Friday 3:00 a.m.
Tony eased open the door to the small apartment he shared with his mother. “Damn it, Ma!” he said under his breath when the chain caught, halting his progress. He stuck his arm through the crack in the door, straining to reach the latch. The chain rattled as he found the catch and worked it off the slide.
He glanced down the hallway, making sure nobody stood ready to rush the door, and he scurried inside. He gently pushed the old wood closed until he heard it latch. He re-locked the entrance and leaned against it with a sigh. He winced as his foot kicked a pile of discarded beer cans. A tinny clatter filled the dingy room. “Tony? Iz’zat you?”
She coughed, wet and thick. Tony watched something fly out of her mouth as she reached for her pack of Kools on the burn-scarred coffee table. “Get me a beer outta the fridge.”
Tony blanched, but strode into the tiny kitchen, back stiff. He pulled out a six-pack with three empty rings and set it in front of her fleshy hands. She blew smoke in his face, popped the tab on the can, and guzzled half before slamming it back down. “At least your good for something.” An ugly smile, highlighting discolored teeth and the gaps between them, slashed through the fat on her face. “Still won’t amount to nothin’. Just like your scumbag sperm-donor.”
Tony trembled in rage. “Shut up! You’re always puttin’ me down.” He slapped the beer off the table. “You know, I don’t blame Pops for leavin’. Look at you.” He pointed a finger in her face. “You say I’m not gonna be nothin’, you’re the one that’s nothin’. I’m goin’ to be somebody!”
Her hand flew threw the air, and his head snapped to the side. Used to it, he recovered and pulled the Browning from the back of his pants, pointing it between her beady eyes. “You ain’t never gonna touch me again, bitch!”
Her chins quivered in anger, eyes all but disappeared into the folds of her face. “You ain’t got the balls.”
Tony’s hand shook, the barrel of the gun bobbing up and down. “Shut up! Just shut up!”
His mother cackled. “Big man with a gun. Well, go on. Shoot me, you little sissy! Show me you got a pair!”
Tears rolled down Tony’s face, and his voice took on a begging tone. “Please, just shut up, Ma. Please.”
Mrs. Abbatiello puffed on her cigarette, then flicked the butt at her son. He jerked back in surprise, finger spasming. A thunderous boom echoed in the enclosed area. Maureen Abbatiello’s eyes widened as red blossomed on her stained nightgown. She looked down to her chest and back at Tony before falling over and crushing the coffee table.
“Ma? Ma!” Tony dropped the pistol and leaped over to his fallen victim. “Ma! Oh, God, forgive me. I’m sorry. Ma!”
Tony pulled out a special cell Bernardo gave him and smashed the speed-dial. It rang once before someone answered with a grunt. “Bernardo!” Tony cried. “Oh, Jesus, man. I screwed up bad. I need help! I…I…look, just get back here, okay? I don’t care what I have to do, just…just…help me.”
The phone clicked and a dial tone replaced the silence. Tony dropped the phone and cradled his dead mother’s head in his lap.