Great Gate City, “The city of Diversity” as the tourist board dubbed did, without a shadow of doubt, exactly as it said on the tin. As the economy boomed at the end of the last recession and the skyscrapers went up, Great Gate saw a swarm of new multi-crown corporations take up space in the North district, the founders and stock holders of these corporations rolled in their billions within a matter of years spurring on the growth of the fledgling city. The diamond class they called themselves. Yet through the distorted image cast by the oppressive kings and Queens of the diamond order one could almost see the average Joe further south. The diversity the Board was talking about was not in the shape, scale or size of buildings that cluttered the streets, but of the people in Great Gate. South of the shimmering expanse of North Side was the darker part of the City. Where gang violence was rife and where dirty dealings extended beyond the leather furnished offices buildings in the north.
Max’s eyes snapped open he rolled over and checked the time on his father’s old watch that lay beside him on the floor of his single bedroom apartment in the midtown of Great Gate. It was seven a.m. He stood up slowly, stretching his arms behind him to pull out the tension that manifested between his shoulders during his short sleep. He lifted his window and leaned out, lighting a cigarette and inhaling the blue-grey smoke before puffing it out into the already heavily polluted sky. Midtown was the last line of defense anyone had before they stumbled into the dusty streets of the South Side where anything could happen to someone with anything that could be sold, and in Great Gate City anything could be sold on one market or an other “Grey and grey,” he uttered to himself as he admired his 77th story view over the city. From where he stood he could see the glistening skyline of the north slowly shrink until it became the smaller scaled skyline of the south.
Barefoot he trod over to the mini-fridge he kept and pulled out a carton of orange juice and drank deeply from the bottle before tossing the empty cardboard packaging in the direction of a small bin that sat in a corner of his room. Max paced and ran an aching hand through his light brown hair. His night had been hell. Doing one of the more underhanded jobs in the city was never easy at the best of times and Max had made it worse by leaving a trail of evidence wider than the Westpark River all over the city. The boss’s voice calm and husky voice still ran over and over in his head like jazz music in a smokey basement club “I’ll handle this kiddo, just go home and look pretty for tomorrow.”
Max had the arrogant grace and mannerisms of someone who thought they were better than the people they associated with, though this was a misconception many believed. In truth he was exactly as he seemed, a clever young man with the connections around the city to make whatever he wanted to happen come true. A college drop out he’d failed to follow the path his father had set before him. Shunned and disowned he’d taken to working for The Boss, more out of spite than anything else. His light brown hair was always neatly combed back and he kept himself well dressed, although his clothes were not kept particularly well ironed. This couple with his staggering grey eyes Max could turn the heads of most Midtown women whenever he walked by. ‘Looking pretty’ as The Boss had said was never very difficult for him.
When the Boss said they’d handle a situation it usually meant a truckload of cash landing on the police chief’s desk, or more bodies turning up in the canals.
Max washed his face and hands in the sink before changing into a fresh suit, ruffled and slightly creased, before heading out the apartment to start the long day ahead of him.
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