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Fighting was always a f***ing blast. Not school boy fighting, but real, dangerous fighting. No one fought as hard as the desperate city punks. Jeff snuffed the blood from his nose and laughed out loud at the despairing set of eyes before him. The wiry youth that circled with him was clearly scared out of his mind, but he wasn’t giving up. He must be starving. Jeff felt bad, but he had a job to do. That was that; no hard feelings, guy, it’s just business.
Jeff spat on the ground. He stopped mid circle and dropped his fists.
“I’m giving you one last chance. Get out, now, or it’s over for you pal.” His voice was hard, but earnest. He didn’t want to kill the punk.
He wasn’t given a choice. The kid rushed him with a savage cry, a pair of brass knuckles catching the light. Jeff whipped out an old 44, and it was over. His rule could not be questioned. This would go around the neighborhood by the next morning. No one would sell on his turf without giving him his cut ever again, at least… not for a while.
Jeff turned his back putting the kid out of his head. It was done and he would forget it. It wouldn’t be hard. He simply put it aside and it disappeared, right along with the rest of them. It was a beautiful psychological development of his. He was quite proud of it.
He made his way through the city’s stinking alleyways and winding back streets, checking on his usual corner sellers and clearing out the competition. Jeff was the “supervisor” of this neighborhood. He owned it, ruled it, and dictated who came and went. He was 19, and he was a god, but more on that later.
It was closing in on midnight and Jeff had a meeting with his lead sellers. They were meeting up with the drug lord of the city. All of Jeff’s dedicated followers, some well past 50, were showing up to see Jeff’s official recognition and support by the lord. He was to pledge allegiance and cut to the man who ran the whole city, all 40 million inhabitants owed their allegiance to this man, he was the only one that kept them safe, that kept a semblance of law and order, utilities, and society going.
Here, it was the drugs that became the staple export, bringing in money and strong, capable men. Jeff had never lived differently. He lived by the laws of survival, killing the boys and men that stepped in his way. He ruled his neighborhood and defended his family with his fearless 44 and killer instinct.
A light rain began to fall, and its dripping coolness brought a great calm over Jeff. Life was good. He smiled and looked up at the black sky, raindrops shimmering in the street light. This was his plot, and it felt good. He felt in control, he felt indestructible.
The warehouse was just up ahead on the right. It was in the very middle of his territory, and was the stockpiling headquarters for his drug supply, sellers, and small group of henchmen. They were all there he knew. He was still five minutes early, but they would have gotten there far ahead of time to clear the place out and secure the area. They were good men.
It was two minutes to twelve. Jeff sat down on the sidewalk a block from his warehouse. He decided to be late. It would show that he was a working man, out on the streets doing real dirty work. He didn’t have stooges. He knew the day’s stories would impress the lord. He had done work, real management work.
Twelve came and went. At five after Jeff frowned. The lord told him he would be there at twelve exactly. He had been very firm. A few more minutes ticked by and still no one came to the warehouse. Another five minutes ticked by. Jeff simply sat and watched. It was deadly quiet. There was no movement on the streets, none of his men were coming out. A paper fluttered down the street, making a terrifying noise, loud and terrific in Jeff’s mind.
He slowly rose and backed away from the street slowly into a back alley. Something was wrong. He could feel it in his gut. A sinking horror settled in his stomach. He ran. He ran down the alleys and lost himself in the mazes that had been his entire life. No one knew these streets like he did. He sprinted, dodging around corners and diving across small streets.
He didn’t stop until he was far outside the limits of his neighborhood. He grasped his gun in one hand, and the other was pressed against the rough stone of a towering scraper. The poor, broken down world was behind him, and he was in an alien land, one of shining glass, bright lights, and expensive smells.
It was over. It was an assumption that he could not help but make; his loyal men, his control, his neighborhood, it was all over. His family was doomed. They were most likely all already dead. He knew this was a possibility. He had known all along… he was just… he didn’t want to… he was too god damned good for that! He was too smart! He was too much of an asset! God Dammit!
In a gleaming alley Jeff fell to his knees and silent tears streaked his face. In the distance he heard and explosion. An orange glow lit the sky over his neighborhood. They had lit his warehouse. The drugs inside were highly flammable, the surrounding block would be ruined, everything would burn.
On his knees Jeff hung his head. What was he now? What hope did he have? The barrel of the 44 was cool against his head.