Extended Families

Consisting of the USA, Canada and Mexico, this continent exists wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
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Steven Palmer
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Extended Families

Post by Steven Palmer » March 14th, 2016, 9:10 am

Steve was leaning against the railing of the party yacht, cubra libre in hand and a frown resting heavily on his brow. All around him were young adults wasted after just three drinks due to a low tolerance to alcohol, something they'd surely built up over their years of careless college life in Miami. Some were undressing and jumping in the salty sea below, while others were puking their stomach contents into that very same water. For Steve it was an all too familiar sight, as he had been dealing party drugs to college kids for six years now and seen it all happen at least twice a week. When he just started out dealing for a local distributor he had the time of his life seducing drunk sorority girls and threatening to turn faces into mush if anyone tried to stop him from having a good time at their expense, but these days he just sold the stuff and went home. Knocking up one college girl was enough, he had a hard time supporting the one family and really couldn't use a second.

Oh yeah, he really hit the jackpot three years ago. A quick inebriated rump on one of these party boats and three months later there’s a pregnant accountancy student knocking on his door. Ofcourse, she was Italian and make-belief Catholic so she was keeping it. Cassandra Artuso, goes by Cassy, moved into his apartment and gave birth five months later to a son, Anthony, named after her father. Life quickly turned from an all around party to a stressful ordeal. Especially considering Cassy talked amiably about uncle this and uncle that, who after a night googling their names all turned out to be linked to organized crime.

It was the first time he met Gaetano ‘Tony’ Artuso that he was sure he had knocked up a mobster’s princess. Apparently Cassy was purposively sent to Florida so she wouldn’t be held back by her father’s people. She was supposed to get out of the world and marry a good white collar guy and have children that grow up to become lawyers and senators. Instead, she got a kid out of wedlock with a two timing drug dealing thug with an impressively long juvenile record back in Brooklyn. Tony wasn’t all too happy about that.

That was probably the main reason Steve could no longer enjoy the party lifestyle he had before. Dealing drugs for a local distribution network when he wasn’t working the grill at a local restaurant just wasn’t enough to support a family, especially if the extended one had high expectations. The father refused to allow Cassandra to take a job, telling her to finish school, but at the same time send much less money her way to punish her for her bad judgment. Instead he was coming down from Chicago to make sure Steve had some kind of white collar job and left the drug dealing business. Apparently, as Tony Artuso put it, his 'friends' didn't quite like people that were involved in narcotics and if Steve valued his life he'd pull out right away. There was no arguing with him and his olive oil stench, so tonight was his last night selling and he had already run out.

Emptying the plastic cup, he threw it overboard and pushed himself off the railing. He wasn't sure he'd actually miss it, this gig, but it sure as hell was better than sweating over a grill all day and making a fourth of what he had just done in an hour. "That old man better come with something good" Steve muttered to no one in particular and started strolling back over the marina docks.

A few minutes later he got into his navy blue Dodge Dart and drove it to his condominium in Allapattah, slammed between Little Havana and Little Haiti. Steven had moved in shortly after he began making some good money under the table, but the fact he was able to largely pay his rent in cash also reflected the state of the neighborhood. It was a mixture of cheap condominiums and shoddy one-story houses with garbage covering yards and curbs alike. It was a miracle Cassy preferred it over her college dorm, but the fence and electric gate surrounding the building and parking lot did give it some pretense that it was above the neighborhood average. It wasn't really a place either of them wanted their son to grow up in, but they still had a year or two before little Tony wouldn't let himself be contained to the interior anymore.

After parking the car, Steve had to climb outside staircases to the third floor as there wasn't a lift. His condo was about twenty square meters not counting the bed- and bathroom and to the detriment of their privacy, they shared the bedroom with the toddler. Everyone was asleep already and as he didn't quite want to wake them he tiptoed to the bed, quietly took off his shoes and pants and slit between the sheets.

TAG: Gaetano Artuso
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Gaetano Artuso
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Gaetano Artuso » March 15th, 2016, 8:08 am

It was a relatively short drive from the airport to Allapattah and as he turned into his daughter's street, the car radio blasting through the open window of the rented Ford Fusion. Gaetano was sweating profusely due to the car's airco being broken and him being dressed for Chicago climate, but he was forced to put the windows back up when he came closer to his destination. The neighborhood, especially to a man in the garbage hauling business, was a complete mess. Garbage was everywhere, simply never picked up and instead stockpiled on someone's lawn or on certain parts of the curb. The stench was worse than that of his landfill on account of the warm climate and the scorching sun battering through the plastic bags and doing wonders with whatever gross stuff was inside.

