The phone ringing finally woke me up, making me crawl out from under my sheets moaning. Me and Woozie had hit the bar pretty hard last night, he'd gotten the OK from the Triad to accept me as a partner, and all that was left was for Mr. Ran Fa Li to come into town so we could sign the papers. I'd booked a flight out of Venturas for the weekend to go and see a man I was hoping would want to not do business with me, which would get the Quarry up and running again.
But first I had to deal with this phone.
"Whodatwhodere?" I grumbled, feeling my head pulsing as I lay half out the bed with the phone slapped against my face.
"Carl!?!" shouted Kendl, and I felt like a pick being driven into my head,"Why haven't you been answering your phone!?!"
"Goddammit what time is it?" I asked.
"It's NOON you lazy asshole!" she shouted.
"Oh damn, sorry I was hitting the sauce pretty hard with Woozie last night, we was cele-"
"Hmmm," she said, and I knew that was cutting off any explanation I could make.
"So... what's up?" I asked, wishing she'd get to the point so I could bury my head under the sheets again and sleep for the next three months.
"Well, some of us have been working," she said,"Cesar finished off our latest Wishlist."
"Oh... that's good, I guess," I said. It was, but was it really worth waking me up so early in the morn... in the afternoon to tell me.
"And we got paid," she insisted, and when I still didn't get it, she sighed,"Carl, I don't know if you've been keeping track of the money you've been making running the garage, organizing all those payments, operating Wang Cars.... but I have. We did it, Carl, we made it."
"Made what?" I asked, too fuzzy headed to follow her down the path she was leading me to.
"For God's sa.... Carl, we've worth more than a million dollars! We made it! We're millionaires!"
"Woah woah wait what?" I said, sitting up in bed, my hangover forgotten,"Million.... we're millionaires?"
"On paper, yeah," she said,"Alot of money is tied up in the businesses, but if we sold up everything, we'd have over a million dollars... and there's more coming in."
"Holy shiiit," I whispered. A million dollars was.... well, people said it wasn't as much as it used to be, but for a kid who grew up in the Ghetto wearing hand-me-downs of clothes that came from the Good Will.... a million dollars..... fucking hell.
"That's... shit, that's incredible, Kendl," I said,"I.... damn.... DAMN!"
"Yeah, now you fucking wake up," she laughed.
"Okay sis, that's great news," I said,"And listen, it's only the beginning. I ain't been sitting on my ass out here, I got us into a quarry, and I've got a business partnership I'm hoping to organize to get it running. Woozie's signing me up as a partner in the Casino soon, and we're planning.... well, something big. One million ain't gonna be nothing by the time we done."
"Mmmhmmm," she said, like she wasn't impressed by my big talk,"Just don't spend it all celebrating tonight. Me and Cesar are heading out to Bayside for the night, you take care of yourself out there."
"Yeah yeah, have a good time," I said, and she hung up. I put the phone down and lay back in the bed, but I wasn't tired no more, and my hangover was gone. I was a millionaire.... holy shit.
This called for a celebration.
Her name was Barbara and she was perfect. She was a little older than the girls I usually dated, but goddamn what a body. She had tits like Michelle's, an ass like Denise's, a body like Katie's and she was smart like Helena.... and as far as I could tell she wasn't crazy like Catalina. I met her at the Camel Toe Nightclub and we danced for what felt like hours, sharing a few words here and there but mostly just dancing and enjoying looking at each other's bodies. Every so often a guy or girl would come along and try to dance with us instead, but we'd brush them off, we only had eyes for each other, and finally the dance floor cleared as the club prepared to shut down, and it was just the two of us standing there, staring at each other.
We was both too jacked from dancing to call it a night, so I asked her if she wanted to get something to eat and she told me about a diner she knew outside of the "noise" of the city, by a little desert town called El Quebrados. I didn't mind driving out of the city, I only had eyes for her at the moment.
We ordered and enjoyed our meals, chatting about little unimportant shit like what we did - I told her I ran a garage and she told me she did "mostly desk work" - and problems with previous relationships - I told her all about Catalina without going into any details about the fact we was together while pulling a series of jobs, she told me about having a control freak ex-husband.
