Murphy's Law

10 Generations of real life problems.

This was supposed to be a legacy but it's turned into a story...

Anyway, this story is inspired by favorite books, movies, television shows and personal experiences.

Life is not a fairy tale but that doesn't mean it's not beautiful. After all, you love people in spite of their flaws, and sometimes their flaws make you love them even more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Possible return?

  I have no interest in rebooting Murphy's Law.  However, I attempted to play a legacy by the rules with no intention of it ever becoming a story.  Then, Generation 2 was born.  And I fell in love with Amelia Abbott.  So maybe it's time to return to writing, with a new story and a new family.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chapter 3.15 The Dance

Looking back on the memory of

The dance we shared 'neath the stars above

For a moment all the world was right

How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye?
*        *       *       *       *       *       *
I looked around the small house, feeling as if I was but a witness, as if this was happening to someone else.  We had arrived at St. Claire early that morning and with a stroke of luck, had stumbled upon the modest rental property.  With its sparse furnishings and remote location, it made a perfect short-term hideout.  At least, I hoped it was short-term.  When we left Hidden Springs, I wasn't sure if I'd ever see my childhood home ever again.

When Tuck had stumbled in the door earlier at 3 am, I knew that our lives were forever changed.  Covered in blood, he was shaking so badly it was an hour before he was able to speak. 
"Ramona, we have to leave.  We don't have much time.  We need to pack only the essentials and get out of town immediately."
"Tuck, you're scaring me," I cried.  "What happened?"
He shook his head.  "They-they shot him.  Rusty.  He's dead and it's my fault.  But there's nothing we can do.  Our only chance is to leave."
So we filled suitcases, gathered valuables and bundled up Conner and Josie.  Tuck was sure they'd never look for us in St. Claire.  But once we arrived, the question on both of our minds was: now what?

*        *       *       *       *       *       *
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance
 *        *       *       *       *       *       *

I managed to get a job at a small 50's diner in town.  The pay was dismal, but every cent mattered now that we were living on the run.  I had no skills worth speaking of and never had finished college.  I couldn't bring myself to admit this to Tuck, but working gave me a purpose, gave me something to do rather than sit at home and wait for Dante and his goons to track us down.  But if I was completely honest, I missed the carefree days.  Funny how things change so drastically in a matter of months.

*        *       *       *       *       *       *

Holding you, I held everything
For a moment, wasn't I a king?
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey, who's to say? You know I might have changed it all
 *        *       *       *       *       *       *

I awoke to a loud noise.  Still half-asleep, my hand shot out, reaching for my cell phone on the bedside table.  "Hello?" I mumbled.
"Bright Eyes." 
"Baby, where are you?" 
"I'm umm...I'm in jail."
I gasped.  "What?"
"Look, I don't have much time.  Visiting hours tomorrow start at eleven.  I'll explain everything then."
A tear pooled in my eye.  I blinked rapidly, letting it roll down my cheek.  "Oh Tuck," I moaned.
He smiled.  Even over the phone, I could feel it.  "Ramona, try not to worry.  I have everything under control."
Long after he hung up, I sat there, feeling utterly helpless.  He said not to worry but how could I not? 
The next morning, I drove over to the county jail, expecting the worst.  I was brought to a cell and instructed to wait.  There, stood my husband..
"Ramona," he breathed, his grin stretching from cheek to cheek. 

"Do you want to tell me what the hell is going on?" I demanded. 
At my tone, he sighed and his expression grew noticeably more somber.  "We're at the end of the road, Bright Eyes.  Game over."
My eyes welled up with tears.  "We could have kept going, Tuck.  We could have kept running."
"We're cooped up in that shack like cows waiting for the slaughter.  That's no way to live, Ramona.  That's no way to raise a family.  No," he continued, shaking his head.  "The only option was to turn myself in.  In exchange for information about Savaglio, I'll receive a reduced sentence, and with any luck, Dante and his associates will be off the streets."  
"But what about you?"
"Half a lifetime ago, there was this kid.  He was a piece of shit, dealing drugs and skipping school.  But one day, he met this beautiful girl.  She had emerald eyes and she saw something in him that no one else had ever seen.  She believed in him.  When they grew up, they got married and had a little boy and girl.  This kid, who was born for nothing, suddenly had everything in the entire world that anyone could want.  But he threw it all away."  Tuck's voice thickened with emotion.  "I wasn't a good husband or a good father.  You guys were counting on me and I messed up.  I messed up so bad.  But at least this way, I can make sure that you, Conner and Josie can live without constantly checking over your shoulders.  I-I want you to believe in me again."
"Tuck, I--I love you," I choked out.  "And I'll be waiting for you when you get out."
 *        *       *       *       *       *       *

