Stepping through the door, the sound of ongoing conversations play to Matt’s ear, his intentions residing elsewhere for the moment. “How’re you doing?” Matt inquires, stopping at Darlene, her shoulder leant against the doorframe, arms folded as she watches the circle in the middle of the room continue to chat amongst themselves. “I’m good… scary is all” Darlene replies, her head only aimed towards Matt during her answer, returning to the group immediately thereafter.
“Go have a seat” Darlene urges Matt, the man turning towards her with a beguiled look. “I’m fine right here, thank you” Matt replies, surprised at the woman’s lack of opposition. Remaining silent, Darlene allows the man to remain stood away until a feminine voice calls out from the circle, Matt’s name being lifted into the room. “Matthew Tory?” the woman calls out, metaphorically grabbing the man’s ear, “we were told you would be joining us today!”
With glee, the woman pulls an empty chair into the circle, expanding the circumference of the group as she ushers the man to his seat. “I gave you a chance to do it yourself, didn’t I?” Darlene mocks, flashing the man a smile as he shakes his head in disapproval, putting on a brave face as he nears his seat in an effort to not be rude.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s all welcome Matt to the group” the woman exclaims, the innermost thoughts Matt holds being fear that she’ll get too used to him being involved. “I’m just here to learn about all of this” Matt explains, the woman’s intrigue in him only growing with each word he lets fall from his lips, “I think it would be a great learning experience.”
“Okay, then” the woman replies, the two words being the only one she would answer Matt’s explanation with before turning her head to the group, silently expressing her lack of convincing. “Tonya, why don’t we start with you?” the woman at the head of the group calls out, a young woman, likely between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, beginning to speak with aa lack of confidence, one arm pulling another close to her body, a wall being put up the longer she speaks.
“I’m Tonya, and my mom and dad were users” Tonya replies, introducing herself. At first, Matt’s head begins to pound, a headache coming on and dulling out the sounds of the group’s voices. In a moment of clarity, a gentle nudge of an elbow into his arm returns him to the present, his eyes looking to the side, the woman in charge of the meeting having jolted him out of his spell without even needing to look at him, her eyes still directed towards the younger speaker.
“It’s been a hard road… Learning everything about the world on my own” Tonya explains, taking a pause and a sigh before concluding her statement, “I don’t really know if it’s possible yet.” Without hesitation, another voice calls out from the opposite side of the circle, the voice directing itself towards the internally battled young woman. “It is” a more mature voice explains, the man speaking with both hands against the sides of his chair, “it’s just more difficult to see in your shoes.”
“I think now is a perfect time to introduce yourself” the woman replies, the thirty-or-so year old man stepping out of his chair, the gesture not necessary, just one that he does for the point of it. “My name is Marc, I’m thirty six years old. My mother died of an overdose when I was seven and my father molested me until he died in a car accident when I was twelve” Marc replies, hitting the group with an emotional gut punch immediately out of the gate.
“Many men don’t usually consider themselves victims of sexual abuse openly, Marc” the woman explains, clutching at her leather-wrapped notebook tightly, “how do you have such courage to act differently?” Even without wanting to be present for the meeting, Matt begins to take more interest in the stories being told once Marc steps up, captivated by the difference in Tonya’s story from that of Marc’s.
“There are places where you can blame your past for setting up your future pretty often… I just try to make it so that those places are so few and far between that they don’t really exist anymore” Marc replies, putting smiles on the faces of all, including Matt. “It’s not really bravery, it’s acceptance… I suffered through what I suffered through” Marc explains, confidently returning his stare towards Tonya, “I take pride in being my own man in spite of that, not because of that.”
“That’s a big change between your situations” Matt proclaims, expecting the statement to just be one of unimportance, falling upon deaf ears as the conversation rolls on. Much to his chagrin, the still-unnamed woman singles out that response, turning towards him with a wide smile. “Look around you, Matthew… People of all different ages, sizes, shapes, backgrounds, etcetera” the woman explains, “their stories are as diverse as they are.”
Fighting off the urge to become invested, Matt allows himself to settle in slightly, giving the woman a brief nod before leaning inwards, patiently awaiting further discussion.
