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Gloria's Mystery (IC)

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Freedom City, Southside

March 24th , 2:11PM

Another boring day was getting longer and longer, as Randy Cash cursed his recent changes in life and his new "legal" job as a taxi driver. He almost missed all those shootouts, gang wars, heists and god knows what else he did back in his younger days, but a quick glance at a picture of his little daughter, which he keeps right next to the steering wheel reminded him why he agreed to keep it up. It gave him strenght to not freak out as he delivered people all over Freedom City and listened to their problems like he was some kind of priest listening to confessions. Why did they kept on talking? And why should he care about their private lifes, dates, jobs and creepy neighbours peeping on them with binoculars everytime they dress up for jobs. 'Tell that to police, not a cab driver', was a reaction he always fought inside of him. As a thug, he stole a lot of money and beat up a lot of people, as Carbon he stopped several muggers and gang wars, but holding back his punch before these people was the feat he was most proud of to date. It had to change- either his superheroic life had to evolve, or his day job had to change. But what else is he to do, with no education or backing?

Today he had only few costumers and right now one of them finally left somewhere on Moore St. A rich businessman with who knows what business here (he said something about it, but Randy couldnt care less), left him with money saying "Keep the change", and ran of somewhere. Randy counted the money. Quarter wasnt exactly the greatest tip ever, but it was the thought that counted, or maybe he was too rich to bother with a small coin? Randy tried to keep himself out of ranting, but couldnt help it and broken car radio didnt help the matter. He had to get it fixed soon, but was too busy with work and superheroing.

Before he left Moore St, he noticed two familiar silhuetes walking. He didnt know them, but he knew what they looked like- long black jeans, leather jackets with flaming skulls on backs (seriously, where do they get these?), one bald and other wearing a baseball cap turned backside. Both walked on the streets, in a white day no less, with baseball bat and lead pipe in their hands, respectively. You had be dumb to think its not suspicious, and while Randy himself wasnt a genius per say, he had enough street smarts to realize these guys wanted troubles. He didnt jumped at them right now (they didnt do anything... yet), but even if he did, he wouldnt've stop them from entering a nearby store. "Gloria", was the name of a small bakery with absolutely nothing special about it, including zero visible security and only one, meak looking balding old man behind the counter. Randy walked out of his cab and locked it behind him and walked slowly toward the entrance door and peeked inside. Just as he suspected, they werent here for a cake. He couldnt hear them through locked door and windows, but one of them was holding the clerk by his shirt and speaking loudly, while other broke one glass counter after another, having a lot of fun doing so. No alarms activated, so this old man was pretty much screwed.

Or was he?

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He could've taken them easily just by touching the wall and crushing them, but that would've been overkill and he'd risk exposing his identity. Back in the days he managed to beat down thugs like those with his fists alone, so thats what he'll do now. The door didnt have a bell on it, so it was easy to just walk in and run toward the nearest guy, which is when a punch ensued. He didnt know what hit him, but it was tough and powerfull enough to send him flying, untill he met the wall on the other side of the store. His friend dropped his jaw and only looked as his buddy hit the wall and didnt wake up. Carbon... no, Randy was on a roll, so he stepped forward and readied another smack, but the guy lucked out and swayed back avoiding similiar fate.

"W-who the !@#$ are you?"

"Uh-uh, language."

The thug didnt think of escaping, hoping a big lead pipe in his hands will give him advantage. The fool he was. The clerk hid behind the counter and waited untill its over.

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The bald thug swung the pipe at Randy and tried to hit him, but all he had to do was to raise his hand and block the pipe with sheer power of his muscles. The look on thug's face was priceless when he realized the futility of such attacks, while Randy looked at him with a 'Seriously, you think you have a chance?" face. And then he clenched his right fist and threw it straight at his opponents face, breaking his nose and knocking him back like he was a ragdoll. Unlike his buddy right next to him, he wasnt down yet, but his bloodied nose and face full of tears (ugly, deformed face) meaning he had enough, while Randy could go like this all day, and thats even without using his powers. Randy crossed his arms and leered at the two, as the more consciouss one woke up the second one and gave a cue to escape. They carefully passed Randy and closed to the door. Randy couldnt resist the urge to step toward, hilariously scaring them out of their pants. They ran away like Roadrunners, leaving only dust behind and by now were probably in mexico already, while Randy couldnt stop giggling.

"Hey, old man, they're gone. You can come out now."

The old clerk peeked out of the counter and looked around carefully. Realizing that Randy wasnt a common thug (little did he knew), he stepped away and took a breather, looking sadly at the damage done by vandals and ensuing fight.

"Im getting too old for this..." exclaimed the man "Im sorry for the trouble, young man."

"Dont mention it. Types like that need a beating anyways, or else they'll wont ever learn."

Randy knew he should've just go now, but he couldnt leave the old man alone just now. The store was all messy and old man barely walked, tired and stressed out, so he decided to stay and help a little, in case the thugs were going back. He also called in the police... or tried to, but apparently they couldnt spare anyone now, especially without any actual evidence (and no witnessess, as the street was almost empty) and no culprits. Its okay though- these two seemed like random thugs, they probably wont come here again if they risked meeting him again. Unless they're a part of larger gang and come for retribution, which was another reason to stay.

