Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blood Brothers - Joseph Grant

Angelo had always thought of himself as a lucky guy. But his luck had seemingly just run out. You don’t piss off the head of the East Coast Mafia by sleeping with his daughter and knock her up, but that’s exactly what Angelo Maglioni did.

If Angelo could pinpoint the exact time when his luck ran out it would have been when Gina excitedly brought him the EPT, still damp with her piss and exclaimed: “Holy shit, Angelo! I’m pregnant!”

Angelo wished Gina had followed the practice of omerta, the Mafia code of silence but instead had blabbed her good news and his misfortune to everyone in her family and now he was on the run with her.

Understandably, her father had not taken the news in stride and wanted to meet the young man who had defiled his youngest flower of a daughter, his pride and joy. Angelo knew better and convinced Gina to run away with him.

They made it as far as the Weehawken Motor Inn where Gina used her credit card to buy cigarettes in the lobby, tipping off police friendly to the Carlucci crime syndicate. Within hours, Sammy Carlucci, capo di tutti capi of the New York’s most powerful crime family was knocking on the door.

“Who is that?” Angelo said, taking his head out from under Gina’s sleepy embrace.

“I don’t know. I don’t think we should answer it, Angelo.”

“I’ll go answer it, I ain’t afraid of nobody.” He said and opened the door to the extension of the chain link.

“Angelo Maglioni?”

“Who wants to know?” He said and peered over the chain link at the salt-and pepper-haired gentleman in a brown leather jacket standing there. The man reeked of cheap-smelling cologne, Angelo thought and his breath smelled like bad gorgonzola. Angelo figured the guy looked drunk.

“I wanna know!” The slightly built man erupted and busted through the chain link, splintering the door frame, sending Angelo backwards and Gina screaming to the bathroom.

The man stepped over Angelo and pounded on the bathroom door as it slammed shut. “Open up, there!”

Angelo regained his composure long enough to get to his feet and pounce the middle-aged man. The man deftly responded by getting Angelo in a headlock and telling him: “All I gotta do is just squeeze and you’ll be dead, pal!”

“All right, all right!” Angelo whined.

“Don’t you hurt him!” Came Gina’s voice from the bathroom. “Papa, don’t you hurt my Angelo!”

“Papa?” Angelo asked as he strained for breath.

The man responded by asking: “So, you’re the big, tough guy Angelo my Gina’s been talking about?

“Yeah I am Angelo Maglioni.”

“I should just squeeze and break your neck right now.”

The bathroom door opened at the statement and Gina looked at her father. “Papa, don’t you dare scare this one. I love Angelo and me and him’s gonna get married.”

“Over my dead body.” Sammy Carlucci said and looked down at Angelo. “Or yours.”

“Let him go, Papa.” Gina said though tears. “I love‘m.”

And so it went that Sammy Carlucci, the mightiest Mafioso on the East Coast let his daughter’s boyfriend literally slip through his fingers without so much as even a scratch. “I got people wantin’ to whack me every day but I think you’re gonna give your father a heart attack, you know that, doncha know?” The most dangerous man in America shook his head and wiped away a sentimental tear. “I didn’t picture it this way, ya know? I pictured you’d meet up with some guy, no offense and after you got our blessing youse two would get married and then have a baby! Ahhh, the younger generation, I tell ya. Not for nothin’ but in my day, my father woulda beat my ass in if I did this.”

“Whaddya talkin’ about?” Gina said. “You knocked up Mom before the wedding.”

“Hey! Show some respect, that’s your mother you’re talkin’ about, there.”

“Youse two were having Joey when she was walkin’ up the aisle, so don’t even go there.”

“That’s different, we was married when we had your brother.”

“No different, Papa.” She waved him off and lit up a cigarette.

“Youse two got any plans to get hitched? I don’t think so. And you shouldn’t be doing that!”

“Doin’ what?” Gina shrugged. “I ain’t doin’ nothin’.”

“Smokin’, around the baby, you shouldn’t be smokin’ around the baby.”

“Oh, please.” She waved him off with an exhale of smoke. “Mom smoked all throughout her pregnancies. Don’t gimme that.”

“Well, we didn’t know no better then. We know better now.” Her father explained. “What? You gonna just stand there like a bump on a log and not say anythin’?” He directed at Angelo.

“What you want me to say?” Angelo shrugged nonchalantly.

“What you want me to say?” Sammy Carlucci mimicked him. “Oh, he’s a real beaut, Gina.”

