Written by DEAN HORTON
CHAPTER 1 ‘The Residence’
The Calcone Residence Kansas City, Friday 18th May 2007, 10:35am local time:
Marco Calcone sat in his large brown leather rocking chair, his brandy glass half full with his favourite Camus Cognac Cuvee 3.128 edition, his hand gently swirling the fine liquid as it made patterns up the contour of the cut glass brandy bowl. The chair was positioned in the middle of the French doors which looked out over the manicured gardens, every now and again he would glance at his two grandchildren as they played tag around the perimeter of the pool. It was hot in Kansas, the temperature somewhere in the low-eighties; summer had started early this year around mid-April time; but here in his large study Marco Calcone was glad of the air conditioning, just watching his grandchildren made him feel even hotter if only I had their energy again! His two grandchildren were eight and ten, Benito and Paolo; they were good boys, the Calcone blood flowed deep within their veins and so it should this family has been through a lot, we have made our sacrifices to get to where we are today, Marco smiled to himself. Deep down he knew his families sacrifices had been a whole lot more than anybody could ever understand? It was his own father who used to say “you play with fire, you get burnt” or “if you’re gonna cook a dish you better make sure you eat it” ‘how true’ he whispered as he brought the glass up to his mouth, his lips tasted the warm liquid. The aromatic smell of the Cognac lingered around his nostrils as he closed his eyes savouring the moment as he sniffed heavily again wanting more of the sweet aroma. The bouquet was exceptional, in his mind’s eye he could almost picture the toil that went into making his favourite drink and the pride at the finished results, 140 years in the making. This particular drink retailed at $2,500 a bottle but that didn’t bother Marco, money was no object to him or his family.
The Calcone family were now the most powerful Mafioso clan in northern America; their name feared by many, their wealth was unimaginable, growing by the day. They had people on the payroll that would shake the foundations of the country if word were to ever get out; but even so they could never rest on their laurels as their father had taught them “there’s always a new kid on the block” he would often say. Marco glanced down into the swirling Brandy true words if I ever heard them he thought sadly, the glass came up to his lips as he again tasted the warm liquid, once he swallowed he traced his tongue around his mouth. His lip raised into a half smile there had been new kids on the block but they “The Calcone Brotherhood” had always seen them off, one by one they had come and one by one they had fallen by the way. The cost had been dear; first his elder brother Roberto had been killed in a roadside shooting then his younger brother Emilio was kidnapped and left hanging from the dock which the Calcone family owned! His eyes glanced to the large family photograph hanging from the wall, he scanned his relatives. Stopping to look at himself fourth along the line, he had been thirty years old when the photograph had been taken; who would have believed thirty five years ago. Although he was now sixty five the years had been good to Marco and his complexion; and spending plenty of time in the sunshine kept his features permanently tanned, he liked to keep a tan, it went with the wealth. Back when the photograph was taken he had a black mane of curly hair, now though it was cut short and grey; he had also piled on a few extra pounds but not as much as some people his age; his frame still muscular despite the extra weight, the one hour a day he spent in the gym helped. The only thing which really annoyed him about his features was the fact that he had developed a few of those horrible wrinkles around his eyes! He shook his head smiling who’d believe it he carried on scanning the faces; finally his eyes fell on his father ‘you taught me everything Papa’ he whispered to the picture, raising his hand in a toast.
Outside a car door closed, Marco tilted his head; he had been waiting for the meeting, you could never receive enough good news and now he leaned back in his chair and waited to receive some more. Closing his eyes he stretched his neck a little it’s going to be a good summer!
Benedict pulled the car, a 2005 silver Taurus into one of the available spaces, he sat there, his body still for a minute while he gathered his senses; he was not looking forward to his meeting with Mr Calcone. He watched the four guards as they walked around the perimeter of the residence; the two in the driveway carried Uzi’s and Benedict knew that they would never hesitate to use them; he sighed as he looked at himself in the rear-view mirror ‘how the hell did I get mixed up in all this shit!’ You know very well how, you wanted to be the big cheese and now look at you ‘hell yeah….now look at me; the original fuck-up’ you better go now, master is calling!
