|Hi guys, sorry I've been so busy here lately. I barely have time to write for myself, what with all of these writing classes I'm taking in college right now. This piece, Dominick, is something I've been working on a bit here lately; it was also a piece I used for my creative writing class. It's a very tongue-in-cheek homage to old pulp fiction and hardboiled detective stories of the past, so it may appear very cheesy early on; however, rest assured, it becomes a bit more original as it moves on. |
The afternoon sun beamed bright and cheery, a dichotomy of the events I had on the table right then. I had arrived at O'Malley's, a popular
bar and eatery that was Irish as a three-leaf clover, and just as common.
The bar was unusually full, a strange group of cheap suits, hoodlums, and alcoholics. I brushed past the crowd and sat down in a booth in the corner. My contact was
already there, seated and shaking like an addict.
Federico Volpe, an Italian goon who did some petty business in town. Street name: 'Freddy Fox.' Only, a fox was the last thing he resembled; with his small features,
thin frame, and slightly-graying brown hair, Fred was more of a rat than a majestic canine, in more than one sense.
"Glad you could make it, Officer Waltz," he said, in a nervous tone. "I was worried you wouldn't show."
The waitress showed before I could reply. She asked what we wanted - I said a cup of coffee, black as the night; Freddy said he wanted a beer.
"So, Federico," I said, "why did you want me here? I know how you operate, I know your style; you work for the Ricci gang, and I've been trying to get my hands on
their goddamned head for decades now. I know you've gotten two of their biggest guys deader than Lincoln. I know you ain't worth nothing these days. Minus nothing,
even. So, tell me, why would a minus-nothing guido want to have a meeting with me for?"
"Listen, Officer Waltz, you ever have someone who wanted you dead?"
In an awkward turn of events, the waitress reappeared, coffee and alcohol in hand. She left a check and was on her way. We both took sips of our beverages.
"Kid, I've been chasing scum like you out of Paradise for 19 years. I've fought more guidos, gooks, ghouls, and gangsters than you can shake a Thompson at.
Needless to say, I'm sure half of the town's underworld wouldn't exactly be crying if I was to have a premature demise." I tried not to sound corny, like some Sam
Spade-type from a nickel-and-dime novel, but I couldn’t help it. It was all too true.
"Well, the same could be said about me, Officer Waltz. The Ricci brothers, they're after me. Said they're gonna slit my throat along with my wife and kid. I ain't just
gonna let them do that to me, Officer. No way in hell."
Freddy grabbed a packet of cigarettes from his suit jacket's pocket, putting one in his mouth quickly, before lighting.
"Well, what are you gonna do about it, then? Because I'm afraid there ain't much I can do for you, kid."
"I hear you've been after a Nick Mezzanotte."
I lit a menthol, Brightwood Sharps, my brand of choice, and gave him a menacing glare. Nick Mezzanotte, Paradise Falls' most dangerous man, and possibly the most
powerful. Most people didn't know much about him, other than that he was a smooth talker, a cunning business man, and a known criminal since the Prohibition. He
had gone missing around a year ago - unusual for the flamboyant, outspoken bastard he was.
"Yeah, he's the golden goose in the town's underworld. Of course I'd love to catch him, but, then again, so would any of the PFPD."
"Well, surely you know of Albert Cohen, right?"
That name hit me like an oncoming train. One of the city's big ones. A Jewish kid with a long-time connection to organized crime in Paradise, and a personal friend to
the heads of several Italian and Jewish gangs, with a rap sheet long enough to make John Dillinger blush.
"Damn well I have. Slippery little Jew boy."
"Yeah, I have, Mr. Volpe. He's been active in Paradise's underworld for quite some time. We've only been able to catch him a few times, I never dealt with him
personally, but no charges seem to stick. The man's illusive; even we haven't heard his whereabouts in some time here at the department."
Fred took a long hit of his cigarette and a large swig of his beer. "Well..." His voice got quieter, almost speaking in a whisper. "What if I said I had his journal?"
"Journal?" I was intrigued.
Volpe produced a thick book from his coat pocket, lying it down softly onto the table. "This was Al's." He flipped open the book, the old worn pages showcasing the
lengthy entries, apparently written by Cohen, his signature and all.
"How do I know this isn't written by some hack author?" I responded.
"Me and Al worked together. We were buddies, you could say. And besides, why would someone go through this much work?"
"Point taken. But what does this have to do with the situation at hand?"
He stopped to give me an awkward, questioning stare.
"This is a list of basically everything that happened in Cohen's life. Every crime, hit, theft, you name it, he discussed in this diary. Besides, the man worked with Nick
Mezzanotte. I don't know a cop who wouldn't want this goddamned thing. It's like the Holy Grail for you guys."
"And I'm guessing you want immunity for handing me this?
"Naturally. At least protection for my wife and kids."
I ran my fingers through the book. Thick and worn. Old Al apparently had a lot on his mind.
"I'll see if I can work something out. I'll have to investigate this matter further. We'll make another meeting after I examine this little discovery."
I left the bar and arrived at my office at the department in downtown Paradise about a half-hour later. Sitting in my prized leather chair, I sat there, flipping through
page after page of the so-called "journal" of Albert Cohen. If this book really was the real deal, the man clearly had some guilt issues going on in that perturbed brain
of his. Murders, hijackings, his military days, even his love life -- all covered in that little book of his. Straight out of a movie, I tell ya.
I lit a Sharp, took a drag, and began to read his first entry. It seemed pretty bizarre that the quoted “golden goose” of Paradise’s underworld would keep record of all
of his crimes in one book. He knew he’d be royally f*cked if the feds somehow managed to acquire this. Ironic that a 19-year veteran police detective would get his
hands on it.