"All he left me was a terrible last name," she said, and my eyes lit up.
"Oh come on now I need to know," I laughed.
"Noooo, don't tease, Carl!" she laughed back.
"Oh it can't be that bad," I said,"I grew up with the last name Johnson, you can imagine all the shit I got for that as a kid."
"Well.... okay," she said at last,"It's.... Schternvart....'
"Don't laugh, Carl," she warned me, but I couldn't help it, and I started chuckling, then laughing, and she glared at me... and then she broke down and started laughing too.
I paid the check and we stepped outside of the diner, and I wondered what would happen next. She'd want a lift home, but would she want to invite me in or had this been enough for her or....
"Take me home, baby," she said,"I'll make us dessert."
Oh hell yes.
It turned out she lived in El Quebrados, a nice little three bedroom place that she seemed to have to herself. I didn't get to see much of the place, we was all over each other as we went through the front door, kissing and pulling our clothes off as she lead me back to the bedroom, and once we were in there, I was only interested in seeing that fine body of hers.
We spent the day in bed, I'd like to say fucking like animals, but the truth was we were both pretty tired from spending all night dancing. After we were done with "dessert", we pretty much slept through the afternoon, and in the early evening she got up and pulled on my shirt which covered up almost everything, and headed out to the kitchen to make us a meal. We sat in bed and watched television, then headed into the bathroom for a shower that we both enjoyed a shitload more than the meal, before coming back to bed to get ourselves all sweaty again.
I was in heaven.
It was early morning when she woke me up, not even 5am yet, telling me she had work in a few hours and I'd have to go.
"Ahhh man, maybe I can just stay here?" I grunted. She'd told me she was rostered off work yesterday, but I hadn't thought about the fact she'd have to work today,"Make YOU dinner, be a modern man and all?"
"I'd love that," she laughed,"But they'll be here in a couple of hours, he's dropping them off."
"They? He?" I asked, confused.... then I blinked as I realized she was pulling on a very familiar looking uniform.
She was a cop.
"You a cop?" I asked, surprised.
"Yeah... I didn't tell you?" she said back,"I work for the Sheriff's Department, mostly desk work but sometimes I go on patrol. I try to schedule myself so I don't bump into my Ex, he works in Venturas but that brings him out here sometimes."
"..... wait... wait, yo' Ex is a cop too?" I asked, shaking my head as I rolled up and sat on the side of the bed, pulling on my drawers.
"Yeah, I could have sworn I told you," she muttered, strapping on her gunbelt,"That's not a problem, is it Carl? Me being a cop?"
"Nah nah," I said, telling the truth,"To be honest, it's kind of a turn on."
She grinned and ran her fingers along the top of her baton, licking her lips.
"You're a bad man, Carl Johnson," she said,"Maybe on our next date you'll feel the long arm of the law."
"Maybe," I said,"But your Ex is coming here? Why?"
"Pick up his spare uniform and drop off his regular one for washing, the lazy bastard," she said, walking into the wardrobe and coming out with a male cop uniform,"I don't mind him meeting you, but not the kids."
"Yeah I guess no.... the kids? What kids?"
"My kids," she said, frowning,"I didn't tell you about them either? There's photos of them all over the house..... it's not a problem, is it Carl? Me having kids?"
"Of course not!" I laughed,"Just caught me by surprise is all. Look, you think you can get me a coffee while I get changed, then I'll be out of here before six, I swear. We'll pick this up another day, eh?"
"Sure," she smiled, putting a little wiggle into her walk as she headed out of the bedroom,"I'll just be a minute."
"Cool," I grinned.
"You ran NAKED through the streets of El Quebrados?" Woozie asked, holding back his laughter.
"Not naked man," I said, adjusting my hat,"I had my drawers on."
"Oh, well as long as you didn't look odd," laughed Woozie, and I felt my cheeks burning.
"Come on, man, a lady cop I can handle, a cop Ex I can handle.... but kids? Damn, I'm sorry, I know black men got a reputation of running out on they kids but I don't think it counts if they ain't YOUR kids."
"Oh Carl," chuckled Woozie,"Hit me."
