Characters and places:
John Smith(also Leonardo): as himself
Luke Victor(also Zak):Phoebus Andrew Pickelani: B&B prince
Adams: head of spy/detective network
Control: center for spies/ detectives
Time Period: Modern age
“Hey, John!” shouted someone from across the room before John could even pick up a pen. He smiled. That voice could belong to only one person.... “Don’t you think you better let me handle that? After all, I AM the better half of our partnership!!”
“Aww, Luke, I was just saving your delicate hands from the trouble,” retorted John.
Luke slapped John roughly on the back. “Hey, I’m tough, I can do it!!!” he joked back. “Think today’s bust is award worthy? After all, awards night is coming up and the Victor-Smith team has stiffer competition this year..”
“That’s SMITH-Victor,” corrected John. “And about the award...who cares? The important thing is, another mob is behind bars and more lives have been spared.”< P> “Not to mention more people can sleep safely tonight knowing their cats and dogs won’t get stolen for the gang’s patented Chinese food,” added Luke. “Ha! You KNOW you want an award!! You want it so bad, you can almost taste it. And when you get us that award, it’s gonna say Victor - Smith on it. After all, that has such a nice ring to it--”
“Smith, Victor, I need to see you,” Adams ordered, popping his head outside his office for a moment.
“Oh, great, what did you do now?” demanded Luke on the way to the office.
“Ha, ha,” replied John in a whisper as they neared Adams’ private quarters. “And notice, he said ‘Smith’ before Victor.”
“That is just because--” Luke broke off as they entered and were met with Adams’ stern, solemn gaze.
“Take a seat, boys,” Adams directed. Luke and John exchanged glances; Adams persisted in calling even his experienced detectives “boys” whether they were 26, like John and Luke, or even the same age as him. They sat down, though, respecting Adams’ lofty position in Control.
“It has come to Control’s attention that a new mob is rapidly gaining power in the city -- and dangerously so. Obviously, we want to put an end to this, and we think that you two are the ones for the job.”
Luke gave John a look which clearly said to his old friend ‘See? We’ll get that award yet.’
Adams continued. “But first, of course, I need to give you a short briefing on the gang. The leader of it is quite young, about your age, but he is very dangerous. His name is Andrew Pickelani. Here is one of the few shots of him, acquired through a source. His girlfriend took this.” He passed the picture to the two detectives.
Andrew was quite muscular in the picture, but also handsome -- with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. John could understand why such a man would have extreme power over men and women.
“Oh yeah-- the girlfriend who took this picture-- her name is Capricia. She is very close to Andrew, as the boss’ main squeeze. The word on the street is, ‘ she keeps him happy.’ ” Adams’ monotone rambled on.
Luke snickered. “How?”
John glared at him. “Luke, this is a briefing. Not a playboy channel special.” Luke could be so immature sometimes, he thought.
“ANYWAY, I believe Capricia may help us get to want we want -- Andrew’s special shipments. We need to know what they are, what they are for, when he gets them, where he gets them, how, you name it. That’ll be up to you guys, of course. In fact, since the maturity seems to be less than adequate in here, let me spell it out for you for this assignment -- John, I want you to butter up Capricia to find this stuff out. Luke, you do more of the talk with other gangsters and handle some of the breaking into offices, whatever they have there, to scout out information. Both of you need to get friendly with Andrew, gain his trust. Here are your identities for when you join the gang.”
“Leonardo??” cried John when he saw the sheet.
“Zak?” said Luke disbelievingly.
“Comes with the territory, boys. These names were recommended. Now, I’m sending you to what sources say is Andrew’s headquarters. It’s part of one of his nightclubs. Your sheets contain the password and necessary directions. Burn those as fast as possible. I expect you guys to start tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? A new job? But the awar--” Luke said.
Quickly John interrupted. “What he means, ah we mean, is, good. We want to get started right away.”
“Good,” responded Adams. “Now get going.”
“Zak, come on, get going,” John urged his sleeping roommate, shaking him hard.
“Wha-what? Huh?” said Zak sleepily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “What’s going on? And why are you calling me Zak?”
“We have to get used to our new names, remember? Today we start the case.” John jerked the comforter away from his friend. “Now get going. We have to prepare our gang outfits.”
“Oh yeah,” recalled Luke, smiling. “Gang outfits. Okay, Leo.” John grinned to himself as he returned to his room to change. He pulled out his outfit, controlling the urge to laugh as he struggled with the black leathery gear. Then he applied a fake anchor tattoo and checked himself out in the mirror. “Perfect,” he said aloud. “A real Leonardo.”
