After doing what needed to be done with the dossier, I checked my voicemail and headed around to Caligula's, where Paul had asked me to come because he thought Rosie might be getting into something over his head. I pulled up outside and headed in, going straight to the Management Suite where the big suit was planted. Already I was getting recognized, known as a guy to be treated right, which suited me just fine. I stepped inside, wondering how whiny and pissy Rosie was going to be today.
Well, so much for him being clean. At least he was happy.
"Let's get this show on the road!" yelled Rosie, throwing his arms out, laughing crazy.
"The good Doctor has revived the patient!" laughed Paul, high fiving Maccer who started doing little crotch thrusts at Rosie,"Sweet as, my son, sweet as!"
"So everything's straight now?" I asked.
"Noooooo!" moaned Rosie, looking absolutely miserable all of a sudden,"Absolutely not, I'm still screwed! Absolutely screwed, but at least now I'm in the right frame of mind!"
He looked at me with a sick grin on his face, then over Paul, then Maccer, and then....
"Any minute now, some Mafia bullet is going to splatter my brains all over the wall!" he whined, jumping behind a dull faced Maccer as I sighed and sat my ass down, and Paul rolled his eyes. Rosie turned and looked at the wall, lifting his hands and running them over it,"My wall, my beautiful wall..."
"Ooh, you missed a bit!" spoke up Maccer, pointing at the coke on the table,"I'll 'ave that!"
"Forgeddaboudit!" shouted the parrot, and Rosie whirled about, eyes wide.
"OH! That's a greeeeeat idea, Tony!" he yelled at the parrot, which cocked its head and stepped side to side on its perch,"But you know what? It ain't going to work, OK? Not this time..."
So he was yelling at parrots now?
"Look, man," I said, pointing at him,"Relax, get a grip..."
"Yeah, you're right, I NEED TO GET A GRIP!" he shouted, but the funny thing was it looked like he was taking what I said to heart. Jesus he must be high as a kite.
"Take control..." I started, but he was already getting ahead of me.
"YES!" he shouted, all fevered and sweating, coked up and getting excited,"Grab the bull by the horns!"
"And show everybody who's Boss..." I nodded, jumping to my feet, helping him get worked up, figuring he'd get fired up, then back off when he calmed down... but he'd remember that I'd been there to back him up.
"I'm the Boss!" he yelled,"I-am-the-Boss!"
"Alright then!" I nodded.
"All right!" he shouted, sniffing wildly,"Let's TEAR THIS TOWN UP!"
"OK, Boss Man," I asked as he hopped into the passenger side of my ride,"Where to?"
"We're going to pay the Sindacco's a visit!" he sniffed,"See how Johnny is, win him over with some (sniff) kind words during his convalescence."
He ran his fingers over his nose, taking a big sniff, and I started wondering how long he was going to take to come down. I didn't really want him going in and facing off with the Sindacco's while he was up like this, he was liable to say the wrong thing and get his ass capped, and there went my in to the Casino.
"I've gotta get out of this game," he snorted,"Shit, my nose is pissing like a race horse (sniff) that is REALLY good stuff.... HEY! Drive faster, would you please? C'mon, c'monc'mon, what are you, an old lady?"
"So... you trying to get out?" I asked, thinking about how I could use that.
"YES!" he shouted,"God, yes! I want to do something safe and legal and boring, with people that like me! And have a wife and kids and get divorced and fight for weekend access, like everybody else!"
"Listen, I'll see what I can do," I said, and he didn't question just what the fuck a "Problem Solver" like me could do to get him out of the Mob, he was too coked up to think about shit like that.
"Thanks," he said,"I'm just so tired of all this life or death bullshit. (Sniff) Oh, shit, shit's all down my (sniff) damned shirt, and everything, ahhhh, that's my best shirt too.... doesnt this shirt look good on me?"
I just shook my head and concentrated on driving, and he sat staring out the window mumbling under his breath and tapping his finger on the dash. Save me from drug addicts.
We stepped inside as he tapping his forehead and muttered to himself, and once we were through the door and past the two goons on the inside who nodded us through, I stopped and put my back against the wall to wait.
"What's going on? You forget something?" Rosie asked, turning to look back at me.
"No," I said. Shit, I hadn't figured he'd expect me to sit on a meeting between him and Johnny Sindacco,"Look, you go on in, I'm gonna wait."