“Leave my Angelo alone.” She said protectively. He don’t mean nothin’.

“I’ll leave him alone all right.” Carlucci mumbled under his breath. “Hey, how are youse gonna bring up the kid, huh?”

“I work.” Angelo shot back.

“Where?”

“Whaddya mean where? I work.”

“Yeah, where?” The older man asked.

“In my father’s auto body shop.”

“Marone! You listenin’ to this kid?” Carlucci asked out loud with a laugh. “No grandson’s father of mine’s is workin’ in an auto body shop, I’ll clue ya.”

“Why not?” Angelo asked defensively. “It was good enough for my old man. Whaddya do?”

“I’m an independent plumbing contractor.” Sammy Carlucci answered in a controlled monotone, an answer he always supplied when asked.

“Not from what I hear.” Angelo sneered.

“Listen ya chooch, I ain’t here to fight with ya, although I must admit my first response was to cut ya balls off but for Gina’s sake and seein’s that the damage has been done, I’m here to make you an offer…”

“An offer that I can’t refuse, right?”

“Kid, that’s the movies.” Carlucci said and gesticulated. “Oh, you can refuse it, but it wouldn’t be wise on your part.” He smiled. “Despite what you may have heard or read, I am still her father and I am Sicilian and we Sicilians are a close family with lots of hands like an octopus and those tentacles have a far reach, capiche? Don’t run away again with my daughter. We got a problem here, we solve it, that’s what businessmen do. I am a business man.”

“Okay, so whaddya proposin’?”

“Exactly that, kid.”

“Huh?”

“Seein’s youse two already done the deed, youse two gotta get married like me and her mother did, it’s the only way.”

“Papa! What if’n I don’t wanna get married?” Gina complained.

“Gina, my flower, you will get married and that’s final, get me?” Carlucci said in no uncertain terms, his powers of persuasion unparalleled.

“Frig you...” Was the response from the one person in the world with whom his persuasion didn’t work.

“Marone, just like your muddah.” Carlucci muttered.

“Mr. Carlucci, I can fix this.” Angelo spoke up.

“How?” He shot him a nasty look. “Ain’t you done enough?”

“I’ll ask my old man for a raise and we’ll get a cheap apartment somewheres…”

“Whoa! No daughter of mine is living in a tenement walk-up.”

“Look, I can talk to my father.”

“How’s about I do youse two one better and I get you a union job on the dock or somethin’.”

“I could still talk to my father.”

“Nah, nah…forget all that. Youse workin’ for me, now.”

“Papa, I..” Gina gushed.

“Ah-ah!” He held up a bejeweled pinky finger.

“Not for nothin’, I don’t wanna hear it. Foist thing Monday morning, you show up at my office and we’ll get youse set up, capiche?” He pointed at Angelo. “Ain’t no son-in-law a mine workin’ for nobody but me. Think of it as an early wedding present, let’s just say.” He smiled in a sly manner and nodded. “You an’ me, we are gonna get to know each other, youse family now. And you know we Italians, we stick together, no? After a while when we see youse are workin’ out, don’t be surprised to see yourself, eh, let’s say, advancin’ your career, maybe branchin’ out into da, let’s say, family business.” He touched his nose. “Now youse two, get your shit and let’s get outta here. “He said as he walked towards the door. “An’ Gina?” He said, turning around.

“Yeah?” She said in her usual, spoiled way. “What?”

“No more secrets, ah?”

“Keep walkin’, old man.” She waved him off. “Lemme get dressed, ah?”

“Ay, kid?” Carlucci smiled. “You hearin’ ‘at? That’s all yours now. You gotta put up with’at.” He laughed. “She’s all yours. Get dressed, da botha ya. I’ll be outside.”

Angelo returned the smile and didn’t think of this time again until he was working for the man. True to his word, if nothing else in his life, Carlucci had gotten his bastard of a son-in-law a job on the docks in Brooklyn. It was strictly blue color, but this did not rub Angelo the wrong way as he was working his way up to be blue color.

There were many perks to the job, 99% of it coming from being known as the guy who knocked up Carlucci’s daughter; even his supervisor, a poor excuse for inbreeding with a greaser’s man and fucked-up nose spread over most of the midsection of his face as possible, cut him a huge path of slack. Angelo would come in late, call in sick when Gina needed him in the first and second trimesters and even help himself to the latest “damaged shipment”, as long as it was approved first by his dear old father-in-law.