“Certainly not Davinci,” replied Luke from behind him. John turned around to survey Luke. He groaned.
“Nice mesh shirt,” he said. “Those are some jeans you’re wearing. Did you have room for underwear?”
“Ha, ha,” said Luke, not amused. “I LIKE my outfit. And they said to look like gangsters, so...this is what I decided on....yes, I’m wearing underwear,” he added defensively. “All right, let’s just get going.”
They headed out in John’s sleek navy Convertible and soon found the club.
“I’ll go first, you come a little later,” whispered John. “That way it won’t be suspicious.”
“But I want to go first...” argued Luke. But John -- now Leonardo-- had already headed for the door, a crude black thing decorated with grafitti.
Leonardo knocked five times in the appropriate combination. A little slit slid open, and two dark eyes peered out.
“You alone?” gruffly asked the voice partnered with the eyes.
“Yeah,” John responded in his best tough gang voice.
“Violet alligators swim in lime ponds with polka dotted waterlillies.”
The door popped open and the guy in charge of the door roughly pulled him in before slamming the door shut again.
“You know where Andrew is?” asked Leonardo.
“Check with Capricia. Over there,” the guy muttered, jerking his thumb towards the bar entrance before returning his attention to the door again.
Leonardo followed the thumb to the figure of a lithe, tall girl. Despite himself, his eyes widened. This girl is really something, he thought, taking in her long, straight black hair, dark skin, and deep brown eyes. But he quickly pulled himself together. She’s just like every other mob girl, he thought, and I’m on the job. He walked casually over to her.
“Yes,” replied Capricia. She studied the blond stranger. He must be new, she thought, I’ve never seen him before around here.
“I need to speak to Andrew,” he demanded.
Ahh, sighed Capricia, another handsome gangster wanting to be one of Andrew’s buffoons. “I’m sorry, he can’t see you now,” she responded, used to this rough manner. Leonardo was taken aback. So polite! he marveled. What’s the deal? Does she like me already? Well, maybe I can use this superficialness to my advantage. “That’s okay,” he said, “I’m content to spend time with you now.” He put his arm around her waist and looked deeply into her eyes.
But to his surprise, Capricia seemed uncomfortable. She gently pushed away from him, softly saying, “I, uh, I really don’t work like that, please..” She seemed almost afraid, observed Leonardo, again with surprise. He backed off a little and glanced towards the door, to check Zak’s progress. He was just now slipping through the door.
“Capricia! Get over here!” demanded a man who burst from some unknown location.
“Andrew!” cried Capricia. Obediently she went over to him. Ah, Andrew Pickelani , realized Leonardo.
Andrew pulled the girl close to him. “How’s my best girl doing?” he asked, giving her a kiss. Capricia reluctantly responded, but quickly pulled away.
“Uh, that guy over there want to speak with you --” she began nervously. Andrew didn’t tolerate strangers.
Andrew reluctantly let Capricia go. Whew, she thought, happy to escape his wandering hands.
“Who are you?” he queried.
“Leonardo,” answered Leonardo.
“Leonardo, I like that. Maybe Leo for short. You want to be part of my gang?”
“Course you do, everyone does. But few can pass my tests. Come on,” he said, leading Leonardo to another room.
Capricia watched Leonardo leave, wondering if he’d pass the test. He’s pretty attractive, she mused, thinking of his blue eyes not without pleasure. But he’s just like the others, she sighed.
Leonardo met up with Zak later, in the upstairs hall reserved for those that Andrew housed in his gang.
“So, you passed,” said Leonardo.
“Course I did,” said Zak. “Looks like you did too. How did you like those rules? My favorite was ‘Since you’re in my family, you gotta follow my orders.’ ”
“Rule number three was also memorable,” said Leonardo. “ ‘My best girl Capricia is hands-off.’ He’s pretty serious about her, esp. for a womanizer like him”
“Yeah,” agreed Zak. “You better watch your step when you butter her up, bud.”
“I will. Speaking of Capricia, I better snoop around and see what she’s up to.”
“I’ve got my own spying to do anyway,” replied Zak. The two separated. Leonardo headed for downstairs. He could hear heated voices arguing in a nearby room.
“Capricia, babe, loosen up,” he heard Andrew coax.
“No,” cried Capricia’s voice. She sounded alarmed and intimidated, thought Leonardo.
