The streets were dark and dimly lit as no one stirred, everyone under deep slumber. Armand was awake though staring through his windows space at the dark pavement below. He was kept awak by the amount of homework he had to do. He was fianlly done, and tomorrow was a new day, more school. He escaped the easy and tranquil window for his bed. He slipped under the covers and began to sleep.


Sleeping was not difficult and in fact, he slept so well he woke in the same position as he laid down in. One arm completely out of circulation stung as he rose to consciousness. The sun had long since been out and even the morning birds had stopped singing by now.

His clock read 10:00 and the familiar smell of eggs and ham came from down below.

"Armand! Get your breakfast!" His mother's voie sounded from the foot of the stairs.

Somehow he'd forgotten, this day was a school holiday.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

He moaned out as the rays struck his eyes. He gritted his teeth and began to gather his wits and reason and trying to reject the pleasure that was sleep. He awoke fully for the light was also merciless in its arousing of him. He grunted as he stepped away from the bed his wish to sleep being spirited away by the call of his mother. He neared the window and surveyed what object passed through and forth into the streets. He smiled at how life was for him.

He left the solace of the room and paced down for breakfast. He was only dressed in a shirt and pajamas(Oops, forgot to buy this one, lol). The aparment was nice, a duplex suitable for his whole family. They rented it out monthly and thanks to his uncle they had no problems with paying in delay. They were however not abusive of their uncle's power in the streets. They knew their responsibilities.

He smiled as the smell of food, hot food, came to his nostrils. He searched for his brother who always was punctual with such events concerning food, hoping to rub his hair and greet him. He met his mother's eyes and greeted her accordingly setting himself upon the table hoping his mother would not reprimand his eating without washing his hands. He gathered his utensils and began to dig in.


As the young man ate his breakfast, his mother sat down with a cup of coffee. She watched the boy for a moment and then said, "What are you doing today? I need you to run errands for me."

Her face seemed to always be in a heavy scowl. Years of experience brought caverns to her eyes and a sort of sullen indifference to her demeanor. She was a stern mother, but loving and as her son knew all to well, the request for errands was an order not a simple inquiry.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand wiped his mouth with a napkin from the table and proceeded to drink his milk. He looked his mom in the eye and smiled musing, "Mom, I forgot it was even a holiday today. Besides I'm Italian, not like the white kids down my school who use their time strolling about parks or some other stuff. My place is here with my crew and my family. Your errands are as good as done. What do you want done?"


She smiled at her son's respect. She'd raised her well, never a question of her authority and never shy to follow her wishes. The moment passed, however, and her face hardened.

"Your cousin Paul needs some help with his trucks today. You go do this. He'll pay you."

Paulie ran trucks for Armand's Uncle and although they were usually clean, they weren't always so. "Running trucks" typically meant taking them from the airport to the Giovanni's warehouse in Jersey. It was a good full-morning activity and wouldn't be the first time Armand participated in such questionable work.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"Ah yes cousin Paul I wonder how old he is now," he wondered. He looked at his mother again while he rose from the table driving the last bit of breakfast into his mouth. He finished the chewing and then queried, "When will I be going and where." "By the way, where's Toni?" he added.


"Your brother went with your father to the market. He'll be making dinner tonight. You do not be late. You be back before seven o'clock," she said firmly, her accent drenched with the Old World.

Honking sounded from outside.

"There is Paulie. You go now, I'll clean. Go, now."

Paul, short and broad-shouldered was clean-shaven and well groomed. He jumped out of his black coupe, wearing nothing other then a suit, tie and fedora. Hardly 19, the older cousin looked like he was in his thirties with the wardrobe.