Feeling the desperate need to make this visit particularly short so he could check into a motel for a shower, Gaetano parked the car on the building's private parking lot where he was greeted by his daughter. Cassandra had a big grin on her face but was dressed in slightly more than her pyjama's and looked tired, which was no wonder as she was juggling both college and raising a kid while living in this horrible part of town. "Daddy!" she exclaimed in childish enthusiasm as she hugged Gaetano, who cut the hug dismissively short "You look tired" he frowned and pinched her cheeck "Take care of yourself, okay?"

Cassandra sheepishly nodded, "I will"

"Good, now where's Tony Jr." Gaetano grinned suddenly as he wiped the sweat from his brow and adjusted his suit jacked a bit to let some air in to the drenched shirt underneath. "Right up here" Cassandra smiled and went ahead up the staircases.

The apartment was much cleaner then when he first visited, explaining in part why Cassy was so tired. She was also playing the maid for that useless boyfriend, who was, to Gaetano's intense irritation, still in bed. "That lazy cocksucker, what the fuck is he doing still in bed at this hour!?" his heartbeat jumped up and as he was already close to dehydration after sweating so much, Gaetano got a bit lightheaded. Cassandra jumped between him and the bedroom with a fearful look in her eyes. "He got home really late, please" she begged and as if on cue Tony Jr. came running over from his playcorner and she lifted him up, taking him in her arms and angling his innocent look towards his grandfather "He looks just like Andy at that age, don't you think?"

Gaetano softened, "il mio mondo, how much he's grown" he muttered and put his fingers through the toddler's hair. "Come here buddy" he took him from her arms and pressed him against his suit jacket "let's talk Tony to Tony while your mother wakes up you daddy eh?"
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Steven Palmer
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Steven Palmer » March 16th, 2016, 8:39 am

"Steve, wake up. My dad's here" Cassy said in a hushed tone as she gently shook him by the shoulder. The pillow was comfortably cool and for a moment he decided to push her away and stay in bed, but then he remembered who her father was. Well, who he thought her father was anyway. Immediately as the realization dawned in his sleep-drunk mind he swung his legs out of bed and took long strides towards the mobster, brushing passed the mother of his child as if she wasn't really there. "Mr. Artuso" he said, clearly unsure how familiar he could be around his unofficial father-in-law, especially considering how unhappy said father is with the choice of his daughter's partner. Steven forced a smile, "Cassy get your father some ice tea."

Cassy obliged, crossing the threshold between the bedroom and the main room behind him and towards the fridge in the same room. Steve picked up his pants from last night and sought support from the doorpost as he put them on one leg at the time as he eyed his son in the arms of his grandfather. "We're really lucky that he hardly ever cries." he paused as he straightened up, his fingers tapping his thighs as he clearly hesitated "I quit my job as you said."
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Gaetano Artuso
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Gaetano Artuso » March 16th, 2016, 1:47 pm

"Steve" Gaetano said after the pantless thug greeted him, turning away from him to follow his daughter to the kitchenette, which gave him a chance to observe the small apartment, too. It was much more tidy than the first time he'd been here, which was in no doubt thanks for Cassandra. Gaetano shook his head a little as he caught a glimpse of the inside of the fridge, which was largely filled with beer, proving that their diet was in no way appropriate for that of a family. Or adults, for that matter. Deciding not to berate his daughter because he was holding the toddler, he motioned for her to leave the ice tea on the table and focused on the boy.

Tony junior giggled as Gaetano tickled his belly. It was a cute kid and really had the good fortune to be blessed with the Italian looks, as opposed to the melting pot of bloodlines his father sported. "He takes after an Artuso-" Gaetano replied approvingly to Steven's statement about crying and turned back towards him. To him, Steven looked nervous, perhaps a bit anxious even. Supposedly he was mentally a lot younger than he could afford in his position, but then again, Gaetano had more responsibilities than this twenty-seven year old when he was but sixteen. The freedom and debauchery Steve had enjoyed for a decade had never even been possible for him, not for someone earning and supporting a family before even graduating high school. Gaetano had to take that into account and perhaps that would lessen his disdain for the young man.

