The door to the pawnshop slammed open. Silhouetted in the evening glow, stood three glowering young men. As if following some universal model for “threatening youths” they were each decorated in leather jackets, buzzcuts, and frowns. Tattoos circled frowns, hands clutched crowbars and tire irons.
The shop, thankfully, was empty of customers. That was good. They were cold, they were experienced, but they understood that witnesses only made the job harder.
The shop’s proprietor, Manny, was sweaty.
Manny was usually sweaty. If there was one constant in the world it was that rain or shine, snow or sleet, Manny’s skin was glistening with moisture. He sweated when he made his under-the-table business deals. He sweated during legitimate transactions.
He sweated now as he considered. Under his desk were two panic buttons. One of them was a silent alarm to the local officers, another went to…someone else. Manny wiped his brow, and pressed the second button.
The youths stepped forwards, and their leader tapped his crowbar against one of Manny’s recently acquired pieces of fine China.
“We hear you’ve been making some decisions recently Manny.”
Manny, positively glistening now, shook his head.
“We’ve been hearing you’ve been stocking scratch posts over chew-toys Manny.”
“No…no, no I love dogs.”
“Then maybe you should show that love, otherwise things could get….ruff.”
“You mean… you mean like a donation?”
The thugs nodded congenially. “Yeah. Like a donation. It’ll go to the shelter, and we’ll be out of your paws.”
Manny turned to his cash register, and made a show of counting bills. However, he was distracted by the arrival of several more, equally menacing youths.
Manny’s face, previously red, blanched white. He carefully put the money down, and spoke tremulously: “Look, there’s no need for any trouble, why don’t we all…”
“Take a catnap Manny” said one of the newcomers. Then they turned to the first group.
“This is our turf. Push-off, furballs” spoke the Cats leader, holding a knife to his rivals leaders chin.
For a moment, the world balanced on the edge of a blade. Manny whimpered quietly. Then it wa over, and the Dog-gang filed out heads hung low.
Across town, in the Mansion of Madame Felina de Gato, champagne was being served. Her visitors were judges, police officers and businessmen. They were the upper crust of society, the ones who had laughed at her back when she was nothing more than a cat-burglar.
They were terrified of her. They had come at her invitation, to make donations to the construction of a city wide shelter program, and so be spared her wrath.
A servant came and whispered briefly in her ear. The Madame smiled. Small victory after small victory, her grip on the city would soon be complete.
She pet her personal feline friend, Enchantress.
“Good kitty. Good kitty. Don’t worry, we’ll have homes for all your friends soon.”
(r/StannisTheAmish for more of my writing)