Opening the car door he stepped out into the hot sun, his jacket stuck to his back almost instantly, he could feel his armpits moistening; was it the heat? He wasn’t sure, he had not been looking forward to this; Benedict swallowed as he began walking toward the main door let’s get it done!
There was a gentle knock on the door which led into the long lacquered hallway beyond, Marco Calcone turned his head from the photo; his eyes once again coming to rest on his two grandchildren who were now chasing each other rapidly round the edge of the pool ‘come in’ he whispered in an Anglo-Italian accent. He sighed wearily yes there have been lots of sacrifices!
The door opened and a tall wily man entered; he was dressed smart in a marl grey designer suit, under which he wore a light blue shirt with no tie; the top two buttons were left undone as was the fashion nowadays. The man was tall, around six two; his face gaunt with high thin cheekbones and a sharp pointed noise; his eyes were set deep within his face. He stepped inside the cool room and turning he pulled the door shut behind him ‘Sorry to disturb you Mr Calcone’ the man’s voice did not match his looks it had a high pitched tone with a deceitful air about it.
Marco Calcone looked out onto the garden his eyes gazing off into the distance ‘you must have “good” news for me then Benedict’ he whispered hoarsely you make me sick Benedict, you remind me of a rat, a one hundred per cent sewer rat.
Benedict looked down the room his eyes staring at the armchair and the back of Marco Calcone’s head ‘yes errrr…..no I’m afraid I have bad news about the mall on Hope Boulevard’ a line of sweat was starting to develop on his top lip; which quivered ever so slightly; you would have to have been staring at him to notice, Benedict was struggling to hold onto his poker face fuck I’ve done it now; in for a cent in for a dollar!
That remark had his full attention! Marco Calcone stiffened, it was not a lot but it was enough to be noticed; he tensed his neck and jutted out his chin; the mall on Hope Boulevard was the latest venture that the family were investing heavily into. They already owned all the real estate around the complex and the final stage was buying out all the shopkeepers in the shopping centre. After doing this they would turn the mall and surrounding area into a multi-million dollar casino complex, with luxury hotels, gymnasiums and swimming pools. It was going to be the flagship of the casino world, the place where everyone wanted to play! Vegas had always been the gambling capital of the States but now Marco Calcone and what was left of the family had visions on capitalising on this world addiction. It would be the “in” place people would come from all around the world to play on the tables it was going to be huge!
The brandy glass hovered near his mouth as he took a mouthful of the liquid, this time he didn’t savour the taste just swallowed hard, his cheeks tense ‘go on’ he whispered, a trace of anger stirring in his voice.
Benedict swallowed nervously ‘I’m afraid we’re having trouble persuading some of the storekeepers to sell up’ he knew this was going to go one of two ways. His boss would either fly off in a rage at the storekeepers for getting in his way or secondly Benedict would face the prospect that it was his fault for not “convincing” them? ‘As you know out of the twenty two stores, fourteen have now signed over; but the other eight are refusing; sorry, stalling! The man who owns the model store “Stanley Baker” has started to rally the remaining store owners in an act of defiance.’ He had done it now; all he had to do was wait; wait and see which way it would go, he would know soon enough! Let’s get it over with shall we.
Marco Calcone nodded his head gently his eyes never looking away from the garden ‘defiance you say’ he tensed his cheeks, his hands balled into tight fists as they rested on the arms of the white oak rocking chair ‘do they know who we are? Who they are dealing with? Who I am?’ the anger now coming through as his accent became more Italian with each syllable.
Benedict swallowed ‘Yes Mr Calcone they are aware of you’ he talked quietly now, not wanting to sound antagonistic, every word was spoken nervously to the back of Calcones’ head, sweat now appearing on his brow. The moment of truth was about to come; his boss was about to nail his colours on the mast, or even to Benedicts’ head; that thought made him swallow nervously once more!
‘You told them that we could be very persuasive; if they didn’t follow and go along with our demands…….and give us what we wanted?’ he asked calmly; but his hand trembled slightly as he clutched the nearly empty glass of brandy, his grip getting tighter; his jaw had also become tight!
Benedict swallowed hard ‘Yes Mr Calcone’ it was getting hot inside the room, Benedict could feel his collar beginning to stick to his neck has the fuckin air conditioning broke?
