Tabitha told Elizabeth that she would have gladly made her number one in the Freefall Massacre and she meant it. Even as Elizabeth held the gun to her face she still didn’t shy from that fact.
“Go ahead, cunt. Pull the trigger.”
“I bought this club. It now belongs to me,” Elizabeth stated. “A good friend of mine was keen on your aunt getting back here and there she is. You are in debt to Beckingridge and I will collect on it.”
“Send me invoice,” Tabitha challenged.
Law Makers were watching the club closely. They had done so ever since the Boss Lady returned from the grave. A group of them descended upon them. They intervened. Elizabeth started to complain as she reattached her prosthetic leg.
“You’ve violated the terms of your injunction,” they told her.
They placed her back under house arrest, to be escorted back to Beckingridge Manor immediately. Tabitha said nothing more. Those that knew her though would know she was thinking if any strings started to be pulled against the Knock Knock Club she would have to visit the Beckingridge Tower again. Clearly she hadn’t made her point the first time. She would get herself the sixty.
The Green Eye prison in Northside, a part of the city I rarely ventured into, had been taken over by the Fleet of Bellfield, a group within Coldford, loyal to the Mack family and still with a score to settle after most of the family were wiped out and their distillery taken from them. The Northside constabulary were holding the innocent people of Bellfield in fear with their so called sweeps. Drastic measures brought by Siobhan Mack, the last standing of her name had given her people hope. They could now rest a little easier but as Northside licked their wounds they still counted the Mack Distillery in their control so the hope of Bellfield couldn’t last forever.
I now bring you to the High Court in City Main where word of this was reaching the ear of Her Honourable Judge Doyle. With information from Agent Reynolds who had bore witness to the events in the west, the truth would reach the city of what was going on in the areas best forgotten about.
“The evidence of mistrials and murder of the inmates at the Green Eye prison is currently being viewed, Your Honour,” said Kutz.
“Those protesting on behalf of the Mack girl, did they act legally?” The Judge asked him.
“As legally as could in those situations I suppose,” Kutz leaned back in his chair across the desk from Her Honour. “The Tulloch’s had control of that jail. If evidence so far is to be believed they abused that trust. One way or another there was going to be violence that day.” Kutz laughed. “Tricky fellows.”
He removed a statement from his files.
“A young girl named Kiera Luna was who brought us the evidence captured some footage of it on a phone. Such a young child has seen so much. I admire her spirit though because despite all that she went through she still managed to gain the footage. She has a strong sense of doing the right thing which gives me great hope for the future of Bellfield. The fostering program is being set up.”
The door knocked and then on scene arrived Law Clerk Diane.
“The witness is here, Your Honour.”
She smiled at Kutz who was leaned back in his chair watching her from over her shoulder.
“Send him in.”
The Judge and her colleague were presented with a man in a faded track suit. He had a thick gold chain around his neck, his head was shaved and he had a pretty nasty bruising around his face. This was made more unsightly by the large cold sore on his bottom lip. His name was Kez Tulloch. He was a lesser name from a lesser family but since the Tulloch’s were technically ruling in Northside he had been brought in with some interesting news for the Law Makers. He wished to downplay his own part in the Green Eye loss. Having to retreat back to the distillery deep in the heart of Bellfield didn’t sit well with him.
“Have you signed your statement, Mr Tulloch?” Asked Kutz. Karyn Doyle had no words for him. Instead she watched his nerves hunching his shoulders. Kutz beckoned him to take a seat.
“I have,” Kez agreed.
“If you could relay what you told me to Her Honour I would be most appreciative,” said Kutz. “What happened at the Green Eye?”
Kez leaned forward in his chair. He rested his elbows on his thigh.
“They told the prisoners they could go free,” he said. “Liam told them they had been released and that they were over capacity. When they started to walk away he gunned them down. They weren’t trying to escape. They were told they could go.”
Judge Doyle’s lips tightened.
“Thank you,” said Kutz with a smile. “You have been most cooperative. You may go.”
Kez stood again. His sight set immediately on the exit.
“Just one more thing,” Kutz called him back before he could leave. “Your cousin, Liam, said the same thing about you. He said it was you whom told the prisoners that they could leave. He said it was you who gave the order to gun them down. He said it was also you who brought Agnes Wilde into the hands of Wigan brother Renfield,” here he tutted. “They were burned like we live in the dark ages.”
