"Cut!" The director screamed. He ran onto the movie set and stared at the lost man in a tacky detective costume. The director was a head shorter than most actors, but his stare was fierce. "I told you for God knows how many times, read your script as it is WRITTEN!"
"But real detectives don't say things like 'What were you doing at the time of the murder.' It's a straight give away to the suspect that a murder had taken place!" The poor man defended.
"God damn it, who cares what you say as long as it's a talkie film. A MOVIE!" The director slapped his script on the prop table. He turned to his crew, "Who hired this genius?"
The crew was stone silent. The cameramen wiped their bulky equipment fervently like their life depended on it. The lighting crew looked at their silver lamps as if they saw it for the first time. The soundman listened to his playback looking for noises that didn’t exist.
A young man in a plaid sweater put up his shaking hand, "but sir, you said you wanted an authentic guy to play the part, so I got you a real detective."
"I said I wanted an authentic LOOKING guy, Martin! Not the real deal. This is show biz, use your brain, if you're not SITTING on it!!" The stumpy director bellowed.
A voice light as chimes cut through the quarrel. "Boys, if you don't mind, I'll just go powder my nose." The lead actress with white blonde hair and the figure of an hourglass floated back into her dressing room.
"Yes of course, certainly my darling." The director cooed. He then turned coldly to Martin and the detective. "We'll take a 15 minutes break for you two to sort this out."
"Break! 15 minutes!" Martin announced, he then turned apologetically to his friend, "I'm so sorry, detective Zeo. I know most of this doesn't make sense, but can you please stick to your lines?"
Joseph Zeo looked at his shiny detective costume and gave a weak smile, "I dig what you mean," he sighed, "and you know I wouldn't have taken the job if I wasn't low on dough.
Marc had never felt more embarrassed in his life. He offered to protect this girl with his life. But the one second he turned his back, BOOM! He screwed up. Resulting in them both being nearly killed. It was a humiliation, he hoped that no one would bring back to him.
He wanted to hold his head down in shame, but he couldn't. It would be unprofessional. He knew he would need to learn from this. He lived by that saying, "we learn from our mistakes".
As Marc watched Simone say her lines during the filming, he found himself in deep thought. There was something about her. Something different...she was hiding something and he knew it. But what was it? It was obvious she had a dark secret.
Maybe he made the mistake of taking her to that hotel run by The Order of Socrates. But then again, maybe not. Maybe they had been followed. It had to be someone inside the set. It had to be! Marc was sure of it! If it had been Genovese ordering a hit, he would have sent five or six people to carry out the deed. Not just one.
Marc reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his pipe and favorite tobacco. He lit it.
"No smoking on the set, pal," Someone yelled to him. Marc quickly cut the man a look; a look designed to inflict intimidation. Marc was pissed off as it was. "Get over it," Marc replied calmly and began puffing on his pipe.
The filming went on for hours with Zeo coming on and off the set getting ready for the next scene.
"And cut! Take a 20 minute break, then get your asses back into place!" The director yelled.
With out a word Simone walked to her dressing room, where Marc followed her, now puffing on his fifth pipe of the day. People often asked him what it that pipe was for and he replied that it relaxed him. And that was exactly what he told Simone when she asked.
Marc had been sitting down for no more than two minutes when the door opened up. Instinct took over. Marc jumped up pulling out both pistols and aimed them at the figure in the door way.
"Whoa there, Marc. It's me," the figure said.
Then they walked in the door and began to speak.
***The Next Morning***
Vulkie woke up and made some breakfast and read the newspaper. She was busy doing the crosswords, when the phone began to rang. As Vulkie walked to the phone, she couldn't help, but feel a chill going over her spine.
"Creepy..." Vulkie murmered and she picked the phone up. "Detective Vulkie here.." she said, as usual.
"Vulkie, it's me, Joseph. Do you have a pen and a piece of paper around? I have an address for you and you need to check it out. You'll need to find some photo's that Simone's brother, Johnny, made. I'll tell you the story soon, I promise. In the meantime, go to Johnny's place (1658 Rancine Street) and check it out..." Joseph said.