Marco Calcone took another sip of his Brandy, he glanced down and saw that it was nearly empty, raising it to his mouth he downed the last dregs, his hand gripped the glass firmly as he lowered it, now he turned to face Benedict ‘what did they say when you told them?’ His eyes were now penetrating his employee; staring right through him as though he was not there.
‘The man; Stanley Baker told them that it was 2007 USA not the 1940’s that they had nothing to fear’ he could feel the pressure building from the other side of the room; he could feel the gaze from his boss as though he were right inside his mind, in his body, in his soul; the feeling was most……. uncomfortable; now his boss turned away again as he gazed upon the garden outside that’s it you watch the runts as they run around the pool; the next wave of the mighty Calcone brotherhood; fuck, I’ve to get out of this shithole!
Marco Calcone glanced sideways, his eyes searched out his grandchildren who still played around the pool; happy that they weren’t looking he lowered the brandy glass gently onto the large table. His hands came together as he slipped his fingers inside each other; pulling in a backwards motion the sound of his fingers cracking echoed around the quiet room, he turned his head slightly, turning once more to face Benedict.
Marco Calcone’s eyes now stared large down the length of the table to the man he had come to despise. ‘You come here and tell me you’ve failed, that you warned them? I don’t employ you to fail I employ you, Benedict’ he pointed down the length of the table; his hand trembling with anger, the veins in the side of his brow and neck were hard and prominent ‘I employ you’ his head shook slightly ‘to get the job done and you’ve failed me again! This is the second time you have failed me; why didn’t you make an example?’ his tone had gone quieter but his cheeks were quickly turning red; the lines around his eyes were like lava channels escaping from a volcano.
Fuck it, the volcano’s erupting ‘they’ve seen my face Mr Calcone, I can’t just go and shoot somebody; there were too many witnesses’ his voice was beginning to tremble; the sweat was returning heavier now, it was as though his whole shirt was painted onto his skin.
Marco Calcone’s eyes narrowed as he focussed sharply on Benedict ‘you are aware of “The Mexican”?’ he asked in a calmer voice now, the lava channels around his eyes had dispersed.
Benedict could feel a bead of sweat begin to roll down his face ‘I have heard of him Mr Calcone they call him “The Devil’s Advocate from South America”’ everyone feared the Mexican. Rumour had it that he had once killed his entire family even raping and killing his own mother, Benedict feared getting involved with the Mexican, too many bad stories!
Marco Calcone nodded, his steely eyes bearing down on Benedict ‘yes they call him “de abogado Del Diablo(the devils advocate)”’ he smiled down the table; his smile mocking and condescending ‘you are quite right, the Devils Advocate from South America, you know what he has done?’
Benedict swallowed ‘I have heard the stories Mr Calcone.’
‘Good’ a shout was heard from by the swimming pool; Marco Calcone turned his head to look; the boys were still playing tag as Paulo jumped into the pool. He turned his head back to face Benedict ‘you will go and see the Mexican and tell him about my problem! Tell him that I want to make an example of this “Baker” and all of his family, I want him to wipe them out’ his cheek bones tensed ‘tell him to make it messy; to do what he does best’ Marco Calcone turned his head back to the pool; his gaze following his two grandchildren as they still chased each other around the pool-side.
Benedict stood motionless staring at the back of Marco Calcone’s head; his heart was pounding he could feel the pistol in his shoulder holster weighing heavy. I could end it here he thought to himself, deep down he knew that he had not got the guts to do that; if he fired a shot the room would be full of Calcone’s closest henchmen, within seconds he would be a dead man. He waited for what seemed like minutes although in reality it was seconds; eventually he realised that the meeting was over; ending the way it had started with Benedict staring at the back of his boss’s head! Time to go and we’d better leave quickly before he decides on something else!
Benedict turned and quietly left the room, he could feel the sweat stains around his genitals spreading as his pants stuck to his skin at least that’s over, now all I have to do is meet that Mexican Devil the thought of that chilled him to the core. “That’s twice you have failed me” the words stuck in his mind, the first time was several years ago; Benedict was sent on an errand to Chicago. He was meant to bring or rather “convince” a young kid who had just created some computer website; some kind of social network site. Benedict was meant to bring him back to Kansas City, to the Calcone residence where they were to become business partners in this website; that was Mr Calcone and the kid! But that was the first failure, Benedict was too late the kid had sold out to some rival Chicago mob, the network site went global six months later and was recently sold for one hundred and seventy million dollars. Now he had failed again, he was still hot under the collar I’ll go and see the Mexican there was no-way that Benedict was going to fail again, if he failed a third time…..well, let’s not go there, it’s best not to think about that, no more failures!
