Mark Wooden brings Gotham into his Birds of Prey fanfiction as the crime boss Gamble confronts his rival the Chechen.

Want to read from the beginning? CLICK HERE!

Gamble slammed his fist into the palm of his other hand for what was probably the twentieth time. His driver looked back at him via the sedan’s rearview mirror.

“You don’t have to go there, boss,” the driver said.

“The hell I don’t!” Gamble declared. “Mother fucker walks up into my church, gonna tell my people I’m a no-good criminal?

“The Chechen says he has fireworks in Crime Alley? Oh yeah, there’s gonna be some mother fucking fireworks!”

“But boss,” the driver began. He let the thought trail off.

“What? I am a no-good criminal?” Gamble challenged.

Maurice, his driver, had grown up in the Game with Gamble. He knew what Gamble was, and how he’d gotten to where he was now.

Knowing Maurice, he wouldn’t throw this in Gamble’s face — which made Gamble laugh.

“I was a no-good criminal,” Gamble said. “But that was the past. We may still sling weed, but that shit oughta be legal anyway. Numbers, the gambling, the loansharking… that shit doesn’t hurt the community.

“Now this asshole Chechen. He and the other gangs been wanting to get into our turf and destroy it like Chicago. That ain’t happening. Not on my watch.”

“I heard that,” Maurice said.

Gamble and Maurice had grown up on Chicago’s South Side before coming to Gotham University on football scholarships.

They’d both seen how drugs and crime — most of it imported from neighboring states with less strict laws — had destroyed their community.

The men road the rest of the way in silence.

Twenty minutes later, they arrived with their two other sedans at a stretch of derelict and abandoned buildings.

Twenty years ago, the area was called Park Row. This block housed small, local businesses; a thriving community.

Now boards covered the buildings left behind as the rest of the city expanded and modernized under the Wayne influence.

This area, where young Bruce Wayne had lost his parents, remained in the past like the dead Wayne parents.

Now, this was Crime Alley.

Four of Gamble’s men took up security positions. Gamble, Maurice, and two other men entered a derelict hardware store.

Moving through the store, a smell took their breath away. The scent led to two piles of burning materials in the back of the store.

The Chechen and his lieutenant Abram sat on piles of barely complete crates near the flames. Both men wore building contractor masks that helped filter the noxious smell.

“What the fuck are you doing?”  Gamble asked, his arm covering his mouth and nose as he recoiled from the fumes.

The Chechen pointed above him. Off Gamble’s suspicious look, the Chechen said, his voice muffled by his mask, “Or we can stay here and overdose on weed and cocaine.”

Maurice nudged Gamble’s shoulder, motioned for them to go up. Gamble didn’t like it but nodded anyway. Anything was better than the smell here.

Gamble signaled his consent to the Chechen. The mobster clapped his hands, then stood. He led the way to a flight of stairs leading to the roof.

Another two of the Chechen’s men were already on the roof. One of the men held the leashes of the Chechen’s three, ever-present Dobermans. Gamble and his men eyed the dogs wearily.

The Chechen and Abram removed their masks.

Motioning to the dogs, the Chechen said, “They will not bite.” Petting one of the fearsome- looking dogs, he added, “Unless I tell them too. But you wouldn’t think of giving me a reason to tell them to, would you, Gamble?”

Gamble marched on the Chechen. “You came into my church, talking mad shit about me,” he said. “And you gonna threaten me with your mother fucking dogs? I oughta feed you to them!”

“But first,” the Chechen began, “let me tell you about the fires down below.”

Gamble put his anger in check. The Chechen pulled out a stub of a cigar, lit it.

“One of the piles was cocaine we collected from your upscale corner boys who run the Upper East Side,” the Chechen said between puffs. “The weed is from your stash here in Crime Alley.”

Maurice stepped up next to Gamble. “How the hell you even know about that?” Maurice asked.

“He’s bluffing,” Gamble said.

The Chechen acted surprised. “Am I? Best check with your man Tyler. If you can find him.”

Gamble tensed. He looked to Maurice, who leaned to Gamble for a private moment. “Tyler ain’t been around for a few days,” he whispered.

Armed with this knowledge, Gamble looked to the Chechen. “What the hell do you want?”

To be continued Thursday…

While writing this fanfiction, I used Green Ronin’s Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition RPG, to leave some things to chance. Check it out!

Like this Birds of Prey fanfiction? Check out Mark’s original “Shadowdance” saga books!

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