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Devil May Care

Nutter · 110 · 2532

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Offline Nutter

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"8, including yourself. It's still small, but as I can get most of the product for free it does pretty well." It was also just starting to get to that point where it would start to annoy the bigger competitors, and it was something that Zach had been trying to avoid. Keeping his business small and keeping only a few staff on helped make sure that no one big enough to be a worry would get involved. Regardless of having a pet soldier on hand now, Zach wasn't sure it was a life he wanted to be a part of.

"A few of them are street sellers, some I use for drop off jobs, some are shifters." All jobs that Zach had used to do himself not that long ago. "I don't have any desire for the business to grow any more than it has. I can barely keep up with demand at the moment anyway."


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reginald frowned lightly as he visualised the structure of Zach's small organisation.
"Is it just that particular... product? You must have access to other things that could be taken in the same way? Firearms? Always a demand for that, isn't there?"

"I'll drop off, if that's where you feel I'm best placed."

His frown deepened a little.
"Which brings me to the danger that you spoke about. Give me the details."


Offline Nutter

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“There could be other products, but the more I take the more attention I draw. If I lose my job then there’s no business at all. Not to mention that at the moment I feel like I’m not directly causing any harm.” He had considered the same things that Reginald was asking about, once upon a time. Starting an empire of illicit goods sounded rather grand, but when it came down to it … He didn’t want to be someone who was arming the illegal underground. Giving some people their fix didn’t seem so bad.

Smirking a little at the further questions about danger, Zach leant back in his seat and finished off his drink.

“I try to protect anyone who works for me, but the reality is that sometimes people get caught by the police or they are targeted by other salesmen who want to make an example. I obviously do my best to not let this happen to anyone, but I can’t guarantee it.” Shrugging his shoulders, Zach spun his glass between his finger and the table idly in an effort to distract his hands. “This line of work isn’t without risks, but I suppose it’s no worse than you’ve already seen.”

Assuming Reginald was a soldier like he said anyway, but he definitely seemed to carry himself like one.

“My turn for questions. Why do you want to work with me? You could just walk away. I know money’s an incentive, but aren’t you quite done risking your life? Or do you like the thrill of it now?”


Offline Jabbathejack

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"That makes sense." Reginald nodded; Zach's job seemed to be the sole means of production, hinging on the authorities not noticing a certain amount going missing each time.

"Although its by no means consistent, is it? You can't be catching a decent amount of the product every single week."

He sat back and took a long swig of his drink before setting his mug down. He grimaced as the questions started, but he knew that was to be expected; it was only fair.

"I guess once a man starts off on a particular line of work, it can be hard to break. I've tried a few things since I came back, but... there ain't that many people hiring right now."

Reginald shrugged; some people just took one look at the scar on his face and the glove on his hand and just assumed that he was damaged goods, too much trouble to bother with hiring for even the most menial of tasks.


Offline Nutter

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"You know, I think I understand a little bit. Probably not to the same extent, but once you're a cop, that's all anyone sees." Giving a bit of a side grin at the other, clearly having come to terms a long time ago with just what people thought of him, he at least knew what it was to be judged. He had just ended up being exactly who everyone already thought he was. "I'll get you another drink."

He returned a few minutes later with drinks for both of them, settling back down in his chair once more.

"Alright, let's talk business."


It was almost two weeks later, after a long discussion between Reginald and Zach as they tried to put everything to rights, that a car pulled up outside Reginald's home. The same driver that had escorted him the first time stepped out of the car before walking up to his door, knocking smartly and waiting for an answer. While work had been taken care of by Regi during that time, this wasn't the usual way that Zach would ask for his time.

Once there was an answer, the sour-faced driver gave a brief nod of his head.

"Mr. Edwards has requested your presence." Stepping back, he gestured to the car for Reginald to get into.

Some distance away, Zach was feeling like he was in a very similar situation to not that long ago. There was blood, there was a dead man, there was guilt and fear and panic, but this time ... This time, Zach hadn't been the one to draw the blade.

The body in front of him was one of his workers, a young man barely out of his teens, displayed as an example.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reginald frowned at the knock on his door. He wasn't expecting anyone at the best of times, but at this hour?Standing, he slipped the pistol from the sideboard as he went to take a wary look out of the peek hole before he opened it. Satisfied that he recognised the driver, he opened the door, sliding the pistol into the waistband of his trousers.

"What's he bloody want now?"

Sighing, he reached for his coat and pulled that on as he pulled the door closed and climbed into the car. Of course, the driver game him very little information, just that it was urgent. He did not recognise the part of the city that they came to, looking out of the window, Reginald saw a series of tall, white apartments. There was more money in this area than he would ever see in his entire lifetime.