= Kings of Cambridge is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and his entity of Pacer1 from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“We’ve got her boys!” Tyrell shouts, a phone held into the air, clutched within his hand as he enters the rundown hanger, a chorus of cheers greeting him upon his declaration. “You’ve got the misses?” Danny asks, extending his arm out to catch the phone Tyrell tosses to him, a slate of messages offered up as individual proof. “How the fuck did you do it?” one of the table’s crew calls out, an amused Tyrell remaining silent, allowing his shit-eating grin to do the talking.
“You’re gonna get the first lady of the second-largest cartel in the northeastern chunk of the country into position for an assasination, and then you’re gonna not tell us how you did it?” another voice calls out, finally breaking the man. “Alright, alright… It wasn’t that difficult truly” Tyrell explains, “I got in contact with one of their dealers, took care of him and made contact all the way up the ladder until I climbed high enough to find someone important. I took it from there.”
“So what do they think’s going on?” another voice calls out, Danny still reading through the text messages, his face souring with each line of dialogue he reads further into. “They think their supply is being tipped off to authorities and want to set up an earlier exchange time” Tyrell replies, his hand lifting into the air, one finger pointing towards Danny, “the show’s all yours from here, buddy.”
“This isn’t going to work” Danny replies suddenly, his negative declaration only serving to bring down the mood of the entire crew, Tyrell’s enjoyment plummeting. “Why won’t this work?” Tyrell inquires, patiently awaiting the man’s call, annoyed at his work being discredited, but still keeping the wherewithal to take in all differing opinions. “They told you… Outright told you, a random street dealer, that they’d be moving earlier” Danny replies, both arms thrown outwards, “that makes no sense.”
“No, no, no… This is their highest-level street guy” Tyrell explains, Danny’s posturing remaining unchanged, if anything, only appearing to be more confident in his original disapproval. “Perhaps so, but it’s still a street guy” Danny replies, tapping the knuckles of his fingers against the phone screen, “why would they tell some street seller what their big move is gonna be? Again… It makes no sense!”
With a sigh, Tyrell plants both hands by his waist, looking at Danny with a challenging stare, remaining stood by his own approach. “I’ve got this chick under the assumption that her captain fucked up and tipped off the cops… She’ll want to speak with him, and the only way to do that is to beat the cops to the punch” Tyrell explains, “so one way or another, even if she switches herself out with someone else, there’ll be someone of importance approaching that ship.”
“Maybe you’re both right” another voice calls out from the other side of the hanger, one of the crew stepping away from a getaway car with oil covering his face. “Maybe she’s bound for the ship ahead of schedule but also doesn’t want to clue a street guy in” the man exclaims, “perhaps she’s rerouting the ship to another port?”
With a smile, Tyrell looks at Danny, who appears to take on more confidence with such a suggestion. “Tristan’s got a point!” Tyrell exclaims, his shoulders shrugging towards Danny as he inquires into the next steps, “what’s the call, D?” Looking around the room, Danny is left perplexed, the reminder of what they’re beginning sticky well onto his mind as he makes his decision.
As stories continue to be recalled, Matt remains hunched forward in his seat, listening into everything, taking every detail down in his head and patiently taking his time to digest these new pieces of information and advice. “I guess that boils it down to you” the woman calls out, her words aimed towards Matt, who fails to notice this at first, surprised upon his story being called upon next.
“Oh, I’m just here for the new experience” Matt explains, quietly brushing off the woman’s suggestion, passing himself off as just another counselor looking to sit in and learn. The room silent, Matt looks back to the woman, feeling her warm eyes call him out on his bluff, the rest of the room also noticing the urge in Matt’s body language, his subtle hints at not wanting to speak.
“I think the group would disagree” the woman explains, watching Matt’s face slightly lower, hands rubbing against themselves as he resides within a corner he’s backed himself into, nowhere left to run. Giving in, Matt slides his fingers over the palm of his hand, taking his time before standing up, fixing his shirt with his change in stance. “My name is Matthew Tory, and my parents were hard drug users” Matt replies, his head hanging as he goes silent, the group silently watching on.
“I grew up very lonely, my brother and I were very distant and cold to each other, and I was raised by other people” Matt explains, his voice becoming more stern the longer he speaks. “My little brother eventually got hooked on some stuff and died shortly after my twenty-first birthday” Matt continues, noticing Darlene watching from out of the corner of his eye, “every day, I remember him as a druggie bastard by parents never had the balls to raise. I blame him and not them.”
