“When did all of this happen?” Michael asks, a still-tense Danny looking him in the eyes, refusing to give completely into the pleasant demeanor. “Not long after Matt” Danny replies, biting his lip, the cover story having small holes he hopes to plug later, “instead of doing drugs, I started slinging ‘em… Make myself some money and move on… Kinda like you.”
“I didn’t sell the drugs to move on, I-” Michael begins, quickly interrupted by the man in front of him, Danny keeping Michael informed of the line between the two. “Not the drugs specifically, I’m talking about you moving on” Danny explains, the man’s face falling as he sheepishly shakes his head, “you got a new wife and a new kid, one that will never be Matt, but I digress… You moved on.”
With a huff, Michael watches his breath disperse before him, the cold air keeping him from sinking into the conversation comfortably, it’s confrontational nature demanding a different approach. “I didn’t marry Monica because she had a replacement for Matt, I married her because it was necessary” Michael replies, his loveless marriage already an open secret, “she had reach, I had product, we needed to keep up a public image worth yearning for.”
“You got a new family” Danny counters, refusing to let Michael speak his way into a false truth, one he can convince himself to believe in, “and if Matt were alive today, he’d look at you and question everything you ever taught him.” A smile appearing from between his lips, Michael looks at Danny with unconvinced eyes, a great deal of regret behind them.
“His mother taught him more than I ever could, so that is something I wouldn’t be surprised to find” Michael explains, the smile quickly fading back to a stern face, “but I never replaced him.” Sniffling, Danny bites into his bottom lip, not wishing to touch on the point of their conversation just yet, instead having questions he wants answers to. “Why keep Stucky around this whole time?” Danny asks, a brief chuckle coming from Michael’s lungs, “isn’t he more of a burdon than anything else?”
Nodding, Michael agrees with Danny’s statement, the wires in his brain already wired to view people both as individuals and pawns, nothing but properties to trade, seize and render obsolete. “That kid would go through an entire drug house in one weekend if someone isn’t keeping an eye on him, you’re most right about that” Michael replies, his stance changing, taking an empathetic pose, “but he’s the vehicle for me to take care of the way I couldn’t for Matt and his brother.”
Looking away, Danny does his best to not entertain the new path the conversation is taking, failing to find a new course before Michael can bring up the past once again. “I’ve lost two sons because I couldn’t be a good father” Michael explains, his shoes buried into the dirt, anxiety prompting his heels to dig into the ground, “one died because I couldn’t be his father, and the other died because I didn’t know how to be his father.”
Silence following the man’s statement, Danny sees an opportunity to even further clarify the lines he’s unwilling to cross, taking a jab at Michael the moment the chance presents itself. “It sounds like you’re a pretty shitty father” Danny replies, expecting a sour expression, only to be surprised when the man answers with a laugh. “Yeah, I am” Michael replies, keeping his tears back whilst licking his bone-dry lips, “I’m just not cut out to be that kind of person. That’s why I do this.”
Staying silent, Danny expects the man to continue talking, allowing himself to travel alongside the Gilcrest’s patriarch until he reaches a point worth speaking on. “Now you’re standing here, appearing before me after all this time… The true head of the Table” Michael explains, hands burying themselves in his pockets, head tilted to the side as he breaks the ice, “I’m sorry, but I’m not quite so sure I’m buying it.”
Curious, Danny inquires the reason as to why, a question Michael is all too willing to answer. “I’ll give the Table their credit… They handle their product well and have enjoyed long-term success” Michael explains, offering credit where it is due, “but the Table only operates efficiently because the man in the big chair is already very well aware of how an enterprise like such is designed to operate… That’s insider information.”
Quick to amuse Michael, Danny engages in this new line of dialogue, challenging Michael’s thought now that it has been presented. “How are you so certain Matt didn’t tell me every little detail?” Danny asks, watching Michael scoff at such a notion. “Matt hated everything about the trade especially after it played a factor in his brother’s death” Michael explains, completely certain of his mindset being one of unadulterated truth, “he would have kept himself and everyone he knew far, far away.”
Beginning to view the man as a joke, Danny laughs at Michael’s statement, quickly quipping back at the man, challenging the knowledge he has of his own son. “You’re telling me you can’t see a world where Matt wants your enterprise beaten at its own game?” Danny asks, playing into information he’s familiar with, as well as information he’s just recently come into, “you’re telling me Matt would have wanted you to go completely unopposed? Allowed to just do as you please this whole time?”
