Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Running”

Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole… Chapter38

Fiction Saturday

Chapter 38

 

A fresh batch of tourists were getting off the train and heading for the border. A few walked toward the McDonalds, but saw the yellow crime scene tape and turned back to join the flow to the crossing gate.

Laura flipped off the light switch and closed the Cambio door behind her. They looked up and down the street. Nobody was paying them any attention. Laura took Davis’s arm as they casually crossed the plaza. She idly swung the plastic shopping bag holding $180,000 worth of forged documents and the file folder from Molina’s office. They looked just like a couple of tourists heading home after a day of shopping in Tijuana. They made a beeline for the nearest open door on the waiting red train.

They started to step up into the car when a uniformed San Diego police sergeant started coming down and blocked their way. Laura and the officer made eye contact. After what felt like an hour, the officer stepped back up into the car.

Read more…

Advertisements

Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole… Chapter 37 Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter 37 Continued

As they passed it, they both looked over into the alcove. The dead man seemed so very small. Davis walked over and pulled the pistol from Lizard Boy’s waistband and started to stick it in his belt. Laura stopped him and held out her hand. He passed it to her. They left the bundle of cash locked in the dead man’s hand.

It was only another fifty feet before they saw a set of steps rising toward a carpet-covered door.

They slowly climbed the steps and listened. They couldn’t hear anything coming from the other side.

“Well, if nothing else, we have the element of surprise,” whispered Davis. He reached for the knob.

“We hope,” said Laura and pulled his hand back from the door. She would go first. The Mexican’s pistol pointed up. 

“Let’s go, my dear,” she said. They both took a deep breath of the warm and stale air.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole… Continued Chapter 35

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Thirty-Five

 

pull-molinas-waitingIt was time to take care of present business and to move on to whatever the future might bring. She climbed the stairs to the second floor of Molina’s building and stood in front of his door. She was tired. She was spent physically and emotionally. The constant stress of waiting for a bullet in the back was pushing her toward the edge. She opened the door to Molina’s studio and walked up to the speaker hanging on the wall.

“I’m back, Molina. Get out here,” she shouted.

“I’ll be right there, Señorita. One moment, please,” came the tinny-sounding response.

She dropped down into one of the wooden chairs and felt all of the air leave her. She closed her eyes as she leaned her head back against the green-painted wall. Sleep was all she really wanted right now. Sleep, a long soak in a warm tub, a massage and maybe a good long cry.

“Señorita? Miss Lovejoy?”

She jerked forward, disoriented for a second or two. Then her instincts took over and all of her senses were focused on Ernesto Molina who was standing in front of her, his hand on her knee.

“You are alone?” said Molina,

“For the moment, yes.”

 “Very well, come with me, Señorita.”

Molina led her back down the hall into the studio where they had done the photo shoot. There was a large plastic shopping bag sitting on the bed, the kind of bag you can buy for a dollar in every shop in Tijuana. The comforter had been pulled down and the bag was resting on the white silk sheets that Molina favored.

“I have everything you’ll need, Señorita—a complete package. Please, let me show you. I’ve done an excellent job, if I may say so myself.”

Standing beside the bed, Molina showed Laura each of the fake documents he had created. He took pleasure in pointing out the details that made them look totally authentic. None of the items looked brand new. All were more or less worn—lived-in, he called it.

“If you will notice, Señorita, I even put in a few customs stamps on both passports. It looks like you and the Señor have been to Ireland and England a few times. It adds a touch of realism.”

He was like a proud parent showing off his children to an appreciative stranger.

“Also, as you requested, Miss Lovejoy, all of the negatives.” He held up a sealed Manila envelope.

Laura was silent throughout Molina’s show. She didn’t know if what she was buying was really as good as he was claiming. It all looked real to her, but would it hold up under scrutiny?

brass-bed“Everything you asked for is here, Señorita. Very authentic, very first-rate and also very expensive.”

Laura took her eyes from the bed and looked at him. “You want your money now, don’t you?”

“Yes, please, it’s been a very stressful day for me.” Molina took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his brow. He was sweating.

Laura shook her head and said, “You don’t know the meaning of the word, Molina.”

“How are you planning to get back into the U.S., Señorita?

“We walked here, we’ll walk back. Why do you ask?”

Molina looked at her, somewhat astonished.  “Let’s be honest here for a moment, if we may. Señorita, if you are in need of my products then, obviously, someone is looking for you. Am I right?”