"Ok Joseph. I'll go check it out right away. Where do we meet?" Vulkie asked.
"At my office. I'm having a shooting for the movie today, so I won't be there until sunset has passed..." Joseph replied.
"That's fine. Got to go now. Say hi to "Salazar" for me. But keep it "short", ok?" Vulkie said to Joseph and a grin immediately showed on her face.
"That'll show him" Vulkie thought and she hung up the phone.
***1658 Rancine Street***
It had been less then 3 years since Vulkie visited Rancine Street. The place she always remembered as "Richard Cambridge's" turf... (see Frame-Up for info).
"I don't want to.... kill.... Richard Cambridge... Leon...." the voice of Sergei Kobetz echoed in Vulkie's head.
"Get over it!" Vulkie murmered and she snapped out of her trance.
As she entered the door, she saw that the door was forced open already. She took her .38 Colt out from her dad and went inside the building...
As Vulkie slowly pushed the door open, the door creaked. "There goes my cover..." Vulkie thought and continued down the hallway.
Vulkie had 2 options. She could either go upstairs and look for the photo's there, or make sure that the ground level of the house was secured. She chose the second one.
As she entered the living room, everything was teared apart. Books lay scattered everywhere, the sofa that once stood near the window was upside down, the cushions teared to shreds.
"Nothing here" Vulkie murmered and she continued to the kitchen. As she carefully tried the door knob, she noticed that it was locked. "Gonna check that out later..." Vulkie murmered and she went back to the hallway.
"Ground level secured, now the upper floor.." Vulkie said under her breath and she carefully went up the stairs.
At every step she set, a small creak could be heard. The main bedroom door was open. As Vulkie waited at the wall, and took a quick look inside, she noticed that a figure was standing over the bed, having something in his hands...
"Here goes nothing..." Vulkie thought and she immediately jumped into the bedroom.
"If I were you, I would drop those!" Vulkie shouted. The figure turned around and Vulkie had a quick glance at the figure. The figure was masked, but that was all she could see for a few seconds. The figure immediately took a lupara out of his pocket and aimed.
"If I were you..." the figure said, with a deep voice, "I would carefully back the f*ck up and leave me alone..." the figure added.
"Fine, have it your way..." Vulkie said, as she pocketed her gun away and carefully backed up.
"By the way, is that a family picture?" Vulkie asked, an intentional joke to confuse the intruder, and pointed to a photo that the figure held
"What are you talking abou..." the figure said, as he looked at the photo's. The masked figure didn't have time to complete his sentence, as Vulkie took her gun out and fired...
"Wrong turn sweetface!" the figure with the deep voice said and he fired his lupara at Vulkie. Vulkie was just in the nick of time, as she ran out of the room and took cover to the left of the entrance of the main bedroom.
The shot of the lupara blasted the door of the bathroom to shreds and Vulkie swallowed.
"That could've been me!" she thought. As Vulkie quickly looked around, she had three options. 1. She could return blind fire and hope to hit the masked figure. 2. Run to the other way of the hall and go outside, by using the firestairs, or 3. Go back the way she came from.
She eventually went for option one. As she reloaded her Colt .38 quickly, she turned her right hand around the corner and fired the gun empty.
2 bullets had hit the figure, 4 missed. One bullet tore a photo in 2 pieces.
The figure immediately "ran" towards the window and jumped out, landing softly in a garbage dump in the frontyard.
As Vulkie took a quick look around the corner, she saw that the figure dropped 3 of the 6 photo's that he had in his hands.
"I'll take those.." Vulkie said. She looked out of the window, only to see a car speeding away.
"Well, I guess I'll have to wait now for Joseph to return to his office..." Vulkie murmered and she went outside Johnny's house.
As she looked back, she decided to take a quick look at Richard Cambridge's house.