Smile fading, Michael promises Danny that he knows what his children would have wanted, and guarantees that it would have been distance, not proximity to the trade. “I guess you really don’t know your kids as well as you think you did” Danny replies, cutting the final string of goodwill between them, “I bet you don’t even really know your new kid as well as you think you do.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Michael asks, reading the man’s eyes, noticing a shift in his stare upon the latter-most statement, “have you been talking to Christopher?” His lips puckered, Danny pulls his hands into his pockets, a smile breaking through his lips as he looks on, answering Michael’s question. “Nope” Danny replies, a few steps leading him back the way he came, the conversation ending on his own departure, “keep your distance, Michael.”
Turning his back to the Gilcrest patriarch, Danny continues walking, a smile on his face as Michael looks on, silent, the expression of a man slighted reading for miles. With a grunt, Michael turns away from his son’s childhood friend and walks back in his own direction, the two factions splitting apart once more.
= 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 =
“Brutus is dead?” Danny calls out, a small room filled with only the most trusted allies of the Table surrounding him, all spear-headed by a slumped-over Matt, who feels himself being cornered in real time. “Brutus, with all due respect, is not the biggest danger we’ve got to be talking about right now” Tyrell explains, his eyes turning towards the head of the table, “you’re telling us the Purple Gang is coming back?”
The youngest in the room, Wade asks for clarification, hoping for an understandable answer. “What’s the Purple Gang, again?” the young man asks, earning a few glances at first before the majority of the room reminds themselves of his youth. “It’s the ‘East Harlem Purple Gang’” Danny replies, arms folded atop each other as he approaches a whiteboard, two pictures plastered atop it, “a small heroin organization everyone thought was eradicated in the eighties.”
“And what, they just disappeared for forty years and came back out of nowhere, bigger and badder than before?” Wade asks, only a shrug being offered from the new representing face of the enterprise. “Do any of you understand how stupid that sounds?” Wade asks, looking around the room, reading a lack of confidence on every face, including Matt’s, “either they’re magicians that can become invisible whenever the hell they want, or this isn’t the ‘Purple Gang’.”
“We don’t know enough to look at it from either perspective” Danny replies, cutting off the room for arguing against such a truth, “the best we have to go off of is a woman that’s shared what she’s wished to.” Unable to buy into the idea of a forty-year underground operation going unnoticed, Wade refuses to take these threats seriously, demanding to hear a reason to believe otherwise.
“Because the only true thread linking every enterprise together is their refusal to overlook threats” Danny replies, staring Wade in the eyes with his hands held forward, “we exterminate the issue and work from there, no matter the danger the issue holds.” Lifting his voice for the first time, Matt speaks to Wade with a less judgmental tone in his voice, understanding the modern, yet equally ineffective approach.
“East Harlem are thugs… They’re a spawn of the American mafia, they don’t have room to fuck around” Matt explains, turning towards everyone in attendance amidst a pause, “you never take the mafia lightly.” Having pulled Wade into cooperation, Matt raises the alarm bells over yet another problem they find staring down at them. “We’ve got someone on the inside, someone that’s not Candy, feeding information to the Gilcrest’s” Matt explains, eye placed on every man, “any ideas?”
Silent, the men around Matt all fail to come up with possibilities, only Danny speaking up to recite previous facts. “Levi and the rest of the first crew have been disposed of and were all under suspicion” Danny explains, “while it could have been any of them, it’s highly unlikely they would have had access to Matt.”
Taught not to speak suspicion in a time of accusation, the room remains quiet, nothing of value to offer. “Okay, that is all” Matt says abruptly, allowing the confused group to disperse as Danny looks on, waiting for the room to empty before speaking out. “How much of that was bullshit and how much of that was the truth?” Danny asks upon the final man’s exit, a confounded expression dawned upon Matt’s face.
“We’re not taking the Purple Gang seriously, Dan… They’ve been gone for forty years and aren’t showing up now” Matt explains, guaranteeing one outcome from this confrontation. “These ‘purple gang wannabees’ are imitations of the real thing… They’re nothing” Matt explains, a smile adorned upon his face as he draws the red string from one thumbtack to another, “but if the mole is in this room, you better bet your asses the Gilcrest’s will find out about them soon.”
“You want me to set up another meeting with your dad?” Danny asks, a nod of approval coming from Matt’s shoulders just as his phone begins to buzz. “Matthew Tory’s personal line” the man greets, the voice on the other end one that he did not expect to hear from anytime soon. “It’s Darlene, I was wondering if you’d like to meet for lunch?” the woman on the other end replies, prompting the man to hide a smile, not wishing to look at this in a positive light.