“Yes, of course.” She wondered where this was leading.

Molina shook his head.

“Then, Miss Lovejoy, walking through one of the most watched border crossings in the western hemisphere is suicidal. Frankly, I’m very surprised you got this far.”

“We’re fine, thank you,” she said, not believing it herself. She just wanted to pay him and get out of there.

“I can get you back across the border, no problem. I have established an underground railroad of sorts,” he said. “I can get you both back right under the border.

“Under—a tunnel? Are you serious?” she said, genuinely surprised.

“Actually, I have several tunnels, yes, and all I have to do is simply open a file drawer and get you a ticket. I’ll even drive you to the ‘station’ if you’d like.”

“For an additional charge, of course,” Laura said.

“Of course, Señorita, I am a businessman,” he said, ignoring the sarcasm in Laura’s voice.

“I’ll pass, Molina. Let’s settle up and I’ll be on my way.” This was making her nervous.

“As you wish, Señorita, but if you come back later, the price of the ticket goes up.” He shrugged, as if he was adding of course.

“You don’t ever take no for an answer, do you, Molina?” She started to gather up the documents off of the bed.

“Rarely, my dear. After all, many times a person says no when they really mean yes.” He moved closer to her.

“Like I said before, Molina, do you want your money now or not?”

“Have it your way Señorita. Please, yes.”

She moved away from him and started to undo the buttons on her blouse to get at the money taped to her body. Molina’s eyes narrowed.

“Señorita, I normally deal strictly in cash, but I’m not against a little barter.”

He moved close to her again, reached out and grabbed her belt, licking his lips.

“Get your hands off me.” She pushed him away.

“Oh, Señorita, don’t be coy with me. Let me show you what a real man is like. Not that pale rabbit you had with you earlier today.” He moved in again. This time he was not going for her belt. He smiled and his right hand flew out and slapped Laura hard across the face. She stumbled and backed away several steps. Her hands closed into fists. As Molina stepped toward her again, Laura lashed out and hit him square in the nose with a hard left jab followed by a right cross to his jaw. He reeled back and fell to the floor. Her uncle, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull”  Gravano had taught her that combination when she was nine years old.

“Don’t you touch me. Do you understand me, you little pig? I’ll kill you right here,” she said. They were both breathing hard.

She moved toward the bed to finish getting her merchandise. Molina gathered himself and sprang to his feet, putting himself between Laura and the bed.

“You want to get to my bed, Señorita? Let me oblige you.”

He charged at her. His momentum knocked Laura off her feet and they both fell to the floor. Molina punched her hard in the stomach. The bundles of cash dulled the impact, but it still made her gasp. She tried to get to her feet, but Molina was faster. He jumped up and grabbed her from behind, around her waist, and lifted her off the ground. He spun and threw Laura onto the bed, on top of her new identity. She bounced on the soft mattress and before she could react, Molina leaped onto the bed, covering her with his body.

“Stop. Stop it, you cheap little ape,” she hissed at him.

He slapped her again. She felt the heat rising in her face.

“I’m not a cheap anything, darling, and neither are you. We are both very expensive.” He laughed, thinking that he had her right where he wanted her.

As his left hand held her down on the bed, his right snaked inside her blouse. The fear she was feeling left her and rage poured in to take its place. She punched him hard in the face again. He stopped his groping to hit her with his fist. She could taste blood in her mouth.

He smiled at the look on her face and said, “You might want to put some ice on that later.” He was enjoying this, she realized, and that had to stop.

She hit him again, aiming for his eyes with her knuckles. As he recoiled from the pain she pushed with all her strength and managed to roll them both over. She was now on top.

She looked down at him. He was grinning again.

“Ah, now you’re getting into it, eh, Laura Lovejoy?” He wrapped his legs tightly around her waist.

“You could say that.”

He laughed. “Kiss me, Laura. Besame.”

She also laughed and started to bend low over his face. Molina closed his eyes and relaxed. His smile closed into a kiss. He never saw her reach down, lift the cuff of her jeans, and pull at the tape on her calf.

“Ernesto,” she whispered

“Yes, cara mia?”

He opened his eyes just in time to see Laura driving the ice pick downward. He didn’t have time pull-icepickto scream as the tempered steel shaft skewered through his left eyeball, punched through the thin orbital bone, and plunged deep into his brain. He was dead before Laura pulled the ice pick out and jammed it into his right eye.