"Look," he said, grabbing me by the shoulders, looking close to panic,"You gotta come with me this once... if I pull this off, I can carry on, I know I can, but please, you gotta come with me.... I'm gonna squirt my ass all over the floor!"
"Okay, okay - chill!" I told him as he was whispering pleasepleasepleaseplease at me. I looked up towards the office where Johnny would be sitting, a call already put through to him to let him know Rosie was here,"Shit, this can't look good."
My plan had been to get him fired up and be there for him when he was feeling good, then when he inevitably chickened out I'd be there to take him back, and he'd remember how I was there for him. Now he wanted me to meet with the Sindacco's, and I could guarantee that Johnny would remember me. Maybe I could turn that to my advantage though, three Mob families was tied up in Caligula's but the ones based in Venturas were the Sindacco's and they was the ones causing problems.
Solution - get rid of the Sindacco's.
I just had to hope Johnny would react the way I needed him to.
"Listen, everything's gonna be OK," I told a gulping, sweating Rosie,"Just remember; you're the Boss!"
We headed up the stairs, where two big stocky motherfuckers stood on either side of the door outside Johnny's office. I wondered what it must be like to be in the Mafia, they was a gang like Grove Street and the Ballas were gangs, but they didn't chill on the block on in they cribs shooting the shit, they worked out of little offices out the back of the places they used as fronts - garbage disposal, meatworks, construction yards. It must have been weird. In Liberty I'd done a little work for mob guys, mostly jacking cars for parts, and they had this weird thing where they tried to act like businessmen, and they ended up being stuck halfway between a regular guy and a respectable company man, and they didn't fit in with either.
"Hey boys," Rosie said, putting on his best tough guy expression which wasn't exactly intimidating,"Tell your Boss that Ken Rosenberg is here to see him."
"Ken who?" asked one of the goons, grinning.
"K... Ken Rosenberg!" mumbled Rosie, then his voice got high and shrill,"Ken Rosenberg! The guy that runs this town!"
One of the goons shrugged and walked into the office, leaving us behind. I moved into position against the wall, so Rosie was standing directly in front of me, while Rosie struggled to make small talk.
"So, uh, how's Johnny?" he asked, stroking his forehead.
"He's doing much better, yeah," shrugged the goon. I wondered how much he could bench-press, he had a big gut but his arms were brawny as fuck, getting punched by him would probably feel like getting hit by a train,"He ate something this morning."
"Heeyyy, Ken!" said a very familiar voice, and in came Johnny, still in his wheelchair,"Ah, Christ, this fucking thing... Ken.. come esta e, eh, how you doing?"
"Pretty good," said Ken, sweating, all his bravado gone now,"And you?"
"Ah, still got a little bit of the night terrors," he joked, even if I wondered how much of a joke it actually was,"Touch of diarrhea, but I'll get through it."
"Huh, diarrhea, cool," nodded Ken, who wasn't really listening,"Yeah..."
"And who's this...?" asked Johnny, Rosie moving enough that he could see me behind him.
"Oh my God... Oh God... it's him..." he moaned, backing up in the wheelchair, the two goons exchanging surprised looks,"I... yo.... aaargghh! my hear! Eucch... my heart..."
What came next happened in a blur, involving lots of shouting, pulling of guns and shooting. Thankfully the shooting was mostly done on my part, as I pulled before the goons could get they own pieces out (they'd tucked them into their waistbands behind they backs, and there was a whole lot back to reach around) and took them out. But people everywhere were shouting, goons turning and pointing, screaming that it was a hit, Rosie had whacked the Boss.
"WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO!?!" screamed Rosie as I hauled him to the floor and bullets blasted into the office wall behind where we'd been standing.
"Saved yo ass, and I'm SAVING yo ass right now," I shouted back,"Stay cool, I'll get us out of th-"
"Shit, they've started a fire to keep us back!" I yelled as I grabbed a Combat Shotgun out of the Office and pulled Rosie down to the meatworks floor,"There must be an extinguisher here somewhere, find it!"
"What are you going to do?" screamed Rosie.
"Keep US alive!" I shouted back,"And making sure the witnesses stay quiet!"