"Good, no one in my family is involved in narcotics-" he shot a serious look at Steve, but softened up quickly with a grin "or flips burgers at Mcdonalds..here-" he lifted the child and put it against his mother's breast "he looks skinny, give him something to eat while we get his father a respectable job"

He then quickly emptied the glass of ice tea and motioned for Steve to follow him back to the rental. Gaetano didn't really know anyone in Miami, but being a member of a powerful criminal organization spanning the entire country had some perks if you knew which buttons to push. Back in Chicago he had managed to pin down the owner of the string of car dealerships on the east coast during the intermission of his favorite opera. It had taken all of his spaghetti charm to ensure the trade off for some tickets to a sold-out concert in the Rizzo owned L.A. concert hall, the termination of a daughter's relationship (Gaetano understood the need for that one) and a seat in a monthly high roller poker game downtown against getting a promising job at a Miami-based dealership for a man in his late-twenties without even a high school degree.
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Steven Palmer
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Steven Palmer » April 29th, 2016, 11:59 am

Two things became clear to Steven on their drive to the car dealership. The first became obvious right at the start; his father in law had the worst taste in music. Outdated, long-since dead Italian singers who were trying to do Sinatra without doing Sinatra. It was horrible, plain and simple. But the earbleeds aside the second moment of clearity made much more of an impact; that realization was that Gaetano Artuso was absolutely full of shit. For all his claims that the Artuso family is not and will not in any way be associated with drugs, they actually thank their position in the Chicago mob to Garbage Tony's own father. The narcotics dealer to the underprivileged in North Chicago that earned his stripes in the Lombardi Crime Family by systematically forcing entire generations of black families into heroin addictions. That was way way worse than selling party pills to college students of the dimwitted variety, that's for sure.

Steven lost appreciation for Gaetano's generous pulling of strings. Sure, the job was solid and gave excellent bonuses if his sale number were to go up, which coincidently the criminal in him saw as an opportunity to white wash his illicit gains. Whenever the IRS found his bank statements a bit too high he could shrug it away by saying that he got lucky in sales that month. It might not explain ten thousand dollar cash deposits, but he might get away with laundering something close to two grand a month. But aside from all the perks, owing the job to a hypocrite who had come into this world on the shoulders of others, instead like Steven on his own strength, tasted a bit sour.

Didn't taste as bad as this rental smelled, though. Even the Italian's olive oil sweat didn't break through the feeling that a Mcdonalds burger meal was rotting somewhere underneath the seats. The American cuisine really was not made for the Miami climate and yet they passed at least a dozen fastfood joints before rolling onto the dealership's parking lot.
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Gaetano Artuso
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Gaetano Artuso » April 29th, 2016, 3:08 pm

Gaetano was growing increasingly frustrated at Steven's ungrateful attitude, causing him to turn up the volume of the Jimmy Fontana song he had on repeat as the kid didn't seem to share the same appreciation for music. Sometimes life just wasn't fair, he decided. At least not to him, who had given up everything to make sure his daugher had a good education and bright future outside the long outstretched fingers of the Italian-american mafia. Of all the men in Miami she chose a two-bit thug he never even bothered finishing high school. An infamita it was. Gaetano was already becoming a laughing stock in Chicago over this whole schlabang and yet this kid refused to acknowledge the position he had put him in. Other men, more ruthless men, would've killed him and took their daughter back home and raise the grandchild of the loving embrace of its grandparents. Gaetano still had hope that his daughter might escape his world, that his grandchild would become senator or captain of one of those cruise ships that adorn Miami's seascape. That's why he travelled all the way down here to get this ungrateful piece of shit a job that he's seriously underqualified for.

"I should've brought one of my baseball caps" Gaetano complained after the sun had blinded him while getting out of the car. The sweat that had drenched his shirt earlier was largely dried up as they crossed the MacArthur Causeway and apart from some visible wet chesthair and a sweatmustache he actually seemed rather decent for someone so unused to the climate. Steven appeared to suffer none of these hardships and wore a hoody over the shirt he had slept in.