Then she  vomited on him.

 

***

 

The taxi with Davis and Tomás screeched to a halt outside of Molina’s building. Davis jumped out and headed toward the door.  He saw Laura slumped against the wall inside the lobby.

“My God, Laura, what’s happened? Are you alright?”

“Let’s get out of here. You’re going to have to help me.” She looked pleadingly into his eyes. “Help me, Davis.”

Tomás rushed over to them, took Laura’s left arm and scooped up the plastic shopping bag. Together he and Davis half-carried Laura back to the taxi.

“Tomás,” said Laura. “Let’s get out of here. I’ve got to think.”

“Good God, Laura, what happened? Your face…?”

“Molina tried to–he got out of hand.” She was not going to allow herself to cry. “I won’t take that from anybody.”

“I’ll kill him,” Davis said. “Tomás, wait here.”

“No!” she cried out. “Don’t do it. There’s no need…there’s no need. Tomás, I paid you to give us a tour, so drive.”

Davis’ anger faded as his concern for Laura grew. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and tried to wipe Laura’s swollen lip and jaw. She pulled away.

“No, I’m fine, please. I love you, but I’ll be fine. Give me a few minutes and then let’s head back to the border.”

“We can’t,” Davis answered. “The border is closed. There was a gun battle with the police and some drug smugglers. The whole place is shot to pieces.”

Laura closed her eyes. She went inside herself to look for more strength, more resolve and more personal anesthesia. Her all-too-human engine was running on fumes. She slumped back in the seat. Her mind was struggling to think rationally, to go over the lessons of her past that might help them. She was looking at everything that had happened to her, everything she had seen and heard. She knew that the answer was filed away somewhere inside her memory. After about thirty seconds, she opened her eyes and leaned forward.

“Tomás, Turn around. Take us back to Molina’s.”

Tomás did a U-turn and had them outside of Molina’s building in minutes. On the way, she told them about the underground railroad and the “ticket” that Molina had tried to sell her.

Before they got out of the cab, she needed to prepare Davis for what he was about to see.

“I need you to come up with me to help find the tickets. They are somewhere in his office.”

        “You think Molina will still sell them to us?” Davis was not anxious to see Molina again. He was still angry enough to want to hurt him for what he had tried to do to the woman he loved.

“Davis…Molina is in no condition to bargain. I need your help, but I want you to understand and forgive me for what you’re going to see up there.”

Tomás said a silent prayer, thankful that she had not asked him to go upstairs with them.

“To hell with Molina,” said Davis. “Let’s get those tickets.”

Tomás waited in the cab wondering again what he had gotten himself into with these two strangers.

As soon as they walked into Molina’s studio Davis understood Laura’s words of warning.

Molina’s body was sprawled face-up on the bed. His eyes were two black, oozing holes. The bedspread and sheets were soaked with his blood. It was an ugly death.

“Jesus, Laura.” Davis was stunned. It looked like something out of a cheap slasher movie, only this was for real.

“Davis, we don’t have time. You can get sick later. He said the tickets were in a file cabinet.”

pull-fike-cabinetsThey looked everywhere in the studio. There were no file cabinets anywhere. Davis saw a frosted-glass door by the far wall. He tried the knob and it opened into a back corridor. Across the hallway was another glass door and it was open. He could see a workbench, a draftsman’s table and two rows of five-drawer file cabinets.

“Laura, back here. File cabinets.”

She hurried toward his voice.

“Bingo,” whispered Laura. “We’re looking for tickets or something that mentions a railroad of some sort. Let’s get started.”

Starting at opposite ends of the first bank of file cabinets, they rifled through folder after folder.

Ernesto Molina’s files contained blank documents of all sorts, from at least a dozen countries. He was able to create new identities in such detail that it would make real people look suspicious to the authorities.

Laura pulled out files, flipped through, and discarded them on the floor. She noticed alphabetized folders holding copies of documents and negatives. Half of the infamous missing persons in North America were in that file cabinet. Laura stopped when she saw her name typed on a protruding tab—not Laura Lovejoy, but Beverly Deltino. It contained another set of her photos and negatives. She took the folder and slipped it inside the bag holding her documents.

