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The Release of Sonny Franzese Started by: SonnyFranzese on Oct 06, '23 17:05

Upon landing on the hot airstrip of Las Vegas, Sonny had stopped at a phone box in the airport terminal. Calling ahead he requested a meeting with Godfather Fluffy and his hands. He explained the weeks events much to their amusement and apologized for his absence. Satisfied that their crews debt had been settled and their honor upheld Fluffy had accepted the outcome. Sonny left the lions share of the profits from his venture as a tribute to Godfather Fluffy, who accepted with a smile. It always paid to be an earner within this life of theirs, for a man who can keep his crews coffers filled, is a man of worth and value. In response Godfather Fluffy had promoted Sonny to the prestigious rank of Capo. 

 

Sonny sat back in a plush leather chair overlooking the strip from his swanky Las Vegas penthouse suite. Taking a sip of his whisky and a pull of his cigarette he felt some of the tension which had clung to him for the past few weeks lift a little. The intercom next to his front door buzzed, Sonny expecting a visit got up from his seat and instructed the workers at reception to send them up. He smiled to himself as he heard a faint knock of the door, waiting behind was a beautiful woman, here to warm his bed and hopefully help clear his head. 

 

*****

 

The next morning Sonny woke up feeling refreshed. Climbing out of bed he began his morning exercises. As the blood returned to his ageing limbs he started to feel a little better. With his daily exercises complete Sonny climbed into the shower to freshen up for the day. Drying himself off he donned a light suit and expensive shoes. Taking one last look in the mirror he swept his dark hair back and set off for the Stargazers HQ. Climbing into his Chevrolet Bel Air he fired up the engine and left the underground car park. 

 

Arriving at the Stargazer's HQ he sat down at the bar and ordered himself some breakfast. As he sat sipping his coffee and reading the local paper he was interrupted by the arrival of a message, warning him of a suspicious gentleman asking for him around the city. Sonny sighed and paid the kid a couple of bucks for the info. It seems his troubles had followed him back to Las Vegas. 

 

Sonny arranged a sit down with BigEasy and Jammin at a local mob ran restaurant. They ordered fresh lobsters and steaks and spent the evening catching up. As they prepared to leave Sonny stopped the pair, warning them to be on alert as a police officer from Chicago was on the hunt for the politicians killers. They suggest Sonny leave town for a bit, until the heat had cooled down, but Sonny refused, he had responsibilities in his new role. 

 

*****

 

The tall figure took a long pull from his cigarette and spat out the cars window onto the ground in disgust. He hated this city. Hated everything it represented. From the sleazy casinos with their sinful gambling to the endless whoring up and down the strip. This city was an affront to God and all that was sacred in this once noble land. He knew all about the scumbags who had set this city up. Financing it with the mobs blood money and using it as a front to launder their ill gotten gains. The figure sat in his dark Ford Deluxe Fordor and watched, his disgust building with every second. The longer he spent in this city the more his zeal burned, the greater his conviction set in. It was his holy duty to continue his deceased employers work. He refused to allow America to fall further into corruption and damnation. 

 

The deceased Chicago politician had attracted the man with his charm and won his loyalty with his ideals. They often spoke about the sanctity of America and all they had lost during the depression and failed prohibition. He had watched aghast as a hidden sniper ended his dear friends life. He had held the politician in his arms as he drew his last labored breath. Upon his grave he had sworn vengeance. He would find those responsible and bring them to justice. He had one target, having seen the gunman who had killed his friend leaving the building. He would follow this gangster to the ends of the earth if needed, and see justice for his lost friend served. 

 

The tall figure had friends in the right places. Men who, while unable to openly support him, were more than happy to see his goals enacted. He had followed his mark across state lines. Jurisdiction not a concern for someone holding an FBI badge. While his superiors did not sanction his actions, his religious beliefs did. He would hunt down the man called Sonny Franzese, either sending him to prison for the rest of his natural life or leaving his body in the gutter from whence it came. 

 

His agents had come close to killing Sonny on numerous occasions. The bomb planted under his car, while not aimed at him could have taken him out of the game early. The figure would never forgive himself for the failure of this act. Had the explosion gone off properly, his friend would still be alive. The figure had even gone as far as paying one of the FBIs many informants, an ageing Irishman by the name of Patrick, to betray his old friend and lure him into Miami. Sadly Sonny had proven a difficult to man to kill, even those Colombian bastards were unable to finish him off. The figure had come so close himself but his hired muscle had proved incapable of completing the task. These failures burned into the figures soul. Now this was personal.

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Sonny continued about his daily activities. Using his muscle to exploit local businesses. Setting up scams for the mafiosos under him to run. He'd spent a life dealing with police, he knew they all had a price, be it cash or blood, he wasn't overly concerned regarding yet another officer sniffing after him. He was happy to be back in Las Vegas, back to his new home. He spent his evenings hanging out at the Stargazers HQ, or drinking in any of the many local mafia hideouts. He even found the time to visit his Las Vegas boxing business, happy to find it still running. 

 

Turning his Chevrolet Bel Air into the underground car park of his apartment block Sonny turned off the engine. He staggered out the car, having spent the night celebrating with friends, the whisky having caught up with. Damn he must be getting old he mused to himself, he remembered being able to drink for days on end as a younger man, now he could barely manage a solid night. Reaching into his pocket he locked the car and walked towards the elevator. His attention was drawn to a rush of feet behind him, shaking off the worst of his intoxicated state he turned in time to see a pair of masked men with weapons drawn charging at him. Without so much as a word bullets flew into the space his head had just occupied. Rolling out of the way Sonny took cover behind a pillar. The air became heavy with dust as the gunmen laid down a continual hail of bullets. 

 

Sonny risked his head to sneak a peek, and saw one of the men holding down a constant stream of fire from his pistol while the other attempted a flanking maneuver. Sensing his opportunity, Sonny dived from the opposite side of the pillar and took fire at the masked assailant holding position opposite. One of the bullets found their mark hitting the masked man in the arm, he shouted in pain and the return fire lessened. Sonny turned just in time to see the second masked gunman appear from around the corner of the pillar. His gun was raised and he fired off three shots, none finding their mark as Sonny rolled out the way. He smiled to himself, fucking amateurs, if these were truly hired hitmen he would be dead already. Sonny stilled his breath and took aim at the flanking assailant, putting a single bullet in his target. The man's eyes lit up with surprise as blood filled his throat. He grabbed onto the wound trying to still the flow of blood to no avail.

 

Careful to move from cover to cover, Sonny walked up to the first assailant, kicking his gun from reach he smashed his pistol into the man's face knocking him to the floor. Reaching into the man's pockets he found a set of keys for a banged up Ford Prefect parked around the corner. Swearing to himself he lifted the downed guard and tied his hands and feet using rope left in the Ford Prefects trunk. Dragging the corpse of the other guard by the foot he dropped him into the trunk. Sitting in the old Ford Prefect he turned the engine and gunned it out of the strip. Careful to obey the speed limit he drove out towards the desert. 

 

Once outside the city limits Sonny pulled the stolen car into a parking lot and walked up to nearest pay phone. Calling one of his men he asked them to meet him out in the desert. Lighting another cigarette Sonny gunned the engine and sped out into the cold expanse of the pitch black desert. Following a well traveled track he followed the road until its end. There were many shallow hole in this part of the desert. Another couple wouldn't go amiss. 

 

Sonny sat back in the Ford Prefect and tried to work from the stress from his muscles. His nerves were on edge, having narrowly survived another attempt on his life. Sonny drew his Colt 1911 from its holster as he noticed distant lights approaching his position from the long track. Snuffing out his cigarette on the dashboard he steeled himself, keeping the gun in hand. 

 

As the car pulled up in front of him Sonny stepped out of the stolen vehicle. The lights of the car dazzled his eyes, leaving him unable to see the occupants. He knew something was up as he called out a greeting but received no response. Diving back into the car he narrowly avoided a hail of automatic gunfire which ripped into the car. Ducking below the dashboard he used the engine block as cover as the glass sprayed all over his back. With his ears ringing he wore to himself knowing he was fucked. As the gunfire slackened Sonny made his move. Pushing himself out the car he took blind pot shots towards the armed men. Return fire erupted out of the dark desert. The first bullet glanced into Sonny's shoulder knocking him to the floor. Hitting the ground hard he tried to put up a fight. Further bullets ripped into the dirt around him, the air was taken from his lungs as a .45 hit him in the chest. Another hot round shot into his arm shortly followed by another burst streaming up his legs. His body shaking as the gunmen found their mark.

 

The fire slackened as the two gunmen slowly approached Sonny's prone form. He dragged his broken body across the desert floor, sheer determination and adrenaline pumping through his veins. Sonny felt a heavy boot on his back holding him in place, the weight was lessened as the goon drove his foot into Sonny's stomach. Sonny used the last of his reserves to spin around aiming his gun at the man, the goon laughed kicking the gun from his frail hands. Reversing his Thompson machine gun he smashed it into Sonny's head. With a smile on his face the man aimed the Thompson machine gun at his heart and fired.  

 

Turning to his companion he stated, "Grab the shovel from the trunk, the sooner we're out this fucking desert the better."

 

Sonny faintly felt piles of dirt being thrown onto his face. His chest felt heavy and he felt blood pooling under his arms and legs. His labored breath wheezed in and out of his ruptured lungs. The pain which burned through his whole body lessened and he felt a wash of relief as his body succumbed to its wounds. Sonny's vision blackened as he slipped out of consciousness, his resolve fading to black. He always knew this would be his end, a shallow grave in the desert or a watery grave his body held down by cement boots. 

