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CHAPTER ONE

Dax sat across from Lex in a booth near the back of the McDonald’s. The kids screaming and running around with ice cream on their faces belied the topic of their conversation.

“You’re talking about murder,” Dax said.

Lex nodded, taking a sip from his double mocha frappe, his lips puckered around the straw. The constant ding of the door from customers walking in started to sound like a ticking clock in Dax’s mind.

He made Dax order the coffee drink instead of his usual cheeseburger meal, Lex did. They were entering into grown up territory now. They were adults. Dax’s iced chocolate coffee drink sat between them, the condensation starting to pool on the table.

“Not just murder, but murdering our friend,” Dax added when Lex sat there, sucking from his straw.

“You’re not down?”

“Fuck no I’m not down, you crazy?”

“Look at it this way. You remember Jose?”

“No, I don’t.”

“See?”

Lex leaned back like his point was made. Sucking on that goddamned frappe again. They both looked over at a mother chasing and screaming at her child. The kid had stripped himself of his clothes and was running around the restaurant in his underwear.

“You’re going to have to do better,” Dax said.

“You don’t remember Jose? Used to be our friend in second grade, we hung out all the time.”

Second grade was a long time ago. Dax did the math in his head coming to the number of twelve.

“I don’t remember a kid from twelve years ago, that makes murder okay?”

“Keep your voice down,” Lex said.

“What’s one got to do with the other?” Dax whispered.

“You not friends with Jose no more? Neither am I. You don’t think about him and neither do I. Right?”

“Forgot about him until you brought him up just now.”

“Okay, so Zax is the same. We don’t remember Jose. We were all friends once and now we’re not and it’s because we just grew apart and the friendship ended. It’s about time our friendship ended with Zax. Man just up and grew apart from us.”

The kid in his underwear ran by, his mother in pursuit, catching him when he tried running under a booth behind them. His mom grabbed his arm and dragged his naked body along the floor, bringing him back to her table.

“So we just ignore his texts. Murder’s pretty far off from that, way to end a friendship.”

“You know we can’t do that.”

The reason why they couldn’t was because they were in a gang and Zax was the leader. Two others rounded out the gang, Max and Rex, but they weren’t at McDonald’s that day.

Their gang was called the Outcasts, and they wore black shirts that said ‘Outcasts’ on the front in a spooky font. They wore ripped jeans, Chuck Taylor shoes, and had mo-hawks that weren’t spiked - that was their gang look.

“Maybe we just talk to him again. I don’t see why it’s got to go this far,” Dax said.

“You think I haven’t thought about that? All these situations, any way around this? I thought of them all and it’s just no going. There’s no reasoning with him.”

Lex had been talking to Zax for weeks now, telling him about this other gang called the Boppers that seemed to be making moves. Their membership was a few years younger in age than the Outcasts were. Matter of fact, Dax’s kid brother was a member.

He wanted to make a move on the Boppers, Lex did, take whatever they had so they could grow. He saw the Boppers becoming something, moving up the hierarchy of gang power. Lex figured taking them out would move the Outcasts up the ladder instead. Zax declined him every time, telling him he was happy with what they had.

“You know why he says that right? He says that and it’s two-fold,” Lex said after the last time he talked to Zax about it. “One is, he’s in charge, got no want for it. The other is he’s got no vision. But that one even goes back to the first. Got no vision because he’s in charge. What’s he got a want for?”

But Dax still wasn’t convinced. He liked beating people up. He liked scaring people and stealing and all the vandalism and prestige that came with being in a gang. He wasn’t exactly down for taking another life.

“Why don’t we just branch out on our own, leave Zax behind? I mean, is Max and Rex even down?”

“They know some things got to get done, so yeah, they’re down.”

“They tell you this?”

“Yes, Dax, they said ‘you go kill this motherfucker and we’re cool with what you do.’”