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
The Savaglios had been in power for half a century and having an informant gave the police enough evidence to bring them to trial once and for all.  The warehouse, the guns, Rusty's murder and my husband would all ensure that Dante, Jay and Andrey would be locked up for a long time. 
We sold the house in Hidden Springs and I used the money to post bail for Tuck.  He came home for two weeks, until his hearing.  With any luck, he would be out in a few years.  Two weeks with the man I loved until he was dragged back to prison. 
One warm evening, we had taken a walk to the park.  Both of us were deep in thought, the impending trial weighing heavily on our minds.  However, there was something else that had been troubling me.
"What do you think, Bright Eyes?  I know it's not Noble Tome Library but I'm hoping this park can be our new spot." 
The sun had begun to set and the air smelled of sweet flowers and fresh, spring air.  The moment was ours, for just a little bit.  I looked deep into my husband's eyes and knew I could keep the truth no longer.
"I'm pregnant."
His brow furrowed.  "That's impossible.  We haven't-I haven''s been months since we've even slept together."
My eyes filled with tears and I lowered my head, ashamed.  "Tuck, the night Rusty died...I visited Jay earlier.  I begged him to leave us alone.  I..." my voice broke.  "I offered myself to him."
"You did that for us?" Tuck said quietly. 
I nodded, sniffling.  "He-he promised.  And then Rusty happened, and then the move and your arrest...I meant to tell you, it was just never the right time.  Please forgive me."
He took me by the waist, no reprimand in his eyes, just love.  "Ramona, no one has ever done something like that for me before.  I promise, once I get out, to love this baby as if it's my own."
"Even if it's Jay's?"
He brushed a stray lock of hair from my forehead.  "Even if.  Because it's not Jay's.  It's a testament of your love for me."  He embraced me, as my sobs eventually subsided.  "Now there's something I want to give you."
When Tuck brought out the small box, my heart stopped.  Lifting off the lid, nestled on a bed of cotton, was the one possession that meant more to me than anything else in the world.
"My necklace," I breathed.  "But how did you...?"
He shook his head.  "It doesn't matter," he told me, fastening the necklace around my neck.
I swallowed.  "Tuck, I just want you to know, if I had the choice, even after everything...I wouldn't have chosen differently.  I would have picked you every single time.  I've always loved you and I always will." 
"And I love you," he whispered fiercely. 
Then he took me in his arms, and there in the small park in St. Claire, we began to dance.  Closing our eyes, we were transported back to the night of the Homecoming Dance, where we had begun.  And after everything we had been through, I just knew we could handle whatever was to come.

Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance

Chapter 3.14 How I Could Just Kill a Man

Now, it must be confessed that after the night at Excalibur, Tuck found himself sampling his own wares more than once.  Between working for Dante, keeping Ramona happy and caring for his children, he felt over-extended.  Being high helped with that.  So when Rusty told him that Dante would front a ball or so, the two couldn't resist partaking. 

What followed was a night of pure fun.  First the karaoke bar...

...then at some crazy, underground night club where Rusty DJ-ed part time. 

Their bromance was one of epic proportions.  Rusty was really the first friend Tuck had since Zane.

They finally crashed at the amphitheater, faces aglow from the evening's hijinks.

"Man, I forgot how good this feels," Tuck laughed.  "You have a family, Rusty?"

"Nah, just me."

"You're lucky," he told his buddy wistfully.  "I love Ramona and the kids but to be on your own with nothing but the wind on your back...I feel like I can do anything."

Rusty snorted.  "That's probably just the coke talking."

"Maybe you're right.  But I feel like...I feel like this is the first time in my life where I don't have to worry, where I can laugh and do anything I want.  I've never felt like this.  I know why---" he faltered.

"Why what?"

Tuck sighed, thinking of his mother.  "Never mind." 

 They both must have drifted off to sleep then because the next thing Tuck knew, was he was back in the house he grew up in.  It was daytime but the living room was dark and the curtains were drawn.  He was once again a small boy and his mother lay napping on the couch.
"Just a few more minutes, Tucker," she sighed, rolling over on her side.  "Mommy isn't feeling so well today."
The eight-year-old version of himself kicked the carpet angrily.  When did she ever feel well?  Remembering how all of the times she disappointed him stirred up old feelings of resentment. 
He probably would have hated her had there not been a few, brief moments where she had bestowed upon him an ounce of motherly affection.  Recalling those rare occasions made him cry out.  But instead of his mother, Tuck woke up to find Rusty staring at him curiously.