“That’s a loada shite,” Kez protested. “Liam was the one giving it tight about being the Greatest Northsider. He was the one giving the orders.”
Kutz stood. “I believe you,” he said. “I am quite a good judge of character and when I look at you I don’t see a man even capable of having people follow orders to that extent. You will not be charged for the slaughter of the Green Eye inmates. You will also not be held accountable for the murder of Agnes Wilde. The Wigan church are calling religious rites which is a whole other set of problems. However, you are but a minnow in this pond and we’re fishing for a larger catch.”
Kez breathed a sigh of relief. “I can go then?” He asked. He was still wary of Judge Doyle’s scarred eye.
“Just one more thing,” Kutz saw fit to add. “A knife was given to the Northside Ball Boy during an Athletic and Northside match. A little birdy told me it was you who put it in his hands.”
“Mr Tulloch, I find you guilty of inciting violence. I hereby sentence you to ten years of servitude to The Boss.”
“No!” Kez screamed. “It wasn’t me.”
Kez was at a loss. It wasn’t like he could stay in Judge Doyle’s office forever. The moment he stepped back outside though, his servitude to The Boss began.
“On to next business,” began Kutz. “Sanctions on the Chapter House …”
“Whoever this group is they are sweeping round through Filton if the path we’ve been following is right,” said CPD detective Murray Gaines.
Billy groaned over the phone.
“How can be missing this?” he asked.
“They must be blending in, bro,” Murray suggested.
“Keep on it,” Billy ordered. “I’m coming in. I got the Office of Law Makers on my ass about this and it doesn’t help with the damn church campaigning to have my job.”
Billy Owen’s place as commissioner was hanging by a thread. Ronnie was fighting it out well against Peter Millicent but it was only a matter of time before The Cappy suggested he step back so they could regroup. Now, he had some maniac group to contend with slaughtering his officers, most of which where his brothers for life.
It began in North Swantin it had moved up through Cardyne. At first sights it looked as though the chaos was making its way to Main. Now it seemed a little detour to Filton was on the cards. More police presence had been placed wherever they felt it would hit next. All this did was serve up more of his officers for the slaughter. First instincts told Billy that they had been making their way to CPD. Where would be better for cop bashing than the cop house in Main?
“Bring it on, motha fucka,” had been Billy’s sentiment.
“Where you going, dad?” asked Richard ‘Ricky’ Owen as Billy was grabbing his coat and keys for his car.
“I gotta work,” he said. “Some shit going down. They’re trying to take my job so I have to be on the ball.”
Ricky looked a little disappointed. He and Billy had planned on spending the day together.
“We’ll catch up later,” said Billy.
“As you like,” said Ricky.
“Ya gonna be good?” Billy asked.
“Yes, sir,” Ricky replied.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” the father promised. “Why don’t you go down to the clinic, keep Bud company. Remind him of how much retard he is.”
The Boss is home to desperate men, each more hopeless than the last. When such wretches have nowhere else to turn they quite often embraced religion. Peter Millicent presented legal counsel and Wigan’s forgiveness. With this he heard the desperate cries of the Boss’ slaves often. His visit this particular day I’m now discussing had been an answer to the prayers of a man named Ross. Ross was caged for the murder of two CPD officers. Slaughter would have been more accurate. He was the brother of Wigan monk Issiah who suffered a great fall thanks to Billy Owen.
Ross had stabbed the CPD officers on Chamberlain Docks. He had cut out their tongues and their eyes. By the time the corpses were discovered, gulls were pecking in the empty sockets.
“Will Wigan forgive me, father?” Ross asked.
Peter, sat separated from his lost soul by bars, replied, “The punishment is the work of St Michael, not for our own hands. Wigan embraces the sinners who repent. Be strong, my brother.”
Ross took comfort in Peter’s words. As he was leaving he said, “be careful father. It’s not safe for our folks out there.”
“Rest,” Peter urged.
There was an uneasy feeling in Peter’s chest that day. Visits to the city were always difficult. He was dedicated to his calling though and no imminent danger would hold him back. The danger wasn’t imminent though. It was present and it followed him across the yard as he made his exit. He was struck on the back. He gasped and fell forward into long thin arms. Those arms pushed him up and helped him steady.
“Hiiiiiii!” said the young man in front of him with a grin.
Peter looked around from some guards but before he could call for help the young man had grabbed his face with a sweaty palm. His long fingers curled around his cheek.