“So? Let’s just go on our own. Better yet, we go on our own and join the Boppers, then we get in on what they’re doing. You think about that?”

“I did.”

“And?”

“No,” which revealed the real motivation of Lex. He just wanted to be in charge. All the other things that came out of his mouth were nothing more than a smokescreen.

Now the mother was spanking her kid, right there on the table in the middle of McDonald’s. The sharp slaps brought Dax’s attention over to her. It was brought back when he heard a loud metallic clunk in his booth. He turned to see a brown paper bag sitting in front of him. He didn’t have to look inside to know it was a gun.

“I’m just asking if you’re in or out, not for your council,” Lex said.

And in that moment, Dax knew that he didn’t have a choice. The only choice he had was if he wanted to live or die.

“Who does it?”

“We do. Tonight,” Lex leaned back into the booth, sucking any last remnants out of his frappe.

“Why not Max and Rex? They’re the muscle.”

“Because we’re doing it. Tonight. What you got to do, got to grow up sometime.”

Dax looked at the whipped cream melting in his drink, at the pool of condensation that grew on the table between them.

“And then after this, what? We go take out the Boppers? Shoot them dead too?”

“No, they got a different plan coming to them,” Lex took the plastic top off his cup and held his drink above his head, patting the bottom to get the last pieces of chocolate to drop into his mouth.

 

“Take that shit off man, you trying to get identified?” Lex told Dax, pointing to the white lettering of ‘Outcasts’ on his shirt.

“I didn’t bring another one.”

“Fuck man, turn it inside out then.”

Dax took off his shirt and turned it inside out, then put it back on. They were in Lex’s bedroom, his parents in the living room watching some loud war movie, Black Hawk Down Dax thought.

Lex had clothes strewn all over his room, covering the floors and bed, seeming to have spawned from his closet. There were posters of punk bands along the walls, The Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, mixed in with grunge bands from the nineties like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. He was sitting on his bed, tying up the Doc Martens over his white socks. Some thrasher band played on the stereo, a joint smoked in the ashtray.

With his shoes tied up, Lex reached under his bed and pulled out a black gym bag, what he called his ‘go bag,’ in case ‘shit got hairy.’ From it he pulled out a couple of ski masks, some black shoe polish, duct tape, and a knife. It was at that point Dax felt his heart stop. He took a hit off the joint.

“You ready?”

All Dax could do was nod.

“Stay here while I tell my folks we’re playing video games all night,” Lex said and left the room. Dax couldn’t stop his shaking and before he knew it the joint was gone, the roach burning his finger tips.

When Lex came back, Dax asked why he told his parents they were playing video games. Dax explained that it was for an alibi, dummy, and then he opened the window and climbed out.

As they went down the residential streets, passing all the houses with the glowing windows from late night TV, the cars idle in the driveways, a weird sensation came over Dax. None of the people inside these homes, going on with their normal, everyday lives, winding down from their day, none of them had any idea what Dax and Lex were about to do. It would be easy, just walking into one of these houses and plugging the person inside. One second, they’d be getting their popcorn ready for the late movie, the next, they had a bullet in their head.

And then if there was another person there, that person would have to become dead. If it was a person that didn’t live there, they’d have to track down who knew about the second person at the house, then they’d have to go kill those people. Dax lit a cigarette as he tried to forget the tangled web he formed in his mind.

When the truck came out of the driveway, Mr. McGregor Dax thought it to be, going to his night shift at the plant, Dax woke up from his daydream. Mr. McGregor saw him, that was for sure, so now he wondered if after they killed Zax, they’d have to come back and do Mr. McGregor, that tough Irish prick. It was like a single path that led into a forest he thought, with a million paths that had to be walked to find the single one that could lead you out. People often got lost and died alone in a forest. Help coming too late.

Before he knew it, they found themselves in front of Zax’s house, Lex snorting a line of cocaine from his wrist. He’d never seen Lex do hard drugs before. They smoked pot, even some hash, once in awhile dropped ecstasy, but they never got into the hard stuff.

