Antennas to Heaven

Flashback 1: Learning a Thing or Two
March 14, 2003

Y’know, usually when somebody asks you “where were you when,” it’s something big. Like, where were you when JFK was shot, or where were you on 9/11, like that. Nobody ever says, where were you when you found out your dad was a wiseguy? But that’s the shit that sticks with me.

I guess the story’s gonna sound pretty tame compared to how it could’ve gone down. The information age, huh? Takes all the drama out. But I was twelve years old, it was the spring of 2003, and I was at school, which was my least favorite place in the fuckin universe. Good old Nativity Mission. This little Irish shit named Brandon Cleary started with me, calling me greaseball and telling me how his grandmother always said Italians were no-good hustlers, all this. And my father had always told me, if somebody messed with me and mine, to do em one better and teach em not to do it again. And my Uncle Joey always said us Italians had to stick together and remember our pride. So I slammed Cleary’s face into the concrete, he lost a tooth, and I shoved him into a trash can. Sister Audrey came out to break it up and send Babyface Cocksucker to the nurse, turns out he had a mild concussion. He deserved it, too.

Anyway, Sister Audrey was red in the face, foaming at the mouth pissed. She went off on me about Jesus turning the other cheek and all I can remember thinking was, didn’t Jesus kick the shit out of some bankers in a temple one time? Doesn’t that mean I actually did just what the Son of God would’ve done? Gimme a break, I was twelve.

She dragged me to Father Dominic’s office and I was ready to give him a piece of my mind, but he said to me, Adrian, the only one you need to ask for forgiveness is God, and we’re not gonna make a big deal out of this incident, alright? You go back to class and then when you get home, you make sure you tell your father what I said here today. Now, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but I knew better than to think that was any kind of normal. Mikey Spinelli got a week of detention just for making fun of a nun. And because even then I didn’t know when to keep my mouth shut, I asked Father Dominic why. He said, well, Adrian, I trust you not to do this kind of thing again. Even at the time, I thought that sounded pretty fuckin optimistic. So I asked him what he wanted me to tell my dad for. He said, he and my father had an agreement, and he wanted me to convey the message that he was doing his part. And when I asked what kind of agreement he told me to ask my father.

Like Dad would’ve told me shit. Please.

So I asked Ma instead. First she told me to go do my homework, yeah right. Then when I wouldn’t take nothing for an answer she said, Adrian, stop asking so many stupid questions, and what did you do at school anyway that you’re asking me this now? I said I didn’t do nothin. And Carmen, tiny little angel that she was, backed me up on that bald-faced lie, knowing jack shit about it. Ma wasn’t having any of it though.

Later that night I overheard them arguing, Dad and Ma. She’d called the school and Father Dominic gave her the runaround, and she said, Johnny, this is your fault, that Adrian gets away with this crap. And Dad said, if that fenook up at the school ever lays a hand on Adrian, he’s done for. At the time I figured he meant, y’know, fired. Dunno if Ma did too, but she said Johnny, that ain’t the point and you know it. She said Dad’s work made people afraid of us and it was ruining the kids’ discipline. Now, you gotta understand, he used to tell us he was a traveling insurance salesman. So imagine me, this twelve year old jamook who don’t know shit from shit, hearing people are afraid of us because of his father’s work.

At first I just thought she was full of it, but when I really stopped to think, y’know, I realized. Other kids at school didn’t have all these uncles who weren’t related to em. And I’d snuck into my parents’ room enough times to know Dad carried a piece in his briefcase, what insurance salesman goes in heavy to work? So, I got to looking on the internet about the Giovanni and everything. Like I said, the information age, whaddya gonna do?

Maybe some kids would’ve been scared, or pissed off, or something. Carmen was. Me? Hell no, I thought that was the greatest news since the Yanks won the World Series twice in a row. I went to my father later that night and just asked him, point blank, Dad, are you in the mafia? He looked at me and kinda shrugged, and said, maybe. So I asked him to teach me, y’know, to shoot and whatever else. And he said, sure, kid, you figured it out, you deserve it. Nobody makes a mole hill out of a mountain like my father, let me tell you.

So that’s it, that’s the story. Kind of a let down, I guess, but there it is.