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Fluff had been following Sonny's little adventures mostly from a distance. He believed wholeheartedly that when given opportunity and motivation to make oneself into a formidable gangster was the best way to get young associates to step up and gain valuable experience. As he had seen young Sonny get involved in more complicated and more dangerous activities he had installed a soft shadow on him. This he did with all made members of his family in order to kinda know what they were up to, but not interfere with their business unless times called for it.

 

One evening he sat at his desk and the phone rang, he ordered Jeremiah to pick up and with one look at the most senior person in his protection detail he knew this evening things didn't go so well for one of his members. Jeremiah put down the phone and dialed another number quickly, he spoke a few words mostly just asking for a speedy car and he looked at his boss who had stopped grooming himself and was on full alert. As Jeremiah put down the phone again, they both trotted off to the front of the Gazer HQ and hopped into a roadster car where Jeremiah took the wheel and fluff jumped in the passenger seat, specially furbished for a creature of his nature.

As Jeremiah floored the pedal, don't forget he was a retired professional race care driver they sped into the night. As the man navigated the car to the outskirts of the city and into the desert, 2 more cars joined them who had been waiting at the intersection near the city borders, ready to tail them in support. Jeremiah told all the details he had heard from the soft tag on SonnyFranzese, it was not good. He had himself another project but due to the heat he picked up in Chicago, he now was in real danger. Reports of the zealot FBN agent arriving in LV had been known, but he had acquired some local support from beat cops who switched their loyalty away from their police chief, and in turn on the FluffFather. Now they had been seen speeding out of LV in the north East direction, where Sonny's car had been spotted to go as well. Fluff trusted the soft tail's reports and judgement, for these men were the cream of the crop of the PI's available in the city. Their handsome rewards for their work had been so solid, that none would ever dare to bite off the hand that fed them. Which in fluff's case would be literal, not figuratively only.

 

They came close to the location where the cars had been spotted, and yes the reports were correct and 3 cars were just gunning past their caravan as they started to gain speed on the country road. Jeremiah used his instincts and made a hand break assisted 180, hoping the other people would be capable of following him in not too much of a delay, and they started the chase. Within a minute or 2 he had them in a distance, and despite their best efforts in the cars ahead, Jeremiah had no issue keeping up. He even decided from the moment they were within city borders to douse his headlights and creep up to them. They saw the 3 cars, sand caked to their tyres and undersides of the bodywork of the car. Clearly they had been riding in the rough, and their cars were not in their prime condition. Jeremiah used the momentum he had, to swerve left, overtook the first two cars and swerve in between the 1st and 2nd car. Blocking the middle car which try to evade, but clipped the left rear corner of the roadster, and by the momentum got flipped on its side. In a rain of sparks, flew across the asfalt for a good 1/4 mile with the metal screeching like a kitchen maid before it stopped and gasoline started to pour from the ruptured tank, with all inside trying to make a quick getaway. 

Fluff and Jeremiah were too busy to notice, and later on it became clear that 1 of their following cars had mobbed up the ruffians in that car. With good funds to their disposal, these men were well-dressed, trained and equipped and could easily overpower a bunch of upshot cops with limited firepower to their disposal.

As Jeremiah floored again the gas, the front car had noticed something amiss, and it seemed to slow down slightly. With the driver looking in the rearview mirror, a couple of shots rang out, his passenger and those on the backseat had opened fire on the roadster right behind them. What they didn't know, was that the car behind them had well armored inner parts that would avoid bullets from taking aim, the windshield also had been tapered and adapted for taking bullets and not shatter on impact. Fluff growled, he was displeased, the dents and the nicks in the paint would be a hefty repair fee tomorrow, but then again the price he would pay to ensure his family members would be safe was immeasurable. So they kept up the pursuit and soon the bullets stopped, for ammunition had basically run out. Jeremiah shifted back and used the extra acceleration to pull alongside, and with a quick slash of his razor sharp claws, Fluff had slashed the back tyre. Jeremiah already anticipated the move and braked hard to let the other car speed ahead, with the assistance of a few potholes the car started to swerve beyond the car's handling performance and the back kicked out and it rolled over a few times before landing on its roof and halting the vehicle.

The goons were half beaten up by the crash, and as Jeremiah stepped out of the roadster, he pumped in enough lead to kill them all of. Finishing the job with clinical precision. They got back to the car and drove back to the 3rd vehicle they had chased, and saw it had been apprehended by the remaining forces loyal to Fluff. They open the booth and found a ragdoll looking Gazer, Fluff yowled like he was hurt himself. Told Jeremiah to take the wheel of the car and take 2 guys with him for protection and drive to the nearest secure medical facility under payroll of the FluffFather, they would patch the man up if he had not been too heavily wounded beyond their capabilities.

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Sonny awoke in a white room, on a white bed to the beeps and whirs of machinery. Slowly he opened his eyes the light blinding him. He tried to speak but found his mouth was dry and the words would not come. With feeble movement he tried to get out of the bed, doing nothing more than causing a commotion as he knocked over tray and instruments surrounding the bed. His limbs were heavily bandaged and suspended. A nurse rushed into the room and shouted at him to stop. Retrieving a cup from the side of the bed she held it to his parched lips. Sonny gulped the cool liquid down and lay back in bed. The nurse moved to his side, administering more morphine Sonny immediately fell into a restless sleep.

 

The next time Sonny awoke the room was completely dark. His mind felt foggy and his limbs heavy. A well dressed figure stood up at the corner of the room, walking into view he turned on a bedside lamp. The sudden light left Sonny briefly blinded. As he blinked the stars from his eyes he was glad to see a familiar face. BigEasy stood over the bed with a wide smile over his face.

 

"You gave us a real fright their Sonny. I lost count of how many times you flat lined," BigEasy stated with concern.

 

BigEasy stepped back and grabbed the bullet proof vest Sonny had been wearing on the night of the attack. The front and back was riddled with .45 caliber bullets from the Thompson machine guns. 

 

"If you weren't wearing this vest you'd have been smoked, you're one lucky son of a bitch you know that?" BigEasy continued.

 

They were interrupted by the arrival of a doctor the Stargazers kept on the payroll. He ushered BigEasy out of the room and started fiddling with the machinery surrounding Sonny's bed. 

 

An ageing doctor by the name of Giovanni began, "By all accounts you should be dead. When you arrived on my table you had internal bleeding, a collapsed lung and enough lead in your body to fill an armory." 

 

Sonny nodded weakly, fresh pain bled into his body at he attempted to move.

 

"Stay still Sonny, you're safe where you are. You need rest before you get on your feet again. We've pumped gallons of blood into you over the past day. Rest, save your strength I'll be back to check on you soon," Giovanni stated, administering another dose of morphine.

 

Sonny felt the warm embrace of the morphine numbing his many wounds. His mind slipped into an uneasy rest as his head sunk back into the pillows. 

 

*****

 

The tall and lanky figure raised a glass to the two men seated at the table opposite him. His pale face was lined with age, and his long thinned tousled hair touched with grey. He wore a pair of round spectacles that seemed to be permanently perched upon his beak of a nose. His suspicious eyes never at rest were furrowed under heavy brows. He wore a plain suit and tie, with plain shoes to match. His suit unadorned with wealth saving the golden pocket watch resting in his breast pocket. The two men had come bearing news of a body riddled with bullets. Usually he would not allow himself such indulgences as alcohol, but he felt the occasion called for this.

 

The tall figure smiled to himself, his sense of pride creeping into the corners of his mouth. The plan had gone perfectly, while he had hoped the first hit squad would have been able to complete the task he knew this time to prepare a backup. A well trained tail had followed the marked car, stolen by Sonny, out into the desert. As planned the tail had stopped at a nearby payphone and called in the extra muscle. Chance would have it that Sonny was expecting visitors, little could he know these visitors would prove his doom. 

 

"To lost friends and better tomorrows," the tall figure rasped in toast to the news.

 

The two men collected their heavy sacks of cash and left the man's borrowed office. They rushed out of the police station and sped into the Las Vegas night, prepared for an evening of fun. Having watched the convoy of cars be attacked, they had left out that detailed, more than happy to claim the kill and escape into the busy Las Vegas streets. The tall figure sat back in his the leather chair at the desk his badge and status had demanded at the local police station. The fury which had fueled his efforts began to still. Finally his quest was complete, he could leave this stinking cesspit of a city and never return. 

 

His thoughts were interrupted as the desk phone began to ring.

 

"There's a call for you Agent Swanson, shall I put it through," asked the receptionist on the other end of the line. 

 

"Please Alison," he responded in his thick Chicago accent.

 

"I believe congratulations are in order," began the voice on the other line.

 

"Yes sir, I've just met the men who did the deed and I can confirm this particular thorn has been removed from our side," Agent Swanson returned, attempting to soften his accent in response to the politician on the other line. The man had clearly been schooled in Harvard or Yale, his accent beaten out of him by heritage and status.

 

"Contact me once you are back in Chicago, we've business to discuss," the phone clicked as the politician, and Agent Swanson's new benefactor put down the phone.

 

Packing his few meager belongings Agent Swanson left his desk and drove to the airport. Boarding the next plane he left Las Vegas without a second thought. 

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Agent Swanson sat at his spartan desk in the FBI office in Chicago. Having arrived early in the morning he had opted to return straight to work. His quest had forced him away from his desk for too long, and his superiors were not the kind of men you left waiting. Hoover was many thinks, but a weak spirited fool and a man to be denied was not one of them. Swanson opened a new case file handed down from his superiors and was shocked to see the suspect. He recognized the man, a politician by the name of Governor Ron Wilson, the same politician who had privately supported his mission against Sonny Franzese. 

