Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued
She forgot her ringing ears and ran for the hallway door. He watched her run. There was no need to chase her.
“You can’t outrun a bullet, Beverly.”
Dominic got up from the bed and lurched down the hallway after his wife. He had a deadly coldness in his unsteady step. She was running toward the front door. He raised the chromed pistol and aimed at the back of her head.
As the hammer fell toward the brass cartridge, Beverly dove to her right, into the kitchen. The lump of lead tore into and through the wall into the kitchen. It passed two inches above her head, and dug its way into the refrigerator door.
She screamed, and from the tone, Dominic knew that he had missed.
Down in the basement family room, Graciella, the Latina housekeeper who came in three times a week, heard the shot. She had witnessed them battle before, but this was the first time she had heard gunfire. She did nothing. Those were her instructions: clean up their messes and keep your mouth shut. Don’t give them any reason to fire you.
Dominic followed Beverly into the kitchen. He was really going to do it this time. He’d had enough. She had torn out his heart—killed his babies—his sons. He didn’t care anymore about the consequences.
He pulled back the hammer. The gun was ready as he turned the corner, intent on murder. She was standing there, waiting for him. He saw her and stopped cold. Every muscle in his digestive tract clenched.
“Hello, Daddy. Why am I calling? Oh, no particular reason. I just wanted to hear your voice. It’s been too long.”
She held the phone in one hand and waved an extended middle finger at her husband with the other.
“What? Oh, not much. Dominic and I were just spending some quiet time at home, the usual thing.”
Dominic aimed the revolver at the pale blond hairs of her left eyebrow. Her eyes were focused on his hand. It was shaking ever so slightly. He was bluffing, she hoped. He couldn’t be that stupid, she thought.
Her voice dropped half an octave as she continued to chat with her father, Giani Montini, The Don—in command of the entire Roncalli crime Family in New York City. He was a cold-blooded killer who had climbed over the bodies of dozens of rivals to get where he was. His daughter was the joy of his life.
He could be a surprisingly compassionate man. He was a father who loved and protected his only child, all that was left of his family. He allowed nothing and no one to harm her, except her husband. He knew that they fought and that, on occasion, it got rough, but she was a wife and a wife’s duty was to be there for her husband—no matter how big of an idiot he was. The Don was still very “old country” in many ways.
Beverly had pleaded with her father, to no avail, to allow her to divorce Dominic. He loved his daughter but, divorce was not allowed. Period. End of discussion. The most her father would do was threaten Dominic or send him out of town for a while to cool off.
“Yes, Daddy, I make sure that Dominic is happy.” She kept her eyes fixed on the gun pointed at her. “After all, I am his loving wife, right?”
There was plaster dust in her hair and what felt like bees in her ears.
“Well, since you ask, I would like one thing, Daddy.” A smile crept onto her face.
She shifted her eyes from Dominic’s unsteady hand and met his gaze, hate for hate.
“You see, Daddy, being a woman, I sometimes get, you know, the blues a bit. I think, maybe, some time alone would help me snap out of it. No, I don’t want to take another cruise. I was thinking more along the lines of just spending some time alone here, by myself, at home, if you know what I mean?”
Dominic was confused. What was she up to? Was she asking her father to have him killed? If she asked, it would happen. He lowered the gun. It hung limply at his side.
Beverly tossed the phone to Dominic as she walked past him. He grabbed it in mid air and watched her strut out of the kitchen. When she reached the door she looked back over her shoulder, smiled at him, and shook her rear. It was half tease and half “take a good look, you asshole, it may be the last time you ever see it.”
Still watching his wife, Dominic could hear his father-in-law calling his name on the phone. The voice finally got his attention.
“Yes, sir, good evening, fine, fine, yourself?”
The now deferential son-in-law held the phone to his ear for the next two minutes, only tossing in an occasional “Yes, sir” as Beverly’s father, and his ultimate boss, did all the talking.
Beverly kept walking and went back into the master bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror.
“What a Goddamn mess.”
When she wasn’t trying to wash away the effects of another battle with her husband, Beverly Deltino was a very good-looking woman. Her eyes were hazel and her hair was the dark blonde you see in northern Italy. It showed the history of ancient invaders from Germany and beyond. She wore it long, reaching halfway to her waist.
Her even features gave her face a symmetry that boys, and then men, had found alluring. In high school she was considered a looker by the boys and also by a couple of the teachers.
Now, as a woman in her early thirties, her face exhibited a mature strength, but she could still look girlish when the moment called for it.
Beverly Deltino liked her looks. She was glad that she had the kind of face and hair that gave her the flexibility to change her overall appearance with just a different shade of Clairol and a new hairstyle. A new look and she felt like a new woman. Today she wished it would be that simple to really become someone new.
She brushed her hair in an effort to get rid of the plaster dust and washed her face. She was trying not to cry. When she lowered the soft, warm washcloth from her tender cheek she saw, reflected in the mirror, the man she hated and now feared, standing behind her. She forced herself not to react.
Dominic looked like he had just been sent to his room without his supper. All traces of his rage were gone. His will to fight had disappeared, but he still had the gun in his hand.
“Hon, I have to go to Philly for a few days. Don Giani wants me to do some work for him there. I need to leave right away. Would you pack me a bag while I grab a shower?”
Her breath stuck in her chest. She silently walked out of the room, showing him nothing of what she was thinking and feeling.
“Thank you, Daddy,” she whispered to herself.
Like she had done a dozen times before, she pulled Dominic’s favorite suitcase out of his walk-in closet and started to select things from the dresser drawers. She could hear him singing in the shower.
She walked back into the steamy bathroom. His naked body was visible behind the frosted glass shower door. He had dropped his bloody clothes on the floor. She shook her head as she scooped them up and tossed them into the hamper. He had laid his ankle holster on the toilet seat. She looked at the gun.
It would be so simple, so very simple, she said to herself.
“How long are you going to be gone?” she asked him over the roar of the Shower Massage, “So I know how much to pack?”
“Shouldn’t take too long—three, four days maybe,” he answered. “I should be home by Sunday, Monday at the latest. Maybe we can go out for a nice dinner when I get back. What do you think, Carvelli’s maybe? I like their eggplant.”
She looked at the gun again.
Just do it, she urged herself. Instead, she turned her attention back to Dominic. “Sure, that’ll be nice, Carvelli’s on Sunday. I’ll pack you enough for an extra day, just in case.”
As she went through the mechanical task of packing his bag, her mind was elsewhere. Someplace peaceful and painless. She packed his favorite shirts—silk and white on white.
This is it. It’s time for me to take charge…it’s my life, she thought.
Within the hour he was out of the house.
Dominic drove alone down to Philadelphia. The next afternoon he killed three men, then went to Atlantic City for an early weekend of buffets, blackjack and hookers.
After Dominic’s silver Chrysler Town Car backed out of the driveway and disappeared down Patascat, Beverly Deltino pulled another suitcase and a smaller duffel bag from her bedroom closet. She had rehearsed this a hundred times in her mind.
In the suitcase she packed enough clothing for a week. In the duffel was a little over $600,000 in cash. She’d easily opened the safe Dominic kept in his closet, hidden behind the shoe rack. He was cursed with a poor memory for details and had scratched the combination into the cedar paneling next to the safe.
Some people deserve whatever happens to them.
“Three days is all I’ve got. Three days is long enough. It’ll have to be.”
She finished packing her bags, laid a hastily scrawled note for Dominic inside the now empty safe, laid her wedding ring on top of the note and closed the safe. She told Gabriella to leave and come back on Monday. Then Beverly Deltino closed the door behind her.