"Stand back, I'm gonna blast these flames!" shouted Rosie, his adrenalin pumping now, getting excited. He fired off the extinguisher and smothered the flames, laughing, fire reflecting in his glasses, screaming at me,"Well what are you waiting for!?!"
"I'm going in!" I yelled, and started forward.
"I'll cover you!" he shouted.
"Goddammit, Rosie," I coughed,"Do me a favor, don't help!"
"This is so exciting, Tommy!" yelled Rosie as he ran out of the freezer where he'd been hiding,"It's like old times!"
"Who the fuck is Tommy?" I yelled. Fucking cokehead.
"Nevermind," he said, kneeling down over the body of one of the dead mobsters, clutching the extinguisher like a security blanket,"Shit, this is insan-"
"MOTHERFUCKING COCKSUCKER!" yelled a goon, coming around the corner with a thin, mean looking asshole right behind him. I lifted my gun, thinking I was too late to save Rosie and then... Rosie saved himself.
"Nice work, Rosie," I said, slapping him on the shoulder,"Damn man, quick thinking."
"Th... thanks?" he said, surprised. Jesus, had no one ever just given this guy a compliment? No wonder he was so neurotic.
We could still hear shouting from the next room on the meatworks floor, and I knelt down and reloaded the shotgun, turning to Rosie.
"OK, we gonna get out of this man, and the Sindacco's won't be a problem no more, you gonna maintain?"
"I'm never doin' drugs again," he said in reply,"Never ever, ever ever!"
"Let's take one thing at a time," I grinned, then dove into the room.
"Are they all dead?" asked Rosie quietly, then louder,"ARE ALL THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS DEAD!?!"
"No," I said, and he blinked and covered his mouth,"All the dumb ones are dead, the smart ones are waiting in ambush in the packing room leading out to the exit."
"Oh," he said,"How are going to.... oh shit are we going to die!?!"
"Rosie," I grinned,"I told you, let's take one thing at a time. That counts for these assholes too, we take them one at a time."
"Holy shit, we did it... we did it!" shouted Rosie,"We whacked the fucking Sindacco's!"
"And nobody can EVER know!" I warned him,"I'm serious, man, maybe I could pull a fade, but you? They'd be on you in seconds and they would make you beg for death for a looooong time, you understand?"
"....I.... yeah, okay," nodded Rosie, wiping his glasses,"So what now?"
"We go back to Caligula's and you pretend you don't know nothing," I said,"Everyone will suspect the Forelli's, and while they're arguing and fighting about it, you'll be left clear to run YOUR Casino, capiche?"
"Ca... capiche, yeah, yeah, I like that," he grinned, pathetically grateful,"OK."
"Calm, yeah, calm," agreed Rosie, shaking his head like he couldn't believe what I was saying,"REAL FUCKING calm!"
He took a deep breath, put a weak smile on his face and walked towards the entrance, muttering under his breath,"I'm calm, Mr. Calm, Mr. Calm, that's me, Mr. Calm."
Jesus, how'd someone as high-strung as him ever live this long hooked up with the mob?
Still, this has been a surprisingly productive evening. I'd wiped out the Sindacco's top guys in Venturas which would throw the whole Mafia alliance into chaos, killed the only guy who could connect me between Caligula's and the Four Dragons, and gotten the guy running Caligula's even deeper in my debt.
I walked away from the Casino and down the strip, whistling a happy tune while far in the distance sirens blasted as the police arrived at the scene of what the papers would call "Slaughterhouse Mob".
The Sindacco's had been wiped out of Venturas.
Early the next morning, the phone call I'd been expecting came.
"Carl," said Tenpenny,"You get that dossier?"
"Yeah, I got the files," I said, putting just the right edge of angry and scared into my voice,"what you want me to do with 'em?
"We need to meet up someplace quiet and take care of things," he chuckled,"There's a ghost town, Las Brujas in the Devil's Castle, you know it?"
"Yeah, I'll find it," I said. This was perfect.
"I know you will," he said quietly, leaving an unspoken message behind his words,"I'll see you there, Carl, noon."
I hung up, and wondered how stupid he thought I was. He meant for this to be our last meeting, I could tell he was tying up loose ends. First me, then Sweet, and probably Smoke after that, and then he'd either shut up shop and ride out the storm till things were quiet enough to start up all over again, or take what money he could and get the fuck out of dodge. Well, he was right about one thing.
