Saturday 2:00 p.m.
Tony drummed his fingers on the dashboard. “Where we headed, Bernie?”
A grunt filled with disgust answered him.
“Aw, man. Abruzzo? That guy’s a jerk-off. What’s he want now?”
Bernardo tilted his head slightly to the right.
“Right, right. Delivery.” Tony rolled down the window and hocked out a wad of phlegm. “Why Mr. de Rossi promoted that jackass to Capo, I’ll never know.”
He fell silent for the rest of the ride, thoughts on his upcoming date with Cindy. Three months since that day in the deli, and he couldn’t get enough of her. It helped she was a wildcat in the sack. Anything went with her, and he did everything. His hand slipped in his pocket and caressed the velvet-covered box inside. He was going to do it, tonight during their three-month anniversary.
Buildings changed from walk-ups to warehouses and Bernardo navigated the twists with the ease of practice. He pulled up to a gatehouse and nodded at the guard, who buzzed them through. The car rolled to a stop, and the two of them strolled inside.
A voice rang out from the dim interior. “About time you got here!” Footsteps echoed as Vinnie Abruzzo pounded down the metal stairs from the manager’s office on the second floor. “I was expecting you idiots an hour ago!”
Tony growled, but Bernardo calmed him with slight head shake.
“That’s right punk, listen to muscle-head.” Vinnie got in Tony’s face, breath stinking from a mix of cigarettes, whiskey, and hot dogs with too much onion and mustard. “You two mooks need to head out and oversee the exchange with the Devil Riders in an hour.”
He looked at his bare wrist as if checking a watch. “So what are you waiting for? Get outta here!”
Tony stormed out of the warehouse, Bernardo taking a more measured pace behind him. As they drove out of the lot, Tony said, “If I shoot him one day, you be okay with it?”
Bernardo’s lips tugged into a small smile.
Saturday 3:45 p.m.
The biker paced back and forth, tattoo sleeve rippling as he wrung his hands. “Where are they?”
Tony patted the air in a calming gesture. “Easy, Rick. They’ll be here any minute.” He glanced at Bernardo, not comforted by the big man’s deep frown. He moved in closer. “They’ll be here, right?” Tony whispered.
Bernardo shrugged and watched the road. Ten more minutes passed before a cloud of dust announced the arrival of the shipment. A panel van pulled up to the dive bar owned by the Devil Riders. A Family associate named Sam Long and an unknown driver hopped out. “Sorry we’re late. Got a little lost,” Sam called.
“About time,” Tony muttered. “Open up the van.”
Van doors swung open, revealing long crates sitting on the bed. Rick stalked over, crowbar in hand. He pried one of the boxes open and reached in to pull out an Uzi. “Yeah, this is what I’m talking about.” He grabbed a clip, loaded, pulled back the bolt, and popped off a few rounds. “Nice. I’ll be right back.”
Rick headed into the tavern for the cash. Tony tapped Bernardo on the arm. “I got a date tonight, B. Kinda important. Sam’s here, let’s bail.”
Bernardo’s gaze never left the new guy leaning against the van. He nodded and headed toward the car.
“Yo, Sammy! We gotta jet, man. Catch you later,” Tony called. He slid in the passenger seat, a bit surprised when Bernardo slammed the gas and took off. “Whoa, Bernie! It ain’t that important.”
Bernardo swerved off the main road, taking a small dirt road.
Tony looked around. “Where we goin’?”
Red lights flashed in front of them, a roadblock set up to catch anyone fleeing the scene. Men with jackets reading ATF pointed rifles at the car. Bernardo slammed on the brakes, pounding on the steering wheel.
Tony stared in dismay, then pulled out his cell. He hit Cindy’s number and it rang through to voice mail. “Hey, babe. It’s me. Somethin’s come up and I’m goin’ to miss our date tonight.”
He looked at Bernardo as agents rushed forward. “Well…shit.”
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