 

Swanson's thoughts raced as he skimmed the file. The man had connections to the corrupt Mayor and Commissioner of the city. The file outlined his business connections with the mob, even going as far to include wiretaps transcribed in great detail. Swanson was unable to believe such blatant lies. Governor Wilson was a career politician, a man of conviction and zeal. He would not debase himself by working with such men. This was a set up. His superiors clearly touched by the mobs far reaching corruption. Swanson's paranoia deepened against an organization he had once cherished. 

 

Taking the file he left the office joining the busy Chicago streets. Climbing the steps to the overhead train he headed in the direction of his studio unit apartment. He was careful, his keen intelligent eyes searching for any trail. Could this be a test of his loyalty? Were his superiors already onto him. Swanson swallowed down his guilt, his conviction to a cause greater than himself lending justification to his actions. With careful movements he stalked off train platform before his exit. Descending the steps two at a time he ducked into the lobby of an apartment block far outside his pay grade. 

 

Reaching for the nearest payphone he called the number left to him by Governor Wilson. The person on the other line explained that the Governor was busy currently, but advised he would be free this afternoon for a meeting at a local restaurant. The line went dead before Swanson could respond. Walking the rest of the distance to his studio apartment, he was glad to be finally home. Dropping his travel case on the small single bed he sat at the simple wood chair and table. Flicking through the file he took in more of the detail, still his mind raced unable to believe all he read. He would need to move carefully from now on. 

 

Hailing a cab Swanson gave the driver the address of the restaurant. Entering the lavishly decorated building he was led to a secluded booth far from the other tables. Taking a seat opposite the Governor, Swanson looked nervously about. The Governor demanded he keep calm and asked him what the hell was wrong.

 

Swanson rasped, "My superiors have a file on you. They're tapping your phone and building a case."

 

Governor Wilson, an ageing politician whose life had been spent living in splendor, rubbing shoulders with the greatest and richest men of America. His ageing frame enlarged by a life of excess, the man's every movement calm and calculated by a life spent dedicated to political advancement. Swanson had first met the man at the behest of his deceased friend, who had explained they had a shared vision, of an America free of the Mafia's corruption. 

 

The politician responded in an equal measured tone, "Not to worry, even Edgar would not move against a man supported by the President of the United Stated," his smile reminded Swanson of a tigers while observing its prey. 

 

"I've read the whole file. They've built up quite the case. Linking to you the mob and the corruption at the heart of this sick city," warned Swanson in hushed tones. 

 

Once again that chilling smile, "Well that's why I keep people like yourself on the payroll. Deal with it," he demanded anger rising in his voice. 

 

"I will not risk, nay I cannot risk such slander with the elections coming up. You will curb this enthusiasm for my activities, or so God help me I will see your career, reputation and life destroyed," roared the Governor finally losing his cool. 

 

Governor Wilson shouted at his guards to get rid of this man. His usual cool and calm demeanor soured by the threat to his political advancement. Swanson shocked by the outburst allowed himself to be led out the restaurant and walked back towards the overhead train. His brief elation from the death of his enemy stilled by the nights events. His allegiance turn between that of the FBI and his need to see the corruption of Chicago removed. His thoughts darkened as he made his way back to the office. 

 

*****

 

Weeks had passed with Sonny bound to his bed. He felt his strength returning as Doctor Giovanni encouraged him to move about, taking short walks wherever possible. Sonny was pleased to have Godfather Fluffy visit him. The Godfather had suggested he leave Las Vegas for a while. Taking a short trip while the heat cooled down in the city. Sonny, knowing better than questioning the judgement of his leader accepted. Godfather Fluffy sensing Sonny's reservation asked him if he had any friends out of town.

 

Sonny thought back to a conversation he had held with Meyer Lansky following a fight at Sonny's Boxing venue. Meyer Lansky was an old business associate and longtime friend a lifetime ago when growing up in the city of New York. Meyer had invited Sonny out to Cuba, with the promise of linking up with one of their shared association. Sonny had accepted, never expecting to take the man up on the offer. Turning to Godfather Fluffy explained that he might be able to set up a lucrative business venture in Cuba. Satisfied Godfather Fluffy had left Sonny to his rest.

 

Sonny spent the weeks sequestered to his bed regaining his strength. Doctor Giovanni had explained that his wounds were healing well. He continued his daily exercises, each day feeling his vitality return. Sonny was fed well but confined to the doctors compound outside of town. His boredom only stilled by frequent visits by mobsters. 

 

As Sonny's strength returned so did his desire for vengeance. He would lay low in Cuba biding his time. As the weeks dragged on Sonny was finally well enough to board a plane to Cuba. Phoning ahead his old friend Meyer had promised to set him up with a penthouse apartment in one of the many casinos he ran. Taking his first sip of whisky in well over a month Sonny sat back in his seat and smiled to himself. A couple of weeks in the sun would do him well.

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Sonny carefully climbed down the steps of the airplane. The immediate sticky heat of Cuba hit him hard. He was sweating underneath his light shirt and trousers. He moved stiffly, his body still recovering from its many wounds. He limped his way to the airport terminal but was stopped by some brightly dressed locals. 

 

"Sonny Franzese, Meyer sent us to collect you," the nearest began in heavily accented English. 

 

Another of the mobsters took his bag and coat, placing them carefully in the boot of their Chevrolet Bel Air.

 

"Nice car," remarked Sonny as he lowered himself into the rear seat.

 

"You gringos know how to make cars," laughed a fat mustached Cuban with dark curly hair and dark shades covering his eyes. 

 

They drove through the busy streets of Havana passing high rise buildings on their way to Meyer Lansky's casino named the Cabaret Montmartre. Driving passed colonial buildings left over from the Spanish occupation. A commotion ahead forced their car to stop. The Cubans spoke in urgent tones in their native tongue, leaving Sonny unable to understand.

 

"What's the hold up?" Sonny asked struggling to see past the cars which were stacked up bumper to bumper.

 

"Nothing to be worried about señor," responded the mustached Cuban handing Sonny a cigar and offering him a light. 

 

Sonny lit the cigar savoring the strong taste of fresh Cuban tobacco. He sat back in his chair, using his fedora hat to fan himself down from the sticky heat. The car shook as an explosion erupted from up ahead. A massive cloud of smoke and cement dust filled the streets as bleeding dazed Cubans staggered away from the blast. Sonny's ears were ringing, he shook his head trying to clear his vision which swam from the vibrations of the explosion. As his hearing returned he detected the pop and clatter of a firefight. The mustached Cuban shouted at the driver to reverse and get them the fuck out of there. The car mounted the curb and swiftly headed in the other direction as uniformed soldiers charged into the firefight.

 

"What the fuck was that?" asked Sonny still stunned by the eruption of violence.

 

"Nothing to be concerned about señor. A group of rebels led by a lawyer named Fidel Castro. Batisto's men will put a stop to them," he responded coolly.

 

The Chevrolet Bel Air weaved its way through the heavy traffic in its haste to reach the Cabaret Montmartre. The car pulled to a stop and Sonny was helped out of the back of the car. He was impressed, the swanky hotel was just what he would expect from his old friend. His bags were picked up by waiting attendants and he was led into the cool reception of the hotel. The receptionist explained that Meyer had booked him one of the penthouse suites, and he would visit him later as he was currently busy. Sonny followed the attendants into the elevator, puffing keenly on the cigar he kept in the corner of his mouth. 

 

Entering the lavishly decorated penthouse suite he was shown toeach of the rooms. He asked the attendant to get him a glass of straight whisky and to leave him with the bottle as he rested his weary bones on a seat placed by the window. Reaching into his pocket he handed the attendants a $100 bill and thanked them for their help. Taking a swig from the whisky and a pull from the cigar he sat back and relaxed. The sights before him were pleasing, the room overlooking a beautiful beach and the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

****

 

Sonny had dozed off. His nap interrupted by a knock at the door. Pulling himself to his feet he limped over and opened it. Behind the door was his old friend, looking much older than he had last seen him, but his old friend all the same. They welcomed each other like brothers, entering into a warm embrace. 

 

"Been a long fucking time," laughed Meyer in his slightly German accent, muffled by the tones of the Lower East Side.

 

"Meyer, you don't look a day over 50," responded Sonny.

 

"And I don't feel a day over 25. Look at the state of you Sonny, I'd heard about your injuries and I'm glad you came out unscathed," returned Meyer.

 

"Mostly unscathed," quipped Sonny, "I'm impressed with this thing of yours." 

 

"Batisto is a cold bastard, but he recognizes the need for progress. He's welcomed the mob into the city, as long as we keep earning him money," Meyer returned entering the room.

 

Sonny was dumbfounded as another figure, who had kept silent up to this point came into view. The well dressed man's left eye was slightly droopy from a scar he had received at the end of a knife attack back in the 1920s. Sonny knew the face well, having spent time in the streets together a lifetime ago.

 

"Close your mouth, you look like a fucking idiot," the figure stated.

 

"Nice to see you too Charles," Sonny responded embracing his old friend.

 

"I thought they'd exiled you back to Italy after the war?" asked Sonny.

 

"Yeah sure, those stupid fucks think they're gonna stop me from making money," laughed Lucky Luciano.

 

Sonny stood to the side and offered them both a drink. They sat and spoke about old times, times that felt a life ago when they were all young men making a life in the mean streets of New York during the prohibition. Sonny forgot his ache and pains for a moment.

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Sonny groaned as he rolled over in the comfortable king size bed. His head ached and his mouth felt dry. His stiff limbs unresponsive. Pulling himself to the side of the bed he sat up and reached for a glass of water, taking a couple of aspirin from his bedside table he knocked them back while stifling a yawn. The trio had drank late into the night, talking of times long past. Putting his feet into a pair of comfortable slippers he wrapped his damaged body in a light dressing gown. Walking to the well stocked fridge he put together a light breakfast and turned the coffee maker on. With a full stomach and a cup of steaming coffee he sat down at the table and chairs which overlooked the beach below. Steeling himself he began his morning exercises, building strength back into his muscles.