This would be our last meeting.
I'd arrived early to set things up, but as I looked over Las Brujas trying to spot if Tenpenny and Pulaski were already here to set up they own ambush, I was surprised by my phone ringing.
"Hello?" I asked, expecting Tenpenny.
"I know it's joo, joo stinking perro!" shouted Catalina's voice. Oh for fuck's sake, this I did NOT need right now.
"Look, just say what you gotta say," I snapped down the phone,"I ain't interested in these stupid games!"
"Stupid games?" she gasped, and put phony tears into her voice,"This is my HEART joo play with!"
"What?" I shouted, I couldn't believe it, she was the one who dumped me!"Look, you-"
She was gone.
"Damn!" I muttered, shaking my head,"Gotta change my number!"
I put the phone away and rode up into Las Brujas. There was no sign of Tenpenny and Pulaski, which meant I had time to get things ready.
They arrived at Noon, right on time, me standing in the shade of one of the shacks, holding the dossier that could put Tenpenny and Pulaski away for a long, long time. I turned to look at the car, surprised they'd brought in the LSPD cruiser, even more surprised to see they bitch Hernandez was with them, especially after what I'd read in the dossier. Which made what he did next even more surprising.
"Carl," grinned Pulaski, the pig fuck asshole, stepping out of the car as Hernandez kept me covered,"Hope we didn't keep you waiting... holmes."
"Nah, I was just chillin'" I said back, not paying no attention to Hernandez.
"HA! I bet you were!" laughed Pulaski, then his face went serious,"That the dossier? Hand it over."
I handed it over without a hesitation, and as he leafed through, seeing documents, photos, signed statements, collections of evidence, he saw just how much the FBI and DEA had managed to gather on him and Tenpenny even with them icing everyone who tried to bring them down.
"Hey, everything cool now?" I asked, acting my part, pretending I thought they'd let me leave.
"I don't know, Carl," said Tenpenny, walking down the street from the car he'd parked up by the road running by Las Brujas. He reached into the trunk of the cruiser, pulling out a spade,"Eddie?"
"Our boy's done good," nodded Pulaski. Tenpenny nodded, taking this into account, and then he.... shit.
OK, this I hadn't planned on. Reading through the dossier had told me that Hernandez had been snitching to the Feds, and from putting two and two together I'd figured out that wasn't all - Cesar's "cousin" was his "cousin" all right, not by blood but by race. Hernandez had been feeding information to Cesar too out of guilt, guilt over what Tenpenny and Pulaski did and he left them get away with. But most of all guilt over the fact the HE was the one who'd pulled the trigger on Pendelbury, that same motherfucker that they'd told me they'd frame me for murder when I first got back to Santos.
But I hadn't thought they'd know until they had a chance to read the dossier, I'd been planning on using Hernandez to turn the tables on them and take them out.
I was in deep shit.
"YOU VATO ASSHOLE!" screamed Tenpenny, furious. He brought the spade down hard on Hernandez's chest, screaming,"YOU SOLD US OUT!"
Panting harsh, he looked up at me, and the most evil grin I'd ever seen crossed his face. Toreno was a dead eyed motherfucker who chilled the soul, but this was the grin of a lunatic... a lunatic with power. He tossed me the spade, then looked down at Hernandez, who was out cold but still breathing.
"Time to dig, Carl."
I stood holding the spade, staring down at Hernandez, all my plans, all my stupid arrogant confidence that Tenpenny and Pulaski were just a couple of small time assholes.... all of it gone.
"You take care of things," Tenpenny grunted to Pulaski, taking the dossier from him and heading towards the cruiser.
"No, Frank, relax," Pulaski said, a little surprised.
"Good," he grinned, hopping into the cruiser,"I'll see you back at the precinct."
He looked out the window at me, grinning that evil grin.
He drove away, leaving me alone with Pulaski.... his dream, he finally had me in his power.
I'd fucked up. Fucked up big time.
As I dug, he bragged.
He'd been waiting for this since I'd come back to Santos, the pig bastard enjoying toying with me, teasing me, winding himself up for the kill, the satisfaction of putting one into the back of my head.
