MidReal Story

Rooftop Justice

Scenario: Batman with Saul Goodman in Kyiv sitting on a roof of high building and plan their work
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Batman with Saul Goodman in Kyiv sitting on a roof of high building and plan their work
I’m on a rooftop in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The city is a mix of old and new, and has seen more than its share of turmoil and corruption.
Tonight, though, the city is quiet, and the Dnipro River flows lazily past, its waters reflecting the lights of the city like a scattering of jewels.
Some of the scents that waft through the air are pleasant—the river itself, and the smell of the city’s nightlife, with its cafes and bars.
But there’s a darker scent as well, one that comes from the alleys and shadows.
One that comes from men who think themselves above the law, who believe they can do anything they want to others with no consequences.
I came to this city to chase one of those men—Oleg Gavrilenko.
He’s a businessman with ties to a powerful crime syndicate.
He’s been using his power and influence to hurt people, and I need to make sure he never does it again.
But Kyiv is a foreign city, and I don’t know it as well as I should.
That’s why I’ve come to this rooftop.
I’m not alone.
I know a man who can help me navigate the legal—and extra-legal—intricacies of this city.
I know Saul Goodman won’t be able to resist a challenge like the one I’m bringing him, and I’m sure he’ll be along soon.
I pull my cape more tightly around me against the chill and settle in to wait.
The sounds of the city drift up to me from below—the distant hum of traffic, car horns honking, voices raised in excitement, even a siren or two.
The city may be sleeping, but it never truly rests.
Not while men like Gavrilenko are in power.
The sound of a door opening breaks my reverie.
I turn my head in that direction as Saul Goodman steps onto the rooftop.
He looks around, taking in the cityscape with a smile that seems almost predatory.
Saul Goodman is a thin man with slicked-back hair.
He’s wearing a dark gray suit that looks expensive even from a distance.
He’s not wearing a tie.
Instead, he has a colorful scarf around his neck.
It would look ridiculous on most men; Saul makes it work.
I know he carries a gun on his ankle.
Several guns, in fact.
Even though he was once a lawyer—a damn good lawyer—he’s no longer on the right side of the law.
He got a taste for criminal life in Albuquerque, and he liked it.
Goodman flashes me a smile that’s all teeth.
“We meet again, Batman.” He pronounces it Bahht-mahn, like a true New Jerseyan.
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I nod, but I’m not really listening.
A bat swoops past me, and I turn my head to watch it go.
It’s a big one, and it’s flying low over the city, no doubt on its way to the Dnipro to hunt insects.
Goodman follows my gaze and watches the bat for a moment before turning back to me.
“Nice night for a little rooftop surveillance, huh?”
“If you like that kind of thing.”
I push myself to my feet and hold out my hand.
Goodman takes it and shakes firmly.
I nod toward the edge of the roof, where I’ve set up a couple of chairs.
“Shall we?”
Goodman follows me to the chairs and sits down beside me.
I’m still mostly dressed as Batman.
The mask is gone, though, and the cape is pulled around me like a cloak.
I’m not surprised Goodman isn’t fazed by my appearance.
He’s seen worse.
For all his flashy suits, Goodman is a tough man who’s survived some pretty dangerous situations.
And he knows how to use his wits.
I look at him, and I see the lawyer who’s made a career out of taking on cases other men would run from.
I see the man who turned on his own criminal clients when they tried to have him killed.
I see the man who has made himself invaluable to some of the most powerful men in the world.
I see the man who has become my partner.
I’m not sure how I feel about that.
On the one hand, I know Goodman is smart and capable.
He’s also just the right kind of crazy.
I need a man like him on my side if I’m going to take down a man like Gavrilenko.
On the other hand, I know that Goodman can be unpredictable.
He’s also selfish and ambitious.
His loyalty only goes so far.
It goes as far as the biggest stack of money.
But then again, so does mine.
I push those thoughts aside and focus on the man beside me.
He’s looking at me with a smirk on his face.
“You look like you’re in a good mood,” I say.
Goodman shrugs again.
“What can I say?
I’m happy to be here.”
“You know what we’re up against,” I say quietly.
“Gavrilenko has powerful friends.”
“And they’re not going to be happy when we come after him.”
Goodman grins at me.
“You know what I say?
I say let them come!”
He waves his hands in the air as if calling down a plague of locusts upon our enemies.
“We’ll be ready for them!
We’ll outsmart them!
We’ll take them down!”
I’m impressed by Goodman’s bravado.
It’s not entirely unwarranted.
The man has gone up against seemingly unbeatable odds before, and come out on top.
There’s something about him—his audacity, his sheer chutzpah—that makes people underestimate him.
It’s part of what makes him so dangerous.
It’s part of what makes him so useful to me.
I watch him as he leans back in his chair, looking up at the night sky with a contented smile on his face.
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The skyline of Kyiv is spread out before us, a breathtaking panorama of old and new buildings lit up by the city’s lights.
It’s not as impressive as the view from my penthouse office in Albuquerque, but it has its own unique beauty.
Goodman takes it all in, and for a moment, he seems almost at peace.