“I’ll see you in twenty minutes” Matt replies, hanging up the call without another word, leaving through the backdoor whilst Danny returns to the club. Minutes later, Matt arrives at a local restaurant chain and looks around the room, a familiar hairstyle just barely peering over the height of the booths, leading Matt to his desired table. “It’s good to see you” Matt begins, the kind words returned by the woman, who appreciates the comment.
“It hasn’t been long since the last time we’ve spoken, but I still feel inclined to ask about how you’re doing” Darlene admits, a waitress approaching the table, interjecting herself into the conversation before the man can have a chance to answer. Offering their orders, Darlene and Matt allow the waitress to walk away before returning to their conversation, forgetting the question asked previously.
“Is there a reason you asked me out to lunch?” Matt inquires, his hope for being warmly welcomed into the clinic falling flat the longer Darlene answers. “Brook walked out of a session with Perry and hid in a closet for a couple of hours to talk to me, so there’s a good start for you” Darlene explains, “but when she confronted me, Perry was there and tensions rose… It wasn’t long before I lost my cool and did something I’d rather not have done.”
Eyes squinted, Matt leans forward and asks a slightly out of character question of her, which Darlene takes as a joke, laughing off. “Did you kill him?” Matt wonders aloud, Darlene refusing such a notion, taking a moment before continuing her train of thought. “I fired him… Right then and there and I didn’t look back” Darlene replies, pausing for a moment, “until now. He’s going to the board of directors and demanding they review my hiring of you.”
“I’m a little under-informed of that process” Matt replies, using humor to explain his lack of understanding to such possible consequences. “They’re going to see that I hired you without any qualifications and they’re going to strip me of all of mine” Darlene replies, a small amount of hope still kept within her face despite the depressing lack of such in Matt’s own staring back at her.
Without a word, Matt sinks back into his seat, head pressed against the seat as he looks out the window. “He described it as ‘urgent matter’ so the hearing’s taking place this weekend” Darlene explains, letting out a sigh once Matt looks back at her, her voice becoming slightly faint, “I just wanted you to know.” Head sunk, Matt holds both hands against his head, pressing his palms against his temples as Darlene continues to speak.
“I don’t know what approach you took to helping these kids, but I wanted you to know how well it seems to have worked” Darlene explains, watching Matt’s eyes begin to tear up, not letting even one tear run down his cheek. “Most of the clients you got were ones that had seen Perry for somewhere around eight months or so” Darlene informs, her voice growing softer by the minute, “the majority of them asked for you to come back instead of Perry.”
Unable to look at the woman for another moment without breaking into a full-blown cry, Matt shakes his head in refusal, not willing to believe someone that partakes in the work he does could make such a difference in a short amount of time. Despite the bountiful number of people that he’d seen, one stuck out from the rest, her name the first one he inquires about.
“Brook?” Matt asks, the young girl’s troubles the ones he most enjoyed working through, her life the most fascinating to learn about. “If the people that wanted you back were an army, Brook was the one leading the charge” Darlene replies, a smile peering through her tear-soaked face, “even if it may have cost me my job, I don’t regret hiring you for a single moment… And I need you to know that.”
With a deep breath, Matt closes his eyes, squeezing each tear from his eyelids before sliding away from the booth, leaving hastily with choice words to depart on. “Save me a seat at the hearing, I’ll be in attendance” Matt replies, his hand gently squeezing the woman’s shoulder before he leaves, a state of confusion being left for Darlene to navigate.
“Don’t you go anywhere other than that club and this dirt-covered shit-shack?” Stucky asks, entering Danny’s hanger as the man continues to work on his plane. “No, I don’t asshole… Not tell me who the rat is” Danny replies, sliding away from the belly of the plane to find Stucky with a gun aimed at him, the young addict ensuring to keep his own safety looked after.
Not willing to fight, Danny exhaustedly sits up and folds his hands in his lap, repeating his question. “Listen, whomever’s on your side working for us is doing so for my father, not me” Stucky explains, Danny looking away with his head nodding, suggesting something other than anger towards him, “but it seems like you already know that.” With a sigh, Danny sits up and walks over to a workbench, nonchalantly telling the kid to lose the firearm, which Stucky does.
