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The Billionaire Brute by Hart, Romi (1)

Chapter 1

Byron

I am no ordinary man. I am a superhero. My name is Byron Gallows.

I press down on the gas pedal, moving my new Ferrari 488 GTB like a speed demon. Slow down, they say. Take your life seriously, they say. “What about, what about?”

Hell, I am serious. Which other twenty-five-year old billionaire is a real-life superhero, anyway? You know what Warren Buffet does, or what Steve Jobs did? They spent millions to make millions. Everything they ever did in life was to make more money. But that’s not me. What I do, is fucking save people.

Fuck it. I don’t need money. I don’t care about money. I’m not just another billionaire traveling the world and building wealth or launching some piece of shit restaurant chain. I’m a superhero. I’m Batman, I’m Iron Man. I’m funding new weapon technology for the U.S. military. I’m building charity organizations in Africa. I’m giving grants away to Black, Hispanic and Asian entrepreneurs like I’m giving out free candy.

The only thing I’m not doing is getting dressed up like a costumed freak and looking to fight criminals on the streets.

Which is not to say I couldn’t do it! I’ve taken enough Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes to take down any bad motherfucker in seconds.

But yeah, I totally get the superhuman’s philosophy. This city needs me. The filth in the streets, its soullessness. I am its conscience. But I’m a real-life superhero, the kind that wins wars, makes deals and the one that pays for all these “good deeds”.

Maybe that’s what everyone doesn’t understand about people like us. Everything costs something. For every good deed, for every wonderful aspiration in life, someone picks up the fucking check. That’s where people like me come in.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve donated to a worthy Democratic candidate or given millions to a venture that’s just going to lose money. But…feed the homeless, help those in need. At the end of the day, that’s what a superhero does. And this is what a superhero looks like.

I gaze at myself in the mirror and envy the next girl who catches a glimpse of me in her side vision. Green eyes. Black hair. A clean-shaven chin and a perfectly sculpted face with that cocky smirk on it, the kind that makes a girl say, “What in life has you so amused?”

A nice red car and eye contact so intense, there’s no question what I’m thinking. It’s like a psychic moment, where she just knows how naughty she’s being, talking to a guy like me. A suspicious but surprisingly friendly man, who just so happens to wear an Alexander Amosu Vanquish II Bespoke suit – custom tailored from vicuna and qivuik, each button but of course, made of gold and diamonds. And of course, most ladies love seeing my sleeves rolled toward my elbows, just an excuse to show my strong forearms and even better, my Rolex watch. Shades and a sports car so revved up, you could fuck it.

This evening marks the end of a wonderful day. It’s true what they say, enjoying life is all about perspective. I feel great and it’s all because I have a positive perspective on life. I’m making a difference. I’m basking in the glow of positivity, good health, and the secret of the universe.

You can do anything you set your mind to, that’s what my good friend Elon Musk once said to me. And he’s damn right about it too. I will be having lunch with Elon later this week in Thailand. Poor guy seems stressed. He probably just needs a heart to heart conversation with me. What can I say, I should have been a therapist!

I have a great way with people. I see the positives in people and my criticism is always constructive. My buddy Richard Branson knows this. Hell! even Mark Zuckerberg will tell you I’m an optimistic guy. He learned a lot of his business strategy from me!

I’m, at heart, an optimist. A humanitarian. A believer. A leader. And I feel I want to share this love with the world.

I suddenly slam on the brakes and grab the steering wheel. The car careens out of control! I hold my ground, trying to remain calm.

Ride the skids until the car slows down. I resist moving the steering wheel, knowing it’s just going to spin wildly if I move it an inch. Keep it calm and slow.

“Motherfucker!” I scream, just as the car slows down and the STUPID driver in front of me, remains practically still. This is the freeway, asshole!

I carefully shove to the right lane, making sure the path is clear. I give that driver a pussy face but he…er, she…ignores me. Stupid, stupid.

I zoom ahead, eager to be done with this miscreant, this Darwin Award-winning moron, who sees it fit to come to a complete stand while on a minimum 45-mph zone.