"Look at you-" Gaetano cried as he swung into his sides "who goes to a job interview dressed like some nigger from Crenshaw boulevard". The irritation marked his brow and even the salesman that had been approaching them for a sales chat backed away thinking he'd best leave this one to his colleagues.

Not receiving a reply, he pressed on to meet with the dealership's manager who was waiting for them just outside his office. Stocky, dressed in a light blue shirt with the upper buttons loosened from which a pair of sunglasses dangled and cotton pants he made the impression on Gaetano as being an intelligent man. Eagerly then, the Chicago mobster shook his hand and introduced himself and his worthless companion. The manager seemed equally annoyed at Steven's appearance as Gaetano, but as it was agreed beforehand that Steven would get a job here there was nothing the manager could do but to swallow his pride and let the young unwashed thug sign the necessary papers.

As the manager lead Steven into the office, Gaetano excused himself and sat down near a large airconditioning unit with a bottle of ice cold water from the dealership's refridgerator. He didn't get a moment's rest, though, as just when he wanted to open the bottle his phone rang with a familiar Chicago ID. A deep sigh preceded him putting the phone to his ear "Joey-" he said with mild enthusiasm "-did the garbage deliver the message like you wanted?"

"No one cares about that right now, Tony, Jesus fucking Christ. Haven't you been watching the news like everyone else!?"

"They don't have television in Florida," Gaetano joked "what's so important anyway?"

"Fuck me, Tony-" Joey paused and there was some chatter on the other line "-the old man is dead, his sons arrested."

"Say what now?"

"The family, everyone, it's no more"

"That's not fucking possible," Gaetano whispered back as he cautiously looked around to see if anyone could hear him. There was no way to could say anything of worth over the phone, not if the cops really did just arrest both the Chicago and Los Angeles kingpins. "So what happens next?"

"Some cousins seek to inherit-" ofcourse other families immediately tried to profit from the arrests before the men on the street could recover "-but the house is gonna be declared uninhabitable" which meant that there was no saving the Rizzo Crime Family. This really was the end of the line.

"What will you do?" Gaetano asked his friend, who was set to lose his profitable gambling business in North Chicago if he didn't move quick, though it seemed Joey Capelli had already arranged something her couldn't really discuss.

"Misses says I shouldn't go out every night and I'm going to listen to her for a while. Keep the marriage alive," the emphasis on the last word was strong and it was clear to Gaetano that the heat from the wars that were sure to follow had glued smarter people to their refridgerators.

"Perhaps the church was right with all that sanctity of marriage crap," Gaetano laughed. "I think I'll get Janine and Andrew down here for a couple of days. Last time they saw little Tony he was eleven months."
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Steven Palmer
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Re: Extended Families

Post by Steven Palmer » May 7th, 2016, 5:33 pm

He had been unappreciative of Gaetano's promise to get him a job, Steven knew that all too well but entertained the need to be his own man. Something within him had decided that he wouldn't be submissive in his interactions with Cassy's father and so had been unresponsive, unappreciative and acted like the disinterested teenager who listened too much alternative rock to know anything about real responsibilities.

When he sat down for the job interview in the manager's office he quickly came back from all of that. The palms of his hands were sweaty and he kept rubbing them dry on his jeans as he answered question after question. The manager didn't seem quite so happy about hiring him and Steven couldn't really disagree with him there. A man of almost thirty, no relative job-experience nor eduction to speak of and didn't even bother to put on a suit for a life-changing opportunity. No one in his right mind would hire him, but then they both knew that the decision had already been made and the manager's hands were bound. That he'd find employment here was a certainty, but a good impression on the manager might make his life a little easier from nine to five. The reason why Steven was sweating so much is because he knew he wasn't making an impression at all. This guy, with his cotton pants and aviator sunglasses, would make his life a real hell for the foreseeable future and the only way to stop it was to upset a mafioso of one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the country.

When the interview was finally over and Steven shook the manager's hand with the promise that he'd see him monday morning, at which the manager pressed the importance of a clean shaven jawline and a blue-colored suit, there was a void in the waiting room that took a minute to register. "Where the fuck's Tony?" Steven asked himself as he pulled his mobile from his pocket and checked his messages.

From: Cassy
Daddy had to leave suddenly. Hopes you show up on monday.

Steven closed his eyes, "that son of a bitch-" he muttered "-how the fuck am I getting home?"
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