It was Lindsay’s idea to begin with, though if Geoff would swear later he thought of it himself.
“What we need is to hire a Castaway.” She spoke aloud, more like audible musing than anything else.
“A wot?” Gavin questioned looking up from his cell phone.
The crew has been spread throughout the planning room each trying to work out the logic logistics of their next heist. Lindsay sat with Michael on the arm of her chair looking over potential assignments, as the others tried to find the best way to distribute roles with the current dynamic.
“They’re like criminal temps.” Jack answered shuffling through maps Los Santos. “You hire a few for some menial tasks and grunt work and you dump them back off. Castaways.” He found the map he was looking for and handed it to Geoff who tacked it up on the wall. “We’ve used them on a few occasions, for drug runners’ muscle or moving safe houses.”
Geoff’s eyes scanned the map, automatically checking out high rooftops perfect for a sniper to make his nest before shaking himself. ‘Won’t be needing that this time.’ He thought disappointed.
It’s not that he was mad at Ray. The team had realized for months what was coming. Geoff even knew the exact date Ray was going to leave Los Santos and head back to New York. And it wasn’t that Ray was sick of the FAKEs. Geoff knew that. It was just that Ray was tired of all the chaos. And when the opportunity arose to step out of the city and out of the madness of running a tow, Ray would have been insane not to take it.
So the Crew waved him off at the airport, tears and their eyes wishing him nothing but the best.
It was just the timing was inconvenient. Two days after Ray left, Geoff got intel about a shipment of the cost heading to the ScrewAttack boys within the next two weeks, some new firearms that could give the FAKE’s adversaries an upper hand in their constant battle for the rule of Los Santos. Geoff couldn’t let that happen. So here they all sat, working through plan after plan, each designed for a six man ground crew. With only five men available.
Geoff started at the top of the map and began his scan again.
“How about the Golden Throne?” Michael said, resting his elbow on Lindsay’s head.
“We need a Titan and we can’t get one in time.” Ryan replied as he sorted through their artillery reports. “Especially not with what happened last time. How about a Snatch and Trash? Quick, effective..”
“And will totally bollocks all the equipment as well as potentially blow us all up.” Gavin interrupted, still typing on his phone. Ryan sent him an annoyed look anyway. “We could always call...”
“No.” Jack shot Gavin a look. “We aren’t calling in that favor until we are actually in jail. Do you think Griffon would be down for a Texas Massacre?”
“She’s in Australia.” Geoff said distractedly, grabbing a pen and making quick marks across the map.
“Plus,” Michael added running his hand through his curls before replacing his beanie. “If Ryan’s in sniper and Jack’s in the chopper, that still leaves us down three points since Luna’s still in county for that ruby grab.”
The Crew kept throwing ideas back and forth, poking holes in each suggestion, their disagreements getting louder and louder. That was until Geoff capped his pen and slapped his hands on the table. Everyone turned their attention to the Bossman, his grin wicked and excited.
“We’re doing the Palmer Hand Off.” He gestured to the map where the plan was laid out.
“Geoff, that’s still a six man job. Unless you think one of us can drive two trucks.” Jack pointed out as he moved closer to the newly altered map. “Or you’re saying that you don’t want air cover.”
“No we’ll have air cover.” Geoff replied, scribbling illegibly on a sheet of paper. “Jack, you’ll be in the chopper, Ryan on the roof, Gavin and Michael in the second truck and me in the first.” Geoff listed out.
“Who’ll be with you then?” Ryan asked, eyebrows raised.
“We’ll get a Castaway. All I need is someone to lift the stash then drive through the station.” Geoff turned to Jack. “Call Ellis, see if we can get the guy he used on the Tukson job, it's the same sort of truck so he should know how to drive it.”
“Bringing in someone new” Gavin protested “on a job this big!”
“Do you have a better idea?” Geoff said flatly, finally looking at the crew.
“Lindsay or Kdin.”
“We’ll need Lindsay here for the day to day in case things go south. And Kdin will need to be in the Pit making sure LSPD keeps out of this.”
“We could call Burnie or Joel or.. “
“NO!” Geoff roared, the pen in his hand snapping in half. In an instance the people in the room had all reached for their guns, the air silent and tense. Geoff took a deep breath and ran a hand over his face. He looked as though he had aged ten years and so tired it was almost sad.