“You ready?” Lex asked.

“Give me a minute,” Dax pulled out a joint and lit it, sat on the curb. Neither of them talked. Dax sat there, smoking his joint, trying to go numb while Lex stood, stiff as a board, at the foot of the driveway, staring at the house. The lights were off but there was a glow coming from the basement windows.

When Dax finished the joint, rubbing it out with the sole of his Chuck Taylor All-stars, he looked up and saw Lex had the gun out already, his fingers constantly wrapping around the grip of the .38 Special he stole from his dad. He always thought the gun looked cool, but that was when it was tucked away in a box in the closet. Now it scared the shit out of him.

“Do a bump,” Lex said, shoving the gun under his nose where Dax saw a small mound of cocaine on the snub nosed barrel, barely two inches. He looked up to Lex, his eyes bulging out of his head, focused. He looked at the cocaine on the barrel, shaking slightly back and forth. He watched as granules of the powder started to tumble away, down the side. That’s when he knew Lex was nervous too, scared, and someone that was nervous and scared was unpredictable. He snorted the cocaine.

They walked up the driveway, moved to the side of the house, let themselves in the door, then down the steps to the basement, ducking their heads to not knock against the low wooden rafters above them.

Zax laid in his bed, wearing nothing but his white boxers, taking a hit off a bong. He saw them, smiled as he held his breath, keeping the smoke in his lungs. His blond hair flopped over the side of his face. Lex took a seat on the old chair Zax got when his grandmother died. This wide green number that scratched your skin as soon as you touched it.

“What’s up guys?” Zax asked, letting the smoke out of his lungs, filling the room, offering the bong to Lex. He took it with one hand, the other dropping the gun between the cushion and his back. He lit the bowl, took a big hit.

Dax looked at the TV, the only source of light in the room, saw it was playing Black Hawk Down too. He watched Eric Bana and the Delta team come up to the bad guys on the truck, took them down using night vision, the shit they were in about to come to a head on that night.

“Kenzie around?” Lex asked, offering the bong to Dax who declined. He handed it back to Zax.

“No, she took off. War movies aren’t her thing.”

Lex looked at the TV now for the first time, sliding his hand behind his back to grab the gun again, saying “I like this one. The part where the one goes deaf because the other one fires too close to his ear? That kind of shit they don’t show you in these movies.”

“It’s a good flick,” Zax said, taking another hit before putting the bong on the floor beside him.

“You sure Kenzie ain’t around? You guys bone all the time.”

“Did that already. She don’t like war movies.”

Dax saw the glow of light coming from the bathroom, a little one Zax’s dad put up off to the side some years ago when Zax wasn’t going to move out but wanted his own space. He saw a faint shadow break up the light, figured Kenzie was in there, but was probably naked, why she didn’t want to come out. He was glad she made that choice.

“You got something behind your back there?” Zax asked. Lex smiled, brought his hand out to show the gun, displaying it for Zax before putting it on his lap, pointing it at Zax sideways, relaxed.

“That your dad’s piece? Shit, you finally took it huh?”

“I did,” and then he pulled the trigger. Zax’s chest exploded, knocked him to the side. Lex stood up, walked around the bed and stood over Zax and pulled the trigger again, putting a hole through his head.

He wasn’t kidding about the sound from a gun, how loud it was in real life. He could barely hear when Lex turned to him and said “let’s go.”

CHAPTER TWO

“Why don’t you just get rid of them?” The Boss asked.

“They’re stupid but they’re loyal. Ain’t never been one to agree putting a horse to pasture. Horse can’t race no more, no reason he got to die, you feel me?”

“No. I never know what the hell you’re saying.”

“Horse can’t race, alright, that’s one purpose of the horse. It ain’t his life, running around with a tiny man strapped to his back, I mean, that’s not all he has to offer. There’s other things a horse can do. They can come in handy with something you didn’t even know you had a use for.”

