and Pete Rea as a friend; Teddy’ll never get made and feels estranged as a result, with the immorality of his work weighing fiercely on his mind. Maybe he’ll cash his chips someday soon. Teddy won’t say - the fella don’t say nothing to nobody.


 

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SILVIO ‘SIL SQUIBS’ RENZULLI - A man in Carmine Lupisella’s image, now family boss: quiet, smart, sociable. Never took a side in the family’s squabbles between Broker and Bohan; being from East Holland himself, his fair hand has made him a worthy fit for the throne. Has avoided wiretaps and surveillance for years and has few charges to his name - largely by sticking to the inside of his Ocelot when discussing operations. After all, he runs half the unions in the city. Can’t do that for long without being a little shrewd.

 

‘BENNY JIFF’ GAIONI - Sex pest consigliere from the family’s historically maligned Broker faction. Runs a bar in Bantonvale which has become a de facto headquarters for East Island operations, which are now highly f*cking profitable thanks to a knack for racketeering. Has a Carpenter union under his thumb, traffics heroin, loansharks, runs illicit gambling, extortion and burglary and homicide. Amicable and clever? Sure. But a rapist. Dismemberer. Scum.

 

SANSONE ‘SONNY THE SAINT’ HONORATO - Depraved hitman for the Lupisellas who gained his reputation while working as Don Vincent’s personal cleaner. Did his first murder for the family at 19, plead his fifth murder and third court case down to a short stint in medium security prison. A pervert, psychopath, sadist. Plucks the eyebrows of the bodies he leaves for the cops and brings whores to family functions. The little words he speaks are vile - but the man values the organization above all. The Lupisellas’ most loyal soldier.

 

SEPE THE WRENCH & LEO PULEO - Frick and Frack. Longtime understudies of and collaborators with Benny Jiff; Dominic Sepe finding a place as his personal aide. Leo Puleo - former Ancelotti associate, stubborn fool, psychopath willing to kill for even the smallest slight. Dom ‘the Wrench’ - crafty, ruthless, ladder climbing sociopath also willing to kill for any and everything. Highly capable henchmen destined for greatness, if Gaioni has any say.

 

MARK LUPISELLA - Mark’s lost two father figures: his real father, Carmine Junior, beaten to death after an argument gone wrong. His Uncle Vincent, a guiding hand through adolescence and the accidental killer of Carmine Jr., has been serving a 15-year stretch upstate for conspiracy. Mark’s outlet? The ring. A talented boxer with the sport slowly fading behind him, Mark’s found his calling in the crime family that bears his name. His uncle encourages him the very same from behind the visiting room glass, though with the wordsmithing of men who can’t afford to let the hacks in on their business.

 

GILROY ‘GILL’ DONOVAN - Lupisella associate with ties to Harry Hall. One of a few Irish gangsters from the Broker side of the family who escaped indictment when the feds made a case in 1980. Some would say it was because he never really did anything of note: being a small time junkie hood who only really smuggled cigarettes and helped with prep work for an airport heist - but Gilly would tell you he was just too clever to get caught. Now Hall’s main guy for smack trafficking and sh*t-talking.

 

MOISHE ‘MOE’ SCHWARTZ - Born to a Neapolitan mother and Ukranian Jewish father, Moe from Bohan became a learned financial expert without attending university. Indebted himself to the family peddling books without tax and became the closest thing Vincent Lupisella ever had to consigliere. He’ll never get made, but will always have high status among Bohan and Broker alike as an accountant and intermediary. A devoted zionist and right wing nutcase with no wife or children.

 

LUIGI VALVONA - The hedonistic boss of the Pavano Crime Family: Big Louie made his bones in the textile industry, mentored by the esteemed Eufrasio ‘Don Zio’ Pavano. Met his wife, a former seamstress more than half his age, and took off to managing the family at a distance. Often caught between a rural horse ranch in Upstate Liberty, an upscale home in Vice City’s suburbia, and many-a bath house in Algonquin’s downtown.

 

BALDOVINO ‘VINNIE BALDO’ ULLO - Geriatric Pavano underboss since 1972; Big Vinnie functions as Street Boss while his superior isolates in luxury. Operating out of a Cod Row social club and Louie Valvona’s cafe in Papaver Village, Vinnie Baldo is boss in all but name, and he wields the respect to boot. His name means business. The man has consulted with presidents.

 

VITO ‘DOG MEAT’ MENOTTI - Always kind of a weirdo: Pavano hitman and soldier with a mostly unremarkable record. Until he bought the dog food plant. Oh, that dog food plant. The big machines for grinding and canning and shipping. Legit income? Absolutely. Great for the family books, fraud, merch distribution, taxes. For grinding up bodies? Couldn’t be f*cking better. Makes the work that much easier when you’re throwing away mulch and you aren’t breaking the bones with hammers in the shed.

 

GIOVANNI ‘GIO THE STOAT’ ANCELOTTI - Gio took the reigns of the Ancelotti Family in a state of turmoil in the Seventies: pushed it even further through phony front bosses and open participation in the drug trade, then picked it back up when his Commission seat was at risk. Called him “Johnny the Stoat” ‘cause the guy was a f*cking weasel. A stubborn, flamboyant hoodlum with a knack for unorthodox business arrangements and a willingness to make dough regardless of moral consequence.

 

‘CHUBBY’ CHARLES MATTEO - Alderney City loanshark, Venturas bookie, Liberty City killer. A man of many skills and one of the Ancelotti Family’s most consistent earners since his early twenties, he’s one of Old Man Gio’s favorite made guys and a distant relative of his through in-laws. After the death of his own fiancee during childbirth he’s become a real sour f*ck: grumpy, greedy, gluttonous, growing into his nickname. As newly minted capo, he’s devoted himself to his don. He hasn’t got much else.

 

‘TONY BLACK’ SPOLETO - One of two sons to a legendary Ancelotti gangster; now one of Liberty’s premier white collar racketeers. Strongarms and owns a variety of legit businesses: leasing companies, entertainment bookers, video stores. When the Russians kicked him out of Hove after trying to muscle in on their gas bootlegging racket, he got his own guy; a doofus Israeli-Romanian yuppie named Mihai Pokrass who’s both braggadocious and deathly scared of him. The Jew drives a purple Enus. Tony Black’s happy to bankroll.

 

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Across several years of wheeling, dealing, and stealing; the criminal economy of the city where all roads lead will be ruled by squabbling, greed, and gossip. A heavily intertwined game of power among gangsters will ensue, impacted by even the most minor of hits to the bottom line, in a world of crime more complex than Balkan politics. There’s always a name, always a face, always a beef, and at the end of the end there’ll always be a gunshot.

 

Derrick McReary is a hired gun alongside his two politically-inclined friends - occasionally alongside the less-inclined James Pegorino. Working partly as a liaison between Italian criminals and his father’s outfit of Dukes-and-Purgatory-based Irish; he and the motley crew split their time between the wiles of gangland power, whom they mostly loathe, and the places their payment goes. Money from jobs are often funneled to the most radical of radicals: Bucky opting for an uptown communist organization with a inkling toward direct action, and Aiden opting for a line to funding the Republican Army (both Provisional and Original) through an associate of the McReary Boys.

 

Derrick will divide himself between robbers, revolutionists, and gear. Enter the state of affairs. Get ready for so many f*cking Italian names your head starts spinning.

 

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The Messina clan has always found itself marked by infighting and squabbling, and in that regard times surely haven’t changed. Its current leader, Simone ‘Memo Smokes’ Trungale, is just out of the can after a bid for narcotics trafficking. Leader, sure - but he’s only acting boss. Current official boss is Tomaso ‘Tommy Waters’ Bisacquino: only appointed after family namesake ‘Joe the Mess’ Messina’s retirement, and a role quickly lost when Bisacquino was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 1979. Trungale left the same year; he was appointed to leadership the day Waters went away. Memo Smokes, despite being former Messina number-two, has a reputation: one for being a stubborn Sicilian mutt with a constant grudge and no love lost for compromise. His leadership has marked a quick return to moving scag, largely processed through Quebecois affiliates like Ollie Lulu and Cal Cazzini, many of those orders coming through capo-cum-liasion ‘Joe Mundy’ Fontana. They’re raking it in.

 

Smokes has been jockeying for his temporary leadership to become permanent, arguing Waters probably won’t leave a federal penitentiary before he croaks. A triumvirate of capodecina within the family - helmed by Diodato ‘Mart Dio’ Martignoni, ‘Freddy Rigs’ Volpe, and Edward ‘Dodo Lank’ Salvodelli - have taken the stance that the removal of Memo and his underboss Ugo ‘Hughie’ Nisticò are imperative. Their proposal? Have Mart Dio take over as acting boss, with his son ‘Crazy Pans’ turning Messina underboss. Rumors suggest they’ve already begun stockpiling in case things get bloody - in the form of automatic weapons, and a lot of them.

 

Smokes’ protege, Harvey Noto, has orchestrated his own alliance. Trungale and Jon Gravelli’s rivalry is historic in nature, but they’ve recently buried the hatchet in the name of the almighty dollar - at Noto’s suggestion. Together, using Hal’s right-hand and a-la-carte lawyer ‘Harry the Hat’ Hall, they’ve cultivated the use of Gravelli’s Irish muscle - the McRearys - as a potential line of defense. Family capo Mel the Skiv has reached out to Lupisella gangsters like ‘Benny Jiff’ Gaioni through mutual partner Gilroy ‘Gill’ Donovan in an effort to further assert the Trungale faction’s power. It’s truce or an all-out war - and the prospects of either are riding ever even.

 

The McReary Boys find themselves squarely aligned with the interests of their Gambetti paymasters - John Jack’s friendship with Don Gravelli being the only matter of importance in dealing with the Messina clan. The always distant bohemian first-born, Derrick, has found himself as their reluctant emissary to Trungale in between his own endeavors (John Jack preferring the company of his protege Kit Spoils to his wily leftist offspring) as they maintain protection on joint Gambetti-Pavano construction projects and work enforcement alongside the Pegorino Family. A clan of brutal Irish thugs are squared off with Derrick’s hopeful brother Francis - in the makings of becoming a church boy after getting his GED and maintaining a blissful superiority complex in doing so. Derrick supports his brother. As long as he doesn’t become one of them, one of the hooligan Purgatory scumbags, it doesn’t matter if that support is reciprocated.

 

On the political side, the Abolitionist Revolutionary Cadre of North Holland has been bucked into a tailspin after the imprisonment of former leader Qistina Thawra in 1977 - convicted of murder one and two, pig battery, and armed robbery. In her place, anarchist Boniface Pope has begun a fundraising drive in an attempt to finance a breakout - and, while he’s at it, revolutionary activities in Italy, Afghanistan, Germany - the world. Buchanan Sligo, meanwhile, has found himself a primary benefactor; a good personal friend of the organization’s Minister of Information, Othman Ovyo. Derrick and Aiden chip in. It’s all with the same goal in mind.

 

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The regime of Jon Gravelli has found itself in a quagmire: his long uncontested rule is beginning to unravel. The Macchiavelian puppet master and chairman of Liberty’s Commission has slowly become the status quo of a growing rivalry between his own underboss: Bart Chiarugi. Bart the Chink was originally one of the top men of 1950’s boss Gus Gambetti: a man replaced by Sonny Cangelosi in a bloody coup, who was later replaced by the man himself, Don Jon. A bubbling resentment has grown since his appointment to the throne in 1978. Gravelli has fashioned himself as an innovator; his underboss a squarely old school kind of psychopath appointed to his role after being passed over for leadership - a choice made by Gravelli as to avoid any internal disputes.

 

So much for that.

 

Bart Chiarugi has formed a clique of conservative Gambetti capos and soldiers in a mirror organization still fundamentally subordinate. Bart has his protege Bobby Buffet, self-righteous shot-caller Alfie Placanica, old school capo ‘Elmer Trout’ Odio, and Odio’s protege ‘Joe the Jew’ on his tab. Alongside them, he has aligned himself with hitman and crew-operator ‘Reggie the Redhead’ of South Broker, a man closely monitored by Gravelli loyalist ‘Genie’ Sbarra. Bart has reportedly found an audience with rival families: gaining the favor of Lupisella boss ‘Sil Squibs’ Renzulli and the passive admiration of Pavano hardhead ‘Bald Vinnie’ Ullo. Together, they and others make up the Algonquin wing of the family.

 

Just the same, Gravelli has his own loyalists: mob brat Cozzie Cangelosi, his aide-de-camp Apollo Pompa, his favorite bootlicker ‘Ricky with the Hair’, capo Butch Bove, Alderney wannabe-boss John Pegorino along with his birdbrained son Jimmy ‘the Peggytail’, and his own understudy Peter Rea. Mirroring Bart’s forays with the semi-independent crew of Reggie the Redhead, Jon Gravelli has found an ally in a very old friendship: the Irish mob ran by John Jack McReary. They're the East Island faction. For now they remain the dominant wing - bolstered by the muscle of the Irish (who also remain closely tied to the currently-neutral Pavano family as a beneficiary of construction rackets). But a passive-aggressive war of gossip and reputation is being fought by Chiarugi. Day by day, the man tries to turn as many men against their boss as possible.

 

At home, Derrick has found himself a caretaker for a withdrawn Francis McReary: now flunked out of the seminary for cheating and petty theft. Through Aiden’s family friend and McReary associate Alistair ‘Allie’ O’Keeffe, the trio have found themselves involved in the Bohan-based Sons of Eriu Defense Trust. Spearheaded by political activist Fergal Enright, the functionally legitimate organization has spread funds to less-than-reputable sources as a result of Enright’s political convictions: giving IRA fugitive Jarlath ‘Jock’ Munro a fake name and no-work job as janitorial staff, alongside allowing Jock to funnel money to Provisional IRA operative ‘Osh’ Hoy. Through Hoy, the trio are intent to smuggle weaponry and explosives from the United States to Dublin - as well as using ill-gotten gains, with John Jack’s blessing, to finance the republican cause.

 

If that confuses you, don’t worry. Nobody knows what the f*ck is going on. These guys hardly say words with more than two f*cking syllables. And to Derrick and the Irish, as long as the guys they’re friends with ain’t getting shot, it’s all the same anyways.

 

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Why, you ask - if LC is the worst city in America - do you spend so much time there? Too much Liberty for you? Tough f*cking sh*t. There’s nowhere more vile, more criminal, more obscene in the goddamn country. America’s criminal capital. Racketeers of all legalities. We’ll make a million more concepts set in this sh*thole town before we f*cking stop.

