The Up and Comer

Wednesday 11:12 p.m.

The sound of shoes thudding against flesh echoed in the dark alleyway, with a man’s cries of pain singing counter-point.

Tony straightened his red and black Gucci track-suit, askew from the vigorous beating he and Bernardo had just laid on one James Torrino.

James lay beaten and bleeding on the refuse-strewn ground. Tony lit a Kool’s and leaned down. He lightly smacked James and blew smoke in the man’s face.

“Listen, ya degenerate gambler,” Tony said. “You owe Mr. de Rossi ten large and we’re here to collect.”

“Please,” James begged. “Please, I can have it next week.” Blood and snot mixed with the tears tacking down his face.

Tony turned and clapped Bernardo on the shoulder. “See, Bernie? I told you Jimmy-boy here would be reasonable. Didn’t I say that?”

Bernardo grunted.

Tony turned back to James. “See? I always had faith.” He leaned in closer and closer, until the cherry from his cigarette dangled dangerously close to James’ eye. “In fact, I have so much faith that I’m going to give you ’til Friday, close of business.”

He smacked James again. “Understood?”

James coughed and nodded.

Thursday 2:10 p.m.

“Tony, you gotta talk to Franco for me.”

Tony rolled his eyes as his former boss, Vinnie Abruzzo, begged for his life. Bernardo loomed behind Vinnie. One beefy hand-held the little weasel in his chair.

Tony’s beloved Browning Hi-Power, given to him by the Don’s Consigliere, Franco Fianchetti, rested against Vinnie’s forehead.

“Please, Tony! For old times’ sake, huh?” Vinnie’s voice rose to a scream. “I didn’t take the money!”

“I know you didn’t, Vinnie,” Tony said as malice danced in his eyes.

“Wha- Then why don’t you say…” Tony smiled as understanding dawned on Vinnie’s face. “You sonofabitch! You set me up! Why?”

Tony shrugged. “It was only a matter of time, Vinnie. You’ve screwed up by the numbers lately. I just saw an opportunity for advancement and I took it.”

Tony’s bleached teeth flashed in the dim basement light. “No hard feelings.”

The Hi-Power barked before Vinnie could say anything else.

Friday 6:20 p.m.

Tony pounded on James’ door again. The little bastard tried to duck him by hiding in his house.

“Open up, James. Open up or bad things will happen. You got a son and a daughter to think about,” Tony shouted.

He heard someone yell, “Bobby, no!”, and the door flung open.

Two massive holes stared at Tony, and a bright flash blinded him.

He never even heard the roar.


One thought on “The Up and Comer

  1. […] where better to start than the beginning of his career. For the story of Tony’s demise click here. For his character sketch, click […]

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