Title: The Middle Ground
Featuring: The Legitimate Businessman's Club
Date: 11/25/13
Location: Tokyo, Japan

“Here I was thinkin’ a level head was all we needed. That yous with your emotions an’ your impulses was takin’ us down a path we shouldn’ta’ been goin’ down.”

“An’ how did that work out, huh?”

“I told yous not to gloat.”

The time, 3:45am. The location, Tokyo, Japan. The slightly more specific location, one of the many Karaoke Kan bars dotted around the special ward of Shibuya. Out celebrating their victory of Tres Brujas were The Legitimate Businessmen’s club, comprised of Alceo Dentari, Tony ‘Two Hands’ Di Luca and ‘Big’ Vinny Rinaldi.

“I ain’t gloatin’.” Dentari said unconvincingly, “I’m just curious as to how yous think your experiment went.”

With a sigh Di Luca replied “It went horribly, OK?”

Unable to contain his delight at hearing Di Luca admit his failings Dentari let out a little ‘squee’.

“See!” Di Luca said gesticulating wilding at his partner, “Gloatin’!”

Finally Alceo managed to bring his ear to ear grin under control. “No, Tony.” He said softly, “I’m just happy yous finally seen what I’ve been tryin’ to tell yous. We’re gentlemen. We don’t do contracts, we don’t do book keepin’... we do handshakes, we do verbal agreements, we do understandin’s… capiché?”

He understood alright, but he wasn’t going to let his attempts to run the Club in his style be dismissed entirely. “Then what happens when we get screwed over, huh? Say we provide a service to Jimmy Trembleknees over here an’ he stiffs us on the payment. Then what?” Di Luca asked.

“Then we make Jimmy Trembleknees, Jimmy Noknees.” Replied Dentari matter of factly.

The conversation abates for a moment. Just long enough to make out Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond playing in the background sans the lyrics. On the third side of the table (Oh, there’s a table in the middle of the room and leather chairs placed in a horseshoe around three sides of said table.) stands Big Vinny Rinaldi, microphone in hand, silent as ever.

“You gonna sing somethin’ or what?” Alceo asked as he leaned forwards to grab his bottle of Asahi.

But Vinny didn’t answer. He simply stood there watching the words slowly switch from blue to yellow.

[Good times never seemed so good]

“Yous really think you’re gonna get this guy over here to get a contract signed for every job he takes?” Dentari asked without taking his eyes off of the mouthbreathing big man.

Tony had to admit Dentari had a point, but he didn’t want to, so a shrug was all he could muster… until he had a sudden brainwave. “You coulda’ made the effort though.” Tony said making sure Dentari looked back to him rather than the mute moron. “Everythin’ I did yous was fightin’ me all the way. Every move I made yous was pullin’ in the opposite direction.”

“So was you.” Replied Dentari, almost like he’d been waiting for this to be brought up.

“I ain’t nev-” Di Luca started to protest before being cut of by Dentari.

“Don’t give me none a’ that shit!” Alceo said clearly amused by Tony’s selective memory. “You fought with me every step a’ the way before Ascension.”

“That was different!” Protested Tony, “We was champions back then, an’ you wantin’ the World title cost us our belts.”

“No, Tony.” Dentari replied adamantly.

“Yes, Alceo.” Di Luca replied just as forcefully. “I tried my best to make sure we kept them titles, but you were so concerned with yourself that the rest a’ the Club suffered. You let your emotions get the better of you when it came to Cancer Jiles an’ ended up handin’ our titles away like they was nothin’.”

Sweet Caroline faded to be replaced by the unmistakeable intro to Free’s ‘All Right Now’.

“You got emotionally involved with the World title an’ it ended up costin’ all a’ us.” Di Luca added.

“An it was raw emotion that got us the win over Tres Brujas earlier.” Dentari said, “I saw that look in your eyes when you snapped on Lisa Loeh.”

Without taking his eyes off of the words on the screen Di Luca smiled.

“See! I knew it!” Dentari exclaimed.

“It’s findin’ a balance.” Tony added quietly, “I realise that now. An’ correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you do too.”

With a smile Alceo nodded back.

“There’s a time for the keepin’ your head.” Said Tony.

“An’ there’s a time for takin’ others.” Added Alceo

And with that Alceo Dentari and Tony Di Luca shared a toast as they raised their beers.

[All right now, baby, it's a all right now.]



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