 

You don’t need a welcome.

 

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Home turf. The most diverse place in America is at your mercy.

 

On the border of Meadows Park stands the ancestral McReary rowhouse of three stories, perpetually scuffed wax wood floors, and a kitchen under renovation since the 1960’s. When John Jack gets his driver Griff to take him cross-town, he’s headed to the O’Keeffe-owned Steinway Beer Garden in the not-so Irish parts of formerly Irish Steinway. That car would head past the Chinese-Latino neighborhood of Cerveza Heights, past the pompous upper-middle suburbia of Meadow Hills, the decaying industry and project towers of East Island City. And the wasteland that is O’Donovan Airport.

 

That’s just eastern-ways. Cross Meadows Park - see the structurally-sound Monoglobe and the carcass of Liberty State Pavilion Towers - and the borough keeps going. The heavily Mandarin neighborhood of Keering where the boys spit dai-lo on the corners. The cold hard streets of Willis. Zephyr Hill’s guidos and pizzerias in the shadow of Francis International. And more identical suburb than you could shake a stick at. 

 

Dukes is a borough of a million languages - where the old-school white ethnic neighborhoods of Italians and Irish and Germans and Jews cross paths with the Liberty of the new 20th century: the Latinos, Greeks, Arabs, Asians of a million dialects. And they’re in the same America where President Hogan’s on the TV talking trickle-down right after the Cosmos game at Falstreau Field.

 

Rob all those saps f*cking blind.

 

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Broker - like Algonquin in Red Line - gets cut off around the Milden Boulevard border of Outlook Park. Shortest end of the stick throughout the McReary parable. You get most of Broker’s northernmost ghettos and graves this time - the blue collar dockland of East Hook and beyond alongside the neighborhoods Liberty abandoned to the scourge of crack cocaine: Suydam, Far-Sleck, East Liberty.

 

From the top to the bottom are the white-ethnic ports getting run over by gangsters or by the tide of white flight. Traditionally Polish Redcape on the Dukes/EIC border, a Hedgebury of Hasidic and Italian and Latino flavors. The mob-ran streets of Schottler all melt in the great pot that is the Humboldt waterfront. The brownstones and bodegas of Rotterdam and Settler Hill, the urban decay of BOABO mixing artist lofts with the grit of the streets. The Bowels; a muddy, lawless graveyard where men fire shots and nobody comes to see why. No 911 where the outlaws roam.

 

Today’s Broker is a series of leftovers. Artists and trendy developers are already picking up the pieces of a ravaged borough. It’s cobblestones and crack addicts, pretty church steeples and used heroin needles dotting gutters and alleyways. It’s the city’s most populous playground. It’s perfect.

 

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Financial, cultural, crime capital of the United States - or so they’d have you think on the latter. In Third Rail, Algonquin is spared its Red Line treatment with the lower borough cutoff - you’ve got free reign to all in 1981. Come in via East Borough Bridge and you’re right in Lancaster, Middle Park East character exemplary of an ethnic exodus in favor of the godforsaken yuppies flocking to the borough so they can take the K/C line right down to The Exchange. Let it ring in your head - The Exchange. Algonquin not as ground zero for the reigning anarchy its 70s-on reputation would have you think, but a honeytrap for all the Barium Street moneyf*ckers in the world.

 

K/C line carries through the neighborhoods running parallel to the Humboldt - Hatton Gardens, Easton, Lancet - skyscrapers and medical centers and embassies and minority flight and not much else for the criminally inclined; unless you wanna nod off, that is, in which case you’ll do alright in the shadows in Grand Easton Terminal or the alleyway arteries surrounding Galahad Palace Arena. But generally your interests lie more inland, southwest - take Nickel Street westbound and you’re cooking with gas: Purgatory; the McReary legacy secured in geography, the old watering hole of Lucky Winkles and the future site of the Blutegel Exhibition Hall just broken ground. Star Junction, meanwhile, still half a vestige of the early 70s with its peep shows and XXX theaters and corner girls yet untouched by the Schmidt mandate of - gasp - gentrification. 

 

Southern-more, Papaver Village beckons: having long abandoned its identity as hippie ground zero; now a different world with Pavano goombahs reigning over from their little social club on Sheridan Street. Little Italy ever standing the test of time; Chinatown more vibrant than ever, neon on slick streets. But sticking west also guides you north; Rotterdam Tower and the International Center of Exchange won’t leave your shadow between the streets headed up: everpresent city emblems as you zip up Union Drive past the unattainable heights of Middle Park West, now-vacant apartments in Varsity Heights and onward.

 

Highest you got business - the ARC operates out of Holland and you’ll be familiarizing yourself with it more than ever. But remember: gentrification. That’s the keyword. And the time period doesn’t spare you its reach. 

 

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Of all the boroughs hit hardest by Liberty’s 1970’s bankruptcy; Bohan lies the lowest of the low. Arson, homicide, gang crime, vandalism - the police don’t care, and neither do the politicians. Because Bohan’s Bohan. It’ll always be Bohan. When gentrification lifts a finger and crushes the city without thought, it’ll come for Bohan last.

 

Northern Bohan remains attached to a significantly more preferable poverty to many establishment figures - white ethnic working class. Much needed to maintain the wealth of nearby Pennyford County, a bastion of upstate suburban splendour marked by picket fences and gated communities. Bordered by parkland and headstones is the Irish neighborhood of Sean-Aird; home to the burgeoning Sons of Eriu Defense Trust and dinky little pubs where the stock Celtic music loops. Arch enemies? The Italians: St. Marks and Morgan Avenue the center of Libertonian-Italian pride, of the always-mentioned tinsel banners and pasta eateries, and the unmentioned element of tracksuit-wearing goodfellas. They march on past the Bohan Zoo into Little Bay.

 

The towers loom in East Bohan - the co-ops of Northern Gardens and the golf courses on the coast with an eye toward Dukes. The former industry of Buttress meeting project towers; burned out warehouses and street solicitors in Chase Point. Riding through the scar that is the Northern Expressway sending you into the true melting pot: the world of South Bohan where the ravages of austerity spit on the poor. Projects, projects, projects. The name of the city’s patron saint, Sinclair Ayton, marked on every corner with the sickening sprawl of highway and the ‘concessions’ the unfortunate get.

 

Bohan tries to be presentable westward. Fortside maintains a hub of commerce along Folsom Way where businesses alike congregate in many-a color. Grand Boulevard and the greater hub of neighborhoods under the district label Boulevard - the rowhouses and the park. Oh, and don’t forget Swinger Stadium! Maintained with taxpayer cash instead of public services, it remains the only thing in Bohan Mayor Schmidt thinks worthy of city funds. That is, aside from the police. Liberty City loves its boys in blue.

 

Abandon hope all ye who enter here. Cross the Dukes Bay Bridge with knowledge anything could happen. By stepping foot here you’ve committed ten times as much effort than the mayor ever will. This, my friends, is what the poor get in the glorious capital of capitalism.

 

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When you’re out dialing Bucky or Aiden, you can obviously go to the university reading club or whatever bullsh*t suits your fancy. Sure. But the real reason you and the buds are out there? It’s scoping a job.

 

The city of Liberty is ripe for the taking when it comes to information on the newest dime or quarter for chasing. In missions, gang hideouts, talking with the bookies and the dealers; ambient leads to chase will be marked all over the city based on intel you gather. Chasing that information can lead you to local haunts or potential robberies that you and the buddies can set up for payday. These are mob social clubs, rackets, independent wire rooms, drug dens, fences, you name it. Even some unique, high-profile robberies with special rewards and significant amounts of liquid cash. You find the dough, you round up the boys - be it Aiden, Bucky, Jimmy Pegorino, and potentially more - then you split the take between yourselves.

 

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Alongside heading out with Bucky, Aiden or Jimmy to look for a spot to rob - the next is searching for a man on the street that can sell you gear. Dotted among Liberty’s seedy alleyways are dealers galore: some sell heroin, some don’t. Never for trade, only to buy and use. Searching or going off aforementioned intel can lead you to dealers who offer you a good price on smack, or can send you chasing wild geese. Maybe you could get ripped off, maybe the price is exorbitant, maybe the load is cut so bad you’re injecting more detergent than you are heroin.

 

Oh, right. Heroin.

 

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Derrick McReary is addicted to heroin.

 

It’s anything but glitzy, glamorous, or romantic. Among the alleyways and the detritus of Dukes and Broker lie thousands of addicts just like him, propped up against the brownstone and the concrete and burning that spoon black behind a dumpster. Half the heroin addicts in America live in Liberty f*ckin' City.

 

The chase for the dragon never relents.

 

Derrick’s addiction knows no bounds: it doesn’t discriminate between business or leisure, whether you’re on a job or at the pub. It will affect performance. It will affect relationships. You’re not going to put the man on the straight and narrow, that you can be sure of. Resisting temptation isn’t going to do you any favors; even if Derrick wanted to have a go at ditching it cold turkey - which he doesn’t - you’re kidding yourself if you think LC’s got any methadone clinics on offer.

 

At the crossroads of providing for himself, Frankie, and the political causes of Bucky and Aiden, Derrick’s priority is still getting high. Scrounging up the dough to buy between missions and outings is imperative, and if you let it go too long you will suffer for it - withdrawal will affect gunplay, dialogue, basic navigation - and rather than suffer through it at your hands it’ll manifest in a major hit to the wallet when Derrick saunters into the nearest haunt to get his fix regardless of market price. 

 

So better you play with the cards you’re dealt: give the man what he wants. Let your misadventures dally around personal finance. Shoot up strategically - do it while crashing at home or in your car and you will fare far better than if Derrick starts getting the shakes in the midst of a shootout and you have to duck down below the bullets to stick the needle between your toes.

 

Do it smart. ‘Cause the man won’t change.

 

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After a job and factoring in your own - cough cough - acquired tastes, it’s time to divide the cash you got from your latest independent job. The stuff you do for gangsters or your pops John Jack will only get you so far: and that’ll only fund so many political escapades.

 

The take is the take: no matter the job or the breakdown of your crew, percentages are decided before the action - hallmark of any passably organized stickup gang. Depending on your intel, might be a two-man take - one on the wheel and one on the gun - or something more elaborate: you, the boys, each of you with a plus-one of your own - that’s Jimmy the Peggytail for Derrick, Jock Munro for Aiden, and Othman Ovyo for Buck for a potential total of six to a job. Cuts break down depending on role, and of course the more men on the job the more your share shrinks; but just the same, a five-man heist will reap far bigger spoils than some gas station stickup under the moonlight.

 

Your input comes in the aftermath. Every man gets his cut, every man distributes the funds to his respective cause - Aiden giving back to the cause, Bucky donating a hefty cut of each job to the ARC. You’re left to choose how much and to who - if anyone - you feel like giving a supplementary little taste to. It’s a balancing game with perks only to be gained: everyone’s already happy, you can just make ‘em more happy. Perks come in two prongs: narrative and gameplay. Only catch: curry favor in one direction too long and you get locked out of the other. It’s no biggie, there’s no bad blood - but choose wisely.

 

All the while, don’t forget Derrick’s own allegiances to the needle.

 

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The Iconoclast. You hitch your wagon to the Provos and it’ll be reflected in your interactions with Aiden and those boys; kicking up to them every job and you’ll see the yield in their eager friendliness, benefits down the line like bigger profits from their jobs. Aiden’s also got a line, no sh*t, on unique firearms and modifications - more carry space, nifty holsters, hard firepower.

 

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The Idealist. Kick back to Buck, on the other hand, and the same applies to the ARC - you’ll be their little poster boy and they’ll make sure you know it, you revolutionary-inclined little thief, you. Bucky’s gameplay perks come in the form of the automobile: fella chops cars with some Pavano-affiliated outsiders in Dukes. His buddies can fit you with mods for your own personal vehicle and getaway cars for future jobs alike; flipping the plates and lifting the suspension for an easier escape on your next escapade. 

 

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The Keeper. Hoarding your cut doesn’t mean nothing happens, it means Derrick gets the perks in his own right - manifests for you in the form of higher grade scag, means longer periods between shooting up and potentially even for a cheaper price - reach a certain echelon and the Keir Brothers’ll hook you up with smack that’ll have your nose running on sight. 

 

Not exactly stoking the insurgent streak in you, that route - but when Derrick gets a load of that horse see if he gives a sh*t.

 

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Gats for days.

 

The rules of gunplay are mostly similar to Red Line before it: a couple small arms can be carried on your person, one or two heavy arms in the trunk of your car or under the seats. With Aiden, Bucky, Jimmy the Peg, or more in your company - the number multiplies to match. Be careful placing shots and look after your weapon; use it as a last resort lest it impact the take or put you in hot water with the underworld. And be ready to drop it when the thing is hot. Getting busted with a used gun is not a pretty picture; especially if they can tie it to a prior murder - and you know they probably can.

 

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The wild sounds of 70s-cum-80s Liberty City, nothing more and nothing less - the grit and the f*cking grind, sounds not another goddamn city in the world could hope to replicate. Place come into its own, history through melody. Best city in the f*ckin’ world, baby.

 

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Harry Nilsson - Jump into the Fire

The Clash - Rock the Casbah

Mick Jagger - Memo from Turner

Stray Dog - Chevrolet

The Who - Magic Bus

R. Dean Taylor - Indiana Wants Me

Faces - Bad ‘n’ Ruin

Three Dog Night - One

ELO - Don’t Bring Me Down

Rare Earth - Get Ready

Little Feat - Skin it Back

The Rolling Stones - Let It Loose

The Misunderstood - Children of the Sun

Canned Heat - My Crime

The Pogues - Boys from County Hell

David Bowie - Rebel Rebel

Steely Dan - Dirty Work

 

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James Chance and the Contortions - I Can’t Stand Myself

DNA - Blonde Red Head

Beirut Slump - Staircase

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - The Closet

Pill Factory - That’s When Your Heartaches Begin

Arto / Neto - Pini Pini

Devo - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Theoretical Girls - US Millie

Mars - Puerto Rican Ghost

Rosa Yemen - Rosa Vertov

Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Hard-Boiled Babe

 

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The Righteous Flames - There Must Be A Revolution

Clancy Eccles - Power For The People

Ta-Teasha Love & The Wailers - Oh Jah Come

Jacob Miller - City Of The Weak Heart

Barrington Levy - Rock And Come In

Errol Dunkley - Girl You Lied

Yabby You - Conquering Lion

King Burnett - I Man Free

Scotty - Draw Your Brakes

King Tubby & Prince Jammy - Drums of Africa

 

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Louis Prima - Angelina & Zooma, Zooma

Bobby Darin - Multiplication

The Jaynetts - Sally Go Round the Roses

Nat King Cole - That Sunday, That Summer

Moe Consoli - Liberty City (Heckuva’ Town)

The Golddiggers - The Time is Now

Tony Bennett - Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Mel Torme - That’s All

The Cadillacs - Speedoo

Jerry Vale - I Want To Go With You

Perry Como - Round and Round

Nate Valentine - The Water’s On Fire

 

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Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy

Howlin’ Wolf - Evil Is Going On

Albert King - Killing Floor

Sam & Dave - Hold On, I’m Comin’

Taj Mahal - Leaving Trunk

Lightnin’ Hopkins - It’s A Sin To Be Rich, It’s A Low-Down Shame To Be Poor

The Coasters - Down in Mexico

Sonny Boy Williamson - Help Me

Nina Simone - Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

B.B. King - How Blue Can You Get?

