Thursday. 8 A.M.
The sun rose over the subtle hills of Willow Creek, it’s light kissing the ridge above the Blake Ranch, where Mickey Blake’s home now stood.
Mickey walked out on the deck of his Willow Creek ranchouse to have his morning coffee before starting for the twenty minute drive to work, at WC Tower in San Myshuno.
Mickey looked out and his eyes rested upon his childhood home, The Blake Ranch. Even after four years, almost every morning, Mickey expected to see his father, Garret, walking around somewhere on the property. It was a fleeting expectation, then Mickey remembered, his father was never going to walk the land again. The house was nothing more than a shell now. Full of old memories and heirlooms of a generation now gone. Mickey then remembered, he was the reason why.
Putting out the kill contract on his father and Randy Wyatt, was one of the hardest decisions Mickey ever made. It haunted him. Mickey didn’t regret the decision, it was not one made of anger, but of necessity. That was perhaps what haunted him the most. He had no remorse in ordering the act, he just regretted he had to do it.
A lot had changed since. The Outfit was no more. Mickey was now a boss of a different kind. He was the President and Chairman of the Board at WC Enterprises.
In the four years since he took over, Mickey had completely gutted and reassembled much of the company. He re-purposed it to become the guardian that the Outfit once was.
Mickey and Nikki’s divorce had been finalized shortly after he took control of WC. It was not ugly by any means. They ended their marriage on good terms and continued their business partnership. Nikki was more or less Mickey’s right hand at WC. Their daughter, Olivia had graduated college, and was now working in the company herself, as Nikki’s personal assistant. Jason had graduated college last summer, and was touring with his band. Mickey and Jason had barely spoken since he had been kidnapped, five years before.
Mickey’s thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of his phone. He fished it out of his pocket and looked at the display, it was Archer Kendall.
Archer was now head of BASE, which was now WC’s security and investigation division.
“Archer!” Mickey said enthusiastically. “How is BASE’s top dog?”
“I could be better.” Archer said in a flat tone. “I got a call from Noah Redcliffe. He has security footage showing Avery Murdock and an unknown woman, meeting in the basement of the Grace Ramsey Park Clubhouse. I was wondering if you might take a look.”
Fuck. Mickey thought. Just what we need, crazy bitches.
“Sure.” Mickey said. “I’ll stop by your office on my way to the office.”
“Thanks.” Archer said. “I appreciate it, Cuz.”
“No problem.” Mickey said. “In the meantime I would put someone on the Murdocks, just in case.”
“I am keeping eyes on Reagan and I got people on the way to keep eyes on Cole and Dannie Murdock and the Redcliffe’s. I also got a team looking after Ben and Sophia.”
“Good.” Mickey said. “Just be careful. Don’t let this get personal.”
“Yeah, of course.” Archer said, unconvincingly. “See you in a bit.”
Mickey stepped off the elevator on the twelfth floor of the WC Tower, which were now the home offices of the San Myshuno branch of BASE Investigations.
“That was quick.” Archer said without looking up.
“Traffic was light today.” Mickey said. “So what do we have?”
Without a word Archer pulled up the security footage Noah Redcliffe had sent him. Mickey took one look at the women on the video and he suddenly felt sick.
“Fuck.” he said.
“That bad?” Archer asked. “Who is she?”
“Her name is Vivian Giordano.” Mickey said. “She is the sister of Anthony and Emilia Giordano. The two people I left all our illegitimate operations with, when I took the Outfit legit.”
“Vivian Giordano.” Archer said as he typed the name into the law enforcement database. “She was arrested three years ago for shoplifting. Before that we have blackmail, extortion, she did some time for prostitution about a decade ago. Father is Vincent Giordano, captain of the Antonio Family, later relocated to Windenburg, where he ran illegal gambling for unknown. Brother was a capo in the Salvatore Family, sister Emilia is on the red flag lists for cyber crimes. Nice family.”
“They look worse on paper than they really are.” Mickey said. “The Giordano’s were part of the Outfit. They were an old Antonio Family crew. After the Antonio’s were wiped out, my dad and I folded them into the Outfit. When I took us legit, Anthony started his own crime family and took over the Outfit’s illegitimate operation sin Windenburg and Brindleton Bay.”
“Wasn’t he working with Lewis at one time? To take Newcrest?” Archer asked.
