"Wanna hear a joke?"
"Aw, come on! Just one?"
Jack drew his gun and trained it on the annoying man on the barstool next
to his. "I said NO, dammit!" His piercing sapphire eyes flashed with anger.
At six foot four, even sitting down he was quite an imposing figure.
"Okay, okay!" The man, who went by the nom de plume Simon, backed slowly
away from the gun Jack held and hopped off the stool.
Jack holstered his gun and resumed idly staring into the distance and
stirring his Manhattan sullenly. He could not believe he had made such a
fool out of himself! As a regular at the bars around town, he was no
stranger to beautiful women. But NEVER had he acted as stupidly as he had
at the police station. Not only that, but this would be the first job he
had ever failed to complete...and this had been a beginner's job! The Don
wasn't gonna be happy about this.
Jack sighed once more, then stood up and stretched. It was time to
face the music.
As expected, the current 'godfather' wasn't exactly pleased by the
failed assignment. In fact, you might say he was quite put out. Actually,
a better way to describe his reaction would be pissed off.
"You fucking idiot! What the hell did you think the papers were gonna
do, jump out and bite ya?!" the man known simply as "the Don" screamed.
"Yeah, well, they surprised me!" Jack mumbled back.
"Quit mumbling! Look, Jack, I love you like a son- we're all family
here in the Windy City. But as family, we all have to do our part. Our
jobs. It's what keeps us together. AND YOU SURE AS HELL AREN'T DOING YOUR
PART!" the Don yelled suddenly, and Jack snapped to attention. "Now I want
you to get those papers, and get them soon! Do I make myself clear?" the
Don was seething. Jack thought it best not to speak, so he nodded mutely.
The Don visibly calmed down and sat in his chair. Despite his name and
position, he did not look like the typical Don. Or the typical godfather
for that matter, although his temper matched the title perfectly. He was
only five foot five, but stood straight and proud. He was completely bald,
but not from age; he was only thirty-two. Multiple piercings lined his ears
and eyebrows, and tattoos were visible up and down his body. He was
ruthless and smart- a deadly combination. He looked Jack up and down, then
spoke softly. "Jack...you need a nickname."
This was definitely not what Jack was expecting. But it was typical of the
Don; when he had no more to say on a subject, he changed it. Jack decided
to go with the flow on this one. "Oh really, what do you suggest?" He asked
The Don squinted at him from his armchair, obviously trying to make Jack
nervous. It didn't work; Jack ignored him. The Don suddenly laughed. "Oh
Jack, I have no idea, but you need one soon. You are going to go down in
Jack looked at him curiously. He had just failed an assignment. What made
the Don think he was going to go down in history? Jack shook his head as if
to clear it. Something strange was going on, something that everyone seemed
to know about- except him. Standing up, Jack tossed a quick goodbye over
his shoulder and strode from the room. The Don watched him leave with a
small smile on his lips. That boy would be good...very good...if only he
wasn't so arrogant.
Jack walked briskly to his apartment, head down. It was time to move. He
entered and grabbed his suitcase, left a couple hundred dollars on the
kitchen counter- the way he always paid- and went back outside. He slowly
wandered around Chicago, looking at nothing, but always keeping his back
covered. An hour later, he arrived at a new apartment, nicer than he
normally used, and picked the lock to the door. So it was illegal- what
else was new? He set his suitcase in the closet and left again to eat
Unbeknownst to Jack, Sarah Crespo, the policewoman from earlier, watched
him leave from the doorway of the next apartment. She thought it strange
that he didn't lock the door; had no key. Quietly, she opened the door to
the room he had vacated. She looked around in surprise. There were no
boxes, no furniture, nothing. She explored the three-room apartment
cautiously. Finally, she got to the bedroom. In the closet was a suitcase.
She looked at it for a moment, deciding. This was illegal, this was
illegal...but she wanted to know more. Curiosity won out over conscience,
and she crept carefully to the bag and unzipped the zipper.
Meanwhile, Jack had reached the street before realizing that he had left
his wallet in his suitcase. Sighing, he turned slowly and trudged back up
Sarah heard footsteps on the stairs and quickly rezipped the zipper. She
had only peeked inside, but what she saw made her breath catch in her
throat- guns. Lots of them. And most likely unlicensed. With nowhere to go,
she jumped up and back into the corner of the closet, holding her breath.
Jack muttered to himself as he walked to the door. He stopped short when he
saw that it was ajar. Cautiously, he opened it and looked inside. There was
nothing to suggest that anyone was here; most people would have
rationalized that the door just didn't close all the way. But Jack wasn't
like other people. He didn't rationalize. He immediately noticed the
carpet. Or, more specifically, the places where the thick carpet was
flattened down, as if by a bare foot. He followed the tracks around the
apartment, and stopped when he reached the closet. With one hand he reached
for his gun, and with the other he threw open the door.
Sarah gasped in surprise as she stared at the muzzle of Jack's gun. She
looked up at him with wide eyes and stared at him as he spoke.
"What the hell are you doing in my apartment?" his voice was calm, as if
threatening to shoot people was a normal occurrence. Sarah grimaced;
evidence was beginning to show that it was.
"It isn't your apartment," Sarah answered instead, just as calmly.
"Oh really, and how do you figure that?" though his voice was emotionless,
Jack's heart was pounding. If she knew what he thought she knew, he'd have
to kill her. And he really didn't want to do that.
Sarah looked at him sardonically. "Uhh, let's see...for starters, how about
because you picked the lock to get in? You have no furniture, no boxes, no
damn clothing, and a bag full of illegal guns."
Yup, she knew what he thought she knew. Silently, he lowered the gun, and
pulled a silencer from his pocket. As he assembled it, he spoke.
"Yes, you are good. No offense, but I didn't really think you were smart
enough to figure it out." It was always good to devalue a victim before the
kill; it made it easier on your conscience. "Now you know too much. I am
really sorry about this." Jack looked up after his little speech and aimed
the gun at her heart. She looked at him in shock and astonishment. She
opened her mouth to speak, and it was almost Jack's undoing. He tightened
his grip on the gun- and his resolve- until Sarah said softly, "Please."
Now Jack had shot many people, and many of them said please. Usually
followed by "don't kill me" or "don't shoot" or "gurgle, gurgle, gurgle".
But none of the victims said please in the way Sarah did. She looked at him
with those big green eyes, and Jack couldn't help himself. He lowered the
Seeing that she was making progress, Sarah said "Please- what is your
Years of aristocratic training took over. Unaware of what he was doing,
Jack answered "Jack Finnegan. And you?"
"Sarah Crespo. Please, Mr. Finnegan-"
"Call me Jack."
"Call me Sarah."
They smiled at each other. Then Jack realized what he was doing- talking to
the woman he was about to kill! He quickly stopped smiling and looked at
her coolly. "Yes?"
Sarah gulped. What was she going to say? This- Jack- didn't look insane or
anything. In fact, he seemed to actually have a heart. He also looked
incredibly smart. She knew asking questions would be futile. Instead she
said, "Jack, please let me go. I won't tell anyone about the guns, or the
forced entry to the apartment, or anything."
Jack knew, deep inside, that she was lying. But he didn't care. All he
wanted was to not have to kill her. Slowly, without answering, he took off
all his weapons and began packing them in the suitcase. Sarah watched him
nervously. Finally, he stood up. He had thought it through, all his
options, and knew it was pretty much hopeless. Sarah knew his real name,
what he looked like, and she was a police officer. She had enough
information that the fact she didn't know his occupation didn't really
matter. She had sufficient evidence that would hold up in a court of law.
Basically, Jack had two choices- he could kill her, or essentially turn