 

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Klein & MBO - Dirty Talk

ESG - Moody

D Train - Keep On

Logg - Something Else

Imagination - Burnin’ Up

ABBA - Dancing Queen

Unlimited Touch - Searching To Find The One

BT Express - You Need A Change Of Mind

Adriano Celentano - Prisencolinensinainciusol

Evelyn King - Love Come Down

Peach Boys - Don’t Make Me Wait

Umberto Tozzi - Gloria

 

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Bernard Parmegiani - Abel Abeth

Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

Constance Demby - Darkness of Space

Vangelis - Creation Du Monde

Edgar Froese - Maroubra Bay

Klaus Schulze - Some Velvet Phasing

Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra

Iasos - Cloud Prayer

David Behrman - Figure in a Clearing

Cluster - 7:42

Jon Hassel - Viva Shona

Brian Eno - The Lost Day

 

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Throbbing Gristle - United

Ike Yard - Half A God

Suicide - Che

Girls At Our Best - Politics

Nervus Rex - Don’t Look

Mumps - Scream & Scream Again

Time Zone - World Destruction

Patti Smith - Piss Factory

Richard Hell - Blank Generation

The Damned - Jet Boy Jet Girl

Model Citizens - Animal Instincts

 

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Material - Memory Serves

Lounge Lizards - Do The Wrong Thing

Laughing Clowns - I Want To Scream

Don Cherry - Brown Rice

Nucleus - Song For The Bearded Lady

Fred Frith - Come Across

Arthur Doyle Plus 4 - Ancestor

Albert Ayler - Ghosts

Joe Henderson - Fire

Return To Forever - Vulcan Worlds

 

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City might not span all the boroughs and air traffic might be limited, but you’ve still gotta get from Point A to Point B. 

 

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It’s not fun to write car lists. It just isn’t. It limits space and time better spent elsewhere and compiling them is a really tedious exercise of linking images. We are not going to waste our time with this. If you want to see some f*cking cars, read the missions. There’ll be a lot of cars in those. Or imagine Red Line’s car list (when we get to finishing that within the next decade) and picture those same cars around a decade earlier. Easy!

 

Rest assured, vehicle fans - cars are in the concept. You can drive them. They do car things. They are big, beautiful, and boatlike. Just put in the work to see ‘em, bitch!

 

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The Liberty subway system is the most complicated in the United States. It’s also filthy and falling apart at the goddamn seams. As convenient fast travel, especially in Algonquin, just waltz down into the station and take the trains down whatever borough you feel. All you gotta do is scrounge around for subway tokens like loose pennies in the gutter.

 

Too much work? Just watch ‘em. Or fare-skip with the hope the cops don’t care.

 

Or take initiative. City trains get patronage by tough nuts, nut cases, and the tourists nutty enough to take them at all. Pull a gun or bring your friends and pull three: make away with some good dough, or some heroin, or a good story. You time it right, you might even avoid the LCPD subway pigs or the Avenging Angels who think they’re Impotent Rage.

 

Have a ball.

Edited by slimeball supreme

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Looks promising I guess, good luck. I just hope for a more electronic-loaded radio. You should include an industrial/EBM radio.

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2 hours ago, Jeansowaty said:

Looks promising I guess, good luck. I just hope for a more electronic-loaded radio. You should include an industrial/EBM radio.

the main idea with the radio was imagining the kind of tracks that would back you while you're dismembering bodies or skulking in your car shooting up H before killing three guys on behalf of some moron goombahs. a lot of local stuff, hard around the edges - it's abrasive. Down In The Dumps and to a lesser extent Only Ocean came from a similar place to what you're suggesting, though i guess as kind of an origin for the later EBM movement. the former is especially rife with the kind of dissonant, electronic sounds like those of Throbbing Gristle which eventually laid the foundation for those grating backbeats and the same for the latter as NYC-centric new wave. we may add some tracks to the already existing stations here and there because they do more or less occupy the same space; a lot of precursor bands are already present and some stuff from DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses was already considered so it'd likely still fit in. 

 

thanks for the feedback

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I like how the typography is modeled after the NY subway lines.

 

The music feels like a cross between Mafia 2 and Driver Parallel Lines.

Edited by DownInTheHole
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7 hours ago, DownInTheHole said:

I like how the typography is modeled after the NY subway lines.

 

The music feels like a cross between Mafia 2 and Driver Parallel Lines.

trains and trainspotting are a pretty important motif and will be throughout what we wrote/write. when it comes to the tracks we definitely had a lot of influence in some other stuff but in really obscure sh*t you wouldnt hear in another game. no wave especially is such an interesting genre because of how fleeting it was and how endemic to the setting it is

Edited by slimeball supreme
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I like the topic formatting a lot. I thought Derrick would've been away to The Troubles in the old country during the time of this concept though, unless it's meant to happen much later in the storyline. Regardless, great concept.

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4 hours ago, E Revere said:

I like the topic formatting a lot. I thought Derrick would've been away to The Troubles in the old country during the time of this concept though, unless it's meant to happen much later in the storyline. Regardless, great concept.

we actually put a lot of thought into charting this. as far as we think derrick went to ireland in 1986 after dodging a charge for possession of explosives, then came back to the united states in the mid 1990s, and then went back to ireland after testifying against aiden o'malley. thats what we'll run with

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Bottom right corner of the screen. Title card.

 

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Jerry Vale - I Want To Go With You plays as smoke fills the inside of a Chariot Remington cruising through rain-stained, dark Hedgebury street. The car, occupied by three shrouded men through the shadow and the tobacco fog, do not converse.

 

The man in the back seat makes a show of blowing his nose.

 

‘Ey.

 

Snorts. Keeps blowing.

 

You f*ckin’ quit that?

 

“Sti cazzi, ho il fottuto naso chiuso.” Backseat guy goes. “f*cked.”

Hey, my nose is all messed up.

 

“Just f*ckin’ quit it ‘til we get there.”

 

Come dici tu, eh, come vuoi, eh.

Whatever you say, eh, whatever you want, eh.

 

Car rolls up to a club on the corner where the neons are dimmer from the greens and reds dotting the streets: door in the corner-proper and highly packed flagstone walls. Name’s simple. Eponymous. No surprises.

 

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The Remington stops. Parks up, gets the suspension bouncing a moment while the three exit and two men at the door come to greet them. Three guys. Guy in the backseat with the handkerchief is a guy named Dodo Lank with pockface weighing in at 350 pounds. Guy in the driver’s is a man named Freddy Rigs with slicked back hair and a thin nose belying beady eyes.

 

And the passenger is Mart Dio. Fella with a cheek mole and a hairline a couple centimeters above the forehead. Takes one last, deep f*cking inhale of the smoke before dropping the cigarette onto the wet asphalt. Ahh.

 

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Marty, eh!

 

“Oh, what the f*ck. How ya’ doin’.”

 

Two guys in the doorway: Ollie Lulu, the mustache, Sicillian zip with the aforementioned and a thick Crowex and a beige polo shirt. Mel ‘the Skiv’, fat-nose f*cker with bunny ears in an open sports coat.

 

Come te butta, Oliviero, f*ckin’ sh*t, sei belle.” Dodo goes in for the hug with mustache.

How you doin’, Ollie, f*ckin’ sh*t, lookin’ beautiful.

 

Mustache reciprocates, “Sei bellisima, not belle. The grammars ain’t perfect. And the f*ckin’-a Roman sh*t.”

 

“Eh, f*ckin’ balls, cose sai di che cazzo di merda lo stesso? Scialla, magara.

What the f*ck do you know about that sh*t anyway? Easy.

 

The Skiv, “Youse do okay gettin’ in from Dukes?”

 

“Yeah,” Rigs says. Guy talks fast and trails off, “Still got the f*ckin’ agita, but I ain’t f*ckin’ complainin’, it’s nothin’, you know, forget it, what-the-f*ck.

 

“More about the rain, I meant.”

 

Rain’s fine,” Mart says. “How the f*ck we don’t we get the f*ck outta it?”

 

Right, right.” Skiv beckons, “C’mon. We unda’stand youse complaints and what youse been sayin’ about a certain somebody, a f*ck it, he knows too. And you know how he is. Testa dura. He’d be here but he sent the kid in his stead.”

 

Cuts to the inside of the empty nightclub. Lights are on. Vinyl flooring and a bar that ain’t stocked and the lights are only on for a certain part of the room - this garish combo of limes and oranges. Skiv leads and the four others follow.

 

Harvey Noto’s waiting by the entry.

 

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Rigs is asking “His stead--” then interrupts himself, smiles: “Oh! That f*ckin’ kid. Hally Boy, the hell you doin’.”

 

Noto is forty years old with chin-length hair and a monochrome suit rubbing circles in his chest behind the tie. Stops, “Freddy. Fellas.”

 

Marty, “We’d-a respected if Smokes came down--”

 

Skivs, “Well you know how the guy is--

 

But,” Mart is brusque, puts a hand up: “Appreciated all the same. I mean, we all wanna work things out.

 

“In realtà, tutta questa faccenda con i nostri disaccordi è comunque senza senso,” Dodo adds, speaks with his hands. “Bullsh*t.

Honestly, this whole thing with our disagreements is bullsh*t, anyway.

 

Ollie, “He’s saying it’s bullsh*t--

 

“Yeah, yeah, we got it-” Harv’ smiles. One hand on his chest and the other hand up, “We all want maturity. Memo too. And we all want things sorted. Sorted amicable. We sit down, we talk, right?”

 

“Exactly,” goes Mel.

 

And Mart Dio shrugs. “It’s what we wanna’ hear.

 

“Hell I tell you about this kid? And, you know, after this, we’ll celebrate, we got this f*ckin’ vintage sh*t and manicott’--”

 

I told you, Mel,” Rigs goes, “with the indigestions--”

 

“We’ll cure that sh*t.”

 

A-you know the grapes can help you with that kind of thing?” Ollie says.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I’m serious--”

 

Cut to black.

 

Blinking.

 

First person view is shrouded in darkness as you hear the conversation between the five men go on upstairs, muffled by the walls and the floors. Shaky breathing. You can move the joysticks for a limited look around the room - you can see the outline of a round table in the middle of the basement with stairs leading down from a door in the center.

 

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Pressing the button reintroduces you to the six men slowly proceeding through the nightclub to the same exact door. The basement door. You let go of that button, you’re back in the darkness. You press it, and you’re gifted with gab:

 

Madonna mia, no, she rides my ass about this whole thing.”

 

“Freddy--”

 

I tell ya,” he goes. “I mean it’s a whole thing. With the kids and the house and the mortgage--”

 

And the f*ckin’ dog,” Mart adds.

 

Cosa sai fare,” goes Dodo.

What can you do?

 

“Well nah,” Fred says. “It’s all the thing with the what and how you do with it and I mean--”

 

Che cazzo stai dicendo?” Dodo coughs. “f*ck?

What the f*ck are you saying?

 

“Speak f*ckin’ English.”

 

Dodo just murmurs, “Balls c*nt f*ck sh*t, eh.

 

The basement door opens.

 

Dark in here,” Marty says.

 

Mel Skiv, “The pull-switch is at the bottom. I know there ain’t no bugs--”

 

Freddy goes “Bugs?

 

“You don’t wanna risk it.”

 

Dodo clears his throat as he’s stomping down the stairs in the lead. “Obtineo et teneo. Balls the c*nt, eh?”

 

Harvey laughs. “What the f*ck you even talkin’ about?”

 

This-a goddamn mutt,” Lulu croaks.

 

Harvey finds the light. Pulls it.

 

Back in the closet; you’re swamped with the brightness. Eyes adjust, the guys keep talking. The three from the bar - Lulu, Skiv, Noto - they all stand at the end of the staircase. The three from the car spread around, look for the chairs. “Where’s the chairs?” Marty asks.

 

Lulu chuckles. “In-a the upstairs, yeah?

 

Freddy, “You ain’t brought ‘em down?

 

Ollie looks right at you. Right through the crack in the closet. Camera pulls out to see the naked eye staring through at the collective.

 

Ollie bites his pinky finger.

 

That’s the signal.

 

In an instant, you and three other men in balaclavas burst right out of the doors with guns drawn. All four in full body coveralls: two skinny fellas in the middle, one average and one large. Large guy’s got a double-barrel out. Other three have submachine guns.

 

A voice shouts “This is a f*ckin’ hold-up!

 

What the--

 

“--holy--”

 

Pow - Harvey Noto immediately takes a swing at Freddy Rigs and brings him clean down to the floor. He collapses over onto Dodo Lank, the big fella stumbles before rushing at you three.

 

Fire.

 

The camera cuts back to first-person as soon as you pull the trigger and the SMG in your hands starts spraying. The bullets dart up the leg of Dodo as he shouts and wallop: the guy with the shotgun fires his rounds clear at the man’s big gut. They fly. Intestine rolls out and he fires another buckshot across the room at Mart Dio, shells smack into the legs, the guy falls over backwards into a shelf and knocks a bunch of knick-knacks onto the floor.

 

Fred Rigs scrambles up but gets his own taste when he tries making a run for the stairs - gets distracted by the fact Lulu and Noto are halfway up with the block - trips over Dodo lying dead on the floor. Screaming as he’s clawing at the concrete ground but it ain’t his screams, it’s Dio wailing. One of the guys with the submachine guns walks up and puts him out of his misery.