“Not exactly.” Mickey said. “He was part of a group trying to take out the Outfit. Anthony and I had…tensions between us back when he was on my crew in Windenburg. Around that time his mother roped him in with Nick Pierce and Carlton Lewis. By the time he realized he made a mistake, he was in too deep.”
“Looks like he might be picking things back up.” Archer said.
“Not likely.” Mickey said. “Vivian was never part of the Outfit, nor was she part of Anthony’s organization. As far as I know. It is likely he knows nothing about this.”
“Can you be sure?” Archer asked. “Seems a hell of a coincidence.”
“I know.” Mickey said. “Which is why you and I are going to Brindleton Bay to talk to him.”
“I am not going anywhere.” Archer said. “I am staying right here and keeping an eye on Reagan.”
“Look Archer, I know you care about her, but you can’t let this become personal.” Mickey said. “That puts you and her in danger.”
“I can keep my cool.” Archer said. “Don’t worry.”
“Okay. You stay here. Keep your eyes on Reagan.” Mickey said. “I will check things out in Brindleton Bay and call you when I know something. Keep me posted.”
Thursday 12:32 pm.
Mickey’s plane landed at the small private strip in Brindleton Bay, just as a storm began to form over the small beach town.
Mickey and Travis Wyatt disembarked from the plane.
“Thanks for the ride on such sort notice.” Mickey said.
“No problem, Uncle Mike.” Travis said. “You need me to go with you?”
“No.” Mickey said. “It might be best if I do this alone. Just keep the engines going. I shouldn’t be more than a half hour. If this storm holds off we can get back to Willow Creek before dinner time.”
Mickey took a cab fro mthe private airport and headed for Club Calico. As he walked along the deck, the smell of sea water flooded his nostrils, Mickey couldn’t help but think back to his and Nikki’s college days. He could almost hear her Nikki’s sweet voice.
As he approached the rendezvous, Mickey focused. He was not here to reminiscence. Lives were potentially at stake.
He spotted Anthony and Emilia on the open deck looking out over the wharves. Mickey took a deep breath and walked forward to meet them.
“Mickey Blake.” Anthony said with enthusiasm. “It is good to see you.”
“Good to see you guys.” Mickey said.
“IS this business or social?” Anthony asked.
“Personal business.” Mickey said. “We might have some trouble in Newcrest, I need to talk with you guys about.”
“What’s going on?” Emilia asked.
Mickey took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.
“We think Avery Murdock is stirring up trouble.” Mickey said. “The security camera’s at the clubhouse of the Grace Ramsey Park, showed Avery Murdock meeting with your sister Vivian.”
“Shit.” Anthony said. “Vivian has been a pain in our ass for the last few years. It’s one thing after another with her.”
“What the hell is she doing in Newcrest?” Emilia asked.
“I was hoping you could tell me.” Mickey said. “We are worried Avery Murdock is about to pull something. We aren’t sure what. All we know was she and Vivian were in the clubhouse after park hours. Likely got the key from her daughter Reagan.”
“It might be about Spencer Granville.” Emilia said. “Vivian and Spencer had a bit of a thing going, shortly before he was whacked. They maybe looking for him. He left them both high and dry.”
“Vivian was hooked up with Spencer?” Mickey asked. “Right before his death? That was about the time he and Avery were trying to take over Newcrest.”
“I knew Granville.” Anthony said. “He was a player. He was likely using both of them. What he was using my sister for I don’t know, and really don’t want to know. I just know the guy is bad news. So is Vivian, if she is on his trail. That is a body best left buried.”
“I’m not too terribly worried about that.” Mickey said. “I am more worried about what else they are up to. Vivian is bad enough, but put Avery in the mix, God only knows what shit storm they plan on causing.”
“Knowing Vivian like I do it will be just that.” Emilia said.
“You tell us what you want us to do and we will do it.” Anthony said. “I don’t want Vivian coming between this friendship.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Mickey said. “My boy has it covered. I just came out here to see if you had any information. Just knowing she was playing patty cake with Granville is telling. It’s possible she and Avery are going to try to pick up where he left off.”
“All Vivian cares about is money.” Emilia said. “If they are up to anything, it is likely they are planning to extort the Murdocks somehow.”
“Mickey, you have my blessings to do whatever you need to do.” Anthony said. “Vivian is playing with fire so if you need to burn her, burn her.”
Mickey smiled a sly smile.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” he said. “Thanks for the information. If we catch her before she gets into any trouble, I’ll be sure to send your regards.”