Confessions of a Witch 6: Bones to Pick

I should’ve known better than to fuckin tell Q anything. First thing out of his mouth after his personal vamp vendetta was done, he’s ready to take it to the mattress with the family and call in the goddamn Arrow cavalry while he’s at it. Doesn’t David have anything better to do than take this rookie’s phone calls? Jesus. Yeah, Q claims this wasn’t about revenge, he’s doing it all for the mission. That’s a barrel of horseshit. Cabal protocols clearly lay out the terms of engagement: threats to the collective Pentacle. That hit was a fuckin favor to you, you rotten little spostata, one I wouldn’t have bothered doing if she didn’t have something I wanted. The family hasn’t come within a stone’s throw of the Pentacle and the whole point is to keep it that way, you can’t hide behind the charter and claim this is anything but a jumped up crusade to play hero.

Well, guess what. My family may be a bunch of monsters but they’re not here to stroke your ego, and neither am I. You want to go on some fuckin witch hunt, pardon the expression, you can do it without my help. This ain’t what we got in this for. And if you think I’m gonna let you lay a finger on my father you got another thing coming. Jesus, he couldn’t even get it through his thick skull why I might still consider them family, or why those girls might’ve felt something legit for Azaduhi. He might hear lies but he sure doesn’t seem to know jack shit about the human heart.

Not to mention, him thinking I’d take the job on another vampire hit with him has gotta be a fuckin joke. This is the second time I’ve had to bail his dumb ass out after he went balls-out in front of a bunch of Sleepers, there is no way on God’s green Earth I’d be crazy enough to do it again.

And while we’re getting this all out on the table, who the fuck does that smug Panopticon bitch think she is, talking to my corpse like we’re friends after her flunky put a bullet in my skull? Who the hell is she and where does she get off claiming they don’t want to be my enemy? Tough sugar, princess, you shouldn’t’ve dedicated your life to grinding innocent people under your Eye’s heel if you didn’t want to be in my crosshairs.

On the other hand, no reason I can’t be intelligent about this. She wants to be pals. And I’ll be honest, that pylon sure as hell knows how to pick ‘em, if you know what I mean. …and she knows deep down I do want to see Dionysus again, fuck me. And since me and Medraut are such backstabbing buddies now, what’s to stop me from making another deal and turning on em when it’s convenient? Niente, that’s what. But first thing’s first, I need to know what Adrasteia’s up to and I gotta get her to help me find out where they’re keeping the Antenna. Fate’s a start, but with my luck it’ll lead me directly off a fuckin cliff on the way to their hideout.

And the cherry on top of this truly impressive pile of bullshit is it’s falling to me somehow to patch holes the size of the fuckin moon in this family. Time for the Hearthmaster to work his magic, I guess. And I’ll need it, too. Who knows what Cara’s gonna say when she sees Dad. Or whether Dad’ll keep his cool if she goes off on him. He barely kept it with me and I wasn’t even trying to piss him off. And let’s not forget what’s gonna happen when I get Ma and Bonnie on the phone. Christ on a cracker.

Silver lining, though. Dad’s talking to me at all. Covering for me, even. And maybe I can give him a little honest-to-God humanity time to really remind him what he walked out on back then. And more importantly, why he should be on my side.

Confessions of a Witch 5: Homecoming

Dad. …the hell am I supposed to think about all this?

Just when you think you got it all figured out, huh? You had to go poking your nose around in the past and reading Joey’s mind. Couldn’t leave well enough alone and just have a nice civilized vampire hunt, could ya? No, now you just wanna talk to him. Like you of all people are gonna be some kinda fuckin redemption fairy and remind him that twelve years ago he gave a shit.

Then again, if anybody could…

Should check the future again. See if what I did back there changed anything. But y’know, if letting him betray me to Alfonso makes him feel like a fuckin stronzo for screwing over his own flesh and blood, and gets him to protect Carmen? Remember what’s important? Maybe I should let it happen. Just gotta make sure he doesn’t get staked for it. And figure out a contingency plan so Alfonso doesn’t actually ghoul me or whatever he’s got up his wrinkled-ass sleeve. Like drag Dad back in time with me or something. Not exactly by the book, but who’s counting?

I got three guesses for what the don needs me for and they all end in “blood,” but for what? Or does he know more about the family’s history than I think? Maybe he wants me for my magic, maybe he thinks I can do something the vampires can’t. Hell, maybe I could. What if Lodovico left some kinda Awakened legacy and they’ve been waiting five hundred fuckin years for another mage in the family? …might be worth going in for. I know what Carmen thinks, but if the family’s sitting on some Supernal Mystery…I sure as hell can’t leave it with em. Wishful thinking could get you a world of hurt, Adrian. But if wishful thinking ever worked for anybody, it’d be a witch.

This is the usually the part where I’d talk to Porter, but that could be exactly what sends him taking a long walk off the short crazy pier. …if I’m reading that Devil card right, not to mention that omen back when I whacked the teacher…well, let’s just say Alfonso might not’ve given up on his little succession scheme. Then again they might just want to shove their blood down my throat and use mine for some kinda domination ritual, who the fuck knows.

