The Nguyens were at it again. They’ve been trying to wrestle control of Uptown from us for a while now, but hearing about their activities that threaten the Fengs as a whole will ruin my re-election for mayor. I can’t easily let go of my hard-earned position from those Nguyen bastards.
And my daughter Cherry has also been quite a handful. Even if I’ve given her all the support she needed, she still yielded no results as a crime boss. Where’s the cash? The results? Her two older siblings turned out fine, but I think my wife and I have spoiled her too much. According to my men, all Cherry does is shop and boss my men around for petty errands. I should’ve sent her after the Nguyens, but no, she wouldn’t listen to her father. Now she’s fixated on vampires.
My phone then rings. It must be the man I’m expecting tonight.
“Victor here.” I answer the phone with my usual reflex.
“I have arrived, Mr. Feng.” the deep voice with an accent speaks over the other line.
“Ah, I’ll tell my maid to get the door for you.”
“There will be no need for that, Mr. Feng. I am already here.”
And from the darkness of the stairs leading to the second floor, I see a dark figure wearing shades and a top hat coming down.
“How the hell did you get in here?” I put down my phone and point my gun at him. “Breaking into a man’s home ain’t very nice, pal.”
The pale-skinned man smiles as he steps into the lit area of the living room and seats himself.
“Please put that down, Mr. Feng. We are here to talk about your re-election, remember?” he speaks with a calm tone and I put the gun back in my jacket, recalling what he offered me.
“Yes, we are. But let me remind you that if you pull any more tricks, you’ll be shot.” I threaten the man.
The man nods politely as we begin to talk.
“I apologize for the unwarranted intrusion into your home, Mr. Feng.” the man tells me. “It was the only way for me to come here unseen.”
“You must be a very important figure.” I say with sarcasm.
“Because I am. You may call me Don Antares, CEO of Antares Pharmaceuticals.”
“Is the Don a name or a title?”
“A title, Mr. Feng. A very esteemed honor for… men like me.”
A strange one, this man is.
“You should’ve just talked with my wife if you wanted to discuss business deals. I run the political forearm of the Feng clan.” I tell Antares.
“I did not come here to discuss company business with you, Mr. Feng. I’m here to talk about helping you get re-elected as mayor. Success guaranteed.”
I gesture him to continue after hearing success guaranteed.
“This plan involves you stomping out crime in your city. We’ll increase criminal activity in the city, and you can use your men and the police to enforce more areas of San Myshuno. Those sheep-minded voters will see your clan as a protector. And that will help you get re-elected as mayor.”
“And how exactly will you do that?”
“We’ll put your youngest daughter in charge.”
“Cherry? But she’s not exactly leadership material.”
“Think of it as a way for your daughter to prove herself.”
Wait a tick. How did this man know of Cherry? This is quite suspicious. But if it helps my daughter become a success, I’m willing to do anything.
“You seem to know my daughter, Mr. Antares. How did you get to meet her?”
“Ms. Cherry and I got to know each other at a party in the Fashion District. She said she was very interested in taking over the Feng clan someday. You, as her father, should give her a chance.”
I nod and gesture him to talk further while observing his movements closely for any tricks.
“I’ve had a long talk with Ms. Cherry, and she should be asking help from you soon. Give her your best men, equipment, and other resources she might need.”
“I see. And what if she screws up?”
“She bears the Feng name, doesn’t she? If she fails to meet your expectations, disown her and blame her for everything.” Antares suggests something that my wife also came up with before.
But disowning my daughter just for that seems more like what my wife would do.
“That seems pretty extreme even for me, Don Antares.”
“Desperate times calls for desperate measures, Mr. Feng.” he replies and clears his throat. “If disowning her sounds extreme, find another scapegoat and send your daughter off somewhere.”
I actually had a scapegoat in mind; two actually: the Lim Brothers, Sam and Sum. Although I hired them for their talent, they have failed every mission I have given them despite their high rank. So if Cherry fails, I could send her to work for her older brother and get the Lim Brothers to take the blame. Perfect!
“I have a few scapegoats in mind.”
“Then it’s settled, then.” Antares smiles.
“What do you want in return?”
“Two hundred million simoleons and fifty of your best men.”
“That’s an unreasonable amount.”
“I’ll throw in more votes from San Myshuno’s cemeteries and add fake polling precincts all over the city if you add a hundred million more. I’ll even give you my favorite painting, the La Primera Vista, a beauty currently valued at over 3.5 million simoleons.” Antares stands and makes a grand gesture.
So he’s suggesting ghost voters, which is an old political scheme to win the polls. I ponder for a moment and think about the cost, but if it means getting me re-elected for another five years, why not?
But wait a minute. There’s one more thing I want.
“Add getting rid of the Nguyens. They’ve been a pain in the ass.”
“It will be added.” Don Antares smiles.
“Then you have yourself a deal, Don Antares. You can keep the painting, though. I have no interest in artwork.”
“Excellent. Now, for the contract.” he then produces a scroll of paper from out of his hand, like magic.
“Are you a magician or something?”
“It’s… a hobby of mine.” Antares laughs as he hands me the contract and a pen.
I go over the contract and see everything that he promised to do there. I’m glad that he already thought of writing up this contract before coming here. I double-check each line of the contract for any fault until one line catches my attention.
“What does this mean?” I ask Antares, who turns about to look at what I am pointing.
“Ah, this means that in the event that you fail to fulfill your part of the bargain, we will start acquiring your assets. My lawyer and accountant will go over that with you later.”
“Like your soul, for starters.”
“I meant to say, your soul will start to feel pleased once our company fixes the polls for you.”
“For a moment there, I thought I was making a deal with the devil himself!”
Antares laughs at that remark as I sign the contract.
“Thank you, Mr. Feng. It was a pleasure doing business with you.” Antares takes the contract and puts it into his jacket. “My lawyer and accountant will be contacting you in a few days.”
Antares extends his hand for a handshake, which I reciprocate. His hand feels a bit cold for some reason. But the air-conditioning is currently turned off.
“It was nice meeting you, and I am eager to wait for the results. My maid will show you the way out. Judith!” I call for my maid, who is probably fixing my wife’s hair in the next room.
“I’ll show myself out, thank you. I wish you success, Mr. Mayor.” Antares says as he moves to a shadowed part of the room and seemingly vanishes. Maybe I’ve been drinking too much. I’m starting to see things that I shouldn’t!
Now all I have to do is wait. My daughter will become more responsible, and I will get re-elected as mayor. Not bad for three hundred million simoleons. If this keeps up, I could probably run for senator. Or maybe even president of Simia.
Don Antares. What an interesting character.
I’ll have to thank him once I become mayor of San Myshuno again.