Characters - TRACKER

Life is tough for Tracker, aka Teodoro Mastroianni. He's broke, his car doesn't run, his friends are petty thugs, and his video store is losing money. Gambling compulsively with a brutal Eastern European crime family isn't helping any.

Things weren't always this way. Born into the Mafia, he was once the chosen successor of his crime boss uncle. He wore the best suits, downed the finest whiskey, and proved himself quite a charismatic leader, like Obama with a swollen liver and a better tailor.

But as his gambling habit became a full blown addiction, Tracker was soon covering his debts by skimming from the family business. The shortfalls did not go unnoticed. Tracker was lucky that the resulting shit-storm led only to his exile from the mob, rather than a skull full of .22s and a shallow grave.

Now, his uncle is dead, and Tracker's younger, slightly odd brother has become the new Don. No mob associate is allowed to do business with Tracker, and he's gone from golden boy to pariah.

For the past few years, Tracker's been running 24 Hour Rental, a shady video store specializing in cult classics, art house films, and-for the right price-black market porn DVDs. They're nothing too nasty, you understand-no kids, no blood, as reflective of Tracker's strong moral code. But they do expand their exploration of human sexuality to include representatives of the animal kingdom, providing a lucrative side business for Tracker.

Since the store's a cash business, it's a perfect front for Tracker to launder money from his various low-rent schemes, from fencing stolen goods to penny-ante dope deals, making him essentially a Godfather to all the small time hustlers in the area. While it's certainly not the life he once led, it's a fairly comfortable existence.

But Tracker hasn't completely abandoned all vestiges of his past life as a Mafia high roller. For one thing, he refuses to abandon the sharp suits and tailored shirts of organized crime's gentry, despite the fact that everyone around him dresses as if they robbed a thrift store.

And he still spends much of his free time-and money-with Louise, a high-class call girl he once set up as the head of an exclusive agency. She's since moved out of running the business, but still entertains a handful of elite clients. Thankfully, she's dropped her rates considerably to accommodate Tracker's declining fortunes. Though neither Tracker nor Louise will admit it, their business association has long since evolved into a more personal relationship. His relationship with Louise is probably the closest thing to love he's ever found. Much of the time, their meetings are chaste, with Tracker treating her expensive condominium almost like a priest's confessional, albeit one that has extra room to accommodate a sex-swing and a closet full of exotic uniforms. For her part, Louise has found the emotional connection she shares with Tracker a welcome change from her more physical transactions. But Tracker still insists on paying his way. This helps him keep the relationship at arm's length-both to protect Louise from his creditors, and to keep himself free to cut and run should things get too sticky.

Tracker talks and acts tough. But beneath the veneer of a career crook, and the obsessive selfishness that entails, he can be caring and loyal. Whenever he can he visits his hospitalized mother , who was supposed to die from cancer years ago. And for the past decade he's been looking out for Sam, a young illegal immigrant who now works at 24 Hour Rental, But there's always the lingering question of what-and who-Tracker is willing to sacrifice to get his old life back.