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.

 

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.

***

 

Fantasy-Drake-Rider: Call-Up

Heart of Telmerath "Ever Loyal and Vigilant"

Drill-Master Varis bent over the map laid out on the table, blunt finger jabbing at lines denoting a hill overlooking a river. “If we can push them back and take this hill it will give us an advantage.”

Horse-Captain Gale frowned and shook his head. “The problem is they hold it, giving them the high ground. If the Drake-Knights were available to soften the Tremalaine defenses, I might consider it. As it stands now…”

Varis grimaced. The war had taken its toll on everyone, but the enemy’s new ballista system, designed to shoot multiple missiles and built in massive numbers, devastated Telmerath’s aerial guardians. Now some of the kingdom’s best warriors were relegated to courier missions and ineffectual high-altitude boulder drops. “Maybe a small group, under cover of darkness-”

Gale looked at him sharply. “Telmerathian soldiers do not skulk about like some back-alley mug-hunter, Drill-Master. Is that clear?”

Varis’ lips tightened at the rebuke, but he refrained from speaking. His Majesty’s Cavaliers, comprised of nobles, wouldn’t know how to sneak in anyway. Unless the sneaking consisted of backroom deals and visiting ladies of questionable virtue. He shook his head to drive out the unproductive musing and turned back to the map, eyes searching for some thrust that could set Tremalaine on the defensive.

The tent-flap furled and one of the guards, Leftenant Wexler, poked his head inside. “Sirs, Drake-Lord Miathes is here to see you.”

Gale straightened up and smoothed out his red tunic bearing the insignia of the Cavaliers, a purple shield bearing a rearing horse. “Show him in, Leftenant.”

A tall man with broad shoulders, clad in the sky-blue tunic and trousers that marked him as a Drake-Knight, but without the purple trim that would proclaim him Drake-Lord, strode past the sentry without fanfare, a grim look on his face. “Gale,” Miathes said without preamble. “I need to call up some of your Cavaliers for my unit.”

The horse-captain opened his mouth, but the larger man slapped down a rolled parchment made of vellum, bearing the Royal seal. “Here’s the King’s writ, in case you were thinking of protesting.”

Gale frowned and turned away from Miathes. The Drake-Lord let it go; he knew no officer worth their salt liked losing men, no matter the circumstance, but especially with a war on.

Varis snatched the parchment, broke the seal, and scanned the contents. “Ten?” He winced at the tone of his question, but plowed on. “Normally, it’s one or two. Ten will put a huge hole in our lines.”

Miathes nodded at the scroll. “That authorizes you to fill your losses by shuffling soldiers in from other Cavalier units.”

Gale turned back around, eyes blazing. “Why us? This will gut our effectiveness for at least two months! Transfers, training, integration…” He tossed his hands in the air. “Why?”

Miathes scowled. “His Majesty heard about the breakthrough led by two of your men. That, plus other successes, swayed the King to the idea his Drake Knights would be wise to draft from this unit.” The drake-lord held up his hands in a placating gesture. “I know this a hardship for you, but it is a great honor for those chosen. Would you deny them that?”

Gale deflated, rubbing the back of his neck in weary defeat. He flicked his head at Varis, who took up the conversation. “Milord, we have several long-time veterans-”

Miathes shook his head. “I’m breaking protocol on this recruitment. His Majesty’s Drake Knights have been stagnant, and we need to adapt. I want…need younger soldiers. Soldiers with fire and ideas. I’ll start with the two that broke through the Tremalaine lines.”

Gale tensed again at the thought of losing his cadre of youthful warriors, but Varis murmured, “Captain, it is well-known that Leftenents Damon Forester and Yallo WindFern dream to one day join the Drake Knights. They are good men, but we shouldn’t fight to deny their goals.”

Gale’s fists clenched. “Fine. Make a list and give it to him.” He gave Miathes a short, curt nod, and said, “If you’ll excuse me,” before storming out of the tent.

Varis watched his commander leave, a pained look on his face. “My apologies Lord-”

Miathes waved away the apology. “Don’t. I imagine I would react much the same way.”

“Still, etiquette and all that.” He managed a weak grin. “You really are getting two of our best. I had my doubts about Forester, but he’s proven to be a voracious learner and one hell of a Cavalier. And Yallo is the standard to which I hold a Cavalier in this unit.”

Miathes smile came more naturally. “Good. That just leaves eight more, eh?”

The two men huddled closer to the table, intent on their task. Neither noticed Wexler, third son of Pelias, Earl of WindFern, narrow his eyes in hatred at the praise heaped upon his elder brother.

***

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