The Double, Double Cross Job
Two weeks ago…
Three men and a woman walked into one of the hottest clubs in downtown Chicago, already drunk and in a partying mood. They put two tables together in the loft area and took their seat as a waiter walked over to take their orders. The kid looked nervous because one of the men in this group, Ray Lang, was the club's new owner as of an hour ago.
No one who worked here knew what had caused their previous boss, Tom Wells, to resign and sell it because as far as they knew, the man loved it here and they loved him. Tom was the one who designed the club along with one other man, who died several months ago. Tom actually closed the club for one night to the public, in order to give a service to his partner and life-long friend. The staff believed that they would one day do the same for him. Everyone who worked for him always teased him about how he should just sell his house because he was here more than he was there.
However, within the last few weeks, Tom had been acting strangely. Everyone noticed it and somehow his behavior seemed to have something to do with the man who was here tonight with his friends, waiting to be served their drinks.
After about ten minutes, the waiter walked back to the tables and gave each of them the beers and margaritas they ordered. Ray put down the menu he was looking at and handed it to the waiter, ordering several of the appetizers and telling the waiter that any of his friends here with him tonight were now allowed to have anything for free, whenever they want.
As the waiter turned and began to walk away, one of Ray's friends put his leg out and tripped the kid, who landed hard into a table close by, causing it to break. As he tried to get up, he looked at the guy who tripped him and saw that he and most of the others at the table were laughing.
However, there was one man who wasn't and he actually looked at the kid with sympathy. The waiter finally managed to get up and limp away. He walked into the restroom to clean off the blood that was coming from a long cut that had opened up on his right arm. He also twisted his ankle. The kid bent down to wash his hands and face in the faucet and when he lifted his head back up, he saw the man that had actually showed remorse for what his friend did, standing behind him.
"What do you want?" the kid asked. "Haven't you already done enough?"
"I wanted to come in here to apologize to you for my friends," he responded. "I'm sorry."
The waiter replied, "Why aren't you out there with them?"
The stranger answered, "We're celebrating Ray becoming this place's new owner. As you can see, this isn't the first place we've had drinks and I'm the only one not drunk right now. However, their drunkenness is no excuse for what they did to you out there. Again, I'm sorry."
He walked out of the bathroom as the waiter just stood there wondering why this guy cared about what his friends did. He quickly shoved his thoughts aside and finished what he was doing. Then, he walked out to talk to one of the other waiters in order to see if they could cover the rest of his shift.
Back out at the bar, the stranger stood talking to the bartender, who handed him a piece of paper with information he had requested days earlier. He then, pulled out his wallet and handed the guy a couple of hundred dollar bills and thanked him. The bartender tucked the money into the inside pocket of his jacket and started to walk off to attend to his other customers.
However, he turned around to face the stranger and said, "That Nate Ford and his crew are strange people, but they are clever. I'd watch out."
The guy responded as he walked away, "Thanks for the heads up."
Inside the bar below the apartment in which he lived, Nate and Sophie sat listening to their next potential client. He explained that he was from Chicago and that he had come to Boston because he needed help from people, who could work quietly and without anyone discovering he was about to betray his friends.
"What exactly seems to be the problem, Dan?" Nate asked.
"I have a few friends back from when we were kids," Dan explained. "We each grew up in dangerous neighborhoods and learned to take care of ourselves from a young age. We had a lot in common and we became very close. We all got caught up in different gangs at one point, but we realized it wasn't the kind of life we wanted. So, we all eventually got out and worked hard to make an honest living. However, just over a year ago, one of the guys, Ray Lang, showed up one night with a lot of money. When I asked Ray where he had gotten it from, he told us that he earned it from this new job of his. He worked as a bookie for a man known to be a dangerous loan shark. I tried to get him to quit, but in time he had convinced the others to work along with him. Money and power ended up getting to all their heads. After seven months or so, Ray ended up with the business and began to become owner of several clubs, most recently, the Haddaway Roxbury. I looked…"
Sophie interrupted Dan when she said, "It doesn't sound like he got any of these clubs legally. Let me guess, your friends threatened the owners and managers of each of the big clubs in the area with violence and said that they needed to pay you all a certain amount of money each month in order to keep their place from being trashed."
Dan looked at her in surprise and answered, "It isn't just the clubs in the area, but other than that, you're right. How did you know?"
"This is what we do," Nate replied. "I'm sorry, but we can't help you. We do not work for people who hurt others like you have."
"No, you don't understand," Dan quickly responded. "I have never hurt anyone. I have stuck with my friends because they are my friends and I care about them, but I only take care of the bookkeeping and the technical stuff. I don't hurt anyone and I am constantly trying to get them to quit, but the money and power seems to be all they care about anymore. They won't listen to me. So, I am here because if I go to the police, chances are my friends will end up getting themselves killed. You can put them in prison. I heard that you and your team were good. I just want them to stop hurting people. Please, can you help me?"
Just as Dan finished explaining all of this to them, Eliot, Hardison, and Parker came walking into the bar and headed toward Nate's apartment, until they looked over toward Nate and Sophie and saw that they were with a new client. It was then that Hardison began to walk over to them with a shocked expression on his face.
As he got to the table Sophie asked, "Hardison, are you all right? You look like you've seen a ghost."
Hardison looked directly at their newest client and asked, "Dan, is that you?"
"Yeah, Man!" Dan replied as he pulled the hacker into a hug. "It's me. I can't believe you're here. I never thought I'd see you again."
"You know this guy?" Eliot asked.
"Yeah, I do," Hardison responded. "He's my brother."