 

A jar of something broke when the shelf fell onto the floor. Mart Dio is sitting in a heap of shattered glass and splintered wood and his blood seeping out his pant leg. You’re in control now. You approach, submachine gun in both hands, breathing soft. Noto and Lulu are coming to survey the scene, the other three guys behind you. Skiv is gone. Must’a dipped.

 

You stand at the foot of a dying man. Snakeskin boots, red like his insides come outside.

 

Finish the job.

 

Derrick breathes heavy, points the SMG square at the man’s head, and holds the trigger down.

 

You don’t see his skull get torn apart by the bullets. Smoke flies. Lights flicker. The dust settles.

 

There are three dead men in the basement of Flagstone’s.

 

“Holy f*ck!” That’s Noto. “Goddaaamn! Fuuuck me.” Puts a raggedy hand through his hair and slumps against a wall, slides down onto the floor. Laughing - not fun, coping.

 

Lulu scratches at his upper lip, puckers, pops. Does the OK-hand with his left before spitting out “Smells like the f*ckin’-a dumpster in here, like asshole.”

 

Noto, “Che putz’.

 

Gets a chuckle from Lulu and one of the balaclava fellas. Guy runs his hand through his hair, turns to him: “Calò, eh, you okay?”

 

Balaclava who laughed, guy furthest right looking from the stairs, he rips off the mask. Big nose guy with beady eyes and a high hairline, cuts at the air, “Madon’, could see the f*ckin’ pasta fly out that f*ckin’ Dodo Lank’s f*ckin’ gut, f*ckin’ wow.

 

Masks get torn off. Hair stuck to foreheads and sweat glistening. Derrick takes his off last.

 

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Fat guy with the shotgun, Marius, he places it flat on the table and lets out this guttural groan. Hard breath. Cal, he goes over to Lulu, starts conversing in broken-meets-unbroken Italian. Bucky, dark eyes scruffy f*cking Buchanan Sligo, comes to you.

 

Cal, “Hell they call him Lank for anyway--

 

“Derrick, Dicky, man,” goes Bucky. Nasally Broker accent shining thick, “You good?

 

Derrick, “Me f*ckin’ ears. Lotta’ noise, Buck.”

 

“Tends to happen. Wid’ the gunfire.

 

“Cheeky prick.”

 

“We’re almost there, almost there. You with me?”

 

“I’m with ya’, yeah. I’m with ya’.

 

“Couple more steps,” Buck goes. “We’re done. We get good.”

 

Yeah, yeah. Just gimme’ a second.”

 

Bucky salutes with a clenched fist. Derrick nods. Does it back.

 

Abrupt cut.

 

The bodies of the three capos lie on drop cloths. Lulu’s upstairs, Noto’s got his sleeves rolled. Boiler suits stay on as the camera slowly pans and you hear crunch, crunch, saw, saw. Snap. Stops on Marius - Marius with a hacksaw. Coveralls covered in blood.

 

He’s got Freddy Rigs. Snap. Pushes the dismembered leg away and starts working on the other one, this wicked smile the fella’s got as he cuts deep into the flesh. Dolly moves onto Noto overseeing Cal pulling off Mart Dio’s snakeskin boot with a big, big knife.

 

You and Bucky are working on fat Dodo Lank. Derrick wipes his brow. Blood is splattered on his hands - he uses the sleeve. Bucky says, “Goddamn it, he’s a big f*cker.

 

It’s interactive. Button prompt instructs you to saw back, saw forth, saw back, saw forth. Slightly below his elbow as you dig through the skin and then the adipose and then the muscle and bone. Derrick spits. “Big bastard.”

 

“We need three, probably,” Bucky goes.

 

And Noto barks “Ca’mon. Ain’t that bad.”

 

“Had to f*ckin’ slot the f*ckin’ pasta and the f*ckin’ guts that was drippin’ out his fat f*ckin’ gut,” Buck says.

 

You’re still cutting until pap. Arm comes off. “There a way to restrict the blood flow?”

 

“Nah, Dicky.”

 

“He’s mostly dry. Think we got most the blood when the Polack shot him.”

 

“Y’here that, Polack?” Noto’s talking to Marius, and Marius isn’t replying. “Did us a favor.

 

Marius doesn’t reply. He’s still smiling, though.

 

Awkward chuckle as people get back to what they’re doing. You’re cutting at the top of the arm near the shoulder now, through the fella’s bingo wings, “You got another hacksaw?” Derrick’s cutting with a kitchen knife. “Feels like I’d need that goddamn hacksaw with this guy.”

 

“You need some help?” Noto says.

 

You wanna get your hands dirty, Hal?

 

Guy stomps over, “Why not, why not, f*ck it, fat f*ckin’--” comes with his own knife and puts it parallel with yours and says “We do it synonymous, alright? At the same time.” 

 

Bucky laughs at the malaprop, but it ain’t worth wasting breath on. Derrick just nods.

 

Button prompts are timed. In, out. In, out. In, out, in, out. Until you’re starting to actually saw through the spindly bone and even Harvey’s breaking a sweat and--

 

Abrupt cut to black.

 

At the rear of the building is a Vapid Speedo with the rear doors wide open. Plastic tubs in the back. Grunting. Grunting. Cuts to the rear door with Derrick carrying this big tub with both hands clasped on the bottom; Bucky following behind with hands in his jacket pockets.

 

Bucky, “You sure you don’t need no help with that?

 

“Nah, Buck,” Derrick heaves. “Nah. Goddamn peachy, I am.”

 

“‘Cause you’re driving.”

 

I’m driving?

 

“Yeah,” Bucky’s grinning, “yuz’ driving. I ain’t got my license.”

 

Bucky,” Derrick goes. Thrusts the box into the back of the truck and takes a minute to catch his breath; hand keeping balance flat on the truckbed. “That don’t matter. We get pulled over we’re f*cked.

 

“You remember we’re we’s goin’?”

 

“Yeah, yeah. Pete the Wop and that guy Tony.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Alright, alright. Just gimme’ a moment.”

 

Derrick lingers. Wipes his brow. Waits on your input - he’ll be having his moment until you click the sticks or press the buttons and get the guy walking to the car. Get inside. Engine’s already on; Only Ocean is tuned on the radio with Lizzy Mercier Descloux playing through the tinny speakers.

 

Drive to The Bowels.

 

My god, am I f*ckin’ glad to get the f*ck outta that tacky sh*thole.

 

Gets Derrick chuckling a smidge. “What, our friends with the Smoke, you ain’t pleasantly edified by their conversation? You ain’t got your brain so filled with fun little f*ckin’ facts it’s rubbin’ up against your skull?”

 

“No,” Bucky says. “Unfortunately, that ain’t the case.”

 

Goddamn imbeciles.

 

“I was told that Noto was a brainiac. At least for these wiseguys, right? You expect a brainiac to have read a f*ckin’ book at least f*ckin’ once, eh? Or somethin’. What these guys talk about - sex, pussy, they shoot sh*t about TV. That whole f*ckin’ club’s got the collective smarts of a goddamn ashtray.”

 

“I hear ya’.”

 

“What - sub 80? I don’t think a single triple-digit motherf*ckin’ IQ was in there, man, I’m tellin’ you. I’m surprised we got any brains at all.”

 

Hey.

 

“What?”

 

“You don’t disparage the dead, Buck, the bodies is still warm back there.”

 

And you got respect for these guys. You know their names? I don’t remember their names.”

 

“One was named Lank.”

 

“Which?”

 

“The fat one.”

 

Ha. “He ain’t.

 

“I know. It’s what that guy said, the- euh…” starts snapping his fingers, “-f*ckin’ Calogero. The Canadian guy, Lulu’s guy.”
 

Who?

 

And Derrick cackles. “Come on, man. Lulu’s the guy with the mustache. With that Italian accent.

 

Oh him, yeah, yeah, I get you, I get you. Ha, man, if Aiden tagged along--

 

Groans, “Lucky boy.”

 

“Nah nah nah, your pa wanted us, he got us. Aiden- I mean, I won’t submit him to that. You think I have a problem with this sh*t with the names, you know Aiden. He goes in there he won’t know who the f*ck to shoot he gets so confused with these guineas. Tony over here, there’s Tony over there. I mean, you know with these f*ckin’ guys, Dicky.”

 

“I get it.”

 

“Morons. Whole lotta’ them, morons. And they’re getting guys over to that- uh… the cowboy boots--”

 

Mart Dio.

 

“With the automatics he was hiding.”

 

Derrick sniffs. “‘S’what Mundy said.

 

“We shoulda’ done that. God, we shoulda’ done that. And we got on this detail.”

 

“If pa wanted us on that, pa would’a told us to go do that.”

 

I know. I ain’t complaining.”

 

Yes you are. You’re whinging.”

 

“Hey. Hey. We get more good on this, more dough. And f*ck if it ain’t worth it for that alone. Good money’s good money’s all you know how it is I mean-” and Bucky does what Bucky does. Bucky trails off into mumbling. Hear the lighter click-clicking and the passenger window rolling down.

 

You’re headed to the Dukes-Broker border: mostly a straight line through Schottler down the Main Drag into East Liberty. Over where you’re from it’s industrial and post-industrial ghetto. Over here it’s redlining ghetto. It’s the kind of ghetto you get when they truly do not give a f*ck about who goes there, who lives there, what happens there. Bucky’s got an arm out the window now and the smokes trailing behind the van, more smoke than there should be, hole in the exhaust smoke. Not that anyone’s out here to care. Moses, Milden, Van Benthen: whatever avenues you take, you’re headed to the wasteland.

 

The Bowels are Hell on Earth.

 

It’s been raining so the puddles are forming - the neighborhood’s on the downslope about 30 feet below the rest of the neighborhood. It’s lost. The few houses there are peeling and falling apart, collapsed sheds and fallen fences and the mud’s up past the shoe level. Up to your ankles in mud, in some places. It’s dirt roads and flooding and graffiti and literal cesspools as the van leaves trails in the muck and the water. A chicken cluck-clucks by. It’s like you’ve left Liberty City.

 

It’s Peter Rea’s dumping ground.

 

There’s a particular lot you’re headed to. Through an open chain-link gate and high reeds and dirt roads and the rusted remains of old construction equipment near an all-black Dundreary Virgo with the headlights on. Bucky goes “That’s them up there, I thinks” and Derrick goes “Most definite.

 

As you ride in through a path made by tire-treads in the soil, you’re noticing holes. Holes about a couple feet deep, definitely not six. Shovel.

 

Two men are present. One, in leathers with finger-jewelry up the wazoo, is adjusting his jacket cuffs and scratch-scratching his face. The other - in a black turtleneck and white double-breasted trench coat with a gold crucifix shining off the headlights - he’s got two fingers around a cigarette stub; checking his watch then having eyes zip back to the Speedo.

 

Trench coat: Rea. Leather jacket: Tony.

 

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You slow the van.

 

Brakes whine when you pull up beside. 

 

There’s a moment where it’s just stares in both directions - Rea with the smoke and the eyes checking out the van and Tony scanning f*ck-knows-what. You catch it, Buck’s just bemused.

 

Rea goes “You the Micks?”

 

“I’ve heard it said,” Derrick answers.

 

“Took your sweet f*ckin’ time, huh? Get caught up somewheres? You think a’ the fellas who got their wife and kids at home, middle of the night like this, waitin’ around?”

 

He’s breaking balls, probably. Derrick just goes “Nah.”

 

So he asks “The f*cking sh*t, the whole thing go good?”

 

“It f*ckin’ went, sure.”

 

Rea smokes, smiles. “I dunno what you know, y’know? But let’s hope it means interests can stay green for a while.”

 

Sure. You know.

 

Tony steps forward - the C*nt - checks Bucky out in the passenger. Headlights flicker onto dirt ahead as he paces in front of the van. “Heard youse was some f*cking commies or something though, that pinko Santa Claus sh*t. That's what you’re here for? Rob the scratch and spoils off our plate?”

 

Bucky pipes up. “A spectre is haunting East Liberty.”

 

Pair of blank stares. Beat of ‘em.

 

C*nt blinks, “Yeah,” feigns talking to Rea but you know where it’s directed, “But speakin’ of, why ain’t they sent that Kit Spoils or nothing 'stead a' you? Kit don’t say too much that don’t need saying.”

 

Gets Derrick a laugh but nothing escapes the lips.

 

Rea shrugs. Looks right at you. “You know Kit Spoils?”

 

Bucky’s turn to laugh.

 

“Yeah, I know Kit Spoils,” Derrick tells him.

 

Takes one more puff and then Rea tosses the smoke with a flick of the finger. 

 

“Irregardless, boys, the holes is over there.” Points across the dirt path into a clearing under these trees bereft of leaves, bark peeling. “They was dug in advance, y’know, but I dunno if it’s enough. Some big f*ckers in there, huh? So Tony left you some shovels should you so f*ckin’ need. Dig all the way to China, youse want. Maybe you’d like that.”

 

“Might just do that,” Buck says.

 

“Well best a’ luck to ya’, then.”

 

A heel turn and Rea goes around, gets into the passenger seat. 

 

Where you goin’?” goes Buck.

 

Pete says “Home,” and shuts the door.

 

They start driving away. Stop quick, Pete rolls the window.

 

Pete calls out from the side “Make sure’n close the f*ckin’ gate on your way out.”

 

And with that, they’re gone. Brake lights curve, dye puddles red as they turn onto the road.

 

Huh.

 

Derrick says “What?”

 

“Thought they was- huh. Yeah. Okay.”

 

“What, help?

 

“Yeah.”

 

With these guys, no. You think Pete’s staying around for that, oh no.

 

“Lazy goddamn wops, man.”

 

“Careful, Buck,” Derrick says, starts slow rolling the truck to the right, “that’s a generalization right there.”

 

“Nah, Dicky, these wops. These goddamn sloth. Ain’t got a problem with the Italians, legit Italians, ones who broke their f*ckin’ backs for this city, under the plutocrats. You know what I means.”

 

“I do, just don’t go sayin’ it around them. Don’t think they’d appreciate that kinda craic.”

 

Van pulls up to the graves; Dicky puts the stick in park.

 

“Ready?”

 

Bucky’s already out. “Let’s get it over with.”

 

Get out, engine still running, dim headlights illuminating the ready-made graves, holes, whatever they are. It’s dead quiet, just the whistle of wind through dry branches and fence slats, howls whipping across the lot. This is barely Liberty City, barely anything. No traffic, no voices in the dead of night.

 

They stand at the graves.

 

“These are shallow as hell.” That’s Bucky.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Said he left us some shovels.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

They’re right nearby, perked up against a willow tree.

