Terri didn’t bother to look up as Alphonse waddled into the room, covered in his usual sheen of sweat and fear. She left the fat man to stand in front of her desk for a minute as she dealt with more important business. When the mafia lieutenant looked up, she fixed the underling with a cold stare, just to keep him off balance.
“What have you got to report, Alphonse?”, she asked.
“Good news”, he stuttered. “The Family has approved your succession now that Louie is dead.”
Terry nodded. “Good. Now I can start rebuilding this disaster the esotropic bastard called an organization.”
Alphonse continued, “Garret heard back from his friend in Forensics. The chemical tracings and bomber’s signature at the docks are a match for the Auburn explosion. The guys who took out Louie were the same ones who destroyed the warehouse.”
Terri sat back in her chair, looking thoughtful. “Isn’t that interesting. They started my war with Louie, and they finished it. Ironic. Shame they can’t be more useful.”
Alphonse looked even more uncomfortable. “Why not? They’re effective.”
“Too much of a liability. Using the friendship with Louie to get close to him and then blowing him up was a stroke of ruthless genius, but it’ll put their reputations into the toilet. No-one makes a living killing Johnson’s…even if they deserve it. It won’t be long before they have multiple teams gunning for them. Especially if the rumors are true that one of the Megacorps has put out a contact.”
“Then we don’t have to worry about them?”
Terry leaned forward. “I’m not going to take the chance that the Shadows will be able to deal with them. Especially since it’s likely that they figured out I was behind the hit on Louie, not the whole Family.”
“Ummm…Terri?”, interrupted Alphonse. “Can I ask what caused the fight with Louie in the first place?”
She glared at him for a minute and contemplated telling him that it was none of his business, but given the other issue she wanted to discuss, perhaps she could indulge him.
“Partly it was because we disagreed on methodology. But mostly it was the public berating after the Auburn warehouse blew up. He was mad because I shot the snitch before we got the hell out of there. And he didn’t like me sending Georgio’s men after the guy’s family. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d done it privately. But when he upbraided me in front of the rest of the guys, it was too much. It’s one thing to work for a weak-willed pussy who won’t do what needs to be done. It’s another to lose face in front of the Family. One of us had to go. Turns out it was Louie.”
Alphonse swallowed hard, his multiple chins jiggling. He clearly wanted to be somewhere else.
“One more thing, Alphonse”, Terri continued. “I’ve heard that the Blood Brothers got ripped apart during an ‘easy hit’ at the train yard a few nights ago. Lost more than half their guys and never even saw who did it. You know anything about that?”
Alphonse stammered and turned even redder than usual. Terri stood and walked around her desk, a predatory smile on her face.
“And the budget you were given to hire the hit team?”, she continued. “You paid them in full, correct? The extra creds you were throwing around at the Purple Onion last night weren’t theirs, right?”
Alphonse looked like he was about to faint as he tried to back up towards to door, hands wringing and sweat poring off his beet-colored, balding head. Terri’s revolver appeared suddenly in her hand and roared once, catching the underling in the chest. Blood sprayed from the fat man’s back and he slowly toppled to the floor.
Terri looked down at the body. “I don’t make the same mistakes as Louie. I deal with issues as soon as I find them.”
She triggered the commlink. “Carla, please ask the clean-up team to deal with this mess. And get Mr. Gianelli’s secretary on the line. I need to speak to him about several problems that need to be dealt with.”