“Like glue?”

Cyrus laughed. “You pull a horse because it’s not as fast as the other horses, starts losing races. Doesn’t mean the horse ain’t fast, he’s just not as fast. Ain’t no reason to get killed over, just because he lost a step. He’s still just as fast as other horses, maybe more so. Just no longer the fastest.”

“You think that explains anything to me?”

“Best I can describe it.”

“That’s why we don’t talk.”

The Boss was referring to the Boppers, the gang Cyrus ran, outfitted with big hair and red plaid. About as useful as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, that’s what The Boss thought of them. But they came through for Cyrus, accidentally providing him in a roundabout way of getting the money together so Cyrus could take this venture with The Boss. The venture of running the biggest drug trafficking ring the region had ever seen.

When Cyrus wanted to talk to The Boss, have a face to face with him, he sent the Boppers because he knew it would piss him off. Got to have fun where you could.

“I want to talk things over, why I asked you here,” Cyrus said. They were sitting in Cyrus’ grandmothers basement, where he preferred to do business. He didn’t want anyone or anything coming back to the sky-rise condo he had, bought shortly after the venture started working out.

“You in a poker game, blackjack, all the luck running your way, you walk?”

“Just get to it,” The Boss said.

“You keep getting twenty one, the cards going your way, you don’t walk, that’d be crazy. You keep playing those cards, keep getting your score, but you bet carefully in case your luck starts to turn. But on a hot streak? On a hot streak, you keep betting.”

“Jesus Christ, this is why I don’t talk to you. Maybe I should come back in fifteen minutes when you’re rounding out to a point.”

They didn’t talk much, one of The Boss’ rules. All communication was done through third parties, and that was only when they had to communicate, which was rarely. Once they had the operation figured out, the gears were running smoothly, there was no need to talk after that. Everyone knew what they had to do and when. They could just enjoy the fruits of their labor now.

“My point being that I think it’s time to expand.”

The Boss started to get up from his chair. He heard it before, this argument to expand, and it frustrated him. It frustrated Cyrus even more that The Boss wouldn’t listen to reason.

“Hear me out,” Cyrus said and The Boss sat back down, crossing his arms on his massive chest. He was the definition of short and powerful. The shaved head and scar across his face only added to the mean persona he gave out.

“Our thing here, this operation, it’s a huge success,” Cyrus said.

“Because of me.”

“And no one’s taking that away from you,” Cyrus said. You have to stroke a man’s ego, tell him how great he is sometimes to get what you want. It’s not that The Boss was wrong though, it was successful because of him, but also because of Cyrus. The Boss handled the bribes and checkpoints to get the drug shipments up to the canal to be loaded off. It was Cyrus that had the supplier down south. Payments to each other were handled through shell accounts, bouncing all around the world to become untraceable until it finally landed in their laps.

What protected each of them from the other was that they kept their resources a secret. Cyrus never revealed who his source for the dope was, and The Boss never revealed who the people were that he bribed to allow the drugs to pass through the checkpoints. It kept both of them honest.

“What I’m saying is we have the network and the infrastructure to keep building. My man’s got more weight for us to move, all we got to do is order it. Everything you taught me, you know I’m going to be careful.”

“What’s wrong with what we have? You just said things were good.”

“What’s wrong with things being better? With things being better than good?”

“In my experience, you start reaching for more than you can grab, that’s when you fall. Or die,” and The Boss let that word hang in the air.

Cyrus stared at him, this stocky bald man with the affinity for golf shirts and khaki shorts, tried not to lose his cool, show his aggravation. The Boss had been on top before, running the criminal enterprise in the area. Then he fell. He was only back on top now thanks to Cyrus. Cyrus was the one that picked him up, dusted him off, then put him back on the mantel. And now this piece on his mantel was telling him he couldn’t do something.

“It’s the dream to better yourself,” Cyrus said.