 

“Let’s get the f*ck to it, I guess.”

 

Cut. Derrick heaves the plastic tub out the back of the van while Bucky digs a little extra. Wet soil and shoe squelch and Buchanan muttering to himself, “Goddamn crap, man--

 

Too much for ya?

 

“Shoulda’ brought some f*ckin’ boots a’ some f*ckin-” flings the muck with the shovel out behind him, “-woauf. Some f*ckin’ sh*t like that.”

 

Derrick stands at the edge of the grave.

 

Button prompt - he unclicks the lid to reveal the festering, bloody remains. A stew of mangled body parts. Bucky grabs at his nose and nearly spews. Derrick would if he had the hands to do it.

 

Bottom prompt - joystick or movement key down. The viscera is emptied into the hole. Fingers split at the joints, blood coagulating and drying at the bottom. No corpse smell. The meat hasn’t rotted and the parts aren’t green: it’s flesh smell, meat smell. Butcher smell. Abattoir.

 

When the parts are out, he drops the thing in with the rest. A shell.

 

Derrick grabs his knees and retches.

 

Goddamn animals.

 

“We’re the animals, Buck.”

 

Whose idea was this? That Memo guy’s. He’s the animal. Your pa. Those f*cks at the f*ckin’ tacky f*ckin’ bar. Shoulda’ just popped these f*ckin’ goombas in the dome and let 'em lie.

 

Gagging, gagging, doesn’t let anything out. Derrick wipes his mouth all the same. “You’re preaching to the choir. Preachin’ to the choir.

 

“You alright?”

 

“No. Just want this f*ckin’ done.”

 

“I’ll get the second.”

 

Derrick pauses. Thinks a moment. Thumbs at the corner of his lips and lets out a croaky “I’m gonna take a breather.”

 

Bucky hesitates.

 

Goes on. “Have fun.

 

He knows.

 

Get some privacy.

 

You’re given ample space to search the barren lot for a perfect cocktail of ‘rest’. Where it ain’t too muddy or it ain’t muddy at all, where you’ve got good cover and no chance of a stray eye on you. Derrick wanders, starts itching at his arm and checking to make sure what’s needed is on the inside of his jacket.

 

You find it, eventually. A flat board from a disassembled dresser next to a rusted out car.

 

Derrick gets down. The camera gets close.

 

He takes off his shoe, and then his sock, and tap-taps on the sole of his foot.

 

A matchbook, a little baby measuring spoon that’s all black from burning up. A syringe. It’s an intimate process. Delicate and meandering in the effort it takes, especially outside.

 

Hold down the contextual button. Push off.

 

Derrick is addicted to heroin. Very addicted. Gameplay is simple; fella’s always chasing a fix. Shooting up at least every other day ‘lest the side effects build - no focus, no mind, anxiety, heart going rapid. It’s harder to drive, harder to live. Dialogue gets slurred and story missions are either delayed until fix or get bungled up. You can’t go cold turkey. Your addiction stays. You need it.

 

Rush for a couple seconds. Derrick starts mumbling. Rush subsides.

 

Cuts. He’s half-nodding off. Contextual button means get up. And Derrick’ll use the car for support, and hop on shaky legs with manna in his veins, and going’s all you can do.

 

Bucky’s waiting by the car flicking his Dippo open and shut. Open and shut. Looks up at you, “You catch your breath?

 

“Yeah. I’m good.”

 

“I’ll drive. Big galoot, c’mon, hop to it.” Pockets the thing and gets in the driver.

 

Now we ain’t got no bodies in the car ya’s fine to drive.

 

“Alright, alright. Peace and quiet. Alright.”

 

Get in.

 

Bucky drives. Like taking a taxi - the distorted, swimming city in it’s black and yellow and rain-skew hues as the wheels leave trails and Buchanan doesn’t even try small talk. Dicky might: “And the money- we get that--?

 

“Tomorrow, yeah. I’ll send my cut to Qistina, maybe we talk to her. Tag along.”

 

Sure.

 

“She’s good peoples, Dicky.”

 

Yeah... I know...

 

Not much more.

 

You’re headed to Aiden’s apartment.

 

Guy lives westways. On the edge of Steinway off the elevated subway tracks - unit housing in some side streets near the boulevard, near a little cemetery up the road. Among a series of red-brick rowhouses is a pretty white facade. Distinguished.

 

Bucky pulls up.

 

C’mon, Dick.

 

Get out. Buck kicks the black chain-link gate out with a shoe-sole.

 

Follow. In through the unlocked screen door.

 

Aiden and Julia are on the couch.

 

PQgC2zy.png

 

Aiden’s the little bearded beatnik-type in the chunky brown sweater. Julia’s the gap-tooth gal got kinky hair that feels like it goes on and on past the shoulders. They’re both huddled on the couch, lit only by the blue glow of the TV cathodes. Aiden’s half asleep.

 

Julia isn’t. “Oh.

 

Bucky says “Hey.”

 

Hi. Buck. How--”

 

I’m fine.” Derrick stumbles on in through the door, “Was with Dicky out doin’ stuff.”

 

Derrick waves.

 

Aiden mutters, half-asleep, “Huh?

 

“It’s nothing,” Buck says. “Let him sleep. Just gonna crash. You mind I sleep here?”

 

Julia doesn’t say much more. Just “Oh. Okay. Sure. Uh… yeah. Sure. Just go on up.”

 

Go to bed.

 

The place has two bedrooms upstairs and a guest down. Derrick’s got a place to sleep here - and he’s got somewhere else. A little more ancestral. For now: you’re headed up the staircase, past the en-suite bathroom, to Derrick’s home away from home.

 

You don’t even have to press a button.

 

Derrick falls onto the mattress like a rock.

 

Save.

 

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  • 10 months later...
slimeball supreme
Posted (edited)

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Wake up.

 

Wake up.

 

Derrick wakes up.

 

Stretches. Sniffs.

 

Lost the jacket and pants at one point. He’s there, spread eagled, tank top and blue boxers over a mess of sheets and caseless pillows. Camera beams down on him from the position of the ceiling fan.

 

Sits up and cranes his neck.

 

The room’s doing double duty as storage: boxes this-side-upped in the corner up to the window, packing tape and bobbits on the dresser. Analog clock alongside an ashtray says it’s almost noon.

 

Oops.

 

Doesn’t garner him much of a reaction because it’s part and parcel of a late-night heavy duty/dragon-riding combo. Derrick heads to the window instead, checks past the balloon curtains into the courtyard below. 

 

Truck’s gone. So’s the canary yellow Estampido that either belonged to Aiden or Julia and it didn’t much matter which. When they’re staying together with one goes the other.

 

Get dressed and leave.

 

Your clothes are in a pile on the floor - either head straight for them and button up or take a quick detour to the bathroom one room over for a quick refresher: some cold water in the face, eyedrops from the medicine cabinet for good measure. The room’s tiny and tiled pink top-to-bottom and Derrick seems kind of fascinated by it.

 

Ain’t the first time he’s crashed here, though he usually made it out before its renters scattered. You explore, won’t do you any harm or foul - bedroom across the hallway’s the master, unmade bed and a cockatiel in a cage by the window: Derrick says “Hiya Noble”, he gets back a “Hello” and then a “Is it good?” over and over again while bobbing his head and raising his crest.

 

Is it?

 

Down a carpeted flight of stairs into the kitchen; Derrick knows where he’s going, that through the back courtyard is the quickest way there sans car. Grabs a piece of toast left on the counter and locks the door before hopping out and down a step.

 

And there’s Aiden.

 

There’s Aiden.

 

Aiden O’Malley sits on the back stoop in the same-old brown sweater with a pack of Redwoods face down on the concrete. He’s biting his nails, cocks his head to see you approach and then nods. Goes back to it.

 

Derrick goes “Hey.

 

Aiden exhales and replies “Dia duit.

 

“Not with Julia, are you?”

 

And Aiden laughs and says “Evidently not, am I? Yeah, she’s off. Uptown, she said.”

 

“And you ain’t gone off with her?”

 

Bad dose a’ the... er, me head. Slept like a rock, can’t think, can’t drink, she had sh*t to do. So y’know. Just kinda’ f*ckin’ faffin’ about now. Knackered to f*ck. You off?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Where to?”

 

“Bucky’s kinda-” breathes, “f*cked off. So I was gonna head down to the Garden and see what’s what.”

 

“Aye?”

 

Yeah.

 

“You mind I tag along? Talk to Allie.”

 

And Derrick shrugs and says “I don’t mind.

 

“You walkin’?”

 

“My car’s back at my place. No way on the subway. And, I mean, why not? So yeah, was gonna stretch my legs. Only a half hour or so anyways. She took your car?”

 

“It’s our car. Gettin’ the messages or that, I dunno. I’d like to.

 

“Like to get the messages?”

 

Aiden laughs, puts out the cigarette, and says “No. C’mon, then. Let’s stretch the legs, eh.

 

Walk to the Beer Garden.

 

It’s only a couple blocks away.

 

“Thinkin’ the air might do good for me head or what-have-ye. Bitin’ off heads and that for nothing- ‘sa f*ckin’ migraine or something is what it is, maybe.

 

“The air’s good for it.”

 

And seein’ everyone too, maybe. The old crowd. How’s was the thing with them Italians, were it?”

 

“Were it some f*ckin’ sh*t, Aiden. Weren’t it just.”

 

“You do sh*te for’em and it’s never even any fun. And you’d think the dopes’d be good conversationalists, make up for the f*ckin’ pin heads. No noggin’ f*ckin’ nothin’s.

 

“We ain’t made you tag along.”

 

Oh, but you will.”

 

“You didn’t wanna be there for this one, Aiden.”

 

“What? Guinea sh*t on the walls you had to clean up?

 

“Something like that.”

 

“Howya’ mean?”

 

Well, think of it this way. I’m in the car with Buck away from the bar and we’re sayin’ the exact same sh*t. The bar is in Hedgebury, and we gotta cross Broker. And meanwhile we got- it doesn’t even matter.

 

“Cross town for what?”

 

Again. Y’dunno the half. And all the while all me and Bucky can say is - these f*ckin’ wops aren’t good for nothin’. They ain’t good for talkin’, ain’t good for payin’, and they ain’t no good for a f*cking shooting neither. So what are they good for?”

 

What - some f*ckin’ imbeciles ruling the roost,” Aiden goes, “never put no work into it, inherited it all from their fathers and their grandfathers, and… y’want independence? Is that it?”

 

Oh.

 

“Yeah. Ha. Thought I weren’t goin’ there, did ye?”

 

“And here I was thinkin’ it was big men in high towers sh*tting on the poor and f*cking needy.

 

“And here you thought a lot of things. Here you thought part of it. Julia’s good,” subject change is like a f*cking whip crack, “Real good.

 

“Saw your car gone out the front, thought you’d gone with.”

 

Again.

 

“Again what?”

 

Our f*cking car, Derrick. Our car.”

 

You pause at a crosswalk, taxis to and fro. It’s spring, cool-breeze spring. Aiden pulls his jacket closer.

 

“Yeah, our lemon, more like.”

 

Gets a guffaw. “Yeh, there’s a reason they’re callin’ it the Malaise era, believe it or not. These gas guzzlers. Domestic policy. Grand load a’ bollocks, that is. Reckon the thing would catch fire if you let it idle in the sun to boot.”

 

“Sign of the times, Aiden.”

 

He just scoffs.

 

Where are you in little old Steinway? You’re on Ticonderoga now, skip the half-hour it is to them and is in real life and cut it up into a gameplay sized jaunt: it’s townhouses, it’s half-urban suburb, it’s Dukes. Mighty fine. Ghetto-yellow license plates on boxcar American models putting between narrow residential streets. Little nooks and crannies, little alleyways, little chain-links at about knee height tangled in between the grass. It’s housing intercut with little side-streets for parking looping around entire blocks. Spray-paint on the sidewalk and a broken window gone unfixed and newspapers out on the front patio and some old f*ck on a folding chair in his bathrobe smoking cigars.

 

Is the J pleased, then?

 

Derrick’ll hesitate, “Not too sure. Maybe he’ll be around.

 

“With this whole thing of his I’m hoping-the-f*ck he’s pleased with himself, get that at least if the boys are doin’ nixers for f*cking gobsh*tef*ckingnothingdonteven--

 

“Spare me.”

 

Sighs, “Sorry.

 

“Don’t need you giving me sh*t and then going down and getting sh*t from him.”

 

“And you let him?”

 

If I want a paycheck, Aiden, yeah. I let him grab me by the f*cking ear. And you got no right to talk about me and my f*cking da besides.”

 

Aiden shrugs. “Maybe so.”

 

Steinway Beer Garden looms.

 

phJkcZw.png

 

Steinway Beer Garden was, for a very long time, German owned. That was around 1919 as a gathering hall for Bavarian immigrants, and then shut during prohibition, and then reopened by a family of Bohemian-Americans in the 1930’s. And then the owner of that place found himself indebted to a man named Lorcan ‘Lucky Luke’ McReary. In which it became a little less German, and enough of an impetus for some of the Purgatory guys to come out to Steinway. The Steinway Hall Picnic Grounds. Adjacent to the bar was a two-story office building originally a Freemasons Lodge, which was part of the property and sold off to Lucky Luke.

 

It became headquarters for the Van Huysen Paving Company.

 

Lorcan McReary was Derrick’s grandfather. And when Luke passed away the deed fell to John Jack: who inherited his father’s position at the paving company, but didn’t give much of a f*ck about running a bar. Alistair O’Keeffe did.

 

You know the Steinway Beer Garden. It’s brick walls with the trees poking out; walls covered in big splash-advertisements for beer brands. Big orange-and-green flag hanging above the wooden entryway with the castle doors shut. Open them and you find the garden itself empty, since the place ain’t officially open - umbrellas and plastic chairs left vacant by the pathway into the bar bar.

 

Those doors open and you hear ruckus.

 

Merrick Keir has Kenny in an armlock.

 

Derrick just stares.

 

Oh, what the f*ck?!

 

Barman chirps “Aiden, buddy!” 

 

Kenny punches Merrick in the face.

 

This sh*t again, this f*ckin’ sh*t again--”

 

Derrick goes “Aiden, it’s nothing--”

 

What is this?!

 

And the barman, Allie, he just says “A bit of rough-housing and that.

 

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They’ve cooled it. Merrick’s rubbing at his cheek and lets out this ugly groan and says “How’re ya’ doing, Aidy boy?”

 

Aiden bites his lip and ignores them.