With steady steps he walked down the chequered tiled floor, down the long hallway into the foyer; his steps echoing loudly through the large residence, he walked past several guards; each one watched him closely as he passed. Benedict sensed that perhaps they could read his mind and knew what he had been thinking; when he thought about shooting Calcone God I hate this job as he approached the main door the guard standing there opened it up, Benedict sensed a sneer as he passed. A cool fresh air greeted his sweating body as he walked outside; the breeze cooling his wet skin one more chore and I’m going to leave this hell hole behind me!
The Baker Residence, Kansas City, Friday 18th May 2007, 11:40am local time:
He leaped the last four steps and landing lightly on the cream carpet; the fireplace stood out prominent in the vaulted ceiling living room; his eyes scanned the open dining area and breakfast bar looks like we’ve got everything he smiled to himself as he made his way to the large wooden front door. Stanley Baker walked out of the front door of their tri-level three bedroom house, he turned and tried the handle several times, nodding to himself in agreement contented that the door was locked. Did you lock the garage he was sure that he had ‘you’d better go and check it out, better to be safe than sorry’ he muttered to himself. He walked quickly over to the garage door and tried the handle twice; a horn beeped behind him; the truck was parked further down the slope facing away from the cream coloured building. Stanley turned to see Dianne his wife of seventeen years leaning over the dash. She was mumbling something to the kids; Candice and Samson, Candice was 16 and Samson 14 years old; they were good honest kids, every time Stanley cast his eyes over them his stature would grow with pride. His gaze now rested on his wife again; now she was talking directly to him….he tried to focus on what she was saying but his lip reading skills were not too good perhaps it’s time I visited the optician?
He began walking toward the car, as he got closer he made out what she was saying “hurry up” her silent lips moving through the side window ‘I’m coming; I was just making sure I’d locked the house up’ his voice was a little loud and agitated, he wanted to make sure they could hear him. Stanley was the same every time they went on their holidays, checking the doors then repeating it over and over until eventually he was satisfied and then off they would go. Now he was at the satisfied stage again; their holiday was about to begin.
He opened the car door and manoeuvred himself inside the drivers seat, Dianne made a tutting sound; Stanley turned to face her ‘you would be distraught if we came back from holiday and found we’d had burglars; would you not?’ His expression was questioning!
‘Yes I would Stanley but you’ve checked that door six times already while we’ve all been sat here waiting for you….we thought we were never going to leave the place.’ She shook her head, clearly frustrated ‘check after check….hasn’t he kids’ she glanced over her shoulder giving the cue for back-up.
‘She’s right Dad you did check the door a few times’ Candice nudged Samson so he could join in.
Samson smiled into the headrest of the seat where his Dad was sitting ‘and you’d already locked the garage up ages ago!’
‘Okay; okay, you’ve made your points, why don’t we all gang up on Dad’ he laughed ‘before we go I’ve got a couple of presents to give out’ Stanley turned to look at Dianne; he winked slyly. Stanley reached into the side compartment on the door where he pulled out two brown bags, he felt the weight of each ‘That one is for you Candice and this is for you Samson’ he passed each of his children one of the bags.
Dianne watched intrigued as they both delved into their brown bags Candice pulling out a large handmade diary with butterfly patterns adorning the front cover ‘thanks Dad’ she whispered, her face full of happiness. Ever since her tenth birthday she had kept notes in her diary; religiously every night she would write about her day; even down as far as drawing pictures of the days events; her artistic skills were exceptional.
‘I know you’ve already got one for this year but I thought you’d like to transfer the stuff over to that one considering how beautiful it is and what with this holiday!’
Samson had watched and waited as Candice looked at her present, once she had got hers out of the way he finally peered into his bag ‘yessss’ he shouted loudly as he pulled the book from inside.
