@Aragond: Took your advice. Here's the first chapter. I was just wondering why I had been missed out on your list: THE lists which tell all and that everyone wants to be on.
Anyway. Without further a do. Pegorino Family - Honkers - Chapter One
“Come on, come on” Frankie Gallo peered across through the passenger side window, anxiously tapping his fingers in a synchronized manner on the sun kissed leather steering wheel. He could barely make out the shadow of his accomplice through the window of the Deli, the transaction taking place obscured by special offer promotions plastered across the display. Frankie checked his cheaply made Pro-Laps Sports Watch, brushing minuscules of sweat from his forehead with his palm, resuming his upright position in the expensive German leather seat as things started to get heated inside.
The shop owner grunted in pain as his blood sprinkled across the checkout, the newly formed wound exploding with claret was his reward for refusing to pay protection. The assistant, a short, weedy Asian woman, stood frozen in a frail state of shock as Antonio Rivette pointed the Glock pistol at her chest. He slowly started advancing as her eyes began to moisten, weeping tears of fear, deeply concentrating on the blur of Antonio’s dark brown pupils, watching her own suffering unfold.
“What’s your name?” He quizzed, gently floating the weapon to the height of her neck. Her bottom lip trembled, her throat dry, she attempted to tell him but failed, unable to speak a word as the terror prolonged.
“What’s your f*ckin’ name!” She jumped back and began to sob uncontrollably as Rivette pounced forward, grabbing her by her black locks of hair and pushing the Pistol deeper into her temple.
“Miriem!” She gasped, screaming at him in her high-pitched voice. Her co-operation didn’t bring her saviour, her body thrown back against the wall, she slowly trickled down to the cold blue tiles, pulling her knees in close to her face and hugging them in the faint hope that this would be all over soon.
Antonio turned the weapon back to the owner, who himself had began sobbing at the sight of his loyal assistants ordeal. Searching inside the deep pockets of his dark blue coat, Antonio removed an empty brown envelope and slid it across the counter to the feeble hands of the owner.
“Two G’s go in the envelope, or Miriem gets pasted all over your shop!” He spoke with uncompromising authority, leisurely waving his free hand at her, mimicking a farewell wave and grinning, seeing a sick sense of humour in watching her eyes squash together in an oasis of tears. The shop owner began to scrape together every last note from the till, his fingers turning red at the pace at which he was removing his hard fought earnings. Satisfied with seeing each note from the cash register stuffed into his envelope, Rivette held out his mammoth hand, and clutched the package as he received it. The shop owner dropped his head in shame, breaking every personal moral he held by giving into the Mafia, his shoulders dropped in a slouch, gently beginning to weep.
Miriem’s screams echoed through the stacked shelves on each thin spaced isle as his body hit the checkout like a rag doll, the sweeping backhand blow with the Pistol sending him sprawling, his hand clutching onto the corner, his last finger giving way as each final amount of strength he possessed vanished with his ascent into unconsciousness. Antonio’s patterned brown loafer shoved Miriem aside, his massive feet traveling over to the locked door, then freeing himself from the enclosure of the Deli, getting back into his accomplices car.
“What took you so long?” Frankie asked in amazement, in sequence with Antonio placing himself in the passenger seat, the suspension of the sports coupe lowering, struggling to cope with the huge weight of his obese frame. The V6 engine responded with a roar, ticking over in a sweet symphony as it began to move along the Leftwood Street.
“A guy’s gotta have his fun Frankie, and the sooner you learn that the better” Antonio replied in an arrogant tone, proud of his actions in the Deli.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“All I’m saying is, Frank, the quicker you stop running around after your Ma and sister, the more fun your gonna start having”
“Ah c’mon Toni, you know I gotta help them out”
“No, you don’t…”
“Yeah I DO” Frankie placed extra emphasis on his response, trying to show Antonio that his values could not be changed.
“It’s holding you back. The sooner you stop playin’ taxi driver, the quicker you’ll get your button”
“I don’t worry about that. Uncle Phil knows when the time is right, Y’know?”
“Maybe. Maybe he’ll take pity on you. How’s Philly anyway? I don’t wanna be walkin’ into a dragons den here”
“He’s alright. My aunt’s still being a bitch to him, won’t let him see the kids”
“Christ she does sound like a bitch” Antonio rolled the window down, and lit a cigar, the embers igniting with the flickering flame of his pocket lighter.
“She’s a pushy one. I hate broads like that. She tried to tell me to stay away from Phil”
“What right has she got to get involved in your life? Tell me you grew a pair, and told her to back the f*ck off?”
“Nah, man. I just sat and played dumb”
“Played? You don’t have to play to be dumb”
“I just took no notice of her. I don’t need to argue with her. Ma don’t need the stress”
Antonio gave up the conversation, choosing instead to blow thick clouds of cigar smoke from the window, watching them escalate into the atmosphere. The chewed and crushed remains of the cigar hit the road, the evening breeze carrying it into the gutter, which was strewn with loose, misplaced bolts and screws that accumulated after falling off the back of delivery trucks leaving the warehouse behind it.
The flickering pink neon visage of Honker’s Gentleman’s Club beat down on the chrome, all golden paintwork of the Sentinel, as Frankie pulled the car to a stop alongside the lonely parked traffic; the car park appearing like a Ghost Town with only one vehicle tucked neatly into a corner.
The frame of the Sentinel gave a sigh of relief as Antonio rose up from his seat, following Frankie across the large free space of tarmac. A purple halo seemed to surround Frankie’s body, the neon’s dancing off his beaten black Leather Jacket as he strolled closer and closer to the door.