 

Merrick goes to Derrick - “What’s up his ass?

 

“Something about a bad dose.”

 

“Like medicine?”

 

Slang.

 

“Slang? Slang where? Mickey mickey mickey slang, f*ck it, how’re you doing, Dicky?”

 

And Kenny’s up now and puts an arm around his brother’s shoulder, grins with this massive shiner on his eye, and says “You want anything, Derrick?

 

Derrick spits “Are you nuts?”

 

“What?”

 

Not in the bar. Are you nuts?”

 

“Everyone knows, Derrick, come on.”

 

“We do it in the alley, we don’t do it in the bar.”

 

I got it in my trunk,” Merrick’s saying, but Derrick puts a hand up.

 

“No,” Derrick says. “Don’t, uh, we don’t dishonor the bar, you know?”

 

What the f*ck are you talking about?” Kenny goes.

 

“It’s my pa’s place, it’s Allie’s place, it’s f*cky.

 

We don’t dishonor- what da’ f*ck that even mean? Everyone’s uh, what? What?”

 

Derrick sighs, mutters something akin to “Shut up.

 

Which gets a hand up from Merrick, a settle down hand, “It’s alright, it’s alright. It’s like tracking dirt, Kenny, yeah? It’s like trackin’ mud in the house, he don’t want that.”

 

Kenny mutters “Then say that.

 

“You want any, you know where to find us, huh?”

 

Derrick’s trying to shoo them off, “Yeah, yeah--

 

“Good price, too, we got this off--”

 

Firmer, “Okay, Mickey.

 

“That’s us, right? Mick and Dick, Dicky and Mickey, they always used to say- that’s what they used ta’- remember when, uh, down uh--”

 

Aiden’s abandoned you. He’s off with barman Allie chatting sh*t in argot somewhere between Dublin and Dukes too imperceptible to join. No lifesaver - you’ve got the Keirs chewing your ear off--

 

“Hey!

 

Booth.

 

Who else?

 

Stern voice, strict voice, commanding voice beckons you over to the windowside. He’s got buddies, two men in the booth by the window behind a lone table and the bathrooms. Neon Blarney’s sign turned off sitting stupid.

 

Three men. Handsome-looking guy with hair well-coiffed enough to look both messy and made. Guy with slicked-back rat black hair and skullface cheekbones. Younger fella with his hair utterly receded. All with drinks, only one untouched being skullface’s. Was Skullface calling you.

 

Derrick nods, Keirs part to let you by. Skullface is Craig Tolmie. Chief lieutenant. And he’s with Puppy Paisley, and he’s with Kit Spoils.

 

4hlmaou.png

 

Tolmie repeats: “Hey.

 

Derrick says “Morning.”

 

Repeats “Morning. Ha. Sit the f*ck down.”

 

“Why?”

 

Repeats, “Sit the f*ck down.

 

Derrick repeats “Why?

 

You’re just being disrespectful now, huh?” That’s Kit Spoils. “Just being f*cking disrespectful now.”

 

Second or so of Derrick standing there squint-eyed like he hardly believes what he said. Scoffs. “Okay, sure. I’ll sit.”

 

“You know why we want to talk.”

 

Derrick opts for a stool instead of a booth seat. Pulls out an odd colored blue one from the row of brown-blacks with this half-smirk on his face before taking his place: crossing his arms, foot up, still looking.

 

Whole process ends on another few seconds of silence.

 

Puppy laughs.

 

“You are such a prissy f*ck,” Kit goes. It’s meant like a joke but Kit ain’t a funny guy. Can’t help but bleed disdain whenever he’s looking, too much a thug for the polite-schtick to ever ring true.

 

Straight to business: “How’d it go?” That’s Tolmie.

 

“Fine,” Derrick says. “I don’t know how Kit’s end went--”

 

Puppy blurts out “Swimmingly, Dicky, like a--”

 

“We got what we needed,” Kit says strict. Looks at Puppy a hot minute real angry, turns back, “We woulda’ called if we knew they was takin’ sh*t gonna stick youse. Maybe they was, I don’t know, but there weren’t no guns taken from where they was keeping it.”

 

“They followed the rules,” Derrick says. “I know that much. Nothing on them, came unarmed.”

 

“They thought it was legit.”

 

That they did.

 

“Arming for a f*cking war,” Puppy says, “we found AKs and sh*t. Kicked that fat prick’s f*cking dog, took--”

 

“Dog?” Derrick goes.

 

“Yeah,” Puppy says.

 

“Thing was barking, had to get rid of it.” Kit sniffs, “Nothin’ could be done.

 

“The dog is dead?”

 

Gets a shrug back. “Gats was found in the shed, had this whole thing covered up with tools- f*ckin’ whatsits, whole thing. Four Defenders, four AKs, couple Chitarras, all sh*t condition but the f*ck you gonna do? They weren’t cleaning them. Got ‘em to Mundy, all peachy.”

 

Good on you,” Derrick goes. “A+, huh? I’ll go write a letter of commendation, we can get pa to put that on youse fridge for a good boy’s job well done.”

 

I’ll break your f*ckin’ dick off, I oughta’--

 

Derrick,” Tolmie utters. “You took care of the wops.”

 

Derrick nods.

 

And?

 

“And you want the blow-by-blow, Craig?”

 

“Yes.”

 

They weren’t armed.” Derrick rubs at the corner of his mouth, “Everyone had their in. Was that Cazzini kid came down, me and Buck, and then this fourth guy I never met must’ve been with Reggie’s guys.”

 

Tolmie says “Boonstra?”

 

“No, no, not Jilly. He was Polack.”

 

Squints. “I don’t know no Polacks working with Reggie. What was his name?

 

“Marius.”

 

I don’t know who the f*ck that is. I’ll ask, uh, John Jack I guess.”

 

“We cut the three of them up in the basement. We told the guy Harvey the method but he just went straight to getting the hacksaws getting them bleeded all over the floor.”

 

“And Pete Rea?”

 

“We got the van over there to their spot in East Liberty, yeah. They got the holes dug but they did a sh*t f*cking job, was like three feet deep. If we kept the guys whole they woulda’ been too f*ckin’ fat to fit, probably.”

 

“All three?”

 

“They’re Italians, aren’t they?”

 

Yeah, yeah.

 

“Was Tony there?” Kit asks.

 

“Which Tony?”

 

The c*nt, Dicky.

 

“Oh, yeah. They was asking about you, actually.”

 

Like his eyes light up, “Yeah?

 

“Yeah. Wanted some sick f*ck could neuter some dogs but I told ‘em you’d just talk to them, suck their cocks instead - the skitzo medication or something.”

 

“I swear--”

 

“Or would you just skip to the vivisection, huh?”

 

“You gotta settle the f*ck down, Dick,” Tolmie’s glaring at you with those hawk eyes of his. Killer’s eyes, stone cold nothing eyes.

 

Kit goes “What the f*ck is a vivisection?

 

Door opens.

 

Kit cranes his head.

 

Kit goes “Oh, sh*t!

 

Derrick looks.

 

It’s John Jack McReary.

 

Peak lapels, stressed out double-breasted sheepskin coat with the Redwood pack crinkled-out stuffed deep in the pocket. Blue-beige checkered newsboy cap he takes off, hands to his driver Griff the Berk - skinny goon with a big mustache holding an umbrella in the other hand - takes the coat off showing an ill fitting blue suit, argyle socks peeking, slip on brown loafers.

 

Ruddy red acne-scarred skin and blood vessels showing on the hands. Hair gelled back down past the neck, this gruff bark he gives telling Griff “Don’t get da’ f*ckin’ jacket f*cked or I’ll f*ckin’ cut youse some, okay? Okay?”

 

Griff squeaks “Okay, sir, okay.

 

And Kit goes “John Jack! Haha, hey!”

 

v3XJZPs.png

 

John Jack points with two fingers - index and middle - says “Son my son,” walks on over and grabs Derrick by the shoulder while he’s got his back turned, while Derrick is staring off with this blank nothing in his eyes.

 

How are ya’, huh?” Kit says.

 

“It’s a parking lot out on Dukes Boulevard.”

 

I heard that on WSOS, actually--” Puppy is saying.

 

Kit goes “Nobody’s talking to you.” Turns back to John Jack, “Sounds like a f*cking sh*t.”

 

Nods. Grabs Derrick by the shoulder tighter, “I gotta talk to my boy.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“I already talked to you about the thing, huh? I got to talk.” Looks down to Derrick, “You up for it?

 

Derrick’s just looking off. “Sure.”

 

Cut.

 

Booth seat - no stool. Father and son mirror each other while Kit does the occasional lean-over from the other one; no point to it since Derrick’s in the seat facing his way. Griff getting picked on by the Keir brothers and Aiden still conversing with Allie.

 

No words between father and son.

 

Derrick dusts off his jeans, goes to say something--

 

“You still hanging with them n*ggers in Holland?”

 

He glares. Derrick says “What do you care?”

 

“I care because they talk about it, I care. You wanna play this f*ckin’ game.”

 

Derrick blinks, but he doesn’t budge.

 

“They laugh at you. And you bring sing-song in,” referring to Aiden, “and he does what he does with that cooze. You brought the other guy along like I told you? The pinko, Sligo.”

 

Yeah.

 

“Kit told me with Mundy and Mundy told me with Memo. Was pleased. They had explosives, those f*cks.”

 

“Who? The capos?”

 

“They did. Explosives, this big f*ckin’ MG, million rounds for it. Was gonna hit Memo’s house and spray the front of the thing, bomb it, f*ckin’ wreck it like f*ckin’ Nazis or f*ckin’ English or some sh*t like that.”

 

Thought it was a couple of automatics.

 

“People tell you what you needs to know. And you needs to know what I told you. Others think that ain’t your forty.” Means forté.

 

“You send me out to be the dog, I oughta’ know what I’m getting.”

 

Need to know.” John Jack grabs the Redwoods pack and pulls a cigarette by the middle, pinches it harder than hard - couldn’t hold something delicate if he tried. “They’re still looking for Mart Dio’s kid. You know him?”

 

“No.”

 

“Crazy Pans.”

 

What?

 

“That’s his name. Crazy Pans.”

 

Jy7Ida7.png

 

Squints. “Okay.”

 

“The heir’s gone and lammed the sh*t. He was gonna be underboss, now he’s nothin’. Or maybe he is since Mart Dio got their peoples and some important friends, some sh*t like that. Directive from up high is bygones are bygones but we gotta keep lookin’ for the kid before he does some Victor-Charlie sh*t. Cut his f*cking head off.”

 

“Up high is who?”

 

“Up high is Jon, and up high is Memo. We need f*cking stability. That’s the end-all. Crazy Pans still alive means the coup’s still alive and that ain’t nothin’ stable. Think he’ll get his boys on a counter-attack even though we was Commission-sanctioned. So, you’re doin’ the next piece of the work.”

 

Derrick says “How much?”

 

How much?

 

“I do more errand boy sh*t you send me a paycheck.”

 

Blinks. “Excuse me?

 

Takes that as a denial, “Okay, send Kit then.”

 

Send Kit- send--” stutters on that, “No. You’re doin’ this. You f*ckin’ kidding me, you--”

 

“I’m not doing more f*cking wop laundry.”

 

“Kit goes and they’ll know. Kid don’t exactly--”

 

“Kid don’t what? Kid goes f*cking ape sh*t, he kills a dog? He tell you that? That he killed some f*cking dog?”

 

John Jack says “So?”

 

Derrick is staring.

 

If you’re trying to say he’s a loose cannon, that ain’t it.”

 

“Then f*ck off.” Derrick goes to stand--

 

John Jack grabs him by the arm and smacks him across the face.

 

Derrick stares.

 

He pulls the cigarette out his mouth, half smoked, and pinches the thing so hard it nearly breaks in two. Flicks it to the table with the free hand and lets Derrick go, grabs another stick from the box, “What’s the matter with you?”

 

Derrick stares.

 

Attitude. You got an attitude, you got no respect, you wonder why nobody takes you seriously.” Gets out his lighter, “You act a retard you’re gonna get- you f*ckin’... I swear to god, you run me up the f*ckin’ tree.”

 

Derrick stares.

 

“Sit down. C’mon, sit down.”

 

Derrick stares.

 

John Jack is trying to play it smoother now, “Sit down, c’mon with you. You know I do this- you know I do this ‘cause I know. Sit down.”

 

Derrick stares. Derrick sits.

 

“You don’t talk to your father like that.”

 

“Okay,” Derrick says.

 

“That’s not right. And you know that.”

 

Derrick stares.

 

“‘Cause in the real world, in the real world, when there’s an authority, you gotta respect it. You wanna do something in the world, you gotta respect the authority. That’s why you do this.”

 

Just tell me what to do.

 

“You’re not listening, Derrick.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“You’re not listening, Derrick. Listen to me. You gotta put your footprint on the f*ckin’ dirt. You treat your old man with respect. You don’t disrespect. You don’t do respect, you can’t make no footprints, there won’t be no feet to put them in. You listen to me?

 

“I understand.”

 

“You stumble and you fall. I don’t want that. When Memo called, I told him I was picking you. Because you make that mark and it’s something. I coulda’ got Kit but that’s the difference, Kit knows that you gotta respect those you need to respect, and you ain’t. So you need to step the f*ck up. And that’s why I picked you.”

 

Derrick is staring. Ice cold blue eyes. Doesn’t break, says it slowly, “What’s with that capo’s kid? What do I gotta do?”

 

“You wanna know? You wanna know.” John Jack puts out his cigarette. “Okay, listen to me. They want to make sure they break the legs of whoever’s doing their mutiny before they mutiny. Capos was the head, now you go for the body. We took their guns, they know where they bought ‘em from.”

 

“So I’m taking out the gun guy?”

 

“I don’t want Pinko or Sing-Song on this. You take them to the big guys and they’ll laugh. Okay?”

 

“You wanted ‘em along on the job with the three.”

 

Aside from you all the gunmen was bozos. Redhead got f*cking who, some Polack schmuck who prints skin flicks and only comes around every other month nobody knows his f*cking name. I thought Puppy, I went on the commie f*ck. Someone disposable. You made your mark though, huh, you met Pete Rea. Not bad.”

 

Derrick takes the implication on the chin - “Just tell me what I gotta do.

 

“They buy wholesale from an ice cream truck.”

 

“You’re sh*tting me.”