“You should watch your back,” he said.
Peter called for the guards.
“You’re a teacher, aren’t you? You teach people things.”
“I don’t know who you are but I have to go,” said Peter.
The young man pulled him closer. The guards were descending upon him.
“Step back!” they cried.
I’m George Beckingridge,” he said. “You killed my teacher.” He pulled Peter closer and licked his face. He bit into his check and threw him forward. The guards had intervened.
“Kappa so!” George was screaming.
Peter departed in a rush clutching the devil’s bite on his face. The chanting still sounded behind him.
We tend to attach value to everything in this world. Everything has a cost. The Penn family held the highest value in sentimental things. As auctioneers they learned the value of people’s stories. They know what people would give for a piece of history. History lay in a ceramic plate Simon Penn held. It didn’t cost much but to him and his brothers it meant a great deal. The plate had been set into three equal thirds. On each third were distinct decorations. One had a blend of colours, vibrant and swirling. One was more erratic. It had a series of splashes. Some of those splashes fell onto the third section which was decorated with some colour but more focus had been placed into geometric shapes. The plate drew a smile from Simon. He heard the scuffling sound of his brother’s footsteps behind him as Reggie joined him in the kitchens. Simon raised the plate.
“I found mother’s plate,” he beamed.
Reggie smiled too. “I haven’t seen that in ages.”
“I was sorting through some of mother’s things. I thought it would help.”
He didn’t want to say he feared their mother’s things would become destroyed; their history lost.
“She loved that thing,” Reggie grinned.
“Remember just last year that art agent, Clover, was here for dinner?” Simon asked. “Dad brought that plate out. He tells Clover we did it so he’s going on for hours about artistic expression. Dad didn’t think to tell him we did it when we were like five years old.”
Reggie chuckled at the memory.
“It does show artistic expression,” he maintained.
“You kept coming over to my section,” Simon noted.
“Our minds were merging. Our artistic expression became one,” Reggie teased.
“You just didn’t know how to stay in the lines.” He pointed to a splash of pain. “That was you.”
Reggie shrugged jovially.
“I was improving yours. What’s that meant to be?”
Here he pointed a shape on Simon’s section that was difficult to decipher. Simon inspected it.
“I don’t know. I think it was supposed to be a flower or the sun or something.”
Reggie returned his memory to the art agent.
“That’s right. Clover started to go on about how the boldness of the brush strokes highlighted anguish and inner turmoil.”
“I was five,” Simon replied. “I was just trying to stop you eating the damn paint. Clover thought it was something we did just that day. Can you imagine, the three of us as we are now sitting around the table painting our plate.”
They both laughed at the idea.
“Dad couldn’t contain himself anymore when Clover asked Marcus why he chose those particular colours,” Reggie carried on. “Marcus told him he had been considering the contrast between the calmness of the sky blue and the vividness of the red. It represented the conflicting emotions of life. It was only through the passion of the red you could reach the serenity of the blue.”
“That’s deep for a five year old,” said Simon.
They both laughed heartily once more. Reggie looked to the plate again.
“Do we have to put mother’s things away?”
“Just to keep them safe, like.”
Reggie nodded. He was about to say something else when they were interrupted by Leona. She clasped Reggie’s hand. She gave Simon an expression that suggested she was unsure of him.
“How are ye, Simon?” She asked, pleasantly enough.
“I’m fine,” he responded in a tone that was a little shorter than he intended. “How are you?”
“I’m well. The baby is well,” she answered but she was looking to Reggie.
“Si found a plate we painted for mother when we were kids.”
“Awww, isn’t that’s sweet?” She said.
Reggie passed her the plate and she began to inspect it. Simon could feel his fingers tighten as he watched her handle the heirloom of great sentimental value.
“Over on the bay our faith guides us. We don’t really see things personally the way you city dwellers do. It doesn’t make much sense to me.”
“It works for us,” Simon said. “It’s me that wants to keep it.”
Leona smiled again, still with the plate in her hand.
“Reggie had I have been praying for yer ma and yer pa too.”
“You know our mother was Albans church every Sunday, right?“
“That’s alright,” she replied. “Wigan embraces all sinners.”
“You didn’t know her,” Simon snapped.
He wished he hadn’t for Reggie’s sake but Leona’s presence was wearing his patience incredibly thin.
“She’s honouring mother, dickhead!” Reggie snapped back. Evidently his patience had been wearing thin too.
