Chapter 5 - Peace in Death by Bob Jamison

Ray-Ray sat on his handcuffed hands in the back of a police cruiser...smiling.

"Yo, dee-tec-tive Rohl, how much is Pablo paying you?"

Detective Rohl was silent for a moment, unhurriedly driving the unmarked cruiser.  He'd showed up to the scene minutes after uniformed officers crashed the party.  He'd slipped in, took custody of Ray-Ray in the chaos and hightailed it out of there.

Rohl said, "Shut the fuck up."

"Aww man, you don't gotta be like that, we're all friends here."  Ray-Ray squirmed uncomfortably.  "Did you have to keep these cuffs on me?"

The detective's grip on the steering wheel squeaked.   "At least 2 or 3 of your crew are dead, bled out on the street."

"Yeah, well, my ass is alive.  Always 5 more thugs coming up right behind them to sling that rock."  Ray-Ray shrugged.  "That crazy-ass Russian motherfucker ain't no joke."

The police radio chirped and deadpan voices called out codes and street names.  Rohl drove cautiously through the empty streets towards the Docks, meandering through city blocks as the radio chatter slowed to a blip every few minutes as they arrived at a run-down warehouse.

Ray-Ray peered into the failing yellow light cast by the building's overhead lights.

"Yo Rohl.  Where we at?"

Rohl leaned back and peered at Ray-Ray in the mirror.  "Where I was told to take you."  He rummaged under a newspaper on the passenger seat and pulled a fifth of amber liquid to his lips.  He took a sip, squinting.

He hopped out of the cruiser, opening the back door and grabbing Ray-Ray's arm and pulling roughly.

Ray-Ray awkwardly slid sideways out of the car, banging his dreadlocked head on the jam.  "Fucking corrupt-ass pig."

Rohl hustled him up a few steps and into the building through a rusty metal door.  The large room was illuminated by a single overhead fluorescent, casting a gloomy rectangular spotlight in the middle of the concrete.  Rohl stopped in the middle of the light with Ray-Ray.

"Here's your man.  Now pay me."  He fumbled at his belt momentarily for a key and un-cuffed Ray-Ray.

They heard the shuffling steps of several people in the shadows at one end of the room and the detective walked over and exchanged whispers and an envelope with a silhouette in the darkness.

Ray-Ray peered into the darkness, raising a hand to cover the glare from the overhead light.  "Mr. Perez?"  He licked his lips.  "Yo man, I'm sorry bout all this, know how it and my gangstas were stirring up shit in the the Points like you asked.  But you know..."

Ray-Ray flinched as the metal door banged behind Rohl as he high-tailed it out of the building.

"You know...Santo's men..."

The silhouette strode toward him, the unmistakeable click of a gun being cocked.

The figure spoke, "I told my men to clean your filth out of my Points."

"Santo", Ray-Ray whispered, his throat suddenly dry.  Clearing it, he said more loudly, "Mr. Santo, I umm...".

Santo raised his pistol.  "I have a message for your employer, Pablo Perez."

"Yeah, sure, Mr. Santo.  I can tell him anything you want me to.  Just..."

"My message is that if any of his men show their faces in the Points again, I'll put a bullet there."  The pistol snarled and the bullet tore through Ray-Ray's skull.  His body jerked and he fell heavily to the floor leaking blood and brains.

Santo turned back, eyes shining in the dim light, towards Donny still standing in the shadows.  "Go leave this message on Pablo's doorstep."

"And don't fail me again..."

Chapter 4 - Encounter on the Street by Bob Jamison

Donny peered out into the darkening street, trying to make out any movement against the shadows cast by the street lights.

After getting the hell out of Wonderland, they'd packed back into the Lincoln and circled the neighborhood, careful to avoid the police converging on the club. 

"There", Kirkland pointed out the window as they rounded a corner.  

Ray-Ray stood at a delicatessen's pay phone spitting panicked whispers into the handset.  Donny pulled in smoothly between two cars still a block away and hit the lights.

Ray-Ray slammed down the phone and ducked around the corner of the building into an alley.

Kirkland dabbed at the flecks of blood on his clothing with a napkin.  "What now?"

 "I don't know...", Donny snapped, "...if you two assholes had played it cool we'd have nailed him at the club."

 "Unlucky.  Roo-Roo jumped out of way."

Donny and Kirkland craned their necks to look back at the Russian.

"He can speak English!", Kirkland snarked.

"Fucking you, Kirk Man."

"Sorta", said Donny.  He peered back out of the windshield.  "Okay, follow me and keep your mouths shut and your shit together."

Donny clicked off the dome light and slowly opened the door.  His heart pounding, he stepped out carefully.  He cringed when Kirkland's door let out a small creak.  Donny walked methodically towards the deli, gun raised and hugging the front of the building.  His two men followed him closely, their weapons leading the way.