As she saw it, she noticed that it was totally abandoned, a window shattered to pieces and the garden in the front had more weeds then all of the neighbourhood together.
Thought's came into her mind... "What where you thinking.... I don't want to kill Richard Cambridge.... I'm sorry Richard... A gunshot was heard..."
Vulkie let a tear roll over her face and went back in the car, driving herself home, to wait until Joseph was at his office and had time to phone her...
“Hello,” Riza said softly, stepping out of the shadows behind the set. The short man dressed in dark pants and a suit jacket jumped at the sound of her voice. He slowly turned around. “What do you want? You’ve already got your money!” he said shakily.
Riza smirked. “I just have a few questions for you, relating to the note that Simone got the other day.”
“I don’t know anything about that, except that someone has way too much time on their hands. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see that today’s productions run smoothly. I’m a busy man,” he said, tugging on his jacket.
“No, you’re not excused. You’re staying right here until I get my answers,” Riza replied coolly, cracking her knuckles as she stepped forward.
“Y-you don’t scare me!” he said, his widening eyes betraying his statement. Riza began to chuckle. “Little man, you amuse me.”
Salazar began to turn red. “DON”T call me little!” he screamed. Clearly Riza had hit a nerve. Choosing not to push his buttons, she instead launched into her questioning. “So tell me about this Johnny character. What was your little scuffle with him about?”
“That guy? He was trying to steal Simone from me for another studio. I taught him a lesson, though. Gave him a black eye using the ol’ one-two.” Salazar made little punching motions in the air.
“Oh really?” Riza said, realizing that this guy was probably full of shit. She would never get any answers this way. “So you wouldn’t happen to know anything about his death then?”
“No, why the hell should I care about the stupid stuff that guy does on his own time? It’s not my fault he fell out of a building and died.”
“Salazar,” Riza said, “I never said anything about Johnny falling to his death.”
“Uh-that is, I mean-”
“I suggest you tell me everything you know right now if you know what’s good for you!” Riza shouted at him, making him cower and look smaller than he actually was.” But Salazar remained silent.
“Fine, we’ll do it my way then,” Riza said, and stepped towards him. She grabbed him with both hands by the collar and lifted him up to her eye level. She pulled her arms back and launched him into the air, causing him to fly though the air screaming, and land with a huge resounding crash into the wooden crates behind the set. Wood pieces and packaging material flew out in all directions. Some of the set helpers ran to see what had happened.
“Scram! Unless you want to meet the same fate,” Riza snarled at them, an ugly look crossing her face. They scattered. Riza stalked over to Salazar, her stilettos making rapid clicks against the hard concrete floor of the set. Salazar was moaning as he tried to pick himself up, staggering to his feet. “Oh no you don’t,” Riza said, kicking him back down with a sharp heel to the chest.
“Oomph!” he exhaled as the wind was knocked out of him. He fell backwards, clutching his chest. He looked down. A small bloody patch was beginning to appear. “You bitch!” he screamed.
Riza’s eyes widened. She reached under her leather skirt and pulled out her trusty pistol. That thing had been in more places than she cared to remember. She stomped right up to Salazar and forcefully smashed him across the face with it, making droplets of blood fly out and splatter across the set as his head smacked onto the concrete with a resounding crack.
Riza hadn’t hit him hard enough to kill him…lucky man. She went over and turned him upside down, and kneeled on top of him, making sure to dig her knees right into the small of his back. “Did you kill Johnny? And you better not lie to me!” she screamed in his ear.
“No! I didn’t!” he yelled, fighting back tears.
“Then how do you know how he died? You know who killed him, don’t you?” Salazar was breathing heavily. “Better yet, I bet you hired someone to kill him, didn’t you?” Riza yelled accusingly.
“Go to hell, you motherf-” His words were cut off as his left arm made a deafening crack as it was ripped out of its socket by a swift upward pull by Riza. He howled in agony as she continued to bend it at an odd angle around to the other side of his back.