“What did you just call me?” Simon wanted to be sure.
“You’re acting like a dickhead,” Reggie confirmed.
Simon’s eyes widened and his lips tightened. He bit his tongue. Reggie was never going to listen to him. He was seething though.
“Things are just a bit …” he started to say but Reggie was still frustrated. His head ached like there was a hammer drill on the inside of his skull. His leg was throbbing and he had a haze in his eyes that was inhuman. Simon took pity on him. He checked his own temper. “I’m sorry, Leona,” said he. Any sincerity was drawn was from the fact it was his triplet to whom he was really apologising.
“I forgive ye,” she said. “I understand.”
“What did you just do?” Simon cried as the plate shattered.
“I’m so sorry. It was an accident.”
“Like Hell it was,” Simon growled.
Reggie shoved his shoulder.
“Watch how you speak to her,” he warned.
Simon was so frustrated by this point he didn’t care.
“Don’t touch me,” he spat at his brother.
He didn’t want to argue. He didn’t trust himself with the sight of the broken plate. He just wanted to get out of there. He wanted to pick the plate up and see if it could be repaired. It was just a stupid ceramic plate, painted by three over privileged children but it meant so much to mother. He had wanted to keep it. That Wigan bitch dropped it deliberately. He wanted to hurt Reggie then. He wanted to hurt him real bad. Reggie shoved his chest saying something about his wife. Oh how he wanted to hurt him!
“It’s okay, Reggie,” Leona was saying. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it.”
“I didn’t mean it?” Simon snarled. “Just get out of here.”
Leona’s hand brushed Reggie’s shoulder.
“Don’t talk to her like that,” the youngest triplet warned.
Simon had had enough.
“What are you going to do?”
Leona squealed as Reggie lunged forward. He grabbed Simon but Simon twisted his arm and shoved him away.
“You’re already hurt. Sit the fuck down!”
That haze in his eyes was getting worse. The drugs were hitting hard. Reggie wasn’t easily dissuaded. He was a survivor after all. Seeing Simon scowling at him annoyed him because he knew he was wearing the same expression and it was like looking in a mirror. He lunged again. This time Simon side stepped. Reggie caught his face. He tried for a second hit. Simon shoved him away again. Reggie swiped at him. He could go straight for his leg and put him out of it. He jabbed his shoulder instead. Reggie jerked but he didn’t seem to register the pain. Before it could continue Marcus stepped in the way.
“Enough!” He barked.
Leona had taken a step back to observe the scene.
“Take a walk,” Simon was ordered.
As he passed Leona he didn’t look at her.
“Yeah, just you walk away!” Reggie goaded.
Simon turned back, almost shoving Leona aside as he did so.
“Are we not done?”
“I said take a walk!” Marcus cautioned again. “Now.”
This time Simon did look at Leona. He shook his head and stormed off.
“He’s a dickhead,” Reggie hissed to the eldest triplet of the middle.
“I don’t care what happened here. It’s finished now,” was Marcus’ response.
Reggie sniffed. He lowered his gaze and prepared for an oncoming migraine.
“Am I clear?” Marcus pushed further.
Reggie managed a nod.
“I’ll clean up,” he offered in reference to the plate.
“When Simon returns you will pick up the pieces together,” was Marcus’ instructions then he departed.
Reggie crouched next to the shattered memory. Leona had waited until Marcus cleared the kitchens before she consoled her husband.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “The last thing I would want is for your brothers to turn on ye.”
Reggie sniffed again.
“I’m just not used to this,” she continued. “Over on the bay we don’t fight amongst ourselves. We live a peaceful life and I don’t think I would be happy with our baby here. I’d be worried for them all the time. You need to heal too. The pressure from your brothers is getting to you. Marcus is your boss. Simon answers directly to him. What do you have? There’s nothing here for you. It’s not a good environment for a child either. Look what growing up here has done to you. I have to go back to the island. I want you to join me. Come life a peaceful life with me.”
Reggie lifted the broken plate. It was a chunk from Simon’s section he had clasped. There was a blue splash over his geometric shapes. Reggie remembered the teacher scolding him.
“Remember to stay in your own section.”
Simon spoke up for him.
“He’s helping me,” he had said.
Reggie leaned his bead back and closed his eyes. The pain wouldn’t go away but he could at least find some peace from the worst of it.
