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Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-15-2009 03:31

New York - 1931

I was framed. I did not kill her, but who would've believed me?

Life was getting grimmer as citizens felt the real pinch from the great stock market crash two years ago. My private investigation business was losing a load of clients. Most of them had gone bankrupt, or worse, jumped off the Chrysler Building. Mrs. Gatsby was a loyal client. My only mistake was becoming too intimate with her.

That day, I received a note from her, asking me to meet her in the VIP room of the Astor Theatre. The room was dark when I got there; I thought she was playing naughty. Before I knew it, I was hit from the back, and woke up to find blood all over me with a knife in my hand. Mrs. Gatsby was laying two feet from me, stabbed to death.

I heard the police whistle nearby, and I instinctively ran. Two officers saw me and chased me down three blocks before I loose them. I quickly returned to my office, washed off the blood and changed. I took what was necessary, including my revolver, and composed perhaps my last letter on my prized Remington typewriter. I made some carbon copies, and send the letters to my detective friends before I went into hiding.

They were my final hope.

((Note: I posted this beginning at Shades of Mystery, but I thought it'd be nice to see where it leads in Noir. Hope you'll enjoy it. Feel free to improvise! ))


Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-18-2009 09:47

It was just then when it suddenly stroke me: if we were here to pick up a truck, we also should’ve been given cash to pay for it, but…I didn’t remember Paulie ever mentioning something like this, nor seeing a different envelope on him.

“Oh yeah…” Paulie replied “…we have it all right…HERE!”

With this he raised back up his Tommy and started bursting a continuous round. The men were caught with…their pants down, so to say. They all felt one by one under the heavy fire, including ‘Crazy’ Frankie.

I froze. Couldn’t believe my eyes.

Upon emptying the machine gun, Paulie reloaded and then started checking on all the corpses. He shot another short burst in each one. Just as he was about to head towards the last one, I noticed the goon getting up and taking aim. I just reacted then, filling his chest with slugs.

Paulie turned startled towards him, then looked at me.

“I guess I owe ya’ one, Joey.” He stepped towards the goon and shot another round into him just to make sure.

I finally managed to get my thoughts together and I exploded.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Paulie!?! What was this? He you gone suddenly insane?”

He slowly pulled a deep breath in his chest, then lit himself a large cigar.

“Don’t sweat it, Bane. ‘This’…was the job…” He smiled.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-19-2009 10:05

It took me a couple of minutes to gather my thoughts together and understand what he was saying.

Apparently Peretti had a grudge on Frankie, about a broad the ‘Crazy’ stole from him. He wanted him dead thus and also he wanted a message sent to anyone who would consider producing booze anywhere in his neighborhood. He had his own distilleries and wanted full coverage of New York. We were not sent here to pay these guys, but just waste them and bring the merchandize in.

“Have you gone nuts, Paulie? Since when are we the mob’s hit men? Running shipments for them is fine, stealing for them…well, that’s fine too, but KILLING for them? You do realize that if someone’s gotta go down for this it’ll be us, now don’t you?”

“Keep it down, Bane. Paulie’s got an idea.” He smiled. His face and voice told me I haven’t seen the end of all this situation. When Paulie spoke about himself using third person, it usually meant he had been thinking and came to the conclusion that he discovered something smart.

“Let’s hear it, then” I replied thus, looking at him conspicuously.

“Well…the mob knows that the Triads are in town, right?”


“And…we have one of them dead outside, right?”

“Right…” I didn’t like where his reason was going.

“And…no one knows what went down here, right?”

“I do hope you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, mate…”

“What if…we take the truck and blame it on the Triads? We can present the dead one as being left behind at the scene. I know some guys in Cleveland that will pay us good money for the booze.”

“Well now…Paulie…I do admire that you grew a brain, but…YOU’RE USING IT IN THE WRONG WAY!!!”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-19-2009 10:06

“You realize you’re talking about stealing from the mob itself, Paulie? You know what that’ll bring us, mate? A bullet in the head!”

“Stop acting like a crazy broad, Joey! No guts, no glory, mate. That’s all there is to it. They’ll never let us in the ‘family’, I know it. They’ll only feed us crumbs from time to time just as they always did. This is exactly what we needed, Bane: a brake, a chance to make some real dough and maybe put it to hood purpose.”

“Good money, Paulie? Have you gone insane? How much you think a truck of booze is worth? You’ll bust them up all in a week.”

He took a brake and then spoke clearly and heavy.

“Listen Bane…I’m doing this whether you like it or not. If you don’t wanna be part of it, it’s fine. Just don’t get in my way.”

I had no choice. I was part of it already as the mob knew I was there with him. Thus I decided to play it his way and think about it later.

