2010-07-13: Better Batter





Date: July 13, 2010


Tom Wilkes sends George a message. It's not received as well as the psychopath had hoped.

"Better Batter"

New York, New York

Bruno waits where he was told to, just off to the side in the alleyway, smoking away. From the litter of cigarette butts about his feet, he's been there nearly as long as George has been inside. Big men with leather jackets, they don't get approached too much when they're lurking, especially not at night. Not usually, anyway. The plan is to send a message.

For George, sending messages has been the order of the day - mostly along the lines of 'please vote for me' - so the opportunity to kick back with some beer and nine-ball comes as a welcome change of pace. At least his main opponent in the primary avoided mudslinging, or even bringing up certain potentially embarrassing personal details… the general election is likely to be another matter.

Eventually, after losing four rounds out of five, he decides to call it quits for the night. A quick check of his cell phone on the way out the door: two messages, but nothing urgent. It can wait till breakfast, he thinks.

A lit cigarette rolls out of the alleyway towards George's feet only moments before the tip of a baseball bat touches the ground that's just barely in the street lights. The shadowed figure of Bruno lies just out of the light. "Hi there, mister congressman. I'm here to deliver a message." The bat leaves the ground.

Wait, what? Dropping the cell phone back into his pocket, George takes a quick look around, following the direction that the butt came from and zeroing in from there. "Funny," he murmurs, even as he takes a step backward and prepares to run for it, "I thought Deep Throat would be taller…" Dammit, he should have swapped out the loafers for sneakers— it might have made the difference between a narrow escape and a cracked rib.

The sound of cracking knuckles is muffled by the sudden clatter of the baseball bat rolling along the pavement. "So you wanna be a wise guy, huh? I can dig that." This time, the knuckle-cracking is more obvious. "Not so wise, guy." Bruno steps out into the dim lighting and offers George a right cross.

So much for escaping the scene of the crime! In the moment between Bruno walking forward and swinging, George turns the other direction, enough so that the punch thuds into his shoulder. Wincing, he leans forward and tries to hit the guy back in the stomach, which by all rights should fail miserably— and would have, if it weren't for a car making a U-turn outside the alley and flashing its headlights into Bruno's eyes at just that moment. There's another clatter of wood against asphalt.

Bruno takes the fist to the stomach as any well-built man does. He doubles over. He's tough, and George can probably feel that from the impact, but he wasn't expecting the hit or the sudden blinding. The reprieve is momentary, though not as short as it would have been if he weren't also trying to get his eyes to readjust to the poor lighting. Once he can see George's shape again, he takes another swing at the man.

With the element of surprise gone, George is able to get out of the way this time, but Bruno is still standing between him and the street - and he won't be able to keep it up forever. Something else needs to go right for him if he's gonna get out of this with his hide intact.

The lights flash through the alley one more time - this time at an angle, coming through a couple of windows - just long enough for George to spot something on the ground. He's not sure what it is, but it looks like his best shot; with Bruno once again momentarily off balance, he picks it up and swings wildly—

Surprisingly, it only takes a few swings to take Bruno down to the ground, but he continues to move even after swing five and six. Only after seven does he finally seem to be unconscious with nary a twitch to suggest otherwise. At that point, it's probably safe to call the police. Or run. Either one seems like a good idea.

…then again, on reflection, calling the police may not be such a good idea after all. The most obvious guy to be sending a message would be the arsonist. And if George admitted that he didn't think the NYPD could handle the case, and sympathized with Aaron's desire to deal with it on his own? That would do wonders for his poll numbers. Chucking the bat further down the alley, he returns to his original plan, ducking out of the alley toward the parking lot - and silently thanking whoever decided to not put up any streetlights too inconveniently close. He'll have to give Aaron a call once he's put some distance between himself and the bar.

Thankfully for George, there are apparently people around equipped to clean up after him. Well, they clean up after Bruno. A black van pulls up and drags the sorry man's body within. They even manage to spot the baseball bat, somewhat bloodied, and take it along too. As quickly as the van appears, it's gone, taking the thug back to be dealt with in as appropriate a fashion as possible.

At least what's considered appropriate to Tom Wilkes.

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