With a sigh, Matt pulls his eyes away from Darlene and returns them to the group, not yet satisfied with the story he’s crafted, his intentions becoming that of a man wishing to hammer his own point home. “I went to college and never really looked back… I may have carried blame on my brother, but I carried a lot of disdain for my parents… And I mean a lot” Matt explains, “I fell into what I fell into and have just kept moving… My parents are dead to me, and I’m sure I’m dead to them too.”
Not really certain what point to touch upon first, the woman in the middle of the room attempts to ease Matt’s spirits, her efforts soon to fall upon deaf ears. “Many people think their parents view them differently than they actually do, Matthew” the woman explains, her final portion of the statement inciting an immediate response from the man. “Don’t call me that” Matt says calmly, his chin lifting as he addresses her concerns, “and it’s not what I think, it’s what I know.”
With a deep breath, Matt gazes back at the middle of the therapy clinic, the garden just outside, as filled with death as it is, brings closure upon Matt. “They could never love the man that I am… It’s against who they are in every conceivable way” Matt explains, head turned to the group so they can’t see his eyes shut, “If I’m not dead to them, I’d be better off dead for them.”
His eyelids violently pressing together, Matt embraces the rush of anger that comes over him before settling himself down, eyelids parting to reveal the same dead garden as before. With a nod, Matt turns his body and returns to his seat, hands politely folded in his lap as he looks throughout the room. “Okay” Matt exclaims, turning towards the woman with a smile, “where were we?”
“It’s all going to go down real quick once they arrive, so be prepared” Danny explains, he and his crew camping out in a vehicle a fair distance away from the meeting point. “Here they come” Danny calls out, watching a fleet of vehicles arrive, driving in one line, each car dawning flags with the cartel’s logo on it as if they were the presidential motorcade. “I told you I knew what I was doing” Tyrell jokes, nudging an amused Danny as an eighteen wheeler strolls up.
“If we’re killing the matriarch, we might as well collect ourselves something in the process” Danny explains, giving the signal for his crew to prepare their strike for after the drugs have been loaded. “We’re starting a war tonight, D” Tyrell quips, Tristan whispering his pleasure in taking their rightful place atop the northeastern drug trade, a fistbump accepted by both Danny and Tyrell.
Emerging from the vehicle, the matriarch, dawned in a large fur coat, struts up the steep ramp towards the entrance of the boat, one member of her cartel following her at a time. “Start advancing, boys” Danny calls into the radio, their window of opportunity having been offered, a line of doors opening a few yards away allowing his small army to emerge, one prinary objective in mind.
“Here we go” Danny calls out, emerging from his vehicle as the rest do the same, weapons adorned as their feet carry them to the ship. “Hey!” one of the opposing cartel guards calls out, a bullet fired from Danny’s gun before he can speak another word, the man’s brains being spilled onto the concrete within a moment’s notice. “This is where it all gets brutal, motherfuckers!” Tyrell shouts, firing off multiple rounds towards the cartel, each side beginning to find cover.
Low on available men, those on the Gilcrest’s side are quickly outnumbered by Matt’s men, the invading cartel swiftly taking control of the grounds outside the ship, picking off one man after another as they deboard. Without issue, a portion of the Table’s forces begin to advance towards the loading bay, entering the ship and firing at everyone that doesn’t sport the same dark shade of black as themselves.
One after another, muffled gunshots ring out from the ship, screams and whales of agony emerge from the boat’s depths, Danny, Tyrell and Tristan left to only hope for the best as they wait patiently for results from the outside. “Keep your eyes out, let’s not get hit from behind!” Danny shouts, adding specific orders to steer clear from the motorcade line as gunshots become more spaced out, silence filling the air more often than any other noise until silence is all that’s left.
As a few seconds pass, no further gunfire is exchanged, allowing Danny the confidence to call out for a response from within the vessel. “We’ve got ‘em!” one of the Table shouts, a roaring cheer coming over Matt’s cartel on the outside, a look of relief coming over Danny’s face as Tyrell pulls him into a hug. “Tristan, go sweep the cars for any trace of us” Danny calls out, taking a deep sigh of relief as he begins to slowly approach the loading ramp.
