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 file folder to him.
Baines' cocked his eyebrow at her before opening the file, perusing the documents with squinted eyes.
“You see, there's a huge drug deal going down this weekend, it's between a major manufacturer and a major distributor, and I was privileged to have some info on where and when it's going to happen. Sir, this will be an unprecedented win for us if we take the opportunity that's landed in our laps and arrest both parties.” Andrea said with enthusiasm.
“Yes. I think your idea is great. I love it.” Baines said, and Andrea pumped her fist under the table. Getting Baines to sanction arrests and raids in Ganghaven was really hard. “But there's one tiny problem,” Baines continued, and Andrea gritted her teeth; she'd celebrated too soon.
“What's it?” Andrea asked with trepidation.
“It's going down in Ganghaven. You know we have a 'wash our hands off them' policy in that block.” Baines said.
“But Sir, these people are too advanced to be ignored wherever the deal's happening, even if it's in Wakanda. Moreover, the manufacturers are based in Gulden. It'll also be in Gulden's best interests to bust the deal.” Andrea pled passionately.
Baines nodded and considered her words for a minute as he stroked his mustache. Again, hope blossomed in Andrea, and she found herself crossing her fingers, hoping that he'd reconsider.
That hope crashed when he said, “No.”
Andrea leapt, “But, Sir—”
He put his hand up as he interrupted her, “But nothing. Even if I wanted to sanction the bust, I can't. The mayor's holding his cat's burial or his wife's anniversary on the same day, and y'all will be there on protection duty. You'll be in charge of the parking lot. And don't you dare shirk your duties, or you'll be suspended.”
Andrea felt disappointed and angry, but she struggled not to show it.
It must have worked, because as Baines stood up to let her out of his office, he smiled at her, “Wow! You took my decision better than the first person who came to me with this.”
His words set off alarm bells in her brain. Who had already talked to him about the bust, and how had the person gotten the info?
She had to tell Jo what had happened. She wouldn't be happy to hear that Baines had refused to sanction the bust.
* * *
The person who'd broached the topic of the bust with Baines before Andrea was none other than a fellow rookie, Pascal Eden.
He was tall, quite muscular, had Roman features and a close-cropped haircut.
Nobody knew that Pascal had been a member of the Sopranos before Ash had told him to join the police force, so he could help get rid of the gangs in Ganghaven.
Pascal gritted his teeth as he strode into the men's. When he saw no one was around, he entered the farthest stall he could find and made a phone call.
Ash answered on the first ring because he'd been waiting for the call.
“What's up?” Ash asked, forgoing all semblance of kibitz.
“He refused. He said we had to be at an event the mayor's holding. If I'm not there, he assured me that I'd be suspended.”
“Shit!” Ash exclaimed angrily, “Why is this man so apathetic? C'mon, living in Ganghaven is no crime. We're humans around here too. We deserve to be protected.”
“You're preaching to the choir. I'm sorry, there's nothing else I can do.” Pascal said, feeling like he'd let Ash down.
“Don't worry, it's not your fault. I'll see how I can handle the situation. One thing's for sure, that deal won't go smoothly.” Ash vowed.
Pascal believed Ash. He knew that Ash cared more than most about what happened in Ganghaven.
“I'm glad we have someone who cares for Odton as fiercely as you do. I don't even get why, I mean you're not even an indigene.” Pascal said, shaking his head at the mystery.
“Well, we all have our reasons for doing things.” Ash said in a guarded voice.
Pascal sighed. Whenever he mentioned that Ash was not from Ganghaven, he always became distant. Well, every man had the right to keep secrets, but Ash's own bugged him.
For some inexplicable reason, he suspected Ash wasn't doing all he was just because he was philanthropic.
Pascal knew the reason was deeper, but he didn't ask because he had secrets of his own to keep.
* * *
Jo knocked on the door of her family house and got caught up in the nostalgic memory that entailed her waiting and counting the seconds until her father returned.
Her mother still lived in that house where her father had been murdered by unknown people. Jo and her mother suspected gangsters had been behind it.
Ruth said she felt closest to Gabe when she was in the house and wouldn't consider living elsewhere.
Her mother opened the door, “Jo!” She said, drawing her into a tight embrace.
“Mum, you're smothering me.” Jo complained, but she hugged her mother tightly too.
“Come in, I just made apple pie. You're too skinny.” Her mother said, ushering her into the sitting room.
Jo stepped into the sitting room, where her father's body had lain when he'd been shot, and shuddered. She didn't know how her mother coped with living in the house.
Ruth saw her daughter shudder and her heart went out to her. Instead of living a normal life like other young women her age, her daughter had sought out the toughest life ever; that of a gangster, just to make sure some poor child out there didn't go through the horrifying experience of having to see their parent die.