We loaded the bodies in the truck so Paulie can ditch them on the way. All but the Triads guy. That one we put inside the trunk, as prove of our stupid story.

I watched Paulie driving the truck out through the gate and to a ‘safe location’. Damn bastard wouldn’t even tell me where he was going or who he dealt with. I wasn’t sure though I wanted to know anyway. We were supposed to meet back in 1 hour in a location close down to Peretti’s parlor, so then we both would go in with the story.

I smoke a cigarette after he left and then decided to move out. It wasn’t such a great idea driving around the city with a broken windshield and body in the trunk, so I wanted to do it while it was still dark.

Just as I was about to get in the car, something attracted my attention: a light was on somewhere into the warehouse next to ours. I figured that I had to make sure no one saw us and thus I grabbed my Tommy and went there.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-19-2009 10:07

Upon a silent sneak around some crates I finally found the room with the light on. It was an empty office in a deserted building and yet it looked like someone had been staying there. The light came from a candle that was lighting what seemed to be a bed made from a mattress thrown over a few crates. There was a bag near a table and that was all.

I picked it up and looked inside: some clothes, shaving tools, a knife and…2 maps with Japanese writing on them.

“Hmmm…this must’ve been the layer of that Triad guy we wasted” I mumbled bringing up the candle to study the maps closer.

The first one was showing a path through some of the city’s main streets. 4 points were marked on a side. It looked like…

“Hell…these guys are planning an assassination!”

I studied the dots on the map and noticed one of them was close to my location. I realized that probably there were more than 1 assassin and they were all camped nearby their shooting point. Since one of them was obviously dead, it meant there were 3 left. I realized then that the man whose picture we found must be the target. I threw another look at it but it didn’t ring any bells.

“I guess I’ll have to see about this…It ain’t none of my business anyway” I mumbled.

I put that map aside and pulled the other one on top. There were another 3 markers on it, but this time they were just some unimportant locations. I didn’t understand what they were meaning and also there was no path drawn.

Just as I was about to get up and leave, it suddenly stroke me: “The parlour!”

I opened up the map again and took another look at it. Indeed one of the marked locations was Peretti’s parlor. The other 2 were also places from where the mob was running their business.

“To hell..” I mumbled “…it was true! The Triads ARE moving on us.”

I stopped and thought about this for a minute. This information may just be the break I needed to get out with a clean face from Paulie’s mess.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-19-2009 10:07

I grabbed the maps, got in the car and hurried down towards the betting parlor.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-20-2009 14:24

*00:00hr - Peretti’s betting parlor*

The streets were not so crowded at that time of the day, so I arrived fast to the parlor. I served both stories to Peretti and I showed him the body and the maps. I told him Paulie was away, ditching the bodies ‘just in case’.

Peretti threw me a distrustful look about the truck’s disappearance, but then he focused on the maps. He realized the threat was close and real so he decided to act fast.

“Hey, Boscorelli, gather up some guys and search these places. But do NOT make a single move on them! Just see if they are there and inform me.”

The skinny guy mumbled a ‘yes boss’ and took off. Peretti then turned his attention towards me.

“Don’t go away, Bane. We might need you. If what you said proves to be true, I wanna whack these guys no later than tonight and I’m gonna need firepower.”

I nodded and then went inside the parlor, joining a game of cards with some strange fellows.

About half an hour later a goon came down and told me to go to Peretti. Stepping in his office I noticed he had already assembled 4 teams of 3 - 4 men.

“There’s something strange here…” I mumbled. “If I remember well there were only 4 spots drawn on tat map and one of them was cleaned by me and Paulie.”

Peretti’s voice cut then my chain of thoughts.

“You’re going with them, Bane.” He pointed towards 2 goons wearing faces that brought nothing good. “I want to have at least one of these guys alive for questioning his arse, you hear me?”

Everyone nodded and a short moment of silence followed. Peretti looked around at us all as his face took an astonished expression and suddenly he barked like a mad dog: “Why are you all still here!?! MOVE IT!”

And with this off we went.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-20-2009 14:25

*00:45 - New York - Mill Basin - abandoned church*

One of the hit men was found to be hiding in an obsolete abandoned church. We entered a side door and split to look for him. I kept a sawn off shotgun tight into my hands, ready for action.

After a few minutes of silently and thoroughly searching every room I finally found him…sitting on the toilet!

I don’t know which of us was more astonished by the situation, but that did not stop me from emptying my gun into his chest. Blood splattered on the walls as he fell lifeless on his back.

I quickly pulled out a small revolver I was carrying around and threw it at his feet. Right the next moment the 2 goons appeared, probably startled by the shooting.

“Why did you kill him, Bane? The boss said to take him alive!”

