NEWS: This family should have had their [Van]guard up!
If I thought to do the The Sacred Empire’s [TSE] massacre was a kick in the nuts as a welcome back to the Buzz, that was nothing compared to what was about to fall on my plate. It took a couple of 12 hour days for the new Buzz team to get me up to date with what had changed in the world of organised crime and booze running whilst I’d been gone. Some faces had changed, some alliances had been broken, but many still remained the same. The guys throw information at me nonstop hoping some of it would stick. Most did, and what didn't I just wrote down in my journal, so it could never be forgotten. I also asked about things I remembered and people I recalled. I was surprised to hear about some gangsters stepping away from the life or at least trying to. They also told me that warfare has changed. Groups now work more in the shadows, staying underground only making themselves known when they were about to cause mayhem, only to then go back to the shadows after. They would also use insiders more, therefore creating paranoia amongst the larger crews when recruiting seemingly 'new' criminals. It was an interesting development, but one that I wasn't going to get involved in personally. Whilst talking about players past and present I tried not to make it to personal. Yes, I had history here, with certain crews and certain people but I didn't want to bring that up not yet anyway.
After a few days of these meetings with the writers Aldo, the new editor of the Buzz, approached my desk. "Got a lead for you. A family keep getting hit. A few members killed each time. They're a big organisation, a lot of history, and real loyal people. They mostly work out of New Jersey so I want you to go down there and see what you can dig up. Their name is The Va..."
"Vanguard [TV]." I interrupted.
"You know them?" Aldo asked.
"Yeah, I might do. I'll see who I can get to talk. Who's running the show there now? Still Abonzo?"
"He's in the council but not boss anymore. They gave that title to Scarcio now. Let me guess, you might know him too?" He said jokingly but with a sense of annoyance, "Look I don't care what you're trying to hide, just go get the story" And with that, he walked back into his office and shut the door. I didn't want to open up about my past this quickly, but I knew I would have to at some point. Full disclosure? I used to run around with TV. They were my crew of choice before I left for California. I left them in the lurch if I'm brutally honest. No goodbye. No last drinks. I just upped and left one night. I thought they might send some of their shooters after me, those I knew of, but nobody came. I took that as a message, to let me go. Last I had heard, shortly after I left they disbanded. Got out of the organised crime game altogether. Would be intriguing to find out what brought them back. So, to New Jersey, I went.
When I got to New Jersey I had some time to walk around, get my bearings. I walked past shops we used to extort, and buildings we would run rackets out of. Some of them had changed, but to my surprise more hadn't. I suddenly remembered a bar that TV used to own, QueenSam used to sometimes do shifts behind the bar. She would make the BEST cocktails, all night just making stuff up but the next morning your head was too sore to even remember the names she gave them let alone what was inside. I wondered if they would have bought it again when they came back on the scene. I turned the corner and there it was, still standing and still open. And who happened to be sitting outside, alone seemingly unfazed by the obvious threats, Scarcio. I went to crossed the street but was stopped before my foot left the sidewalk. "You got a meeting booked?", the figure now blocking my path enquired. I looked and recognised it to be Devilschild a long time serving member of TV. 'So maybe Scarcio wasn't sitting there unprotected after all'.
"Not booked as such, no." I cautiously replied, "But I was hoping I could have a word with him about the attacks. For the Buzz"
"A word? Huh." Devilschild glanced over to Scarcio who was now fully aware of my presence. After a few seconds of thought Scarcio nodded and I was let free to approach him. I began to walk towards him when suddenly the worry hit me. 'What the hell are you doing? He could remember you in an instance then this could go horribly wrong. Yeah, you look different but you're still recognisable to those who knew you. This was a mistake!' But it was too late. He was already standing up with his arm stretched out in preparation for a handshake. 'Fuck'.
We sat for the first few minutes in silence, whilst I got my note pad out and the questions I had written, also doing whatever I could to not make eye contact. After some small talk, I decided it was time to dive in.
”Before we get into the shootings, I heard TV had disbanded a while ago. Am I wrong? If not, why the return?’ I wanted to find out if the rumours I had heard were true.
