I stay in the car, let Jess and Ralph handle the stragglers.
What a long day... How did the boss do it? One day of filling in his shoes and I'm ready to collapse. He does this every day? I touch my sweaty brow and smile - guess that's why he's the boss.
I hear muffles shouting through the windshield. I look outside but only see shapes through the pouring rain. Is Ralph playing hardball again? That greedy fuck will get us all killed one day. Or just himself. Good thing Jess was there to calm the situation. Seemed they were being cordial again.
I shiver. Turn on the heater. Shiver some more. What was taking them so long? I want to take my shoes off and just wait for sweet oblivion to take me into dreamland. That would be great, maybe some wine before bed. Wake up tomorrow, refreshed, and write the boss a report of what happened.
Headline? Everything went according to plan.
More shouting. The rain was so relentless that I could barely make out - Bang. Silence. Bang, bang, bang, bang. Ralph dropped to the ground as the rest scattered. I saw Jess running towards me. Shouting something... Get down? I barely did as bullets streamed overhead through the windshield.
"Stay down!" Jess shouted as she got in and started the engine.
"What happened?" I shouted back, hands over my head as I crouched in my seat.
"Ralph's goddamn mouth, that's what happened!" She swerved the car, then hit the gas. "Hold on! And stay down!" I've never heard Jess so frantic. "Motherfuckers think they can stop us! Come on!"
More bullets, more shouts. We hit something, but the car didn't stop. The commotion was now behind us, getting quieter.
"We're out?" I ask.
"We're out... but stay down! I had to run over a few to... to... goddamn it, Ralph!"
I got up. The car was a mess - bulletholes everywhere. The fact we were still driving was a blessing in itself.
"I said stay down!"
"Calm down, Jess. We're safe. What happened?"
"Goddamn, Ralph!" Jess was crying. "I tried to calm him down, but he said we were being cheated. The fool! I told him one day that bravado would get him killed. Almost got me killed! The fool... the fool!"
Sounds about right. "A war will be had over this."
I left Jess to her sniffling as she drove us to the Safehouse. What was I gonna tell the boss? Did it even matter? One of his top earners just got whacked, by a group that was once his ally nonetheless. Not to mention his favorite ride is ridden with bullet holes.
So much for wine before bed. This was a nightmare.
It couldn't get any worse.
"Shit!" Jess was done sniffling. "We're being followed!"
"What did Ralph say to them?" I asked.
"He became descriptive at the end there. He made sure to leave to stone unturned. Mothers and sisters and all."
They shot at the car. I got down again. "They want to kill us for it?"
"I wanted a doll for Christmas!" Jess started her evasive maneuvers. "But I never got one!" She sounded manic. "They can kiss my flat ass!"
"You have to lose them!"
"Great idea!" Jess laughed. "Why didn't I think of that? What if - oh, fuck! Brace yourself!"
Another car hit us from the side. I saw Jess fly through the window, scream, then scream no more. My head pounded, my heart raced, my ears buzzed. This was all wrong... why... why was the air so heavy... so... heavy...
"Out of the fucking car!"
"He's mumbling to himself, boss!"
"Get him out!"
Hands, grabbed me and tossed me to the ground. Hard. Blood... Jess, lifeless eyes...
"Ewww. He puked all over me!"
"Get him to his senses!"
"Hey, fucker. Remember me?"
Before me sat the face of the White Tigers. The once-upon-a-time ally - Goro. He was as ugly as ever.
"Hey, Goro. How are things?"
"Besides the fact that I have to go to war because of your stupid associate? Pretty good."
"What did he say?"
"The truth." Goro's voice was quiet, deadly. "Turs always said you were just using us. But I never fathomed the depts of your disrespect. But that piece of shit said it best. What was his name?"
"Ralph!" One of his goons answered.
"Who cares." Goro leaned in. "You are the luckiest son of a bitch alive, you know that?"
"Somehow I doubt that." I managed a smile.
"You're gonna send a message to that prick in the big chair." Someone put a note in my shirt pocket. "And just so you don't forget..."
Bang. I screamed as the bullet went through my bone. "My leg!"
"You'll be fine!" Goro clapped my shoulder. "My boys will drop you off a block from your Safehouse. Yes, little boy. We know where that is. Just deliver the message like a good little pigeon, eh?" He turned to his lackeys. "Don't let him bleed out before you get there."
They put me in a van and taped my leg. Where were they taking me? I was so tired... I just wanted to get some rest. What was it again? Wine? That sounded good, maybe if I just close my eyes for two seconds I'll be able to -
"We're here, pup!"
"Carl, he's out of it. We're gonna have to carry him."
They threw me on the sidewalk. The cold concrete sobered me up for a frightening moment. My leg! How did everything go so wrong... Ralph and Jess... war with the White Tigers... and now dragging myself on the sidewalk like some hobo...
Hands soon picked me up. I looked up to see Mark and Ginger. I exhaled. I was safe. I asked to see Geoff, our medic, but they said first I had to talk with the boss. That made sense. At this point, I was past the point of being scared. I'm lucky to be alive after all.
We needed a plan.
"Boss..." I said as they placed me in the chair opposite his desk.
"What happened?" Boss asked from behind his chair. He sounded irritated, to say the least.
I told him everything. Ginger took the note from my pocket - I heard the boss spreading the paper.
"I'm sorry boss," I said.
"Don't be. This was bound to happen." The chair turned, revealing the boss holding his golden revolver. "We were bound to end up here sooner or later. Sorry, kid. This wasn't according to plan."
"What? Boss, no -"
This is the first draft of the story. Written by Jovan Gjorgjiev, ©️ 2023.
Obligatory shout-out to the 🍕PIZZA🍕 gang, 🤙 gang. 🤙
This was a pretty easy and quick write-up. These action stories are a real no-brainer for me. 😅 Still getting back into the swing of things with my writing, will make sure to challenge myself a bit more with the next story I write.
At any rate, thanks for reading! 👋
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Cover image source.
Have a great start to your week! 🙌