Still gotta tell Carmen what I saw. I know her, she ain’t gonna see what I do here. She’ll take it as proof Dad’s just a monster and has been ever since he got made. I gotta convince her to help me, she’s getting more and more fixated on the idea of taking down the whole family every time we talk about it. And she might be right, but right now from where I’m sitting, I can’t just sign off on that. Not yet, anyway. For one thing, they’re ghouling even the new guys now, which means if we wanted to wipe out the vampires and all their blood addict lackeys, we’d have to wipe out every guy over sixteen. That ain’t right. These assclowns didn’t know what they were getting into. What I need is to know more about vampires and how this shit all works. If there’s a way to fix this, somehow, I gotta find it.

Plus, can’t get too distracted here. Still got Seers to hunt down, spooks to question, and a Mysterium rat to have a little chat with. Now that Ma and Bonnie are on the road, the family can cool its heels a while. Though that ain’t gonna stop me opening Azaduhi’s head up like a fuckin melon to see what she knows. And me and Cara got a club to open. If I’m gonna host a we-saved-the-city party, it’s gotta happen before everybody up and forgets about it.

Oh, and let’s get one thing crystal clear. I ever see a witch-hunter again, he’s fuckin toast. Yesterday’s the last time I ever go easy on these dickbags, Sleepers or not. Still…kind of a fucked up moment you had there. Using Paradox like a weapon? What the hell’s the matter with you? And I still feel beat after that run-in with the Abyss today. Starting to think I might’ve invited in another giant.

Jesus, I do need to take a break. Time to see if Q’s up for a little R&R.

Confessions of a Witch 4: Weekend from Hell

She’s a goddamn monster.

I say it but it don’t feel right. Even though I watched her force a guy to walk off a roof without a second thought, just to distract us. Even though she would’ve made me kill… Cara, dammit, I would’ve killed her right then and there. Even though she fuckin played me and I stood there and let her do it. For Chrissakes, Adrian, she put those poor bastards under her control and then just let go of it knowing if she slipped up an inch it’d leave the door wide open for the Abyss to screw ‘em six ways from Sunday. And you, you brainless dipshit, you can’t stop thinking about seeing her again? What the everloving fuck is wrong with you?

Why doesn’t it feel right to just write her off as the enemy?

Much as it would be classic Butterfly to chalk it all up to that wet-dream voice of hers, I give myself more credit than that. It’s something else, it’s the way she talks about the Eye. Something don’t sit right with me. It’s like she dipped her toe in the wrong puddle once and got conned to hell and back into justifying it forever. Don’t get me wrong, she deserves to pay for all the shit she’s done, but crushed under the heel of the fuckin Illuminati god because she gave up on people being worth her time? Bullshit. Listen, I ain’t gonna pretend I’m any kind of saint, but at least I can say I stand for something. She came out of Hell a willworker and all she can think to do with it is enforce the status quo because some ascended voyeuristic motherfucker said so? How the fuck does a Warlock of all people wind up handing over responsibility for her actions to an Exarch?

There’s more than one way to gut a king. A tyrant ain’t much without good little soldiers marching to his tune. If I can win her over, prove to her the Awakened City’s worth fighting for… jesus, listen to yourself. Who do you think you are, fuckin Superman? But maybe I can at least get her to ask a few questions she shouldn’t and raise a little hell. That, this witch can handle. I mean, come on, “traitor” is my middle name. If I can’t get her to betray her god, nobody can.

Shit, I still owe Jones a night without a bar full of slobbering assholes staring at her while she dances. That’s what I was doing when this whole mess with the men in black started. Feels like it’s been a year, not three fuckin days. And in three days I got myself ass-deep in Assembly crap, found out Porter’s scared shitless of being on the front lines, inherited a haunted theater full of skeevy vibes from a bunch of twisted Seer lunatics, and almost got sucked into some kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers hive mind world. Not to mention pissed off the family ten times worse and dragged Carmen headfirst into the whole thing. Wasn’t enough to bail on em, steal from em, and let my new boss swipe their secrets from my head. Nah, I had to bring a pyromaniac into their vampire kumbaya and antagonize Vinny until he foamed at the mouth, too. Pretty sure this is what Jack would call Destiny doing its thing. I call it the story of my life. …not so funny when it’s right on the nose, huh.

