Property

Lawrence cursed as he dug too deep into his skin again. He had been nervously scratching for weeks and if the other dens were in similar condition as this one, he would need some serious chems to cool his nerves. He knew that he had bought more equipment than this, hired more people, but what he was left with was barely better than someone cooking out of their parents basement.
"What do you mean they left?? I promised them their fucking credits."
One of the few cooks that remained snapped out of his daze, barely registering the meaning of the conversation.
"Man, they saw all that sweet tech and ran with it. You may have promised credits, but we would rather make it ourself then have to waste time working."
Shaking with fury, he tried desperately to hold off the thought of killing one of his few workers.
"I need chems to sell, I don't care if you are awake all week!"
Shaking off the daze again, the man laughed casually.
"Man, I've been up since two weeks ago."
He couldn't take it anymore, all of his hard work wasted! Getting as far as he could from the idiot, his hand began to shake as he fumbled for a vial in his coat pocket. Not much bigger than those used to draw blood, it was filled with a clear, grey liquid. Inserting it into a similarly shaped holder in his arm, he snapped his wrist so that the vial would be emptied. Mechanisms pushed the contents directly into his blood, simultaneously relieving the stress crowding his mind.

Looking at the man with glazed eyes, Lawrence could only laugh.
"And what happened to you?"
The dealer began rubbing his hands together rapidly.
"Well boss, you know how you told us to start selling in a wider range? Well, the boys who owned the territory next to us hired one of them scamp gangs to come and guard their buyers. I thought I was being real quick with them, but they followed me to a drop off and jumped me."
In complete contrast to listening to the cook, Lawrence listened to the man's tale with utmost calm.
"Come now, a few boys beat you up? I am sure you had to survive worse if you made it this far."
The dealer tried to speak, but began an incoherent blubbering. Lawrence patted him on the shoulder and sent him to the back for his pay for the day. A few moments after and a knock was heard. The drugs had settled now, giving him back some awareness, enough to know not to openly trust his new "visitors".
Walking quietly towards the front door, he looked through the peep hole to see a group of kids, the oldest looking barely sixteen. Not opening the door, Lawrence yelled in order to be heard.
"Can I help you kids? Seems like a bad neighborhood to be playing in."

The kid trying to puff up almost made Lawrence fall to the ground in hysterics. After a few stifled guffaws however, he sobered up and prepared himself, after all, these were kids who knew how to handle business.
"Excuse me for sounding a bit surprised, but I know for a fact that the block we are standing on is firmly under my name. I believe there has been a mistake here."

“I ain’t mistaken that you dealers are going into OUR territory and since you don’t seem to have the proper function of two human eyes.” The teen pointed sharply to a nearby wall where some graffiti was painted on. “That is our tag.” He said with another jab to the wall. Specifically the stylized firefly shooting out lighting.

“That means … and I’ll say it slow since you seemed to have burned out more than a few brain cells … this is part of OUR territory. You can say what you please but that don’t make it fact. So keep your crap drugs and you piss poor dealer out. Or we send ‘em back in pieces.” The kid warned with a glare. Others just smirked. This guy to them was a nobody, a wannabe who hadn’t cut his eye teeth yet. He had no street cred and by proxy no respect even to a Rin-Gang, the lowest of the low.

The nerve of these snots got through the calming influence of the drugs. Lawrence swung the door open and waved a paper in front of them.
“Listen you little punks! I own this block, so you take that shitty paint off of my property! So what if one dealer sold on your worn out whores corner, you beat him up good. So take your rising hormones and your pencil dicks and SCRAM!!” Law snapped slamming the door, he smoothed his hair and tried to breathe. Wouldn’t do any good to take two doses so soon.

With cheap wood in his face, the lead kid huffed and began to walk away.

“Ey! You actually guna listen to him?”One of the kids said wrinkling his nose with distaste.
The dusty blonde leader gave no answer as he turned back, slapping his shoulder, winking to his gang and charged at the door

After the first charge, the others got the idea and began ramming the door along with their leader. Soon they where all taking turns, hollering and cheering each other on who could splinter the door open first.

Lawrence had reached his limit. He grabbed a pipe laying on the floor and prepared to open the door, right as the pack of kids broke through.

“Beat that guy up! And get rid of his equipment!” One of the kids shouted.

The cooks ran in fear of the marauding children, leaving the cooking equipment defenseless.
“NOOOO-”

Lawrence’s frustrations were silenced as the gang’s leader pummeled him. The man taken by surprised stumbled back falling over, more from the audacity of the attack than the actual blow.

“What did I tell you, this is our turf! We heard about you, ‘Chuckles’, and how you’re now poorer than us.” As the Leader along with two other kids started kicking him relentlessly.
-----------------------------
(Several nights later)
Still riding on their victory, part of the Rin-gang had taken over Lawrence’s den and moved in. Selling the scrap parts also brought them some good credits, allowing a luxury they had never known.

“All it needs is a woman at the stove and you’re back in your mother's basement.” A man said standing int he frame of the still broken doorway.

The children all jumped and looked towards the silhouetted man at the broken door. Leaning against the frame, his silhouette showed spasms throughout his body.

“Oy! Who the fuck are you to come on our turf?” Snarled one of the kids.

The figure gave a breathy slightly crazy chuckle stumbling forward. The man they had taken the den from, Lawrence, rubbed a bruised cheek looking at each kid with bloodshot malice, a smile stretching across his face. The effect, along with the odd chuckling sound gave the man a creepy air.
“What? Just because you have some fucking hair on your balls, you think you can steal from Lawrence Chakel??” Reaching behind him, he pulled out a knife, brandishing it as his smile grew with dark delight. “I think it’s about time you lads earned your stripes.” Lawrence said his chuckling turning to mad laughter as the children screamed.
---------
Later that afternoon …

Lawrence continued washing the blood from his shirt, groaning at the odd stains that remained. He sighed and resigned himself to the indigent look of the slums around him and donned the torn, dirty clothing.
He went on with his day making the round to check on the other operating dens.
As he passed by people, he noticed them giving him dirty looks and some even deliberately shoving into him. Even if they didn’t know for sure, folks around him were already giving him threats or at least threatening looks.
‘So what? A man is hated for protecting what is his?’ Lawrence grumbled internally.

JP(Winters/LucianNepreen)

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