 

His body welcomed the warmed water which cascaded down from the shower. Pulling on a light shirt and trousers he slipped on a pair of expensive shoes, a gift from his old friend Meyer Lansky. Taking the short walk out of the elevator Sonny stepped into the well lit hotel reception and met the two Cuban bodyguards left under his control. Walking out into the mid morning sun he felt beads of sweat gathering on his back. He was led to a nearby car which drove down to the beach. Taking a leisurely stroll he felt some of his strength returning. A massive weight lifting from his shoulders.

 

Stopping at nearby bar he ordered himself and his two guards a daiquiri, as they sat and watched the world go by. His guards chatted and joked with the locals in their native tongue, while Sonny was quite happy to sit back and enjoy the sun's warmth. After a morning of relaxing in the sun, Sonny asked his guards to take him back to his hotel. The sun approaching his zenith was baking him in his suit, his weary bones demanded a siesta if Sonny was to survive a night on the town.

 

****

 

Sonny sat at a smokey poker table, his face neutral as he put forward his bet. Puffing at the cigar stuffed into his mouth he watched the other players at the table. The man to his left was a heavy better, Sonny would put money on him being a degenerate gambler, a good man to go up against on the poker table. A pair of well dressed mobsters approached the table inviting him to dine with Meyer. Finishing his hand he settled his winnings and followed them out of the casino. They walked into a Italian style restaurant, busy with locals and Americans in equal measure. 

 

Sitting at the table Sonny joined in with the conversation. Sat to his front were Meyer Lansk and Lucky Luciano. They introduced the men as the local Don's and Godfathers who had invested in their business interest in Cuba. Transforming old colonial buildings into areas of commerce. Using them as legitimate fronts to launder large sums of money earned illegally across America. Plates stacked with foods soon arrived at the table while glasses of wine were poured. Sonny helped himself to lobster and steak as the mobsters picked away at the food. 

 

Sonny held his tongue and listened to the conversations. The American mafioso's were concerned at the state of Cuba. They had all heard talks of rebels out in the countryside as dissent spreading. Batisto's reign was turning more brutal in response. Luciano and Meyer seemed unconcerned. The military and police were all paid off, the local mayors were kept fat on their payroll. What could a group of disgruntled farmers do to stop them they laughed? While the Americans kept up the constant shipment of guns, the mob was safe to operate with impunity. 

 

As the tables were cleared the mobsters took their leave. Sonny stayed at the table with Luciano and Meyer. Their minds turned to business as they each lit a Cuban cigar and sipped at the drinks of their choice. Meyer asked if Sonny was interested in investing in a new business opportunity. He was planning on setting up a new beachfront casino. Sonny nodded in response thanking his friend. It would be good to be back to earning money for his crew while out in Cuba. 

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Sonny was kept busy with the setting up of their new business venture. The old colonial building was decked out with a well stocked bar and a variety of tables for running poker, blackjack and roulette games. Locals were employed and paid well to run the tables, while muscle provided by Meyer and Lucky would keep security tight. Sonny stood back, appreciating all the hard work that had gone into the building so far. The bar had been set up to run down the left hand side of the building, while the tables were set up in the middle of a building, in a foyer overlooked by a first floor balcony. Above the gambling tables the richer clients could sample local foods and enjoy their nights outside the usual bustle. A grand marble staircase, installed by the colonial Spanish who controlled the island in times past ran up to the first floor. The floors were covered in a deep red carpet adding to the lavish decorations. Down the right hand side a stage where the music of local musicians would fill the room.

 

Walking outside Sonny declared, "We're open for business," as he stepped back and allowed the waiting crowd to enter. 

 

Sonny walked the floor, greeting visitors and performing his role as manager, gossiping with mobsters and keeping an eye on the rowdier of the guest. His attention was drawn to the arrival of some rough looking farmers. They drank heavily and annoyed the American visitors. Sonny nodded at the nearest of his hired muscle and they approached from either side. 

 

"Gentlemen please have a drink on us, compliments from the house," Sonny began trying to defuse the situation.

 

"Get out of my face you facist gringo pig," one of the farmers responded spitting at his feet.

 

Sonny smiled in response holding up his hands. Walking away from the bar he told the hired muscle to get a couple of men together and escort these fuckers into the back storage area. Sonny walked up to the band playing upon the stage, passing the singer a note he told them to play a loud number to get the crowd going. In the corner of his eye he watched as his hired goons man handled the farmer types, leading them out back. He walked towards the door exchanging smiles and pleasantries with guests. As he neared the door he cracked his knuckles and loosened his aching limbs. 

 

The storage enters shutter doors were kept close. A single light had been turned on. Below which the farmer types stood their ground shouting threats and obscenities at Sonny's hired muscle. Sonny walked up to the one who had spat at his feet. Squaring up to him he rolled up his sleeves. The farmer threw the first punch, which Sonny easily dodged around. Stepping into the farmers guard he landed an upper cut which rocked the man's head back. Before he could recover Sonny followed it up with a swift elbow which knocked the man to the ground. Walking away from the commotion he left his hired muscle to teach them a lesson. One of his Cuban bodyguards stood nearby smiling.

 

"Where do you want us to leave this garbage?" he asked.

 

"Somewhere far from here," Sonny responded as he walked back into his casino.

 

****

 

At the end of the evening Sonny sat and counted their earnings. He was surprised at how easily the money had flowed. Rich locals and American visitors flocking to the new business venture. Splitting the money into piles, one which would go back to Meyer and Lucky paying back the money they had lent him, the second pile would be sent back to Godfather Fluffy as tribute, and the third pile would be kept for himself. He counted out a stack of notes and stored them in the safe in his office. This would go towards the local police officers and politicians to keep them off their back. 

 

Climbing into the back of the waiting car, Sonny's bodyguards drove him back to his hotel. They drove through military checkpoints which had been set up following the car bombing that had taken place when Sonny arrived in the city. Batisto's men were tightening the net trying to control the worst of the insurrection. Back at his hotel Sonny poured himself a generous portion of whisky into a tumbler and lit a Cuban cigar. His thoughts distracted by a knock at his door. Sonny opened the door and was pleased to see a beautiful local Cuban woman, scantily dressed. His eyes dined on her curves and tanned skin as he stepped back and welcomed her in. Offering her a drink he silently thanked his old friend Meyer.

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Agent Swanson spent his days nose deep in paperwork. This was his natural habitat. A savant of extraordinary intellect, he absorbed the case notes on his benefactor. The writing was on the wall. There was no denying his involvement with the mob, with the beating corrupt heart of Chicago. His moral compass left him unable to continue his work. He could not, he would not hide from his duty. His resolve was set, he would dedicate himself to this new cause. He would need to be careful, if he played his cards right he could build his case work while exonerating his own wrongdoing. 

 

His phone rang, the top brass wanted to meet with him. Grabbing his coat he walked to the elevator and pressed the button for the 15th floor. He marched with his shoulders held high. Prepared to give an update and prepare the steps the FBI would take to remove this corrupt politician and all of his ilk. Walking into the well furnished office he was ordered to sit down by his new boss, an ageing career Agent by the name of Director Stevenson. The man a veteran of WW2 had climbed his ranks into the Bureau from a beat cop. He was a man to follow. A man who Agent Swanson thought he could trust.

 

"Swanson, glad to have you back from the field, I trust you've read the file?" Director Stevenson asked.

 

"Thank you sir. It certainly made for an interesting read, and I'm working on setting up mole inside the Governor Wilson's staff," responded Agent Swanson holding the Directors burning gaze.

 

"Good, I will expect regular updates. We feel this corruption run deeps," continued Director Stevenson.

 

Agent Swanson took his cue to leave, grabbing his coat and walking back to his desk and diving into the paperwork nose first.

 

****

 

Sonny busied himself with the day to day running of his new operation. The work kept his mind busy, and his regular exercise, be it those he did in the morning, or the beatings he dolled out in the evenings, kept his body fit and healthy. His last meeting with Lucky and Meyer had left him cautious. Even their usual cool and casual demeanor was becoming spooked by the growing unrest in Cuba. The streets of Havana regularly patrolled by the military to quell any hopes of rebellion. For now Sonny was kept away from the worst of it. They doubled the guards around the casino to protect their business venture. 

 

Walking the floor of the casino and greeting the nights guest Sonny detected a change in the air. There were less and less Cubans frequenting the joint.  On this night, the usual local degenerates gamblers were not sat at their tables. The crowd seemed muted and reserved. A commotion at the front door caught his attention. Swearing to himself he watched a molotov cocktail sailing through the air. Sonny shouted at his workers to put out the fire as he and his guards rushed outside. A mob awaited them, chanting anti-American slogans hurling bricks at them. Sonny swore to himself, he reached for his pistol he brandished it menacingly in the air he fired a single shot. The crowd parted, running in either direction. 

 

A military truck rolled around the corner slamming on its brakes. Soldiers with American bought arms dived out of the trucks and set about the crowd. Sonny, seeing that this would turn to a slaughter ordered the doors shut and those unfortunate enough to be trapped inside to be taken out the back exit. Throwing the shutters closed and barring the heavy door he and his mobsters prepared themselves to defend the casino if necessary. That nights violence erupted all over the city. A leaf had been turned as Batisto's men set about establishing a semblance of peace.

 

Sonny drove his car back to the hotel, his Cuban guards armed and prepared for a fight sat in the back. He drove the car through wrecked streets. Burnt out wrecks and buildings awaited them around every corner. Pulling his car up outside the hotel he rushed inside handing his guards a wad of cash each. Once upstairs he phoned Meyer asking to meet. The city was going to hell and he needed to make a plan.