He honked again, impatiently signaling Armand to come.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Damn I havne't the time to change, oh well time to run, he thgouht as he heard the car's noise. He ran from breakfast up to his room and rummaged for his wanted drobe. The honking was annoying and picked at his nerves, he jotted out his head through the window and signaled his cousin to hold for three minutes and went back inside to garb himself more properly. He jumbled for his denim slacks and socks finishing of with a pair of sneakers, he had beforehand worn a fresh new regiment of boxers. He took of his worn shirt and replaced it with a fresh one drobing a leather jacket over it. He flashed his hand over his desk and grabbed his wristwatch and was an expert on wearing it speedily. He sped of his room and rattled down the stairs and charged for the outside. He halted abruptly upon reaching his cousin's car and said while he panted droopiong over the hood of his car," Nice, I haven't even taken a proper shower even, thanks a lot cousin."


"What do I care about a shower?" Paulie said, "What you've been fucking or somethin'? Get in. We gotta go to Long Island."

He smacked the sedan's hood and hopped in the driver's seat. Waiting for Armand to climb inside, he lit a cigarette.

"You grew three inches since I last saw ya."

He offered a cigarette.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"Too bad I didn't notice I've grown that much. Who gives a damn anyway, and watch your words, my mom's near," he started with an irritated smile. He straightened out and moved for his seat licking his lips as he opened the door and sat. He passed his hand through his hair and set his eyes upon the offering of his cousin, he looked him the eye for it. He was giving him a peircing gaze greatly stating his dissapproval, "I grew, that's all. I can smoke it right now but still, I won't cuz I don't like it," he answered to his gratious offer.

He shook his head as he motioned for his seat belt fixing himself to its familiar security. "Let's just do this, and by the way, being clean gives us men a better chance of getting laid," he stated as he eased himself to his errand.


Paulie kicked the car into gear and drove away from the house starting their long trip to Long Island. Usually runs were from New Jersey, being in Long Island it would take most of the morning and probably the afternoon.

"Uncle's cranking up the business, Mand. Got me as a button-man these days. He's taking business from Balducci's. They need all kinds of help. Looking for anyone to take on, you know."

Flicking ash out the window he grinned at his cousin, "Anyone."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand chuckled as he opened his window to alloy a batch of fresh air to revoke the cigarette smoke. The Balducci family was truly something. Armand knew this because he knew enough about the kind of life his family lead, a life he accepted and won't change for the better. He also knew that knowledge was power, to survive he had to listen, to observe, to learn. He sighed as he set his eyes upon the passing road before he asked, "So the Balduccis are in somekind of trouble or what? Cuz Uncle doesn't usually do something without reason to. So what's the other reason why uncle is into this?" He smiled as he saw children and the fresh air simming about his hair.


"Well, I don't know the details, but my pops says the Balducci's are on the way out. They've lost their trucking routes to hoodlums. No organization, you know? Uncle's sending us to take one of those routes now. That's why it's Long Island."

He tossed the cigarette out the window and all joking was set aside, "Hey listen, cous, it may get a little rought out there. You know? Balducci's may not be so keen on giving up their routes."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"So am I,besides, a job is a job. I was born for this cuz, no turning back if you catch my drift," Armand smoothly said caressing his face with the wind. He was setting his eyes on the landscapes as the car sped fast each one. "Anyway, about those routes, if they do get rough, let's just run 'em over with the car if we ain't got munitions to spare," he mused chuckling. He knew all to well the gravity of their situation but s also knew the place of a proper jest, if it was proper indeed.


The young man's new sedan coasted through town before finally reaching the suburbs outside Brooklyn. It looked less like a city out there than anywhere else in New York. Ranchers still keeping herds in various places and low level homes passed along their drive.

It was an hour before they finally pulled into the driveway of a nondescript home keeping a large amount of empty land and snow-patched wild grass. Paul parked the car and said, "I gotta do somethin'. You can't tell nobody about it though, okay? This guy owes me some money. I ain't supposed to shit on the side, but I gotta make a buck, you know, got a monkey on my back."

He pulled a semi-automatic from his coat and checked the clip. Pocketing the gun he left the car and peered in.

"Are you comin'?"

