No Strings On Me

January 10, 2019:

Gorilla Boss explains to Cold how Gotham 'works.' Cold isn't having any of it.

Gotham City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Being a crime boss meant understanding nature, in the way an urban criminal would. Each faction in Gotham City's criminal underworld, particularly the established Familia, had their own function, and should that function ever disturb another function (or duplicate), a war was at hand. To function as a crime boss here, particularly in Gotham City with Batman on the loose, one needed to do the underworld (the black market, the economy of the financially expelled fraterneties) a service.

George "Gorilla Boss" Dyke, led the Irish Outfit, in managing the minor criminals of Gotham City. He kept them from attracting too much exposure from federal services, he controlled their violence, and of course, he was a tour guide and concierge to anyone new in town. Refusing the request of George Dyke, as a petty gangbanger, meant a barrel of monkeys beneath your car.

In a shady warehouse, officially registered as a concrete depot, the Gorilla Boss of Gotham City sat in an oversized chair made out of crates and upholstery, dressed in his three piece blue suit with brown tie, chewing on an oversized cocktail skewer. A large pistol sat on a raised table to his right, and he nursed a gargantuan stein of cheap beer in his left hand, the royal hand of the Irish. Nearby, beneath the dim lighting, his elite bodyguards playing a game of bridge. The warehouse was quiet tonight, smooth jazz (an acquired taste after George became a gorilla) wafted through the dimly lit building through a radio.

Gorilla Boss was waiting for the latest arrival to Gotham City, someone who had already earned his ire by striking a man who had already been slapped across the face.

*

Cities have rules. Even the dregs of society had rules. Honor amongst thieves and all that. She heard the call, a location was provided, Cold attended. Dressed in winter gear, the hood of her large jacket was up, its furliner brushing against parts of her pale face. Slender, silver visors cover her eyes, and attached to a mount on her right thigh is a boxy gun with a triangular barrel. Her boots thump, allowing her to be heard coming. She wasn't trying to sneak into this place, after all, she was summoned.

Her pace is smooth, a solid stride, head up and gaze forward until she brings herself as close to the Boss as she was allowed to be. He had his space, as did his men; this was their house. Her dark lips settle in a soft smirk, the expression natural to her, calm and easy. "I'm here." She greets. "What's on your mind?"

*

"You're on my mind," comes a low, smooth roll, the Boss' little black eyes alighting on Captain Cold's sunglasses. He lifts his stein, taking a slow, solid sip, deep and gravid.

There's a pregnant pause, the continuing low murmur of Dyke's minions indicating that there's no offense, yet.

"Captain Cold's kid, huh?" Gorilla continues, before slapping his mouth, clearing the taste of beer off his palette, as much as he prefers to do. "You'd think you would know this game. But, not every father can be there for a kid."

He ponderously reaches over his lap and sets the stein down on the same table as his gun, to the right, and then steeples his fingers in his lap, pointing towards Snart. He's notably awkward with human gestures, being a gorilla of course.

"My father beat some sense into me. But I'm not your father, am I?"

"I'm your friend, kiddo." His eyes narrow, his cocktail stick tilting upward as he clenches his teeth. "But I'm also a king."

*

"Part of me thinks I should feel flattered." She murmurs at first, keeping her stands and then resting on one leg more than the other, her hip jutting out accordingly. Her arms then cross casually, head forward and gaze hidden by the slip of eye-gear.

The comment about a father not being there causes her nostril to twitch up in a silent snarl. "Alright, 'friend'. I'm listening."

*

"Let's first discuss, what you can do for me. I need you, to follow certain guidelines in this city. You, right now, are the petty dirtbags. My gang, the Irish, deals with enforcement for the little guys and gangsters and wannabes, that don't know the layout yet." He raises a hand, chopped straight and held stiff. "Don't try to deal behind my back, this is my job here. All the wiseguys and freaks in this town have jobs, and when we fight, the Bat wins. If the Bat wins, then you go back a step in cribbage."

"You can do any sort of caper you want - you get it, capers, potatos, I'm Irish? - but you need to avoid other criminal territory, and you need to contact a registered attorney, not a public defender, when you get arrested. When you pull off a job, you give me a two point three percent cut of your gross, calculated before profit, as my vig. That's a courtesy to me, it helps me track what you and every other weasel in the city are up to. You don't do it, I find out where your park bench is, and the next time you feed the pigeons, they shat on it. Got me?"

*

"If." She explains, her legs switching with which carries more weight. "If I get arrested. I'm usually not one to let the blues get me, not back home, and definately not here. If this is your side of the territory, fine, I respect that, not my stomping grounds. You're 'allowing' me to do what I do naturally?" She inquires, her arms resting by her sides, gloved fingers settling on her hips.

"I'm still listening, but I'm not seeing a line that makes me tickled to sign it."

*

"I don't give out threats until after you fuck up, Little Cold, and they aren't words."

Dyke leans forward on his massive chair, alighting his elbows on the arms and letting his huge hands hang inwards.

"You pissed off Two-Face, and he's a level above the Families. In fact, he hates us. The normal Families and Outfits, we have sitdowns and negotiations and payoffs and apologies. Two-Face is a freak, and he's one that has gangs. Nobody predicts a freak but a Bat, and he wants as many stones in that pouch of his as he can fit. Thinks being a tough guy means a high score, you know? Gotham Knights fan, always roots for a losing team because he's psycho."

George's thick finger points up, at Snart. "The Bat secretly wants everyone in jail, even the Pope. All the Pope does is steal pizza, and it's bad for his health, so Batman wants him on medication. You, are a crazy bitch with a freeze pistol that dresses like an Eskimo, no offense intended if you're a First Nation."