"-ow you're the fuck who wrecked our Fierro connection," he was saying,"Who the fuck else could it have been? You show up in Fierro, suddenly the Loco Syndicate is gone, the Rifa's drug lab gets blown up and we're left without drugs to feed the junkies lining our pockets."
"Congratulations, motherfucker, you want a fucking gold star?" I muttered, digging and thinking, thinking about the weapons I'd stashed around Las Brujas anticipating a fight. Stupid, stupid stupid! Thinking this would be like a movie, the big climax fight scene, me and Hernandez running from shack to shack trading fire with Tenpenny and Pulaski, taking them out, Hernandez getting to be the hero cop and me getting to go on with my life free, Sweet being released and coming to live with us in Fierro.
"You think we didn't know what you were doing? We've been doing this for YEARS, you stupid nigger," he laughed.
"Now what would Frank say if you heard you say that, Eddie?" I grinned, and he smacked me across the back of the head with his Desert Eagle.
"Officers Tenpenny and Pulaski to you, you piece of shit," he shouted, and I could swear he almost had a hard-on having me trapped like this,"You pay respect to this badge."
Hypocritical son of a bitch.
"Like I was saying," he continued,"We knew what you were doing, cutting off the supply so the junkies would go crazy for a fix and C.R.A.S.H would look bad for not maintaining the peace. You moron, we just started up our own lab in Santos. Cost us alot of money, and Smoke's boys are still learning how to make the stuff as good as the junkies are used to, but in a month, two months tops they won't know the difference. Yeah, your fat fuck of a friend, HE'S the smart one, Caaarl, not you."
"Two months is a long time, man," I grunted, hauling out more dirt as I dug down, wondering if I'd just seen Hernandez's eyes twitch.
"We got that covered too, asshole," he bragged,"Why do you think we've been out this way, just to see you? No, Frank's been in contact with some assholes he ran out of town years ago, guys who paid good money not to get sent to jail. Tonight there's going to be a little mini crime-spree in Los Santos, we got twenty guys coming in through Los Florres to go crazy all the way down to Rodeo, a little miniature riot , guns, shooting, vandalism, enough to freak out the "nice" people and get them calling for the police to do something. The Mayor will crack down on the Chief and the Chief will crack down on the streets, and for the next month at least there'll be more cops on the street, till the "nice" people get a new hair up their ass and forget about the big bad criminals."
"So you get a bunch of extra cops on the streets keeping the junkies from going crazy," I grunted, having to admit it was a good idea,"Just long enough for you to start fucking them over with fresh drugs?"
"Yeah, which means the crime rate will go down and the streets will be quiet again, and the Mayor and the Chief can take the credit, and we keep on the way we always have," smirked Pulaski,"We've been at this alot longer than you, Carl, we've been at it since before your brother fucked with us with that heist of his, and this has been a long time coming.... awright, that's good - that's deep enough for two."
I laid the spade down beside the grave and turned, looking at Eddie, not at Hernandez who was slowly lifting his head up, a dazed look on his face but at least being smart enough to keep his mouth shut. I had to keep Pulaski distracted just a little bit longer.
I climbed on up out of the grave and he took a step back closer to Hernandez, who was struggling to a crouch.
"You're the next one he's gonna silence, man," I told him, and part of it was true. They plan wasn't bad, but they was thinking that the FBI and the DEA was just going to go away. Maybe Tenpenny thought it could be done, but he was smart, he had to know there was a good chance it wouldn't work. So take out Hernandez, take out me, take out Sweet, probably take out Smoke and then, yeah, take out Pulaski too.
"Shut the fuck up, scum!" he yelled, and I wondered if sometimes he thought the same thing, that Tenpenny was gonna ice him,"And it's Officer Pulaski to you!"
We stood side by side, surprised, staring at Hernandez' body in the grave I'd just dug.
"Shit, I didn't even pull the tri-" Pulaski started, and then he whirled towards me, lifting the gun and... I punched him in the face. Hard.
Oh God it felt good.
He stumbled back, the Desert Eagle dropping to the ground, and looked up at me with surprise.
"You had this coming for a long time, you pig motherfucker," I said, raising my fists.
"You think I'm scared of you, you spade bastard?" he shouted, lifting his own.
I took a step forward, ready to quite literally beat him to death, and he.... turned and ran, ran as fast as his fat ass could go.