“We’ve been at this for days and if you have any better ideas I am really all ears. But Ray’s gone and we don’t have time to train someone new, not now.” Geoff’s tone was desperate now. “We can’t let ScrewAttack get this shipment, so we’re going with the Handoff. Understand.” There were nods around the table and Geoff held eye contact with Gavin.
“Got it” Gavin replied, hand coming off his gun and back on the table. Geoff nodded and took another deep breath re centering himself.
“Good, Jack call Ellis.” He left the room, the whiskey was calling his name.
Jeremy gets an offer.
Jeremy was in the midst of helping to settle a trespassing incident when the call came in. He fished his phone out of his pocket as the wannabe drug ‘lord’ cursed threats from where he was tied up in the trunk.
Jeremy saw the number of a nondescript burner phone and thumbed the screen open as he slammed the trunk closed.
“Yeah yeah keep yapping. Dooley.” He answered putting the phone to his ear.
“‘JDoolz! You busy?” Adam Ellis’s cheery voice rang from the line, and Jeremy grinned.
“I got a minute, what’s up?” Jeremy lifted himself on the trunk with an extra heavy plop hearing the muffled curses increase.
“I’ve got a job for you. A lift and drive, one of those delivery vans you drove back in May.” Adam replied.
“That sounds doable, when?” Jeremy responded remembering the job. Those trucks were a bitch to turn but he’d handled worse.
“End of the week, with a planning meeting sometime Wednesday.”
Jeremy mentally checked his calendar. This job should be finished tonight, payment tomorrow, and that gave him plenty of time to go to Pegasus and re-familiarize himself with the truck.
“Yeah that sounds fine, standard contract, three days work, regular fees?” He agreed.
“Sounds perfect!” Jeremy could hear the smile in Adam’s voice.
“So am I meeting with you or with Heyman?” Jeremy asked jumping down and heading to the driver's seat of the rental car he’d gotten for this job.
“Oh it’s not us who want to hire you.” Adam replied with a laugh. “It’s Geoff Ramsey with the FAKE’s”
Jeremy hit his head to the steering wheel. Shit.
To say Jeremy was nervous was a fair assessment.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t qualified for the job. He’d done stuff like this all the time and the driving was nothing. He had spent yesterday, after gathering his payment, at the Pegasus lot driving the delivery truck and making sure he was still able to maneuver the oversized monstrosity.
And it wasn’t working for the FAKEs either. Jeremy had worked for almost every crew in Los Santos. He may be short but he was pure muscle both physically and in terms of job requirement. He’d been hired by the FAKEs plenty of times before, as a bodyguard at the clubs or as an extra hand for territory clearing. But he usual dealt with Steffie or Matt Bragg who handled the lower level crimes. And now he was meeting with the Main Crew. more than that he was meeting with Ramsey and Pattillo. The Bossman and his Right Hand.
For a Castaway this was unheard of. So he was reasonably on edge.
Jeremy double check the address Adam had given him and pulled his bike up to the gated garage entrance, flipping his helmet’s visor back.
“Name?” the red faced guard asked, glancing at Jeremy and pulling out a clipboard.
The guard lifted a radio to his mouth and began walking a sweep around Jeremy’s bike.
“Base from Andrew.” The guard radioed as Jeremy watched him jot down the bikes make and the plate numbers. “I’ve got a Dooley, J here for clearance.”
Jeremy couldn’t hear the response, but it was apparently enough for the guard who reattached the radio and looked back at him.
“Park on the second level. Then take the north elevator to level B3. Someone will be there to store your arms and take you to your meeting.”
Jeremy dropped his visor and nodded his understanding as the guard buzzed the gate open and he drove in.
Leaving his helmet with his bike, Jeremy placed his hat on his head and ,made his way to the labeled elevator. He tucked his shades into his jacket pocket and began disassembling his gun.
He knew how meetings with the FAKEs worked. You handed over your weapons but kept the magazines. A sort of goodwill gesture that Ramsey gave. As if to say “hey, you’ve got the bullets, I’ve got the guns, we need each other. But know: what you’ve got is useless without what I’ve got.”
It was something you got used to, the quirks of each crew. While he rode further down Jeremy also pulled two knives from his person and held them loosely in hand. As the elevator settled and the doors opened, Jeremy saw a familiar face on the other side.
“Hey Steffie!” He smiled at the small dark haired girl, laying his gun and knives on the table.