“That no good, lying, bead rattling son a bitch!” Billy roared, almost knocking the table aside.
This particular slur was directed towards Peter Millicent.
“I can appeal,” Ronnie advised “but they are going to just keep calling for your resignation.”
“You’re supposed to be good, cuz,” Billy complained. “What you bringing this shit for?”
“I warned you about this church. I told you it would come to this.”
What it had come to was Billy being stripped of his title as commissioner of police.
“With everything you told me you did just be glad its only your resignation they want,” said Ronnie.
Billy had called The Cappy but the orders from the top were the same.
“Step down, graciously. They’ll allow you to quote some family trouble. You say you want to dedicate more time to your son.”
It grinded Billy’s gears. It really fried his bacon and he didn’t like his bacon being fried.
“No good holy book thumpers!” he was still grumbling as he pulled up at CPD to make the announcement. The press had already gathered.
Billy gave him the old ‘it’s me not you,’ like he was dumping a bitch who got fat. He gave a shout out to his son Ricky. He thanked the city. He even offered all the success in the world to the one who would take his place like he was slapping lipstick on a dead whore.
He was met with applause. He danced their dance. Can he go now? No, he couldn’t go just yet. They had to announce who was looking to fill his pants. He also spotted Peter Millicent at the door. He couldn’t leave without having a word.
Peter watched him approach.
“Will you be returning to civilian life?” he asked.
“This ain’t over,” Billy growled.
Peter replied, “I wouldn’t have thought so.”
Billy gave his guttural laugh, standing head and shoulders above the Wigan priest.
“Watch your step,” he said. “This leaves me with a lot of time in my hands and I may just visit.”
“You look a little stressed out,” said Peter. “I think a day at the beach would do you good.”
“Looking to the future of CPD and Coldford in general,” was being called behind them. “We are pleased to announce our new Commissioner Frankin Rhodes.”
Billy’s head turned slowly as Franklin, formerly of the Good Gang stepped up to his position as commissioner.
“A nigger!” Billy roared.
Peter frowned at him but he was no longer paying attention to the Wigan priest.
“I’m being replaced by a spear chucking ass bandit!”
“William!” Peter exclaimed. He didn’t seem to realise how loud he was being.
“How can they? How can he even? I can’t… I gotta … A’body knows!” he insisted. “A’body knows …” and at that he stormed out.
“Good evening folks and welcome to the Knock Knock Club. I’m your host, Tawny. You can call me Tee.”
The club door opened. A group arrived. There was a rabble of voices.
“Enjoy yer night. Enjoy yer grub and above all enjoy what ye have because life is short.”
Tawny watched from the stage as the new arrivals took a seat at what was normally the Mack’s table.
“Let’s get the fun started,” Tawny called as the music from the in house band began to rumble. “C’mon girls let’s see what you’ve got.”
As Tawny stepped off stage the Knock Knock girls began to dance on in a parade of sequins and feathers. At the Mack table a glass of the name sake liquid was slid along. A woman’s hand caught it. She took a sip. When she saw Tawny approach she stood, finishing her whiskey. She opened her arms and the Baroness embraced her tightly. She kissed her cheek. Tawny peeled off the skip cap she wore and playfully tapped her chest with it.
“Ah Siobhan yer looking gorgeous,” Tawny said. For the woman was Siobhan Mack of Mack Distillery.
Tawny held her out to get a better look at her. Siobhan laughed. Her hand raised to a scar on her cheek left behind by the troubles she had seen of late.
“Tabby!” Tawny called. “Siobhan’s here.”
Tabitha crossed from the bar where she had just arrived from the balcony above.
“How’s it going?” Siobhan asked the Boss Lady.
Tabitha held her foot out. The Law Maker clamp made a fetching addition to her red dress attire.
“Still grounded,” she said. She laughed and she hugged Siobhan. When they had greeted Tabitha pulled David Finn forward. He gave a nervous wave.
“This is David Finn,” Tabitha introduced. “My co artist.”
Siobhan laughed. “That painting caused a real fecking stir. I always told Paddy his arse would get him in trouble one day.”
“Round of Macks!” Tawny called to the bar.
When they sat to a drink Siobhan asked Tawny, “I’m so sorry for what happened to Agnes.”
She was watching Tabitha take shots with David. David almost spat his out. He and Tabitha were laughing heartily.
Tawny managed a smile. She passed a glass to the Mack girl.
