Roya FetovaA Crowdsourced Novel

Read it here – Say what comes next.

Frank stared at the man on a park bench outside the restaurant and could not speak. He felt as if he watched an image of himself, but distorted into a monster. What kind of man killed for money? It made him conscious of the life he took so recently with his bare hands. Was he turning into a Tony Ferragamo? It never seemed so personal behind the controls of his F-15.

“Frank. Frank!” Roya cuffed his ear. “Follow me quick. I don’t want him to see us here.”

Frank quickly stood, tipping his chair over, then stumbled after her as if in a trance. They sat at a table further from the window and he finally found his voice. “That’s Ferragamo out there, right across the street.”

“Yes Frank. I know what you’re thinking. He didn’t follow us—it’s just one of those things. Get hold of yourself—we’ve got the advantage here. I’m going to be very, very Russian for a while. Play along with me.” Under the table, she passed something heavy onto his lap. He lifted a cloth napkin, revealing a .22 pistol with a silencer.  Where did she get that?  What else did she keep in her bag?

“Know how to use that? You got my back.” Without waiting for a response, Roya pushed through the door of the restaurant, crossed the street and marched directly to Ferragamo.

Through the big glass at the front of the cafe, Frank saw the man go tense. He watched, transfixed as the two stared at each other. What if Ferragamo killed her right there in the street? What made Roya so sure he wouldn’t? Ferragamo wanted to point the Mob at Frank and Roya’s plan to enlist the hit man seemed illogical and dangerous.  Frank wondered if she lied to him about her reasons.

The waitress filled a coffee cup and Frank chugged the hot black brew to shake the shock from his head. She poured another and he downed it, then tested the weight of the pistol under his coat, dropped a few dollars on the table and moved fast through the kitchen, past the staff and into the alley. He ran down the alley as far as the next street. Turned onto the open sidewalk. Peered around the corner. Spotted Roya and Ferragamo. Neither looked his way.

Frank crossed the street and continued into the park, working his way behind the two. His hands shook. Maybe all that caffeine was a mistake. He took up a position behind a tree not 50 feet from the park bench. Holding the pistol, he braced his hands in the crotch of two limbs and sighted down the barrel at Ferragamo, hoping the tree would hide the gun and its long silencer from public view.

 * * *

Tony Ferragamo watched the blonde approach him—the same broad hanging around his patsy, Frank Smith. She sat right next to him. What the hey?

“Hello, Tony.”

He responded in an angry grumble. “What is this?”

“Let us get to point.” Her accent sounded Russian or something.

“Get lost.”

“I will soon eliminate Uomo Grasso.”

Tony snapped his head around to face her. Grasso dead could be real convenient for him. “What’s that to me?”

“You will work for me. And live longer. In better style.”

He looked her up and down. Not bad. Might be good for a night. “You got no idea who you’re fooling with.”

“I already execute four top men in organization. Are you so different from them? You fail to do a simple hit. You are gambling your life.” She nodded. “Yes, I know about you, Tony Ferragamo.”

He quickly grabbed a handful of her hair. Yanked her head back. Held the point of his hunting knife to her throat. “Whadaya mean, simple hit, you lousy slut?”

The bark of a silenced pistol and Tony felt an instant searing pain at his foot. The girl jammed her fingers into his eyes and before he could react, she seized his knife hand. Twisted his wrist. Wrenched his elbow the wrong way. He winced. Then she was behind him forcing his arm up his back till he thought it would break. His own knife blade pricked the back of his neck. She kicked the side of his knee and he squeezed his watering eyes shut. Then she talked in his ear from behind. “Nice muscles. I like. But they not do you much good right now.” She wrenched his arm tighter and he thought it might go out of joint. He felt his pistol slip out of his belt then the knife from his hand. It was all he could do to keep from crying out in pain. “Okay, okay. You made your point.”

“You Americans must learn. Tough guy does not mean professional. Look there, Tony. By that tree.” He complied but his vision was blurred. “Is your double. See him? Check your boot.” Tony glanced down at his throbbing foot to see a crease cut across the instep of his shoe. “Too bad to ruin such expensive pair. First shot is warning. Second is in your head. Do you want second bullet, Tony? If I give signal…”

She had him outflanked and Tony knew it. “Let go my arm.”