“Hey Boston.” Steffie smiled back, taking the weapons and placing them on a tray and moving them to a locking cabinet behind her. “I thought it was you they were bringing in. Moving up in the world, meeting at the Big House now.” She kidded, handing Jeremy a small slip of paper with his tray number on it.
“You know me Stef, I go where I’m needed.” He tucked his hands in his pockets with a shrug.
“Mmhmmm. Well what I need is that last knife from your boot and your cellphone, Dooley.”
Jeremy raised an eyebrow and gave a half smile.
“Nothing gets past you Hardy.” He handed over the requested items as she shelved them with the rest and locked the cabinet. “Eyes like a hawk.”
Steffie gave him an even bigger smile and gestured to the plain seats against the wall.
“Wait here and someone should be here shortly to to take you to the Bossman.”
Oh yeah, his meeting with Ramsey. He had almost forgot why he was here. Any momentary relaxation he had felt seeing Steffie left him as he took seat. He couldn’t help but wish he had more than the concealed buckle blade and a mag full of bullets on him. Instead he tipped his hat lower over his eyes, touched his cross on his chest and waited.
It's time for a meeting. Let's see how it goes
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Geoff looked up from the tablet he was holding as he heard a knock on his door. Trevor paused his explanation as Geoff looked to Jack leaning on the door frame.
Geoff peered over toward his computer monitor looking at the man in the security feed. The cowboys hat obscured any facial features but that was a body Geoff didn't know.
“Have Lindsay bring him up to the conference room.” Geoff told Jack as he logged off his computer. As Jack left he turned to Trevor.
“This all looks good Treyco. Send me the finished overview and I'll look into it after my meeting.”
“Sure thing boss.” Treyco smiled and gathered up his things.
“Thanks bud” Geoff stood up, grabbing his tux jacket off the rack by the door and shrugging it on. He glanced into the mirror across the way straightened his mustache and tousled his hair before turning back to Trevor and asking “How do I look?”
Trevor looked his boss up and down before replying “Like a drunk with too much power.”
Geoff smiled, maybe a little sinister “Perfect.”
Jeremy looked up to the sound of the door opening. He was greeted to the vision of red hair and a stark white pants suit.
“Dooley?” Lindsay Jones asked, and smiled at Jeremy’s nod “You’re with me.”
Jeremy stood and followed her through the door she had entered. Lindsay Jones was not a woman to mess with. Known in circles as the Firestarter, she was burning force in Los Santos. She was all smiles and kind nonsense now, but Jeremy had seen that same smiling face mow down a line of mercenaries who had decided that the waitress of Club RWBY to be easy picking. She also had a cold and ruthless mind, and was known to run the Organization when the Main Crew were either on heist or in jail. No one crossed Lindsay.
“Ellis says you’ve done this before, back for the Tukson job. That was a good run, a nice haul.” She commented as she led him down a darkened hallway. “I also heard from Bragg that you are a pretty good shot with a handgun. Shot some guy who tried to shank him on the Donut run six months ago.”
“Yeah, I’ve worked with Ellis and Bragg.” Jeremy responded as he tried to keep pace with both her fast talk and walk. They were moving quickly down the sparse hallways making turns and detours obviously meant to throw him off. Jeremy hated this part. As a Castaway he worked on contract. No loyalty change while under contract. No returns unless renewal of contract. There wasn’t any need for all this misdirection; it was unlikely he’d be brought back to the Big House after this job.
“It’s good to know things in our line of work.” Lindsay commented as they passed another set of doors, one she opened to reveal a brightly lit stairwell. Before Jeremy’s eyes even had the thought of adjusting, she had started up the stairs two at a time, causing him to hustle to catch up with his shorter legs.
“And this crew, this crew is great at getting what we need to know.” They reached a landing and she opened a door that led to an equally bright hallway. “We can learn about your family, your friends, home, past, whatever we need really. It’s kind of magical if you think about it.”
They had finally stopped at a black door, label Conference Room.
Jeremy looked Lindsay straight in the eye, “Are you threatening me, Mrs. Jones?”
“Of course not Mr. Dooley!” She had the same smile as when she first greeted him. “I just thought you should know. Given our line of work.” She smiled slightly wider opening the door and gesturing him in. Yeah Lindsay Jones was not a woman to mess with.