Halfway through the third file cabinet Laura grabbed a folder with a label marked “Ferrocarril.” Inside she saw sheets of paper, signed by Molina. At the top of each sheet was a line drawing of an old-fashioned steam locomotive.

“Davis, I think I’ve got it. Did you ever take Spanish in school?”

“I had two years in high school. Let me see it.” She handed him the folder.

Davis scanned the papers as he searched his memories of Mrs. De La Vega’s class in eleventh grade.

“It’s a permission slip. ‘Let the person with this ticket travel through the—something. I don’t know this word—ferrocarril means railroad. I’m sure of that. Here’s an address for the estacion. It looks like a ticket to me.”

There were a dozen copies, all signed, in the folder. Laura took two and stepped over to the worktable. She plucked a pen out of the coffee mug pen holder and carefully printed her new name in the blank space provided. She then printed “Davis Lovejoy” on the second sheet.

“Now, let’s get out here,” she said, as they headed for the closest exit.

They opened the door and found themselves on the landing outside of Molina’s studio. Davis looked at the door they had just used. Stenciled on the glass was “Geronimo Morey—Abogado.”

Laura never stopped to look. She was already halfway down the stairs to the street. Davis took the steps two at a time to catch up with her as she crossed the sidewalk and reached out for the door handle on Tomás’s cab.

“Tomás, do you know where 162 Avenida de Negocios is located?

“Sure, Señorita. It’s right up by the border. Lots of warehouses and small maquiladoras, little factories, not much there.”

“That’s where we’re going, quickly,” she said. “When the people at the railroad hear about Molina, they’ll shut it down.”

Driving as fast as he could without killing anyone or getting pulled over by one of Tijuana’s many motorcycle officers, Tomás took his cab through the city’s side streets near the border. They were less than a half-mile from the carnage at the San Ysidro crossing.

to be continued 1

 

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole… Continued Chapter 31

Fiction Saturday 

 

Chapter 31

pull-traffic-borderThe traffic heading south on Interstate 5 was heavy, as usual.  Every day of the week thousands of cars and trucks drive from the United States into Mexico through the crossing at San Ysidro, the last little community before the border.

All manner of merchandise goes over into Mexico by truck.  A much narrower range of cargo comes back the other way.

The United States Border Patrol has the unpleasant and futile duty of trying to stop the flow of illicit drugs and other contraband that spews across the border by the truckload every day.  Their best tools in this struggle are highly trained dogs and years of experience in spotting drug mules—the the people who attempt to cross into the U.S. with bundles of narcotics strapped onto, or ingested into, their bodies.  They get caught at the border with stunning regularity.  The drug wholesalers who send them don’t seem to care, because they know that even the small number who do squeak past the dogs and the eagle eyes of the Border Patrol make it an incredibly profitable method of transport.

As a result, the crossing at Tijuana is one of the most heavily-monitored international borders between two countries that aren’t actually shooting at each other, although that is starting to happen as well.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday Chapter 25 – And Pull The Hole… Continued

Fiction Saturday 

Chapter Twenty-Five

 

pull-airplane“I hate this.  I can’t hear a damn thing.”

Inside the crowded cabin, the roar of the jet engines was only a constant vibration to him.  No sound was getting through.  He always flew stone deaf.  It would take two days for his full hearing to return.

“I know, Dominic,” said Peeto.  “Happens every time you fly.”

“Happens every time I fly.”  Dominic pinched his nose and blew, trying to open his blocked ears.

“I tell you, Peeto, I hate to fly.  I really hate it.” The blowing did no good.

“Yeah, it always messes up your hearing,” nodded Peeto.

“It always messes up my hearing, y’know?”  He stuffed five sticks of gum into his mouth.

It was a little more than an hour into the flight from Newark to LAX and the flight attendants had already started dealing out the prepackaged, precooked, and pre-ruined meals to the passengers.  It was a ritual known to the attendants as “slopping the hogs.” Somehow, that part never got into their ads.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday – Chapter 24 – And Pull The Hole – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Chapter 24

 

Chapter Twenty-Four

 

pull-drivingA starlit nightfall was racing across the Mojave Desert and California was disappearing into shades of gray and neon splashes.

“Davis, wake up.  I want you to take over.  I’m exhausted and I think we’ll be safer with night coming on.  We’ll switch again when we stop for gas.”

“You look drained.  Laura, we are going to make it, right?”

