Templeton Warner and Stanley Fricke were two of Tobias’s clique. Some would say that they were his lieutenants. They did the job that enforcers usually did for the mafia. In some ways, an outsider would have thought that Tobias was mafia.
But even the Mafia hated the French family. They would have nothing to do with the little toad of a man or his son. They probably would have done the hit themselves, after the attempt on Giorgio, had Michael asked them to. But Michael wanted nothing to do with the mafia.
Michael wouldn’t have anyone killed, no matter how evil they were. Not even Toffer. Let the mafia do as they wished, Michael would always take the moral high ground. If they called for Toffer’s blood, it would be on their own time and for their own reasons.
Still, it seemed as if Tobias thought of himself as a little Capo. He had organized the bullies into a gang of street thugs who answered only to him. It helped that most of their fathers either worked for his or were allies of French Industries. It made it easier to control them.
And like his father, Tobias loved to control others. It didn’t matter that he had no right to, he just did. He had learned well from his father every nasty trick, every conniving scheme. He was definitely his father’s son.
Among those now with him, besides Templeton and Stanley, were Francis Falstead, Ronald Becker, and Fritz Maulder. All were out looking for trouble. It didn’t matter what it was. If they came across some young girl out alone, she would be an easy target. So would some boy, but they wouldn’t have as much fun with him.
Hell. Maybe they would get lucky and catch a woman or a man out. Or maybe a family. They were looking for a challenge. Tobias smiled at the fun his boys would have if they were able to catch a couple out. He loved the idea.
Sheriff Wycross saw Tobias and his gang. “Damn. Better get the town folk off the streets. Tell them to lock the doors and not to let anyone in. Toby French is out looking for trouble.”
Deputy Renniker nodded. He looked at officers Phelps And Trudy. “Come with me.”
The trio went out the door. Wycross watched them go. He only hoped that Renniker had taken enough officers. He looked around. Spotting Officers Sanders and Lukas, he motioned to them. “Take six officers and follow Tobias, but do not allow him to spot you. No cars. Walk as if you are walking the beat.” The two officers nodded, then selected six other officers. Wycross watched as they left as well. “Sargent Teasdale.”
The big sergeant appeared. “Yes, Sheriff?”
Wycross looked at him. “Be ready for alarms to go off or calls to come in. Make sure you have a nice sized team to go out with you. I can’t afford to lose any officers.”
The sergeant nodded, then went back to his desk. Wycross returned to the window. He knew that any loss in the force, especially on his watch, would not be good. Nights were his watch and he would never forgive himself if he lost a single man.
Renniker and his helpers hurried ahead of Tobias, warning people to go indoors and lock their doors and windows. The three of them felt odd about their assignments, but they knew that the dangers were all too real. Toby and his gang were dangerous and destructive. Where they were headed was anyone’s guess.
Renniker only hoped that his boss had put a detail on tailing the boys. Just in case there were people out uptown. They didn’t need a bunch of rape cases. They already had too many with Toby’s name attached to them. They just couldn’t get any of them to stick. At least not yet.
Carlton Rex was an outsider. He had come from a broken family. His mother was an alcoholic, his father an abusive son-of-a-bitch. This had created a death wish in him that made him more dangerous than Tobias. He hated his father, he hated his mother, and he hated Tobias with a passion. Hell. He hated nearly everybody.
Well, almost everybody. He loved his girlfriend. But she wasn’t with him tonight. He was out with the boys ready to raise some hell of their own. He fronted the local gang known as the 47. It was called this simply because there were only 47 boys in the gang. No more, no less.
Unlike Tobias and his little wannabes, Carlton and the 47 were an actual street gang. They carried switchblades, brass knuckles, and billy clubs. They drove their souped-up forty-seven Chevies, the cars they rebuilt from parts they either stole or were given, and wore their leather jackets. Carlton always wore his hair slicked back and had a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
Unlike the little group headed for them, the 47 always stuck together. Where one was, the others were sure to be. And none were in school. They were the big boys club. And they had been watching Toby with intense interest, trying to catch him when he had fewer than twenty of his bullies with him. It was far easier to take care of a problem if they could catch each member by themselves.
And now, Carlton had his chance. Tonight, Toby only had six with him. That meant that two or three of his gang could easily kick the shit out of each member. More would be needed to teach Toby and his lieutenants a lesson. Carlton smiled. Yes, his time had come. Toby would wish he had never started his little gang.
Destiny would smile on Carlton, but the night would also end tragically. Still, nothing had taken place. Not yet. He pulled up beside Tobias and stopped.
He motioned for Tobias to approach his car. The bully did as he was bid. “C’mon, punk. Wanna prove who’s best?”
Tobias smiled, thinking he could handle his challenger. “Sure, and if I beat you, I get your girl.”
Carlton laughed. “Then meet me and the boys with your little group, no more, behind Greco’s Market. The empty lot just above the drop. We’ll see who the better men are.”