“I hope there are no hard feelings about all this shit, guys,” Michael said sheepishly as they stepped out of the storage container. His body language was awkward, but he maintained composure. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get my daughter back, but I didn’t agree with this charade.”
“I don’t blame you,” Bill responded distractedly. That test thing doesn’t make sense to me either, but it did to Marcel, and no one questions him. And I don’t have a kid, but if someone took my girl, I’d do anything to get her back.”
“I don’t blame you either,” added Brian. Bill’s right, and nothing would stop me from getting my girl back either.”
Although the men differed in many ways, they had one thing in common; a propensity for solving problems with violence. They were prepared to fight under any circumstances. This was obvious if you looked in the trunks of their cars.
Being prepared for war at any moment was the way of life in the criminal underworld. There was almost always high tension between the gangs, which led to paranoia. The nerve-wracking fear resulted in violence. Inevitable bloodshed raised pressure, which mounted until it caused further altercations. It became an endless cycle, to the point where you couldn’t tell what came first. It was impossible to discern whether tension was the impetus for paranoia, which led to violence, or that paranoia increased tension until someone lashed out. Each instance of all three incentives fed off each other, violence intensifying fear and pressure, and vice versa.
However it began, Bill and Brian knew they needed to protect themselves. Most of the time, showing off heavy firepower prevented rival gang members from escalating bravado to bloody death and mayhem in the streets.
The police usually left Brian and Bill alone, as long as they didn’t cause trouble with civilians. Most notable cops were on Marcel’s payroll, and were aware of the appearance of Bill’s car. Sometimes, the assassins were pulled over by a rookie who was unaware of how to behave around Bill and Brian. But even in those situations, at some point, the officer would be ordered by their superiors let them go.
“Let’s get started,” ordered John, handing Brian a picture of a dilapidated black panel van.
“Sounds good,” he responded, following Bill to his car.
“One more thing,” John added as Bill opened a black duffel bag in his trunk, and both killers retrieved their belongings. “I put my cell number your phones. Let me know if you discover anything.”
“Sure thing,” agreed Bill, closing the trunk. “Do the same with us too.”
John nodded as Brian and Bill got into the Chevelle.
The killers started their mission. They had no inkling of the obstacles they would face, and how much they would be forced to change their perspectives on life.