She released him and sat next to him while he slowly bent his elbow and flexed his shoulder. He saw her drop his knife and .38 in a big leather bag. “Such heavy hardware, Tony. .22 is better. Now you will answer my questions. First—how you find this Smith?”

“You been hangin’ ‘round the guy. Ain’t you on a first name basis yet?”

“Very well. How you find Frank?”

“Who are you?”

“Call me Roya. You remember. That little problem with Russians?”

Tony slowly nodded. So that was it. He thought she looked familiar. He lost six friends during that turf war. Now he knew what he was up against and it didn’t make him comfortable. He rubbed his arm. “How many did you do yourself?”

“Two men. One I make die slow.”

“What’s your angle in all this?”

Roya smiled. “More questions? I think word is revenge.”

Tony laughed and shook his head. “No money in that.”

“And if I take city?”

He met her gaze. This babe had chutzpah. “No woman ever controlled the Chicago underworld.”

Roya ran a finger down his trousers then tapped his knee at the spot where she’d kicked him. An electric jolt ran up his nerve. “There is always first time. That bloated pig–he control it now.” She clucked her tongue. “He know about your plan. He know about Frank Smith.”

“You lying bitch.”

She stood. “You take chance, Mr. Tough Guy?” She laughed lightly and Tony didn’t have an answer. “I prefer men to be, how you say, polite. Perhaps I make signal?”

He ignored her for the moment, then: “Gimme the names of the ones you took down.”

“Demands? Ah, you test me. Da, Tony. Four men: Luigi. Gort. Nicklaus. Petro. Big one was pleasure. I strangle him myself.”

Tony uttered an oath. This little slip of a foreigner killed the giant?

“I am burning organization to ground and Fat One with it. You work for me now, Tony. Is better than Mexico.”



“What about the police, the Feds.”

She sighed. “They are such nuisance. You always have them with you, Tony. Enough. Answer question immediately. How you find look-alike?”

He nodded. Why not play along? Call it Plan B. If this broad took out Uomo, it sure would simplify things. Either way, what difference did it make what she knew? “Okay hot stuff, you earned my respect so I’ll tell you. The whole thing was easy. Facebook. This Frank Smith moron has it all out in the open—address and everything. Probably lonely for a lost sweetheart. Soon as I see his picture, I got it figured. Guy looks just like me. All I gotta do is let everybody follow me to Smith, then disappear. Beautiful setup.”

“But you not disappear.”

He grinned. “Gotta keep my eye on things till I’m sure it all works out. And I can help it along. Eventually, they’ll bury him in cement and nobody’ll ever know the difference.”

“And if police get him first?”

“That puts him in Uomo’s hands. Why you askin’ if you got it all figured?”

“Like I say Tony, I test you. Next question: Who is target you forget to take out?”

Ferragamo went silent. He had to think this out. Then he nodded and spoke in a low tone. “Some jobs you don’t touch—some you wish you hadn’t. Uomo wanted the Governor whacked.”

“Where is profit?”

“Casinos. Governor blocked ‘em. Uomo wants to make Chicago another Atlantic City, but he didn’t stop with the Gov. State Supreme Court—three of ‘em don’t want gambling. So it wasn’t no simple hit.”

“And you run.”

Ferragamo raised his voice. “Don’t you get it? What’s the percentage? Job like that—it’s a death sentence. Uomo paid too much up front—tipped his hand. No way I live to spend it.”

Roya sat beside him again. “He kill you when you finish job. Sounds so Russian, Tony. I am thrilled to hear.” She laughed. “Perhaps I misjudge you. Come work for me. I will hold this town in the palm of my hand. But I need organization. If problem with authorities, I fly you to Tahiti in the Fat One’s—in my private jet.  Or we give Frank to authorities.”

Tony knew Uomo’s Gulfstream could make the trip non-stop. “Thought you two were in thick.”

“I do not think he help build organization like you.”