Dianne was trying to look to see what the book was ‘what is it Samson’ she asked in suspense; her eyebrows creased inquisitively.
‘It’s a survival book, Dads brought me a survival book, an exported SAS survival book’ he was already skimming through the pages ‘it’s fantastic Dad, thanks’ as he skimmed through the whole book, stopping at any page to look at the information, then back to skimming through again.
‘We may be able to use some of those things when we’re in the mountains around the cabin’ Stanley suggested.
Dianne looked over to Stanley as he turned the key in the Mitsubishi Warrior; the diesel engine roared to life ‘so where’s my present?’ she whispered, it was a quiet whisper just loud enough so only Stanley could hear.
He smiled suggestively and raised his eyebrows several times before winking ‘later baby’ he mimed; he noticed Dianne look down at his crotch as he placed both his hands on the large steering wheel then looking in the rear view mirror he spoke loudly ‘ok lets get this show on the road; The Bakers are going on their holidays!’ His right hand dropped down to the radio and turning the dial the inside of the warrior came to life with the sound of “sweet home Alabama” then like a chorus choir they all began to sing as he drove the car off the sloping driveway and into the empty street.
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Friday 18th May 2007, 19:47 local time:
Benedict walked briskly to the hire car that was parked near the edge of the parking lot; his small black over-night bag hung closely to his left hip, it had been a short flight, but none-the-less it had been a flight that Benedict had not wanted to land! But land it did and now he found himself walking across the parking lot, his bag banged against his hip Jesus I couldn’t even delay it by waiting for some luggage. It was a hot summer and he was beginning to perspire heavier now; the moment was close he was heading for the meeting with the Mexican and Benedict was not looking forward to it at all!
The car was an old 98 plate Mustang navy blue in colour, the interior smelt of oranges from the cleaning agents that had been used when the car had been valeted. The car was notoriously quick and it still drove well, Mustangs were reliable in a sticky situation and that was the main thing, Benedict needed something that would get him away if his meeting with the Mexican did not go well. All he wanted to do was to stick to his plan, have the meeting with the Mexican Devil then I’ll be out of there and out of here…..fuck; I’ll be well outta here he glanced into the mirror ‘fingers crossed you’ll be out of here’ he muttered to his reflection nervously “that’s twice you’ve failed me now” those words were still imprinted deep within his mind and every time he thought of them his spine would receive a cold shiver. Benedict swallowed nervously as he slipped the gear stick into first and began manoeuvring the Mustang from the parking space.
As he pulled the car from the parking lot his mind was elsewhere, Benedict pondered the meeting he was heading too; he had heard countless tales about the man he was heading out to meet; tales that scared his soul to the core! “The Mexican” was a feared man in the underworld and although his services were always in demand Benedict was becoming concerned! The more he thought about it the more concerned he became; it bothered him that he had never met anybody who had actually met the Mexican? He shook his head nervously putting that thought to the back of his mind people must have met him how else would the man get business and how would word of his tales be told he tried to reassure himself.
As he drove the car Benedict replayed one of the stories that he had heard; bit by bit the tale played in his head! The story was that the Mexican’s Mother had tried to kill him when he was eight years old; she was convinced that she had given birth to the Devil himself! Since his birth, evil had followed him around, one evil; thing after another, it was like she had given birth to the anti-Christ! One night she had crept silently into his bedroom while he was sleeping soundly in his bed, in her hand she clutched a large carving knife. Stealthily she crept into his room and walked silently round to the side of his bed, as she stood at his bedside; the knife held out in front of her, the voice in her head telling her to do it….to stab this son of the devil himself! She was about to plunge the knife into her sleeping son when his eyes shot open, in that instant their eyes locked onto each other! The small child rolled out from under the plunging blade. The blade hit into the pillow and the feathers that gave it the soft but firm cushioning, with fear of the devil the child’s Mother brought the knife around to bear then in a blind panic she swiped the air around her. The first strike was empty but as she swung her arm back on its return the knife connected with flesh as the blade sliced through the small child’s throat!