Geoff sat at the head of the conference table, taking a puff off the cigar in his hand when Lindsay all but shoved the Castaway into the room. Geoff took the moment the kid was using to take in the room, to take in the kid.
His short stature was the first thing Geoff noticed, and judging by Jack’s raised eyebrow out of the corner of his eye, he was thinking about the same thing. Geoff pushed that feature aside and moved onto the rest of Dooley. He was broad, the worn leather jacket did little to hide that, and his jeans and boots broadcasted his readiness to work. The cowboy hat Jeremy wore was only a little out of place in a city like Los Santos, but Geoff really couldn’t say much when his own right hand wore a bright green elf hat. His face was dark with facial hair and held the quality most criminals shared, like he’d been socked in the face one to many times. It was a good thing too, people with pretty faces tended to shy away from a fight. And that’s not what Geoff needed, especially not now.
Geoff released the puff of smoke. “Have a seat Mr. Dooley.”
Jeremy moved to the only other chair in the room, directly across from the Bossman. He eyed Geoff warily as he settled into the hard backed chair. He let himself scan the room and found it bare except for a bottle of expensive whiskey, a single glass, and The Right Hand who leaned against the wall, looking both at ease and apathetic.
Jack Pattillo may have looked like a woman, but make no mistake - Jack was a man. Those who would mistake his large breasted chest, slim waist, and full lips for anything else, were very quickly corrected. That “correction” could be a polite word or a missing head, depending on the company.
Jack had earned his place as the Right Hand through ruthless behavior and a cherry red smile. There wasn’t much the people could remember of Ramsey’s reign before Jack
Pattillo. Not that they wanted to anyway.
“So I’ve been told you’ve done some work for my crew before.” Geoff said, drawing Jeremy’s attention back to the Boss. The ice in his tumbler clinked as Geoff finished off his whisky. Jeremy studied the dark tattooed hands and nodded.
“Yeah, you’ve held a few of my contracts over the years.” He responded noncommittally as Geoff replenished his glass.
“And my men tell me you’ve done pretty decent work.”
Jeremy readjusted himself, sitting up a little higher, his pride peaked a bit at the statement.
“I do my best to fill my contracts.”
“Speaking of contracts,” Geoff opened his hand and Jack placed in it a file folder Jeremy hadn’t noticed him holding. “You see to have serviced a lot of crews in your, what has it been , three years in Los Santos.”
Jeremy had an idea what was in the folder and frowned slightly.
“It’s the way of being a Castaway. You go where they hire you.”
“All the way from Boston and there isn’t one gang who you found loyalty to. No crew or partner in years. That’s almost suspicious.”
“My loyalty is bond to the contract.” Jeremy started in a resigned tone. This was some very familiar ground.Everyone seemed to have reservations or confusion over how Castaway’s worked.
“No two-timing, no sellout, for as long as you hold the contract. After termination of the contract, all information about the job and your crew is kept confidential. You wanna know who I’ve worked for, sure I'll tell you. You want information about them, you are out of luck.”
“So” Jack started leaning onto the table as Geoff took yet another pour out of the whiskey bottle. “If we were to ask you what was involved in the stake out you did for FunHaus back in March, you wouldn’t tell us anything?” A grainy security photo of Jeremy switching out of a car with Spoole was placed in front of him.
“What about for three grand?” Jack offered, as a copy of the FunHaus contract was lain in front of him. “That’s what they paid you for the job right.”
“No.” Jeremy responded tone even.
“Ahh quit low balling the guy Jack, fifty thousand dollars Dooley, Just tell us what they had you on the lookout for.” Geoff spoke up again pulling Jeremy’s attention back to him.
As soon as the word was out of his mouth, Jack was on him. In a swift and jarring movement Jeremy found himself pushed sideways into the arm of the chair, the handgun that had been concealed in Jack's waistband was now firmly pressed to Jeremy’s temple.
Automatically Jeremy’s hand went to his belt knife and as he pulled the blade he heard a “tsk tsk” from across the table.
Looking from Jack, Jeremy was met with the sight of the Bossman, full glass of liquor in one hand, shiny silver handgun held idly in the other, and that gun was trained right between Jeremy’s eyes.
“None of that, toss it here.” Geoff brought his drink to his mouth and cocked his gun. “Now please.”
Reluctantly, Jeremy reached and tossed the small blade on the table towards Geoff, who casually picked it up and lowered the gun in his hand.
