Damn Skinnyman. She hoped he was rotting in hell.
Jessica kept the news playing on her phone, listening to the reporter describe the carnage at the steel mill. Skinnyman had lost almost a dozen men, but they didn’t believe any of the bodies were him. That would have been a damn shame. She was still sorting through the mess his men had left that morning.
It was pretty emblematic of her life, she had to admit. Jumping from one mess to another. Things were supposed to have been different after she fell out with her mother. But maybe it was just in the blood. She and Mouse were Skinnyman’s spawn, after all. Not in a literal sense, but Mouse had been taken from her parents shortly after birth and raised by him, and he had cloned her from her mother. They were both freaks, and Jessica hated him for it.
How am I going to pay for all this? They destroyed the television, much of the kitchen appliances, and taken most of the stored cash. She gasped. Even most of their CDs had been smashed. All this, and the debts she still owned to the Vitellis? They were going to have to go into overdrive selling drugs, and the last thing she wanted was to lose Jeff’s protection and go back to jail.
After everything had been sorted into what was intact or salvageable, and what was beyond saving, she began tossing the latter into trash bags. The piles were pretty evenly sized. She had almost finished with that when the news footage cut out and was replaced with Soundgarden. On the caller ID was Carl, one of the dealers they distributed to.
“Hey Jessica, I heard what happened with Skinnyman. Are you strapping for cash?”
“Uh, yeah, why?”
“A little birdy told me the Vitellis are hosting a high stakes poker game at Bruno’s. Shortcircuit hit them pretty hard so they need to recoup some cash. Other crime families are invited, so that means no guns outside of a guard or two.”
Jessica nodded along. “Uh huh. Alright. What kinda pot we lookin’ at?”
“Probably fifty, sixty Gs.”
“Hmph. And the split?”
“Sounds good to me. Text me a meet location and time.”
Jessica hung up. It would serve those oily fucks right. She went over to the dresser, making sure the gun underneath was still there, before going back to sorting.
“I’m sorry – what?”
Ryan sighed, throwing another bundle of bills onto the counter. “I said I want your whole stock of C4. All of it, every last block.”
The shopkeep looked incredulous, inspecting the bills carefully. When he seemed satisfied the bills were legitimate and Ryan was serious – he absolutely was, he’d cleaned out all of his savings before his BOLO poster went viral – he went into the back room. A minute later he placed two boxes on the counter.
“This is all I’ve got. It’s incredibly difficult to get this stuff you know.” Ryan whipped out a switchblade. “Hey, what are you-”
Ryan stuck a finger out before slicing open the tape seal. He checked the contents of the box. Yeah, that was really C4 alright. He slid the cash towards the shopkeep, nodding. “Just needed to be sure you weren’t trying to pull a fast one. This is Olympic City after all.”
“No, no, I wouldn’t do that to you, man.” He hurriedly pocketed the cash before looking behind him at the next customer. “Can I help you sir?”
“Not done yet,” Ryan announced. “I’ll also take all your five-point-seven twenty-eight.”
The shopkeep did his best to sneak a peek into Ryan’s coat, probably to see if he was packing his P90, before slinking into the back room again. Of course he wasn’t. Just his backup Python.
“This is a lot of stuff,” the shopkeep muttered before plopping down two more boxes. “What do you intend on doing with it?”
Ryan shrugged, peeling off more cash from the bundle. “Just some target practice.” He held the rest of his cash up. “That van out there for sale?”
The shopkeep stared hungrily at the money. “It is now!”
Nodding, Ryan halved the bundle. “One last thing. Info.”
“Alright. You must be strapping for cash now. I heard through the grapevine the Vitellis are too. They’re hosting a major poker game at Bruno’s, in Little Italy. Next Tuesday at 8PM. There’ll be some big names there? Maybe you could alleviate them of their heavy wallets…”
“I like the way you think.” Ryan dropped the rest of his money, and just like that, parted with the last vestiges of his old life.
Ryan took the keys and began to unload all the gear into the back of the van. It came with fake plates, which was good. In addition to the ammo and C4, he’d bought a few other types of explosives, and enough canned food to last for two weeks. Once he was all set to roll, he began walking towards the driver’s seat before stopping in his tracks. In the row over, the passenger’s seat of the car was filled with DVDs. Child pornographic DVDs.
The owner of car returned a few minutes later, grumbling something under his breath about the store owner. He noticed Ryan standing there, trying his hardest not to scowl. “Can I help you?”
“I’ll take those off your hands.”
“Heh. My man.” The creep slunk around the trunk to meet him. “Sure you’re not a cop?”
“No. No, I’m not.” Ryan yanked the door open before grabbing the man by his hair.
“Hey, what the fu-”
Ryan put his hand on the window and pushed with all his might. A nasty knot forming on the side of his hug, the creep began to curse and struggle. Ryan grabbed the door handle and slammed again, and again, and again. Blood began to pour from a gash on the man’s head, which only angered Ryan and made him slam harder. Eventually his head caved in slightly and the man stopped struggling, so Ryan let him slump to the ground before pushing the DVDs to the ground and stomping them to pieces.