Then he reaches into his pocket, pulls out a cigar, and lights it with a flourish.
“There we go,” he says, puffing contentedly on his cigar.
“That’s more like it.”
I watch him, and for a moment, I feel a strange sense of nostalgia.
It reminds me of another man who used to sit on this rooftop with me, looking out at the city and thinking great thoughts.
But that man is gone now.
The only thing that’s left is Batman.
And Batman needs Goodman to help him with his mission.
I push those thoughts aside and focus on the task at hand.
Goodman is talking, and I realize that he’s telling me about our mission tonight.
It involves a corrupt businessman who’s been running drugs and guns through Kyiv for years.
He’s managed to stay one step ahead of law enforcement by bribing judges, politicians, and police officers to look the other way.
But we’re not law enforcement, and we’re not going to look the other way.
Goodman has already figured out a way to use the law against this asshole, and he’s excited about it.
I can see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice.
He can’t wait to get started.
I can’t blame him—I can’t wait either.
I need this win, and so does he.
We both need to know that we’re still capable of doing something good, of making a difference in a world that often seems beyond saving.
I listen as Goodman outlines his plan, nodding along as if I have any idea what he’s talking about.
The truth is, most of the time, I don’t understand half of what he says when he gets like this.
But that doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that he believes he can do it, and that he has the skills and connections to make it happen.
I trust him to do his part.
And he trusts me to do mine.
“So there you have it,” Goodman says, leaning back in his chair and grinning at me.
“We go in, we make the arrest, and then we let justice take its course.”
“That easy, huh?”
Goodman shrugs again, as if to say, “What can I tell you?
“Not easy,” he says with a grin.
“But it’s going to be fun.”
He grins at me, his eyes twinkling with excitement as he takes another puff on his cigar.
“I’ve got everything all set up,” he says.
“All you have to do is show up and take care of business.”
I nod, feeling a surge of confidence in my unlikely partner.
He may be a lot of things—conniving, self-absorbed, greedy—but he’s also damn good at what he does.
And right now, that’s exactly what I need.
“Don’t worry,” he says, clapping me on the shoulder like an old friend.
“I’ve got your back.”
I know he does.
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The city of Kyiv is spread out below us like a giant jigsaw puzzle, the pieces fitting together in a chaotic mosaic of old and new, east and west, light and dark.
In one direction, the city center rises up like a glittering jewel, its modern skyscrapers and historic cathedrals lit up by the glow of neon signs and streetlights.
In another direction, the Dnipro River cuts through the heart of the city like a great black scar, its waters reflecting the lights of passing boats like a thousand tiny fireflies.
It’s a beautiful sight, but it’s also a deceptive one—a mask that hides the city’s darker side from view.
A side that Goodman knows all too well.
The lawyer from Albuquerque is in his element here on this rooftop in Kyiv, with a cigar in one hand and a glass of bourbon in the other, holding court like the king of the world in his own little empire.
He’s got that confident swagger back, that twinkle in his eye that says he knows exactly what he’s doing—and that everything is going according to plan.
That’s Goodman for you—slick, smooth, and always in control, even when things are falling apart all around him (and especially when they are).
But this time, things are different.
I’ve made sure of that.
This time, I’m the one who’s in control.
And Goodman is going to do exactly what I say.
“Just so we’re clear,” I say, pulling up a chair and motioning for him to sit down.
“You know why we’re here.
You know what we’re up against.”
Goodman takes another puff on his cigar and nods.
“Yeah, I got it.
You need me to take down some rich asshole who thinks he can do whatever he wants because he’s got money and power and all the right connections.
You need me to use the law against him so you can take him down with your fists.
You need me to be your partner in crime.”
I raise an eyebrow.
“Something like that.”
“So give me the details,” Goodman says.
“Who are we talking about here?
What has this guy done?”
I tell him everything I know about our target—the corrupt businessman who’s been smuggling drugs and guns through Kyiv for years.
The guy who’s managed to stay one step ahead of law enforcement by bribing judges, politicians, and police officers to look the other way.
The frontman for a powerful crime syndicate that runs everything from human trafficking to arms dealing to extortion in this city.
“This guy is bad news,” I say.
“He needs to be stopped.
And I need your help to do it.”
Goodman listens quietly as I lay out my case.
When I’m finished, he leans back in his chair and takes another puff on his cigar.
“I’m not going to lie,” he says.
“This isn’t going to be easy.
This guy is smart, careful, and ruthless.
He’s done everything in his power to keep his hands clean so far.
And as far as anyone else knows, he’s just another wealthy businessman who’s made it big in Kyiv through hard work and determination.”
“But you know better,” I say.
“I’ve done my homework,” Goodman says with a grin.
“I’ve looked into this guy’s background, his business dealings, his financial records—everything.
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“He’s a fake,” I say.
“One of the biggest fakes in this city.
But you already knew that, didn’t you?”
I nod.
“I know who he is,” I say.
“I know what he’s been up to.
I know how he’s managed to get away with it for so long.
But now it’s time for him to pay the price.
And I intend to make sure he does.”
“You want me to help you take this guy down,” Goodman says.
“To bring him to justice so he can’t hurt anyone else.