"YOU CHICKENSHIT MOTHERFUCKER!" I yelled, grabbing up the Desert Eagle as he jumped into the car Tenpenny had driven there. I lifted it and aimed, fired and hit my target square on. But it wasn't Pulaski I'd been aiming at, it was the tire of his car. He'd already made it inside the car by the time I'd shot, and I saw him duck down, then hit the accelerator and peel out of there. I spared a quick glance at Hernandez's body, then rushed around the back of one of the shacks and into the shed there, jumping into the Bandito stashed back there, one of Toreno's stashes. I grabbed the SMG from the seat beside me and checked my other insurance policy was still there, then blasted out of the shed and out of Las Brujas after Pulaski.
If I hadn't blown out the tire, he'd have been well clear of me, but the moment he'd hit the first hill he'd gone spinning out of control. By the time he'd regained his heading, I was almost on him, close enough to scream at him as I gripped my SMG and looked for a clear shot.
"HEY EDDIE!" I yelled, mocking him,"YOU KNOW TENPENNY GONNA RUB YOU OUT TOO!"
"CARL!" he screamed back, mocking me right back,"YOU GOT IT ALL WRONG, PAL! TENPENNY WAS THE ONE SAVING YOUR ASS! EVERY TIME I WANTED TO GET RID OF YOU HE'D FIND SOME EXCUSE TO KEEP YOU ALIVE!"
I tried to pull in front of him but he swerved, and with his blown out tire he spun right around and I had to spin the Bandito around as well to keep after him as he tried pulling away back the way he'd come.
"WELL NOW IT'S UP TO ME, AND I AIN'T SUCH A SOFT FUCKING TOUCH!" he yelled at me, ducking as I fired and missed his car, the tire that was letting me keep up with him keeping me from getting a clear shot. Pulaski seemed to sense I couldn't pin him down, and the pig asshole was actually getting cocky,"SO HOW'S YOUR SISTER!?!"
My sis.... Kendl?
"I ALWAYS HAD A THING FOR HER!" he laughed, the racist fuck with a thing for ebony ladies. He pulled up into the road proper, and I was right behind him.
"MAN, DOES SHE PUT OUT LIKE A PRO!" he yelled back at me, laughing, cocky, making me so angry I could barely hold the gun straight, I just wanted to kill him so badly, so fucking badly I hated him so MUCH!
"SCREW YOU PULASKI!" I yelled,"I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO, AND YOU AIN'T GONNA CRAWL INSIDE MY HEAD!"
"IT'S THE BEST STAKE-OUT I EVER DONE!" he laughed, then suddenly changed, going from verbal hits to the gut to a low blow,"CARL, YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN YOUR MOMS BEFORE SHE WAS BURIED. SHE WAS A REAL MESS - MOST HER FACE WAS HANGING OFF! THE BOYS, YOU KNOW THEY FOOLED AROUND WITH HER AT THE SCENE, YOU KNOW... TOUCHING HER, JOKING AROUND AND SHIT!"
"FUCK YOU, PULASKI!" I screamed,"FUCK YOU!"
And just like that I snapped. So far past rage that I went from hot to ice-cold, and instead of thinking, my body just took over and did what needed to be done.
I stepped out of the Bandito and walked towards him, lying in a pool of his own blood, sitting against the car, the engine fire dying down, Pulaski staring up at me knowing that this was it, this was the end.
"Not feeling so fucking full of yourself now, huh?" I asked.
"Yeah, well... them's the breaks..." he wheezed,"Fuck...."
"Any last requests?" I asked, my voice cold. I wasn't enjoying this, not like I thought I would, I just wanted this asshole off the planet, dead and gone, never to fuck with anyone ever again. But what he said fired me up one last time.
Finally, when my leg got tired and all that was left beneath it was a bloody battered mess of red pulp in a dark uniform, I stopped. I bent over and pressed my hands to my knees, sucking in air. I didn't feel liberated, didn't feel vindicated, just grateful, grateful that Pulaski was finally dead... and that it was by my hands.
I loaded his body up into the trunk of the car, stripping it of the uniform first and any ID, then sent the car over the side of the road and tumbling down the rocks, the guttering engine fire catching up again. Within a couple of minutes it was blazing, the gas tank exploding, and I turned and walked wearily to the Bandito and drove back to Las Brujas, where I had work to do.
