Read it here – Say what comes next.
Read it here. Write what comes next.
“Yes Paul?” Agent Stan Harris put down a report on his battered desk and looked up at the younger man.
Paul handed him a printout. “Positive ID on Frank Smith. Lake Geneva. Restaurant owner spotted him and watched him drive off in a white Mercedes. And Stan—we got the tags. Traced it to an address in Crystal Lake. Local police already staked out the area.
Harris looked at the time stamp on the initial report. “How’d you trace the tags so fast?”
“Stan, we got computers, right?”
“Lousy computers. The restaurant guy should get the credit—not some machine.” Harris hated anything digital—wouldn’t have it on his desk. To him software sounded like a dirty word. These days, everything ran on the little parasites—even cars. He checked the hands on his watch. 10:30. His stomach growled.
“You’re a real Luddite, Stan, y’know that?”
“Maybe I am—so what? Wait till the Chinese launch a major cyber-attack and your precious Internet fries. When the crazy Arabs explode a nuke in the stratosphere, nothing’s gonna work and we’ll all be helpless. Problem is, people forget how to do things. We lean on these electronic contraptions. We’re letting ‘em rule our thinking.”
“They’re crutches and we’re only crippled because we use ‘em. People can’t add numbers without a calculator. Can’t spell without a word processor. A simple power outage and everybody thinks it’s a disaster. You wait and see. When the lights go out for good it’s gonna get ugly.”
Paul grinned and shook his head.
Harris stood. Slid back his chair. “Paul, the windows on this building don’t open. What’ll we do when the AC goes dead? Let’s get out there. I want two of our own cars for backup. Keep the locals for the perimeter. Yeah, I know—the phones are digital, too. You make the call.”
They stepped into the elevator and Stan glared at the array of glowing buttons. Paul punched the one for the garage. “Something more, Stan. We spotted the Gionelli family in town. Doesn’t make sense that Grasso allows that. What do you think it means?”
Stan thought about that as the elevator descended to the basement. “Uomo lost four top men—not troops but close lieutenants. How many guys like that you think he’s got—guys he can trust with his life? Most of the rest are family. He knows this Smith is getting close. Could be he’s running scared. You think he wants his family on the front lines? He saves the cush jobs for those guys.” Harris squeezed in the back of the Crown Vic. “Make me more legroom, will you Paul?”
Paul slid the front passenger seat forward. “This is a full-sized car, Stan.”
“Not like they used to be.”
Paul cranked the ignition and pulled out of the garage. Two identical cars lined up behind them. “So you think he called in Gionelli himself?”
“Could be. He flew out to Vegas. Just stayed a day. He needs more muscle but he’s gonna want ‘em gone when the threat’s gone and that could be a problem.” Harris went silent. That made seven major mobs in town. Uomo Grasso ran the bulk of it. The Irish, the Blacks, the Chinese—they pretty much stayed strong on their own turf. The Russians in the background, waiting their turn. Now this Fetova-Smith group was killing off Uomo’s top men—the FBI knew next to nothing about that organization and the Gionelli mob was setting up to make a move on the same guy. Didn’t look good for the Fat Man. Were Fetova and Smith really a new organization or running front for the Russians or even Gionelli? It’d be a good strategy for Giuseppe. When it shook out, which group was gonna grab the top spot?
“You’re convinced Gionelli will stick?”
“Ever try to get a leach off your hide? Put yourself in the place of old Giuseppe. He’s been working Las Vegas forever and can’t get a foot in Chicago. I’m thinking he’ll dig in here. Then if the Russians make a move, we won’t know who we’re fighting any more. Lot’s more body bags.” Harris scowled. He didn’t care much when they killed each other but then there were innocent bystanders and terrorized neighborhoods. People shouldn’t live in a war zone. How was he gonna keep tabs on who’s who? At least he left the gangs to the local police for the most part. “For now, we stick to what we know. We nab this Frank Smith. Maybe the Russian gal. Take the head off that organization. See where that leads.”
* * *
Frank peered out from a upstairs window into the sunlight. “That’s six police cars so far. No, Tatiana, you stay down behind that bed. They might open fire or something—I don’t know. Do they have a boat patrol?”
“Sorry Frank—they do.”
Frank wished he hadn’t gotten her into this. His problem—not hers. Somehow they found him—probably traced the car. Didn’t matter how. Either he got out of there or he went to prison that day. Or got shot. He wondered what they were waiting for. “Tatiana, you don’t happen to have a secret tunnel or something?” He grinned to himself. Strange to find it funny. Just a few days back he was sweating hard to make it as an insurance salesman.
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.