They pulled up in front of one of the apartments.

"Mr Edwards is waiting for you."

The front door was left open, so Reginald poked his head inside tentatively.
"Zach?"

He found them in the back yard, in a small garden with high walls. The path that led to the house was dark with blood and a body lay splayed out. With a start, Reginald realised that he recognised him.

"Damn." He muttered under his breath as he approached, nodding at Zach. "Saw him earlier today, the poor bastard."

The lad had been gutted, cut from his throat right the way down his chest in a single long slice.
"Damn it." He was just a boy.

He looked up at Zach grimly. Of course, the last time he'd seen Zach near a corpse, it had been clear that he'd been the one to do the deed, but this far too messy for Zach's own handiwork. This was a message.


Offline Nutter

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The last time Zach had been in front of a body, he had been a little crazed. Manic, panicked, wild. Saying things he shouldn't and making threats that he couldn't back up. This time ... This time, he was sat weakly on an outdoor chair, his eyes a little red and his expression somewhere close to despair. Any bubble or smile was gone, and all that was left was quiet, appalled grief.

"He was a kid. Promised him a better life, away from the shitty factory job that paid him peanuts. Said it would be easy, he just had to watch his back." Zach's voice was a little choked. While his experience with the dead was wide and varied, clearly his experience with actual death was less so. "I'm such a fucking liar."

Standing with a grunt, he headed into the backdoor of the house and came back with a drink of something dark and a smell that was somewhere near industrial cleaner, but he seemed to drink it with no problem.

"I'm officially out of my depth, Regi. This is your area. I have no idea what the fuck to do."


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reginald dropped to one knee beside the boy's body, closing his eyes gently. The body was cooling fast. Beside him was a bloody rag and Reginald realised that they had used it to gag the boy to keep him quiet as they gutted him.

"You were out when it happened?"

Standing, Reginald looked up, turning so that he could see which windows looked out over the garden. If any neighbours happened to see anything, then it might cause a bit of a stir, but Reginald glanced at Zach, knowing that was the sort of thing that he was good at.

There was no point in either of them asking who had done this, they knew. In the last couple of weeks, Reginald had learned as much as he could about who did what where and how they did it. Things had run smoothly. He'd chased off a couple of bastards who had tried to muscle him out when he was making a drop, but he had seen them off easily. Now, it seemed they were paying for it.

"Get a sheet to cover him." He muttered, eying Zach as he took his drink. From the looks of things, any orders had to be said now, otherwise they'd get lost in the alcohol fuelled haze that he was fast throwing himself into.

Frowning, he turned back to the blood stained path, seeing the scuff marks where they'd dragged the boy from the back door.

"Looks like I'll have to pay them a visit." Reginald's voice was soft, hardly sounding like he was talking about vengeance.


Offline Nutter

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Zach had been on the way to standing up, setting his drink to the side and going to get a sheet as he was told before Reginald spoke again. It caused the man to freeze in place for a half-second, taking that time to process exactly what it was that he had heard, before he turned on the spot and stared, slightly slack-jawed, at Regi.

"What the hell do you mean?" He knew that Regi was a skilled fighter and that he could take care of himself, but this was on a whole different level. Going to see who had done this wasn't brave, it was suicide. "They'll kill you, Regi. They don't fuck around, as shown here."

And Zach didn't want another life on his conscience.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reginald straightened up and turned to face Zach, sighing faintly.
"If you let them walk over us now, then we're going to have to get used to being flattened at every bloody turn. We'll be giving the news to everyone that we're just going to take it. You might be alright with this, but I bloody well ain't. They do it now and we let them, then they'll do it again."

He approached Zach, taking the sheet out of his hands. He went back to the body and began to wrap him up safely.

"I'm going to leave him somewhere safe, where he'll be found, but not where he'll be traced back here."

He nodded, hefting the body up in his arms. Reginald paused, glancing back at Zach.

"I'll be back when I'm done."


Offline Nutter

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Zach wished he could persuade Regi out of this, he really did. The idea of killing anyone left a bad taste in his mouth, revenge or not, and he knew that things were starting to spiral. He had never wanted things to be this serious! He had wanted to make a bit of money, have some fun, hire some people - never enter into wars with a rival operation and have to end up retaliating when they murdered one of his own.

But he could say nothing to stop this, so nothing was what he said as he watched Regi leave.

While his hire was away, Zach took the opportunity to clean up the garden of blood. It wouldn't do for anyone else to see it, and it gave him something to do that wasn't just worry that he had sent someone else to die. Of course it was someone that he had tried to blackmail and had been blackmailed by in return, but that wasn't the point - it just meant that Zach felt more of a sense of responsibility than normal.

