Ten year old Jocelyn Turner peeked out the window, counting down to one under her breath.
“Jo, come away from the window and have your dinner!” Her mother, Ruth shouted from the kitchen.
“I don't want to eat without Daddy!” Jo replied and continued her counting.
Ruth shook her head and smiled, her daughter was a regular Daddy's Girl. She was never content when her father was away. She watched TV with him, she played with him, she read with him, and happily followed him shopping. Sometimes, Ruth worried that Jo's only playmate was her father. In her opinion, girls her age needed friends who were also young and in elementary school, but Jo clammed up whenever she was introduced to children her age.
When Ruth had asked her why she didn't want any friends, Jo had looked her straight in the eye and said, “I have Daddy, and he's enough for me.”
Jo hit her foot on the floor when she counted down to one and her father hadn't knocked on the door. She folded her hands across her chest and pouted, she hated it when her daddy was late.
“Daddy, please come back. I'm really hungry.” She implored, still looking out the window.
Immediately, the familiar figure of a man wearing a trench coat appeared on the doorstep and knocked.
“Mummy, Daddy's home!” Jo shouted with glee as she went to open the door.
“Oh no, you don't. What did I tell you about opening the door?” Ruth demanded, coming out of the kitchen.
“You said I have to ask who is at the door.” Jo said impatiently.
“Good. Now, do that.” Ruth said.
“But Mummy, we already know it's Daddy. Why should I ask?” Jo asked.
“You have to. What if it's not your Daddy? We can't let strangers into the house.” Ruth said.
“Fine.” Jo said. She rolled her eyes as she asked, “Who is it?”
“It's me, Daddy.” Came an amused voice from behind the door.
“I already knew that.” Jo replied. She turned to her mother and asked, “May I let him in, now?”
Ruth nodded, and Jo got to work, unlocking the multiple bolts on the door. When she was through, she opened it and her daddy stepped in, looking tired but smiling at her.
“Daddy!” Jo shouted as she launched herself into his arms.
“Hi, Jo bug. Did you miss me?” Her daddy asked, kissing her hair.
“Yessss. Daddy, I have a lot of things to tell you.” Jo said.
“Which will wait until we've finished dinner.” Ruth said.
Her daddy set her down and went over to her mummy, “Did you miss me too?” He asked.
“You know I did, Gabe.” Her mummy replied before they kissed. Eeeeew! Jo thought as she closed her eyes and wondered why parents had to such disgusting things. Didn't they know a gazillion germs could be spread by kissing?
When they were through, she opened her eyes.
Her daddy ruffled her hair, “I'm going to get out of these dirty clothes, then you can tell me about your day, Jo bug.”
* * *
Gabe listened as his daughter told him about the drawing she'd made of the both of them driving around town in a car.
The drawing was a child's squiggle, made with crayons, but to him, the Mona Lisa had nothing on it.
“It's very pretty.” He commended her, giving her a high-five.
Gabe was glad for his wife and daughter, and was disappointed in himself for not giving them the pampering they deserved.
Gabe hoped that one day, they'd have enough money to move to another block, because Odton was no place to have a family. It just wasn't safe because of the hundreds of gangs out there, robbing and extorting people.
Gabe tried to save as much money as he could from the convenience store he ran, but most of it was spent on protection money; money given to gangs to protect his store from them, or other gangs.
The problem was, many gangs were collecting protection money from him, so at the end of it all, he wasn't making as much profit as he should. Adding the economic recession to the volatile mix, Gabe knew that relocating to a safer block was nothing short of a pipe dream. For the time being, they were stuck with a fixer upper in an unsafe neighborhood.
“Daddy, you aren't listening!” Jo accused, snapping Gabe away from his thoughts.
“Yes, I was.” He said, smiling at her.
“Then what did I say?” Jo asked disbelievingly.
“I've forgotten. My brain's old.” Gabe joked.
“Nooooo. Does that mean your brain will die soon?” Jo asked, concern etched on her face.
“No, young lady. Get the plates, let's go wash them. I'll teach you a new song while we're at it.” Gabe promised, and Jo did as he bid. She loved it when her daddy taught her songs.