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The cold biting wind which swept down from Lake Michigan kept the city streets empty. The lashing rain ran freely through the streets. Agent Swanson's evening had turned from bad to worse. Earlier that morning he had received a call from the Bureau warning him that there was a hit on his head. Phoning Governor Wilson he had asked for a meeting. It had been weeks since they'd last talked. He'd kept the communication brief but stressed the urgency, knowing the Governors line was being tapped by the FBI. The address of their meeting lent caution to his movements. 

 

Agent Swanson ducked into a nearby alley. Ever since leaving the train he was sure he was being followed. The man he'd spotted boarding the train walked past cautiously. Sensing his moment, Agent Swanson grabbed the man from behind and pulled him into the darkness of the alley with his weapon drawn and pointed firmly in the man's back. 

 

"If you try and call for help I'll put a bullet in your back," wheezed Agent Swanson in his nasally voice. The man only nodding in response. 

 

The goon was much larger than Agent Swanson, if he wanted to he could overpower him easily. 

 

"Who sent you? You're following an agent of the FBI," Agent Swanson warned.

 

"Get fucked, I'm no stinking rat," spat the heavyset mobster in a heavy Chicago accent.

 

Agent Swanson's attention was drawn towards the mouth of the alley. Where two men wearing fedoras and dark trench coats appeared. Reaching into their coat pockets they drew pistols and smiled having cornered their prey. 

 

"Stop where you are and drop your weapons, otherwise I'll put a bullet in his back," shouted Agent Swanson.

 

The men laughed in response. Aiming their guns they opened fire filling the alleyway with loud gunfire. Agent Swanson ducked behind his human shield as he felt bullets riddling the man's body. Unable to hold the corpses weight he dove behind a nearby dumpster, the mobsters bullets follow him. A round ricocheted off the dumpster grazing his arm. Agent Swanson was pissed, popping out from his cover he put two bullets in one of their chests. Abandoning his cover he shot at the last mobster, who turned and tried to flee. Agent Swanson put a round in his back and another in his head for good measure.

 

Walking up to the mobster with two holes in his chest he kicked his gun out of reach and grabbed him by the collar.

 

"Who sent you," he demanded angrily.

 

"Go fuck yourself," was the only response Agent Swanson got as the man breathed his last breaths. 

 

****

 

The unrest which gripped Cuba had spread across the city. The streets echoing to the chants of "Viva la revolución". Sonny stocked his business with arms and guards. The extra layer of protection necessary to ensure visitors would continue to fill the casino. Sonny sat at the bar and ordered himself a drink. Tonight promised to be a quiet night. Taking a puff from his cigar he kept an eye on the floor while resting his weary bones. 

 

Sonny's rest was disturbed as an explosion erupted at the front door. He was knocked off his stool by the shock wave of the blast. Pulling himself to his feet he spat blood onto the floor. The dust from the explosion covered him from head to toe. Anyone unfortunate enough to be near the front of the building now lay in bloodied pools. Shaking himself into action Sonny dove behind the bar as armed rebels charged into the building. Gunfire smashed into the bar and filled the casino. Sonny reached behind the bar and grabbed a hidden shotgun. Popping up out of his cover he dropped the nearest rebel. His guards, recovering from the shock of the initial blast ducked behind any cover they could find and returned fire.

 

The room was aflame, heavy smoke spilling into the casino. The rebels fled into the night as more of their side were picked off from concentrated shots. Sonny dove back over the bar and shouted at everyone to flee. The fire would cook them alive if they did not move now. Leading anyone still standing out into the storage area they rushed into the alleyway behind the casino and dove into the waiting cars. Sonny leapt into the back of the nearest vehicle and reloaded his shotgun. The cars sped out into the Havana streets and met the chaos which had taken hold over the city. The vehicles forced to divert multiple times as military checkpoints tried to restore order. 

 

Back in his hotel, Sonny poured himself a drink and called Lucky, explaining the nights events. The ageing mobster told Sonny to stay in his hotel. They were arranging a sit down with the Dons and Godfather and would send for him when he was needed. Sonny noticed his reflection in the mirror and swore to himself. Setting his drink on the table he tore off his ruined suit and trousers, hopping into the shower to try and wash off the dust and dirt. He knew he had to leave soon, before he became another victim of the madness which had taken over the city. 

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The sit down, led my Lucky and Meyer had not stilled Sonny's fears. The unrest which had gripped Havana had spread in from the farms and surrounding area. The rumors of open rebellion had turned into stories of revolution, much too close to home for Sonny's liking. Sonny busied himself packing his few meager belongings. It was time to leave. 

 

Climbing into the back of the Chevrolet Bel Air his body guards fired up the engine. Sonny having phoned ahead was set to board Meyer's private jet to get out of country. He'd settled his debts with his old friend and still had some to spare. He'd enjoyed his time in Cuba his wounds healing in the warm climate. The car came to a screeching stop as a mob of angry Cuban's marched further up the street. Sonny's bodyguards swore in Cuban as the military blocked the road ahead. Slamming the car into reverse they were forced into taking another route. The tension in the vehicle growing as each attempt met failure. Sonny's nerves growing as the signs of violent unrest grew. 

 

The car pulled up outside the Havana airport. Sonny handed each of his bodyguards a wad of cash thanking them for their service. Hurrying into the airport terminal he was directed towards the private jet. Sitting back on the jet Sonny ordered himself a whisky and lit himself a smoke. Resting his fedora over his face he tried to catch up on some sleep.

 

****

 

Sonny climbed down the steps of the private jet, having landed in Miami. His arrival had not gone unnoticed. The dark runway lit up by flashing police cars. The officers who awaited the jet demanded to know where Meyer Lansky was hiding. Sonny remained silent as the officers stormed into the jet and began searching it for his friend. Once satisfied they piled out the plane and continued their questioning. Sonny refused to answer, the last thing he would do is sell out his friend. The police officers clearly sick of him man handled him into the back of the waiting cars and sped towards the station. If they thought a night in the cells would loosen his lips they had another thing coming.

 

Sitting in the communal cell Sonny did his best to get comfortable. He hadn't spent twenty years in prison to be intimidated by threats. He knew his rights, he knew if they had anything concrete on him he'd have been marched into questioning. Lighting up another cigarette he sat back on the uncomfortable bench and watched the other poor suckers locked up in the cell with him. It was the usual suspect of con men and criminals. A heavyset Cuban approached his position. The man wore a brightly colored shirt left open. A cheap fake golden medallion could be seen below the the wife beater covering his hairy chest. The handlebar mostache completed his sleazy look. 

 

"Give me a smoke," the Cuban demanded in heavily accented English.

 

Sonny ignored the man, he was many things but a victim was not one.

 

"You fucking deaf or stupid? Give me a fucking smoke," the Cuban continued. 

 

Taking another menacing step towards Sonny, the Cuban was left surprised as he found himself barreled onto the floor. Sonny grabbed the heavyset man by the scruff of the neck and broke his nose. Not willing to let the Cuban gain an advantage Sonny smashed his head back into the cold floor of the cell. The man fell into a heap with a sickening crash as his skull rebounded from the floor. Sonny took a step back and sat on the uncomfortable bench lighting another cigarette. 

 

A guard doing his round noticed the downed man and rushed into the cell. Sonny kept his face impassive. 

 

"What the fuck happened to him?" the guard asked checking for a pulse. 

 

"Looks like he had a fall," responded Sonny taking another pull from his cigarette. 

 

The guard called for help and they manhandled Sonny out the cell. He was thrown into solitary confinement, and was glad for the rest. Closing his eyes Sonny waited. As expected he heard keys rattling in the door. The guards shouted at him to get up and out. He was led from the cell feeling their icy stares drilling into his skull. At the police station's entrance his friend Vito waited for him. Climbing into his car they drove into the Miami night chuckling at his predicament. 

 

Back at Vito's casino they were shown to a booth and food delivered. The pair sat eating and drinking catching up on the past few weeks events. With a head dizzied by expensive wine and traditional Canadian whisky Sonny was driven to a nearby hotel. Walking into the comfortable room he was glad to be home in America. Tomorrow he would board a flight to Las Vegas and return to his responsibilities. 

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The dry desert heat hit Sonny as he strode out of the airplane, sweat already beginning to pour down his back. Pulling on a pair of shades he followed the other passengers into the airport. Glad to be outside the high desert sun Sonny made his way to the exit and hailed a cab. The journey through Las Vegas to the strip passed easily, Sonny glad to be able to relax compared to the harrying exit through Havana. Arriving back at his swanky Las Vegas apartment he sat down to a glass of whisky and lit a Cuban cigar. Reaching for his telephone he called ahead to the Stargazers HQ to announce his return. 

 

Having showered and changed into a light suit Vito retrieved his Red Chevrolet Bel Air from the car park below the apartment building. As he walked towards the car he noticed the bullet holes in the wall where he had barely survived the earlier attack. Firing up the willing engine it responded with a roar, tires spitting gravel Vito shot out of the car park and onto the Las Vegas Strip. It felt good to be behind the wheel of his old car. Driving to the Stargazers HQ he pulled up out front and handed the keys to one of the wise guys.

 

Walking inside he asked a made man where Godfather Fluffy was, "Out on business," he responded coldly. 

 

Sonny was directed into Fluffy's office, where his Right Hand Man was waiting. Dropping the heavy duffel bag on the table Sonny took a seat.

 

The Right Hand Man began, "Fluffy's chasing the man who ordered the hit on you. When he found out what happened he was pissed."

 

"I'm glad to hear, I'll be on the next plane to help," responded Sonny, eager to seek his revenge.

 

"That won't be necessary, Fluffy has it handled, he's asked that you stay out," the Right Hand Man ordered. 

