I stare at my ‘work’ phone for 3 seconds long before picking it up. I hope this time it won’t be a difficult task.
Someone’s hoarse voice greeting me from the other end of the line. I sigh hard.
“Yes, what’s the problem today?”
I keep tapping my now-shortened nails on the desk, showing my impatience to nobody in particular. The room I’m in is dim and there is only me and one giant bodyguard standing in front of the black door of my office.
“I fear that the leader of TIC is here in this city now,” the person’s voice is shaking like he is shivering in the cold.
TIC. The Inner Circulation, they call themselves. One of the most notorious gangs in the country, and apparently one of the biggest rivals of ours. Their base is somewhere in the northwest as much as I remember, but somehow today, they stop by here. Don’t know whether it is a wise choice for them to stir up the hornet’s nest.
“What problems have they caused?” I ask, sounding professional and confident. I don’t want my hands to ever feel uncertain about every single word and decision I make regarding the course of our fate.
“They stole 2 Harley motorbikes of the members here at the south building, one is lent by your father,” his voice continues to shake as he answers.
I bite my lower lip hard out of frustration. How come when I’m back in duty for the day after 2 months gone, all these things start appearing? I’m not responsible for this! Despite all the defensive thoughts I can think about, I realize that I’m still responsible for our community’s fate at the end of the day.
“Are they still there?! Where are they now?! What did you do to them in return?!” My high-pitched voice conveys my wrath.
I am greeted with long silence. I guess my worst expectation has to come.
“I’m going there now!” I end the call before rushing out of my office.
I speed up myself as I sprint through staircases and lifts to reach the ground floor, to reach my motorbike, my baby Triumph Bonneville Bobber. It’s more practical and faster to go with a motorbike than any sports car in this busy city.
As the garage gate is opened with my command to one of my hands, I dash out from our highly secretive headquarter to the busy streets of our city at night. Lights and noises no longer bother me, especially wearing my butterfly white helmet. My mind only focuses on the fact that I must settle this done by today. I must get those bikes by today, to prove how eligible and worthy I am to be the young heiress of my father’s gang at the age of 20.
After a few turns and brakes, I manage to arrive at the south building in less than 5 minutes. The building is dark as usual, with only a few lights at the top floors but my head does not linger that much on the scenery than my own task for today. One man with black beanie runs towards me from the other end of the street.
“Finally, Fred!” He almost shouts my name before I hiss loudly.
“Quiet, now where are they?” I ask more kindly.
There are four other men come running to me from the same direction as the first man, looking exhausted and terrified under the dim light of the streetlights.
“We put GPS transmitters on both bikes but I think they found out about them and removed them at this area,” one of the men informed me while showing his phone, with detailed map of the streets of the city on the screen. Two small red dots appear to be quite close from our location, 3 blocks away from here and much further from the city centre. However, the dots do not appear to move at all. Just like what they said, I also assume that they might have known of the GPS transmitters and removed them.
“How long have they remained there?” I ask.
“For 4 minutes 27 seconds,” one of them reply, looking at his watch.
I try to think on how to solve this. They must’ve thought that we wouldn’t act fast because we didn’t expect them to come and ‘attack’ us, which is why we must go full force to stop them, especially our numbers here are larger than theirs. “We should surround the dots’ area within the radius of 850m, so we must split up,” I try to give reasonable practical order.
All of them nod at the same time.
“3 people each road, and we move inwards, notify each other if you find things suspicious,” I further elaborate my orders again. Not once they try to argue with me. I’m quite glad with that because it gives me less time to get angry with.
On the next minute, we are already at the half-quarter of our way to our initial positions. I’m smiling wide because I know that my plan might becomes fruitful.
However, the red dots start moving again. This time, moving towards my position.
“They’re nearing me,” I inform them through the telecommunication put in each of the motorcycle our gang has.
“Someone should help us,” one of the men with me tells the whole team.
“Clark, you go,” one of them shouts in the line.
I speed up my bike while scanning through the busy street we are in. There’s still no sign of the enemy anywhere.
“Shit! They just passed by us to our left!” one shouts of fear like it’s his last day on earth.
“Wilshire Boulevard? Coming!” I respond the fastest.
I make a quick sharp loud U-turn which shocks every vehicle behind me, even my own members, before going the other direction, defying the laws of streets in the city. Honks and horns are everywhere but I couldn’t care less. They don’t know me and I must end this bullshit quick.
