Maybe the only good part of corporations controlling the whole world is that they don’t like sharing information with one another. With federal governments relegated to the minor leagues, local police don’t even call them for background checks anymore. A small mercy, that, but not a guarantee of a clean start when something goes poorly.

Nobody grows up dreaming of being sent to prison, and that certainly wasn’t Brennan’s plan when he took the job working as a part-time bouncer at a classy madam’s high-stakes gambling hall. He was big, quiet, and kept his nose clean—literally and figuratively. His presence at the door was more to dissuade casually-interested onlookers rather than stop any real problems, because everyone knew you don’t cause a stink at the madam’s tables if you wanted to stay above ground.

Everyone knew that, except for the four jokers who shoved a shotgun in Brennan’s face and marched him inside, demanding cash and goods from all the fancy folks who couldn’t believe they were being robbed. Spooked by someone dropping a bottle of champagne—the real stuff, nothing synthetic in the madam’s club—one of the robbers let fly and two patrons fell over, stone dead.

Turns out the gunman was a second cousin to someone Brennan grew up with, and combined with him being the newest hire, the whole job was pinned on him; the robbery, the manslaughter, everything. He ended up going away for eight years. He may not have been a saint going in, but he sure wasn’t one coming out.

Running the shadows isn’t the best way to keep out of trouble, but as an ex-con with no experience with above-board work, he was luckily to find anything he could. Hired muscle isn’t the highest-paying work around, but with a few luckily breaks and making the right connections, he at least was starting to make a name for himself.

Maybe if he kept it up, he’d either be able to start living comfortably or at least stop looking over his shoulder, fearing the madam isn’t done with her revenge.

Character concept inspired by the protagonists of 2018’s A Bluebird in my Heart and 2011’s House of the Rising Sun

Header image from