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"Of course dear cousin. I know we all have responsibilities and since we are of blood, I am under Omerta. Just make sure you are too. Besides, I do believe we might not need that if you wanna make this interesting," Armand replied. Rembering his past of a boy calling him Mandy and got pummeled to submission and then became his friend after it, a very good friend. He was puzzled of that simple phenomena though, when he made enemies, and when he talked to them, they tended to befriend him easily.


Paulie charged into the house, kicking the door open with his foot. The momentum of the door crashed into a nearby floor lamp and knocked it to the ground. Inside was a woman sitting on a couch in her nightgown screaming at the invasion.

A black-haired man with a t-shirt and boxer shorts on charged in from the back room infuriated. At the sight of Paul and Armand, though he stopped.

"Shut up, bitch!" He barked at the woman, "Paulie . . ." his demeanor sounding apologetic and weak, " ... look..."

With unexpected strength, Paul back-handed the man, his nose exploding under the force. He stumbled back, stunned, and looked in horror at the splatter across his white shirt.

"Don't you ever talk to a woman that way. We're not babarians. Apologize to her."

He came up to strike again but the black-haired man took the hint, "I'm sorry ... sorry! Look, Paul, I don't got the money now, but I can get it."

Paul crouched to the weeping woman and said with as much friendliness as he could must, "Sweetheart, why don't you go make some coffee, hnh?"

She nodded, petrified but quickly disappeared into the kitchen.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand entered the roomas if he was a thief. He was noticed not in any way as he set his back to a wall adjacent to where his cousin was. He was blank of face as he looked into the eyes of the man and said, "Wrong answer."


In the next moment, Paulie's gun was down the man's throat with the hammer back. Calm rage suffocated his face.

"Two thousand. What in this house is worth two thousand?"

The man weeping as the barrel of the gum crushed his tongue. He pointed weakly to a set of car keys on the coffee table. Paulie gestured to Armand with his head, keeping his eyes on the victim.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand frowned in knowing what hewas bout to do. He was going to condemn the man to death in his next speech, "That car ain't worth shit if we take it." He neared his cousing and then looked into the man's eyes, "We need cold hard cash mate. Its either that or your a dead man. But Paulie here is a christian man, not much in hard cold business like me." He lied and he knew it, but the man did not. He wouldn't hurt a fly if the fly didn't hurt him. He continued, "I suggest one more week for the man cousin. The car ain't worth shit to us. We could take it now easy, but what can we do, sell it? Pawning it gets it a cut off the original price mate, we need cash, and interest." He pierced his eyes right into the man's soul. He was clacking his fists now, intimidation at its best.


Paulie allowed a small smirk to appear on his face and then said, "Well I suppose it'd help to know what kind of car it is. I wouldn't want to. . ."

Before he could finish his sentence the young woman came crashing through the kitchen door with a .45 and unloaded on Paulie. He took three shots to his chest and one to his head. The blasts were close range and so his wound weren't pretty. Explosions erupted from his torso and his fall toppled his gaping head.

She turned the gun on Armand.

"If you're smart you'll stay put and allow us to explain. I don't want to kill you if I don't have to."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand was shocked as it transpired before him. He hated the fact that he didn't see this coming. He narrowed his eyes and sported a dread frown when he screamed, "We were coming to a fair deal you bitch!" Armand paced the steps neared towards her when he continued in fury, "I was coming to a deal for interest within a week and because of you shitty stupid outburst your life and his is forfeit. You kill me now you will die. You won't kill me now you'll still die unless you have an idea of how to apologize to a man you just shot you bitch ass fool."

He was angry and fury spurned him to lose eloquence for speech depicting his aggressive ways. He raised a finger to the woman and said, "You better have something nice to say or else your gun won't save you, even if it does for about three days."


Frightened, but steady the girl stepped back as Armand advanced.


As he continued and threw words at her she screamed, "I SAID STOP!"

The next moment was a blur. The unmistakable feeling of impact crashed through Armand's shoulder. It was as someone hit him with a fist made of steel. Coldness immediately spread from his shoulder down his arm and his vision clouded with the impact of shock.

