Characters: Dee, OCs.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Undercover and wearing a wire, Dee is investigating a new drugs ring, or so he thinks.
Word Count: 1378
Content Notes: None needed.
Written For: Challenge 266: Deal at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“It’s a huge deal, man!” hissed Dee’s contact, Manny Moreno as they sat at a corner table in a dimly lit bar. “Way bigger than anythin’ I’ve ever handled before, and I’ve been around the block a time or two, lemme tell ya. Trouble is, we’re a bit short on the foldin’ green. I could get you and a few friends in on the ground floor if you’re interested and ya got the dough. Guaranteed returns on your investment; you can trust me, I wouldn’t lie to ya.”
“What kind of investment are we talkin’ here, Manny? ‘Cause I ain’t made of money. I can’t afford to throw cash at everyone says they can make me rich, no matter how sure of a thing you think you got goin’. I’ve been burned before.”
Manny waved Dee’s concerns away with a casual flip of the hand. “Don’t matter, cause ya won’t lose out this time, I’ll swear to that on a stack of Bibles if ya want. Once we get production rollin’ we’ll be rakin’ it in like ya won’t believe. Just need some capital to get this venture off the ground, so to speak. If you and a few of your closest friends were to spot me… oh, say a grand or two each for starters, I guarantee you’ll double your money inside two months, then if you choose to roll over your original stake, maybe throw in a little more… It’ll be onwards and upwards, baby, the sky’s the limit! We got it all worked out; no way we can fail!”
“A couple of grand? That seems a bit…” Dee was going to say ‘low’ but Manny cut him off.
“I know it might sound a bit steep, but what can I say? We got overheads; can’t get any kind of business off the ground without ‘em these days. Not like we can work outta momma’s kitchen, y’know. Don’t haveta be that much if ya don’t got it to spare. Hell, we’ll take whatever you and your buddies can scrape together, we’re not greedy; just means the less you put into the pot to start with the less you’ll get outta it. Put in a c-note and you’ll still double your money, but…” He shrugged. “Hell, any profit is still a profit, am I right? You’d still come out with more’n ya started with. And ya can cash out any time ya want to, no strings attached.”
“Say I do manage to scrape together a couple grand, get maybe three or four other guys to pony up a grand or two each, then what?”
“Then nothin’. You’d be what we call sleepin’ partners, ya wouldn’t haveta do nothin’ but sit back and wait for the money to start rollin’ in. What could be easier? Hell, you won’t have a better deal fall into your lap in this lifetime, I promise ya that. We already found ourselves a place to work, my buddy will handle all the cookin’ to start with, he knows his stuff, got an uncle who used to be in the business before he got sent to Rikers for… Well, let’s just say he was caught doin’ business with the wrong people and leave it at that.”
Dee played it cagey, not wanting to sound too interested. “I don’t know, as deals go, this one sounds a little too good to be true.” He needed more details; so far the guy hadn’t said anything that would really incriminate him and he needed to get something solid on tape if the NYPD was going to have any chance of cracking down on this new drug ring before it got up and running, but the whole thing seemed a little… off. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly why though, aside from the amount he and his ‘friends’ were being asked to invest.
“You want to see for yourself exactly where your money’ll be goin’, I get it. No prob, pal, lemme show ya! The place we’re settin’ up in is only a couple blocks from here, nice enough neighbourhood but not too pricey. Rent and utilities is why we need investors so bad.”
Now that was definitely weird. They were renting a place? Maybe it was as a cover. Still, Dee figured it was best to play along. “I guess I can understand that.”
“Once we have a solid rep in the business and sales start goin’ through the roof, ‘cause they definitely will, it’ll be different; customers will come from all over. If your product’s of a high enough quality it practically advertises itself just by word of mouth, and I guarantee no one’s gonna be disappointed with what we’ll be sellin’. One taste and they’ll be hooked. C’mon, you’ll see!”
“Sure, why not? I don’t have anythin’ better to do right now.”
“Great! Ya can check out the merchandise, see for yourself; it’s quality stuff. We’re keepin’ things small scale right now, just until we really get rollin’; like I said we have overheads, and we’ll need a few more investors before we can go into full-scale production, but business so far is encouragin’, there’s definitely a market to be tapped into around here. Right now all our profits are bein’ sunk straight back into the business just to keep us afloat. We only use the best ingredients.”
Dee let himself be led along the streets for a couple of blocks, then down an alley and in through the back door of a nondescript building, straight into a hot kitchen filled with mouth-watering aromas. Every surface was spotlessly clean, and a man and woman were busy at the ovens.
“This here is my buddy Frank and his wife Gillian; they’ll be doin’ the lion’s share of the bakin’, at least until we can afford to take on more staff and train ‘em up right. We plan on gettin’ someone for behind the counter too, soon as we can afford to pay ‘em,” Manny said enthusiastically. “At the moment Gillian’s havin’ to handle that side of the business while I’m tryin’ to scare up investors. Plus she’s got a degree in accountancy so she’s handlin’ the books. She can show you exactly where your money’ll be goin’. You really gotta try the lemon buns; melt in the mouth, they do; already one of out biggest sellers! When Frank told me he wanted to open a bakery but the bank wouldn’t give him a loan because he didn’t have nothin’ he could put up as collateral, I told him gettin’ people to invest for a share of the profits was the way to go, but he didn’t believe me.”
Somehow Dee managed to keep a straight face. All this subterfuge for a bakery? He could hear Ryo laughing through the tiny receiver he was wearing in his ear.
“A bakery, huh? And here I was thinkin’ you guys were up to somethin’ illegal.”
“What?” There was unfeigned confusion on Manny’s face.
“You really need to think about re-wordin’ your ad. You’ve got the whole of the NYPD thinkin’ you’re drug dealers.”
Frank turned on his buddy. “Manny, what did you do?”
“I didn’t do nothin’! I put out a discreet ad like I said I would, new business seekin’ investors! Quality product.”
“You just neglected to mention what kind of business,” Dee pointed out.
“One of these days you’re gonna get our asses hauled off to jail!” Frank griped. “I knew I shouldn’t listen to your crazy ideas! Land me in hot water every damn time!”
“Maybe not so crazy,” Dee said, sampling one of the lemon buns; they were as good as Manny had promised. “I do happen to know a few guys might be interested in investin’ in a genuine small business; might even be able to send some orders your way if everything you make is as good as these buns.”
“It is, Frank is a boner fydee genius when it comes to bakin’,” Manny assured Dee before turning to his friend. “See, Frank? What did I tell ya?” he crowed. “Just takes a little initiative is all, and there you are worryin’ for nothin’ as usual.” He turned back to Dee. “Now let’s talk investment opportunities…”
Dee nodded. “Sounds good to me.”