It was twelve noon with the sun shining bright over Vanderville City. The streets were filled with the usual crowds; drug addicts, day-time hookers, bootleggers, low-life thugs and that guy who predicts the future which always involves the world ending by tomorrow.
For any civilized human being this would be a certified hellhole, but for Joey Giovanni it was otherwise. A few years ago he would be riding a customized Cadillac Series 75 Sedan around town and no two-bit carjacker had the balls to even look at it. Now he was roaming the streets in a cab and down to his last couple of bucks.
A few minutes passed and then the cab stopped abruptly in front of a large-scale building. You can tell that it was a classy place, the other buildings surrounding it couldn't even compare. They looked old and beaten down but this one was kept spick and span. To top it all off, there was a glamorous penthouse up on its peak.
He got out of the cab and stared at the magnificent edifice. Nothing's changed he thought to himself.
"How much?" he asked.
"Seventy-five." the cab driver responded.
"You're kidding me right? Here's forty."
"This ain't a charity, buddy."
"And I wasn't born yesterday. Fifty. Take it or leave it."
He held out the cash just behind the windowsill and the cab driver reluctantly took it, mumbling curses at no one. Joey craned his neck up to the top of the building. "This guy, LaSalle. You know him? …Hey, I'm talking to you buddy."
The cab driver grumbles. "Yeah, I know him. Who the fuck doesn't?"
"So he's here?"
The cab driver nods. "What, you some kind of wanna-be gangster? No offense but you might be a little too old for that shit."
He chuckles in the driver seat. Joey just half-smirks at him and turns to leave.
"Well, whatever your business is it won't do you any good, you know."
"And why's that?"
"Cause that dumb old bastard hasn't been seen since his kid got capped."
This piqued Joey's interest and turned around to face him again. "You're talking about Danny, right?"
"Yeah, him. Six months ago his old man was teaching him the ropes, you know, doin' deals, making contacts. Then one day a bullet fired right through his head, BANG, dead on the spot."
"Who shot him?"
"It was the limo driver. Some guy LaSalle probably hired on the streets and he turned out to be a mole. Can you imagine that? Of all the fucking people, he had to pick that guy."
"A mole? For who?"
"Who knows? Probably came from one of the other two mobs, those Torrence guys or Estrada's. Nobody else would be stupid enough to do that. The guy was probably aiming for LaSalle but couldn't get the job done. Somehow, the guy got away too. So go figure."
The cab driver let out a snort, readjusted his cap and got ready to leave.
"Well, anyways. It'd be a shame if you came all way out here for nothing."
Joey let out a smile. "Don't worry. I'll make him see me."
And with that, the cab drove off.