Serial Monday: The Rise and Fall of Quick-Fingers

 Custom Browning Hi-Power FNH made in Belgium + 4 hi cap mags

photo found at: lionseek.com

Sunday 1:00 a.m.

A door slammed. Tony snorted and jerked his head up. He wiped a sliver of drool from his chin and looked around the bland room. It took him a moment to remember the arrest and escort to interrogation. They’d left him there six hours to stew and soften him up, so he’d decided to take a nap. He smirked at the female agent across the table from him, and ignored her partner in the corner. “Thanks for the sleep, hon’, but could we get this movin’ now?”

She set down a thin file and started pulling out pictures without saying a word. Tony glanced at them. They showed him and Bernardo hanging around the biker bar and talking with Rick. “Hey, tell whoever your photographer is that I said thanks. They got my good side.”

The agent caught his gaze with hers. “Tony Abbatiello, small-time hood for the de Rossi family. Tsk, tsk, tsk.” She shook her head in mock dismay. “Moving up to gun-running. Not a smart career move.”

“Funny. I don’t see any guns in these pictures.” He chuckled. “Can I have one of these after I go? They got some nice, what’s that word…” He snapped his fingers. “Composition.”

She frowned at his act. “I don’t think you realize the seriousness of the situation you’re in, Tony. Your buddy’s been singing like a bird and pointed the finger at you.”

Tony burst out laughing so hard he had to hold his sides. “You…ha! B.? Ha!” He waved his hand in the air as if warding off an attack. He sucked in a deep breath. “Please…no more. That’s…that’s just too funny!”

“I’m serious, Tony. Bernardo over there gave you up.”

Tony’s laughter died, though the occasional guffaw still escaped. “I’m going to make this easy for you, sweetheart.” He wiped his eyes. “Lawyer.”

The man in the corner stirred for the first time. “You really don’t want to do that. You lawyer up, we can’t help you.”

Tony rolled his eyes and pointed at the camera. “See that? It’s on record I asked for a lawyer. So save it for the sheep. Law-y-er.”

The female agent stood up in disgust. “Take him to a cell.”

Tony leaned back in his chair, hand behind his head. “Hate to see you leave, love to watch you go, babe.” He wolf-whistled and chuckled at the male agent’s glare. Now he just had to sit and wait for the law firm on retainer with the de Rossi Family to come spring him.

Maybe he could make up his date with Cindy later that day.

***

 

Click the knight for the rest of the story so far.

 

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Serial Monday: The Rise and Fall of Quick-Fingers

 Custom Browning Hi-Power FNH made in Belgium + 4 hi cap mags

photo found at: lionseek.com

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.”

***

 

Click the button to catch up with the rest of the story.

Serial Monday: The Rise and Fall of Quick-Fingers

 Custom Browning Hi-Power FNH made in Belgium + 4 hi cap mags

photo found at: lionseek.com

Friday 1:00 p.m.

Kurtzman’s Deli bustled with activity. Suits glued to phones quick-ordered at the harried hair-net behind the counter, while waitresses scurried back and forth between tables, dishes of food teetering on arms swerving around the lunch rush. Couples laughed and argued between bites.

Tony sat in a corner booth, back to the wall. He picked at his pastrami sandwich, eyeing the pickles on the side with suspicion. A cheerful voice, three tables over, caused him to look up. A half-smile played on his lips as he watched one of the waitresses, Cindy, taking the orders of a some frat-boys.

She’d swept her raven-colored hair back in a ponytail, which highlighted the pink streak running through her tresses. The short, tight uniform skirt revealed toned legs stretching to a tight ass that he just wanted to grab. He knew from long surveillance that her emerald eyes danced with amusement when she talked to customers, and he dreamed about them burning with passion for him. If he could just figure out how to talk to her…

“Hey!” Cindy’s voice rose in protest above the cacophony. Conversation died as the diners turned to watch one of the college punks retract his hand from her rear, shit-eating grin on his face.

Tony burst from his booth, sandwich in hand. He came up behind the jackass and swung, mashing the sandwich in the guy’s face so hard the kid tipped back in his chair and hit the floor. “Keep your bitch hands to yourself!”

Chair legs screeched as the other two stood up ready to go at it. Tony sneered at them. “What?”

The boys paused as they noticed several men in the room stand, eyeing them like tigers stalking prey. The offender didn’t realize why his friends paused. He scrambled up and threw a right-cross that sent Tony sprawling to the floor. “Think you can do that to me, you little guinea grease-ball?”

One of the others grabbed a shoulder decorated with a stray slice of pastrami. “Uh…Chet? We should get out of here, man.”

The nervous tremor in his friend’s voice sunk into Chet’s skull and he looked around to see hard-looking men striding toward him. A frizzy-haired man with a bushy mustache and cook’s apron slapped a rolling-pin in one hand. The pin pointed at Chet and a voice boomed, “You get out of my shop! Nobody touches my waitresses or Mr. Abbatiello!”

