It's going to be another Saturday night in the Projects.
Saturday night is when all the crazies come out.
Well, not really, but sometimes it feels that way. The assassins, the drug dealers and the thugs all come around to do their dirty work. They liked the Projects; the best place to do what they did, or so they said.
The Projects were the biggest social welfare initiative in Sin City's history, but then the labor problems started and everything came to a standstill. Most of the buildings were up, but not all of them had clean water or plumbing. Those that did were moved into faster than you can say "the Projects".
They say the Projects are home to the hopeless and the crazies. I've lived here all my life, and I can say that's pretty true.
Still, there are a few pockets of sanity here and there. You could say it's for the hopeless, but I don't like to think that way. It's for those folks who aren't well off enough to live in Basin City proper, or who'd rather stay away from the sights and sounds of the city. You can see it in their eyes — they don't have anywhere else to go.
It's a favorite place for bad business, though. It would be an unusual day if the mob, the mafia or if one of the city's criminals didn't come 'round to the Projects to carry out their dirty work.
We live them alone, for the most part, unless they actually enter the Projects. You see, we're a close-knit community. We keep an eye out for each other. Which, I suppose, is why I do what I do.
It's a cloudy night. Judging from the shape of the clouds, it's not going to rain, which is good. It'll be cool tonight, which is even better. I don't mind the weather much, but sometimes when you're out on the rooftops, rain or heat can be a bitch.
Bella and Dawn are taking care of some guys who tried to break into Momma Gray's house. She's out of town now, visiting her daughter in Houston, so she asked us to watch her place for her. She didn't need to ask. We would've done it anyway.
Bella doesn't take too kindly to people trying to break into Momma Gray's house. She's an happy old woman, used to give us cookies when we were kids and ice lollies when it was hot. Daughter disappeared when she got married and didn't bother to bring along her mom. I hate people like that.
She's making it tough on the guys. She's taunting them. She doesn't do that much, so we let her have her fun. She runs through the shadows, and they're spluttering all sorts of foul language as they get angrier and angrier. A flash of yellow as her ponytail whips around the corner. They try to shoot at her, but she's gone — just like that.
It's a dance that she's never lost.
They call her all sorts of names, half of them the wrong gender. They're yelling and shouting and making asses out of themselves, as they trip over each other to attempt to get at the blond wisp. They might actually shoot themselves in the leg and do our jobs for us.
There she is again. I can just make out Dawn's face against the dark brick wall. She's grinning that grin of hers, the kind she gets whenever we have to kill someone, which is often. She likes to see Bella play with their mark. Bella's like a cat, really. Small and short, but as deadly as any man with a gun. Probably deadlier.
One of them goes down. It was Dawn. The silencer I got her works like a charm. The three panic. Suddenly two of them drop. One got a bullet between his eyes, the other one in the temple. Nice shot.
The last guy's looking like he's about to shit in his pants. He waves the Browning he has around, yelling all sorts of things, claiming he's not afraid. By my side, the twins make a soft noise. We'd seen this before, of course. This guy's scared out of his mind.
I look at them, but as usual, I can't tell who made the sound. Greg and Harry are quiet and broody, as usual. They give me a small nod, signaling that they were going to go around the area and see if anything was amiss. I let them go. They're more than capable of taking care of themselves.
We're the Projects' police, sort of. The actual police do come down here every week or so, but they don't do much. We are like the girls of Old Town, in a way; we look out for that little pocket of sanity here. You threaten any one of us, you pay with your life. If we're in a good mood then maybe we'll just maim you.
It's dirty work, but it serves its purpose. We get less trouble in this part of town.
The last guy takes off, still waving that Browning. I make a mental note to take it from him later. It's too fine a gun to waste.
He backs up, breathing hard. He passes underneath me, still terrified of what might happen to him. Dawn's kept her gun. She's leaving him for Bella. He thinks he's safe. The night's quiet around him, except for the usual sounds of people living close to each other.
He jumps when he hears some gunshots in the distance and then a scream. The poor guy doesn't realize that it's actually a movie. A very loud movie, but a movie nonetheless. He's cautious as he escapes the danger zone, and then he thinks he's safe. I can see his grin. He's still underneath me.
I don't hear Bella land on the gravel next to me. The length of rope just drops from the sky. A strangled cry later, he's struggling some five feet in the air and clawing at the noose.
Bella is an expert with ropes, you see. When we were kids she had this piece of rope, about a foot long, and she used to knot it in all sorts of ways. I don't know where she learnt how to do that, but she can do just about any kind of knot. She likes to do nooses.
When he's kicked all the life out of him, she lowers him to the ground. A little shaking, and the rope comes free of his neck. Job done. She pulls her rope up and then we hear an explosion.
I jump. It came from the edge of the Projects, where the road stands to wind into the Projects itself. I think I see a tyre flying up into the air, outlined in the flash, but I can't be sure.
We are halfway there when we meet Greg. I can tell it's him because he has a little scar over the bridge of his nose where someone with a very large ring smashed it in. And it was a very nice ring, too.
We run like bats out of hell there. Granted, it was too far out of the Projects to have hurt anyone, but we had to make sure. Part of our civic duty, almost.
This is a harder part of town. There's no running water here or plumbing, and half the pipes don't connect right, if at all. But we're familiar with the territory. We grew up here, after all.
I can see a big, hulking figure walking through the streets. I recognize that walk, and I think I know who it is. Of course, the coat's different, but that happens every time we see him.
He used to be one of us until he moved out a few years ago. His mother got sick, and since the Projects doesn't have a hospital, they had to move to the city. We helped raised the money for the move, and I'm glad to say she's well again.
There are boys on one of the rooftops. You can just about smell the money on them. They have guns. They're panting and scared.
The twins line up on the opposite rooftop and they draw their bows. They are the archers of the group, and I don't think they've ever missed before. Four arrows land near Marv's feet, each with a dull thunk. It's a sign to let him know that we're watching, and try not to cause too much damage.
More of a formality than anything else, really. We know it's Marv, but it can't hurt to be sure. The frat boys are confused, unsure of where the arrows came from. Marv lets us know who he is. It's an old signal, but one that only we so-called police know.
He tells the twins what to do, and they obey. He's really a good man, Marv. Loves his mother and takes care of his friends, so we don't mind if he calls the shots around here once in a while.
The frat boys drop. I can't stand their kind. They have more money than sense, usually, just like the Roark family. You hear a lot of stories about the politician's son.
Marv walks up the stairs, slow and calm. He points at one, and gives a signal. Bella responds, and I think with some glee. The noose drops again and then he's hanging six feet in the air. She's a small woman, but you'd be amazed at the strength she has in those arms.
He yells for a knife. I toss my down at him, and he catches it perfectly, just like old times. There's a short conversation about a coat, and then he slits the boy's throat.
I let him keep the knife. I have plenty.
We leave. Marv will be able to find his way back to Sin City, and we'll go about our merry business keeping our part of town safe.
Yup, just another Saturday night in the Projects.