One day, the supervisor tried to get him fired. The way Angelo told it to Gina was that he was talking to a co-worker in the bathroom. As Angelo walked out and tossed the wet paper towel into the bin, his supervisor walked in, saw two of his employees talking instead of working and asked:

“What is this, the loser’s club?”

As Angelo was walking out of the restroom when the comment was said and his supervisor was walking in, Angelo smiled: “It is now, muthafucka.”

Afterwards, his supervisor stomped over to him on the loading dock and told him to go home, that his services were no longer needed and that he was fired. Gina hit the roof when her Angelo told her. When her father received word, he sent two of his biggest thugs over to the docks and in front of all of his employees, made sure the supervisor’s nose was even more spread out over his face. Angelo returned to work the next day his supervisor made a public apology the next time he was able to show up for work and all returned to normal for Angelo. Such was his position of low man at the loading docks, he even got his younger cousin, Frankie, whom he always considered a blood brother, a job there.

By the time Gina was ready to deliver; Angelo had risen past his co-workers and his supervisor and was now the lead supervisor of the docks, much to his supervisor’s silent and battered chagrin. Angelo was also doing side jobs for the big man, such as collecting on bets and loans that were not paid in enough of a timely manner. It was grunt work, but paid better than the docks, as it was hazard pay and soon Angelo found himself working more away from the docks than on them. Angelo considered himself a lucky guy until now, but he was starting to finally realize he was locked into a nationally known crime family, with no way out but in.

He was now in good standing with his father-in-law but this was probably due more to the fact that he had made the old capo a grandfather than anything else. Carlucci doted on his grandson whom the proud but respectful parents named Samuel Ignatius Delcorro Carlucci II, even though he was not Carlucci’s own, he was the son Carlucci could never have, having four daughters, each one more like him than the last, all of them putting him closer to an early grave than any of his enemy’s bullets, he always joked. His grandson was his pride and joy and reluctantly, he had a moax like Angelo Maglioni to thank, the kid was alright, but just that, Carlucci thought, he was Gina’s problem and one he only had to front during family functions.

Angelo’s latest transgression was his dream of becoming a white rapper. It was embarrassing to Carlucci and his associates and when the kid got a diamond-studded earring and Carlucci reluctantly looked the other way to keep the peace on Gina’s insistence. But when the chooch started getting bookings around Brooklyn as “Mos Def Mobsta of the Second Generation Mafia” running around with a gun-toting posse, and with the help of his cousin, Frankie, creating havoc in his syndicate. Carlucci reached his boiling point when it began to affect business. So, he settled it like any businessman would settle a problem. He laid down the law but to little avail, it turned out. While it was true that Angelo butted heads with his father-in-law, truth be told, Gina was none too crazy about his late nights in the clubs with all the girls and it was Gina, not her powerful father who finally convinced Angelo to quit his dream of becoming the premier rap star in Flatbush. The Carlucci family already had enough bad press, the old man knew, he didn’t need more.

Angelo’s greatest and last transgression was getting Gina’s best friend, Carla, pregnant while Gina was at home with the baby. For Angelo, his luck had run out for the last time. Standing at Sheepshead Bay, smoking dope with his posse now surreptitiously bought and paid for by Carlucci himself, with Angelo bemoaning the fact that his life well may be over without his music, his power-hungry cousin Frankie, eager to fulfill that wish and get ahead, led the posse as they emptied their chambers into Angelo Maglioni and dumped his punk-ass body into the quiet, moonlit bay.

BIO: I am originally from New York City and my short stories have been published in 80 literary reviews and e-zines, such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Nite-Writer's International Literary Arts Journal,Howling Moon Press, Hack Writers, New Online Review, Literary Tonic, six sentences and most recently in NexGenPulp, the UK literary review, Bottom of the World and another UK review, Cupboard Gloom. I have written for The New York Bar Guide (as a reviewer) and in various newspaper articles that have appeared in The Pasadena Star, Whittier News and the San Gabriel Tribune. I have published a work of verse, Indigo, with Alpha Beat Press and have completed my first novel. I currently reside in Los Angeles . NOTE: Six stories of mine have been recently featured in 6S Volume 1, a collection of short stories by various writers available at Amazon.

1 comment:

kevin michaels said...

Engaging and well written, with nicely defined characters and realistic dialogue. In the manner of Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben Mr. Grant mixes vivid dialogue and narrative quite well to move the story along at a strong, brisk pace. Overall a very enjoyable read.
KM