“We’ll make it, Davis.  Things will be fine.  Once we get to the border, we’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, beautiful, carefree, Mexico.”

They were both whistling past the graveyard and they knew it.

They had changed their path south to California Route One, the coast road.  Just north of Ventura, on the outskirts of LA, Laura pulled the car into a Shell station.

The orange floodlights washed over the concrete and the islands with the self-serve gas pumps.  Inside the station a young man with stringy hair and acne sat behind the counter reading a motorcycle magazine.

“I’ll fill it up,” said Davis.

Laura opened her door and got out.  She stretched her arms and yawned.  She looked around the brightly-lit station.

“I’m going to the bathroom.  I’ll be right back.”

She walked into the mini-mart and reemerged seconds later holding a large brass key attached to a miniature baseball bat.  She disappeared into the darkness around the side of the building.

Davis used his debit card to fill the tank of his three-year-old, white, four-door Ford Taurus.  He made a mental note that it was due for a scheduled maintenance checkup.  He topped off the tank and put the nozzle back into the pump.  It was then that he realized he was finally hungry.

He really hadn’t eaten anything since he had picked at his lunch back at the Target store in Santa Maria.  Now he wished that he had, at least, eaten his churro.  Laura had inhaled her food as if lunch was going out of style.

“Maybe she’s more used to this than me,” he thought to himself.

After replacing the gas cap and pocketing his receipt, Davis walked up to the cashier’s counter inside the station.

“Hey, good evening, Mister.  Can I help you?”  The young clerk put his magazine down on the counter.

“Hi.  I need to get something to snack on.”pull-gas-station

“We got a pretty good selection of munchies and the cold sodas and stuff are over there in the cooler.  We don’t sell beer or anything hard any more.”

“Thanks.  Soft drinks will do.”

Davis walked over to the rack.  He studied the collection of foil and paper-wrapped sweet and salty junk foods.  He picked up a small bag of chips and headed over toward the beverages.

“Hey, Mister,” the kid called out to him.

“Yes, what?”  Davis turned away from his search.

“I think you got some company outside,” said the young man, his head tilted toward the door and the gas pumps beyond.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday Chapter 23 – Pull The Hole… Continued

 Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Twenty-Three

 pull-clouds“Actually, Davis, using your car is a good idea.  We can avoid public transportation and no pesky rental agreements floating around.”

“See, I told you I’d come in handy.”  Davis looked out of the passenger side window at the passing California landscape.  “I wish you’d let me drive for a while, though.”

“Later tonight maybe.  I’m a better driver than you are and it helps me to relax.” Relax was something that Laura had not been able to do for a second, ever since she saw her own face staring out from page four of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Besides, I think better while driving.  Maybe I can figure a way out of this mess for us.”

“Well, I’m a very good driver—no accidents ever, and you could use a break.”  Davis knew there was no changing her mind once it was made up, even though Laura looked like she hadn’t slept in days and her jaw was clenched tight.

Appreciating his effort to care for her, Laura smiled and gazed at him as he huddled up against the car door.  He looked lost, she thought.

“Well, dearest,” she said, “at sixteen I was picking up extra pocket money as a wheel man.  Just for kicks really.  My father never knew.  It was stupid and dangerous, but I was good at it.”

“Don’t tell me any more right now.”  He was a stranger in a strange land if ever there was one.  “I haven’t digested everything you’ve laid on me so far.”

“Okay, I understand.”

“I do have one question though,” he said.  “Why did we stop at a travel agent before we left?  A ticket for one from Miami to Detroit?”

“A little deception.  Detroit is a border town, a ten-minute walk out of the country across the river.  I bought it in my own name, of course.  It won’t fool anybody for long, especially Dominic.  But the Feds will have to check it out.  It’ll tie up a couple of their guys for a few hours and give us a little extra edge.  It’ll help our odds, maybe.”  She shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.  “Maybe not.  I don’t know.”

“What are our odds?”  He was immediately sorry that he had asked.

“We’re two snowballs and we’re driving south.”

“Oh.”

Read more…

Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Nineteen

 

pull-newspaperWhen she ran from Dominic she was hoping that, in time, her life would become less complicated.

“Well that didn’t happen, did it?” she said out loud as she popped a bagel in the toaster.  She wanted a life that was simpler, not filled with so many dangerous possibilities. “Didn’t get that either, did you?” she said as she picked up the morning paper from outside her door.