They were about to start when a knock sounded on the door.
“Let me get it.” Jo volunteered, but Gabe held her back. He wasn't expecting anybody.
“Ruth, are you expecting anyone?” He asked.
Ruth shook her head.
“Wait here.” He ordered the both of them before he went to open the door.
When he did, he saw two adolescent boys dressed in denim, with matching green and black bandanas tied around their foreheads. They looked gaunt and had tattoos inscribed on the various parts of their bodies he could see. One held a baseball bat.
Gabe knew they were gangsters, and was annoyed. What were they doing at his door?
“Who the fuck are you and what do y'all want?” He snarled.
“Now now, mister Turner, no need to get your panties in a twist.” The one with the baseball bat smirked.
“O.G sent us. He says you owe him protection money. Fork it over.” The other said.
“Am I supposed to know who that is? Moreover, I've already paid protection money.” Gabe said intractably.
The boys looked offended, “You don't know O.G? O.G is our leader. The leader of the Night Snakes.”
“Yup. And you mighta paid protection money, but you didn't pay it to us. You know what I mean?” The boys said, explaining to Gabe as if he were a five year old.
“Look, you go back and tell your O.G that I'm not giving him nada. He can go fuck himself for all I care.” Gabe said, trying to intimidate the boys.
“Now, that ain't happening. If we return without the money, we're going to be dead meat.” One of the boys said, shaking his head.
“Again, I don't care.” Gabe said, and tried to slam the door in their faces.
“Okay, Gramps. Playtime's over.” The empty handed one whipped out a pistol.
Gabe immediately threw his hands up, silently cursing himself for coming out without his own firearm.
“Okay. Put that away before shit happens.” Gabe advised.
“No. Now, where's the money?” The pistol wielding one asked.
“I don't have any cash on me. Why don't you two go home? You can come to the shop tomorrow and collect it.” Gabe said.
“No, thanks. If we don't take it now, O.G gon' kill us.” He replied.
“Then don't go back to O.G. You two are young boys with your whole lives ahead of you. Don't waste your lives doing his dirty work. You're either going to end up in jail, or dead before you're thirty.” Gabe advised.“Or we could end up filthy rich with lots of ice and bitches.” The other boy smirked. “Now, this is the last time we'll ask nicely. Where's the money?”“Gabe? Is everything alright?” Came Ruth's worried voice from inside.“Yeah. Yeah! I'm fine!” Gabe shouted.“You better give it to us, or we'll involve your wife.” The boys threatened.“How much do I owe you?” Gabe asked.“Two hundred bucks.” One said.“I don't have it on me.” Gabe said.Suddenly, a shot rang out, and Gabe fell to the floor, blood oozing from the bullet wound in his chest.“Damn! Bro, what'd you do that for?” Th
Jocelyn Turner steeled her shoulders as she entered the ratty massage parlor with ten of her thugs in tow. Anyone who saw her would marvel at the change she'd undergone in the last fifteen years.Gone was the naive innocent girl with chubby cheeks and freckles on her nose. Jo had grown into a five feet, six inched slender young woman, with chin-length raven black hair and with tattoos on her arms.Jo was dressed in a sports bra, black leather jacket, ripped jeans and combat boots. A black and white bandana drooped out of her jeans pocket.The interior of the massage parlor was as ratty as the outside. From the neon lighting and the plastic chairs in the waiting room, one could discern that it was a shady enterprise.The receptionist, a bleach blonde with a highly voluptuous figure which she managed to squeeze into a miscropic nurse's outfit, let out an involuntary squeal of fear when she saw Jo and her men.“How may I help you?” The rec
Meanwhile, on the other side of the block, another gang leader was about to wreak havoc on another enterprise. His name was Asher Mason, but everyone called him Ash. He was tall and lean but still with enough muscle to indimidate people if and when he wanted.He had brown hair, a sculpted jaw, full sensual lips and green eyes.Many women came onto him, wanting to be his baby mama or mistress, but he sent them all away.His gang, called the Sopranos, was also another gang to be feared in Ganghaven. At first, people hadn't taken them seriously, but after Ash had singlehandedly put eight men in the ICU without any weapon, people had learned to respect them.Asher and his crew of five men knocked on the door of a storage facility and waited.“Who's you?” Someone asked from inside.“It's the Sopranos. Open up, we've got business to discuss.” Ash said.“Shit!” The voice exclaimed.“Now, now.