There was no scream; there was no sound at all from the child as the stricken Mother watched her son fall silently to the floor. The woman stared at the lifeless form of her son as he lay still on the cold wooden floor. Then something happened that she would never be able to explain….she watched helplessly as the child then rose to his feet, she clutched the knife tighter; holding it with both hands out in front of her. Her son stood before her as blood oozed from the slice on his neck a smile came to his lips ‘mama’ he said; his voice quiet and pleading as he stared into her eyes. His stare suddenly became deathly and dark and he muttered several words ‘Ego mos redeo quod pro mihi vos precor’ his eyes were black like pools of tar then his pupils developed a red glare!
The boy’s Mother looked puzzled and scared; the language he had just spoken she recognised as Latin but her son had never heard Latin let alone been taught it, he was only eight years old, they did not do subjects like that at such an early age? She looked upon him; her eyes welled as the tears began to flow down her cheeks, each drop warm and sticky ‘what do you speak’ she sobbed in fear as the grip on the knife tightened ‘what are the words that you speak?’ she sobbed almost pleadingly.
The boy then laughed as the blood seeped from the slice around his throat ‘I will come back and before me you will beg’ his smile was deathly; his eyes began to glare at her, his stare turning redder by the second!
‘Devil’ she screamed as she once again lashed out, this time her arm moved in a downward arc, the tip of the blade pierced the boys forehead and then sliced down his eye till it caught his cheek, the descent of the blade continued until it left his face to the right of his chin, the mother pulled the blade away, clutching it to her chest. She sobbed ‘leave us you Devil’ with fear taking over her every breath, every drop of blood in her body had turned to ice as she closed her eyes in fear, with closed eyes she turned her head up to the ceiling ‘please God protect us’ she opened her eyes; the room around her had become empty! The boy was gone? She closed her eyes tightly ‘Dear God, thank you’ then she opened her eyes again; but the room around her was still empty; her hands trembled as she let the knife drop to the floor; she dropped to her knees and sobbed uncontrollably while her body leant against the bed, her knees resting in the pool of dark red blood.
Nothing was heard about the boy again after that night; his mother had relayed the story of that night to the family and the authorities; embarrassed and disgusted about what she had tried to do to her own flesh and blood. They listened to her tale; searching close to the house and then further afield they searched for weeks but all trace of the boy had disappeared as though he had vanished into thin air? The Police had at first assumed the Mother had killed her child but after their continued and unfruitful search they were unable to press any charge as they had found no evidence to suggest that there had been any foul play, it was a mystery where the child had gone? A mystery they would never be able to solve!
Although there had been no sightings of the missing boy since that night, on the boys fourteenth birthday someone had broken into the family home. When the Police arrived they found the boy’s mother tied to the bed her throat had been cut and her head hung on by a thread, the killing method was called “Degollar” an established method in the Mexican crimeworld. The father was tied to a chair at the bottom of the bed his eyes had been stabbed through after he had been made to endure the helpless watching of his beloved wife raped! Symbols and writing had been daubed in blood on the walls throughout the bedroom; evil pictures and words; words that no one would utter! The boy’s two younger brother’s bodies were found in the hills two days later they were both naked and dirty with cuts and grazes adorning their skin. Their faces were covered in fear as if the air had been sucked from their bodies leaving their features gaunt and blue! The crime scenes were unlike anything the authorities had ever seen, the murderer or murderers were never caught; there had been other murders with the same “MO” throughout the western world but each time the perpetrator would escape like a puff of wind into the air! They called him “The Devil’s Advocate” the tales had been told throughout the crime-world it was said that “no-one ever crossed The Mexican” and Benedict was certain that he was not going to fall into the trap tonight!
Benedict shivered as the car turned left onto Macarthur Road West until it reached the crossroads; turning the wheel right at the junction he entered South Ridge Road where he accelerated a bit quicker than usual; his feet still not used to the clutch pedal. Eventually he joined 71st Street West where after a few kilometres he turned right as he entered “Clearwater”. After twenty minutes driving Benedict pulled the car kerbside outside “C-Bar” on 122 East Ross Street. The car sat idly as it ticked over, the gentle vibrating of the engine sent Benedict into a small trance as he plucked up his courage for what was about to come, Benedict was not looking forward to this!