“The right call was made tonight, D!” Tyrell shouts, arm resting over the shoulder of the quiet man, the sounds of war staying with him for the moment, his joy slowly coming over time. “We still started a war… Now we’re in it” Danny replies, eyes turning towards Tyrell, his warnings carrying dread opposite to that of Tyrell’s temporary victory, “they’re gonna come firing back on all cylinders and we need to be ready for that.”
“We will be, brother” Tyrell replies, matching the emotion of the man beside him, patting his chest, “we only got one dude left and then they’re done… We can handle this.” With a nod, Danny pulls in Tyrell for another hug, patting him on the back and congratulating him on a well-earned victory, a single crewmate of the Table emerging from the ship in a mad dash.
“She’s not here!” the crewmate shouts, standing in the entry to watch his fellow men begin to slowly lose their appetite for celebration, Danny immediately asking for clarification. “Are you telling me she’s dead somewhere out here, or are you telling me she’s not here period?” Danny replies, holding out the strongest of hopes for the prior option to be the response.
“She’s not here period” the crewmate replies, bringing a barrage of confusion and dissatisfaction over the crew, questions that need answers being left without any in the moment. “What about the woman in the fur coat?” Danny asks, his heart skipping a beat as the crewmate explains that it was just another one of the Gilcrest’s men. “What kind of guy wears a fur coat on a drug run?” Tyrell calls out, Danny turning back towards him with his eyes widened.
“A fucking decoy” Danny replies, watching Tyrell’s jaw drop before glancing towards Tristan, their fellow crewmate continuing to open the door to each individual vehicle. “Tristan! Get away from!-” Danny shouts, his warning call disrupted by a massive fireball spitting out over the port’s midnight air, each vehicle bursting into flames, allowing Danny to watch his friend become engulfed by the inferno within an instant.
As they start to regain their hearing, the crew watches the inferno continue to burn amidst the backtrack of distant sirens. “Tristan!” Danny shouts, his face feeling the pulsating heat of the fire as he calls out, holding onto hope that the man would have emerged alive, even if slightly burned. His arm being taken into the grasp of Tyrell, Danny is led away from the scene, his hope fading as the Table retreats.
“Come in” Darlene calls out, affording Matt the pleasure of entering her office, his concerns obvious as made evident by his facial expression. “You’re here to talk to me about the results again, right?” Darlene inquires, Matt breaking out into a smile, both shoulders lifted. “The tests came back negative! Isn’t that important to you?” Matt replies, the busy woman shuffling through papers with a pen pressed between her knuckles.
“Apparently not as much as it is for you” Darlene replies, already used to the smiles given to her well before she met Matt. “Listen, no one else goes for a cancer screening and comes back to a roar of applause when it’s negative… Why should I?” Darlene asks, leaving Matt without much of a reasonable response. “You’re different” Matt replies, watching Darlene’s eyebrows lift as she moves her glasses further down on her face, “it’s okay to be different… It’s okay to not be everyone else.”
With a huff, Darlene lets her pen fall to the keyboard, her glasses being removed from her face and tossed upon a stack of books. “Which Matt am I getting right now? The therapist Matt or the person Matt?” Darlene asks, the man’s shoulders falling upon her quam. “The person Matt” the man replies, one finger remaining held in the air, “he just so happens to speak a lot like the therapist Matt.”
With a chuckle, Darlene stands out of her seat and walks around her desk, casually approaching the man at the opposite end of the room and staring into his eyes. “You’re hiding something behind those” Darlene explains, watching Matt’s pupils dilate, his hands becoming tense at the idea of secrets being uncovered. “You’re hurting inside” Darlene explains, Matt only left to patiently await the conclusion she’s come to, “you’ve never forgiven yourself for how you view your family.”
Struck by a wave of relief, Matt lets out a deep breath, nodding to himself as he walks past the woman, creating a distance between them. “It’s not your fault for the way that your family conducts themselves” Darlene explains, Matt’s back turned towards her so she can’t see him smirk, his intentions remaining on keeping his backstory the same as he presented it in the earlier meeting until the woman says something that brings him a sudden anger.
