The Monkees Notes: The characters aren't mine (except Linda) and the story is. This is a semi-sequel/follow-up to Prologue
Will the Real Baby Face Please Stand Up?
Notes: The characters aren't mine (except Linda) and the story is. This is a semi-sequel/follow-up toThe Return of Baby Face Morales (why yes, anonymous MonkeeFan, I did think of writing a sequel, and I did around the same time I wrote the original six years ago. ;) I hope you enjoy this one too!), so it would be helpful to have read that first in order to understand what's going on here. However, it isn't completely necessary.
The rain beat down hard on the old, tan-colored Pontiac as its driver maneuvered it through the woods. The almost non-existent road was filled with bumps, rocks, and even small shrubs that had blown there from the surrounding area, and every now and then the vehicle rolled over them. The occupants were then jostled about, which was annoying for most of them and dangerous for another, who was badly wounded.
The curly-haired man sitting in the passenger seat turned, frowning in concern at the heavyset driver. "The police could be on our tail by now," he remarked. He rarely spoke, and when he did, it was generally to state the obvious or to agree with what one of the others said—though sometimes he also said something surprising that showed that he must spend a great deal of time pondering. This, however, was not one of those times.
"I already know that!" was the irritated reply. "But they won't have much luck getting past the way we've come." At least two trees had fallen in the main road behind them, due to the strong winds, and the only other path in that direction was completely dirt-filled and was probably mud by now. If any cars tried to go along that road, they would undoubtedly become stuck.
"Where are we even going?" exclaimed a dark-haired woman who was sitting in the back and trying to tend to their badly injured companion. "I don't think Tony will last much longer if we don't stop somewhere and treat his wounds properly!" She bit her lip, trying to make certain that the makeshift bandages stayed in place. Though she had taken several nursing classes in the past, it was difficult to do anything when they were practically tumbling down the road.
"We've got a hideout in the next canyon over," the driver answered. There was an opening to get back on the main road, but he did not dare. There could be police stationed at checkpoints all along the highway, waiting to intercept them. It was safest to stay where they were, on the road that was almost not a road at all. "Do you think he'll hold out till then?"
"It's hard to say," the female said, hesitant. Part of her did not want to be there at all, but she felt so extremely lost and alone—and these were the only people with whom she felt the least bit comfortable being around, after what she had done and had been a part of. She was destined, it seemed, to remain with these mobsters in the pit she had dug for herself. And she did not want to see anyone else die, not even the criminal who was lying on the seat next to her.
But, as it turned out, the one called Tony did survive. The mob managed to reach their secret cabin without being discovered by any of the police officers—who had most likely been forced to call off the search due to the storm. After they succeeded in getting Tony inside, the woman went to work tending to the various gunshot wounds he had sustained during the gang war they had just fled from. The other two gangsters paced around the cabin, tense and edgy, and discussed the events of the past day.
"Do you think Baby Face is really dead?" the one who had been in the passenger seat asked the driver.
"I don't know. It sure didn't look good for him," was the reply. "Both he and that guy went right over the edge of that waterfall, but the musician managed to get himself back up." He frowned. "I guess Baby Face could've found some way out, but it really looked like curtains for him."
"I guess Tony would be glad if that happened." The older man looked thoughtful. "He's been wanting to get rid of Baby Face for a long time now."
"Yeah, I guess so." The dark-haired man frowned. "It still seems kinda strange, though, for them to be at odds like this. All of us worked with Baby Face for years, but things were never the same after that DeWitt caper that landed him in jail that time. Suddenly Tony just wanted to take over, and he didn't want to let Baby Face be the boss again when he finally did break out of the slammer."
"I guess that's what happens when you get a taste of what power is like." His friend did not seem too surprised. "And I think Tony was always a bit afraid of Baby Face, after he really found out how violent he could get with anyone at any time."
"Nah," the driver replied. "Tony wasn't scared of Baby Face. At least, not until Baby Face almost killed him during the DeWitt caper. Tony didn't want to let him back into the gang because of self-preservation."
"It's a good enough reason," said the other. "I can't blame him. I was leery of Baby Face after the DeWitt mess, too."
Their conversation halted when they heard the female's high-heeled shoes clicking on the hard wood floor. Both men looked up at her.
"How is he, Linda?" queried the driver.
Linda sighed, exhaustion obvious in her eyes and on her face. "I've got him stabilized," she answered, "but I'm not sure whether he needs a blood transfusion or not. And of course there's no way to do something like that out in the middle of nowhere, without the proper equipment." She ran a hand through her hair. "We'll have to wait and see how he fares over the next few hours."
With that she collapsed into a chair, her features knitted in contemplation. She frowned, looking back up at the two mobsters. "Does it even matter to either of you whether he lives or dies?"
They looked at her in surprise, finding themselves at a loss for words. "Of course," said the older man at last.
"I don't want him to die," said the other.
Linda frowned, unconvinced. "You've known him for years," she went on, "but if the opportunity ever came up, you'd probably just betray him the same way all of you betrayed Baby Face. There's not any honor among mobs like yours and his." She glared at the floor.
As she did, a splash of red caught her eye. She still had a bit of Tony's blood on her skirt. That would not wash out easily. Instead it would serve as a reminder that it had been her fault that Tony had been shot in the first place. She sighed, placing a hand over her forehead.
"That's not true, Linda," the dark-haired man protested then. "We wouldn't turn against Tony."
Linda looked back up at him, her eyes displaying the weariness and the disillusionment of one who has spent too much time in a place where she does not belong. "Then tell me how it is, Vince," she retorted. "Tell me what kind of honor you have, because I would really like to know."
Vince—who was also known by the alias Mugsy—sighed softly and went over to Linda. How could he explain things to her? The truth was that he, at least, did not want Tony dead—and there was a part of him that missed the old days, when all of them had worked with Baby Face. But for whatever reasons—fear, powerlust, hatred—Tony had not wanted Baby Face to get back into their mob. A bitter war had erupted between the two former associates and Vince had opted to stay with Tony—not out of fear for his life, but because he considered Tony to be his friend. He felt that if things had been reversed, and Tony had been the one who had been arrested, that Baby Face would not have wanted to let him back into the mob, either—albeit for different reasons.
But as for Linda's question, he did not have an answer. Maybe she was even right. Maybe there was not any honor in the gang.