For the first time in his life, Tobias did as he was instructed. He did not go an call upon the rest of his merry band of bullies. He headed straight to the lot where he had been told to meet Carlton, his small group in tow. Being overconfident, as usual, he thought he would come out on top.
This war had been of his own making. He had slurred and taunted Carlton’s crew. The 47, being outside the norms of society, was made up of just about every ethnic and racial group imaginable. Outsiders, they remained fiercely loyal only to their own. Call one a name, you called them all a name.
And Tobias had called them all everything but human. It was now payback time. The 47 would have their own brand of justice and there was really nothing Tobias could do. The police would never do anything to Carlton or any of the 47. They were nonexistent to the law. Not even Toffer could really do anything about them.
Carlton stood waiting for Toby. “Sure took your time, didn’t ya?”
Tobias blanched. “We was on foot.”
Alonso, Carlton’s right hand man, smiled. “Gee. Little rich boy doesn’t know proper English. We was? Don’t you mean we were?”
Tobias glared at Alonso. “Shut up, Spick. Nobody asked your input. What makes you the authority on English, chica?”
Carlton smiled. “I would be careful about insulting Alonso if I were you. You don’t have any advantages here. Your numbers are gone, your daddy can’t bail you out here, and the law will deny that we even exist. We can do whatever we please and nothing will ever get done in retaliation.
“Just remember one thing, Toby. Here, you’re nothing but a little prick who needs to be taught their place. You aren’t the heir apparent to French Industries, the most corrupt company in Des Moines. Here, you ain’t nothin’. We are the lords of this field.”
Tobias swallowed hard. He had finally fell into his own trap. “So what’re you going to do to us?”
Carlton motioned. “Boys, grab a thug. Alonso, Max, you help me with Toby, here.” He looked at Tobias. “This is for each and every girl you have done things to. It is also for each and every person you hurt every day.”
The 47 took turns beating each member of Toby’s gang. Alonso and Max held Tobias so he had to watch his boys take the beating. Carlton watched his face for any signs of emotion, but found none. He looked at Templeton. “Seems your boss don’t care about you. He has no feelings. No heart. He couldn’t care one whit about you taking his beating for him.” He swung his right fist and it sunk deep into Tobias’ gut. The air rushed out in a long, uncontrolled gust.
He swung again and again, knocking Tobias to the ground. Alonso and Max held him down while Carlton continued to grind him down with his bare fists. Stanley broke loose and drew his switchblade. Taking a swing at Carlton, he was caught mid-stride by one of the other 47. Caught off-guard, he fell on his own knife.
Carlton had stopped when Tobias lost consciousness and had been getting to his feet when Stanley rushed at him. Toby and his minions, other than Stanley, were all unconscious. Stanley, bleeding profusely from his wound, was crying.
Carlton looked at him in disgust. “Why did you do something that stupid for? We weren’t going to kill you. Now I have to get you to a hospital.” He looked at Alonso. “Your sister still at Polk County?”
Alonso nodded. “Yes.”
Carlton looked at Stan. “Go ahead of us. Get her to meet me out in the parking lot with a few others and a stretcher.” One of the boys reached to remove Stanley’s knife, but Carlton stopped him. “We don’t need him bleeding to death. The poor boy’s already done passed out, no need to aid him in dying. Carlton took off his shirt. “Make a temporary bandage with this. Anything to keep him from bleeding all over, and to keep the knife in place.” He looked at the unconscious teen. “Damn fool.”
Alonso had already vanished when they finally got Stanley in the back seat of Carlton’s car. Two of the 47 rode in back with the injured boy, the rest dispersed as they usually did in emergencies. Upon reaching Polk County Medical Center, they were met by Alonso’s sister and a small trauma team. The team quickly took charge of the wounded boy.
Maria, Alonso’s sister, looked at Carlton. “What happened?”
Carlton looked her in the eye. “All we were doing was teaching these punks a lesson in manners. There wasn’t supposed to be any knives or things like that. Just fists. But this idiot decided to change the plan. He charged at me, but Mikey tripped him and he fell on his own knife. None of my boys touched the knife.”
She looked away. “I just hope we can save him. Who did he run with?”
Carlton looked at his car. “Tobias French.”
Her eyes flashed angrily. “I hope you did a number on him.”
He smiled. “I beat him senseless.”
She smiled back. “Good.”
When Tobias awoke, it was nearly dark. Carlton and his gang were gone, and his own boys were lying scattered about. He could hear Templeton’s moaning as well as the others. But Stanley’s voice was oddly missing. What had happened to Stan?
When he moved, he knew he had a few cracked ribs. No roughing anyone up for a while, that was for sure. He would leave the 47 alone from now on. No more calling them names. No more taunting them. No threatening their women.
He knew his father wouldn’t do anything about the beating he just took, so no use in telling him. He would take the boys to their hangout, their clubhouse. There, they would try to regroup. They would have to find new targets to throw insults at. But right now, they needed to go and heal from the beating they just took. And search for Stanley.