I speed away, barely looking in my rear-view mirror.

CRACK!

What the fuck?! I felt that down into my spine! That same stupid driver just pounded the side of my car! Didn’t she see me in front of her? What the hell is she thinking?!

I honk back at her, letting my car horn call her every filthy name in the book. I flip her off and keep honking. Yeah sweetheart, you better as hell not hit and run. You got to pay for my car.

She honks back. I honk again, louder and longer! Don’t you dare ignore me! You pull off to the side of the road like a good little girl or I will sue your ass! Pull over!

I roll my window down and stick my head out, as I slow down and ride to the side of her silly little Honda Accord. “PULL OVER!”

She yells something back at me but I can’t make it out. Doesn’t really matter. She better pull-over or I will slam her off the fucking road! Hit and run, baby! I’ll throw your delinquent ass in prison.

I honk again for seconds at end and she finally gets the point. She puts her hazard lights on and starts to slowly make her way toward the exit.

She takes fucking forever, trying to find the “perfect spot” to park. Yeah toots, I’m a rapist. Sure, I’m going to attack you in broad daylight, in front of thousands of people on the freeway. Makes perfect sense. Gee! what an idiot. I don’t even know if I want to talk to this maniac or just send her straight to court.

I finally slow down and both of us park at a gas station. I get out of my car and sigh, looking over the damage she has caused. A dented body, the car tail-light cracked. Christ, why don’t some people learn how to drive!

I do a double take when the woman finally steps out of the car. She’s dressed…conservatively. She has medium-length brown hair, wearing a pink blouse and a pair of jeans, with some kind of a big necklace. She looks to be about mid-thirties, probably married. Not quite old enough to be my mother, but still milfalicious.

Anyway, her cuteness doesn’t forgive her errant behavior.

“So?” I say, folding my arms and seeing red as I stare into her face.

“Yeah, so?!”

“SO?! You just ran into my car!”

“Excuse me?” she screams back. “You just ran into my car!”

“Umm no, not at all.” I pace around, trying to control my rage. “I was passing you up and you rammed your big ass car into my side rear body. Look, I have the dents to prove it. See that?”

I point to the dent and the cracked light. “See? Your fault. Now start groveling.”

“Start groveling?” she says, her face turning tense with anger. “You’re the one who ran into me!”

“Excuse me, what?”

“I was driving along peacefully. Then you come around cruising and speeding like a demon. I tried to move out of the way and you clipped me because you were recklessly changing lanes.”

“Bullshit.”

“That’s what happened!”

“Wrong. You’re wrong. I cleared the lane, then you sped up and ran into me. THAT’S how it happened.”

“No, not at all. I’m calling the police.”

I laugh out loud. “Call the police on yourself! You’re the one at fault.”

“I have nothing more to say to you,” she says. “You will be hearing from my attorney and from the insurance company.”

I start fuming and grit my teeth. “Now you listen here. Hang the phone up!”

She ignores me.

“I said hang up the phone!”

I exhale slowly, madly, trying to control my notorious short temper.

“Fine then. You leave me no choice,” I say, finally losing my temper and completely running out of fucks to give. “You’re asking for it. Now you’re going to get it.”

The woman finally looks me in the eye and dares me to do something.

“You are a bitch! There, I said it.”

She laughs, “Is that the best you’ve got?”

“Well, you’re obviously a psychopath.”

“Oh really? How so?”

“You rammed into my car and are now denying your fault in the accident.”

“You were speeding! It’s your fault, kid.”

“Kid? Kid?!” I start laughing in disbelief. “Do you know who I am? Look, it doesn’t matter. The point is, you hit me. And frankly, my car is worth more money than yours. Not comparing, just saying.”

She puts her phone away and scowls at me. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“What do you drive? A Honda Accord. Do you know what I drive? Does the word Ferrari mean anything to you?”

“Does the word ‘rich asshole’ mean anything to you?” she bites back. “Look kid, I don’t care if you’re driving the President’s limousine. I know what I saw, and I know what the evidence will show. So, I’m contesting this. And I and my broke ass little Honda Accord will see you in court. And the good news is, you’re rich enough to buy me a new transmission in addition to the body damage.”

