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The Hitman’s Tale – 1.00 The End of the Dalminetti Mafia

THE HITMAN’S TALE

Once upon a time, a thousand moons into the future (or something like that), there was a small system of planets that had been warring for decades. The two sides were both equal in power and were locked in a stalemate. It appeared as though the two opposed sides would be trapped in an ongoing battle for the rest of eternity.

The two sides were opposites in every way. On one side were the dark and corrupt beings that had crawled out from the depths of their swamp-infested homeworld. Their technology wasn’t great but they possessed other means of power in the mysterious art of magic1. On the opposing side were the beings of light that were considered morally and technologically superior2 to their rivals, and yet they were just as trapped in the stalemate. Their war seemed to be taking them towards the direction of incredibly slow mutual destruction. It was like watching a tortoise walk towards an open blender.

The Planet of Light was known more generally as ‘Lusinia’. Inhabited by thousands, Lusinia was the central point of the subiverse3 it lay in. Despite the conflict between the two planets, Lusinia acted a central hub for activity, particularly the illegal sort. The unofficial major city of Lusinia was the City of Light, named after the planet it was constructed on. The City itself sat on several huge plates, supported by four behemoth pipes that supplied the power, water, waste disposal and communication to the city. Fabled to be one of the oldest cities on the planet, it was also the most corrupt, home to all manner of thieves, murderers and other undesirables. Those who had the money could afford to buy into the tall skyscrapers and homes built on the top plate, away from the ground and the lower plates where most of the scum resided. At the centre of the top plate sat the Salmanic Incorporated building, generally known as ‘Salmanic Tower’; this gigantic structure was the home of Silverton Salmanic, the most powerful man on the planet and head of the corporation with the monopoly on the planet’s power supply.

It is at this point in time that Silverton has decided to take action against members of the Dark Planet targeting his power lines. His decision to employ mercenaries will have a huge affect on the city, if not the entire planet. But it is not here we start our story, but instead at a small restaurant located in the downtown City of Light, amongst the upmarket shops and homes on the second plate.

Joe sipped his coffee as the warm morning breeze drifted through the quiet street around him, rustling the newspaper that sat folded into a bundle on the outdoor cafe table he was sat at. It was another fine day for the City of Light, he decided, gulping down the last dregs of the coffee before crumpling the polystyrene cup in his hand and throwing it perfectly into the wire dustbin about a metre away. He watched as the sunlight reflected off the side of city’s top plate away up in the distance. It was pretty, if you liked that sort of thing.

It was going to be a quiet day, supposedly. The Dalminetti Mafia had left town to go to some big gang conference on Casinopolis Island, leaving behind all the guys who just didn’t want to go. Including himself, that left Alfie ‘the Businessman’ Cartwright, nicknamed due to his demeanour when it came to extorting money out of people (usually with the aid of a crowbar), and Milo ‘Fingers’ Malloy, so-called because he always had his fingers in someone else’s pocket. Joe absent-mindedly tapped his pocket to check that his wallet was still there.

The Dalminetti Mafia ran their business from their legitimate business front, the inspiringly-named Dalminetti Restaurant. It was a fully-functioning eatery with chefs and waiters, and if it wasn’t for the large backroom and upstairs area designed to seat around 30-40 mobsters at any one time it would be completely normal.

The cops knew where they operated from, but finding evidence to implicate anyone within the Dalminetti mafia was almost impossible. Joe liked to compare the situation to a coveted grail guarded by a rabid pit-bull. You can try your luck getting the grail, but chances are you’ll lose your balls in the process.

Joe didn’t like his job. While he sat at the table, he mulled over ways he could get out. He’d been looking for a way out for a couple of years now, but as with any criminal family the only way to leave involves the arrangement of an undertaker beforehand, preferably one with a shovel, a couple of lengths of wood, some nails and a hammer to hand.

Being a mobster was boring. Sure, the first five years or so had been a lot of fun. But after breaking a guy’s fingers for the fifty-sixth time due to a missed payment for ‘protection’, you start considering that maybe there is more to life than repeatedly slamming a desk drawer to the sound of painful wailing.

Conceding to defeat in his quest for a job exit, he ventured inside the empty restaurant, where Fingers was playing with a portable television in one of the corner seats.

“Whatcha trying to watch, Fingers?” Joe asked, leaning lazily against the bar across the room.

“I’m trying to get the game up. Got twenty big ones resting on the Galmanoc Raiders,” Fingers replied, fumbling with the switches on the front of the box. He smiled as the image of a football flashed on screen followed by advertisements.

“Who they playing?” Joe asked, clicking his fingers in boredom.

“City of Light Maulers,” came the blunt reply, followed by a grunt. “Bloody adverts. It’s all Salmanic Inc this and Silverton Salmanic that. I swear if I see another advert with that bionic-eyed ponce tellin’ us to buy his shit then I’m gonna go and steal something he might miss.”

“Like?” Joe inquired, amused.

“Dunno. Wallet, TV, teddy bear. Hell, I’d steal his car given half a chance.”

“What does he drive?”

“Dunno. But the guy’s loaded, so he must have a nice one.”

The conversation ended and the restaurant went silent except for the tinny voices on the small TV and the clanging sounds echoing from the kitchens. Joe stretched his arms before sitting down on a stool and crossing them on the bar, resting his head ready to go asleep.

He was woken some time later by the loud, pronounced footsteps of Alfie. Alfie had a way of walking that inferred that trouble was on the way, announcing that someone might get a bit of a slap if they weren’t careful. Alfie emerged from the ‘staff only’ door, a serious look on his eyebrows. As he opened his mouth a sentence of strongly pronounced words emerged shrouded in a thick urban accent4.

“Lads, I’ve just had Lil’ Jim on the blower.”