"Dude, we gotta get you home before Ramona wakes up."

Tuck yawned, not quite himself.  "Okay, man, ready whenever you are."

*       *        *       *       *        *       *
After that night, the two friends developed a fool-proof plan to supply their increasing drug habit.  After all, Dante never touched money or merchandise, so that he would be free of any incriminating evidence.  Tuck was the Holder of the money and Rusty was a Worker.  They would get fronted an ounce, take a ball, skim off a small amount, cut the rest with baking soda and separate it into 6 grams then sell each gram for a third of the price for a ball.  It was a "free" habit.  The trouble was, as time went on, their cut grew bigger and bigger, and they couldn't peddle baking soda without Dante hearing about it. 
"Don't worry about it," Tuck assured Rusty.  "I got this."
But Tuck had no idea just how deep he was in and even worse, how much further he was about to fall.
*       *        *       *       *        *       *

"Have you seen my necklace?" 

Tuck walked over to Ramona's vanity, scratching his head.  "What necklace are you talking about?"

She frowned.  "You know, the one my grandmother gave me.  I wanted to wear it but it's not in the drawer."

He shrugged his shoulders.  "Don't worry, Ram.  I'm sure it will turn up soon."

She smiled.  "I'm sure you're right, Darling."

*       *        *       *       *        *       *
Six months in and Tuck and Rusty owed $6,000 to Dante.  They had no idea how the amount had accumulated so rapidly, but the truth was, they weren't even selling these days.  Every bit of product was going up their noses.
"I don't understand.  Where the fuck does $6,000 disappear to?" Jay demanded.

Tuck's eyes widened, hoping he didn't have any telltale white residue in his nostrils.  "Umm...Rusty says his customers are good for it and will pay some time this week."

"Why do yous trust these shitheads?  Dante wants his fucking money."

"Relax," Tuck told him.  "Everything will be fine."

"You sure as shit better hope so.  Yous don't want to get on his bad side."

Tuck grinned.  "Just leave everything to me."

*       *        *       *       *        *       *
"I'm so glad you made it, Rosalind," Ramona hugged her friend. 

"Of course, Darling.  How in the world have you been?  How is your vacation going so far?"

They got their drinks and sat down at a small table.  Ramona pursed her lips.  This wasn't going to be easy.  For the past month, their home had been receiving crank calls and threatening letters in the mailbox.  She was scared, even though Tuck had told her there was no reason to be.  Going with her gut instinct, she had invited Rosalind Savaglio out under the pretense of "vacationing" in Lucky Palms for a weekend.

"So why is my family being threatened?"  Ramona blurted out.

"What?"  The blonde lady feigned surprise.  "What ever are you going on about?"

"Oh don't play dumb with me, Rosie.  Not when my family's safety is at stake.  Spill everything you know."

*       *        *       *       *        *       *
So, thousands of dollars were missing and Savaglio was convinced that Tuck and Rusty were responsible.  Rosalind seemed quite confident that her husband would not hesitate to kill the two men if he did not receive his money.  However, driving around Lucky Palms after her meeting with Rosalind, Ramona realized she had one more ace up her sleeve.

"Why, Ramona Whitney, I must say this is a pleasant surprise," Jay Caldwell drawled.  "What are yous doing in my neck of the woods?"

"Jay, I know that Tuck really fucked up and your men are out for his blood and I promise I can fix it but I need some time.  Could you please give us a few weeks to sort things out?"

He scratched his head.  "What do yous take me for, the Red Cross?  This ain't no charity.  Your husband fucked up and will have to pay one way or another."

Ramona gulped.  Okay, time to switch up strategies.  "Jay," she smiled flirtatiously, "maybe we can work out a solution of our own?  I know that there must be something I can offer you."  She worked at the collar of her trench coat, allowing him a brief glimpse of what lay underneath.
He narrowed his eyes.  "You'll let me fuck you in return for Tuck's safety?"
"I know you've been wanting me for a long time now, and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure my family's safety."
"You'd really do that for that shithead."
She nodded.  "I really would."
However, all of her bravado failed once he had led her into his bedroom.  Standing before him in nothing but a lacy bra and panties, Ramona felt quite exposed.
Grabbing her and throwing her roughly on the bed, Jay climbed on top, straddling her.  "This isn't going to be quick and you're not going to enjoy it.  You're asking for a big fucking favor and I plan on milking this for all it's worth.
Closing her eyes, Ramona thought of her husband and prayed for it to be over soon.
*       *        *       *       *        *       *
"What do you suppose they want?" Rusty asked Tuck as they walked over to the warehouse in Lucky Palms.
Tuck shrugged.  Jay had simply said on the phone that he was up for negotiations. 
"Evening, gentlemen," Andrey sneered at them.  "We're here tonight to relay a message from Dante.  He wants his fucking money."
Rusty had a bad feeling about all of this.
"Just get it over with," Tuck demanded.

