Zack Matheny and Rocky Scarfone sat at a table in the back of the newly remodeled downtown Ham's Restaurant. The place was almost empty just as it had been every night since it had been reopened. Were it not for Rocky's money laundering business and his grip on the local cocaine trade he would have left town a long time ago. "So what is it you needed to see me about?" Rocky asked.
"I'm broke," Zack answered.
"Hell," Rocky laughed, "everybody is broke these days. Look around, there's maybe 6 customers in here."
"I'm really broke," Zack said.
"Can't you find a job?" Rocky asked.
"That's what I came to you for," Zack replied.
"You want me to hire you?" Rocky asked.
"Well sure," Zack said, "I've always done everything I could do for you."
"That's true," Rocky said, "but with DGI out of business and you no longer on city council what can you do for me now? Wanna be a bouncer in one of my clubs?"
"Come on, Rock," Zack looked down at the floor, "you know I'm too small to be a bouncer. Besides, I've got a business degree."
"Yeah," Rocky answered, "but you also talk too much. That's how those bloggers found out about our business dealings before and got you pushed off of city council. How do I know you won't get all tanked up, do a bunch of coke and start running your mouth just like before?"
"Well could you loan me some money?" Zack asked as he took another drink. "That way I could start a business and get back on my feet."
"You could sell me your Land Rover," Rocky said.
"Can't," Zack answered, "It's leased and I'm behind on the payments."
"And your house?"
"House is in foreclosure." Zack mumbled, "But Rock you know I'm good for it."
"You're not looking very good to me," Rocky replied.
The economic situation caused by the bombings had forced cutbacks at every level of city services and most all funding to non profits had been eliminated. Even with the Business Improvement District special tax, Downtown Greensboro Incorporated had been forced to close its doors. Zack Matheny had finally been pushed out of DGI just as he had previously pushed out the two DGI presidents before him.
In the meantime the City had fell victim to poisoned water supplies in several of its more affluent neighborhoods. City leaders and Greensboro Water Services were at a complete loss as to how the incidents could be contained to certain neighborhoods and not others and yet to insure public safety city wide bottled water had to be distributed tying up thousands of man-hours for police, Greensboro firefighters and national guard.
The result was that even more emergency personnel had to be brought in making many residents feel even more like they were living in a police state. Angry groups applied for permits to march in protest only to be denied due to safety concerns which in turn made them even madder than they were before.
Zack got up from the table, staggered out the front door and stood with his back to the front window of the restaurant. He pulled his pistol from his pocket, drew back the slide and shouted, "Fuck you, Rock!"
He placed his pistol in his mouth and blew his brains all over the window in the front of Ham's Restaurant.
As several diners began to puke up their dinner and others fainted to the floor, Rocky Scarfone looked on and said, "Well I guess it's good he picked a slow night. Everything's on the house."
Please continue reading Chapter XVIII, A Needed Rest