 

Sonny could only nod in response. The need for vengeance burned in his heart but he would not and could not disobey a direct order from his Godfather. Opening the heavy duffel back he had dropped on the table Sonny stated this was his tribute. The Right Hand Man was pleased with the taking. Millions of laundered dollars rested in the bag. Sonny was given leave to exit the room, walking to the bar he ordered himself a whisky for the road. He spent the afternoon catching up with the crew, discussing new scams and planning for the future. 

 

****

 

Agent Swanson left his apartment without even picking up a change of shirt. He couldn't be sure who had sent the hit squad after him. He would like to think had it been the FBI they'd have been more successful, but he couldn't be sure. Renting a room in a motel outside town he plotted his next moves. He needed to contact Director Stevenson but could not risk using any of the usual channels. Walking to a nearby pay phone he was careful that he wasn't followed. He had to risk contacting Governor Wilson, even a corrupt ally could prove the difference between life and death in his current predicament. 

 

"This is the office of Governor Wilson please hold while we connect your call," the voice on the other end of the line began.

 

After a short pause a voice asked, "Hello, who is this?" 

 

"This is FBI Agent Swanson, I need to talk to Governor Wilson urgently," Agent Swanson responded.

 

There was a brief pause before Governor Wilson remarked, "You certainly know how to make friends."

 

"Ordering the hit on a FBI agent is a federal crime," continued Agent Swanson, stepping back naturally into his role.

 

"Ordering a hit on a dead man isn't, rot in pieces," the phone clicked dead.

 

Filling the payphone with coins Agent Swanson rang the direct number of Director Stevenson. Now he knew who had ordered the hit he could reach out to the Bureau. Agent Swanson explained his predicament, that he had narrowly avoided a mob hit squad, but kept out the details regarding Governor Wilson. Director Stevenson ordered him to return to their office but stopped Agent Swanson in his tracks when he demanded to know where he was. Agent Swanson suspicion grew, he responded that he would return as soon as possible before hanging up the phone. 

 

Agent Swanson packed his few meager belongings and sped away in his car. 

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Sonny busied himself getting his operations up into working order. Now he was back in Las Vegas he needed to make sure the made men that answered to him were paying their dues. The scams he had set up before leaving Las Vegas were proving profitable. The usual extortion measures and shakedowns helped fill the coffers. Sonny had arranged a sit down with one of his most trusted men, a young up and coming wise guy by the name of Salvatore Luca. The pair met at one of the local restaurants owned by the Stargazers. Seated at their table they helped themselves to expensive wine and heaped plates of lobster, steak and pasta. 

 

"I've some business I think you'll be interested in," Salvatore began between mouthfuls of food. 

 

"I'm all ears," Sonny responded coolly. 

 

The pair sat and discussed the new business venture. It would require legitimate fronts to legally buy wholesale gasoline from Panama. These companies, who were required by law to pay the taxes on the gasoline once entering America would defraud the government of the owed tax money. Whenever the government came knocking the businesses would file for bankruptcy and start afresh, prepared to continue the scam. Salvatore needed Sonny's business contacts and capital to set these shell companies up. Sonny told Salvatore he would think about it and get back to him. The pair embraced warmly before leaving the restaurant and going their separate ways. 

 

Sonny drove back to his apartment and sat down to think about the new venture. He could extort local gas station owners into working for him, and acting as fronts for the sale of the illegal gas. Phoning up some of Meyer's gang he began to set up legitimate businesses who would purchase the wholesale gas from Panama. If things went to plan this would be see record profits. Meeting Salvatore the next day he told him he was interested. To begin with he would need the wise guy to shake down gas stations across the state lines. He figured it would be better not to work too close to home. Once the gas stations were under their control they would place men they trusted into ownership positions, and the cash would be collected weekly.

 

The business could have no official connection to the mob. Thankfully, there were many business men who owed the Stargazers large sums of money in Las Vegas, these men would be extorted and forced to act as proxies. If any of them dare spoke or tried to turn state witness, they would find themselves in another hole out in the desert. Sonny busied himself setting up this scheme. Salvatore would act as the gangs muscle, while Sonny and his associates would act as the brains.

 

****

 

Agent Swanson was now on the run. His meeting with the Director Stevenson had gone from bad to worse. The ageing Director knew everything. From his involvement with Governor Wilson, to his quest to murder Sonny Franseze. The Director had tried to arrest Swanson, accusing him of corruption and stating that he would serve hard time for the crimes he had committed. Agent Swanson barely escaped that encounter out of cuffs. 

 

His mind struggled with the concept of no longer belonging to an agency he had spent his life trying to join. The final words of Director Stevenson forced his hand into escape. He had failed to kill Sonny Franseze, the bastard still lived. He would see that bastard dead before handing himself into the law. He had apologized profusely when he knocked the ageing Director to the ground and secured his hands in cuffs. Escaping into the cold Chicago night he had fled the scene.

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Fluff had been a patient feline, one that would never do things overnight or too hasty. He knew if he would ensure the long term protection of his attacked family member Sonny that he would have to bring his A game. There was no way that any outside of the family would get away with attacking one of his own, let alone nearly killing one!

 

So he called his captains and trusted advisors to make a plan, a plan to ensure that that Windbag of a Swanson would get utterly ousted from the federal bureau and then became a sitting duck and could be put to the bottom of Lake Michigan without any inquiries or anyone caring whether the man lived or died.

It was not an easy task, for the man had an excellent reputation and seemed to even be connected to the governor of Michigan. Well, that required pulling a ton of strings to ensure that support was to be pulled. Fluff asked Aqua if she knew the wife of the governor, being a member of the nation's high society she knew basically any women of influence or partner to anyone with influence. She nodded, confirming she did indeed and that she would be able to work out an angle. If she was given a week or 2 she'd be able to figure out the weak points of the governor that Fluff could use to ensure he'd sever that relation for good!

 

Next he turned to Cork and Gordon, who used their own smuggling operations across the country to make sure local businessmen would have well filled shelves but also coffers. The city of chicago had only limited operations run by capable people, so they had been requiring out of town service, such as proper quality liquor, exotic ingredients and evening ladies that would make a meal a pleasant experience. One of their most important guests at their underground gentlemen's restaurants was the lead of the Chicago branch of the Feds, an old loner by the name of Stevenson. Luck struck as information came to Fluff from their liaison who was the main contact for good, old Stevenson that Swanson was actually a direct reportee of the man. Well, well, well, Fluff thought, perhaps it was time for a trip to Chicago and see if all the bragging his men were making of this best place ever in Chicago was true.

 

As he flew to Chicago, using a decent amount of his free mileage he had saved up to transport a decent security detail. Chicago had been a bit too wilder than the West he was used to by now, and proper protection never hurt. Especially in the Windy City, where he had actually faced trouble in the past!

 

As they touched down, familiar faces were there to great them at the airport and swiftly a Rolls-Royce came rolling up to transport Fluff, Gordon and Cork and several long cars waited around the corner to transport their security detail. The Rolls was fitted with armored plates in the bodywork just to be safe. As they arrived at the Restaurant a boy ran out to receive them, thought he would pet the 'cute little cat' but left with 1 eye less, Fluff was not in a mood. So they entered and shortly after they had established themselves, Gordon in the kitchen and Cork taking the role of Maître d', Stevenson came in as expected with his date. A drab looking, used up working lady far beyond her peak. But then again, the man didn't have as much money as the average client, and had to make due within his means.

Fluff gestured to have the man seated at the table next to him, waited until he seemed to relax in the atmosphere of warmth, both ambient and on his lap, and then swooped in. He greeted the man, unsure if the man knew who he was. But as he flashed his claws and spoke telepathically with intent, the fear was paramount. He chuckled internally, this was gonna be easier than he thought!

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Sonny landed in sunny Los Angeles, prepared to meet some new contacts and begin to set up the infrastructure necessary to begin the gasoline scam. As he walked out the airport he was met by a hail of bullets. Ducking below a nearby car he drew his colt 1911 and returned shots. The mobster sent to ambush him fell to a hail of well aimed .45 bullets. Sonny kept his gun up checking for further attacks. He didn't recognize the man who'd taken a shot at him but was careful all the same. Checking the dead mobsters pockets he found the keys for a nearby Cadillac. Climbing into the vehicle he drove to the hotel he'd booked before leaving Las Vegas. 

 

Upon entering the air-conditioned reception he retrieved the key from the lady at the front. She explained that he had a call waiting for him. Carrying his bags to the nearby elevator Sonny found his room and dropped them on the sofa. Walking up to the phone he was surprised to find Fluffy's LHM on the other line. They explained that Las Vegas was at war with Los Angeles and to contact this number to help. Sonny dropped all his business priorities and set about helping the war effort. 

 

As he drove through the busy streets he noticed isolated firefights breaking out. This was not a city wipe, but a targeted attack. Sonny met up with his Godfather Fluffy and took his orders. Getting back into the car he drove out into the city to see his Godfather's order fulfilled. Upon completing his mission, and trusting to Fluffy's wisdom following he followed his orders to board a private plane to New York and left the city of Los Angeles. 

 

****

 

Arriving in New York Sonny contacted some old friends he still knew in the city. He spent the next couple of days keeping his head down, awaiting further orders. He had to admit he was happy to be in the cold and rainy city. He missed the high rises of his home. It didn't matter how long he went away, the streets of New York always felt familiar to him. Driving back to his hotel in a borrowed car the receptionist told him that he'd missed a call, and the caller had asked that he phone them back as soon as possible. Leaving them with a nice wad of cash as a tip Sonny climbed into the elevator. Once upstairs he rang the number left scribbled on the note. 

 

"Fluffy wants you back in Las Vegas," the voice returned.

 

"Capiche, I'll be on the next plane," Sonny responded, keeping the communication brief. 

