Beginnings and death. All the basic information.
Victor Ravalli mulled this over as he ambled through the tiny, dingy, rundown apartment. He was a big man, about 6'4, and his head brushed the ceiling, knocking down cobwebs as he moved along. He reached up and picked one out of the dark, prickly bristles of his crew cut. He looked down at the silky, dusty strands stuck to his gloved hand. His face took on a look of disgust.
Victor hated filth. And in a place like this, there was nothing but filth. Victor shook the cobweb from his hand, pulled a small carton of cigarettes out of the inside pocket of his long, black pea coat, put one between his lips, lit it, and blew out a bluesy grey jet of smoke. It was an non-smoking building, but that didn't matter to Victor. He doubted it mattered to anyone else either. The kind of vermin that lived in places like this weren't generally known for caring about much other than their next highs, trips, whatever the fashionable word for the effects of drugs, legal or otherwise, was these days.
Victor had no patience for drugs or the people who did them. Reliance on anyone or anything other than you was a sign of weakness, and he had the deepest loathing and disgust for any type of weakness.
No, the drugs were Frankie's problem. But, Lord knows, Frankie could never handle his own problems. And Victor could never say no to his little brother. After all, if you don't have family, what do you got? His father had always told him that. A strong man, his father had been. Victor had worshipped his father, believing everything he said was the truth, everything he did was the right thing, wanting to grow up to be just like him. Now he wasn't so sure.
His father had died three years ago. On his deathbed, he had told his two sons everything. The business, the child, all the lies had been uncovered. Sal Ravalli had left his sons more than the legacy of being the sons of a fairly large, yet fairly unknown, businessman. There had been many people who had respected, even feared his father, but for many the wrong reasons, as it turned out.
The day Sal died, he had left his sons a hidden empire (hidden at least from the public at large...those who wanted to find it could normally find at least a shred of some part; dead-end, tiny shreds of the empire at whole, but shreds none the less), a great legacy, and a secret family history that would change their lives forever.
Frankie, being the more charismatic, handsome part of the duo, had become the new face of the business. The technical part, if you wish to put it that way. He handled the businesses, for it turned out there were many. Put forward a good face, handled all the affairs diplomatically but forcefully. Victor stood behind his brother, became a shadow, dealing with the dark parts of the business that Frankie didn't want to touch. He became the brawn behind Frankie's brains, sorting out his brother's problems, keeping his precious little brother from getting his hands dirty.
Victor surveyed the wreckage of the apartment, the ruin that he had created. Furniture was overturned and shredded, dishes were smashed, papers and books were pulled from their places, and a footlocker in a corner of the small outer room was smashed open and stood empty. And, impossible to miss, the dead body in the middle of it all. Blood seeped on to the dirty grey carpeting of the floor from the back of the dead man's skull. A lamp stood near him, the bottom part bloodied.
This guy had been one of the insiders of the true business that the brothers ran. One of the dealers for the original wheeler and dealer, Frankie. He had been a good little boy up until a few months ago. Then he had started getting cocky, being more and more careless with his actions, leaving a paper trail behind him that led straight to the brothers. In short, he had become a problem. So Victor had been called in to deal with the problem, like he had dealt with many before now. And dealt with it he had.
The paper trail had been cleaned up, and the problem eliminated. The scene was just another burglary gone wrong for the officers of New York's finest to clean up. Nothing pointed to the Ravalli's. Victor had been meticulous as always. There was no stray DNA to pin him at the scene. There was no blood on Victor's hands, at least literally. And if you wanted to speak figuratively, there was enough blood on Victor's hands that another drop made no difference.
Victor turned away. His hand went automatically, almost involuntarily, to his neck, where a rosary hung. It had been his mother's, God rest her soul. He brought it to his lips. It flopped back to its spot at the hollow of his clavicle as he walked out the door, shutting it quietly behind him.
The hallway was as dingy as the rooms and the poor lighting did little to disguise the cracks in the walls and dirt on the floor. Victor let out a sound of disgust. God, he couldn't wait to get out of this place. He walked to the stairwell at the end of the hall. There were elevators, but Victor was an old-fashioned guy who liked to do things quick. Frankie would most likely be there and would most likely join him. There would be a question, an answer, and the work he did today would be forgotten. Oh sure, there might be a couple nightmares, some feelings of guilt and self-loathing, those came in his line of work. But the days would pass the same, and he would go on to solve more problems. Life went on, and he had developed a thick skin, Victor flipped up the collar of his coat, walked through the door at the bottom of the steps into the cold rain of the New York fall, and quickly became just another face in the crowd.