Don’t get me wrong. This whole weekend’s been kind of a breakthrough. Project Oenopion has finally got its hands on some honest-to-God Seers of the Throne. Okay, minor setback, they’re dead. Doesn’t mean I can’t spy on when they were less dead, maybe find out where another one of their hideouts is or something. Plus, I got my very own Obrimos bodyguard now, which is a fuckin weird thing to say—since when does Adrian Giovanni need a goddamn bodyguard? I am the bodyguard. But Q was right when he said it’s better if people don’t realize how much of a threat I am. My pride’s taking a nose dive but next time somebody decides to fuck with Angeli Pontis, I’ll be thanking him for putting me in the perfect position to crack some unsuspecting heads. Besides, he pulled my ass out of the fire today, can’t argue with that.

Best of all, Cara’s a Sleepwalker and I can finally tell her everything. No more tiptoeing around what I do all day, no more listening to her imagination coming up with the worst possible fucked up scenario—though let’s face it, the nightmares she cooked up pale in comparison to the real deal. Y’know, it crossed my mind to be jealous, when we were in Josie’s Oneiros and saw she was gonna wake up. To be pissed that it was her and not Carmen on that Path. But if Fate says she ain’t ready yet…well, that’s Cara all over. She puts everybody else first and pretends she’s content till she believes it. So until she’s ready, I’ll protect her, and she can keep me from going off the deep end when I start losing it.

Like I almost lost it this afternoon, jesus. Every time I picture him now I just want to break his fuckin arm and punch that smug disappointed look right off his face. What the hell did I ever do but what you wanted? Did you ever give half a shit about your family, or were we just window dressing for you so you could keep pretending to be human? When were you planning to tell me you were grooming me to be a vampire, huh? When it was too fuckin late because you’d already, what, made me drink your blood? Christ, I can’t even believe these are the questions I have to ask here.

…maybe I oughtta get Porter to teach me something about Death. The Moros study souls, right? If I could See them with Death, maybe I could figure out whether they’re still people or not. Maybe then I could give Cara the answers I don’t have.

Maybe then I’d know whether I’m supposed to try to save him, or kill him.

Confessions of a Witch 3: In the Blood

So let me get this straight. The Sangiovanni had honest-to-god Awakened magic in the blood, until the line ended as far as the Rome caucus is concerned back in the 1600s. And from all those stories Grandpa Marino and the old guard used to tell, the family’s been just about like it is now going back at least a couple centuries, back in Sicily. Long proud tradition, blah blah uphold the honor of the old country blah.

So what in the name of the Madonna’s holy tits happened?

Jesus, thinking about all that tradition talk, I feel like shit. I mean, yeah, they’re vampires. That don’t erase twenty-five years of family and pride and fuckin heritage. I broke that tradition in half and now it’s biting me in the ass. Gonna be literally if I’m not careful. They weren’t all so bad, y’know? Uncle Frankie and his crazy obsession with old movies and cheap cigars. Dominic’s stupid laugh that made him sound like a broken down pickup truck. The twins, that time we all got drunk and they forced that cabbie to take us all the way to Atlantic City at gunpoint. Pff, what a bunch of fuckin stunads. But they were my stunads. I let em all down. What’s Aunt Stella think of me now, huh? Or Aunt Bonnie, even. Christ.

Guess it was a hell of a lot easier walking away from Alfonso than it would’ve been if I’d stayed. And maybe that’s Fate’s point, here. Would I have ever woken up at home? Or would I have just done my job and made my bed like a good soldier until eventually I was told to lie in it and die and get back up again? Stefano said they don’t turn just anybody, you gotta be cold. Like I was. Or was gonna be, anyway. They would’ve made sure of that. Another couple years, another couple civilians, and Butterfly’d be all there was to me.

Finally caught on to how I’m running my mouth about everybody but Dad, huh? Jesus. I just can’t fuckin see it. Distant, yeah. Evasive, kind of a manipulative douchebag, slept around, okay. But vampire? Would a vampire really have kept coming back to teach his son how to drive and listen to stupid teenage bullshit? If he was a vampire why’d he get a divorce instead of just making us do whatever he wanted? Seems like such a human thing to do. You’d think somebody cold enough to get made wouldn’t bother. Especially after he went on the liquid diet.

Can’t trust my memory, though, not like this. What Porter said got me thinking. Everything I ever was is in my Oneiros someplace, and everything that ever happened to me is just sitting there in my past for the taking. If I looked back would I see something different now than I did then? Would I hear something else in all those arguments me and Cara eavesdropped on? I think Porter would say it’s better to face unpleasant truth than rely on nostalgia to sugarcoat it. …but hell if I can’t use that with Dad. A heaping dose of I’m your own fuckin kid should count for something. Especially with the Supernal behind it. Two can play at this manipulative douchebag thing.

