Is this all weird, confusing and a little scary for you? Start at chapter one.
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It’s 4 a.m. In a Santa Monica penthouse suite, Ari Gold sleeps. There are four armed guards outside the door, an entire hotel full of his men, his private army camped on the surrounding streets and doing God-knows-what in the bar and down on the dark beach. There’s even a detachment on the roof with big guns and shoulder-mounted missiles, to guard against an aerial assault. But that’s not going to happen- Ari’s army owns the air. His drones go over every hour on the hour, ready to rain death on anyone who dares to cross him or, on a slow day, pretty much anyone at all.
There are eight empty little liquor bottles by the bed and on the floor. Pills too, horse pills. This whole pharmacopeia is enough to bludgeon Ari into unconsciousness, if not peace. And so he sleeps, lost in the past and his dream of Vince, twisted in 800-hundred-dollar black satin sheets.
But while Ari sleeps, Turtle is wide awake- completely wired, actually. No drugs involved. Turtle is on a natural high, because he loves this shit. Turtle is on the 101 freeway, southbound in what used to be the number four lane, approaching the Alvarado Street exit.
He’s not in a car, of course. If you see a car on the 101 these days, it’s a burnt-out rusted hulk, and the only reason it’s still there is because nobody wanted to get near the charred, decomposing bodies inside. Most of the wreckage, human and otherwise, gets cleared away by Ari’s “Fast Movers” – huge, six-lane-wide super tanks that tear down the freeway at a hundred and forty miles an hour, crushing flat anything too slow or stupid to get out of their way. And if they don’t get you, the air cover will.
So Turtle and his men creep down the pock-marked lane on foot, slowly, quiet as the night, picking their way through the jagged metal and burnt scraps of rubber. Timing their incursion between the Fast Movers’ schedule was child’s play for Turtle- he’s actually hacked into their Central Command more than once; was tempted to crash two of them into each other one night, just for kicks, but then Ari would have known he had access, and Turtle just doesn’t give away advantages like that.
So he and his men creep south. Turtle checks his watch; everything’s running on schedule, down to the second. He looks off to his lift and sees the huge stone wall of Ari’s Green Zone- rising high above the surface streets, the top more or less even with the elevated freeway they’re standing on.
Almost there now. Through his night-vision binoculars, he sees the two sentries exactly where he knew they’d be. Not that he even needs the night vision, because one of the dumbfucks is puffing a cigarette.
Turtle disdains the shot- an asshole like that isn’t even worth his bullet. Silently, he delegates it to one of his better men. Turtle aims at the other guard, and two sniper rifles hiss through their silencers.
The bodies won’t lay there long, Turtle knows, before they’re reclaimed by the mean streets of Hollywood. But enough about them. Turtle’s thoughts have moved on before the first one lands, with a soft crunch, forty feet below. The grappling hooks fire across and catch the spot on the wall recently vacated by the guards. Turtle stands back and watches as the first of his men scramble across the impromptu rope bridge. So far, so good.
Turtle embraced atheism years ago, but he’ll make an exception when his men’s lives are concerned- and so as he stands there on the dark, desolated freeway, he prays:
That it all comes together like the movie he’s seen in his head, every single night for the last two months.
That finally, they can pull off a big one.
That just this once, the Boss doesn’t fuck it all up.