“So, what have you been up to, lately?” Ruth asked, as the entered the kitchen. She loved hearing of her daughter's ideas and escapades. They thrilled and terrified her in equal measure.
“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
“You were saying?” Jo asked smoothly.This time, it was Ash who got incensed, “Look, as much as I'd like to stay and play turf war with you? My men and I have something important to do here!”“And I don't?” Jo replied, not giving an inch.“I know you're here to steal the drugs and the cash for yourself, but that's not happening.” Ash said.Jo wondered why he thought the worst of her motives, “You're an idiot,” She replied, “And we're going nowhere.”“Well, it seems there's going to be a shootout.” Ash said, his mouth drawn into a hard line.Capo stared at him and Ash grimaced. He wasn't actually planning to shoot at the Street Hawks, he was just trying to scare them into leaving.“You won't shoot at us. It'll blow your cover. When they arrive here and see the damage you'll do, they'll up and leave immediately.” Jo said, unworried.As
When the two gangs crawled away to a safe place, an argument ensued between both leaders.“This is all your fault!” Jo accused Ash, shooting him a furious glare.“And how is that?” Ash replied coldly.“If you and your men had kept away from the deal, there would have been zero glitches.” Jo said.“I could say the same thing. If you and your greedy merry gang of men hadn't come to the building to steal the drugs and green for yourselves, we wouldn't be in this mess.” Ash accused.One of Jo's men, a man whose biceps looked like tree trunks stepped in front of her and glowered down at Ash, “That's enough,” which brought Capo to Ash's side. Although the other man was huger than Capo, he wasn't intimidated.Jo sighed and said to the man, “It's okay, Rex.”Rex nodded and stepped to her side.To Ash, she said, “It's very ridiculous of you to jump to such stu
At the precinct, Lieutenant Ted Baines called everybody around into the tiny briefing room.Everyone knew he was going to talk about their dead colleague. It was common knowledge that Baines took the death of any of his subordinates hard.“Yes, I called you all here to make the news official; Detective Matteo Salvador is dead.”He waited for the murmurs of sympathy that arose, and when they died down he continued,“He was one of our best men to work in the narcotics department. He was a beloved colleague, a husband and father to three young girls. He died in the most heroic way possible; in service to this city.Those turds down at Ganghaven have no respect for the law and its officers. This is not the first time this is happening, but I swear on God and everything I hold dear that the person who did this must pay! The person who did this must be brought to justice! The person who murdered Salvador in cold blood will forever regre
The next morning, Jo awakened to a text message from Andrea that read; Call me ASAP.Jo did as the message said and called Andrea as she went to brush her teeth.Andrea answered, all hyped up, “Good morning Jo.”Jo, who wasn't a morning person groaned at Andrea's perkiness. How could someone be cheerful at such an ungodly hour, she thought, “You asked me to call you.”“That I did. Yesterday, after you told me about Ash being at the bust too, I looked him up in our records, and I must say he looks good both in pictures and in real life.”Jo put the phone on speaker and squirted some toothpaste on her toothbrush, “Is that what you called to tell me?” She feigned disinterest outwardly but she was actually eager to hear about Ash.“No. Funny thing about Ash is that he's not from Ganghaven,” Andrea said.Jo, who had been brushing her teeth vigorously stopped as Andrea's words perm
Jo looked on with barely suppressed anger as the teenage boy and his family thanked Ash profusely. It wasn't that Jo was jealous over the attention and thanks he was getting, but why had he shown up? She'd had everything under control.Ash had showed up at the last minute and cajoled the officers who'd been super friendly to him, to let her and the boy go. Surprisingly, the two grouches had given in after Ash had sworn on his life that they didn't know anything.Jo admitted to herself that Ash's way was better for the boy. Now, he'd be saved the trauma of having to visit an interrogation room.Some minutes later, Ash stopped the family from groveling and walked up to Jo.Jo regarded him with a withering glance, “What do you want? A vote of thanks?”Ash shook his head. Why did her belligerence look hot to him?“No, I only came to ask if you're okay,” he replied with genuine concern.Jo saw the concern in his eye
Lieutenant Ted Baines was beside himself with pleasure at the prospect of having found the murderers.He invited everyone into the conference room and began to brief them eagerly,“We managed to find a camera on the premises, and it's footage revealed these two people leaving the crime scene right after the time of the murder to us,” he said, switching on a huge TV that was beside him.He surveyed his audience to see if they would recognize them and was not surprised when he saw Lester's eyes widen.“Lester, do you know these people?” Baines asked.Lester gulped and shook his head vehemently, “But I've seen them in Ganghaven a few times.” There was no way he was telling his boss that he'd met those two the day before, and that he was even friendly with the man.Baines ignored Lester and continued, “Yesterday, we were able to identify them. The male is Asher Mason, the leader of a street gang known as