“Go on,” she said. “Get that down ye.”
Agent John Reynolds was pleased to see Siobhan welcomed to the Knock Knock club. The Whiskey Wars had dampened a great many spirits but that of the Macks was never one easily diluted.
“How are you doing?” He asked her.
“It’s good to get into the city,” she said.
“You’ve had a hard time. It’s been real far out,” he said to her. “You’ve earned the chance to kick back but we have a situation here. Someone has been leading a slaughter. Do you think it could be the same one in Allford?”
Siobhan considered all that had been lost that night. Their camp in Allford had been raided by Northsiders as the war continued to rage. There was a great knight among them. He had slaughtered most of them in a vengeful fury. It caused her to reach to the scar on her face without much thought.
“It is,” she confirmed. “It has to be.”
Owen Inc. had been responsible for a lot of the issues that faced the city of late. It would be easy to set them as the villains in this case. With Billy taking over CPD, The Cappy feeding rivals to alligators and Howard Bergman being the victim in an insane plot to clear the Owen name from a murder they had committed they would in every way be considered the villains. It wasn’t for me to decide who the villains were. The Penns were equally as deplorable as were the Beckingridges. The Fullertons too had their underhanded deeds to answer for. They all had their reasons and they all had those among them who genuinely wanted the best. For the Owen family this was cousin Theodore ‘Teddy Owen, brother of Billy. He was a good man. He had come to Coldford on Chick’s insistence because he was a good man. This was a rare find among the Owens who were mostly self-serving and dangerously ambitious. Chick had some good intentions as previously mentioned but it could be difficult to trust his natural ruthlessness. Cut throat was what life in the Shady City had to be. It was a pleasant surprise to meet an Owen who was a more considerate man. If you had told me that Teddy and Billy were brothers, I might not have believed it without proof. Teddy was well mannered, naïve in some ways but he had the Owen shot that never missed. There was no better place for him than among the Hickes Agency AKA the Good Gang. I liked to believe Detective Joel Hickes would have been proud to have Teddy among his ranks. He served them well. That being said, carrying the Owen name coupled with the shooters on his belt gave some cause for concern. Such a naysayer was Sophie Bergman who watched Teddy sat across the desk from her looking about himself with a boyish wonderment.
‘This is a nice office,’ he thought to himself.
He hadn’t become uncomfortable in the silence that fell between them as Sophie inspected and Golem awaited instruction. Teddy cut the figure of a gentlemen so he clutched his hat on his lap and awaited the lady to address him.
‘He was atypical of an Owen,’ Sophie thought. The Great States family was blessed (and cursed) with a confidence that stole scenes wherever they went. Teddy was humble though.
Finally Sophie raised her hands and signed to him. Teddy engaged her in eye contact and despite not knowing what she was saying, he nodded politely to show she had his attention.
“Ms Bergman would like to know how you are finding Coldford so far,” Golem explained.
“It’s a mighty fine place,” Teddy replied. “I heard there are parts that are less than desirable but I see that as a chance to make it better. Kim is a fine leader and her team make me feel so proud to be here and be a part of it.”
Golem reiterated this sentiment to Sophie who took Teddy in again in her blazing stare. She still couldn’t believe Chick’s cousin would be so down to earth, especially not when his brother was Billy.
“Do you plan on staying in Coldford permantently?” Sophie wished to know.
Teddy again nodded.
“I would very much like that, ma’am. There’s a lot I can do here and I’d like to make myself useful.”
Golem looked at Sophie’s expression. He knew it well. She wasn’t buying a single word. Sure, he had been pivotal in rescuing Reggie Penn. Sure, he had met with the Good Gang in the Great States. He wouldn’t have had to if one of his kin wasn’t causing chaos. This brought her to her next question.
“Your cousin, Buddy, appears to require some extra attention. Will you be supporting him?”
Teddy nodded again to show he had heard her words, told through Golem.
“Ma’am,” he said. “Sir,” he addressed Golem. “That boy has caused a world of trouble. I can’t help but feel responsible for that. You see, we were close. Because of a disagreement with some family members I had to step aside. I wasn’t there for Buddy as I should have been. I’ll always regret that. I’m here now and I would like to make amends all round.”
Sophie raised her chin as she read the words on his lips. Golem was about to reiterate them but she waved him off. He knew the wrinkle in her nose was her trying to understand an Owen taking responsibility for anything.