“You gotta give in sometime, babe. I can’t wait for you anymore.”
Inside the room, Capricia pushed Andrew’s arm off her and turned away. I hate this, she thought passionately. I hate him. I hate this life. Andrew advanced toward her and pinned her against the wall.
“Andrew! Stop!” She cried, struggling. Clumsily she tried to punch him somewhere, anywhere, but her arms were well restrained.
“What’s the problem, baby? I thought you liked me, even loved me. Now’s the time to show it.”
“You know I wanted to wait until I was married. I want it to be romantic! You know I’m saving myself --” Capricia continued to struggle. What if this time he succeeds? she thought desperately. What will I do? What if he gets me pregnant? Then I’ll for sure never, ever, be able to go home, she realized.
Andrew released his grip, roughly pushing her up against the wall with a hard shove. Capricia bumped up against it, bruising her arm and falling awkwardly to the floor in her tight dress and heels. “Worthless girl,” muttered Andrew. “You know, he exclaimed, getting in Capricia’s face, grabbing her by her shoulder and pulling her to her feet, “I never shoulda taken you in. I worked so hard to make you a part of my gang, and my life, giving you clothes, a home, and this is how you treat me? You worthless little babe. You ain’t worth nothin’.” He slapped her hard across her face.
Outside the door, Leonardo began to get worried about Capricia. I hope she’s okay, he thought. Whoa, wait a sec. I’m actually starting to feel sympathy for her. You’ve got to stop this, John, he scolded himself. She’s just another gang girlfriend, just another ruthless mobster “babe,” he reminded himself. But somehow he felt that this couldn’t be true. Suddenly he heard Andrew roar, “Get out!” Quickly Leonardo concealed himself in the shadows.
Capricia emerged from the room, her hand still raised to one stinging cheek. Is this how life will always be for me? she wondered. Will I always be stuck here, catering to his every whim so he won’t beat me up? Her eyes watered and salty droplets began to run down her cheeks. She quickly began to run to her safe haven, a secret room where she could escape Andrew. Leonardo began to follow her. Where is she going? he wondered.
She traveled through several rooms while Leonardo trailed her until stopping before a wall in a study. She pulled down on a candlestick and a piece of the wall rolled away. Capricia went inside. Leonardo quickly slid through the wall before it closed. Capricia sank onto an old velvety couch and began to cry. Her hair, somewhat disheveled fell over her shoulders in large strands, somewhat obscuring her face. In his hiding place, Leonardo felt such compassion for her that he could no longer hide from her.
“Capricia,” he said gently.
Capricia looked up, startled. “Leonardo! What are you doing here?”
“I, uh, I found this place by accident. What’s wrong?” he asked, truly concerned for her. He sat next to her on the couch, ready to lend a sympathetic ear.
Capricia was shocked. Was this the same person she met earlier? His manner seemed soo...different...so..caring. “I don’t think you’d understand,” she began slowly.
“You might be surprised,” replied John, tenderly placing his hand on her shoulder so as not to frighten her. To heck with the job, he thought carelessly as he gazed at her distraught face.
“This might seem strange to you,” Capricia said, moved by his genuine sympathy and gentle touch. “but I never intended to be here in the first place. You see, a year ago I had a major falling out with my father. He wanted me to marry some guy who is esteemed in his tribe--”
“His tribe?” interrupted Leonardo, unable to help himself.
“Yes, well, I’m Native American and my father is the chief of the Powhatan tribe. He wanted me to marry this guy to keep a long held tradition going. But I wanted to marry whoever I wanted, like you’re supposed to be able to do in the nineties’, not stuck in some arranged marriage of the 1600’s. Anyway, I had a fight with him about this and he said do it or move out, so I moved out. Well, I ended up broke and wandering the streets, and that’s when I met Andrew. He took me in, gave me a home and bought me all these expensive little numbers. I thought it was great at first, especially when he gave me such special attention and made me my girlfriend. He started calling me Capricia and that became practically my real name as it caught on with the mob ....little did I know what I was getting into with that...” her voice broke off and she began to sob.
“Oh, Capricia.” Leonardo felt so awful. This was no ganster girl, he realized. This was a kind girl who had naively gotten involved with the wrong people. He put his arm around her shoulder. “I know, I know. Please don’t cry. What your real name?” he asked, delicately tipping her chin up and brushing her hair out of her face.
“Pocahontas,” answered Capricia, a hot shiver running up her spine. Who was this guy really? How could someone like him be involved with the mob?