 Your timing sucks, girl.  Why did this have to happen now?  Twelve years ago I would have jumped for joy.  Now I’m sick about it, just sick.

“This man…this fine, wonderful, funny, and tender man says that he loves me, and I believe him.  I think that I love him, too.  Oh, hell, I know that I do.  I know that I love the way he smells and the way he tastes.  I love his voice in my ear and his breath on my neck.  He makes me gasp.

“It’s like I’m reading a book for the first time.  One I should have read a dozen years ago.  One that everybody else has already read, and now I want to memorize every word.

“He says that he wants to be with me.  He doesn’t know what that really means.  If I tell him, I’m afraid he’ll run, and I’m afraid for him if he doesn’t run.

“I didn’t know that my skin could ever be so… so in love with someone else’s skin.  He kissed my little scars.  He kissed my moles.  I didn’t know that love could be fun.  I didn’t know that love could be my choice.  I didn’t know love, period.

“I would never hurt him and I’d kill anyone who tried to.  I hope he’d be able to do the same for me.  Hopefully it will never come to that.

“Maybe I can stay here.  Maybe I can be safe.  It’s been only a couple of months, at most.  Oh, why can’t…?  Why can’t…too many things?”

The pungent aroma of the coffee brought her back into her kitchen.  She poured herself a mug and picked up the newspaper.  Quickly scanning past the local news she got to page four.

“Oh, Christ.”
Read more…

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Seventeen

 

table1“How’s the chowder, Jim?”

“Good.  How about your salad, Dear?”

“It’s a salad,” said Blanche.  “It’s okay, but I’ve had better.  But you know, we really come here for the floor show.”

Two baby-boomers, married for almost twenty-five years, were out for a night on the town, visiting their favorite restaurant in The Marina.

“Yes, don’t you just love it?  A nice little neighborhood restaurant,” said the husband, gesturing with his fork, “that has such great entertainment.”

“The people, the customers, are the show,” agreed his wife, waving her hand in a sweeping arc.  “This is the best place to people watch.  You get a real cross section of humanity eating here.

Anybody look promising to you tonight, entertainment-wise?” Blanche asked.

Jim scanned the room, looking over the tables and booths filled with diners.

“Yes, those two over there, in the booth near the window.”  He pointed with a breadstick.  A small piece broke off and fell onto the candle glowing in the center of their table.

“The blonde with the short hair and the cute guy?” she asked.  “What’s your take on them?”

“Let’s see.”  He adjusted his glasses, trying for just right tilt of his head to see that far clearly.  “Judging from the body language, I’d say that it’s not a first date, but they’re not married.”

Read more…

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – continued

pull-dons-mansionChapter 15

The homes in the Hamptons are as close as one can find anyplace in this country to real palaces.  Size and ostentation were the bywords when most of the so-called “cottages” were built in the late nineteenth century.

The men sat in two soft, green leather wing chairs, facing each other.  Don Giani’s cottage was absurdly large and provided him with the aura of old money that he felt painted him with respectability.

The room was filled with too much of everything.  The Don had wealth, but not the taste to know when enough was enough.  Tables were crowded with small mementos and photos.  He kept an antique barber chair in one corner, ostensibly to remind him of his humble roots.  The reality was that he liked to sit in it during meetings.  It made him feel like a king on his throne.  There were at least a dozen pictures of his daughter at various ages.  She was his prized possession.

“Dominic, where is my daughter?  Have you found her yet?”

“Honest, Don Giani, I don’t know where she is—yet.  I traced her to Boston, but after that, nothing.  Do you think she might have gone up to Montreal, you know, to visit her people up there?”

“No.  Let me tell you something, Dominic.  I’m losing my patience with you.  I’ve got my own people out looking for her, too.  I already know about her car in Boston and the airline tickets.  She’s not in Montreal, or Miami.  I would have heard and she’d be back home by now.

“You have your people looking – I have mine,” continued the Don, his patience waning.  “I don’t care who finds her first, but if I find her first you are going to pay for my expenses on this.  I put the blame for all of this mess on your head.  So, you are going to pay for it.”

Dominic was starting to sweat.  Under his suit jacket, he could feel his shirt sticking to his back.