Jo marched into one of the most reputable diners in Ganghaven, Jacob's. The place was near empty, with only a few couples at various tables.The proprietor, Jacob came forward to greet her.“Jo, you're welcome! You need a table?” The burly man asked, wiping his greasy hands on his stained apron and offering Jo a handshake.“Yes. I need a table for three. My friends will be here soon.” Jo replied, declining to shake hands.“Well, you can sit at any table of your choice.” Jacob said.Jo thanked him and plopped herself down at the farthest table in the diner.“Except that one.” Jacob murmured.“Did you say something?” Jo asked.He shook his head, deciding not to tell her about his regular customer who always came at the same time each day, and sat on that chair. He prayed his customer wouldn't come that day. Instead, he changed the topic “What would you like?&
Ash was actually very angry as he entered the diner. His friend and contact in the police force had been posted to patrol the streets of Gulden, not Ganghaven. Ash didn't understand why the cops left a place that was in dire need of their presence, and went to a place that was already full of 'em. It was grossly unfair, if you asked him.Ash shook his head and sighed. That was the problem, nobody cared enough for Ganghaven, he thought. He wondered if it was a crime to be born into a low-income earning family.His scowl intensified when he saw that his usual table at the diner was taken. Upon further examination, he found that the three women who'd taken up his space were actually beautiful. That wiped the scowl off his face. Maybe he could join them; flirting with beautiful women always put him in a good mood.As he walked up to them, he saw that one of them had a tattoo sleeve. But that wasn't his problem. His problem was one of the tattoos. It was one of a haw
Andrea Levi sent up a silent prayer as she entered Lieutenant Baines' office, hoping that he'd listen to what she had to say.When she entered, she saw him walking on the treadmill in his office, sweating and counting under his breath. His office was furnished with state-of-the-art furniture, giving it the look of that of a senator or governor. Baines' office was his pride and joy, so he rarely left it.“Levi.” He said in acknowledgement, stopping the treadmill and taking a nearby towel to his face.“Sir.” She replied sharply.Baines took a bottle of water, twisted off the cap and put it to his mouth, almost finishing the bottle's contents in one one gulp.After that, he gave a loud burp before he sat in his chair, not bothering to excuse himself.“What do you want?” He asked impatiently.“Sir, I've come to call a certain illegal operation to your knowledge.” Andrea said as she slid a fi
“Mum, there's a huge drug deal going down in Ganghaven during the weekend.” Jo said as she sat down and grabbed a fork, waiting for her mother to dish her share.“Have you informed the cops?” Ruth asked as she divided the pie into two unequal shares, leaving the smaller part for herself and sliding the larger part over to Jo.Jo dug into her pie, taking some huge spoonfuls before she replied, “Yes. But they don't seem to be interested in whatever happens here,” with her mouth full.Ruth looked terrified, “Jo, you might be the leader of one of the most feared gangs in Ganghaven, but you're still my daughter and you'll act like it! Don't talk with your mouth full.”“Sorry, Mum.” Jo said, before she caught herself and covered her mouth. After she'd swallowed the sweet pie, she spoke, “The police aren't interested.”“That's sad. We're always treated differently down her
Finally, Saturday had approached, Ash thought. Throughout the rest of the week, Ash had devoted his time to studying the layout of the building where the deal was going to happen, and training his men on stealth, something most gangsters wouldn't know if it hit them in the face.Before they left for the bust, he gave them a serious talk, “We've been doing all we can to clean up the streets of Ganghaven without letting people know, and today will be no different. On this op, there'll be no bandanas, no slang, nothing that can lead people to identify us as the Sopranos. If that happens, we'll have the dealers on our backs, and believe me you do not want that.Also, you know that rule I gave you guys, the one that says 'do not instigate or escalate violence without being attacked first'?”His men nodded.Ash continued, “Good. Today, just for today, I want you to fuck that rule.”His men murmured and laughed.“I'm s