"As you wish," the Russian snarled. 

Lightning quick, the gun was whipped out of Andrey's jacket and aimed straight at Rusty's chest.  For one moment, he glanced helplessly at Tuck and before he could be saved, the trigger was pulled.

Tuck gasped.  "Weren't we supposed to be negotiating?"

Jay cackled.  "You said to get it over with.  He dies and you live.  You have one week to get the money."

Andrey smirked.  "Pleasure doing business with you."

Andrey and Jay slinked into the shadows, leaving Tuck with the dying man.

Tuck held his only friend as the life quietly faded from him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 3.12 I Got 5 On It

The next evening, as the cab pulled up to The Stardust, Ramona's stomach took an unexpected lurch. She turned to her husband, suddenly apprehensive. “Tuck, tell me why we have to be here again?”

He took her hand in his, giving it a small squeeze. “We're just meeting some friends of Jay's. It'll be fun. Besides,” he grinned, “we're in Lucky Palms so why not?” And with that last remark, he strode confidently toward the double doors.

She shook her head. Tuck's smooth talking ways may have gotten him out of all sorts of scrapes in his past but it was his overconfidence and bravado that had landed him there in the first place. Becoming a husband and even a father had done little to change that. Still, Ramona followed him, ever the dutiful wife.

Inside, Jay was the one who greeted them. “Evening, Mr. and Mrs. Whitney,” he crowed, obviously pleased to see them. “Tuck, Dante is waiting for you, in that office down the hall and to the right. Ramona, if you'll come with me, I'll give you the grand tour.”

“I'm to go with you?” she sniffed. “Well, I can see how this evening's going to go.”
“It'll just be for a little, Bright Eyes,” Tuck reassured her, giving her a quick peck on the cheek. “Why don't you go try your hand at some Blackjack.” He grinned at Jay. “Knowing my wife, we'll have to drag her out of this place.”

With a resigned sigh, she followed her tour guide for the evening up the stairs, somehow feeling more like a prisoner than a guest.
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
“So you're Tucker Whitney.” Dante Savaglio was waiting for him when he walked into the ornately decorated office.

Savaglio was a handsome, Italian man, dressed to the nines with the bling to match.  Tuck suspected his demeanor was as slick as the immaculately groomed hair on his head.

"Guilty as charged."

His host grinned, revealing two rows of pearl-white teeth.  "Please...have a seat."
Dante sat down in a buttery, leather chair that probably cost a day's work at Tuck's garage.  He leaned forward, deep in thought.  "I suppose you know why I called you here?"
"I'm not exactly sure," Tuck had to confess.  "But I'm guessing it has something to do with Jay and"

"I'm a powerful man, Mr. Whitney.  I own three casinos and millions of dollars worth of commercial and residential property.  I'm more well connected than the pope."  Savaglio paused.  "However, even a well-oiled machine must depend on every screw, nut, bolt, and cog.  Even the smallest part is imperative to its operation.  And that, is where you come in.  Now I'm not here to blow smoke up your ass, but I'm told you are /very/ good at what you do."

"I've been working for Jay since I was a teen.  I just do my job," said Tuck, attempting to be humble.  He knew he was good. 

"My associates and I have recently acquired a large supply of cocaine.  It's premium and straight from Colombia.  However, the Grecos, my family's sworn enemy, have started to intrude on our turf here in Lucky Palms.  What I need is a new face, someone unrecognizable, to move some of these bricks, someone the Grecos don't know.  I'll see to it that you receive a higher cut than you're accustomed to.  You'll most likely be making more here than Pertha Hills, Yume no Shima and Hidden Springs combined.  I would advise you to think very carefully before accepting."