“If possible…” I said, correcting him. “I had no choice” I added and pointed down to the pistol. “he pulled a gun on me. I had to shoot.”

“Well…if he’s dead, he’s dead” the goon concluded. “Just wrap him up and bring him to the car.” With this they left to gather up whatever they could find as being his belongings.

I took a look at the dead guy, just lying there on his back with his pants down. It wasn’t a beautiful death and nor an honorable one, but it was better than being tortured and in the end nevertheless still killed. The mob shows no kind of mercy to those who mess around with it. I considered that I did this guy a favor.

I finally wrapped him up in an old blanket I found around and put him in the trunk. We left then in a hurry.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-20-2009 15:19

*01:10hr - back at the betting parlor*

Upon arriving back down at the parlor, I noticed that 2 other teams had already returned. One of them also brought with it a dead Japanese body. The other one…I didn’t know, but noticing they were still talking about a 3rd assassin, I realized this team was the 4th one that I was wondering about.

After a couple of more minutes a goon from the last team entered the door.

“We didn’t get him…” he announced wheezing. “He killed Tommy and Frank and got away.”

“DAMN!” barked Peretti. “Can’t you do anything right for a change?” He tilted his head shortly to a big guy in a corner about whom I knew he was one of his trusted bodyguards. The man just nodded shortly and took off, probably going to finish the job.

Peretti’s eyes then turned to me, quite cold.

“It’s good you came back, Bane. Come with me. Paulie’s here.”

A cold chill then went up my spine. I followed him down to the basement, noticing 2 goons coming right behind.

Upon entering through the door I realized my situation. Paulie was indeed there…tied up face up onto a pool table and beaten to a pulp. His face was beyond recognition, he had cuts all over his body, a foot was fixed into a vise and crashed and one eye was popped out, hanging. He was still breathing though…and moaning.

I tried to turn around and run, but the 2 goons grabbed my hands fast and sat me on a chair. I thought I had just a few seconds of my life…hopefully…considering Paulie’s condition.

As one of the goons held me tight, the other one dragged on a table and placed it before me. He grabbed then my left arm and spread it on the table, leaning his weight on it. Right then Peretti turned around with an animal’s look into his eyes and holding a short sword into his hand.

With no more words he stuck it right into my hand, nailing it on the table. I growled in pain...

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-20-2009 15:20

He took a step back after that, raised one had to his forehead thinking and started speaking in a calmer voice.

“You see, Bane…we don’t take it easy on anyone who steals from us. I always thought you were smarter than that…considering you never wanted to be too involved. But…I guess I was wrong.”

He took a small break here checking my reaction. I felt nothing I could say would make any difference, so I decided to stay silent.

He seemed to be in a way satisfied, probably by the fact that I did not attempt to find an excuse, so he continued.

“Now…you put me in a tricky situation here. You tried to steal form me, so I should just put you to sleep. But on the other hand you brought me information that maybe saved my life. So…considering you ‘good friend’ Paulie here told us that what you did was his idea, I’m willing to give you a chance.”

I knew I wasn’t gonna like this.

“I’ll let you walk out of here alive if…” with this Peretti turned to Paulie “…’if’ YOU kill HIM. Take it or leave it.”

He made a short sign with his hand and both the goons let go of me. I looked at him and then I looked at Paulie. There wasn’t much life left in him.

I grabbed the handle of the sword and pulled it out with yet another growl of pain. Blood started flowing hard out of my hand, but that was my last worry at the moment. I took a few steps towards Paulie and looked into his eyes…oh well…his ‘eye’.

“I’m sorry, Bane…I’m sorry…” he mumbled towards me. “Just do it, friend…I’m dead meat anyway…”

He wasn’t far from the truth. Even if the goons wouldn’t finish him, there was no way he could survive with all the wounds.

I closed my eyes and just emptied my mind. With a swift move I raised the sword and stuck it right into his heart. In a few seconds he took his last breath.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Mar-20-2009 15:21

I turned my eyes away from him and dropped the sword down on the floor.

“There. It’s done” I mumbled slowly.

Peretti made another short sign with his hand and the goons cleared the way to the door. I stepped towards it in a hurry, hoping he wasn’t gonna change his mind.

Before I made my exit I looked back.

“I assume now we’re even…” I said looking towards Peretti.

“You assume wrong” he answered. “You still owe me your life, Bane…and one day I may need to collect on that favor.”

At this I just nodded and left.

I heard Peretti’s voice as I was heading out: “Clean up this mess, guys…and find me Zeo. I think I found something in one of the dead men’s possession that may help him clear the mess he’s in…”

Upon reaching my house I decided it was a good idea to take a small vacation…a couple of weeks away, until the waters would settle down a bit. I gathered a few things and headed out of the city.

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