Chet sneered and shook off his friend’s grip. “Whatever. This place is a dump anyways.” The three of them backed-up to the door, Chet behind his two buddies. “The little tramp liked it,” Chet yelled. He turned to bolt out the door and stumbled back as he met a hard obstacle.

Chet cocked his arm back to swing, but stopped as he craned his neck up to see unsmiling granite punctuated by glittering cold eyes. The death-stare flicked over to Tony on the floor and back to the condiment-covered Chet so fast Chet wasn’t sure it happened.

“Heh. Chet…” Tony called, “…meet my friend, Bernardo.” He waved at his partner. “Bernardo…Chet’s an asshole.”

Bernardo grunted and his paw shot out to grab Chet by the throat. He dragged Chet out of the shop, ignoring the frat-boy’s struggling. He eyed the two standing in open-mouthed amazement and pointed down the street. They understood and the sound of their feet slapping pavement echoed in the neighborhood.

Cindy knelt by Tony when the behemoth disappeared out of sight. “You okay?”

Tony rubbed his jaw, wincing as he hit a tender spot. “I’ll live.”

Mr. Kurtzman held his impromptu weapon in one hand and reached down to help Tony up with the other. “I apologize, Mr. Abbatiello. Those…punks won’t be allowed back in here again.”

Tony waved off the apology. “Not your fault, Saul.” He brushed off his track-suit and fussed with his hair. “I look okay?”

Cindy smiled at him. “I think you look…cute.”

Bernardo strode back in, his knuckles a conspicuous red. He tapped Tony on the shoulder, following it with a grunt.

Tony grimaced. “I’ve got to go,” he told Cindy. “Would you like to maybe catch a movie or something?”

She wrote something on her order pad, ripped it out, and handed it to Tony. “Call me sometime.”

Tony accepted it with a grin and followed Bernardo out of the shop. “Things are lookin’ up, Bernie.” He raised an eyebrow when Bernardo sighed, but no explanation followed.

***

 

Click the button to catch up with the rest of the story. Sorry I’m late again. I’ll endeavor to try to get back on schedule next week.

 

Serial Monday: The Rise and Fall of Quick-Fingers

*Yes, yes…I know it’s Tuesday, I got caught up with stuff*

Note: These events take place six months after the last episode

Wednesday 3:45 p.m.

Tony’s breaths came in ragged gasps as he barreled down the sidewalk, shoving people out of his way with a panicked “Move!”. Three teens, two black and one latino, closed in on him from behind. His vision swam, spots forming along the edges of his sight. The mouth of an alley yawned just ahead and he dug for one last burst of speed, ducking into it. He ran past rotting garbage and a large dumpster, stopping short when he reached the dead end. “Son of a bitch!”

He turned to see the outlines of his pursuers, features hidden by the shadowed confines, stroll down the stinking path toward him. “Ha! Got you now, ya little dago. Nowhere to run. Now what did you call me?” the largest of the trio said.

The three passed the invisible line Tony drew in his head, and he grinned. “I called you a rubber-lipped, baboon-nosed, stinkin’ moolie, ya moolie.”

The click of a blade springing into place echoed. “You are dead!”

They charged past the dumpster, the switchblade wielder’s ribs meeting with a baseball bat swung by Bernardo springing from hiding. The knife went flying forward while the boy went back, head cracking on the ground. Bernardo didn’t hesitate, using the remaining duo’s astonishment to his advantage. The bat whistled through the shadows, cries and breaking bones answering in return.

“Yeah, Bernardo! Give it to the bastards!” Tony leaped up and down in excitement, hands flashing forward as he boxed at nothing. “Teach ’em a lesson! Whoo! Eye of the tiger, baby!”

Bernardo finished his grisly chore and Tony shadow-boxed his way to his prone and groaning former pursuers. The blade-wielder lay unconscious, and Tony kicked him in the balls. Then he kicked him again. Again. The kicks sped up, more force behind each one. “Stupid, bastard.” Kick. “Think you were gonna cut me?” Kick. “I’m too smart, for ya, boy.” Kick.

Bernardo grabbed Tony by the shoulder, mid-kick, and yanked him away. “Yeah, yeah, Bernie. I got it.” Tony sniffed and smoothed back his hair. “I’m cool now. I’m cool.”

He knelt next to the Puerto Rican member of the group and slapped the boy’s face. “Hablo English, prick?” Hatred rolled off the banger and he spit a glob of blood at Tony’s feet. “I guess that’s a ‘yes’.” He punched the kid across the jaw. “You know Kurtzman’s Deli? The one you and your scumbag pals decided to rob? That’s under the protection of Mr. de Rossi. He doesn’t like wetbacks and moolies hasslin’ the good people of the neighborhood, ya know?”

Tony punched him again, then rifled the guys pockets, pulling out a wallet. He opened it up to read the driver’s license, noticing pictures of an older woman and young girl of about twelve on the opposite fold. He smirked and reached inside his track-suit, pulling his Browning out.