“It’s the dream to know when you got it good enough,” The Boss said.

Cyrus watched him as he walked up the stairs and out of his grandmother’s basement, knowing that if he was going to see his full potential, it would be without The Boss.

 

This woman was clutching on to her purse for dear life, the son of a bitch. She was literally on the ground, screaming, being dragged, getting attention from everyone at 7-11. No matter how many times Cochise told her to let go, she didn’t listen. Cleon just laughed, his hands on his knees, until he had no more breath in his lungs.

It wasn’t until Snow ran up and kicked her in the face that she let go. The entirety of the sole of his boot hit flush against her face and Cochise heard a crack, probably her neck. He already yelled at Ajax not to use his lead pipe on her when he had that thing poised above his head, ready to bring it down, so why did Snow think a boot to the face was a better idea?

At that point, she let go of the purse and started crying, blood coming out of her nose, and they ran off down the street, running into a pool hall and then out the back, going through the contents beside a dumpster. Cleon hadn’t stopped laughing.

“She had old man strength,” Cochise said.

“It was an old lady,” Cleon said, still laughing.

“They can get it too. It’s an age thing more than a sex thing.”

Now Cleon was rolling on the ground, holding his belly and laughing.

“You didn’t have to kick her in the face,” Cochise said to Snow.

“She wasn’t letting go.”

“She would have. She couldn’t hold it forever.”

“An old lady,” Cleon laughed again. “A bag from an old lady.”

Snow was the newest member of the Boppers, which is why he was wearing blue plaid instead of the red plaid shirt the other three were wearing. The other requirement of being a Bopper was having big hair, something Snow had to work on for a half hour every morning with a lot of hair spray.

“Candy from a baby,” Cleon kept laughing. “That’s what you do next. Candy from a baby.”

“What’s the score?” Ajax asked, watching Cochise rummage through the purse.

“Sixty seven bucks? Some glue…”

“That’s not glue, that’s the shit they put on their teeth, make sure they stay there. My grandma uses that,” Snow said, so Cochise handed him the tube and he put it in his back pocket.

“Some keys,” Cochise kept going through the purse, “mints, candy bar, receipts, another wallet,” Cochise opened it and a bunch of pictures fell out.

“Let me see the keys,” Ajax said. Looking at the keyring, “it’s a Volvo.”

“How do you know?”

“The picture on the key. That’s Volvo right?”

Cleon snatched the keys out of Ajax’s hand, a big smile on his face.

“Think Cyrus’ll like a Volvo?” Cochise asked.

“Cyrus don’t care,” and Cleon’s happy attitude disappeared. Ajax found that Cleon was temperamental lately, he was sure the others saw it too. It was because Cyrus seemed to not have a need for them anymore. Not since he started working with The Boss. He treated them like an after-thought no matter how much they tried to please him.

“You don’t want to bring it back to Cyrus?” Cochise asked.

“What’s Cyrus done with the other things we brought him?”

When Cleon’s attitude changed was when he wanted to bring Snow in, telling Cyrus he had a perfect new recruit for the Boppers. Cyrus dismissed him, saying they weren’t bringing anyone else in for the time being. That rubbed Cleon the wrong way, practically taking away the very existence of the Boppers. Cleon brought Snow in anyway, an act of rebellion.

“I know a guy pay us money for that,” Snow said.

“Yeah?” Cleon’s eyes lit up.

“Chop them up for parts. We can take it there, get some cash.”

“Nothing else in here,” Cochise said, tossing the purse in the dumpster.

“You know what else we do? We take the car back to the old lady, tell her to pay us for a ride home,” Ajax said.

“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard,” the voice came from the doorway to the pool hall. They turned around to see Dax and Lex walking toward them. The Boppers cowered like a dog would after getting caught eating food from the table.

“You think she hasn’t called the cops yet? You think she’s going to pay to take a ride in her own car?” Lex asked.

