Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've got some catching up to do. Here's 500-something for now.


Bruno hesitated before dialing. He didn't like giving anyone bad news, but that was mostly due to the sort of people he usually had to give it to. The Murder Mob, as they were known to the local law enforcement, were, surprise surprise, violent.

"Cicero Public Library, how may I direct your call?" the receptionist was perky, and although Bruno had only called this line a handful of times, the receptionist had sounded exactly the same each time. Bruno had no idea if this actually was the public library, or just a cover, but it didn't much matter.

"Put me through to Ronald, please," he said. Ronald, not Ron. They were different people. Ron knew about periodicals. Ronald talked to leaks in criminal syndicates.

"Ronald here," said the voice on the other end of the line, deep and serious. Bruno had never met Ronald in person, but he had spoken to him at length on a few occasions, setting up his out, and relaying some relatively safe information. Bruno had never given out information that was not general knowledge within the organization, because he was never sure if someone suspected a leak, and seeded some information with specific people, in an attempt to see what came out the other end.

"It's Bruno. I'm clear to talk," Bruno said. He was walking through the korean grocery store on the edge of the Netecky family's territory. No one in here spoke much English, and there were very few people in the store at the moment. Someone could overhear something anywhere, and every time he swapped the sim card on his phone, he knew he was taking a huge risk.

"Bruno. Right. Are you ready to move forward with our arrangement?" Ronald asked. Bruno was supposed to get in a taxi to visit his mother, and call Ronald, at which point, the two of them would be "arrested." His mother would be placed in the wittness relocation program, as would Bruno after he had testified.

Bruno took a deep breath. "No. There's been a problem. I'm going to need more time." Bruno's stomach was clenching hard, an involuntary reaction to this sort of stress that he wished he didn't have.

"Window's closing, son," Ronald said, a warning tone in his voice. "I can't offer you any sort of deal after law enforcement moves. If you haven't turned states wittness before then, you're in the system's hands."

Bruno winced. He'd been in prison before, and wasn't interested in going back. "I understand that. I'll get you what you need, I promise."

"I don't need promises, Bruno," Ronald said, evenly. "I need results. I need evidence. You told me you had evidence, and you'd be ready. You don't, and you're not. Get me evidence, or you take your chances with the justice system."

Bruno ground his teeth and hung up without saying anything. He knew the score, but it didn't help to have it spelled out in such blunt terms by someone who didn't care if he got his throat slit.

An unspecified number of days until the hammer fell. Time to go to work.