“You have ill will against your family?” she asked of him, flicking her long fingers into the words.
“We’ve had our troubles but that’s not what’s important to me. What is important is moving forward. Buddy is my concern, and that boy can be deeply concerning sometimes. He can do so much though. I will show him and I know that’s what his daddy wants. If this city is willing to have me she becomes my concern too.”
Sophie was glaring at him at this point. Where was the Owen bravado. Where was that Owen spin? If the kindly cowboy figure was an Owen, where were the rolling cameras?
“I’ll submit my arms to your office,” Teddy agreed. “If that will please you, ma’am. I would like to support my team as soon as possible.”
An Owen willing to give up their guns!? Sophie was starting to feel like she had fallen into another dimension. Are you sure this is William’s brother? She would have to ask Golem later. Never, to her historical knowledge, had an Owen willingly submitted their arms.
She raised her hand to her chin in sheer disbelief and she signed, “Thank you.”
“He seems like a nice man,” Golem said when Teddy departed.
“He’s an Owen,” she reminded Golem.
She did scold herself for the lack of trust but with the mess that Cousin Billy had caused, believing a soul like Cousin Teddy was a difficult pill to swallow.
You had better come up to the Chapter House Ronnie had told his cousin, Billy Owen.
Billy had been drinking, ignoring his phone. He was trying to figure out what he was going to do next.
“They took my God damn job!” he groaned.
He drank some more.
“Chill, daddy,” his son, Ricky had said. “They’ll find something else for ya.”
That was right. it wasn’t going to be easy with the Law Makers now wanting to know why he was arguing with Isaac Bergman on the docks. He would swear to the Almighty, the ginger bitch Ruby and the jew were in it together. They were in on trying to make his life harder. To add cherry to that cake, to put the hat on the real turd pile that was his life, his job – which he was damn good at – was given to away to some cross dressing, sword swallowing pansy.
A’body knows pansys can’t be cops. Shit, a’body knows that.
“Fucking bull shit,” Billy grumbled as he took another drink.
His phone rang again. Ronnie had tried to call him twenty times already. He finally answered. That was when he was asked to come to the Chapter House.
WELCOME TO PEARL.
The white Cooper SUV sparked into action. He was way too hammered to be driving but luckily Pearl, the sharp girl that she was, navigated safely despite the blurry vision.
“What’s Buddy done now?” he asked himself as he stepped out of the car to quite a commotion. The crisp cool air sobered him.
“I’m at the Kappa So Chapter House where the bodies of twenty five young men have been uncovered. The slain twenty five are believed to have been Kappa So brothers. They suffered severe lacerations. Most of them were beheaded. CPD are now arriving on scene to investigate. I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily news.”
Kathleen, who had spotted Billy arrive gestured to Sandra to cut the broadcast immediately.
Billy noticed a few of the younger bros look his way.
‘What’s everyone’s deal?’ he was wondering.
“Billy!” Ronnie was calling him.
“What’s going on, Ron?” he asked.
“Come on,” Ronnie ushered. “It’s bad Bill. You better come with me.”
Billy followed his lawyer cousin through the crowds. The Cappy himself was present.
“Bill!” he called, almost sobbing.
Billy was sobering fast. Even Marshall Cooper had nothing to say and he was always barking his head off. Austin must have come in a hurry. He was still in his zoo gear. He had removed his hat and was holding it to his chest.
What a mess! Twenty bros killed. It was a fine mess but why was a’body looking at him like he was about to take a leap off a bridge?
Charles, his cousin, his mentor, whom he looked up to shook his head. Without saying anything he wrapped his arms around him.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered into his ear.
Billy was just about to ask what the Hell was going on when over Chick’s shoulder he saw the body of a Kappa So junior. He was hanging by his feet. He was headless. As the body swung Billy read the name Owen on the back.
It was the red sneakers he recognised. He had told him they made him look like a Dorothy. He had laughed it off.
“I’m going to the Chapter House,” he had said that morning.
“Take some whore money,” Billy had said, giving him a hundred bucks.
The body kept swinging. They couldn’t remove him until CPD got there.
“You be careful now,” had been Billy’s last words to him.
He had smiled
“That’s my boy!” he screamed.
The Cappy gripped him tightly.
“That’s my boy!”
Chick held him steady. Billy was screaming, trying to shake him off but the Cappy didn’t release his hold.
He was going to be a scientist. Save the world and shit.