“You’re not your family… You’re your own person” Darlene explains, unaware of Matt’s visual change in expression, his nose scrunching as he takes in deep breaths, trying to collect himself. “You have no clue who I am” Matt replies, the anger he carries prompting him to share more than he would otherwise like to, the truth gradually slipping out in vague statements.
“I know what you’re willing to do for other people, and it’s a lot more than most” Darlene replies, noticing the man’s voice to have changed in complexion. “I do as much for people as I do to them” Matt replies, only further confusion Darlene, the woman’s words intended to help the man, only to result in a worsening of the man’s attitude. “What are you talking about?” Darlene asks, looking off in confusion until Matt turns around, returning to her side.
“My parents weren’t users, they were sellers… I’m not a child of addicts, I’m a child of addict makers” Matt replies, revealing a piece of himself to Darlene that he often couldn’t even admit to himself. “I try to help people battle their demons because my folks helped people give into them… I help people give into them…” Matt explains, forcing himself to regain his composure, the mask of anonymity beginning to slip away with every revelation, “I’m obligated to do this job.”
Staying silent, Darlene lets Matt vent, taking his words to be nothing more than his way of trying to blow off steam, refusing to hold him back. “I have somewhere to be” Matt says calmly, turning around and leaving the office, Darlene’s attempts to persuade him back falling short, her door slowly gliding shut with Matt on the other side.
Emerging from the building, Matt sets his eyes upon his parked car, the lights flashing as he reaches for his door, noticing a familiar woman walking off. “Excuse me?” Matt calls out, the leading woman from the meeting before turning around to see the man approaching her. “Matthe-” the woman begins, correcting herself as the man laughs at his earlier remarks.
“Go ahead, you can call me whatever you want” Matt replies, his hands tucked into his pockets as he comes to a stop just before her, “I shouldn’t have reacted to you in that way back there and I apologize for that.” Her head shaking, the woman promises to have not taken the replies personally. “You’ve got a lot of stuff in your life to be worked up over… Some people never get away from it fully” the woman explains, “don’t let that persuade you from moving on in life.”
With a laugh, Matt promises that his past has never kept him from moving forward, admitting it to have been the only reason for his survival at times. “There’s was too much going on back there… Stuff I didn’t want to get involved in” Matt explains, struggling to find the words to adequately paint what he’s trying to say, “I would’ve died if I went back… There wasn’t anything to go back to, so the only choice was to keep going forward.”
“Some people don’t move forward and don’t go back… They just wallow in the same pit for as long as it takes them to do something else” the woman explains, lending the man a useful piece of advice. “Even if you don’t feel like you moved forward to the right thing sometimes, just saying you moved forward is a lot more than most others can relate to” the woman concludes, beginning to walk back to her car.
“Hey, I never did get your name!” Matt calls back, watching the woman turn around with a smile. “I’m Claudia” the woman replies, turning back for her vehicle upon wishing the man a good night. Whispering her name back to himself, Matt turns back for his vehicle, eventually pulling his door open and placing his foot into the vehicle. Before Matt can sink into his seat, the sight of a parked car across the street suddenly driving off without any lights strikes him as odd.
Reaching for his phone, Matt types into his phone before pulling his vehicle onto the road as well, keeping his eyes peeled for any unwanted attention. Pulling onto the side of the road, Matt exits his vehicle and walks a few blocks back to his home, entering to an already-illuminated flat. Acknowledging the oddities of the day, Matt reaches into his briefcase and removes a pistol from one of its many pockets, taking aim at the foyer and proceeding forward with caution.
“Show yourself or I’ll fire on sight” Matt warns whomever may be residing within, a confused call of his name emerging from the living room. With a sigh, Matt shakes his head and places the pistol on his kitchen counter, uncoupling his sleeve cuffs and approaching his fish tank, half-heartedly greeting Danny on his way in, his right hand man slumped in his seat on the couch.
“What happened tonight?” Matt asks, Danny feeding him one bullet point after another, all whilst Matt nonchalantly feeds his fish. “The cars went up, Tristan was taken out, and we retreated” Danny concludes, a scowl coming over Matt’s face upon the declaration of their loss. Not wishing to be a pain in the ass to his most trusted ally, Matt uses the fish tank’s reflection to assist in his removal of the unflattering look, only turning back to the man upon its removal.