“I’m rather familiar with Candy… I know you’re aware of the East Harlem invasion. Is your pops?” Danny inquires, the answer he wanted being the one that his ears pick up. “No” Stucky replies, an answer that puts a smile on Danny’s face. “Your father is convinced I’m not the leader of the Table” Danny explains, looking away from the young man and back to his plane, “I’m not really sure what he’s convinced of.”
With a sigh, Stucky returns his weapon to the waistband of his pants, looking aimlessly around the hanger in search of a new question to ask. “So, why did you call me out here?” Stucky wonders aloud, knowing his role in this exchange being to set up another meeting. “I need you to keep your mouth shut about the E.H.P.G until I see him again” Danny explains, throwing a tower onto the bench before returning to his plane, “if I can get him to spill something, I’ll narrow the suspect list by a lot.”
“Tell me what I gain out of setting this meeting up” Stucky replies, more than able to connect the dots, but preferring to hear Danny’s own words read them back to him. “If we can sniff out his mole, we’ll be rid of his insight detail and leave him in the dark” Danny replies, “we do that and you don’t blow the whistle on our next attack, we’ll likely be able to knock both of your parents out with the same fucking stone.”
In approval, Stucky agrees, suggesting a crowded area, somewhere away from vantage points but filled with people. “There’s a carnival coming to town this weekend. Tell him to meet by the entrance, alone, and I’ll lead him to our talking point” Danny explains, “I won’t kill him that night if I don’t have to, but I’ll know where I can afterwards.”
“How did it go?” a voice calls out for Michael’s attention as he passes the kitchen corridor, leading him to the source. “It’s Daniel” Michael replies, his wife leant over the kitchen counter with a fork in her hand, a piece of cheesecake pierced through the end of it. “Who’s Daniel?” the woman says with slight seduction in her voice, the man’s answer being considered a regurgitation of his past.
“You had the chance to cut the head off the snake last night, and you opted not to because he was your sons childhood friend?” Monica asks, almost treating Michael like a disappointing child, “have you lost the plot?” Rolling his eyes as he undoes his cuffs, Michael slowly approaches the woman, who continues to berate him from the other side of the counter. “He can be whatever he used to be, but now he’s the head of the Table” Monica explains, “you kill him where he stands.”
Without warning, Michael wraps one hand around the front of his wife’s throat, telling her to shut her mouth, matching the seductive tone of her previous calls. Failing to read the room, Michael has his hand violently swiped away from the woman, who continues to insult him. “I’m not going to fuck you after you squandered the best chance we’ve ever had at crushing those pathetic monguls” Monica shouts back, viewing her husband as weak, “get lost.”
Frustrated, the man walks away from the counter and picks up his sports jacket, returning to his bedroom as the woman dials for a number on the other end of the phone. “Harmon… Get up here and treat me the way a real man would” the woman says, ending the conversation as quickly as she had started it, her thumb pressing down on the screen before her hand tosses her phone onto the limestone finish, continuing to eat.
“I’m not going to sit here and pretend this is something that won’t hurt us in the long term, especially when trying to convince the Gilcrest’s that I’m the leader here” Danny says on the other end of Matt’s phone call, “but if going back on the grid is what you want, you’re family to me, and I only want what you want.”
“Thanks, Dan” Matt replies, the sound of knocking at his door prompting him to begin saying his goodbye. Hanging up, Matt scampers to the door with his hand on his gun, one look through the peephole easing any concerns of a possible break in. “What are you doing here?” Matt asks, thinking over his question before asking one better, “how did you even figure out where I lived?”
Stood on his front patio, Brook hears the mans concerns before answering each question like they weren’t warranted. “I snuck out and found your address in a bunch of files” Brook replies, her eyes looking around the property as he mind races to sides of the conversation she prefers talking about more, “this is your house?” Looking around the neighborhood, Matt leads the girl into his flat and shuts the door behind her, asking if she noticed anyone follow her.
“Nothing followed me here, and why do you have a gun?” Brook asks, the man quickly placing the firearm down, writing off the neighborhood as a hotspot for burglaries. “Again, I’ll ask… Why are you here?” the man inquires, watching the girl walk around the couch and take a seat in his usual recliner, a sight that he admittedly smirks at. “I walked out of Perry’s session the other day” Brook explains, information Matt admits he’s already privy to, “good, so you know I didn’t have a session.”