The Latino boy’s eyes widened in fear, and Tony chuckled. He tapped the barrel against the helpless man’s forehead, hard. “I ain’t gonna kill you…right now.” He held up the wallet, the pictures clearly visible. “Nah. This is just a message. Stay away from the deli…actually, you know what? Stay outta that neighborhood.” Tony glanced at the picture of the mother and little sister with mock concern. “I’d hate for anything to happen to lil’ sis here. Seems like she might grow up to a sweet piece.”

He pulled the cash from the wallet, along with the picture and license, tossing the emptied leather on the fallen man’s chest. He glanced at Bernardo, who held up the other two’s wallet contents. “We know where you live. Remember that.”

Bernardo grunted his assent, and the two of them strolled out of the alley.

***

 

Serial Monday: The Rise and Fall of Quick-Fingers

 Custom Browning Hi-Power FNH made in Belgium + 4 hi cap mags

photo found: www.lionseek.com

Monday 9:30 p.m.

Tony’s thumb traced the contours of the crucifix he wore around his neck as he stared at a full-sized cross behind the priest’s ambo. The pews around him sat empty and cold, softened only by the glow from votive candle flames. One flame in particular, weak and tiny compared to the others, drew his gaze. Figures. The one I light looks like it’s about to go out.

He heard the door open and he twisted his head to the side to catch a glimpse of the new visitors. Mr. Fianchetti and Bernardo paused by the stoup at the sanctuary entrance, dipping their fingers and making the sign of the cross before striding down the aisle.

The duo passed him without a glance, heading to the communion area in front of the pews. Both men genuflected before the cross, making its sign once again. Fianchetti groaned slightly as he rose to his feet, and took a seat next to Tony. Bernardo stood behind and slightly to the left of Tony’s position. “Jesus, Quick-Fingers, you made a hell of a mess,” Mr. Fianchetti said.

Tony stared at the dying flame of his candle. “I know that, sir.”

“You’re lucky Bernardo here likes you, kid. Won’t shut up about how we should give you a chance.”

Tony’s brow furrowed and he turned to look at the ogre behind him. Bernardo grunted and flicked his chin forward. Tony turned his attention back to the consigliere. “I appreciate what you did for me, Mr. Fianchetti. I really do.”

Fianchetti waved the comment away. “Eh. Stuff happens, Quick-Fingers. You did all right on the Han job, but try not to be so quick on the trigger when the circumstances don’t call for it, got it?”

Tony nodded his understanding. Fianchetti glanced over, and Tony could feel himself being measured. “Good work telling the cops what we told you to say, by the way, kid. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about how you’d hold up, but you came through like a champ. Detective Maron said you played the dutiful son to the hilt.”

Fianchetti’s hand clapped on Tony’s shoulder, and Tony mustered a smile. “No pig can break me, Mr. Fianchetti.”

Bernardo grunted and Fianchetti laughed. “That’s the Quick-Fingers I’ve come to know! Piss and vinegar, eh, Bernardo?”

Bernardo tapped his watch and Fianchetti grinned. “C’mon, Quick-Fingers, I’ve got an appointment to keep. I’ve arranged it so you can stay at Bernardo’s guest house until you…get back on your feet. Sound good?”

Tony’s shoulders released tension he hadn’t known about. “I appreciate that, Mr. Fianchetti. I was wonderin’ where I was goin’ to stay.”

Tony and Fianchetti stood, the older man grasping the younger’s shoulders. “Think nothing of it, son. You’re Family now. We take of ours, understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good.” Fianchetti clapped him once more on the shoulder, then released him and headed back down the aisle. “Let’s get you settled into your new digs, Quick-Fingers. We’ve got work to do.”

Tony followed his boss out of the sanctuary, stopping at the stoup, dipping his fingers in the holy water, and making the sign of the cross along with the two other men. Before they exited, a thought popped into Tony’s head. “My gun!”

Fianchetti paused, hand hovering near the door. “Eh? Oh, that. Bernardo here had to get rid of it. Which reminds me, Bernardo?”

The big man reached inside the top of his red Gucci track-suit and pulled out a box, handing it to Tony. Tony flipped the lid and saw a matte-black Browning Hi-Power, with an ivory grip engraved with a Celtic Cross and knot-work. “Thanks, Mr. Fianchetti!”

“Don’t thank me, kid. Thank the big guy here. He said it was a, what was it, Bernardo? Oh, a ‘housewarming present.'”

Tony looked up at Bernardo, nodding his head in appreciation. The corner of Bernardo’s mouth twitched for a moment as he returned the gesture.

Tony smirked and tucked the pistol back into the box. He opened the door and gestured for Mr. Fianchetti and Bernardo to head out first, following with a lightness inside he had never felt before.

As the door closed, a small gust of wind snuffed out the flame on his candle.

***