Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Matisse

Jimmy picked up the phone on the second ring, despite it being nearly five in the morning. He'd slept with one eye open all his life, by now, it felt completely normal. The letters PB flashed on the screen, and Jimmy knew exactly who was on the other end of the line.
“Yea,” he said, holding the phone to his ear without raising his head from the pillow.
“More trouble, Jimmy,” said the rasping voice on the end of the line.
“Where,” asked Jimmy.
“Zoe’s, they hit Dave. Hard.”
“How hard?” asked Jimmy, sitting up in the bed causing Kathleen to roll over and turn on the bedside light. She didn't ask who was in the other end of the line, she'd lived this life long enough to know you don’t ask, unless you’re told.
“Hard, looks like he’ll lose an eye.”
“Where is he now?”
“They've just taken him into James, accident and emergency. That Scobi kid called me. I am on my way over there now to find out what happened.”
“What’s the point, you know who it was.”
“The Griffins.”
“Yea, the fucking Griffins. Text me tomorrow, we need to get this sorted.”
“Fair enough, boss,” said the gruff voice before cutting the connection. Jimmy hit the power button on the mobile and laid it down on the locker, beside three identical phones.
“More trouble,” asked Kathleen, turning off the bedside light.
“They hit Zoe’s,” said Jimmy closing his eyes. Just before he drifted off to sleep again, he heard Kathleen say, “Time to do something Jimmy.” As sleep took him once more, Jimmy knew she was right, it was time.

***
Pete, Pitt-bull, Byrne flipped his phone closed, and stuffed it into his pocket. He looked out through the rain splattered windscreen at the city lights, spread out like a blanket in the distance below him. The Jaguar purred as he negotiated the narrow turns of the mountain road, descending on the sleeping metropolis. He loved his car: its feline lines, its elegance. As he bore down on the city, he felt like a stalking cat preparing to pounce on its prey. The only difference being, a jaguar is hell-on-earth to a gazelle, but to the hordes of humanity, terror was Pete. Like any successful hunter, Pete understood he needed the weaker species to survive, it didn’t mean it he had to like them.

Slowly, the land leveled out and street-lamps began to illuminate the darkness. Pete eased up on the accelerator, letting the rumble of the powerful engine die away, until he could hear the hiss of his tyres passing over the wet tarmac. At this time of night, the streets were nearly empty, and the city was at its most beautiful. Light sparkled trough the rain drops, dappling his windscreen. In the distance, a couple walked hand in hand in the shelter of overhanging trees. To Pete’s eye, they looked like a stylised painting of Paris, by Matisse, or some other old master. Pete might well be an animal at heart, but it didn’t mean he was ignorant of the beauty the world held. He also knew the attack on Dave was only the beginning, the beginning of something that would rip this whole city apart. Jimmy might think the situation could be handled, but he was kidding himself. Pete knew that some people were destined to push things to the very limit, and the Griffins were just that kind, as was he.
Tonight a storm was brewing, in reality, and metaphorically. Dave was nothing but the first pregnant drops of rain, falling from a thunderous sky. Soon the very heavens themselves would open, and blood would run on the streets of Dublin. Pete felt his heart quicken and his mouth go dry at the thought of what lay ahead. His foot pushed down on the accelerator, and the tires bit into the surface of the road. If there was going to be a war, Pete was destined to be first into the breach.
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