Visualizing the streets and the map, I might know where they’re heading to, along the beach. I can’t really figure out what they’re up to, but I only know that I’m winning this race. The streets here should relatively be less crowded than the central, which makes it easier to speed up but it’s also more risky to get into trouble. I must be careful around these bad guys. Two of my men accompany me from behind, looking at their GPS transmitters, but still, they’re so far behind from me and the enemies.
After minutes of rushing, I finally see them. Four people, two of them with their own bikes and the other two with our Harleys. One of them is even wearing the exact same helmet as me and it just boils my anger more. Unfortunately, my chance to get to them faster vaporized as three giant trucks suddenly and oddly appear in front of me and block my path at such amazing timing at night. I ’m frustrated but regardless of all that, I must get to them fast before I fail my gang and my father. There must be a short cut to stop them.
I look at my right, to the dark waters of the bay. I smile thinking of my nasty plan. I have already caused much trouble at the streets, might as well go for this. I let my bike speed to the carpark area still left with some cars, jump over the fences and to the sandy beach. Vehicles around me stop, shocked at what I have done at such instance. Some people scream but I couldn’t care less. My bike’s engine sounds weird when I ride across the shallow waters of the bay but I just hope that all these distractions can help to distract the enemies to go even faster. My long hair is running wild against the strong wind and splashes of salt water but my worry and concern are no longer on my looks. The beach slows me down but at least now, with no more people on the beach, I can speed up to more than 200 miles per hour.
Finally, I’m reaching the end of the race as I’m in front of them. There is no way they can escape me unless they take the route that I took. When I’m thinking of ways on how to stop them, the white helmet guy suddenly speeds up and now, is ahead of me. I follow him close behind with frustration firing my nerves. I take out a gun from one of the containers personally modified on the bike and start aiming. I won’t kill him, but I’ll weaken him. I aim for his right arm and shoot. I smile brightly as it perfectly hit him at the spot that I aimed but it doesn’t stop him from going fast; instead, he moves faster as if not feeling any pain from the shot.
I scream inside my head as I know I can’t go any faster than now. It’s not because of the Harley that he’s quicker than me, right? Suddenly, he takes a sharp left and I follow him, to a dark and empty alley. I almost fear that the others will follow us too. As he slows down, I slow down too. He stops my gang’s bike suddenly and I brake so hard due to shock and it produces a piercingly loud noise. This is so weird as I must face the person behind the butterfly white helmet I am also wearing. From afar, I bet we look more friendlier than the reality due to this extra appearance. As I get from my bike, the guy, who is much taller than me, the one I have been chasing for the past hour, suddenly pushes me to the ground. I can’t even react to the fast movement he did. I am still shocked. He is standing tall, facing me, like a God, and I’m lying down here, helpless and numb due to shock.
“It’s much fairer if we do this one-on-one,” he says. His voice is very deep that I feel like he must be forty years and above or the descendent of Barry White.
I quickly get up as soon as I regain strength. “I don’t mind kicking your ass if that means I get back what belongs to me,” I shout, offering a challenge. Don’t worry, I have prepared years of years of self-defense for moments like this.
Both of us still have our helmets on, refusing to reveal our faces.
“You’re not the leader,” he replies sharply, maybe after recognizing my woman’s voice.
“So are you,” I say.
I mean any mortal alive would know that this guy definitely is not around my father’s age or that he does not weigh more than 250 lbs. This guy, seems to be too fit for the current leader of TIC.
I see his blood still dripping but he couldn’t care less about the wound. He’s not moving but I should. I kick his stomach hard in a taekwondo manner and it shocks him as he moves back a few steps due to the pain and shock. However, he is still fast. He lands a strong punch on one of my breasts and it sends me back to the ground. I get up quickly, ignoring the pain and start tackling him on the ribs to the ground. I am on top of him as I punch his helmet hard until my knuckles bleed. He reacts fast and kicks my stomach with his knee and sends me back to the ground. He puts his foot on my stomach and starts pressing hard. I bite my tongue so I won’t scream. With so much stamina, I try to hug his calf hard to pull him down with me to the ground, but he won’t. He kicks breasts, stomach and neck as he struggles to let go of his leg. I try to do a backflip so that I can knock him to the ground, pushing his body with my feet so that he will fall. And it works somehow.
“Fuck you, Innes!” he shouts loudly but nobody can hear him except for me. He lies on the ground as I reach for his neck with my bloody hands.
“I’ll kill you with my own hands,” I say, gasping out of breath. He grabs my arms and squeezes them hard that I let go of his neck. I feel like he wants to break my bones with one squeeze. I scream. He kicks my helmet hard and it is gone now from my head as a result.
No! Now he can see who I really am.