 

Packing his few belongings he hailed a cab to the nearest airport. Ordering a ticket on the next flight he sat in the departure lounge. Lighting up a smoke he took a sip of whisky, with nothing else to do but wait he sat back and relaxed. 

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Arriving at the Las Vegas airport Sonny walked to a nearby payphone and announced his arrival back at the Stargazer's headquarters. The made man on the other line told Sonny to hurry back to the headquarters as Godfather Fluff had important news. Hailing a nearby cab he paid the driver an extra $50 to hit the gas. Pulling up outside the Stargazer headquarters Sonny paid the driver his due and marched inside. The headquarters ominously quiet as Godfather Fluff gathered the whole crew together.

 

Sonny left the meeting with a grin on his face. Godfather Fluff's mission in Los Angeles had been a success. He had asked some of their number to move out to Los Angeles to help take over the city. Godfather Fluff had asked Sonny if he would set up his own family on the Strip, Las Vegas. Sonny had agreed without a moments pause. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined he would get this opportunity. When he had been released from prison all that time ago, he had imagined rejoining the life, but never getting to lead his own family. Sonny sought out his two closest friends and asked them to attend a sit down. 

 

****

 

Sitting back in the office of his new headquarters Sonny went about his daily business. The headquarters guards shift rota had been organized, and his weekly taxes paid to Godfather Fluff. Walking out of the office he followed the winding corridors passing by barred windows and reinforced door as he headed towards the legitimate front of the headquarters, the Outfit casino. The heavily armed guards unlocked the huge metal doors which formed the only entrance to the heavily guarded headquarters. 

 

Inside the foyer to his casino Sonny smiled to himself as Las Vegas natives went about their business. Taking a right he walked onto the casino floor and checked in with his staff. All was well there had been no trouble thus far but the night was young. Sonny walked the floor checking for any suspicious activity. Spotting a nearby gambler acting shady he kept his eye on the man. He was clearly up to the some scam, frequently tapping his foot, sweating profusely and mumbling into the collar of his shirt. His winnings were piled in front of him as he beat the house repeatedly in a game of poker. 

 

Sonny walked over to one of his staff and told him they had a scammer sat at the table. Telling the guard not to cause a fuss he asked for him to bring the man out back to an area they reserved for people thinking they could cheat the mob. Turning to the man responsible for running the casino's security he told him to keep an eye out for the scammers accomplice. Walking towards a door at the back of the casino Sonny made small talk with the gamblers acting natural. The double door was guarded by two heavyset members of staff and had a sign stating, "Staff Only", Sonny followed the corridor careful to avoid the staff who went about their business collecting cash and depositing it in the casinos vault.  

 

Walking into the backroom Sonny approached his guards who busied themselves beating the scammer. The man's face was bloodied as the guards gloved fists smashed some sense into the man. Taking off his jacket and leaving it on a nearby hook Sonny rolled up his sleeves.

 

"Now do I look like the kind of man you think you can fuck?" Sonny asked rhetorically. 

 

The scammer tried to protest his innocence so Sonny told the guards to remove his shirt. As expected he was wearing a wire and earpiece. Two more of Sonny's guard dragged another man and dropped him heavily on the floor. Removing his shirt they found a long snaking wire which fed into an improvised morse code device that the man held in his hand. The pair had set up a good scam. While one sat at the table the other would look at the tables cards and report back via morse code into an earpiece. Once the gig was up Sonny watched the fight leave their eyes. They knew they were fucked.

 

"Now I'm a reasonable man, but you must understand. I am not the kind of man to be fucked," Sonny stated flatly. 

 

Turning to the head of the casino's security Sonny told him what needed to be done. He could not risk becoming a victim in this business. Once a scammer got away with it his casino would be overrun with people taking liberties. Sonny told the man to take a hammer to their hands and knees. He'd leave them crippled but still breathing. If he ever saw them enter his casino again he'd popped their heads in a vice until their brains bled out their noses. 

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Sonny awoke in his new penthouse apartment atop the Outfit hotel. The apartment dominated the upper floor and had its own elevator that was only accessible via the headquarters below. Performing his morning exercises in his newly installed gymnasium Sonny felt the strength returning to his ageing limbs. Building up a sweat he headed towards the walk in shower and prepared himself to meet his day. Donning an expensive suit, trousers and shoes he took a moment to check his appearance in the mirror. Satisfied that he looked the part of a crew leader he pressed the button to the elevator and waited. 

 

Once downstairs Sonny followed the winding corridors which flowed through his headquarters. Stopping for the occasional word with his crew where appropriate. Lighting himself a Cuban cigar he waited for the guards to open the reinforced door which led into the casino foyer. Sonny walked towards the casino, stopping to chat to regulars he recognized going about their daily gambling habits. One of the ladies on reception called him over and stated that he had visitors, some FBI agents who'd been very insistent that they would wait for him at the bar.

 

Sonny swore to himself, just what he needed, with his new business venture still in its infancy the last thing he needed were the fucking FBI sniffing around his affairs. Walking with purpose he headed towards the bar, and the two black suited men who stiffly sipped at drinks. 

 

"I take it you are Sonny Franzese," spoke the agent to Sonny's left, the taller of the pair with a square jaw and equally square shoulders. 

 

"We need to talk to you, in private preferably," spoke the agent to Sonny's right, slightly smaller but wider and more muscled than his counterpart. 

 

Smiling in response Sonny led the pair to his office located behind the casino. The pair made small talk, already playing a game trying to probe Sonny for answers. Sonny having grown up avoiding the officers of the law kept his lips tight, responding politely but giving nothing away. 

 

Once sat in Sonny's office he offered them both a drink to which they refused. The taller square jawed agent introduced himself as Agent Smith, while the shorter broader agent introduced himself as Agent Johnson. The pair were seasoned officers and fitted into their roles comfortably. 

 

"I believe you have met one of our colleagues an Agent Swanson," Agent Smith began.

 

Sonny took a pull from his cigar, "I can't say I have."

 

"The man had a personal vendetta against you, we've interrogated his associates and his files and he has tried to take your life on numerous occasions. Care to tell us why?" Agent Johnson enquired.

 

"Like I said I've never met the man," responded Sonny coolly. 

 

The agents stood in unison clearly sick of their game. To Sonny's surprise Agent Johnson walked towards the door locking it, while Agent Smith used his superior height to tower over Sonny's desk. 

 

"Agent Swanson is reported missing, if we find out you or any of your fucking mob are responsible, we'll personally see you hung up by your guts," Agent Smith warned as he white knuckled the desk.

 

Sonny smiled in response, "Of course Agents, if I hear anything you'll be the first to know." 

 

Turning on his heel Agent Smith marched towards the door, as Agent Johnson unlocked it, "We'll be seeing you around Sonny," Agent Johnson warned. 

 

Sonny sat back in his chair as they left the room taking another pull from his Cuban cigar. This wasn't the first time nor the last that the agents of the law had tried to turn their screws to force a statement out of him. Returning to his business he put the matter to the back of his mind. The last he'd heard Godfather Fluff had dealt with that problem and Sonny was no stinking rat. He'd sooner spend his life in prison than ever turn on his family. 

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Sonny sat back impressed at his new business venture's profits. The shell companies set up to buy oil legally from Panama and extort the government out of tax money were working a treat. The oil was then delivered to a string of gas stations he unofficially owned. In the first couple of weeks he had seen millions in profits, which he laundered through the Outfit casino and the associated bar, restaurant and swanky hotel. Salvatore had struck gold with this new venture, Sonny felt he could trust the man to continue handling the day to day running of the venture. Sonny began to split the loads of cash into separate piles, careful to keep a portion back as tribute to Godfather Fluff. Satisfied with the split he handed a large portion to Salvatore and told the wise guy he was doing good work, if he kept it up there would be many more opportunities in the future. 

 

As Salvatore left the office Sonny's attention was drawn to his ringing phone on the other line a muffled voice asking him for a meeting. Sonny knew better than to talk on an open line and instead put the phone down. Climbing out of his leather chair he grabbed his fedora and walked out of his office. Calling to the head of his security detailed he asked for his car to be made ready. Walking into the casino he went about his daily business checking in with the various heads of the departments. Walking out of the front door he was met by a group of his guards driving one of Sonny's most recent purchases, a Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended colored in a light cream. 

 

Sitting back in the vehicles comfortable cream leather seats Sonny poured himself a drink from the small bar to his front. The car sped out into the desert towards the arranged meeting spot. As the sun was setting over the horizon the car pulled up outside the abandoned factory building. Making sure his guards had weapons locked and loaded Sonny climbed out the back of the car and walked the short distance towards the other car. The man he was meeting mirrored his movements and the pair met in the middle, their passing lit up by each cars headlights.

 

"Sonny its nice to see you," said the local police officer, one of the many kept on his payroll.

 

"Yeah you too Jimmy, what brings us out here on this fine night?" Sonny asked taking another pull from his cigar. 

 

"The fucking FBI are all over me, they're cracking down on corruption in the department. You gotta understand Sonny we can't risk being on your payroll," Officer Jimmy spoke in an urgent tone.

 

Sonny digested the news, noticing the man was sweating profusely regardless of the cold night. A life spent in the mob dealing with corrupt cops made him cautious.

 

Taking a second to compose himself he responded, "Jimmy I came out here to talk about the gambling money you owe the casino. I don't know who you think I am, but why would a legitimate law abiding business man like myself be associated with such actions?" 

 

"Sonny its no time to play fools, we both know the nature of what you get up to," Jimmy responded desperate to get Sonny to speak.

 

"Look Jimmy, I can accept payment next week, you know I'm a reasonable man, but if I don't see some return on the debt that is owed I will be contacting our lawyers," Sonny responded coolly.