"Are you sure, man?" I asked, frowning as I looked down at our cards facedown on the table.
"Yeah, I'm going for a five card hand!" he insisted,"Come on..."
"OK," I shrugged, dealing him another card,"Here."
I checked my cards and he did the same, though I didn't know how the fuck he could know what they was when he couldn't fucking see. We was just fucking around playing cards, we didn't have anything on and we couldn't plan any further on the Casino Heist till we figured a way to get inside information. I was flying out on my business tomorrow, and Woozie was waiting on Ran Fa Li getting into town before making any major changes to the Casino.
"I'm gonna stick," I said,"What you got?"
"How would I know?" laughed Woozie,"You tell me."
I looked at the cards I'd turned over, and thought about how his boys called him Lucky Mole. I counted his cards, then looked up at him, sitting there with that calm, serene cool look on his face, thinking he'd fucking hit 21 perfectly.
"Not good, man," I told him truthfully, counting the numbers again,"You got, eerr, forty-seven."
"Damn!" snapped Woozie,"You're bad luck for me. You know, when I play the other guys I always win!"
Man Woozie, for a smart guy, you can be pretty dumb.
"Boss!" called Suzie, stepping into the office,"Take a look at these two chips!"
"One's a fake," said Woozie, not even touching them, just staring straight ahead.
"That's amazing," I said, impressed,"You didn't even touch them."
"No, I just took a guess," said Woozie, cool, then shrugged,"Why else would he come in with two chips and sound so worried?"
Damn Woozie, for a guy who can be so dumb.... you can be pretty smart.
"You take a look," he suggested, and I stood up and looked down at the two chips, marked with the dragon logo of the Casino. At first glance they was identical, but then....
"Oh yeah," I said, looking closer,"The dragon on this got the sunglasses and a white stick....."
"INSOLENT BASTARDS!" yelled Woozie, jumping to his feet and slamming his hands on the table. I took a step back, surprised. Woozie was normally cool and calm, but one thing he couldn't stand was being made fun of for being blind, especially by some fucked in the head mafia assholes.
"I'll make sure the cashiers are extra vigilant," Suzie said, bowing his head and obviously wanting to get the fuck out of there.
"It's obvious where these chips are coming from!" grunted Woozie, turning towards me,"The Sindacco Family owns a plastics factory across town... I'm GONNA BLOW IT TO SHIT!"
"Man, look, don't trip," I told him, taking him by the shoulder,"I got you on this."
He took a deep breath and nodded. We both knew the mafia WANTED to get a reaction out of him, but they wouldn't see me coming, so far nobody knew I was going to be involved in the Casino, despite me having a "high profile" I was a racer, someone for car and bike nuts to be interested in, not mafia goons.
By the time they realized they mistake, it'd be too late.
These fucking mafia assholes had fucked with the wrong blind Chinese Triad Casino Owner.
I slapped the last of the satchel charges to the plastics machines, then looked around the factory. Mafia goons lay dead, caught by surprise, expecting Triads to come at them in the night maybe, not one lone black dude in the afternoon. They'd run this city for so long they'd become used to the idea of being top dogs, stopped being on they toes. That shit would never fly in the Ghetto, you had to be on your game all the time, but these motherfuckers were like the assholes I'd raced against - they knew what to do, but they didn't have the edge to do it the best they possibly could.
The Injection Molds were war surplus, which meant they'd been in Venturas almost as long as the mob had. That was good, because maybe they'd see this as the symbolic gesture it was meant to be.
The Mafia's time was done.
I guess this showed how far I'd come since coming back from Liberty City.
I'd walked into Venturas Airport, paid out a few thousand for my booked flight, and hopped up into my very own private jet... well, at least for this flight.
I landed at a private airport and drove to where I was going, thinking about how far I'd come even since the last time I was here. I hopped of my bike and stared up at the big familiar sign, then over at the building.
I walked inside, and the man sitting behind the desk took a moment to remember who I was, but then it came to him.
"Carl?" asked Mr. Whittaker,"What are you doing here?"
"Hey, Mr. Whittaker," I grinned,"I'm here because I don't want to do business with you."