I start stammering, in shock of this brazen woman who is delusional and obviously very sick in the head. “Well, first of all, I could buy and sell this piece of shit Honda for change. I could literally buy this piece of shit for quarters.”

“Mmm-hmm, we’re all REALLY impressed. Go on.”

“But it’s the principle of the thing, ma’am.”

“Don’t call me ma’am,” she says, folding her arms.

“What? What am I supposed to call you then?”

“Call me what you really want to call me. Go ahead, do your worst. I’ve heard it all before. Nothing a little punk kid like you could call me would ever shock me.”

I sigh and shake my head, “I will call you something then. You’re a brat. And you’re delusional and have road hallucinations, MA’AM, which makes me think maybe you shouldn’t be driving.”

“Well if that’s all you have to say, I guess I’ll be on my way. After we exchange insurance information AND after we call the police to come and inspect the scene.”

“Fine go ahead! I’m going to win this case. It will be the easiest victory ever, like taking candy from a baby. And just because of your vindictive and EVIL nature, I’m going to sue you for pain and suffering.”

She laughs heartily. “Pain and suffering? Jesus, kid. You haven’t even seen the world, have you?”

“Oh, I have,” I reply. “I’ve been to Russia, South Korea, Australia, all over the world. Where have you been?”

“I’ve been on my fat ass watching National Geographic-like everybody else. Get the fuck over yourself.”

“Ohh!” I say, laughing in spite. “Now who’s being abusive? You’re using abusive language and I’m just talking.”

“Mmm-hmm. Sure, keep it up. Keep showing your attitude. The cop will set you straight.”

“The cop? Fine, you know what? Go ahead and call the police.”

“I AM!”

We both wait while she dials the police.

“Yes. I’d like to report an accident…” she says. “More like an attempted manslaughter charge.”

“Oh right! Very dramatic. Yeah keep it up, keep it up.”

“Well no, the car isn’t totaled, more like a fender-bender. But I think he has malicious intent.”

I wait, arms folded, as she continues yakking.

I impatiently watch as she listens to the cop, who’s obviously stalling.

“I suppose there’s no major damage,” she says hesitantly. She listens, as the cop continues spouting off nonsense, probably in the middle of a VIP donut and coffee or something.

“Fine,” she says, clicking her phone off. “Okay, the cop said because it was just a minor collision, we can work it out with the insurance company. We can file a report tomorrow morning. But just to let you know, I am holding you responsible and I will let them know that.”

“Uh huh, I bet. And guess what, lady? You’re going to lose. I’ll see to that.”

“Name?”

“My name is Bruce. Bruce Wayne. I am a sort of a Batman. I wear a costume, and THIS here is my mask, my real human face.”

“Whatever,” she whines, giving me the evil eye. “Real name?”

“Why should I give my real name to you? You’ve been assaulting me for the last half hour! I was going to be nice to you at first but forget it. I’ll have my lawyers all over this one.”

“Oh yeah,” she snaps. “I’m really impressed. Name? Phone number? Insurance company? Or I’m going to have to call the cop back again and tell him you’re trying to flee the scene.”

“My name is Urah.”

“Yewra?”

“Pronounced like YOUR.”

“Uh huh. Last name?”

“My last name is Mahm. Pronounced like MOM.”

“Okay, Your Mom…” She realizes the joke and glares at me. “That’s not funny.”

“Well, superheroes like me don’t joke around. We’re all about business, you know.”

“Look, I already have your license plate number. So, let’s just cut the shit, shall we?”

“Now that’s a good girl. Swear it like you mean it.”

“I’m not playing this game.”

“FINE. I’ll be the grownup here and give you a name.”

“Your real name!”

“Byron Gallows.”

“Ahem! Your real name?”

I laugh. “That is my real name. Do you want to judge me for what my parents named me too, in addition to judging me because I drive a Ferrari? Go right ahead. “What’s your name?”

“Laura Katt.”

“And do you have fifty cats, Laura Katt?”

“NO, but thanks for being so professional about this.”