The garden was clean by the time Regi returned, and Zach was drinking in the outside chair, clearly lost in his own thoughts. He had raised his head at the sound of footsteps, but it took Regi approaching into the light for Zach to see the state of him.

"Jesus christ Regi." He stood up quickly, leaving his drink behind and instead moving to open the backdoor and lead the man through to his apartment. It was better they talked in a somewhat private place, and opening up his apartment to let Regi inside, Zach followed in after and shut the door before locking it.

The interior was nicely decorated, with fine pieces of furniture and a high bookshelf that was full to the brim, but seemed to lack a sense of character - there were no personal possessions here. Still, he didn't seem to mind Regi traipsing mud and blood into his home, and instead just went to go get him a drink.

"What the hell happened?"


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Sorry." Reginald muttered grimly as he lowered himself into a chair. "I'm getting blood everywhere."

Although most of it wasn't his own. At least, he hoped. Shrugging out of his greatcoat, Reginald winced, leaning his head back in the chair as he got himself back under control. Alright, so some of it was his.

Beneath his coat, his white shirt was stained with blood, particularly on his left side. Grimacing, he reached over with his right hand, still firmly gloved, to lift up the shirt to investigate the wound. The glove was so snug, its cuff fitted tightly over the top of his shirt, showing no skin at all.

"It ain't too bad." He muttered quietly as Zach returned with his drink. "Thanks."

He took a sip before setting the glass down on the table. The bullet had torn its way in, but he had no idea what it had damaged in its path. He'd seen men with similar injuries survive, so it couldn't be all that bad. Baring his teeth in a hiss of pain, he clapped his left hand on the wound and held it tightly.

"Like I said, I paid them a visit." But of course, Zach would be wanting more. "I went to the place where Perry had been working. They've got a place around there, didn't take me too long to find it. There were five of them there, so now there's five less of them. One of them got a lucky shot."

A lucky shot before he skewered him.

"You'll probably hear about it in a few hours. I left Perry around the back of Cheapside. They don't ask too many questions out there. I wasn't seen. Not by anyone still alive."


Offline Nutter

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Zach would've been listening to what was said if he didn't have his eyes trained on that hole in Regi's side. He had assumed that all of the blood he was dropping everywhere was someone else's, but perhaps that had been a naive thought. Of course Reginald had ended up injured - he had done something extremely stupid, so how could he not end up injured?

While the ex-soldier was talking, Zach started moving around his small apartment. He left Regi behind in the joint kitchen living room, instead heading through to another room that could only be his bedroom. He returned back with towels, one being a large one that he spread over his sofa, before placing the other off to the side. He didn't respond to what he was being told, instead starting to rifle in some cupboards in his kitchen before pulling out a small, leather bag.

"Lie down. And take off your shirt." His tone said there was no discussion to be had about it, and if Regi resisted he was going to drag his sorry, injured ass over to the couch - he had a feeling Reginald wouldn't be able to stop him. He headed over with some clean water and a cloth as well, prepared to force the man to behave if he wouldn't. "You can tell me all the details once you're not bleeding out."

Obviously Zach had some experience with this kind of thing due to his job, but he was surprisingly clinical about the whole thing, even for a cop.


Offline Jabbathejack

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"It's not that bad." Reginald growled, but even so, he stood up, albeit rather shakily, picked up his drink and made his way over to the sofa. He made no attempt to remove his shirt, simply lifting it up to reveal the wound.

Instead of lying down properly, Reginald took a long swallow of his drink and then poured a generous amount over the wound, hissing in pain at the contact.

"Bastard." He snarled, slapping one of the towels in place on the wound. It stung like a bitch, but it was one of the best ways of making sure the wound wasn't too horrible.


Offline Nutter

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"Regi!" Honestly, what a frustrating person! Zach knelt down next to him, not having any hesitation in yanking the shirt up further, and inadvertently ripping it in the process, to make sure it was out of the way. Taking Regi's hand away and removing the towel afterwards, Zach instead started to use the cloth to clean away at the wound as best he could so he could get a better look at it.

"For the record, I really don't give a shit what you've got hiding under your shirt, but I really need it not to be in the way." He gripped the other's waist to lift him up, getting a look at his back and grunting a little. "No exit wound. Probably a good thing."

Reaching down to the bag at his side, if Reginald make the effort to look he would see a number of first aid items. He didn't seem to have any hesitation in pulling out a set of tweezers, sitting up on his knees to get a better look at the wound still weeping blood. Taking a moment to get a good look at it as best he could, Zach let out a grunt.

"This is gonna hurt, but I don't think you've hit anything major. That said, I fucking told you this was a bad idea. Now lay still." It had been a quick minute since he'd fished a bullet out of a man, but it was like riding a bike, right?