It wasn't much, but I buried Hernandez there in Las Brujas, stripping his uniform and but leaving his badge in there with him. I said a few mumbled words over the grave, wishing I'd known him better, known him well enough to say something nice.
"You saved my life," I said, to finish,"Twice. Yo words to Cesar, and just now when you attacked Pulaski. I'm sorry I couldn't save you, man..... thank you."
I walked away from the grave back to the Bandito, and looked at my insurance policy, what I'd planned to use if everything went horribly wrong.... which it had. I picked up the evidence dossier against Tenpenny, the REAL evidence dossier, not the copy I'd had Woozie's boys put together for me, and thought about what Pulaski had told me while I was digging the grave, about they plans to keep they grip on Santos.
"No, fuck you Tenpenny," I said, gripping the dossier tight,"It's over. It ends tonight."
It fucking ends tonight!
Tenpenny woke up suddenly, his body not moving but eyes wide, fully awake.
Something was wrong.
He could see the alarm clock from where he lay, it was 7 in the morning, he was sleeping in this morning, he wasn't scheduled back on duty for a couple of days, but he always woke early.
Something was wrong.
Slowly, carefully he turned his head and surveyed the room, then carefully sat up and swung his legs out of the bed and placed them down carefully on the hardwood floors. Lifting his weight off of the bed to avoid a creak, he wondered what it was, what had triggered his survival instinct, that had saved him so many times in the past... like that time in the motel room when Sweet Johnson and his boys had broken in an.... he shook his head clear, no time for memory lane, something was wrong.
Uneasily he wondered about the other Johnson, CJ. He'd known after sending him after the FBI Agent that something had changed, and the biggest sign had been that there'd been no change. If CJ had gotten smart enough to mask what he was truly thinking and feeling, that made him dangerous.
But Pulaski had dealt to him last night, surely, even that Polack fuck couldn't have fucked this one up, he'd left him with a gun trained on CJ and Hernandez as good as dead, and for all Pulaski's faults, not being able to kill people wasn't one of them. So why did he have this strange feeling that everything was fucked up? He'd gotten drunk and laid as promised, and stashed the evidence dossier away in a safe place to review and destroy later. But what should have been the first day of the rest of his life was feeling decidedly bleak.
Lifting his service piece up in his right arm, he reached towards the knob of his bedroom door with the left an-
The door burst open and he was being barreled into the bed, flashlights shining in his face, men in black screaming at him to stay down stay down shut up shut the fuck up stay down stay down.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!?!" he managed to yell as his face was pressed into the mattress and handcuffs were slapped onto his wrists,"I'M A POLICE OFFICER! I'M A POLI-"
He was hauled to his feet, staring around in a daze, his weapon taken from him, standing naked except for boxers with his hands cuffed, surrounded by a dozen SWAT Officers in full gear with their rifles all trained on him. And then walking through the door, a crumpled looking Detective he knew by reputation.... a Homicide Dick.
What the fuck was going on?
"Officer Frank Tenpenny," the Detective - Lombardi, Joe Lombardi, Tenpenny suddenly remembered - said,"You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?"
"I know Miranda," shouted Tenpenny, struggling in the grip of the SWAT Officers,"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?!"
"Officer Tenpenny," Lombardi said, looking irritated,"Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?"
"YES!" he shouted back,"NOW WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ALL ABOUT!?! IS THIS A FUCKING JOKE!? DO YOU KNOW WH-"
"Officer Frank Tenpenny," Lombardi interupted,"I am placing you under arrest."
"Unde... under arrest!?!" spat Tenpenny, actually laughing,"What for!?!"
"On 20 counts of Homicide, for one," snapped Lombardi as he turned and walked away, the SWAT Officers dragging Tenpenny along after him,"And numerous acts of vandalism, property destruction, conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit criminal acts and creating a risk to the safety of the public."
"Wha... wh.... wha..." was all Tenpenny could manage, then turned to look at one of the SWAT Team members,"Is this a joke?"
"Hey, sorry man," shrugged the SWAT member,"Had my way I'd give you a medal, those guys you iced were all criminal assholes, trying to shoot up the city like that.... but the law's the law, man."
Tenpenny's eyes grew wide. He'd been wrong. Something wasn't wrong.
Something was very, very, very wrong.