An arms-length from the phone Ray-Ray had used, Donny halted, raising his hand.  He blew his breath out slowly, ears and eyes straining towards the alley.

A shoe rasped the ground, echoing between buildings.  Donny looked at his companions, Kirkland shook his head and the Russian stood passively gripping the rifle at waist level.  

Another scraping sound.

Donny looked back at the alley.  "Ray-Ray", he croaked out, then cleared his throat.  "Ray-Ray, we just want you out of the Points."  He looked back and pointed his chin towards a truck parked on the curb.

"We know you're there, we just want to talk."  The Russian crouched at the corner of the truck, raising his AK-47 and peering down it's sights at the corner.  Kirkland stood beside him, back pressed to the rolling door.

"Buuullsh-shit!", came a squeaky voice from the darkness.

The Russian twitched and Donny held up a hand and pondered for an instant.



"Ray-Ray.  Just come out and talk..."

Light suddenly shifted as a car turned the corner and Donny ducked into the shadowed doorway of the Deli.  In the frame of the doorway he watched Kirkland and the Russian at the back of the truck, Kirkland peeking around it's corner into the street.

Donny looked at the pair questioningly, and Kirkland looked back locking eyes briefly before...leaning around the truck and unloading with his 9mm.

"SHIT", Donny barked as he leapt out of the doorway, looking franticly from the street, down the sidewalk and to the entrance of the alley.  He caught a glimpse of headlights waving back and forth before a chest-thumping collision and tinkle.

Donny continued stepping towards the alley before a brick in the wall popped into shrapnel, pelting Donny's clothing and stinging his face.  He backpedaled, keeping behind the truck until he turned the corner where the Russian began unloading a clip into a wrinkled black car.

Someone returned fire as Donny continued, towards the next gap between cars, when Ray-Ray burst out of the alley, a gold plated gun in each hand, firing wildly, "Talk to this shit mothafuckas!"

Donny dived for the gap, yelling, "Ray-Ray!  Get him!"

The Russian stopped his fire, looking around and reaching inside his jacket for a clip.  Kirkland stayed shielded by the truck, occasionally popping out to jab his pistol and fire at the crashed car, ignoring Donny.

Popping his head up and looking through the glass of the car, he spotted Ray-Ray crouch-running across the street.

Shit, Donny thought.

A howling siren started, close by.

"GET THE FUCK IN THE CAR!"  He shouted as he ran flat out, back towards the Lincoln.

Keys fumbling, he saw the Russian in a soldier's trot towards him and Kirkland still firing as we ran.  Donny slid into the car, half laying under the wheel to keep his head down, jabbing the key into the steering wheel.  The engine caught and Donny contorted up into the seat still ducking.

He vaguely sensed the other two in the back seat as he jammed the car into reverse and slamming the accelerator.  Clipping another car, they screeched out in reverse and around until Donny had them facing the other direction and into 1st gear.

Blue and red flicked at the trees and buildings, receding in the rear-view.

Donny seethed, smearing sweat and blood across his face as silence descended on them, leaving only the three men's labored breathing and the sounds of the car.  

Donny punched the wheel.  "Fuuuuuuuuck me..."

Chapter 3 - Donny in Wonderland by Bob Jamison

Donny took a deep drag of his cigarette and let it out quaveringly.

He considered his lot in life, sitting in a turd-colored Lincoln with a yappy little man, Kirkland, who can't keep his mouth shut...or his fly, and...and...what the fuck is his name?...a Russian who never talks but is trying to win the cold war one street punk at a time.

"Okay, you guys ready?"

They sat parked in a lot across an alley from The Wonderland, a dance club that was only popular because it was so spectacularly shitty that it scared the crap out of it's hip young party-goers, which of course meant every cool kid desperately needed to go there to prove their cred.

Donny stepped out of the car, flicking his butt on the ground and grinding it into the pavement with a foot.

"Yeah, I'm ready.  How are we doing this?", said Kirkland, eyeing the back of the club.

"If he's in there, he'll be in the VIP section in back, probably with his crew.  I think the door on the alley leads to a hallway that goes by the kitchen and some bathrooms.  There'll be a guy at the door.  Probably a line of girls there to, so keep it cool."

"Got it."

"The Russian"

"The Russian"

"Da."  The Russian slung his rifle in front of him, buttoning his oversized coat around it.

It took Donny an effort not to sigh.  "Alright then, let's move it."

They moved slowly towards the club, picking their way through puddles and trash.  A bass beat grew louder as they approached.  Donny beat a fist against the door and almost immediately the door popped open puking a spatter of neon light and loud music onto the street.