 

He’s from Alderney, and no I f*ckin’ wish. Former GI motherf*cker knows explosives, he cooked up some bombs and he got them some surplus. Mr. Tasty - Kraut Middelkorp. Was in the papers last year ‘cause he put a bomb on his ex wife’s doorstep in Zabriskie. You knock him down a peg.”

 

Derrick says “So I’m going to ‘Derney?”

 

You don’t gotta worry about that.

 

“Good. Wouldn’t be caught f*cking dead in ‘Derney.”

 

“Usually takes the truck of his on the route up and down Hardtack Avenue but got this restraining order or some sh*t or something- been doing routes around Shalimar Park. Stops at this rec center on Dukes Boulevard, Deadline Wall Hall, corner of there and 62nd. Some bookie-cum-stool pigeon. Goes to some of the same people Crazy Pans does for details on what his wife’s done changed the phone number to.”

 

“Corner of Dukes and 62nd.”

 

Corner of there and then. You take whatever you get from the f*ck to The Embers.”

 

Like the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

 

Like the breeze came right through the window, draft colder than cold.

 

The Embers.

 

Derrick gets up. And Derrick gets going.

 

The Keirs start grabbing. Kit cranes his neck. John Jack lights another Redwood.

 

Head to the recreation center.

 

When the cold air hits on the outside past the chairs you get a notice.

 

On missions without Bucky or Aiden accompanying you, always check to see if any contacts open up for assistance. Associates are never far: in this case, you can reach Jimmy Pegorino at a payphone. 

 

You can do that, or you can go lonesome. There’s always the chance to phone a friend and seek assistance - perhaps guidance - on a paying contract or a narrative mission. After all, you want to assure your employer you get that f*cking job done, right? What’s the harm if you get a little help?

 

Of course, you won’t always get a yes from whoever you call. But you have your notepad at the ready with a list of contacts, and you have a payphone on every other corner. You don’t have to, but it almost always affects the outcome of a job and throws an alternate route your way.

 

Dial Jimmy Pegorino.

 

Derrick rubbing his face as the phone bleets, pulls the black handset up to his ear.

 

Ring ring.

 

Ring ring.

 

Yo?That same old squawk through the receiver.

 

“Jimmy. Jimmy, my man.”

 

“Yo! What’s up, goombata, how ya’ doin’?”

 

“You in the city?”

 

“Yeah, bro, yeah. I’m in Lancaster, I got this thing--”

 

How quick can you get over to Shalimar Park? I’ll pay.”

 

“Yeah? What for?”

 

“My pa, on behalf of the guy with the Smoke? You know?”

 

“...Sure.

 

“Well, he wants me to take care a’ somethin’. Think I might need a capable set a’ hands.”

 

“You gettin’ Buck and the guy fa’ this?”

 

No, no. Two-man gig. You in?

 

Short pause. “Where I gotta head?

 

“Take off the Eastborough and head down Dukes Boulevard and 62nd. Deadline War Hall. You got that?”

 

Dukes and 62nd, yeah. I’ll be there within the hour, okay bro?

 

“Cheers, then.”

 

I gotcha’, bro.

 

He hangs up.

 

Jimmy always loved a good clipping.

 

Drive.

 

Head to the recreation center.

 

There’s no cutscene at the rec center if you didn’t call Jimmy. You coulda’ called Bucky as a f*ck you to pops, but he’ll just tell you he’s working at the auto body. Derrick makes a mental note regardless.

 

Jimmy’s parked his ‘78 Schyster Libertonian gas guzzler whip out on 62nd near the lot and this boarded up building you can’t discern the prior use of. It’s nothing now. Jimmy’s on the hood: white mesh shirt, mint-and-white cardigan, cream slacks. One hand pressed over his pocket and the other with a cigarette, the kid singing: “My funny valentine… sweet, comic valentine…

 

0xqM6qZ.png

 

Derrick goes “Jimbo.”

 

This hokey “Gha?” noise from Jimmy taken out the moment. Eyes light up, “Dicky! Yo.”

 

“Hey.”

 

“Chet Baker.” Like he’s justifying himself.

 

“What?”

 

It’s Chet Baker, I was singing. Chet Baker, bro.”

 

Derrick doesn’t care that much. “Cool.”

 

What you like, Dicky? You like jazz?”

 

“You can listen to what you want, Jimmy, it’s cool.”

 

“Yeah. But whaddya’ listen to?”

 

“I don’t know. I like, uh… I don’t know. Jean-Michel Jarre. Philip Glass. You know them?”

 

Jim doesn’t reply but the blank expression says no.

 

“I mean, I don’t know, I like Bob Marley. I like the Stones. I can do a good Mick Jagger impression, you wanna hear that?”

 

“Bob Marley, bro, that’s uh… hippy sh*t, right? Rolling Stones is too faggy for me. Is Bob Marley black?”

 

“Bo- uh- yeah. Yeah, the Wailers, yeah. They’re from Jamaica.”

 

I’m okay with Nat King Cole.

 

Derrick squints. “Sure. He’s good. Not really the same--”

 

So what’s is this, bro, who’s gettin’ whacked?”

 

Derrick steps over. “Keep a cool head on, yeah? Don’t say that sh*t.”

 

I ain’t a retard. We ain’t playin’ f*ckin’ bocce or whatever over here, it’s simple sh*t. You call me, bro, you say yo yo yo, come here bro come here fast, I go ‘okay’. Them kinda urgencies means what it means. Who’s gettin’ whacked? And it was Memo Smokes you said was payin’ on the horn.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Guy’s always good for a skull bust. Who’s the dunsky, who’s the chump?”

 

Puts hands in his jacket pockets. “He drives an ice cream truck, right?”

 

Snort-laugh. “He give some kid the wrong flavor?

 

“No. He sells guns, some sh*t. And he might have something to do with something else.”

 

“They good gats?”

 

You’d know?

 

“I’m a collector.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah, Dicky. I got three f*ckin’ AKs at home. Or I got two AKs, I got one in da’ trunk. I got a piece on me,” pats the bulge in his pocket, “I mean a lotta’ fellas go tossin’ gats they don’t need no more. Or it’s thirty eights and twelve gauges. Never got that.”

 

Pause. “You got an AK in the car?”

 

“You wanna see?”

 

Are you f*cking joking?

 

“Wha’?”

 

Jim, you keep a f*ckin’ automatic on you, some pig sees that sh*t and you get sent to the bacon factory the rest of your life. Don’t be stupid.”

 

So you’re mister ‘thirty eights and twelve gauges’, huh?”

 

“Anyone f*ckin’ smart is. All you can do with a machine gun is fight a f*ckin’ war maybe. All’s you need is a four-inch tops, enough to point that sh*t and kill whatever you want dead. Four inch is too much, even, since youse might need a holster. You bring a machine gun you gotta prep for like a solid minute to get that thing goin’. That ain’t an everyday self defense kinda’ thing.”

 

“So we ain’t fightin’ a war?”

 

This shouldn’t be. We get OK Corral out on the street and everything goes to sh*t. We’re lookin’ for stability.”

 

Messinas is goin’ to the mattresses. You hear about what’s been said, ‘bout these three captains? Gone in a f*ckin’ night. Yeah. That’s our paymaster.”

 

“Yeah,” Derrick says. “I heard.

 

“Some sick sh*t, but hey,” taps his chest two times and does this face supposed to be smart. “Sick world.”

 

“Sick game.”

 

“What’s the f*cking difference? I need the AK?

 

Why don’t ya’ just come the f*ck on, why don’t you. Just follow my movement.”

 

They walk.

 

Door.

 

I3PLAqR.png

 

Door opens past a little secretary with a notebook - stairs to the left, doorway to the right, boxing gym up ahead. Smoke filled archway gives into boxing gym proper with the beat-bags hanging and the patchy laminate floor. Sweat and smoke. The ring is up ahead, two black boys in red-blue trunks slinging fists.

 

Find Mr. Tasty.

 

Jimmy goes “These boxers love ice creams?

 

“I don’t really know.”

 

“So why’s the ice cream man at the boxing place, bro? He like boxing?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“You see him, bro?”

 

“I don’t know, Jimmy.”

 

There’s a lot of smoke. Coach at the ringside is this big fella with a mustache and a denim jacket, thick cigar, barking out whats-its and hows-its all foreign to Derrick’s ears.

 

Occasionally - man in a suit, with bad hair and big spectacles - walks to the coach, talks, pulls out his notepad, writes down, heads back to some plastic stools by the window to keep writing. Repeats. Repeats. Maybe the only fella in there who seems unoccupied, but he’s a hard fish to catch.

 

If you miss your moment, you wait long enough? He’ll get up, and he’ll leave. Head out the door, cross the street, head to his ice cream truck and drive off.

 

That’s one way of finding Mr. Tasty.

 

But you’ve noticed him, now.

 

a3KqP6j.png

 

Jimmy’s not gonna spot the guy, he’s got spatial perception like a f*cking shrew, but you can point him out. “You see the mope over there?

 

And Jimmy’s eye’ll move to the mope, and then watch the routine. “Yo.

 

“Yeah.”

 

That’s the f*ckin’ bookie, right?

 

“The coach or Mister Hairpiece?”

 

Mister Hairpiece, that’s a good one.” Gives this dumb f*cking chuckle. “But no, yeah. My uncle makes books, huh, I know the point spreaders when I see’s ‘em. Ice creams ain’t taking books but he’s making bets, huh?”

 

Jimmy ain’t clever, but he’s street smart. Without him, any chance of talking to the man with the notepad would fall flat on its face. Approach loud, or approach with words.

 

Ys2J6q2.png

Loud means pulling a gat, telling Jimmy “We lock and we f*cking load, okay?” Jimmy says he wishes he brought the rifle. Derrick says “Zip it. I’ll take point.”

 

Jimmy rounds the ring. Hand on the piece in his waistband watching the sides coming right on the coach. Starts talking to him - you can’t hear him over the punch-punch-slap on the punching bags.

 

Boxer in the ring stops.

 

Yo--

 

What the f*ck? That a f*ckin’ gun?”

 

He got a f*cking gun!

 

Unholster. Jimmy pulls the piece and smacks the coach across the face, pushes him to the ground and takes aim at Mr. Tasty. Tasty flips, throws the pad, runs right past while Jimmy can barely fire a shot on him. Kid has sh*t f*cking aim, bullets fly. Unlucky bullet rams right in the coach’s f*cking head.

 

iG3WSD9.png

 

Whoops. One less bookie in Liberty City.

 

God f*cking damn it, Jimbo!

 

“Oh, minchia!”

 

Chase Mr. Tasty.

 

Guy bolts through one of the doors into the rec-center rec-center with colored flooring and kids drawing with crayons behind one of the windows. Daycare and the gunshots ring out, bullets might hit glass and there’s screaming. Mr. Tasty pulls out a revolver of his own and takes cover behind a wall, fires six shots in succession unless you’re quick enough to take cover.

 

Into a stairwell. They go down.

 

Jimmy! Follow me!

 

Guts of this place are cold brick walls painted over and concrete flooring. Sprinting down the stairs past the boiler, past metal grating, guy popping off more shots and screaming “My f*ckin’ wife, she sent you! She sent you, huh?

 

He’s breaking a sweat.

 

He trips. Wet floor sign standing up on dry floor and the gun rattles spinning under some sh*t he can’t reach, Tasty goes “Oh rats! Oh rats!” Slips on his own sweat and he’s on his back now like a turtle with his arms up.

 

Jimmy’s behind you. “Pop goes the f*cking weasel, get the f*ckin’ dunsky! Get the f*ckin’ bastard!”

 

Derrick spits. No words. Aims.

 

I’ll leave the bitch alone, man, I will! I will!

 

Derrick fires the round in his f*cking head.

 

Gun lowers.

 

Jimmy goes “Ace. Aces.”

 

“We ain’t got the iron he had. What he drop, some f*cking Stud .30 piece of sh*t.”

 

“What? We got him.”

 

You got his notepad?

 

“Notepad?” A moment, “Oh. No, bro, nah, bro. No.”

 

You go loud, you miss the opportunity to get the guns. Unless you want to scour the parking lot for a f*cking ice cream truck.

 

NHM1FiU.png

Derrick’s doesn’t know sh*t about Mr. Tasty and was never much a betting guy. Always terrible with numbers. But with Jimmy, you got a loan shark and a bookie from across the West River. Or, rather, someone who’s done a lot of head-breaking for loan sharks and bookies.

 

Jimmy.

 

“Yeah?”

 

Nods, “He’s the guy.”

 

Grins, “We whackin’ or what?”

 

No. No. Just smooth talk. Follow my lead. You know sports?”

 

Jimmy squints. “Sure.”

 

“I don’t know sh*t about no sports. How’s the football?”

 

Oh, they don’t start until September, Dicky.

 

“College ball or f*ckin’ basketball or some sh*t, what’s happening?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“The Penetrators make it in?”

 

Nah, bro. They got raped.”

 

Yeah, when don’t they. Come on, you know these f*ckin’ guys.”

 

“Know who?”

 

Groans. “Just follow my lead, okay?”

 

Jimmy nods.

 

Derrick leads.

 

Mr. Tasty has his head buried in the notepad.

 

You come here, too?” Derrick plays it smooth, “That’s nuts.”

 

Mr. Tasty looks up. “Huh?

 

Jimmy goes “These playoffs, bro. I put eight on Alderney and got f*ckin’ pounded. Eight on both games and then DC f*cks me. Hometown pride.

 

“I’m from Alderney,” Tasty goes. “Serves me right.”

 

No sh*t?

 

Derrick says “I heard that. Kraut, right?

 

“Yeah.” Smiles, extends a hand, “Hey. I know you?”

 

“No,” Derrick says. “Heard good things, though. Heard you’re a real welch.” Frowns, then breaks into a grin - “Nah, just kiddin’ ya, I heard good things. I’m Ricky Derrida, this my buddy Jimmy B.”

 

Shakes Jimmy’s hand, “B?

 

Derrick says “Bordiga. Nah, he’s from AC. Just talking to this guy about the season though. Penetrators. I put it all on them. I mean, I bet where my heart goes, I bet with the city. But this town got no sports for sh*t.”

 

Ha. I heard that. Got wiped out by DC so seeing this Seattle-Defiance game through. Could go either way.”

 

“I know somebody,” Jimmy goes, “he’s put a whole ten on Texas. Bro, I sh*t you not. I told him, bro, get the f*ck outta here, you ain’t gonna cover the nut, but he said f*ck it. Now me, I’d never place a bet like that without some sureties, you know. Sureties. Yeah.”

