Climbing the Ladder Edit

By Ben Maunder Edit

“They're late.” Logan said to no-one in particular as he lurked at the edge of the dock, Armani suit pulled taut across his breast to fight the cold night air. Though he was not alone, none of his retainers answered his complaint, they were aware when his mood ran foul it was best to avoid his notice. The Thames was alive with motion, even at this late hour. Logan watched with increased irritation as the third party boat in an hour passed by, music blaring and the occupants teeming at it's bow. Yet there was no sign of the small fishing skiff the gentleman from Soho had been waiting for.

“Eleven o'clock. Not a hard deadline to hit.” Logan growled, snorting in the putrid stench of the city as he spoke. Clicking his fingers he summoned one of his men to his side, a stout unassuming man with a shotgun nestled in his arms, though the look on his face belied no shortage of worry.

“Yeah boss?” Logan didn't turn to face him, instead glaring into the middle distance and plotting a cruel revenge against the multiple boats that raised his hopes floating before him.

“Get the car Micky, I'm tired of waiting.” Micky nodded, happy that his boss's evident anger had avoided him.

“No prob' boss.” He adjusted his weapon and turned from Logan, inclining his head towards another of the men that lurked on the dock, the thin balding man returned the gesture and slipped from his post. As Micky watched their driver slink towards the road an irritated hiss of air tore from between his employers teeth, a sound that always heralded trouble. Micky felt his heart skip a beat.

“Mick. Am I losing my touch or something?” His calm tone belied his foul temper. “People used to respect me, hold me in high esteem. Now look at me.” Micky chose to pretend he heard the request.

“Called to some bloody filthy dry dock in the dead of night.” Logan's boot found a rat, sending it squealing into the murky depths of the Thames. “And they don't even send the Goddamn boat!” Logan roared with anger and rounded on his men, lips peeled back his teeth bared and clenched together.

“Where is the goddamn respect!” He ran his eyes about his men, who in turn forced their gaze to the floor. “Well?” Nothing about his question suggested he wanted it answered, though Micky took it upon himself to address it.

“You got our respect boss.” He hugged his shotgun like a child would their favourite toy. “The Gregories only what they are now 'cause of you.” Logan wrinkled his nose and pursed his lips, his stoked ego aiding in the calming of his mood. The businessmen relaxed, giving silent thanks to Micky and his often mocked proficiency at “brown-nosing.”

“Good.” Logan wrinkled his nose, snorting in approval, wrapping his arms back around himself and puffing his chest. “It's good to see that you boy's still know who's in charge.” non-committal mummers of agreement passed between the men, though Logan was deaf to them, his attention firmly locked on the Limousine that had just pulled up to the dock gates.

“Come on boys'” Logan marched forth, slapping Micky fondly on the shoulder as he passed, not noting the grimace it caused. “I'm done with those other fuckwads and all their theatrics.” Logan reached into his pocket as his men fell in behind them, pulling a mask from deep within his coat and taking a moment to regard it. Dim moonlight danced upon the polished china, plain yet decorative in it's design a work of minimalism. Logan sneered, flinging it to the ground and crushing it underfoot without hesitation, shattered ceramic erupted across the ground.

“We are going to show those bastards who they're disrespecting!” Logan stopped short of the vehicle, turning in place as the door behind him opened and the thin bald man slipped out, the tell-tale light of a mobile phone disappearing into his pocket as he drew himself into the open. Micky watched his co-worker closely as he slunk from the car, a machine pistol glinting from the shadows of his jacket. The man inclined his head towards Micky, a knowing smirk playing on his lips, Micky's finger twitched on the trigger guard.

“Boy's, we're gunna retake this dump! Fuck what the 'Beetles' say, I'm done with their bollocks!” Logan's proud declaration redrew Micky's attention, the aged mobster had a toothy grin plastered about his features, his yellowing teeth peaking beneath his beard. “People are going to remember my name lads, don't you doubt that!” Micky took a step forward in response, forcing a smile to the man who had paid for his kids education.

“We don't boss.” Logan nodded, he didn't note the man behind him. “We all know you're going places.”

The first shot ripped through his left leg, sending a hail of blood across the grime, painting itself across Micky's boot. A howl of pain tore from Logan's throat as he recoiled from the impact,his leg pulling out from him even as the second bullet turned his femur into a collection of toothpicks. Blood and filth coalesced about him as he collapsed to the ground, the shattered ceramic of his mask digging into the flesh of his back as his old compatriots surrounded him. Like a wounded beast he convulsed in agony, his voice a garbled mix of curses and stifled screams.

“I'll kill you! You fuckers! I will see each and everyone of you little pricks...” A steel toed boot caught his jaw mid sentence, lacerating the meat of his face. Teeth ruptured and scattered into the dirt, descending into the pooled muck about Logan.

A gun levelled at the mobsters head as it lay in humbled anguish, a gnarled finger resting on the trigger. Micky raised a hand to the driver, his shotgun now hanging loosely to one side.

“Hold up Chuck, we ain't meant to do it like that.” The driver raised an eyebrow, the fading smile belying the sadism that lurked beneath his otherwise solemn demeanour. Micky snorted, ignoring the hate filled profanities falling from the lips of his old employer, instead hooking his boot beneath his chest and forcing him onto his back.

“No more guns, t'boss was more than clear about that.” Micky nodded to his men, “We do this the old fashioned way.” He rested his foot on Logan's ribcage, slowly pushing his weight upon the meek figure below him. A low moan escaped as bones gave way, cracking and straining under the pressure of the 200lb man pushing down on him,

“Beat him.” Micky gave the order with as much ease as he would order a takeaway, not a hint of remorse lingering upon his voice. Beside him chains rattled and knuckles cracked, Logan could do little more than squirm and beg through shattered teeth as the shadows enveloped him.

“We're sending a message lads. Let's make sure it's 'eard.” Muttered agreement echoed about the mob, Micky locked eyes with his old employer one last time, his stare accusing and pitiable.

“Sorry big man.” He scowled, stepping back and sliding into the crowd of vicious sell-outs. “Got a better offer.”

A jagged rock started the onslaught, violently tearing through suit and meat in a brutal thrust. It was followed by boot and fist, chain and bat, sweat and violence. Only for moments did Logan struggle, his fingers forming an insubstantial barrier against the gleeful beating, shortly his cries of anger and betrayal turned to anguish, then to resignation as his flesh was bloodied and pulped.

Twelve minutes passed before its end. Then a final gunshot emptied his skull about the floor, a lone casing tumbling into the defilement by his unblinking eyes. The men, content with their work turned and left, eager to fill themselves with cheap booze and pleasures of the living.

Micky stood on the dock. His back to the scene of brutality, shotgun back in his embrace as a boat powered through the murk of the Thames towards him. Silently hoping his choice was the correct one.