“Yeah? Enjoying himself?” Joe asked through a yawn as he straightened up.

“Not really. He’s in hospital.”

“What?” Fingers exclaimed.

“He’s having an operation, remember? Gallstones. You bleedin’ plum,” groaned Alfie.

“Oh yeah, right,” said Fingers. “Good.”

“Not so good,” corrected Alfie. “He’s just got off the blower with Benny the Ballache.”

“Is he the doctor? For his gallstones? Bit of an unfortunate nickname!” chuckled Joe. Alfie placed his palm on his forehead.

“Benny’s one of our blokes. Annoying little sod, always complaining?”

Joe shrugged.

“I don’t talk to a lot of the newbies, Alf,” he said. “I consider most of them to be annoying little sods and they all complain-”

“-Look, everyone’s dead,” Alfie stated. Joe and Fingers stared at him blankly. “The entire gang were wiped out on the airship on the journey over to Casinopolis.”

“How?” Joe asked.

“Remember those mercenaries we had in a few weeks back because Big Jim had a problem with the local Triads? And that nutter with the bionic arm ripped his head off?”

“It was going to happen one day. Big Jim thought that lighter shaped like a gun was really funny,” Joe added.

“Yeah? Well apparently this guy was on the cruise liner with his mates and our lads started a fight. Only they lost, so now they’re all dead,” Alfie explained, slightly sarcastically. “Apparently Big Boy Bellarico was going to torture the bloke who killed Big Jim but it all went tits up and now Benny and Bert are the only two left.”

“…Big Boy?” asked Joe.

“Oh for crying out loud Joe, don’t you know anybody who works for us? He was the boisterous geezer, figured he could make it big time with us. Complete arsehole,” described Alfie. Joe remained distant.

“Nope. Drawing a blank. Again, could be half the guys working for us,” said Joe. Alfie recognised that Joe didn’t tend to socialise much with colleagues outside of work. In fact he didn’t tend to socialise with colleagues inside of work. He just didn’t tend to socialise full stop, but then he never had been the same since the incident, which Alfie appreciated.

“So that’s it then, is it?” Fingers said remorsefully, considering his future as a gangster with no gang.

“Well, Jim said something about Benny saying something about amateur mages and some guy in a robe, but he didn’t make much sense and then he had to go off to surgery to have something stuck up his you-know-what,” Alfie stated. “Little Jim’s last words were before he hung up, and I quote, ‘consider this your pink slip buddy, once I’m out of the hospital I’m going abroad. I can’t be bothered with all this mafia fuss, my brother was a lot better at it than I was anyway. Nice knowing you guys’. Of course he was on a shed-load of drugs when he said this but it’s probably a safe bet that he’s had enough.” Fingers moped over the TV in response, in contrast to the delighted Joe.

“I guess this is it for us now, lads. Fun while it lasted, eh? I know you’re happy, Joe,” Alfie announced, smiling.

“Damn straight. What are you guys going to do now that there’s no Dalminettis to work for?” Joe asked meaningfully as he stood up.

“Guess I’ll go home,” Fingers muttered, poking the TV screen in frustration as the City of Light Maulers gained another point. “Haven’t seen the folks in a while, not since I stole the old man’s wallet. And his car. And his trousers. Don’t ask.”

“As for me, I’m going to stick around for a bit and see what happens,” Alfie said contentedly. “I think I should have the duty of getting the word through to all of our associates, and I’ll take care of the restaurant. Maybe the kitchen staff will take it on.”

“And after that?” Joe asked.

“Who knows? I’ll probably stick to what I know best though. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” Alfie stated. Joe walked over and gripped Alfie in a handshake, before turning and walking towards the restaurant door for the last time, grabbing his jacket off of the coat stand before he left.

“What are you going to do now that you’re a free man, Joe?” Alfie called out just before Joe could close the door. Joe peered his head around the door and smiled.

“For a while now I’ve been considering becoming a professional hitman. The pay seems good,” he answered. Alfie chuckled and waved.

“Good luck!”

“You too. See you around.”

And with that Joe walked away from the life he had been tied to, with all of his limbs and extremities working and intact. It seemed all too easy, but he wasn’t about to look a gift merc in the mouth. Alfie was right; he was free now. As he walked away he considered how he would start his new career. He quickly realised that being a hitman wasn’t something you could just advertise on posters, but there was always the option of the wanted ads…

Joe Leaves


  1. Magic really is an art form, in that not a lot of people truly understand it and those that claim to know a lot are actually just making it up as they go along but in a confident manner that suggests they might actually know what they’re talking about. People say “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”. Mages say “I don’t know much about magic, but I do like setting people on fire using only my mind”. Both are perfectly acceptable responses in each context.
  2. Bear in mind that we only have the ‘beings of light’ to go by on this matter of moral and technological superiority, and that the term ‘beings of light’ itself only refers to how they are beings from the Planet of Light, also known as ‘Lusinia’. Given the contents of the Tales of Sin themselves, the truth could be inferred that the beings of Lusinia are for the majority unwashed, unscrupulous criminal charlatans, but some of them do wear nicer suits than others.
  3. The term ‘galition’ is more commonly used by astrological geographers, but ‘subiverse’ is considered to be adequate when describing a ‘vaguely defined chunk of space that has stuff in it’. It’s quite easy to be an astrological cartographer, as you can probably guess.
  4. Space Cockney, if you really must know. Yes, even this far out, you’ll still find people who can properly twist their voices in an interesting manner around phrases like “watchit you slaaaaag”. An accent like wrapping a vase in a blanket and then ever-so-skilfully smashing it against your ear with a deft flick of the wrist.
 

Post by | March 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm | The Hitman's Tale | No comment

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