Mickey said his goodbyes to Emilia and Anthony. As soon as he was out of sight he called Archer.
Archer answered on the first ring.
“What do you have for me, Cousin?” Archer asked.
“Nothing new except Avery and Vivian have something in common.” Mickey said. “Besides prison time. Apparently they were both playing hide the weasel with Spencer Granville.”
“The guy that tried to kill Ami Redcliffe?” Archer asked.
“The one and only.” Mickey said. “They maybe looking for him.”
“I doubt it.” Archer said. “They would have found out he is on an extended vacation, by now. You think she is working for her brother? Or is she solo?”
“Solo for sure. She is sort of the black sheep. They just gave me permission to “burn her”. Mickey said.
“That’s fucking cold.” Archer said. “She must be pretty bad if her own family isn’t willing to step in.”
“Sometimes to you have to cut off hand to save the body.” Mickey said. “Vivian’s only desire is money. Avery is out for the same thing most likely, plus a little revenge in the process. If they have anything planned, it is likely going to be something along the lines of extortion.”
“Avery have dirt on the Murdocks?” Archer asked.
“She knows of Ben’s business venture into marijuana, but that is not exactly a secret anymore. Cole told me his dad told him about it. Besides, nowadays, selling weed is no big deal. Hell even Texas has decriminalized it.”
“Yeah I doubt it’s that.” Archer said. “Whatever they are planning, I think it is going to be a bit more ambitious than threatening to snitch on the old man.”
“Agreed.” Mickey said. “I’m going to head back. We will figure out our next move then. In the meantime keep an eye on them.”
“Rodger that.” Archer said. “I’ll see you when you get back.”
It was almost six that evening before Mickey finally made it back to the Willow Creek Base offices.
Archer had moved his control center to Willow Creek earlier that morning, so he and his team were closer to Newcrest, in case they had to move quickly.
Mickey approached the front desk, where Liya, one of archer’s tech specialist sat, tapping away at her keyboard.
“Hey Liya.” Mickey said. “Is Archer in?”
“He is in his office Mr. Blake.” Liya said. ‘He is expecting you.”
“Thank you Liya.” Mickey said.
Mickey went into Archer’s office and noticed a familiar book on his desk. The original journal Mickey’s father kept. Mickey cringed at it’s site. That book had caused more trouble in the last fifty years than any written word in history.
“I see you are brushing up on your history.” Mickey said.
Archer glanced at the book then turned his eyes back to the computer.
“I was checking to see if there might have been any entries about possible associates of Vivian.” Archer said. “The entry about her is only about a half page, but I might have found something interesting.”
Mickey picked up the book and looked at it like it was the lowest object on earth.
“You know I almost threw this damn thing away.” Mickey said. “I guess it is a good thing I didn’t. What did you find?”
“Well we made the assumption that Vivian was a solo act.” Archer said. “It appears she is involved with a small time crew here in San Myshuno. Led by Paul Marazano.”
“Paulie “Pepper” Marzano Jr. to be exact.” Mickey said. “His old man was Paul Marazano, he was a captain with the Antonio Family, during my old man’s hey day. So was his uncle, Salvatore. Amira Tamah, one of my old man’s lieutenants killed Paul in the Philippines, after he and Johnny Antonio tried to kidnap a girl and kill Randy Wyatt.”
“Charming.” Archer said. “Should we check him out?”
“Never hurts to cover a base.” Mickey said. “But I doubt he is involved. The only beef an old Antonio crew might have against the Murdocks, is the fact that his weed venture was the beginning of the end of that family. The Outfit took it over, which increased out power and enabled my old man to take them on.”
“It’s still a lead.” Archer said. “They can’t go after the Outfit anymore so they target the Murdocks.”
“I’ll call Tony Coreleonsi.” Mickey said. “Have him talk with them. If they will tell anyone the truth it will be him.”
“I was hoping you would say that.” Archer said. “I am going to be taking off. There isn’t much more that can be done until we know what they are up to.”
“If they are up to anything.” Mickey said. “We still have no proof they did anything more than meet in the park after hours.”
“That doesn’t raise any red flags?” Archer asked.
“It does.” Mickey said. “But that is not proof of anything sinister. They may just have gone there to talk privately, Vivian may have just simply have met with Avery to tell her about Spencer’s demise.”
“You believe that?” Archer asked.
“Not for a second.” Mickey said. “But until we have evidence to the contrary, we should expect the worse and hope for the best.”