“So, gun to your head. Tell me what you got for FunHaus.”
“No.” Jeremy spit out and was met with a the butt of Jack’s gun across the head.
“Come on, you seem like a smart guy, and I really don’t want your brains scattered across my nice conference table. Tell us what we want to know.”
Instead of responding, Jeremy just tightened his lips and glared up at Geoff breathing heavily.
Geoff sighed and stood, walking around the table, as Jack hauled the smaller man out of the chair and shoved him to his knees, the gun moving from the temple to the back of Jeremy’s head.
“That’s how it is huh?” Geoff squatted in front of Jeremy, meeting his eyes one more time. Jeremy held his gaze steadily even though his hands trembled slightly.
“That’s how it is.”
“Well.” Geoff stood again after a beat and picked up his drink. “I’ll have them light a candle for you at mass on Sunday.” Geoff motioned to Jack, and Jeremy heard the gun cock behind him. He touched his hand to his cross and with a silent prayer he closed his eyes and heard the -BANG-.
Dum dum duuuhhhhhh!
What's gonna happen!?!
Excuse any out of character-ness for me. I swear it'll make sense.
But thanks for all the kudo's and hits I really appreciate it guys!!!
When the ringing in his ears finally cleared all he heard was laughter. Jeremy summarized that he must not be dead so he might as well open his eyes and try to figure some things out.
What he saw was unexpected to say the least. There, rolling on the ground in a suit that probably cost more than Jeremy’s rent, was the biggest crime boss in Los Santos. Geoff was letting out a combination of high bursts of laughter that just seemed to ride on his exhales, and pounding on the ground with his fist. Jeremy looked behind himself, cautiously, to see Jack slumped against the wall, full body shaking with giggles. In disbelief Jeremy let himself fall from his knees and sat fully on the floor. After a beat or so the only response he could come up with was
That just sent Geoff into another round of laughter, his sleepy eyes actually tearing up.
“I wish I could have seen your face!” Jack said breathlessly as he tried to collect himself. “That’s how it is” he mocked Jeremy before starting off in hysterics again.
“What the actual fuck?” Jeremy asked again.
The scene was just too surreal for his life. Maybe he was dead. Maybe this was what hell was like. People just laughing at something you don’t get for all eternity.
It was another minute or so before the other men had collected themselves enough to speak.
Geoff has joined Jeremy in sitting on the floor and was now wiping his eyes on his jacket sleeves and trying to get his breathing back under control.
“You actually thought Jack was gonna shoot you.”Geoff said with a slight hiccup
“Uhh, yeah. A gun against the head would give a guy ideas.” Jeremy responded. Jack tossed him the gun and walked toward Geoff, offering the Boss a hand up.
“Loaded with blanks, all flash no bang.” He tugged Geoff to his feet. “Well some bang, no explosion I guess.”
Jeremy opened the chamber to verify the man's word, and low and behold, found it full of blanks with one round missing.
“But why?” Jeremy asked, mind still working over the past short time. Why had they gone through all this trouble just to not kill him?
“We wanted to make sure you were legit.” Geoff told him, picking up and dusting off the cowboy hat before holding it out to Jeremy. “ The FAKES have a lot of enemies and we needed to make sure you’d keep your mouth shut at the end of all this.”
Jeremy accepted the hat but just turned it in his hands.
“And what if I had squealed?” He asked watching Geoff’s eyes take on a mysterious glint.
With a smirk the Bossman pulled the gun he had previously trained on Jeremy. He made a show of showing it Jeremy even briefly aiming it at the grounded man before turning it on the hard backed chair that the Castaway had been previously seated in. In quick succession, Geoff fired off three shots, effectively obliterating the chair back making Jeremy flinch slightly from oncoming debris. Geoff smiled again.
“Only one gun had blanks.” he holstered the weapon.
“You guys are insane.” Jeremy said in mild disbelief.
Geoff barked out another laugh and offered his hand to Jeremy with a grin.
“Yeah probably. Wanna see more?”
It took Jeremy a moment and with a sigh he placed his hat back on his head and grasped the heavily tattooed hand.
“Sure, why not.”
So sorry for both the short chapter and the long wait between posts. The graveyard shift has been killer. I promise to be back at it as soon as possible. I just felt this was a good ending and even as short I think it stood alone well. Maybe I'm wrong. Now I'm rambling.
Next time Jeremy meets more of the Crew.