Donny yelled, "We're with Santo, here to take care of some business."

The bouncer was 6 foot 6, probably 350.  Good for plugging up doors, Donny guessed.  The bouncer said, "Yeah, I know you.  Donny Fitz.  Go on in."

He let the three pass inside, sucking in his gut to let them squeeze by in the narrow hallway.  He let the door slam shut before hiking himself back up onto a ridiculously flimsy stool.

Donny walked slowly down the short hall, the other two lined up behind him.  He saw a mass of shadowy figures gyrating on the dance floor ahead of him, backlit by a swirl of pink and blue light.

As he reached the end of the hall, he looked left and right as the sound enveloped him.  He froze as he spotted Ray-Ray, holding court with his entourage around him and a bottle of champagne raised in the air.  

Kirkland and the Russian stepped out from behind him and Kirkland pointed.  

Donny swung around, raising his hand to slap down the other man's.  "Stop!", he hissed, but it was swallowed up by the noise of the club.  

His stomach dropped when he looked past and saw the Russian lifting the AK-47, bringing it to bear on their target.  


The entire club seemed to freeze for a heartbeat as the report of the gun and a burst of flame from the barrel slapped aside all music and light.  

Chaos erupted.  The unified mass of dancers dissolved into ducking, yelling, crying individuals scrambling for the closest door or cover.  Ray-Ray, un-hit, dived behind the raised floor of the VIP area, one of his crew un-luckily standing between the Russian's gun and Ray-Ray going to his knees burbling blood.  Only two of the half-dozen men seemed to get it together fast enough to react by pulling out their own weapons.


Blood spattered everyone and everything.  Kirkland pulled out his piece while Donny backed up around the corner of the hallway, drawing his 9mm from his shoulder holster.  The back door banged, the bouncer long-gone.


Donny peeked back around the corner and watched a banger collapse across a table.  He caught a glimpse of Ray-Ray's backside disappearing between a crush of people massing by the door.  The Russian turned in that direction peering calmly down the rifle sight at the crowd.

"STOP!", Donny screeched.  "Don't kill any fucking civilians!"

The Russian lowered the gun slowly.

Kirkland stepped up to the VIP area and grabbed Ray-Ray's surviving crew member, roughly by the hair.  "We got you, you shit!"  He pistol whipped the kid across the face.  "You shoulda never set foot in the Points!"  A fist this time.

"Both of you, chill the fucking fuck out!", Donny spit out.  "Ray-Ray booked it, we've got to go after him."

Kirkland grinned nastily, pointing the gun at the kid's head.  Donny started, "Kirkland sto...", before the sound of the pistol cut him off.

Donny rounded on the little man.  Slapping the smoking pistol out of the way before smacking him across the face.  "You sick stupid bastard!"

Kirkland's nostrils flared, and he jerked his gun up to Donny's chin.  His words hissed through clenched teeth, "You..don'"

Donny froze, but spoke evenly, "You work for me, and I work for Santo."  The two locked glares.

"Da."  The Russian interjected, snapping in a new clip and leveling the rifle at Kirkland.

The moment held, Kirkland trembling with rage, when the music suddenly cut out, leaving a roaring silence in the empty club.  A distant siren started to wail.  Kirkland put away his piece looking away from both the other men.

Donny holstered his gun and turned towards the back entrance.  "Let's go." 

Chapter 2 - A Mission by Bob Jamison

“I want him dead.”

“I want him and his fucking piss-ant crew under the dirt today.  I own the Points and every dope dealer on every corner inside of it.”, barked Santo, his eyes drilling into Donny across the table.

Donny’s chair creaked awkwardly.

Donny started, “But…”

“Don’t you fucking but me.”  Santo’s fist banged the table.  “Get your fucking crew together.”

Donny stood up slowly.  Eyes downcast.  Sweat starting to bead on the brow of his receding hairline.

Santo stared at him, eyes pinched and jaw muscles clenching his mouth into a malicious arch.

Donny blew out his breath and stepped towards the door.

“Tonight”, Santo growled at Donny’s back in the doorway.

Donny hesitated, wrinkling his turned-away face in disgust.  “Yes. Sir.”

Donny Fitz

Donny Fitz

A careful moment after the door shut, Donny let out his breath, “Fuuuuuuuck me…”

The two other men in the room glanced up at him.  One sprawled on the couch with a smirk and cocked eyebrow.  The other sitting at the desk cleaning a rifle stared expressionless.

“Come on.  We got a job.  You hear?”

Kirkland called from the couch, “Yeah, we heard.”  He sniffed.  “Santo wants to kick Ray-Ray out of the Points.”

Donny twitched, “Not just kicked out...kicked into a grave.  Come on, both of you, we’ve got to figure out how to find that sneaky son of a bitch.”  He swept out of the room, still twitching nervously.  Shouting from the hall, “I’ll bring the Lincoln around.”

