3. A Brief ReunionMature

Grayson’s was nothing but a crime scene now, with the police still investigating the shooting from last night. Though a substantial amount of the officers had left after already checking the building last night, a group of investigators remained wandering around the place, trying to piece together the puzzle.

Paulie was made a nervous wreck at the prospect of his café being possibly closed due to the murder, and if the investigators persisted, they could find out evidence linking Paulie directly to the Hansuns. He was left pacing around the bar all day, his brow sweating constantly.

Across the street, in front of some office spaces, sat Damien in an old, silver Ford car, a vehicle that seemed so ancient and dilapidated that no one glanced twice to see if a criminal was commandeering it. He had been sitting there for the past five hours or so, observing the police, making sure that if they made any developments, he would know of them as well.

His biggest worry was Paulie, whom he feared would crack under pressure. The old man had little but his café, and if the chips were down, Damien wondered if he would cut his losses and attempt to sell out the family for compensation.

After the events of last night, Damien quickly hid inside of a small room located at a generally deserted train station where he took up residence in order to avoid any heat that could be on him. Once nighttime had passed, he wandered back to the establishment.

The sun was high in the sky now, laying the city with intense amounts of heat. Pedestrians moved more erratically today, hurrying to their business places to avoid the immensely high temperature. Clouds were few, providing no shade in the outdoors.

Since it was around noon, much of the metropolitan was alive with lunch traffic. Though there was still an ongoing investigation, transportation was being allowed to pass through, but overall the street in front of Grayson’s was mostly empty, except for cars lined up across the streets, parked there in front of apartment buildings and such.

Damien noticed right away that Harry’s body had been bundled up and taken away previously, and the nature of his death would immediately point to mafia violence. Plenty of citizens were crowding the area as well, looking through the shattered window, pondering over what hell had erupted while most of the city was sleeping.

It was too much unneeded publicity for the family, who would have to recede into the shadows and attempt to clean up this new mess before things got out of hand. Judging by the nature of the assault, a coup may be in the works.

“Lot of curious heads poking around” a voice said. Startled, Damien spun around and noticed a large man with a bald head, huge mustache and a jolly expression standing beside his car on the passenger side.

“Damnit Kevin!” Damien swore, looking around to make sure no one was observing him. He then unlocked the door and allowed his friend to enter the vehicle. “The fuck was that for, I nearly pulled on you!”

“It ain’t no secret that good ol’ Harry took a bullet” Kevin said, lighting up a cigarette as he talked, “Or a quite few bullets as the papers say”.

“Why are you here” Damien asked in more of a statement than a question. Kevin was well known as a local mercenary usually hired by the Hansuns as a cleaner to fix situations, and this seemed like an opportune time for him to appear.

Though Damien did believe he was friends with Kevin, he preferred to detach himself from the world, much like most of the Hansun family, and therefore decided not to partake in any sort of relationship. That being said, he could never fully trust anyone, especially following an attack on the organization.

Kevin nodded towards his partner and answered his question. “It also ain’t no secret Paulie’s a weak ol’ fool an’ you never liked Harry in the first place”.

Damien laughed out of conviction. “So you’re just here as the cleaner again, and the first person you turn to as a suspect is the guy you’ve known for ten years”. He laughed once more. “You know I’m not dirty”.

He shrugged. “I ain’t caring, and I ain’t mean. I just go to look for the facts and sniff things out, bud. Rumor has it…” Kevin looked around as though someone might be able to overhear him, “The Payters are to blame for Harry”.

“They don’t have any courage to stand up” Damien responded, shaking his head. “We killed Ronnie Payter and it sent them running scared. They haven’t been active for about five years now”.

Kevin’s tone became more serious. “An’ y’think in those five years they just laid down like a dog and didn’t do shit? C’mon, bud, you know they ain’t gonna be dormant for long. They’ll be back in full force”.

Damien considered this, then looked back across the street. The investigators had started departing from the café, and began to enter their cars. He sensed an opportunity to sneak in the building and interrogate Paulie to see what he knew.

“So, cleaning things up. That means you’re gonna be here for a while” Damien stated, though to know one in particular, and it was like he was just speaking to himself for a second.

Kevin shrugged. “Y’know me bud, I always gotta be dragged down into Cincy for Mel. I forgot how dull this city was…” he said, looking around at the many buildings surrounding him as though his gaze would shame them and cause them to deconstruct themselves.

“Long time” Damien said, once again hosting a chat with his inner thoughts.

“I wonder how the family’s been all this time. Well, y’tell me. How’s life been treatin’ you? Feels like it’s been a looong while since I seen your face” Kevin went on, his normally happy attitude returning.

Kevin was the only person who could soften Damien, and for a moment, his current objective became blurred. He entered the mafia occupation just around the same time as Kevin, and they ended up working together enough to create a rare bond that few criminals shared amongst themselves.

He smiled, snapping out of his personal dialogue, and turned to face the only friend he had in the world. “Melvin’s still bitching about his back problems. Guess that isn’t news to you”.

“He still got that pretty lil’ maid doin’ work for him, right? El or somethin’?” Kevin asked. “She’s a pretty thing, wouldn’t you say?” he continued with a laugh.

“And Lyla still screaming into the night. She’s probably going to be the one to get us out of that apartment if she keeps that up. I think we already got one neighbor file a domestic complaint” Damien said, amused.

“Speaking of places, lemme tell you this” Kevin said, his hands moving emphatically as he began to talk. “See, I get plenty of money from this, I found this nice little urban place-“

“Urban, huh?” Damien cut him off. “Look at Mr. Civilized American over here!” he cheered playfully.

“Oh, you better believe it, bud” Kevin retorted, becoming more excited. “It’s got this huge pool out back and a big yard for my new dog, got this gigantic pool, and-“

“And a dog too!”

“Life in this this line gets lonely, y’know, and I felt I needed a lil’ companion to play catch with an’ stuff”.

Damien became quiet, then faced his partner with a childish, school-boy grin. “When you said dog… I thought you meant some whore or something”.

Silence reigned inside the Ford. Suddenly, both gentlemen burst out in raucous laughter with the force to cave in a house. It seemed to go on for hours, with neither men stopping. It was a combination of a somewhat funny joke, and the fact that the two men had not seen each other in a long period of time and were glad to be in the presence of an ally.

“Oh bud… I ain’t got time for no whores. And don’t mock too much, this dog can run like hell, take my word for it”.

Damien glanced over at Grayson’s, and took note of the fact that it was devoid of officers for the moment, but crime scene tape still covered the doorway and the window.

“So… you said you’re here as the cleaner again” Damien began.

Kevin nodded, grinning. “As usual, bud”. He then noticed the emptiness of the café for himself, and knew the direction Damien was moving towards. “Time to fish for answers, huh?”

Paulie lingered, leaning over the bar. He was the only other man at Grayson’s. He was the only man that could know anything about the disaster that occurred last night.

“Let’s pay Paulie a visit” Damien answered, stepping out of the car.

The End

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