Tony’s arm throbbed and his knee tingled. His foot burned. His vision was blurred. But Roya had him–had him as he looked her up and down again and licked his lips. “I like your style, babe.”

Roya smiled and raised a hand, crooked a finger. In a moment, Frank stood beside them. “Tony, you should meet your twin brother Frank.”

Tony hesitated. His brother? He knew it was a possibility but wasn’t ready to accept it. Still, it explained a lot. Again, he determined to play along. If things didn’t go his way, he’d probably find himself in a better position than ever to execute Plan A. He looked up, trying to appear sincere. “Did Uomo know about that connection?”

“Of course he know. The Fat One is—what is word? Perverse? He want to see brother kill brother. Is big game.”

That finally added up. Tony stood and took Frank’s hand in a firm shake.

Frank glanced at the crease in  Tony’s shoe, satisfid that his shot hit the mark perfectly.

“No hugs, boys. The police’ll be here any minute. Let’s get moving.”

Tony squinted at her. “What happened to the accent?”

Roya sighed. “It comes and goes. Can’t talk pigeon all day long. A girl gets tired of it.”

* * *

“Uncle Uomo, are you sure that’s wise?” Desi didn’t like it at all—Uomo in Vegas to cut a deal with the Gionelli family. That ran counter to everything he swore on his mother’s grave that he would never do. “We still have plenty of men.”

“You are an ass, my nephew.” The low rumble came across the phone. “Think. We lose four good men and one turns traitor. You would put family at risk before…” He raised his voice. “Before we know exactly who we are dealing with?”

“You’ll give the Gionelli family a foothold in Chicago.”

“I am disappointed in you, Desi. I send you to the best schools. You constantly nag at me to keep up with the world but you have much to learn. We outsource our muscle.  I believe that is the term you use with me so many times. Let this Russian gang kill Gionelli’s people–not ours. During that time, you learn what is going on.”

“No, Uncle…” Desi stopped, knowing argument gained him nothing.

“Get me the truth, you insufferable whelp.”

* * *

Agent Harris hung up the phone. No new leads on any front. The trail of Frank Smith and Roya Fetova was cooling it made him sweat. He knew in his gut there was some connection between those two and Grasso.

Harris already assigned four more agents to keep watch on the local mob.  Now, Uomo was at some pow-wow in Sin City. The local FBI office claimed to have no assets in that group—as if he were supposed to believe that. He knew he’d never learn much about that meeting, but he was sure of one thing. Two mob families added up to no good. Add in the Smith and Fetova bunch and it looked like a bloodbath in the making.

“Here’s the coroner’s report on that wreck.” Paul set the file on Stan’s desk. “Positive ID on those two charred corpses.”

Harris leaned back and stretched his taught neck muscles. “Thanks Paul.” He studied the file and recognized the names immediately. Two more of Uomo’s men. He let out a bushel of air. Mob war. He had a mob war on his hands.

What happens next? TAKE YOUR TURN [click here]

HOW TO PLAY–This is an interactive story based on Nate’s game in my novel. You get to say what comes next:

1.) KEEP IT SHORT – It’s easy to play Nate’s game. Just enter your idea as a comment like, “their jeep drives off a cliff.” Don’t worry about form—just suggest the next step in the story. I’ll pick one, write it, and post it as a scene in serial form.

2.) KEEP IT CLEAN – I hold the veto pen. In general, if it wouldn’t fly in an old 60’s Bond movie, then it’s out. Since this is an experiment, I get to add rules as we go along.

3.) SHARE – Your posts are a precious gift to me. Maybe you’ll help write my next novel. If so, I’ll list your name prominently as a contributor. If not, then we’ll just have a great time. I take you at your word that all ideas are your original thoughts. No criticism. No arguments. No lawsuits allowed. Let’s have some fun.


Filed under Interactive Story, Living Novel

14 responses to “ROYA FETOVA – 19

  1. I appologize for the tardy post. Seems I painted myself into a corner with the plot. It took a lot of false starts to find a way out and still honor the ideas presented. Please check my chapter for logical errors. Is it convincing?