 

Sonny turned on his heels and marched back to his car. Jimmy called out to him but he ignored the man. Once back in the car he turned to his guards and told them to put a tail on the corrupt cop. Sonny suspected the fucker was wearing a wire, trying to get him to incriminate himself at the behest of the FBI. Sonny warned his guards to be careful and not to arouse suspicion. If he was found to be wearing a wire they'd make an example of him, but it would need to look like an accident. 

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Sonny listened to the hushed whispers from the head of his security detail. They sat in a private booth in the busy restaurant located inside the Outfit Casino. Helping himself to another spoonful of tomato soup Sonny kept his face neutral as the guard continued to inform him of their findings. They had tracked the corrupt police officer back to a motel, where they saw the man meeting with some suits. Sonny knew these men would be two agents of the FBI that had interrogated him previously. They waited for the corrupt agent to leave the motel and picked him off the streets. As expected the man had been wearing a wire, as expected he had turned on Sonny and the mob, as expected he now resided in one of the many holes that littered the Las Vegas desert. 

 

Wiping at the corners of his mouth with a napkin Sonny thanked the guard, who taking the hint left Sonny to his food. Sonny tucked into the his main course, a fine piece of t-bone steak as he mulled over his options. He knew staying in Las Vegas had its risks. With his new business venture raking in money he didn't want the FBI to take notice. Instead he decided his best course would be to lead them astray. Having finished his meal he gulped down the rest of his whisky and thanked the waiter leaving him a generous tip. Strolling out of the restaurant he walked to casino reception and asked one of the ladies working there to book him on the next flight to Chicago. 

 

Walking into his headquarters Sonny called for his right hand man BigEasy and explained their predicament, asking him to keep an eye on his business ventures while he left the city. Patting his friend on the back he told him he would have control of the crew in his absence, he trusted the man with his life, never once letting him down. Walking out of the office Sonny followed the winding corridors to the elevator which led to his penthouse apartment. 


Back in his apartment he packed a heavy suitcase with clothes, hats and shoes. This time he made sure to pack for the weather. Once prepared he made a show of ordering his Rolls-Royce to pick him up from the front of the casino, making sure his leaving would be done in plain sight. Sitting back in the comfortable vehicle he made himself a drink and lit a smoke. Once at the airport he was ushered towards his private jet and boarded on a direct flight to Chicago. 

 

****

 

Agent Johnson and Smith sat in a tinted car opposite the Outfit Casino, they watched as Sonny hurried out of the building and climbed into his ostentatious Rolls-Royce, nervously looking over his shoulder. The pair smiled to each other, knowing that their ploy had worked. The mobster was smart, but they were smarter. The chase was now on. They would keep up the pressure trailing his every movement until he made a mistake and then they would swoop in. With the promise of half a century in prison for killing an Agent of the FBI he would soon squeal, revealing his families dirty little secrets. 

 

Phoning ahead to the airport they found out the location of his private jet. Back to Chicago it would seem. Back to the city where it had all begun and where it would end. Back to destroy any evidence of his involvement in Agent Swanson's disappearance. The trap was set and their prey was in their sights. It would only take a bit of gentle encouragement for him to become caught. With tickets for the next flight to Chicago booked the pair packed their belongings and prepared to leave Las Vegas. 

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Agent Smith and his partner Agent Johnson hit the ground running after landing in Chicago. Organizing a meeting with Director Stevenson they fed back the information they had gathered in Las Vegas. Director Stevenson was a man to look up to, a career agent with a rap sheet worthy of legend. It was Director Stevenson who had discovered the corruption at the heart of his department, who had brought in Agent Smith and Agent Johnson to find out what had happened to Agent Swanson. Director Stevenson had given them their lead, a target to focus their attention, and they had followed it willingly, and would follow it to its logical conclusion.

 

Director Stevenson handed the men a dossier with all those his agency suspected of being involved in the city, top of the list was a local politician said to be making a bid for senator, a career politician called Governor Wilson. The pair of seasoned agents digested the news from the report drawing logical conclusions in their heads. Agent Smith pointed to a name in the dossier that came up again and again. A mobster who was thought to have ordered the hit on the original politician that Agent Swanson had person ties to. The man was a capo of one of the Chicago Outfit. 

 

"I take it you have Governor Wilson under suitable observation?" asked Agent Smith.

 

"Of course, but given our current political climate he is as good as untouchable, we'll need some hard evidence before we can reveal our activities," warned Director Stevenson, he hadn't gotten to his position by being careless.

 

"I'd suggest starting with this capo of the Chicago Outfit, Frank Giancana" returned Agent Johnson. 

 

"He's as slippery as an eel, we've had Agents on him for months but can never make anything stick," Director Stevenson responded coolly in his neutral accented American-English. 

 

"Leave it with us. We've got a couple of solid leads to focus our attention on, we'll report back as soon as we have something concrete," Agent Smith stated as he stood from his chair.

 

The pair exchanged handshakes with Director Stevenson and made their way out of his office. Walking to the nearby elevator they began to discuss their next moves. For now it would be better if they operated in secret, not trusting in the local Police Department given the rampant corruption across the city. With two targets to watch they decided to split their resources. Agent Smith would follow Sonny Franseze tracking his movements while Agent Johnson would apply the screws to Frank Giancana and his associates across the city. The two friends shook hands and arranged regular means of contact and updates. Field work was dangerous at the best of time and it paid to remain in constant contact with other agents. 

 

****

 

Agent Johnson put down his binoculars and scribbled some notes on the pad at his lap. This was textbook agency work, build a picture of your targets movements, watch and observe until you knew their daily activities and associates. Agent Johnson sketched out the crews structure in his mind, probing it for weakness. Once back at agency headquarters he would interrogate their files on his targets associates. All he needed was the right person to focus his attention on, once the screws were pulled tight he would break them, the threat of a life spent in prison usually enough to force people into turning state witness. 

 

Turning over the engine of his black Buick Super Agent Johnson drove back towards the agency headquarters, taking a circuitous route to avoid any tails, it always paid to be cautious in this line of work. The winter rains lashed down about him, as the windy city lived up to its name. As he waited at a stop light his keen eyes noticed an unmarked police vehicle passing opposite. He recognized the drivers as a couple of detectives he'd had the unfortunate opportunity to work with on a previous case. The pair were dirty to the bone, clearly on the Chicago Outfit's payroll. Agent Johnson knew this to be one of the districts under the Outfit's control. Performing a u-turn at the next intersection he followed the detectives from a distance.

 

The corruption so deep rooted in Chicago society that the detectives made no effort to conceal their nefarious operations. Agent Johnson followed their vehicle to one of the Chicago Outfits known hideouts. Parking opposite the building he reached for his binoculars and notepad, quickly jotting down the names of the detectives for later reference. He watched as the detectives met with an enforcer of the Chicago Outfit, receiving a stack of cash for their services. Agent Johnson smiled to himself, he had watched the enforcer meet with Frank Giancana earlier that day. He performed a quick profile of the man to cross check with the agencies criminal database later. 


Agent Johnson pulled his black Buick into an empty lot in the underground car park of the agency headquarters. Walking into the elevator he pressed the button for the floor where Director Stevenson had provided the pair of agents with an office space. Using a blackboard he jotted down the key information he had observed and started to build the Outfits crew structure that existed around Frank Giancana. Satisfied with his work so far he turned as his partner walked into the office. The pair exchanged notes relying on each others intellects to fill in any gaps. 

 

Agent Smith's quest had been less successful. Sonny had spent his day drinking and meeting with local friends and mobsters. He hadn't met with any of the known associates or performed any nefarious tasks. Agent Smith knew he would slip up eventually, he knew full time mobsters like Sonny couldn't help themselves. 

 

Agent Johnson and Agent Smith worked late into the night. Using the agency's abundant resources they compiled a picture of Frank Giancana and his business associates. They marked the names of the two detectives as people of interest. Finishing his cigarette Agent Johnson stifled a yawn. It had been a long day, and there promised to be many long days ahead of them. Turning to Agent Smith he suggested they should finish for the night. They would both be up early the next day staking out their targets. 

 

****

 

Sonny sat at a table in the lavishly decorated Chicago restaurant. Taking a sip from his whisky and a pull from his cigar he chatted idly with the ageing Don before him. The years hadn't been kind on the man, his hair was now thin, the combover doing little to disguise his balding head. His once rakish features were now podgy from a life of luxury. The man had gone far in this life of theirs, surviving the bloody street wars of Al Capone and rising to the prestigious rank of Don. Don Maranzano was a respected man in the city of Chiago. 

 

It had been a life time since he'd last seen the man. Sonny fondly remembered the last time they'd seen each other during prohibition, he'd worked closely with Don Maranzano and his crew to bring bootlegged Canadian whisky over the border and into the states via Lake Michigan. The pair laughed as they spoke of these simpler times. What they would give to be back in those times. 

 

Sonny changed the direction of the conversation, switching to hushed whispers. He enquired about these two FBI Agents and was told they were a stickily pair unwilling to be bought. They worked for a man named Director Stevenson, who rumor had it was looking for one of his Agents who had gone missing in the city. Sonny kept his face neutral at the mention of Agent Swanson's disappearance.

 

Drinking late into the evening Sonny thanked the Don for his hospitality and asked that they stay in touch in the future. A waiter handed Sonny his coat and fedora and he walked into the cold night. Climbing into the back of the waiting car he asked his bodyguard to drive him back to the hotel. Sonny smiled as he noticed a set of headlights switch on as they made to leave. As expected the FBI Agents were tailing him. Leaning forward to talk to the driver he suggested they take a tour of Chicago to keep the poor man busy. Sitting back he lit himself a cigar and enjoyed the sights of the city as they slid passed his window.  

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