Kirkland groaned as he stood up, arching his back and rolling his head around on his neck.  "Come on Stalin, let's get a move on."

The other older man wearing a neatly tailored but slightly out of date suit deftly re-assembled the carefully organized AK-47 parts in front of him. "Da."

The trio piled into the dirty-underwear beige Lincoln and Donny slammed the driver door.

“Fuuuuuuuck me…”

He patted his jacket, feeling for his piece and sliding it out of his shoulder holster to check the clip.  He said, “Okay, first thing, we got to find that piece of shit Ray-Ray.  You know he’s going to be at some fucking club with a bunch of bangers.”

Kirkland sat in the front seat, his small frame swallowed up by the bench leather seat.  He pulled out his 9-mill, sliding out the clip.  “I bet he’ll be at his girl’s.  Up in Hollywood.”

The Russian sat in the back seat, an AK-47 across his lap, eyes closed.  Donny glanced back at him and did a double take.  “Goddamit, do you have to bring that fucking commie canon?  What if a fucking cop walks by?”

Donny's glare did nothing to penetrate the other man, who sat silently, not opening his eyes. 

After a long silence, “Fuuuuuuck me…Okay, your ass if we get pinched.”

Kirkland chuckled, “I don't think he speaks English.”

“Fuck you Kirkland.”

Donny pulled the Lincoln into traffic and they drove slowly through the neighborhood.  Donny drummed his fingers on the wheel as he drove, twitchily glancing at the faces in the passing cars.

They pulled up to the curb next to three women smoking cigarettes.  One, dressed like a teenager but aged somewhere north of 40, slinked over to the window.  "Whatcha doing Donny?"

"Hey Toni.  You seen Ray-Ray or his girl around?"

"I've seen his crew.  They're all over The Points."  Toni took a big drag of her cigarette and blew it out.  "I won't go anywhere near there, they beat up Star last week, and heard they robbed your boss."

"Yeah, we know it.  Where's his crew?"

"Just around.  I think they like to hang at Wonderland."

"Thanks Toni."  Donny nudged Kirkland, who looked back accusingly.  "Kirkland, give her something."

Kirkland gave him a disgusted look and pulled a messy wad of bills out of pocket.  Peeling a $20 off, he dangled it out the window at Toni, snatching it back when Toni's hand reached out.  "How about you and me go for a date later?"

Toni grabbed the bill out of his hand.  "Fuck off you little degenerate.  Why don't you go find another leprechaun to paw at?"

Kirkland's eyes flashed, his face contorting.  "Shut your fucking mouth you..."

Donny interjected loudly, "Cut it.  We're going."

He didn't look at the red-faced Kirkland while they drove away.

"Fuuuuuuck me", Donny thought as they drove toward the Wonderland club in The Points.

Chapter 1 - Origin by Bob Jamison

My father always told me a life of crime wouldn’t pay.  

Until I was 13, I watched him toil in the dirt.  From one grimey construction job to the next, barely scraping by.  

I watched him work up to foreman, watched him puff out his chest when we moved out of our run-down one-bedroom apartment in Southie, into an even more run-down house in the slums of Eastwood Heights.

“Son, I told you honesty and hard work would pay off.”, he told me.  Standing on the stoop of that house.  Trash lining the gutter of the street.  Trash staring at us from the dark windows of the other tenements.  

I shivered, and clenched my fists in rage.

A year later, I came home from school to my mother coughing up blood into a kitchen towel.  Cancer.

My father prayed.  Holding her hand at her bed-side.  His job long-gone from missing hours.  Bills piling up on the kitchen table.  Piling up and piling up.  Looming over us.

A month later, December, we were living out of my father’s car.  Driving through the city at night to keep warm.  Christmas lights on houses burning into my eyes.

I boiled.  The bile in my stomach seethed at all the lies of this wretched city.  The fat laughing people taking from my father...from my mother...from me.  Warm in buildings my father wrecked himself to build for...nothing.

I found him in an alley.  Between two dumpsters.  Piss and liquor soaking his clothing.  

I’d been living at the Salvation Army, alone because they would only take in children.  I brought him food every night, snuck into my pocket from dinner or stolen from the kitchen.

I don’t know where he’d gotten a gun.  Maybe he’d always had one?  The blood seeped slowly into the filth of the street.  His face was passive, in stark contrast to the violent gore to the side of his skull.

I picked up the pistol.  It was so heavy in my hand.  It smelled of hell, a bitter oily smoke that filled my nostrils, drowning out the wet iron smell of blood.

I turned my back on him, from the path he’d tried to walk.  Towards the dark.

With a gun.