  2. Okay, this morning I spruced it up a bit but I’d like some outside criticism. Does it make sense? Is it convincing?

    • Lee Jantzen

      So, my one question is where did Roya come up with the .22 and silencer? Perhaps she kept an “overnight” bag at her sisters—a change of clothes, pajamas, toothbrush, and of course a firearm. Maybe that should be added somewhere earlier.

      • Lee, if that’s the only hole I failed to plug, I’m happy. Roya is mysterious and resourceful and I’m sure she could get her hands on a gun without Frank knowing. She left two Glocks behind in the first scene and put herself at risk unarmed. My inclination is to let her possession of the gun alone and fix it in the final draft.

        Do you have any objections to that? If you do, I’ll fix it.

        Till I hear from you on that, I’ll place the question in Frank’s head. “Where did she get a silenced pistol? What else did she keep in that bag?”

  3. Okay, I got painted into a corner and apparently found my way out, unless anybody finds something else wrong with it. Now we have an interesting situation:

    1.) Tony is the one who set up Frank to get killed by the mob. He was keeping an eye on developments to assure that his plan succeeded and he could dissapear. Now he’s partnered up with Roya and Frank. Can they trust him? Is Tony really Frank’s brother, like Roya says? Where did she get that information? Do both Frank and Tony believe it? It’s interesting to have a look-alike good guy and hit man side by side. What happens next?

    2.) Will Roya settle for revenge on Uomo Grasso, or does she really plan to take over his criminal organization, as she told Tony? Or does she have an entirely different motive? Remember that Roya is still in contact with that Washington FBI agent. He’s keeping their connection under wraps for some reason. Is he dirty or is something secret going on? Is Roya really out for revenge? Or has she gone entirely criminal? Or is she playing a role for the FBI?

    3.) Frank will probably balk at helping Roya kill Grasso and will certainly object to helping her build a new crime empire. What will Roya do? Will she ditch him in favor of Tony as she told the hit man or was she lying?

    4.) Don’t forget–even though Roya is the title character now, we can’t see inside her head and know her thoughts or motives. There are only three point-of-view characters. We can see through Frank’s eyes as well as Tony’s and Desi’s.

  4. Lee Jantzen

    So, here is possible story line. Roya knows Tony is a huge liability and a hot-head. She needs him for a day or two to fill in some needed intel on how to get to Uomo. One she has what she needs to formulate a plan, she can have the FBI find Tony. Maybe he even confesses to her about the MO murders and killing the cop at the train station— which she coneniently passes on to the FBI.

    She then must convince Frank to play Tony in her next move.

  5. Lee Jantzen

    So, here is possible story line. Roya starts out nice with Tony making him believe he’s part of her plan. She gets him to explain things about Uomo and his operation that she needs to know.

    Roya then turns 180 degrees and gets Tony to give up other info “under duress.”. She also video tapes everything so Frank can watch Tony’s mannerisms and listen to his accent. She also photographs several tattoos on Tonys arms. She will need Frank to get at least temporary replicas as part of his acting part. She was glad to learn from Tony about Uomo’s nephew Desi and believes he might be the weak link to exploit.

    She ties Tony up and makes an anonymous call to FBI about their missing witness and says they will be very interested in a video confession they will receive by mail soon.

  6. Okay, I think I’d like to start here and then work in one or the other of Lee’s ideas:

    1.) Roya sends Frank home in her sister’s Mercedes to keep her sister secret from Tony, the hit man. She goes off with Tony. (We get to see what they do through Tony’s eyes.) What that is, I don’t know yet. Ideas?

    2.) Frank is stuck at Roya’s sister’s place playing a waiting game. It’s 3 am and he hasn’t heard from her. For the first time, he recognizes that he’s jealous of Tony being with her. Plenty of material for friction between Frank and Tony in the future.

    DECISION POINT – I think we need to decide whether or not Roya really plans to kill Uomo. We need to decide if she’s just after revenge or really trying to take over the Chicago Mob territory. The other possiblitiy is that she’s still secretly working for the FBI. Regarding Frank, we need to know whether or not he will allow himself to get caught up in either of these two: a.) Roya’s revenge plot. b.) Her takeover of the Chicago Mob. If the latter, will Frank become part of her organization? It’s an interesting question.