“No problem.”

I grab the insurance card out of my wallet and let her copy the rest of the information.

“All right. Hopefully, we’ll never meet again, Byron,” she says handing my card back to me and walking away.

I shake my head, admiring her nice bubbly ass while she walks back to her car. Wow, for an uptight, soccer-mom type, she is hot. But the terrible personality and all, I guess, cancels that out.

I walk back to my Ferrari, making sure the woman is leaving and isn’t trying any funny business. Well shit! That encounter ruined my night. It looks like it’s time for a drink, and I know just who to talk to. Nice guy, the guy I haven’t seen in a year or so. But he’s always down for some tequila shots.

I slap old Andy on the shoulder and wave to the waitress for another round.

“I tell ya, women these days..,” Andy says. “don’t respect men anymore. It’s all about bringing down the patriarchy and they don’t care who they run over to get what they want.”

“Hey!” I reply, chugging down another shot. “I am a feminist. I’m totally for women’s rights. But I’m not down with angry soccer-moms, talking down to me just because I have a nice car and they’re driving a crappy Honda Accord. Oh, uh…no offense if you drive a Honda, Andy.”

“Nah, Ford.” he says. “The police department doesn’t spoil us with a Honda.”

“I tried to be nice to her, I swear. But this woman was on a mission from God or something. She had a chip on her shoulder from the moment she met me. And SHE was the one who hit me. If there were video cameras installed in every car, she would be eating it right, and eating it hard.”

“Hey kid,” Andy says. “We’ve been friends a long time now. I’ve known you and your father most of my life. So, trust me when I tell you, I’ll take care of this.”

“Cool, that’s why you’re the best, Andy. And hey, you don’t have to scare her. Just make a few calls to the insurance company and ask your buddies at the precinct about the accident report. I know, one hundred percent, she was at fault.”

“Well now,” he laughs. “I just meant I’d take care of any legal charges she tries to bring against you. I don’t want to get involved in talking to the insurance companies.”

“Woah!” I laugh nervously. “What do you think I’m asking you, Andy? I’m not afraid of her suing me. I just don’t want to pay for anything because I know she is at fault here.”

“Yeah but…” Andy laughs. “Come on, kid. Just let her win this one. You can afford it.”

“I can afford it?!”

“Umm yeah. Aren’t you part of the Gallows Corporation? A big shot in a Ferrari? Probably got rich parents or something?”

“First of all, I resent that,” I say before chugging another beer down. “I make my own money. I’m a hedge fund investor now.”

“Sure, kid.”

“And I’m not a kid. I’m in my mid-twenties. One hundred years ago that would have been my life expectancy. So come on, are you going to help me out or not?”

“What can I do?” he says, waving his hand. “If I start shoving my nose in someone else’s business, they’re going to know I’m just doing someone a favor. It’s too much risk for me. And you know damn well you can afford it, Byron.”

“It’s the principle of the thing, Andy. I don’t care about money. Hell, I’d buy her a brand-new car if she DESERVED it! But ramming into me and then pretending like I’m at fault, that’s some fucked up man-hating behavior. Come on, Andy. We’re not fighting against one crazy woman here. We’re fighting against FemiNazis everywhere. We’re fighting against radicals who think they can scare men into complete submission.”

Andy laughs, “I feel you, kid. But it’s not worth the risk.”

“You are such a materialistic asshole!” I say, putting my hand in my pocket.

“Oh, look who’s talking! You silly…”

I grab some wad of cash and slip it on the table giving Andy a look.

“Oh geez. And wouldn’t you know, I’m behind on my car payment.” Andy shakes his head in disbelief.

I laugh it off. And slip another wad of cash into his hand, ramming eyes with him.

“Fuck the car payment. Pay it off but do me this favor.”

He frowns. “Is it really worth it to you?”

“YES. The principle of the matter is ALWAYS worth it.”

Andy sighs. Disappointed in me. Like dad, like every person who loathes the name Alfred Gallows and Byron Gallows, the tycoon billionaire and his son who always come out on top.

Andy takes the cash. Like they all do eventually. I smile and order another round.

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