”Yeah, we stopped for a while. Didn’t like the way our world was being run, or more to the point not being run. We stayed in contact with each obviously, we are a family after all. Some time passed and we had heard of a few of our members dipping their toes back in and sending reports the world had changed again, for the better. I spoke with the rest of the council and we decided to take up our family name again. But you’re not here to talk about the past are you?” Scarcio said will a smirk on his face.
”No, not entirely. It's about the more recent attacks on you. Do you have any ideas of who was responsible?” I enquired.
”Yes,” he replied, staring straight back up me. ’Ok then...’ Maybe I should try a different approach.
”Before you disbanded TV was known to be in alliances with other families and crews, notably your countrywide dominance with The Sacred Empire [TSE], Sector Omerta [SO] and Death Valley [DV]. But now you've come back and publicly denounced alliances. Why is that?” I knew that was a bit of a loaded question, and risky, but I hoped it would get him to open up.
”Better question... Yeah, we were in alliances, with even more than those you've said, but we didn't like what it turned us into, what we felt we had to do to stay on top. This time we are trying to stay solo. Which is a challenge, as you can see. At the end of the day, we don't want to take our wars out on the innocent crewless mobster”
I felt I had a flow going between us now so wanted to keep it going, ”Your stance on shooting crewless people because you suspect them of being ’dodgy’ but without actual proof is quite strong. It's a big no go. I sort of get it, but from you personally, why is this TV’s new view? Because it's a dangerous one.”
”Yeah, it's hard. We can either go back to shooting all crewless and keep our position of power or accept we may get attacked by underground mobsters but keep our word to the community. We choose the latter. Again it's more dangerous, but we can take it” he jokingly said as he winked at me from across the table. This was the Scarcio I knew for my time with TV.
“So these little attacks, how many have there been and what do you think of them?”
“Six so far, and I’ve been a target every time. They go for the top guys each time. Trying to weaken us. It’s a smart move but doesn’t really give them credit, you know? Imagine if someone just walked here right now and dropped us all. That would be epic. But this, although maybe better, isn’t what we expected. We expected more” ’Hopefully not right now, with me here.’ I thought to myself, but I got his point. With that Scarcio got called into the bar so our interview was over. As we both stood up and said goodbye he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards him “When we do finally go down, cause we will, go chat with Dutch Inc [DI] and Arab Inc [AI] they might know something about it.” His eyes then squinted at me, “Do I know you from somewhere before? You look familiar. Were you...?”
”SCARCIO!” another call from inside. He let go of my hand and pulled back, huffed and then walked into the bar. That was too close for me.
It had gotten late so instead of heading back I was going to stay in a hotel just around the corner. I woke up the next day and had thought of a few more questions I would love for Scarcio to answer so headed to the bar again hoping I’d find him outside. But this time I was met by a burnt out shell where the bar stood the day before. The building had been roped off by the authorities. I pushed through the crowd and got to the front to be stopped by Riot.
”No entry, not even for The Buzz,” he said.
”What happened here?!” I asked.
”The final attack. What they had been leading up to. The whole family taken out. They've dropped, now move along!”
I stood there in shock as I was pushed and pulled in the crowd, people tugging and knocking into me. I felt a shove in my cheat from a guy in front of me that quickly hurried away. As I looked at him from a distance I would have sworn it was DavidPinilla, another dedicated TV member but I thought nothing over it. Saddened I returned to New York that afternoon and got to my apartment for sunset. As I stood at my desk reading through my notes I took my jacket off and out fell an envelope with the name SPICY written on it. Where had this come from? The crowd outside the bar? Was that really DavidPinilla I had seen? I cautiously opened it. It read-
If you're reading this then they came as we expected. It's fine though. We had achieved our ’goal’ in regards to resources a while back, so can't wait to use them. And if you do get in contact with DI tell them that if they want to show their faces and fly their colour they better be about 40 members strong. And even then we’ll show them a thing or two about shooting.
Oh and one last thing. Nice hair cut and moustache. But I knew it was you the moment you opened your mouth. No one quite asks questions like you do. Glad you’re well and good to see you back at the Buzz. Stay outta trouble.
...the moment I opened my mouth?! What a cheeky little fuc...