“Any word from the Gilcrest’s?” Matt asks, rolling his sleeves up, a silent shake of the head coming from Danny as he mutters, “not yet.” With a sigh, Matt looks towards the skylight above his living room, shaking his head and asking any gods above what he did wrong. Pouring Danny and himself a glass of scotch, Matt takes a seat in his recliner, both he and Danny keeping their eyes forward, not wanting to look at each other as losers.
“So we’ve started the war off with a wet fart, and now it’s turned out to be a real shitstain” Matt whispers to himself, his words slightly echoed as he speaks them into the cup in his hand, “ain’t that just comical?” Biting his lip, Danny shakes his head in the upmost disappointment as he downs the entire drink in one chug. “Why did you ‘okay’ the move?” Matt asks, his head finally turning to acknowledge Danny, eyes squinting as the man responds, confused.
“What?” Matt asks, head slightly arched forward, Danny unable to wipe away the defeated smile on his face. “I said… I didn’t okay the move” Danny replies, prompting Matt to push his footrest away, leaving his chair and walking over to his second in command. “I employ you with the expectation that you are the only other man responsible for making calls, second only to me” Matt begins to exclaim angrily, “have I not made this clear enough in the past?”
“You have” Danny replies weakly, resting his glass upon the table beside him as he climbs to his feet. “Why did you not make the call then, Daniel!?” Matt shouts, the anger-fueled dialogue of the Table’s head only matched by Danny’s loud-voiced, yet shout-less tone. “It wasn’t my call to make, Matthew” Danny replies, the man opposite him completely disregarding the name used, both hands thrown out by his sides.
“They’re all your calls to make!” Matt shouts, wide-eyed.
“This one wasn’t my call to make!” Danny replies, still not shouting.
“Who made the fucking call then!?” Matt replies, still shouting.
“Tyrell made the call.” Danny responds, again, not yet shouting.
“Why the fuck did Tyrell make the call!?” Matt shouts back.
“Because he did the work and I didn’t had two equally-reasonable choices” Danny replies, his tone now slightly increasing.
“He doesn’t get the blame for shit like this, YOU DO!” Matt shouts back, now practically screaming.
“That’s why I’m here and he’s not!” Danny calls back, now beginning to shout.
“Then he shouldn’t be making the call!” Matt screams.
“Well, he did!” Danny shouts back.
“Why did you let him!?” Matt screams in response.
“Because I chose to!” Danny shouts in retaliation.
“Tyrell should not have been the one making that call!” Matt screams back.
“That’s tough shit, ain’t it!?” Danny now screams back.
“Tough shit!? Why is that!?” Matt screams.
“Because I fucking said so, jackass!” Danny screams harshly.
For one second, and only one second, there is silence. In a burst of anger, Matt turns away from Danny and launches his partially-filled glass into the kitchen, allowing it to shatter beyond the shadows. Looking away, Matt’s head turns back to Danny’s, both men speechless as their chests puff up and down to make room for the air in their lungs. Unwilling to keep the screaming match going, Matt waves his hand, calling off the conversation and walking away.
“Call Levi, tell him there’s no room to make the run anytime soon” Matt proclaims, leaving his kitchen and walking for his bedroom. “He’s dead” Danny responds, prompting Matt to turn back, placing his eyes upon the man, watching his friend depart the living quarters and approach him with the embroidered logo of the rental car company in his hand.
“I showed him the cooking site and offered him the spot… Just like you asked of me to do” Danny explains, holding the evidence-carrying hand up, “he said no.” Pushing the logo into Matt’s chest, Danny pulls his hand away and allows Matt to look at the patch himself, a blood-stain on the bottom half of it confirming Danny’s story.
“I took him out back and put him down… Used the acid to dispose of him” Danny explains, locking eyes with Matt before leaving his home, “but yeah, you go ahead and tell me how awful it is to sit back and work a nine-to-five while the rest of us figure out how falling asleep works.” With that statement, Danny leaves, slamming the door shut on his way out as Matt remains stood in the hallway, automatic lights turning out overhead until only one remains, surrounding him in a sea of black.
== Kings of Cambridge ==