The .45 blasted open his shoulder, just above his arm. He reeled back, but did not fall and although the world temporarily faded, he did not crash into unconsciousness. The pain was at this point numbed, but aching and his heart rate doubled with each passing moment. Nausea fleeted through his stomach, but the impact subsided and his wits returned.

She had been shouting and now at last he heard her say, "Don't make me kill you! We have to talk!"

The man who had been so close to death was now standing, gripping Paulie's discarded gun.

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand graced his mind with racing thoughts. He first thought of the farce of him being shot while he was only sixteen because someone a hell lot older than him was at the blunt of his contracting goal with his cousin. He a contractor at sixteen was a very funny and ironic thing, and this filled his mind. He could feel the pain surging through him and these comedies were almost about to make him smile. He did smile, very easily too, despite the blood dripping down his arm. He lost it within seconds though as his wits returned and he gained back his furious eyes and icy, angry voice.

"If you were gonna talk to me?" he started slowly and softly, then blurted in a furious scream, "Why'd da fuck did you shoot me bitch." "If you wanted to talk you could've just pointed the gun at me began explaining, not fucking shoot me you goddamned ho!!" He usually condoned this vulgar profanities but he was angry and anger brought out the worst of him. "You are really dead now unless you can apologize in the right way. Trust me bitch, "He said then turning back to the rising man behind him continuing, "And son of a bitch, you can kill me now, but that'll only keep you alive for three days."

He shot back his head at the woman and said, "So you better start talking or you are all dead with my barehands and family connections." He wasn't scared of death actually, he just didn't like giving up life easy. He always chose to go down hard but trying, not easy but quitting.


She had enough. It would take very little for her to pull the trigger again. All of his beratements bounced off and she very slowly and calmly waited for him to finish.

"I'm giving you to the count of three to calm down and sit down so we can discuss this like civilized adults. You are way in over your head, kid. Now don't be stupid."

She paused and then said, "One..."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"Hey lady, your the one that shot me," he said among all his words. He eased himself off as he saw nothing good come out of a dead man. He stood straight and srugged off every trickle of pain where he was shot. He knew it would take more than a gun shot to bring down his soul. He wanted an apology and he wanted it now." He frownd and strained it even harder as he began to shake from more adrenaline surges thorugh him. He stretched his neck and shoulder area to ease himself more until at that very moment that the adrenaline finally wore off.

He breathed heavily before he finally in a very angry but controlled tone, "You can start by saying sorry." He paced straight towards a couch and sat with that same angry look on his face never leaving. He despised this woman and his boyfriend, but he would listen.


Relieved that the situation was temporarily under control, she stopped counting and waited for Armand to sit. His wound was beginning to take over now, numbness spreading into his torso and neck. Stark coldness radiated from the wound with an epicenter of ice. Nausea gurgled in his stomach and dizziness took his head.

The man took a cigarette from the table and lit up.

"Paulie was unsreasonable," he said, "maybe you can be reasonable. You could be a millionaire if you listen to what I have to offer."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Was he turned over by pain and suffering of the gunshot wound? Yes, and it hurt every bit of his insides. Was he showing it? No, things like that have a habit of making men endure pain like this to make them manly and cry out loud from scratches to make them cute. Did he continue the endurance? No, goddamnit it hurt like hell and already he knew he was losing a lot of blood. Did he like the fact that at sixteen he was already shot? He hated every fucking cliche'd bit of that fact. Teenage heroes were so cliche', good thing he was with the goodfellas, not the schoolboys banishing demons or kiddie gatekeepers or something. He was doing something for the family, a concept most kids his age in modern times don't even understand.