Smiling, Matt’s head hangs as he slowly walks into the living room, leaving the girl in his seat before taking his own on the coffee table. “I’ll play along for fifteen minutes, and only fifteen minutes… Then I’ll drive you back home, alright?” Matt wonders aloud, an condition Brook can agree to. “What do you want to start with?” Matt asks, allowing the woman to dictate where the session goes, surprised at the ease in which she approaches cautious topics.
“Why couldn’t Darlene hire you back to another position?” Brook asks, the man attempting to come up with a false excuse at first, only for the girl to quickly call him out on it. “She couldn’t have hired me to be your therapist, which made my job pointless” Matt replies, earning quick confrontation. “She didn’t say she couldn’t hire you back as my therapist” Brook replies, one eyebrow lifted as she leans forward, “she said she couldn’t hire you period.”
Unable to think of a good answer, Matt resorts to the truth, having already begun to feel like he can trust the girl with privileged information. “I don’t have a degree in psychology… I don’t have any certificates or qualifications” Matt admits, the girl shaking her head without a moment of care, “I’m as much of a therapist as anyone working at a corner store of the department of motor vehicles.”
“Bullshit” the girl is quick to retort, Matt admitting the genuine truth behind his statement, prompting Brook to reiterate. “I’m not saying you’re lying, I’m saying that you’re a better therapist than just someone off the street… Even if you’re just a guy from off the street” Brook explains, “it may go without saying, but some dude working at seven-eleven can’t understand me the way you can. Stop selling yourself short.”
Hands folded, Matt shrugs his shoulders at the girl’s kind words, admitting that they’re no good in the grand scheme of things. “Darlene’s going to be fired tomorrow if I don’t do something about it” Matt explains, not realizing the confused look in the girl’s eyes as he speaks, “I’m still just some guy off the streets… No matter what kind of change I can inspire.”
“What are you not telling me?” Brook asks, calling the man out once more, reciting the man’s words, “you’re suggesting there’s some way you can save Darlene’s job… What is it?” Realizing the misspeak on his part, Matt applauds the young woman’s attention to detail, keeping secrecy to his statement, but feeding her the absolute most he can offer.
“There’s a way I can keep Darlene from being fired, but it’ll cause a big headache for me” Matt explains, hoping to keep himself from accidentally spilling more than desired, “but if I stay this way, Darlene gets fired and I don’t have to go through another war like I did before.” Crossing her arms, Brook rests back in her seat, boiling the decision down to a pair of differing options.
“You can open a can of worms and save Darlene’s job, or you can keep that can of worms closed and protect yourself” Brook explains, her head shaking as if the answer were obvious. “Are you really asking yourself which is the right decision to make?” Brook asks, watching the profound expression come across Matt’s face as she continues to speak, practically reading into his darkest fears.
“If you want that can of worms shut, it’s because there’s too much there for you to handle” Brook explains, puckering her lips and continuing, “but without opening it, you let everyone else suffer so you don’t have to… Where’s the good in that?” A sudden moment of reflection coming over the man, Matt sits silently, thinking to himself the words he’s just heard spoken back to him, the floor below better off served as a mirror, as all Matt sees is his father’s reflection staring back at him.
“It sounds like you’re running away from something you used to be, and that the answer you wanted was the one that was less valuable… Thus making the decision difficult for you” Brook explains, finally earning backstory from Matt. “My father, he- He used to use people for his own benefit, and I’ll just leave it at that” Matt explains, hoping the girl can shed light on his predicament with such information.
“If staying quiet and letting Darlene take the fall is what works for you, so be it” Brook explains, lowering the recliner to allow herself to stand up, “but you’ll just be nothing better than your father.” Her insight stunning Matt, Brook allows the man to see the picturer from a clearer perspective, one that was otherwise impossible from the position of a man with as deeply rooted weights on his heart as Matt does.
Continuing to walk to the door before Matt can even pick himself up to drive her home, Brook makes her final declaration towards the man, offering a set of words for Matt to encapsulate himself with. “Your dad sounds like he made his decision a long time ago” the young girl calls back, watching Matt’s head lift towards her, watching from afar, “it sounds like it’s now your turn to choose between the same.”
Taking his keys from the bowl, Brook unlocks the man’s car and informs him that she’ll be waiting in the car, leaving him to reflect in peace. With a deep breath, Matt looks back at his fish tank, finding his prized creature swimming around the tank with an army of fish around him, a sight that prompts the man to smile. With a nod, Matt makes peace with himself, leaving the table and walking for the door, a symbolic turning off of the lights in the room preceding his departure.
== Kings of Cambridge ==