“Never. Call. Me. Names.” Riza huffed angrily. “Didn’t your mommy ever teach you to play nice? Bet she never told you the other part. If you don’t play nice, Riza will come and MAKE you.” She pulled back on his thumb, causing it to snap away from its joint. Salazar gave a scream so loud it echoed throughout the entire set and even made Riza’s ears hurt a little.
“Please!” he begged through tears. “Please stop. I’ll talk. Just please, stop…” His body shook with sobs, probably caused by the excruciating pain. Feeling pity for the sad little man crying on the ground, Riza got off of him and stood up, crossing her arms. “Talk,” she commanded.
Salazar started to speak, gritting his teeth to fight the pain. “It’s true, Johnny did come to the set one day, and he was trying to take Simone away. But I couldn’t let her go; she’s my little moneymaker. So Johnny and I got into a fight. In the end he gave me a black eye, but left without her.”
“Why wasn’t Simone allowed to choose?”
“She’s just the pretty damsel in distress. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone launch herself into a dangerous argument like ours,” Salazar said weakly. He tried to get up, but couldn’t, and collapsed back onto the ground.
“So did you kill Johnny?”
“But you sent someone out to kill him, didn’t you?”
Salazar hesitated. “No.” Riza raised her eyebrow skeptically.
He hurried to explain. “Well, I couldn’t have him hanging around here. He was a disturbance and a threat to everyone on the set. Plus I wasn’t going to let him take Simone away…”
“You love her.” It was a statement, not a question. Riza stared silently down at Salazar with a tinge of understanding, but it soon disappeared as she regained her composure.
“Yes. I do. More than anyone will ever know,” he whispered. “So I got one of my connections to jump him as he was coming out of his house one day and beat him to a bloody pulp on the roof of a building. Don’t get me wrong, he was still alive. I just had him crippled, basically. Just to teach him a lesson.”
“A name. I need the name of the hired hand,” Riza said, suddenly all business again.
‘I can’t. He’d come after me and kill me.”
“Would you rather have him kill you, or would you rather have me kill you right now, while you’re crying into your own pool of blood on the ground?” Riza asked smugly.
Salazar gulped. This chick was crazy; she’d probably do it without a single afterthought. “Tony. His name’s Tony…Genovese.”
Riza reached into her leather jacket and pulled out her trusty knife. She walked up to Salazar, knelt down, and used the blade of the knife to turn his blood and sweat-covered face towards hers. “One more thing. How did you know how Johnny died?”
“Tony told me. While we were having coffee the other week. I swear, I don’t know anything about it,” he said, his eyes pleading with Riza for mercy.
Riza smirked. “Good boy,” she said in a mock sickly-sweet way, and turned on her heels to walk away. The sound of clicking boots was the last thing Salazar heard before losing consciousness.
Marc jumped up pulling out both pistols and aimed them at the figure in the door way.
"Whoa there, Marc. It's me," Zeo said, holding his palms up and open. He then walked in and closed the door behind him, wearing a solemn look on his face.
"Sorry, yesterday's incident have me on the edge." Marc replied as he put his guns away. "What's the matter, you look grim."
"I think today's shoot have just been cut short." Zeo stated.
"What do you mean?" Simone sounded alarmed. She stopped herself from tweaking her eyebrows in the mirror and turned to the two men.
"Riza just had a 'conversation' with Salazar, and left him with a few broken body parts. Since Riza had been seen by a few people and had a 'run in' with the security yesterday, they are reporting her to the police. She might be in big trouble now. I quickly ushered Riza off the set and asked her to meet us at my office. I think she did found out a few things though. Anyway, Martin attended to Salazar and have called an ambulance. Without a conscious director, we cannot proceed with the shoot today. Martin is dismissing the cast now..."
"Oh the poor man!" Simone exclaimed.
"I believe 'the poor man' hired someone to beat up your brother badly, but didn't kill him. Anyway, we can talk about this when we're out of here." Zeo got up. "I am going to try to call Vulkie too, see if she's back from her photo hunt. I'll meet you two outside by my car."
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