The story so far:
Jackieboy turned right, into an open freight elevator that was empty except for a pallet loaded with cases of beer. He tore one open and pulled out a bottle, which he didn't plan on drinking. He punched "B" for basement with his knuckles and felt a slight jolt as the elevator descended. Jackie closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and waited. A beep signaled his arrival, at which point he opened his eyes again, alert and prepared for whatever he might find on the other side.
The doors parted and he looked in on an empty apartment - a posh apartment you wouldn't expect to occupy the basement of a shitty restaurant. That's why Dante liked the location so much. It provided good cover from his enemies. Not like they posed much of a concern to him anymore. He was a big fish. Hell, he was a great **** white.
Jackie stepped inside and allowed the elevator doors to close. He watched through the small window as the lift ascended slowly back to the 1st floor. The thought crossed his mind on the way down that maybe he should prop them open to maintain at least some chance of escape, but he was glad he opted against that. He didn't expect to survive. Once he resolved himself to that fact, his path was illuminated. He always fought better with his back against the wall.
The main hallway was long and narrow, and with no offshoots or real surprises except for a large closet on the left side. The hall led directly to a large room that formed the hub of the apartment, out of which grew spokes that led to all sorts of rooms. Jackie was familiar with the layout. After all, he had been Dante's number one guy for years. He knew exactly where Dante would be, but the man was no fool. Dante's was a tactical mind. Jackie knew he'd be anticipating his arrival and that he'd also want to be several moves ahead. Still, Jackie had no choice but to move cautiously in the direction of Dante's office and react to situations as they presented themselves along the way.
He reached the center of the hub and turned around to peer down the spokes. When he looked back down the main hall, he could see that the closet door had been opened. He ran to a table against the wall and smashed the base of the beer bottle against the edge, breaking off the bottom and rendering it a jagged, frothy weapon. His eyes blazed as adrenaline coursed through him like an electric current. Then he noticed a dark shape at the bottom of the door, Dante's cat brushing its curved spine against the wood, looking up at him with its glowing eyes. He threw the bottle at the door and the cat bolted underneath a rain of shards into the hub and down the nearest spoke. Jackie heard slow laughter over the intercom.
"A bit jumpy tonight are we?"
Jackie straightened and pushed his hair back out of his eyes. "Not at all. Just allergic to cats."
"Ahh...well I'm surprised to see you, Jackie. You look well.”
"Where ya at, Dante?"
"Don't be hasty now. Can I ask why you are here? I thought you had been informed that your membership was revoked."
"Yeah I heard. Now I'm here to clean out my locker."
"There's nothing of yours here, Jackieboy. Not anymore."
"You know what I want. Where's she at?”
Dante coughed his way into a phlegm-filled laugh. "Don't make this tougher on me that it already is, Jackie. You're really putting me in an awkward position. I can only allow for so much disrespect before you force my hand."
"That's funny, I was going to say the same thing to you. Now tell me, where's Lucille? My patience is wearing thin. You can bring her to me now and I'll leave quietly. Or..."
"Or...Jackie? What is or? What could you possibly do to threaten me? You don't even know where I am right now."
"Please Dad...I helped you design this place. I know you're too busy to bother changing things around. I'll find you."
"Jackie, I have no less than twenty guys waiting for the go ahead to run you down and break your neck. You're good, I'll give you that. Hell, you're better than most. But no one can take on twenty of my men. You have to know that. It's a physical impossibility. Another step forward is going to result in a lot of pain for you."
"I said it’s an improbability. It wouldn’t be likely, but there’s always a chance, and I’d say I have the best one of anybody."
Dante laughed that phlegmy laugh again. "Oh okay tough guy."
"Then send them. Just say goodbye before you do, cause if they aren't bring me Lucille, you will never see them again."
“You asked for it." He paushed a second, contemplating. Uncertain which of his pawns to use. "Salvadore…go."