To make sure he never gets away with this bullshit again.
Is that about right?”
I nod again.
Goodman smiles and takes one final puff on his cigar before putting it out and tossing it over the side of the building.
Then he extends his hand and waits for me to shake it.
“Then let’s do this, partner,” he says.
“It’s time for us to get to work.”
I take Goodman’s hand in mine and give him a firm handshake.
Then I let go and sit back down in my chair, waiting for him to speak.
“So… who is this guy, exactly?
“What do you know about Anton Voloshyn?”
Goodman frowns and shakes his head.
“I’ve heard the name, sure.
But I don’t know a whole lot about the guy.”
“And you probably shouldn’t,” I say.
“Because on the surface, Anton Voloshyn is nothing more than a successful businessman who’s made a fortune in the shipping industry over the past decade or so.
He owns Voloshyn Shipping—the largest and most profitable shipping company in all of Kyiv.
He has warehouses, distribution centers, and storage facilities all over the city.
He has dozens of trucks, trains, and cargo ships at his disposal.
And he has hundreds of employees—most of whom are loyal, hardworking, and honest men and women who have no idea what their boss is really up to behind closed doors.”
Goodman nods slowly as he listens.
“But there’s more to this guy than meets the eye,” I continue.
“A lot more.
Because while Anton Voloshyn may seem like a legitimate businessman on the surface, the truth is that he’s nothing more than a frontman for a powerful crime syndicate that runs everything in this city—from human trafficking and arms dealing to extortion and assassination.
“As for Voloshyn himself, he’s known for living a life of luxury.
He drives expensive cars, wears designer clothes, and lives in a huge mansion on the outskirts of the city.
He has a beautiful wife, two young children, and a number of mistresses who come and go as they please.
He drinks the finest wines, dines at the best restaurants, and throws lavish parties at his estate on a regular basis.
And he enjoys spending time with powerful men—businessmen, politicians, mob bosses—who can help him get what he wants.”
“He sounds like quite the character,” Goodman says with a smirk.
“He’s definitely not someone you want to mess with,” I tell him.
“And speaking of which…
I lean forward and look Goodman in the eye.
“Have you ever heard of the Odesa Organization?”
Goodman frowns and shakes his head.
“Can’t say that I have.”
“Then let me fill you in,” I say.
“The Odesa Organization is one of the oldest and most powerful crime syndicates in Eastern Europe.
It was founded over a century ago by a group of Russian gangsters who wanted to take over Kyiv and turn it into one big criminal empire.
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“For years, the Odesa Organization has been fighting for control of this city.
They’ve been fighting other criminal organizations, corrupt cops, rival gangs, and even the Ukrainian government itself.
They’ve been involved in all sorts of illegal activities—including drug trafficking, human smuggling, and arms dealing.
And they’ve made billions of dollars in the process.
But even after all this time—and all that money—the Odesa Organization still hasn’t been able to achieve their ultimate goal.
They still haven’t been able to take over Kyiv and turn it into one big criminal empire.
At least not yet.
Because right now…
I lean back in my chair and study Goodman’s face for a moment.
“Right now,” I say with a smile, “the Odesa Organization is on the verge of collapse.
Their leader is dead.
Their top lieutenants are either dead or in jail.
Their soldiers are either dead or in hiding.
And their money is gone.
At least most of it is.
Because while the Odesa Organization may be down…
I hold my hand out in front of me.
“They’re definitely not out—not by a long shot.
Because there’s still one man left standing in their way…
And that man is Anton Voloshyn.”
Goodman nods slowly.
“And what does this have to do with me?”
he asks after a moment.
“I thought you wanted to hire me to help you take down this guy.
But it sounds like you’ve got things pretty well under control.”
“I do have things pretty well under control,” I tell him.
“But I could still use your help when it comes to taking down this guy.
Because while it’s true that Anton Voloshyn may seem like a legitimate businessman on the surface…
The truth is that he’s nothing more than a frontman for the Odesa Organization.
He’s their money man—the guy who runs all of their legitimate businesses and launders all of their dirty money.
And he’s also their chief enforcer—the guy who makes sure that everyone in this city does what they’re supposed to do or else.
So if we want to take down this guy—and the criminal empire he works for—we’re going to need to come up with a plan that’s going to make it happen.
And that’s where you come in.”
Goodman smiles at me.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says with a shrug.
“But I like what I’m hearing so far.”
“Good,” I say with a smile of my own.
“Because if we work together, I think we can make this happen.
I really do.”
The truth is that I’ve been building a case against Anton Voloshyn for the past few months now.
I’ve been gathering evidence, conducting surveillance, and interrogating witnesses in order to determine what this guy is really up to behind closed doors.
I’ve also been following the money—tracking all of his financial transactions, wire transfers, and bank accounts in order to determine where all of his money is coming from and where all of it is going.
And what I’ve found so far is more than enough to put this guy away for a very long time—if not forever.
So let me fill you in on what I know so far:
First of all, I know that Anton Voloshyn is involved in human trafficking—smuggling women and children into this country and then selling them to the highest bidder.
I know this because I’ve seen it firsthand—or at least part of it.
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