Y’know, I’d been thinking my destiny had something to do with why all my Arcana seem like mirrors of the shit the vampires can do. But what if it’s the other way around? If the Giovanni were always supposed to be Awakened and I’m some kind of throwback to our original fate, are they some sick perversion of the bloodline?

I gotta see what’s in that file. Before I talk to Dad. I know Cara’ll just be fuckin devastated to wait another day for that barrel of laughs. I’d say it’ll give me time to figure out what the hell I’m gonna say but get real, if I get through that conversation without turning time back at least once it’ll be a goddamn miracle.

Confessions of a Witch 2: Oathbreaker

You give everything you got to something, and you think it’s enough. Enough for them, enough for you. And then it ain’t, and you start learning shit about yourself you never knew, and before you know it you’re slamming your own head into a lamppost and wondering why your mind-reading mentor was so gung-ho about recruiting a professional killer who loves his job a little too much.

No? Just me? Figures.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but here I am giving everything I got all over again to a new bunch of suits with enough secrets to fill a fuckin five-star Beverly Hills douchebag factory. But as much as I could count what I know about Porter on one hand, I believe him when he says he wants to take this city back from the Seers and pound them til they break. And I think he really does believe in the Elemental Precepts. And that’s enough for me.

Though if you ask Fate, it won’t always be enough.

Jesus Christ, I should’ve known breaking shit in Arcadia like that would come back to bite me in the ass. I gotta find somebody who knows something about blood magic, gotta figure out what the family’s really up to. It won’t make any difference to Fate, but it will to me. And it’ll sure as fuck make a difference to Alfonso, when I rip his spine out of his ass and beat him to death with it. Taking this to the mattress alone is a piss-poor idea but who else am I supposed to trust? I might be a traitor but I’m no rat, I got my pride. And I got the Supernal on my side, which ain’t nothin. Plus, Jack’s right, I got resources now. The Ladder’s got all kinds of records on bloodlines, could be the Giovannis show up somewhere in there.

You know what, if Destiny thinks I’m gonna bend over and take it til my own friends put me out of my misery, it’s got another thing comin. This witch has teeth, you blind motherfucker. I’m gonna find a way to make sure Fate doesn’t do to anybody else what it did to me. If I’m the hand of Arcadia in this city of fucked dreams, then I got every right to decide who wins and who loses. Not like it’ll be tough to hear what they really want, just gotta open the mind’s floodgates and let it through. And who knows. Maybe if I show Destiny how justice is supposed to work, I can change its mind about me too.

Confessions of a Witch 1: Sword of the Traitor

Gotta say, I didn’t see this coming. First hit for the soldier who bought autonomy by lopping off the king’s head, and it’s some sleazebag schoolteacher. It’s like I can hear the court yelling ‘traitor’ at me all over again. Let em – this perverted sack of shit was doing the job Vinny gave him, and I know the drill. If it came down from Vinny then it came down from the don. No question. Is this what he meant by challenging me?

Test flunked, looks like. Nice of this human stain to give up names just like that, although truth be told I couldn’t’ve stopped him from dumping his diarrhea of the mind into my head anyway. Either way, now I know who to warn off. Recruiting’s one thing but this? It’s supposed to be an honor, not a fuckin life sentence. What is wrong with the LA family?

…what is wrong with the LA family? I’m guessing it rhymes with “Malfonso.” Shame he’s into some kind of death cult shit, I kinda liked him. Guess I pulled off Butterfly a little too well, if they thought I was the one to groom to replace him. Why was he so hung up on our being such close blood? Gives me the chills if I’m being honest. What with the magic blood slavery thing. Is that what these chains are all about? This destiny, bound to these fuckers forever because I’m my father’s son? Jesus Christ. I broke em though…at least, I thought I did, before my impromptu vacation to the other Death Valley.

Fuck. What does this mean for Cara?

Well, one problem solved, this skeezeball’s dust. But what now? Am I supposed to waltz back in there and tell him where he can shove his freaky bondage meth? On the one hand, hell no, I should disappear right the fuck yesterday. On the other hand, I can’t just shut my eyes and pretend there’s not a dozen other assholes doing the same thing this dickbag was doing. If I can stop it…shouldn’t I?

Kingslayer, right? Seems like there’s no shortage of tyrannical jerkoffs that need beheading. Maybe that’s how I break those chains for good.

Jack said I foresaw how that coin was gonna land, like a damned prophecy or something. If I can see the future, maybe I can get an idea of just how fucked I’d be if I went back and pushed on this. Time to get flipping…


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