Tuck paused.  He wasn't in Kansas anymore, that was for certain.  These men were ruthless, cutthroat and were very, very serious about what they were doing.  Was a pay increase worth putting himself, not to mention his family, in danger?  However, one territory meant that he would no longer have to run back and forth between towns and it meant that Conner and Josie would have secure futures.
"I'll do it."
He was in it for his family.  Dante could see that, practically bet on it when Jay had first recommended Tuck.  Jay had insisted that they had the perfect man for the job.  Tuck Whitney was a straight shooter, a devoted husband and father who had come from practically nothing and would do everything to protect what he worked all his life to achieve.
"Excellent.  Jay will call you later this week with the details," said Dante.  "Rusty?" he called.  "You may come in now."
A man of slight build and copper hair ambled into the room.  He was quirky looking, a little awkward and had a crooked smile. 
"This," gestured Dante, "is your associate.  Rusty will be your wheel man, runner, errand boy, messenger, whatever you need."

"Pleasure to meet you," said Tuck, shaking the man's hand.
Rusty smiled crookedly.  "The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Whitney."
Dante was confident in the recent additions to his team.  The Grecos would be forced to take their baking powder shit elsewhere.  He would dream of dollar signs tonight.
*     *     *     *     *      *     *
Ramona was by the Blackjack table when she felt something touch her ass.

She whirled around, furious.  "Jay?  What the fuck?" she demanded.  Before she knew what she was doing, she slapped him hard across his face.  
It was a stupid move.  Jay had killed people for less and for a moment, Ramona was afraid he might retaliate.  He scowled, touching a hand to his cheek.  "What's the big deal?"
She stood there glaring at him.   "I could ask you the same.  I am a married woman, Jay Caldwell."

He held out his hands.  "I'm sorry.  Jesus!  My hand slipped," he smirked.

She laughed humorlessly.  "I'm sure it did.  Your hand just managed to find its way to my ass and cop a feel.  Like that's the first time I've heard that."

"Enough!" a voice cried out.  "Jason Caldwell, is that any way to treat our guest?"

Ramona turned around.  A very pretty blonde had materialized out of nowhere and was now standing between them.

"Sorry," grumbled Jay.
"I should say!" the lady told him.  "I'm sure Dante wouldn't be happy to hear about this at all."  Turning to Ramona, she extended her hand.  "I am Rosalind Savaglio, Dante's wife and on behalf of the Stardust, I extend my apologies for the behavior of our staff."
Ramona offered a hand gratefully.  "Thank you for rescuing me."
Rosalind chortled.  "Oh it's just Jay.  He's just a man at the end of the day.  They all are.  They see a pretty lady and all the blood stops flowing to the brain and heads south."  She rolled her eyes.  "But enough of that, what do you say we go somewhere and have a drink?"
"I would love to."
The two ladies settled themselves into an intimate lounge with glasses of wine.  Ramona found Rosalind's company to be pleasant, especially after the evening's events and Rosalind was happy to have a female presence in the casino for a change.
"You have no idea how nice it is to have you here.  The other wives are dreadful cunts and besides, I rarely see them anyway.  I hope we'll be able to hang out more often once your husband starts working here."
"Tuck already has a job.  He's a mechanic," she told Rosalind proudly. 
"Oh?" Rosalind raised an eyebrow.  "But I thought that was why Dante invited you here tonight.  I'm probably saying too much, but Jay has been trying to get your husband into our business for awhile now." 
"And what, exactly, is your business?"
Rosalind looked down into her glass.  "Oh dear, I have made quite a mess of things.  You see, Tuck's been doing it for so long, I was sure you already knew."
"Rosalind, just tell me.  Please!" she implored the woman, standing up, her heart sinking to the floor.

*     *     *     *      *     *     *
Tuck was up $1,000 when he heard his wife behind him.

"A coke dealer?" she screeched, loudly.  "You've been a fucking coke dealer since you were sixteen and this is the first time I've ever heard of such a thing?"

"Ramona, please," begged Tuck, neither confirming nor denying.  "Can we talk about this back in our hotel?"

"No, we will fucking not.  We're going to talk about this right the fucking now.  We've been married for four years.  We have two children, Tuck!" she cried.  "We have a life together.  Had, at least, until I found out that I don't know you at all.  I've been married to a stranger."

Her eyes welled up with tears and he could see the pain thinly veiled under all of her fury.  He was on the verge of losing everything.  And this was one time he couldn't talk his way out.
"What are you going to do?" his voice cracked.
"I'm going home," she hissed.  "One of us has to be a parent.  One of us has to care about our family.  I don't even want to look at you right now.  We'll figure things out once you finish your business up here in Lucky Palms."
With that, his wife spun on one stiletto-clad foot and tramped out of the room, out of his life. 

He couldn't take it if he lost her forever. 
*     *     *     *      *     *     *
Downstairs, Dante and the strange Russian man conspired.

  • Who is the Russian man?
  • Will Ramona ever forgive Tuck?
  • Is Tuck in over his head?