The salty air of the docks mingled with the tension. Salvatore Moroni didn’t mind it a single bit, the smell of Gotham Bay was a nice change of pace from the slums he usually found himself in and the tension simply fed his adrenaline. When it came to handling business, he was nowhere as suave as The Roman, but this confrontation was different. This was Black Mask. It wasn’t very clear how the meet was arranged since Maroni himself had never made personal contact with anyone from Black Mask’s organization. Through secure channels, by word of mouth, news finally made it back to Maroni that the crime lord had accepted his invitation. As Maroni thought about it, he shrugged it off, he didn’t care how it all was arranged, only that it was about to go down. There in the warehouse of the container yard of Falcone Shipping Company, Maroni stood in wait dressed in his fine grey Italian made suit, flanked by two other men in similar clothing. Cradled in their hands were Uzi submachine guns, but Maroni stood unarmed with his hands in his pockets. He wasn’t worried about his own protection but just to be safe, five other henchmen waited in the rear office just one door away. Behind the three men, parked in the wide open space in the center of the warehouse was Maroni’s sleek black Lancia Thesis. Through the gap of the partially open automated door, Maroni finally spotted the glare of headlights. A snide smirk spread on his face. A finely polished, black ’78 Mercury Grand Marquis glistened under the rafter lights in the warehouse. The car stopped, parking more than twenty feet away from where Maroni stood.
“Showtime,” Maroni muttered, tugging at the cuffs of his grey suit jacket, smirking smugly as he took five paces closer to the Grand Marquis. All doors of the car opened and four men all emerged from behind the black tinted windows. The four men were identical in every way, wearing black suits and their identities hidden by plain black face masks. Of the four, the mobster from the passenger’s seat took point. Maroni locked eyes with him, scoffing as he halted three yards from the four men. “You Black Mask?” he asked pointing at the man. All four remained silent. The man up front dug into his pants pocket and drew a cellphone. Pressing one button, he then held out the phone for Maroni to take. Again Maroni scoffed.
“What is this?” he demanded.
“Talk,” the man replied, his voice slightly muffled behind his face mask. Maroni glanced to the men on his flanks with the Uzis before striding the three yards and taking the phone, his sunken eyes piercing into the wide open gaze of the mobster. Maroni brought the phone to his ear, then spoke.
“You know I consider this a grievous insult,” he barked in a perturbed tone. “Our first meeting and you send these mooks with a frickin cell phone, this is not how you conduct business here in Gotham!”
“Get to the damn point or I’m hanging up right now,” a gruff voice replied over the line. A venomous look set in Maroni’s eyes.
“Who do you think you are? You don’t talk to me like that you son of a-”
“Goodbye,” Black Mask jeered.
“Wait, wait, wait!” Maroni shouted. He gave flustered, fake smile as he attempted to project a more civil attitude. “Alright, look, we’re both reasonable men, we can do business,” he said.
“Talk,” Black Mask said.
“Alright,” Maroni said to compose himself.
“All this hostility between you and Falcone, there’s no reason for it. You understand that all of this is bad for business. Your organization and mine together, would have no equal. Then we go beyond Gotham,” Maroni said excitedly. “Bludhaven, Metropolis, Central City, Chicago, even as far as frickin Star City!” Maroni paused to await a reply but continued on when it didn’t come. “Now its obvious, you have some beef with old man Falcone, and frankly, you aint the only one. The Roman’s old fashioned and he don’t like to get his hands dirty. This aint the same Gotham City the Falcones built generations ago, you and I both know that. Its time for the old man to step down and with his only son already in the ground I take his place. Now you’ll find, I’m much more reasonable and together, we’ll own every major city in the nation.” Maroni finished, his greed and ambition apparent on his face. He waited for Black Mask to respond but instead all he heard was laughter.
“You in Carmine’s place!” he exclaimed. “That’s rich. And I aint got a beef with Falcone, its purely business, he’s the competition and he’s in my way. Now this meeting is over.” Maroni shook with anger.
“You don’t want to make me your enemy,” he snarled into the phone.
“Either you let my boys go, or you get an extra hole in your head,” Black Mask said without of trace of humor in his gruff voice. Maroni frowned, looking at the four waiting, masked figures. “Right now I have a sniper on you just waiting for you to make the wrong move,” Black Mask said. “Adios, Sally.” The call ended, leaving a dial tone on Maroni’s line. Shooting another venomous stare at the four men, he then threw down the cell phone, stomping on it angrily till it lay in pieces. Suddenly the track system of the giant warehouse door grinded as it closed. “What the hell,” Maroni exclaimed, flinching from the echo of the mechanism. The door sealed shut then a second later, every light inside went out with an unison echoing snap. The men inside all shuttered as the darkness engulfed them.