 

“Yeah- well, like I said, could go either way. Trust me, I had some kinda line on the swingmen one way or another, I’d be putting something solid down myself. Talk to my friend Wardy right here. But it’s gotta be a sure thing or, you know,” chuckles, “sure as you can get. You put something down on the f*ckin’ Panic this season, you learned that lesson.”

 

“Nah, nothin’ like that, bro, I saw that upset comin’ a mile away, you don’t f*ck with coaches mid-season.”

 

Looks at his notebook, the boys trading punches and back. “You’re right about that.”

 

A pause. “So you got money troubles or some sh*t, bro?”

 

Dicky glares. Tasty shrugs, eyes back to the ring. “Who don’t.”

 

Derrick tries to redirect, folds arms and asks “What’s the spread? For Seattle-Defiance, I mean.”

 

“This far out we’re still talkin’ PK. And no offense, fellas, but I don’t exactly go yappin’ ringside about the inside track, you know what I mean? Not usually.”

 

“I feel you.” Derrick pauses. Looks to Jimmy for assurance - ice broken. “Say, pal, I said I heard things,” he leans in closer, “I wasn’t talking numbers, you get my drift.”

 

Eyes widen. “Oh yeah?”

 

“Me and Jimmy here, we was looking to score a couple heaters. Nothing heavy, just a score to settle down the shore. Heard from a friend of a friend you were the man for the task.”

 

Tasty closes his book now. “You know what they say ‘bout loose lips,” he goes, then breaks into this obnoxious f*cking laughter. “Sometimes they’re good for f*ckin’ business.”

 

Derrick fake-laughs. Jimmy gets the cue three seconds too late, f*cking prick.

 

“Alright, alright, alright.” He quiets. “I might got something out in my van. Depends what you’re in the market for, exactly. You said nothing heavy?”

 

“Nah. Deterrent factor type-’a deal, y’know?”

 

“Sure. Sure.” Looks up at Jimmy, “you too?”

 

Doesn’t seem quite sure what it means. “Yeah, bro.”

 

Okay.

 

Tasty does this 180-degree crane of the neck, pockets his little book and looks over to the coach - does a T with his sweaty little hands.

 

“Weeelll,” stands straight. “The real action’s a ways off, anyways. This f*ckin’ place. C’mon.”

 

C’mon’s your cue - back in control as he heads up and out the room, under the arch and into the fluorescence and vinyl hallway. You’re not required to wait, important note: you can pop him here, or before the doors, or on the f*cking pavers right out beyond. But you’re doing this smart, right? So let the ruse pay its way - Jimmy’s building confidence, anyway.

 

“War of the Deadline Hall,” Tasty parrots off the signage when you hit daylight. “Lotsa sawbuck-on-a-cock-crossin’-the-road types all up in my business here, you know what I mean?”

 

Not really. “Sure.”

 

“The f*ckin’ smell ‘a the place, the sh*t that gets in your, eh, your pores. Whatever. You fellas said you’re from AC?”

 

Jimmy starts mumbling but Derrick catches it. “No, just him. Me, I’m a Dukes boy born and bred.”

 

“A name like- what, you said, Derrida? Don’t mean nothin’ by it, but I didn’t take you for the olive oil type. You’re paler than me, y’know.”

 

Dicky turns his head for Jimmy - bulldog-mad. The olive oil type.

 

“Actually, it’s Moroccan. But I’m just some mutt. I don’t think about it.”

 

He pauses a moment before saying “Good for you” and for a second that stops the conversation dead.

 

Kraut’s looping around the side of the building past iron-bound windows and graffiti over graffiti - not headed to the same lot Jimmy left his car in on 62nd but, you realize, a parking garage across on 93rd. 

 

“Not too much farther,” he goes. “Not too much farther. He tell you I got ice cream, your friend?”

 

Derrick says “Sure did. Get a free cone if we put down three digits on firepower?”

 

Gets a guffaw from Jimmy lagging behind. “You do one scoop or two?”

 

Almost seems insulted by the question. “Two. C’mon. Ain’t gonna make some poor schmoe wait on line ten-- sometimes fifteen minutes for one f*ckin’ scoop, not here or Broker or nowhere. And I got good ice creams too. Not just the franchise stuff - my own syrups. Quantity and quality.”

 

Jimmy approves. “That’s good sh*t, bro.”

 

There’s no parking attendant - van’s parked nose-out up by a middle column, a Zirconium to one side and nothing on the other. The Mr Tasty van. You’ve probably seen a dozen of them around town by now: identical, blue-bordered, the Pavlovian response to the jingle - this one needs a wash.

 

He tells you to watch your step as he unlocks the back doors. Jimmy waits for the nod, some last second reassurance. 

 

Dicky gives it.

 

They step inside; there’s just barely head clearance for one man, let alone three packed like sardines between soft serve machines and storage drawers - utensils, spoons, cone stacks. He’s legit.

 

“Alrighty-roo,” Tasty rubs hands together, “you said something light, light, light. I got light- I got whatever tickles your fancy." He starts popping open drawers, overhead compartments - hot metal glints off the overhead bulb: barrels, grips, f*cking muzzles. “.38, .22, I got- I got pistols’ll pop ya’ mark’s head like a melon, I got others that’ll keep that lead whizzin’ around in his brain. Or maybe you wanna get up in his face: that case, I got Ka-Bars by the f*ckin’ dozen. Slice ‘em up real good.”

 

Jimmy goes “Ho-lee f*ck.”

 

Tasty keeps on with the pitch, Derrick watching: “It’s contraband, see? Mostly ‘Nam, some from Korea. I got these real punchy motherf*ckers for a .22, this Kreuger the IAA was handin’ out like suckers during Masher and ‘fore Saigon.”

 

Derrick can’t lie. “I ain’t seen this kinda firepower in f*ckin’ yonks.”

 

“Firepower?” Tasty goes, makes this sound like he’s about to hock a loogie. He pushes Jimmy aside, unlatches a freezer running under the right side. “How ‘bout this?”

 

It’s a f*cking mortar.

 

It’s like ten f*cking mortars stacked flat in the freezer.

 

Tasty’s got it in his hands. “Five-thousand yard range, thirty rounds a minute, twenty pounds apiece.” He lugs it into Derrick’s arms. “You got this glint in your eye.”

 

Derrick puts it right back, chuckles. “You’re one crazy son of a bitch.”

 

Doesn’t phase him. “I got a court date tomorrow,” he says. “Bring one of these f*ckers to the courthouse, show that cold c*nt gospel truth, y’know what I mean?”

 

You’ve had your fun - but it’s time. 

 

Eliminate Mr. Tasty.

 

Derrick says “Not really.” 

 

You’ve got a snubnose tucked into the waistband. 

 

There’s no advantage to dawdling: Jimmy catches Tasty’s attention by the .22s tucked in the cabinets over the soft serve and for a moment he turns his back. You’re in gameplay - have been this entire time - and it’s your chance to sneak, unholster, get a grip on the .38.

 

Tasty’s yapping: “Y’know, a few weeks back I had these I-talians come by, these crazy cowboy sons of bitches wanted heavy f*cking ordnance, lemme tell ya’--”

 

As if you needed any more reason.

 

Jimmy sees you make your move and sticks fingers in his ears as you fire hot lead point-blank into the back of Kraut Middlekorp’s neck - he topples forward, slams face-first onto the narrow slab of countertop by the window and paints it red on his way down.

 

Derrick goes “f*ck!”

 

Had you waited, Jimmy would’ve taken initiative himself and f*cking bungled it - a struggle for the gun taking half the truck’s equipment down with them in a tumble on the floor, Derrick forced to find a clear line of fire between the two big motherf*ckers and pop him clean-like.

 

As it stands, though, he’s done. But you know how to finish it properly.

 

Aim down the sights - two more pow-pows as you send a couple more slugs into the back of his head, hear them sink into the skull and spatter.

 

Jimmy pulls out a Chitarra, makes it an even count - camera distances cinematic-like so you just see the shots lighting up the dim parking garage through the truck window.

 

“Minchia.”

 

He’s got a proper holster, tucks the gun away. 

 

“What now, Dicky?”

 

Bring the weapons to Bucky or The Embers.

 

“Now we take this goddamn stockpile where it goes. sh*t. Go get your car, will ya’?”

 

Immediately does as he’s told, the obedient f*cking goon.

 

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“And you was giving me sh*t about having an AK in here?” 

 

Dicky’s not in the mood. “Yeah, I was.”

 

Bucky’s garage is the shorter drive. West in East Island City - Concord and 46th, this double-width red brick joint with a line of Chariot fleet vehicles parked on the sidewalk. Pull up backward into the adjacent alley. Jimmy’s staring at you.

 

Derrick tells him to stay put - he won’t be long.

 

“Fine by me, bro.” 

 

Puts his feet up on his own dash.

 

Sure.

 

Round the corner and through the pair of open garage doors: inside, it’s just about what you’d expect. A couple cars on lifts, guy with a welding mask kneeled and flaming up the bumper of a late-model Remington. Smoke: eyes dart and scan faces throughout - all unfamiliar. Another guy by a workbench with the greasy guinea hair strewn over his forehead and sucking on the last centimeter of an unfiltered cigarette: that’s Cigs Sciglimpaglia. He’s knelt looking up at a sour-faced fella by the name of Grover Brown; same name on the LC licensing deed by the entrance. There besides, Bucky’s chatting with a third in the doorway to the office. Great hair.

 

One of those olive oil types. Derney Donnie.

 

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Derrick waits, nobody asks him his business. Eventually catches Bucky’s attention with the side-eye - he has a laugh with Diotalevi who then turns tail back into the office.

 

Buck’s in grey coveralls, grease-spackled. Working proper, still meets you with a handshake and pat on the shoulder, grinning. “Dicky, man, you lost?”

 

“Visiting,” he goes. “Came for an eyeful of the company you been keeping when you ain’t bunking off. You like it, Buck?”

 

“What?”

 

“Working on them cars. Getting your hands dirty. Motors was never my bag. Some kinda’ break from the violence and the politics, I reckon.”

 

“Not in the f*ckin’ least.” Buck takes him aside so they face out the open garage. “Yuz’ know better than to get naive on me now. It’s all politics, everything politics. I don’t even got my f*ckin’ license, Dicky. This look legit to you?”

 

“I been here all of five minutes, me.”

 

“It's got a genealogy, always.” Quieter now, “always. This here’s a West Side operation. You saw Donnie?

 

“Greaseball?”

 

“Yeah. He’s the Pavano point man - he kicks up, tastes get tasted from the chops we take in mostly from Bohan, cars they work off the Puerto Rican kids without so much as a kickback. Real scumbag sh*t. And I'm detailing f*ckin’ what- private luxury car f*ckin’ fleets for bougie chumps’ll scratch their paint through the East Borough toll booth just the same. Somewhere along the way, Valvona gets his balls tickled, an envelope. City's symbiotic A to Z.”

 

“Yeah, real pedigree of it with these types,” Derrick goes. “That’s the score, I guess.”

 

He gives you a look-down. “Score and a half. We had this same talk last night and yuz’ lookin' spooked all over again.”

 

“Yeah,” he yawns, “maybe. Pa already had me tie up some loose ends for you-know-who. Fine and f*cking dandy, I am.”

 

He's not fazed. “Who?”

 

“This slob drove an ice cream truck. Gun dealer. Sold to the wrong Italians, I guess - had to track him down on Dukes Boulevard.”

 

Laughs, “What, for the gang that couldn’t shoot straight?

 

“I gotta go down to Broker later. Stoothoff Avenue. And Memo Smokes is fronting the bill again.”

 

Bucky lets that sink in. Nods, nods faster, eyes don’t blink. “Was he a dago?”

 

“No. I don’t know. Gambler guy. But we gave some fake names, he walked us down to his truck, Jimmy--”

 

Jimmy who? Pegorino?

 

“Yeah.”

 

“What the f*ck he worth?”

 

“He’s outside, Bucky. You was busy, Aiden was bu--”

 

What do you mean fake names?” Bucky is smirking now. That tension gone, “Don’t f*ckin’ tell me.

 

“Bordiga and Derrida, yeah. C’mon, let me have it.”

 

Face in his palms. “You are the corniest motherf*cker alive.

 

“This isn’t funny, Buck.”

 

I mean,” chuckles, “No. You sure ain’t. But--”

 

“No, I mean, f*ck. I’m kinda freakin’ the f*ck out here, Bucky, I’m kinda’ losing it.”

 

Bucky finds a seat. Steel chair, wipes off his hands, “The way I see it, Dicky. More made f*ckin’ guys on the street than congressmen. Some buttons get sewn, it happens. It weren’t you, it’d be Jimmy, or some other stupid f*ck.”

 

“I don’t want it to be f*cking me. Yeah? I don’t want to take a f*ckin’ buck and a half off Memo f*ckin’ Smokes, Bucky.

 

Agrees, “He ain’t nice.

 

Nice? Man, f*ck nice. He’s bad juju. You heard what he does.” Points at his chest, “And there’s only so much I can do with that man before it rubs off on me, I’m f*ckin’ rotten as him.”

 

“It’s just Italian sh*t.”

 

Back in the forties, Bucky, I know this sh*t. He did a hit for Mussolini personally. And that sh*t got passed down from Don Pavano and f*ckin’ ‘Joe the Mess’ Messina because all these Italians is fascists. Fascist sympathizers, I don’t know. Socialist labor organizer gets hit. I’m getting paid by the hitter. He f*ckin’ killed him himself.

 

Bucky nods, “I know.

 

“Kit Spoils killed some poor f*ckin’ dog. Poor dog, didn’t do nothin’. And my dad, he’s already f*ckin’ evil. I don’t want no more evil f*ckin’ racist pieces of sh*t gettin’ no more bucks than they need. I got guns in my car.

 

Blinks.

 

Blinks.

 

What?

 

“I got a bunch of Orsons, I got some Swedish Ks, a f*cking mortar. I robbed them off the gun guy. I’m giving them to you. Okay?”

 

You brought them here?

 

“Please. Listen to me. What was the name of that woman you said you knew? The communist, she’s doing time.”

 

“Qistina.”

 

“She’s got people outside in Holland, you said. You give these to them. And they do whatever, they sell them, they do whatever, but you give them to them.

 

Stands, “And Memo’ll be fine with that?”

 

Memo don’t know about the firepower. He just wanted the guy deaded and any goodies. I just say there ain’t no goodies. You just gotta get these to her people. Please.”

 

Bucky looks deep into your eyes.