“Just an idea,” Ajax said.

“You’d think Dax’s little brother would have more sense to him,” he rubbed his fingers through Ajax’s bushy hair, Ajax pulled his head away.

“Let’s go get that car before the cops pull up on this shit.”

“It’s our car,” Cleon said, putting the keys behind his back.

“Man, we don’t want your busted up Volvo. You take us to Cyrus then do what you want with the ride.”

 

She just finished peeing, not even flushing yet when she heard the voices. Before that, what she really wanted to do was shower, being all sweaty and naked, having just finished with Zax. His bright idea to do it while a war movie was playing, added to the excitement he told her. She just found it distracting.

Then she heard the voices, recognized them as Lex and Dax, for some reason he didn’t want them to know she was there when Lex asked about her. She worried about him seeing her clothes on the floor then making an excuse to go to the washroom so he could see her naked. She could picture that happening, Zax would laugh about it telling her it was no big deal.

Kenzie knew people would come over and let themselves in while Zax’s parents were away. Hell, they let themselves in all the time, no matter if his folks were home or not. That’s what really bothered her about the war movie, something about a helicopter. It wasn’t that it was a war movie, how was she supposed to hear when one of his bonehead friends came through the door with the sounds of bullets and bombs going off?

So she was just waiting them out when she heard the first shot. Found a sound escaped her lips she prayed wasn’t heard. Then she heard the second shot and for some reason she was trying not to cry. She wasn’t exactly sure why she started to cry, but she knew if she was heard, she’d be dead.

Then she heard what she thought were footsteps, then a door close. She stayed in the washroom, naked, covering her mouth, fearful to make a sound. She listened intently for what felt like hours, but was probably closer to ten minutes. She was afraid to leave the room, her sanctuary.

When her hand went to turn the knob, she was surprised to see that it was shaking, so she didn’t open the door just then. She went over to the toilet, sat on it, feeling every muscle in her body being tense.

Eventually she calmed herself down enough to go over to the door and slowly opened it. In the glow of the TV was Zax, half his body on the bed, the other half on the floor, staring at her, blood running out of his chest and forehead.

Kenzie had never seen a dead body before. She thought she’d scream at the sight of it, but was surprised when she didn’t. She slowly came out of the room, her gaze never breaking from the lifeless stare of Zax, grabbed her clothes from the floor and went back into the washroom where she changed.

When she came out again, she looked at the TV, the Soldiers running along a road, exhausted. Looked over at Zax again, saw that he hadn’t moved, felt the room caving in on her and ran to the door. About to open it but stopped. She was surprised there were no sirens, no cops running up the driveway to her. There was nothing. Only the sound of the score from the movie, the sound of their boots on the pavement.

She went back to the room, looked around for anything that belonged to her - another shirt, some makeup, her keys, can’t forget those. She looked back to the TV, saw the older guy trying to clean up all the blood on the floor, all those people dead on gurneys. She looked back at Zax, the bed, saw her favorite shirt of hers that he always gave her to wear. She took the Clash shirt and left the basement, confident she didn’t leave anything behind. Knowing that Zax probably wouldn’t be found until his parents came home three days from now.

CHAPTER THREE

Bulldog looked back on his old life and wondered if he was the same person. He used to break into people’s houses while they were at work and drink all the booze he could find, leaving right before they would come back home. At one point, he had as many as three houses he would stay in at any given time. The Boss had taken him in, yet again, asked him what happened to him, reminded Bulldog of what he used to be.

When Bulldog sobered up long enough to see his reflection in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw. He looked homeless and remembered himself being good looking once. He sweat it out, the booze, determined to go right this time. The Boss took him in as long as he stayed that way.

Throughout his tenure of working for The Boss, he had always stayed loyal. Sure, he quit from time to time and The Boss fired him from time to time, but they never betrayed each other - The Boss said that was the reason he took him back - for this last time.