Inside, Honker’s was empty, spare four people. Two men stood confident and dominant, exchanging meaningless conversation over the bar. They were Phil Bell and Tommy Carbone, both high-ranking members of the Pegorino Family. Phil stuffed his left hand into the pocket of his black slacks, which matched the color of the sweater he wore underneath his tan brown suit, and slowly sipped from the whiskey filled glass in the other. Behind closed doors, the vibe of Honker’s changed. The trance sounds of Electro Choc had been replaced with the hard hitting eighties guitar work of Mick Mars; Motley Crue’s “Wild Side” grasped the attention of the room from the speakers placed in either corner, the high adjusted bass shaking the very ground that Gallo and Rivette entered the Club on. In the corner of his eye, Tommy noticed the duo entering the venue, and informed Phil, who had anxiously been awaiting their arrival.
The two men towered over the short and squat Phil, who although he wasn’t tall, still possessed an uncompromising frame. He brushed his thinning blonde hair back with his hand, and greeted his associates with an embrace.
“There you two are! I was wondering if you’s were gonna show”
“Old man Valachi decided to be a dick with the pay packet” Antonio reverted to an excuse, trying not to displease Phil.
“But you got it all, right?”
“Oh yeah” Rivette slipped his hand into his pocket, and handed the money stuffed envelope to Phil in a clench of hands.
“Good, good. Now let’s talk.” Phil threw his hands around the two men’s shoulders, and began to walk over to the bar.
“Tommy! Rack em’ up, pal”
Tommy “Shots” Carbone stacked four shot glasses on the bar, and began to pour lenient amounts of Tequila into each. Tommy Shots earned his nickname because of his part time occupation as the bartender of Honker’s. The right hand assistant of club manager Phil Bell, he had been employed to show legal documentation of his earnings for the family. An imposing figure, standing the tallest of the four, his dark blue shirt hugged his powerfully developed arms and shoulders as he placed the bottle of Tequila back under the counter. Tommy was a people’s person, and had always wanted to be an entertainer. Working the bar was the closest he ever came to achieving his dream. He playfully grinned as the lone stripper leant her fleshy nude assets close to his face, sending her back into her trance with a cheeky wink of his eye. The Tequila soon vanished down the throats of the men, instantly awakening each of their senses.
“Talk about an eye opener, eh?” Frankie grinned, trying to act if the high proof shot was not burning his throat.
“You take after your mother Frankie. Back in the day, she’d be screwed after a couple of shots” Phil patted him on the back.
“Literally” Tommy leaned in, to the amusement of Phil.
“Oh, so it used to take Aunt Janice the whole bottle to take you home?” The young man hit back to the roars of laughter from Antonio and Tommy, leaving Phil red faced.
“f*cking smart-ass” Phil failed to see the funny side, but was soon given another drink by Tommy, who sensed that Phil should be calmed down before things got heated.
“Considering the Irish in you, no wonder you can drink the bar dry” Frankie carried on the banter, to the extended chagrin of his uncle.
“Yeah, keep going, keep going…”
The atmosphere remained tense for a moment, Frankie instead focusing his gaze at the lone customer at the other end of the bar. The man worked as a Bouncer at Honker’s, and was a member of The Lost M.C, who worked at the club under friendly circumstances with the Pegorino Family. His long, greasy hair drooped to shoulder length, resting on his leather-patched waistcoat.
“Talking about the Irish..” Phil ignited the conversation once more, cutting through the atmosphere like a hot knife through butter, bringing the four men in close, gathering around Phil. Instinctively, Tommy turned the music louder, the speakers belting out “Touch too much” by AC/DC with all capability. Phil, of late, had been increasingly paranoid about wiretaps. Obscuring the possibility of conversations being caught by playing loud music, Phil carried on as Antonio, Frankie and Tommy listened in with their full attention.
“The Peg wants us to meet with the Irish Mob big man, Gerald McReary.”
“McReary?” Antonio wondered “Those guys from Dukes?”
“But Phil, they’re working for the Ancelotti’s” Frankie asked, confused at the prospect of a sit-down.
“Not any more. The two of them parted company on bad terms. The Peg thinks we can use the McReary’s, instead of that idiot Bucky Sligo”
“Bucky Sligo? That half-baked bastard from Leftwood? He hates the McReary’s!” Frank was oblivious to the conversation.
“He’s got a point, Phil” Tommy chipped in. “The two of them could end up fighting on our turf”
“Yeah, yeah I know. But the Peg wants it done. And if the Peg wants it done, it’s got to be done.” He sighed, finishing the remaining drops of his second drink.
“So what’s going to go down?”
“Gerald is going to come here for a sit-down and we’re gonna work on him working for us. If all goes well, the Peg wants us to introduce him to Ray”
“Ray? Man, this Irish guy is going to want to smash Ray’s face in as soon as he catches sight of him” Frankie moaned, feeling he was raising a valid point.
“Sure. But Ray is a Capo. And don’t you forget it”
“When’s this going down, Phil?” Antonio questioned, eager to be involved.
“Tuesday, 10pm. I want you all there and on your best behavior. We’ve got to make the guy feel relaxed, make him think working for us will be a benefit to him. More to him than us. Tommy’s going to clear up the lounge. I want you all here an hour before. And bring a bat each.”
“Why? Are we gonna jump on this guy?” Frankie was eager to impress.
“No, you idiot. Just leave it to me.”
“Me and Tommy have business to take care of. I’ll see you’s two around.”
Phil turned around to face Antonio and Frankie, embracing them once more before looking directly to the door, his direct stare hinting that they should leave that very second. Antonio wadded off slowly to the Sentinel, followed by Frankie, the lights once again making him look like a Christmas tree, shining down on his gold Cuban chain.
The music died, the venue was cleared. Each car disappeared into the night, leaving the venue in a mask of darkness, becoming a blur of the landscape.