    I’m immersed in three big projects. Anybody care to take a shot at this plot line?

  7. Lee

    Roya had Russian friends in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, WI. She and her two almost identical male companions left Lake Geneva in Tatiana’s SUV and headed east. In a little less than an hour they were in an old Polish neighborhood that now included many Russian émigrés. They parked outside a bungalow. Roya told Frank to return to her sister’s and wait for her call. She and Tony got out of the car and went into the house.

    The nondescript bungalow was actually a FBI safe-house reserved for special guests—either those needing protection or in Tony’s case, private interrogation. Tony had not yet deduced what Roya had planned for him over the next few days.

    Roya asked Tony what type of pizza he liked and what brand of beer. After getting his order, she said she would walk down the block to the pizzeria and get them something to eat. She then pulled out a pair of handcuffs and explained she needed to make sure he would still be there when she returned. She secured him to a radiator pipe next to the dining room table and gave him the TV remote to keep him company.

    Within the hour Roya returned to find Tony right where she left him, but not too happy with her treatment. She un-cuffed him and explained he needed to earn her trust. In the meantime she would be keeping an eye on him and also keep her .22 close by. She knew she needed to also gain Tony’s trust and so she put on a smile and said let’s eat. She steered the dinner conversation away from Uomo and business. She asked Tony about his family and childhood and tried to appear sincere in her display of interest.

    She had brought just one six pack of beer. She had one and let Tony drink the other five. She was pleased to learn that alcohol helped Tony become mellow, instead of more violent. The safe-house had a bedroom in the basement with no windows—and a door that she could lock from the outside. Tony was tired and did not complain when she showed him his accommodations. However, he did flinch when he heard the click of the deadbolt as she locked him in.

    Roya was also tired. However, she had some planning to do before she could get some sleep. The first thing she did was call her friend Nicky.

    Only a few within the Agency knew Roya was deep undercover. Most thought she was on a leave of absence and some thought she had crossed over to the criminal side. Agent Nicholi “Nicky” Segovia didn’t know her status, but he trusted her as a friend and was equally angered over his friend’s Sergi’s death at the hands of Uomo Grassi. Nicky worked out of the Milwaukee FBI office—and was eager to help Roya in any way. Roya knew Nicky could easily play the part of a Russian mobster.

    Roya asked Nicky to meet her at a local dive that was open all night. The locals referred to it as “Ptomaine Annie’s” because of an old rumor of food poisoning. It was about 1 a.m. when Nicky showed up. Roya and Nicky both had some really bad coffee and caught up on some personal stuff.

    Roya outlined her need to extract some information—and possibly a confession from one Tony Ferragamo. Roya and Nicky formulated a plan. They arrived back at the safe house about 3 a.m. and agreed to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep before the interrogation began. Depending on how stubborn Tony might be, they could be in for a long 36 to 48 hours—or perhaps more in an effort to extract information about Grassi’s operation.

    Tatiana knew not to ask questions about Roya’s business. She was kind enough to scramble some eggs to go with the toast and coffee she made for Frank. Tony tried to make polite conversation, but he was worried about Roya—and realized he was feeling jealous of the fact that she was with another man. Would she use seduction to get what she wanted out of Tony?

    Next . . .

    • Great stuff, Lee! We’ll go that route.

      I have a small challenge working in Roya’s independent thoughts and actions because I’ve kept the reader out of her head–it makes her more mysterious. To work her revelations into the story may require reserving some of them for a later chapter. But it’s just a technical point and I’ll figure it out.

      I think I need to send Frank back immediately so Tony can’t ID their car, which could lead him to Tatiana. That’s easy to do and doesn’t change much.

  8. Lee

    If Frank leaves them in Lake Geneva, Roya and Tony have no wheels. Does Roya have Tony steal another car?

  9. Pingback: CHAPTER 19 « The Gamemaker's Father

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