He began to flinch and shake as he tried to maintain his conciousness and not fall flat on his face. He was pained gravely and his stomach did no better to improve it. Slightly the vulgarity of the place anf the cigarrette smoke began to dim his world. He clenched his eyes still trying until he garnered enough strength to keep his voice up. He was smiling with the anger gone when he said, "I said you can start with sorry." He began to shake even more and his shot shoulder was continuing its limp state. He breathed deeply and then said, "I'm bleeding." He pushed away the clothing to reveal the wound as his face began to pale even more. He was shaking his breathing now when he said in almost a whisper, "Money won't make me strong. This does." Upon the statement his bloodied hand clenched to a fist and struck his heart, only to flinch with a yel as the pain seared through his arm. The agony was obvious when he blurted out, "Start talking already."


Satisfied that he had Armand's ear for at least a moment, the man sighed for a moment and then proceeded.

"Paulie gave me an investment, but because he's an impatient fuck, he wouldn't listen to a god damned word I said. Gina here saved my life and now I'm going to save yours.

"Instead of giving you the return on the money, you can go with me to a hiest of a lifetime. All the plans are in motion. There is an art collector upstate that I've got all prepped. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art.

"You come with me and help me rob the place, you get a cut straight down the middle."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Armand was desperate, desperate to stifle the smile he brought at this man's words. The smile turned to a guffaw and he would have bawled over on the floor but the wound pained him quite. "I'm sixteen and don't even smoke, and you expect me to jack something I know nothing about. I don't even know how to pick pocket and you think on bringin' me in on your little project," he snickered, shaking a bit from his immense humor. He grunted a few seconds later though as the body movement shot at his wound. "I have been givin' a lot of hints already and still you don't get it, Im fucking bleeding here you idiots!" he screamed at them before he grunted again from the pain.

He began to breathe off the hostility from his heart though as he gathered his composure. He looked the woman in the eye with an icy glare sending her a clear message what he wanted, bandages goddammit. He was intrigued though and this picked at his mind, "You have caught my attention though, so please elaborate a bit more on what your both about to steal. I'll think about joining you and if I won't, I won't partake by the cut but I'll short leash my cousin enough for you both to have it done by a week, seven days no more but if less Paulie would be mighty happy. By the way, don't ever call him a fuck anything cuz if you do I won't ever guarantee you your safety. Uncalled for profanity isn't something I allow in my midst. But if I do join your escapade my cut better be seperate from Paulie's invesment cut. I don't have things I wanna buy yet but funds are something you need to get by."

"Maybe I'll even go to china for the rest of my school vacation," he mused but went on with more pressing matters, "But all in all I need to know this from you. I want a detailed plan of what you want to do, I wanna see jinks in it cuz juvinile hall ain't nice and I don't plan on becoming anyone's prison bitch capiche? I wan't to know when cuz I might have school, them where cuz I just wanna lay this out for my mind a bit more."


After his monologue, the woman went into the other room for bandages and in a moment wrapped his wound carefully. The man continued to speak.

"I'm bringing you in as a favor to him," he said pointing to Paulie, "had he listened instead of pulling a gun he'd have his return and then some. You'll get the cut Paulie was and you'll keep your mouth shut to your friends. The money you'll make in this deal will mean never having to be accountable to them anyway.

"The guy collects art and antiques in a old money home upstate. He's old and crippled. Every Thursday he goes into town to attend a blue-haired social. The security guard works for me. We walk in, we walk out. That's all there is."

--Laveaux 20:17, 14 December 2005 (CST)

The wound still hurt like hell but he didn't let it get to him. He had bandaged up and that eased it well enough for him to smoothen his composure. He was a very composed young man when times werenot like this. Getting shot at always ticked him off even though this was his first time. He just hated getting hurt for no good reason. The question still remained though, will he trust them enough? Was he willing to endanger his future for the sake of money? Were they smart enough to actually tight up the loose end, which was the guard?

The answer from him was pretty simple as he though long and hard on what to do next. He breathed to blend away his paranoia and replace it with logic. "I know your not gonna cross me on this one, but the question is whether I can trust the security or not," Armand began easily. "I'm sixteen and have a lot ahead of me and I ain't gonna jeopardize it in an idiotic plan. If you want me in this, better make sure my part in it is low risk when regarding the police, understood?" he asked intently.


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