And Bulldog was grateful for it. Things were back the way they were when it first started. His beard was trimmed, his hair short. And he was focused, his mind clean - that was the important part.

The Boss needed a bodyguard, a loyal one, and the position was Bulldog’s again if he cleaned himself up. Loyalty was key with The Boss. As a reward, The Boss started paying for mixed martial arts lessons.

“I just don’t see myself rolling on the ground with some dude while he’s trying to grab my dick,” Bulldog told The Boss when he brought up the idea.

“Let’s just go down there, see what it’s about.”

So they went down there, the studio or whatever you call it, some tiny Brazilian greeting them, big shit eating grin on his face. He was too friendly Bulldog remembered thinking at the time. He never did like overly friendly people.

“Give me everything you got,” the tiny Brazilian told him. No way this guy was serious, Bulldog being triple the guy’s size. He decided to go at half intensity and then the Brazilian started slapping him, calling him a pussy.

Bulldog lost his cool and started throwing these lazy hay-makers at him, getting put on his ass with the guys balls in his face. That’s exactly why Bulldog didn’t like MMA. They got up to try again, Bulldog found himself on his back unable to breathe. He didn’t even know where the guy was, just knew he must’ve been choking him.

To add insult to injury, the guy told Bulldog he’d start on his back, let Bulldog on top to do what he could. Thinking he was getting payback, Bulldog happily obliged, but again, before he knew it, Bulldog got his arm trapped, the guys balls were in his face again, and for a third time he couldn’t breathe. Only difference was, this time he thought his arm was going to snap too.

“That’s why I don’t like this monkey shit, it’s all about putting your balls on the other guys face.”

That made the Brazilian laugh, told Bulldog he’d show him how he did it.

“There’s no need to be embarrassed Bulldog, he’s just better at something than you are.” And that’s how The Boss taught Bulldog humility.

“I can show you how I did it, choke you out I mean. Or if you like, I can do it without putting my balls in your face.”

“Let’s start with that,” Bulldog said. From that point on, Bulldog was free to train in mixed martial arts as much as he wanted, The Boss picking up the tab.

Now he was working on The Boss’ yard. He’d tell himself stories like that, how nice The Boss had been to him, how he was saved, when he was doing things he didn’t enjoy. But how could he repay The Boss for all he did? He couldn’t, so he’d find himself cleaning The Boss’ house, doing his errands, or even working on the man’s lawn when he could, just to show his appreciation.

And much more than that, he knew he still had a lot to learn from The Boss. Take for example, this Cyrus situation that The Boss was working on, him telling Bulldog he knew Cyrus was going to make his move soon. The Boss had been talking about it, knowing it wasn’t a matter of why, but when, and it seemed to The Boss that the time was now.

“He do that expansion talk again?” Bulldog asked as he placed The Boss’ tea down in front of him. He stopped the yard work as soon as The Boss returned and now they were sitting on The Boss’ deck, The Boss thumbing through the newspaper. That’s another thing The Boss taught him - reporters print the stories, it’s up to you to see the writing between the lines.

“What’s different this time?”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Carey Lewis traded a mundane job in Toronto, Canada, in favor of a backpacker life of nomadic travel. He can be spotted with his beautiful fiance somewhere in Southeast Asia, drinking coffee and scribbling furiously into a notepad while cursing his credit card debt.

Q. Which writers inspire you?
A.
Elmore Leonard would be first and foremost. He just had a cool and easy way of going about his stories. I also dig the imagination of Neil Gaiman. I'm a big fan of Ed McBain and Dennis Lehane too. David Milch and Mamet even though they're not novelists!
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
I wanted to have a cover that conveyed what the feel of the book was. There's the height wall that's usual in a mug shot, along with the name board, so it had a crime element. To convey the humor, I used a font that made old warriors instead of letters, which hopefully shows it will be a fun read!
Q. Why do you write?
A.
Life has taught me I'm not very good at anything else!

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