But my head is still spinning, and I can’t react fast enough. He moves closer to me, but weirdly, slower than before. His fingers trace my jaw, reaching for my neck. He wants to kill me. I quickly bite his skin before he can do anything more and he punches my face with his other hand. My cheek is red and my nose is now bleeding but I don’t care about the pain. I’m in the middle of my wrath. I try to punch him again but his palm holds mine hard, like he wants to break the bones of my fist. I don’t have that much strength but I won’t give up. I hit my skull at his helmet so hard that he lies back on the ground. Then, I quickly lie on the ground, not that far from him. My head is spinning. The collision was so hard I think I’m bleeding.
“I guess you won’t give up until I break every bone in your body,” he says, running out of breath.
“Fighting is dirty and deadly,” I slowly respond.
Suddenly, rows of motorbikes arrive, surrounding our battlefield. My men rush towards me, ready to take me to the hospital.
“Give them back the Harleys,” he commands his men now.
“Why?! We haven’t fought fair yet!” the men growl in anger.
“We have, and she won,” his voice exerts more authority than the rest.
“But she looks more dead than you...,”
“I said to give them back the Harleys!” he barks.
My gang is actually surprised of this reaction. We haven’t really fought fair but this guy declared that I won even though I bleed more than him.
The men leave the Harleys to us and help the guy to stand up. His arm still bleeding but I don’t feel sorry for it. We look at each other one last time before we depart our own ways.
“This is just the beginning, Innes,” he says to me as he is dragged by his men away from this horrible location.
“We’ll meet soon, Napier,” I spit blood to his bloodied helmet from my own blood with so much bitterness.
As the enemies leave the alley, my men help me to get on to one of the bike.
“I want to ride myself,” I whine like a baby.
“Your father asked us to fetch you to the hospital, for Saturday big event,” one of them reminds me of the importance of keeping my beautiful face for Saturday.
Apparently, on Saturday, my mother will come to the city to hold a fashion show of the newest line of Gabriel Santini, one of the most famous designers from Europe, and as her little daughter, she wants me to be the main model of the line. There will be a lot of wealthy, powerful and famous people attending the fashion show as it seems to becoming more like a yearly event. However, deep down, I know I’m still much of a gangster girl than a supermodel.
I roll my eyes as we leave my bike behind, after asking the service of one of my father’s helicopters to get the bike back to the headquarter. This is certainly not my first time to go to the hospital because of fighting, and certainly, hopefully, not my last.
I go back to the headquarter as soon as the hospital was done with taking care of my bruises. I still feel sharp pain on my breast, stomach and my skull but I think the pain will go away soon before Saturday. In my office, I find my father is sitting on my chair. My father, with his greyish hair, black suit and wrinkles, only remind me of how much I have missed him. I run towards him to give him a hug and curses myself as his body makes contact with my new bruises.
“Dad! Don’t tell me you’re going back just to check on me,” I say, almost crying.
“Well, apparently I must say yes to that. I’ve been so worried about you! I don’t care much about Chicago now if my angel is hurt like this,” he releases the hug as he shows his high concern for my well-being.
“A head gangster in-training doesn’t need special treatment from her papa,” I reply back with a wide smile.
He weakly smiles and nods. “I heard about your story,” he starts the conversation.
“Well, I think I did a smart job—,”
“No, you didn’t. You made things worse. You started the fight, Freddy! With that bastard’s son! Things will be much more personal now for next attacks,” he sighs, doesn’t know what to say about this problem. I think I have failed him. I have disappointed him. I feel very bad for doing bad in the good things I enjoy in life.
“I’m fully responsible for this, next time, I’ll handle this,” I try to solve the problem for him.
My father shakes his head as if he’s tired of hearing bullshit from my mouth. “It’s not that easy, and remember, that now they’re here in the city, so next time, we must be careful.”
He smiles weakly. I know that he will never go hard on me. I’m his only precious girl.
“I’m sorry for being so reckless,” I say apologetically. I mean it, especially to my own father, the one who loves me, more dearly than my mother.
“Okay, apology accepted. I just want to remind you that you must still train for self-defense to be stronger than that dickhead, and learn to be smarter, Freddy,” he tells me so sweetly and gently. He gives me a kiss on the forehead before going outside of the office. I am left alone in silence.
Sometimes I ponder why such a good father can be a head gangster of High Ginseng Society. It’s just too opposite for the traits to even be found in one man. If it were not for his identity and his family identity, we all would be together with mother. In the end, it’s nobody’s fault. Like how I prefer leading a gang than being a supermodel, it’s supposed to be nobody’s fault. Hopefully, I get better luck next time as a head gangster, or even as a model this Saturday.