"I'm in charge of you, until you figure out how to operate in Gotham City. Helping you figure it out, is the benefit of working with the Irish."

*

Lena smiles now. "I did piss him off…originally. We worked it out, though. Very well, actually. I'd say, at least as far as they're concerned, I'm in very good graces with Two-Face." She keeps her smile, hands still on her waist.

"Part of me loves this city, y'know? It's…more comfortable than back home. Smells right. Feels right, and the weather is amazing. I will say something up front - No one is in charge of me. Ever. Here's my side." She offers, finally moving and taking a step closer. The bubble is still there, giving both Boss, and his boys, space, even while she paces calmly. "I do what I do because I'm good at it. I don't work within the city unless I ask permission of who rules that territory. Honestly? That's why I was speaking with Face in the first place. Even offered him a cut, just like you're asking for now. I'm assuming that part of how I work is already acceptable to you."

"The Bat did not take me in. Nightwing didn't either in Bludhaven. Hood didn't claim me, nor take me down. I even had Deathstroke as a guardian angel of sorts. Side-note, there are ninjas in the city. Now…I'm willing to work on a new plan than what you're spitting my way. I'm not a mook, nor am I petty scum. I'm something bigger, and I'm willing to work with you."

*

"My gang doesn't have money, Little Cold, we have love. It's something about Ireland that is everywhere in society, but the Irish believe in it and it makes us function. It's not God or power and jewelry, but it's the thing that those things all represent." George, lifts his stein again, looking wistfully into the beer.

"Do you know what pride is, Little Cold? You have pride, but do you know what it is? Pride is knowing that you're great, just because you have that one thing that someone, that looks like you, accomplished, once, in the entire history of this dumb rock we call Earth. That's what keeps the Irish together, whether we're John F. Kennedy or you're a little Irish kid that knows there's something special about him because of a song about Irish eyes."

The Gorilla Boss sips his beer, evaluating Lena Snart carefully with another set of narrowed eyes.

He removes his cocktail stick from his mouth with his hand, pointing at her with the stick between his thumb and forefinger, more of a tilt than a direct jab. "You have pride, Little Cold, and that means you're Irish enough for me to understand. But you also have luck. Luck isn't real, Little Cold. It's an advantage someone makes you think you have, so you do something you shouldn't. Pride comes before the fall."

"So just give me that vig, from your gross revenue, whenever you pass something through a fence. I've got dozens upon dozens of gangs and criminals and lockpicks doing it throughout Gotham City, and none of them bounce into each other or piss off the syndicates, and hopefully the Joker doesn't mount their head on the clock in Gotham Square, because sometimes he likes Irish cooking."

"I don't sell a guarantee, or goons, or even an armory. And you aren't my customer, my customer is guys like Rupert Thorne and Carmine Falcone. I sell you, as a rational criminal, in this paradise that I'm happy you recognize, as Gotham City."

He leans back in his chair, stretching his mammoth chest, his suit straining but in a comfortable fashion.

*

Lena stands silent. She stares, hands down and shoulders bobbing under her massive jacket. "Fine. I already agreed to offering a cut when I'm in your side of town. Did you want anything else from me, or were you just making sure you got yours?"

*

"The cut is just the courtesy, it's my way of doing things. I'm not a parasite here, but it's the reality of working in a large system." George Dyke learned everything he knows about criminal management from prison, and it shows. He's what's called a 'shotcaller' - that's the guy that's in charge of the enforcement system to keep the inmates from working with the guards. "I'm happy you can stand up against the big boys, but you aren't alone as a criminal. No man is an island, we're all a bunch of guys on an island, get me? If you set the island on fire, we all starve and burn."

The Gorilla Boss of Gotham City waves a hand. "You aren't alone here, that means there are other guys on the road. Take a frankfurter on your way out, they're Nathan's. Even got fresh steamed buns."

An Irish goon gestures at a mysterious hot dog stand the Irish have appropriated, with the Nathan's Hot Dog logo, a stack of fresh frankfurters rolling on the greasy wheels and a plastic-lid covered array of buns.

*

"I'm starting to find something I don't enjoy about this city." She confesses. "This." She clarifies. "When did being what you are become a business? An almost political standpoint? When did our actions become like that of a company? You…love what you do? This, playing head and making sure everyone plays nice, makes you happy?" Shaking her head, the girl takes a step back. "Keep your road, and your hotdogs, though the offer is appreciated. Nice city, it's too…" Her face twists up as she searched for the word, everything that comes to mind seeming to sour on her tongue. "Systematic."

*

"I didn't make the system," comes a long, sad, empathetic sigh. "It goes back centuries."

"Do you understand what a bank is, Little Cold? A consolidated conspiracy to punish the poor for organizing in an effort to make money and support themselves in a position superior to the government and those that create the laws that made all of us poor in the first place?"

"The bank, is the system, that made us, the fellowships of crime. Before we were criminals, we were just farmers and potters and painters. Now, we're either divided as slaves, trapped in credit, or we're working together, hunted by the Bat."

"If you don't want to work together, then you should take out a student loan. See how that tastes."

He slowly lumbers out of his chair, pushing to his feet and shuffling over to the Nathan's cart.

"If you don't want one, I'll have one."

*

"Fix the system." Cold offers up. "Shake it up or keep yourself chained to it. Keeps you going, I don't blame you, but to me it seems like a waste of time. Live or die under their heels. There are no strings on me…" Reaching up, she assures her hood is up and in place. With a pivot, she follows after Boss and moves to leave the building the same way she came in.

"I have my reasons for what I do, 'Boss'; you're not it. This city isn't it. You'll get your share if I play in your park, I'll at least do that for you. Good luck with the other kiddies."

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