“Sir, I hear where you’re coming from, but since I don’t actually know why she took off, it may have nothing to do with me.  She may have just gone off on a vacation.  So, I don’t think, necessarily, therefore, and ergo, that I should have to pay for something you are choosing to do on your own.  I love her with all my heart and I’m scared for her.  I don’t know where she is and I want her home, that’s all.  Can’t you see this from my point of view?”

“Your point of view?  In this, you don’t have a point of view until I tell you to have a point of view.

“My daughter fell in love with you for some reason and wanted to marry you.  I wasn’t happy with her choice.  I always thought you were never going to amount to anything beyond a two-bit grift.  I was right.”

“I done all right,” protested Dominic.

“Don’t interrupt me.  You ‘done all right’ you say?  The only reason you’ve got more than two pair of pants to your name is because of me.  I give you whatever you have.  I have to order other people to throw some crumbs your way.  I protect your sorry ass. Without me watching over you, Beverly would already be a widow.  Dominic, you are nothing but a slow-witted, violent fool.”

Dominic’s fear was turning into a barely concealed rage.  His earlier decision to kill Don Giani, after first taking care of his wife, was feeling more and more like a very good idea.  But for now, he had to sit and take the insults.

“Don Giani, I thank you for whatever help you have given me over the years, and I’m truly grateful.  I really am, but I came here to talk with you about Beverly.  I didn’t come here to be insulted and called names.”

With a quickness that belied his years, Don Giani Montini reached out and slapped his son-in-law hard across the face.  The sound cracked like a small caliber gun and Dominic’s cheek reddened immediately.  Dominic restrained his reflex to return the blow, to beat his father-in-law to death.

“You useless little piece of trash,” the Don said softly.  “Get out of my house and don’t come back without my daughter.”  He looked at Dominic like he was something he had stepped in.  “I ought to just kill you myself, right here, right now, but you are still, much to my disgust, family.”

Dominic stood up, adjusted his lapels, composing himself, and headed toward the door.  He was quiet.  He didn’t want to say anything more.  He would get his satisfaction from seeing Don Giani’s eyes staring up at him from the gutter, dead.

“Dominic, remember this.  If you have harmed my child you will beg me to let you die.”  He lowered his head and closed his eyes.  A major headache was starting to gather.

As he opened the door, Dominic turned and faced Don Giani.  It was time to twist the knife a little.  He couldn’t resist the urge.pull-beverly-as-child-copy

“Don Giani?”  When the older man looked up, Dominic reached out to the small table by the door and picked up a framed photograph of Beverly as a child.  With his ice cold eyes fixed on his father-in-law, Dominic kissed the image of Beverly’s face and then tossed the picture to the carpet.  He smiled as he walked out and closed the door quietly behind him.

Don Giani watched the door close and made a decision.

noir-man-at-big-windows

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Twelve

 

pull-fed-office“Nothing.  Not a peep.”

“She has really gone to ground.”

“Well, she has to come up for air sometime, and when she does we’ll grab her.  They always do and we always do.”

Special Agent Paxton sat behind his desk in New York.  He toyed with his pen as he looked at the ever-growing file on Beverly Deltino.

Agent Thomas Markosi was sitting at another desk, going through the daily field reports, hoping for something that they might be able to use, some little gem of information.  There were no gems today.

Reports from offices around the country all said much the same thing: Nobody has seen her.  Nobody has heard anything.  Not even a whisper.  The lady was gone.

Markosi looked down at her photo, but it was Paxton who spoke to her.

“Beverly, where in the hell are you?  We get more tips on sightings of Elvis.”

Read more…

Do I Have A Roman Nose?

rome1THEY SAY THAT CAESAR’S IMPERIAL ROME had the best system of water delivery in the Ancient World. There was a series of aqueducts, canals, pipes, and fountains that covered hundreds of miles and kept the city of Rome clean and quenched.

I think they could have learned a thing or two if they’d been able to study my sinuses in the morning.

Read more…

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Four

 

pull patioOn a pastel-colored sun porch that would have been more at home in Boca Raton than in the New York City suburbs sat an old man who, though frail, still comfortably carried an air of command.  Shrunken from time and disease, he was almost lost in the oversized peacock chair.  A glass of iced tea nestled in his left hand.  He cradled it as if it were as delicate as a swallow’s egg.  His attention was focused, not on the man who was talking to him, but on the game table in front of his chair.

Four young and muscular men lounged about on the porch, getting some sun and seeing to the old man’s needs and wishes.  They respected his position and feared his power.

Read more…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: