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Better Than Gore

An Aspiring Apprenticeship!

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Static echoed from a two-way radio. 

"Ralph, the boss is expecting someone, let us know when they arrive." --- "Understood, Corey." Ralph was a money motivated man and recent prospect, due to sudden and aggressive expansion he was hired on as a patrolman. His sole task was monitoring the block and alerting staff of any suspicious traffic. Corey was the acting doorman, stationed behind a gated fence lined with razor wire, his job description was far simpler than Ralph's, yet mind-numbingly painful. All he did was wait for a customer, identify them via codeword and permit them entrance into the facility. All with the press of a button. Doing so opened the gate, which promptly closed upon entry.

Said facility was a two-story building, complete with a basement, and resembled that of a simple establishment. A neon sign flickered above the front entrance that read, "Albrecht's Pristine Dry-cleaning". Standing just beyond the entryway was a brute of a man known only as Paul, or so the lanyard hanging from his slab of a neck claimed. Positioned and aligned just above that was a hyphenated "APDC" in a bolded block font. If someone paid close enough attention, they would identify a noticeable bulge posted on his hip. Which was that of a concealed firearm. His job was that of an usher of sorts, Paul escorted guests to their destination and made sure they didn't get lost in the process. Which loosely translated into keeping any inquisitive behavior to an absolute minimum.

At first glance, the establishment appeared to be exactly what the sign out front proclaimed. Inside, employees of many shapes and sizes could be seen bustling about. Loading and unloading clothing by the hamper full into large machinery. Each of them wore a lanyard identical to Paul's own, which displayed their supposed name and company logo. Doors were sporadically placed throughout the hallway leading into the main operation room, attached to the wall adjacent to their handles was an electronic contraption of sorts, black in color. Employees used these to gain entry into the assorted rooms via scanning their work badge. Conveniently placed just above the doors were cameras, which moved from left to right and vice-versa in three-second intervals, relaying video surveillance of the facility to presumably a security room somewhere in the facility.

Paul's route never changed; leading his guests through the laundry room, around a corner that lead into another lengthy corridor, at the end was a door labeled "Employees Only". Like the others, this door also had a camera, however, the badge scanner was replaced with that of an intercom. Bulky and metallic with a rather large red button positioned in the center just below the microphone/speaker system. "How many?" --- A voice always answers when the button is pressed, which Paul answered accordingly each time, with a buzz the door opens and one customer is permitted entry at a time. On the opposite side, they are greeted by two men equal of stature to Paul, their lanyard jokingly reads "Thing 1 & Thing 2". Thing 1  is responsible for acquiring the customer's money and running it through a state of the art electronic counter, assuming it adds up, Thing 2 is responsible for handing over their purchase. Which was a vacuum sealed bag of varying size, neatly folded clothes was all that was visible through the transparent material. What they truly purchased was cleverly hidden somewhere within the clothing.

Each time the door opened, the pungent smell of petrol wafted into the corridor, which only became that much more evident within the room itself. Sitting at a desk was a man fitted in a tailored suit, black in color, adorning a matching vest and crimson colored skinny tie. His sleeves were precisely rolled up just after the elbows, tattoos of varying color and design were on display, stretching from his hands up onto his shoulders. His hair was the exact opposite of his fancy attire, ruffled, unkempt and brown in color, as were his eyes. Reddened and dilated, bags laid beneath them as if he had been up for several days. He too wore a lanyard that read "Albrecht", beneath that "Boss Man" was stylized in an intricate font. Stationed across his desk was a sword, atop the blade itself was a white powder formed into a thick straight line, which had a unique sheen. Some found it comparable to that of fish scales. Within his hand was a cylinder-shaped tube, placing it just passed his left nostril, he bent down and forward. Using his opposite hand to apply pressure to his right nostril, with an exaggerated snort the powder was inhaled and a heavy sigh of relief escaped him.



Edited by Better Than Gore

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