He spent some time with old man Harry (as this was his name) and listened to his story.

"I was born and raised in Freedom, but I moved away when I met the most beautiful women in the world. I married Gloria and spent 41 good years with her, god bless her soul."

He reached for his wallet and showed Randy a picture of himself right next to some kind looking old lady. 'So thats where this bakery got its name. Cute', thought Randy. Despite the fact that he was ready to strangle people talking about their lives just few minutes ago, he listened to old man's story carefully. Cup of coffee and chocolate cookies sure helped.

"After she died, I came back and realized my dream. You see, I always dreamed about my own bakery, however small it is, but back in New York times were tough, I had to work two shifts to keep the family." he reached for two more pictures. One was a young couple with a small baby carried by the mother, while the other, older couple was surrounded by bunch of kids. He introduced man in second picture as Charles, his older son, and his large family. Said he owns some small printing company. On first picture was his younger son, Robert, a New York policeman, just married. He talked warmly about them and Randy could feel just how much he cared about them and how much he sacrificed to allow them a good life. But then he asked.

"Do you have any kids, Mr Cash?"

"Call me Randy, and yes, I have a daugher." He took out a picture from his wallet. It was one year outdated, but he didnt have any current pictures, what with him and his 'death'.

"She's only ten years old and I'd move stars for her (maybe even literally), but..."

"Whats the problem, young man?"

"Well, me and her mother, my ex-wife, dont really get along. She wont let me near her anymore, but I cant blame her. Im not exactly the greatest role model ever..."

Old Man Harry patted Randy's should and looked him deep into eyes.

"Listen up, sonny, Im 61 and I know a good man when I see one. And you know what? There's no bad man in my shop right now."

Randy smiled. Simple words like those from a stranger werent exactly going to cheer him up or change his situation, but it still felt good that there's someone out there ready to help another person, even if just to thank for earlier. He liked Old Man Harry- if onlt becouse he was nothing like his father. Jobless, abusing alcocholic that enjoyed nothing more then booze and telling everyone how much he hates them, especially his only son. What would his life look if Old Man Harry was his father? Would he get his own company or become a cop? Who knew...

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Wesley skipped lunch so he has to get something in his system. There's a bakery around here somewhere. Ah, there it is. Parking in front of the building, he can almost taste the hot glazed donuts. Though when he walks inside the bakery, the place is a little bit rough. An old man and a tough are sitting around. "Is everything OK," he asks a little bit worried. None of them look hurt, but appearances can be deceiving in this city.

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Old man Harry looked surprised at the apparent costumer. Surprised untill he realized that he didnt put the "closed" sign on the door. He hastily took of and walked toward Weasley.

"Oh, I-Im sorry, I forgot to put the 'closed sign'. But oh well, c-costumer is a costumer, how can I help you? Oh, please dont mind the small mess, its nothing to worry about."

That said he walked behind the counter and waited for Weasley's answer. He was visibly shaking and scared of whatever happened just a while ago. Randy meanwhile realized he's staying a little too long here and should be going back to work (the cookies were great though).

"Whatever, I'll go for now. Watch out for yourself, old man. You dont want any more troubles, do you? See ya."

That said he headed back to his cab, walking toward the door, but couldnt help but to look at Weasley. 'Do I know him?' he thought.

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Wesley watches the threatening fellow walk towards the door. There is something in his gut that tells him to stop him. He could at least ask him, right? Nothing wrong with asking. "Hey man," Wesley says looking to the thug, speaking with a stern voice, "hold up." A second of awkward silence passes as Wesley thinks of how to address this. His muscles quicken just in case he has to protect this place. "You wouldn't happen to know what happened around here, would you?"

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Randy only managed to touch the doorknob, when some dreadlocked fellow stopped him with annoying questions. He had no time for this- he already lost more time then he should while his cab waited outside. He sighed deeply and turned over to the stranger.

Nothing happened here, bub. Mind your own business.

A talk like this wasnt exactly polite, but either old habits or just bad mood usually won over. If guy is smart, he'll leave it be.

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Wesley is confused. Maybe it's because of his want for donuts, maybe it's because this punk just rubbed him the wrong way. No he is sure of it. This guy is doing something bad. His hero senses are tingling. "Now wait just one minute. You can't just be actin all rude when someone asks you a legitimate question!" Wesley points over to Carbon, "Now, you can tell me what happened or you can tell the police?"

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Apparently, this guy wasnt smart enough to leave him alone. He had not time for him, police or explanations. On the brink of exploding (not literally, that sometimes happen though) he faced Wesley and poked him in chest. Once per each word.

I said its NOT.YOUR.BUSINESS. Stop wasting my time, punk!

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Wesley's patience is already thin, this guy seems to want to jump all over it. This is just one of life's little tests, he thinks, He doesn't know who he's messing with, surely. Standing face to face with the testy thug, he isn't going to back down. The treat of violence is in the air, hopefully he won't have to act on it. "Nah man, you actin all suspicious makes it my business," he says with a smirk, "As a concerned citizen I got my right to know. You might be one of them villains roamin the streets. Freedom could use less of those, ya know." A few thick tentacles slither out Wesley's back and rest on his shoulders for punctuation, "Ya know?"

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