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L.S. Noire

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Let's paint a scene.

Dawn is just the sun's greeting to those who survived the night. Taxi driver's eyes water as they're greeted by their patrons breath, the weak retire to a bed in their Downtown apartments, often accompanied, while the brave swallow coffee thick as tar and down greasy food that sticks to their gut, hiding bloodshot eyes behind expensive sunglasses. 

In Vinewood, old and young money rise to sunlight filtering through designer curtains, stretching their muscles to tackle a weekend of watching television inside home theaters, lounging by decadent pools, doing yoga and drinking alcohol in it's various forms. An older woman reflects on her estranged children as she watches the gardener prune the emerald hedges. A teenage girl muses over the complexities of a television celebrity who's become the subject of many of her bedroom posters. A middle aged retiree takes a swig of whiskey, wondering where things went wrong. 

In the streets of the hood, a young man curses at the sun for being so goddamn fuckin' bright. A feral cat jumps the fence and finds itself face to face with a dog kennel whose owner is yet to eat. A dented navy blue car's door opens to reveal a woman with sparse clothing, counting the notes in her hand, thanking Jesus she isn't dead.

This is Los Santos, the city of the damned.

Midday peaks over the golf coarse, the sun is high in the sky. Joe Evergreen is lining up his club, savoring the early spring air. It felt like a good day, a lucky day, hell maybe this would be the day he'd pull off the coveted hole-in-one. Behind him, his business partner Collins Gold shifted from one foot to the other, the sound of his shoes sinking into the grass below signalling his impatience at Joe's calculated poise.

"You know, Evergreen, I might go down to the club and order something, though I wouldn't be surprised to come back to you still with that look of pain on your face,"

"The staff here aren't nearly that good, you and I both know that,"

Collins gave a snicker, running a tongue over his chapped lips. He needed a smoke, it was proving a whole lot harder to hide the fact he'd regressed from his wife. She had the nose of a sniffer dog, and she knew the small ticks that denoted his lying. He thanked god he'd never been stupid enough to conjure up an affair; she'd have known in an instant.

"Yeah, well, all I'm saying is, time's a wastin',"

"I know what you're saying, Gold, but perfection takes time,"

"Perfection, my ass,"

Joe smiled ruefully, before inhaling deeply and raising the club. A swift arch and the ball was sailing into the sky; up, up, up.

"Missed by a hair,"

He'd landed the ball on the recesses of the shrubbery, the small white object having disappeared under the shadow of a tree. Joe straightened up, rolling his eyes, he'd never been cut out for golf. He raised his hand before the other man could utter another word.

"I know, I know, I'm not going to live this down,"

"Right you are. Now let's go get your damn ball, Tiger,"

A slight breeze began to pick up as the man disembarked from the golf buggy, Collins at the wheel, giving a small smirk as his friend began to paw at the soil. 

"You having fun in your element?"

"I'll have your head after this Collins," Joe shot over his shoulder, feeling his cheeks alight. He was sure this would quickly spread through the workplace. He didn't have the best reputation already, but when the guys at the firm found out that he couldn't golf to save his life? He was sure to be the butt of several jokes. The man's hand pushed past the foliage, clearing away the brush. Damn ball, probably disappeared off the face of the earth. 

"You lookin' for the meaning of life down there, Joe? C'mon, just tee off at the edge, it isn't worth getting your knickers in a twist,"

"Give me two seconds,"

Collins sighed, "Stubborn as ever,"

Through the foliage, deeper within the tree line, something pale had caught the man's eye. "I'll have you know I fo-"

Collins, who'd lost interest in looking at Joe as he scrambled about making a mess of himself, had been instead admiring the new watch he'd purchased for himself just the other weekend. He didn't often buy his own things, but new beginnings meant celebration, and he'd brought the watch on the way home from Velma's. Velma. Her name rolled off the tongue, and she was just as smooth. He'd always judged men who held affairs, after all a real man would come clean, men weren't built for keeping secrets. But the thought of paperwork made his head throb like it did when he went a day without a good lungful of tobacco, and thus he'd readjusted his view on monogamy.

As he was studying the watch, a silver affair with exposed clockwork and a nice leather band, he heard the other man's voice abruptly cut off. Collins glanced over at the other man, whose figure was positioned half crouched, facing away from him, appearing as if someone had pressed the pause button on a remote. He couldn't be that thrilled to find a golf ball, right? 

"Evergreen?"

Collins had swung his body out of the buggy, the vehicle giving a small sigh as if relaxing. A frown creased his skin, leathery skin that had seen it's fair share of tanning and sun burn. Now, for what felt like the first time, the heat on the back of his neck was wholly unwelcome. A slip of perspiration ran down the crease of his spine. 

"Joe?"

No response came from the other man. Collins was in arm's reach now, not quite spooked but wary all the same. For all he knew, Joe could be pulling some sort of stupid game, though then again, in broad daylight? While trying to find a golf ball? Then again, it could be some stupid form of retribution. Collin's hand connected with the other man's shoulder. As if broken from a trance, the man whipped around, almost knocking out his colleague in the process.

"F-fuck..." But Collins hardly heard the stuttered words; his eyes had found the golf ball. It had rolled into the matted, bloody strands of hair that were sprouting from the fresh corpse of a naked woman.

The older gentleman clutched his stomach as he turned to the side and puked the contents of his breakfast.