After several minutes he turned the ignition off and sat looking at the entrance to the bar; the conversation he had had with the Mexican had gone well. Benedict had expected the man’s voice to sound South American but he was pleasantly shocked when the Mexican spoke clear English. The time had come; it was no use just sitting and waiting, he needed to get the job done, he had to go into the bar and conduct their meeting sitting here ain’t doing nothing towards getting outta here he glanced in the mirror again, looking at his reflection, he looked nervous and sweaty. Quickly he pulled a cotton handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed it firmly across his wet forehead damn you…you Mexican scum, scaring the shit outta me ‘and damn you Calcone, you and your fuckin henchmen…I’ll show you I ain’t no failure and then you can fuck yourself, cause I’m gone!’
Benedict slammed the car door shut and walked along the pavement until he stood at the entrance to ‘C-Bar’ a large neon sign flashed the name of the bar, it looked empty, the outside needing a paintjob, benedict looked left and right along the street. The whole street was deserted no witnesses he entered the bar cautiously his eyes searching around in every direction, taking in every corner and alcove; his eyes piercing into every nook and cranny. The bar was empty except for three men, there were two men sitting at the bar drinking beers, they both turned and eyed him up and down, the third man being the bartender.
Determined not to look afraid Benedict averted his eyes further into the gloom; the jukebox played “Jay Z – 99 Problems” ‘how appropriate’ Benedict whispered to himself as he walked toward the long length of lacquered bar top. He stopped several feet down from where the two customers were drinking, he tried his hardest not to show any sign of fear, but deep inside his body he could feel his heart beating its way out of his chest. Benedict looked at the bartender “howdy” he tipped his head.
The bartender was wiping a glass with a towel ‘what can I get ya Mister?’
‘Beer; I’ll have a beer thanks’ doing his level best at hiding the fear in his voice.
‘Yeah that’s fine’ Benedict replied, trying to disguise the tremble as he spoke each word.
‘Ya here on business’ the bartender asked as he began to pour the golden liquid, the glass was tilted at a severe angle under the pump as the liquid gently made its way up the glass, the small head of froth getting closer to the top.
‘I have to meet someone here’ Benedict swallowed nervously I hope they didn’t catch that.
The bartender straightened the glass as he filled the last bit and then he put the glass down on the counter; his expression now turned serious ‘you better go out back then’ he nodded to the door at the rear ‘he’s waiting for you there!’
Benedict turned his head and looked to the back of the room at the door with no window; turning back he picked up the glass and took a large mouthful, the liquid cooled his insides as he gulped it down. Putting the glass back on the bar counter he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand then turning he began to walk to the back of the room, toward the door with no window, toward the room where “The Mexican” waited, he breathed a quiet sigh as he approached wiped his forehead with the flat of his hand.
The bartender picked up the glass and reached over to the sink where he tipped away the rest of the honey coloured liquid, he smiled to the two men who were sat at the bar and they both smiled back; sarcastic smiles; almost smug. All three men watched the stranger as he walked on wary legs towards the door along the far wall of the bar.
Benedict had reached the door, he knew the bartender and the two men sat at the bar were watching his every step. He knew they were laughing at him behind his back; they knew he was afraid; they could see it, and if they could see it “The Mexican” would too. He had to show some confidence shit man you need to pull yourself together Benedict drew in a deep breath then slowly he released it as his hand rapped firmly on the hard wooden door.
The door opened slowly; in the doorway stood a large built Afro-Caribbean man, he was around five foot nine and weighed around fourteen stone, the man wore jeans and a tight fitting green t-shirt which showed off his muscular frame Jesus...this guy works out big time. The man had short hair and was cleanly shaven; he looked Benedict up and down then nodded for him to enter. Benedict entered the room confidently walking past the coloured man into the middle where he stood still; sliding one of his hands into the pocket on his trouser leg. The door shut slowly behind him; it was hot in the room there didn’t seem to be much air; no windows either and definitely no air conditioning. In front of Benedict was a table, sitting behind the table was a man he looked American; he wore a stetsun and a short sleeved check shirt, he looked shorter than the coloured man at around five foot seven, Benedict guessed this man worked out too, although he was much smaller in his physical frame.
‘So Calcone has a job for me’ the man behind the desk asked, his accent almost English, his voice confident, his hands were laid out flat on the table in front of him, palms downward.
It was the man who Benedict had spoken to earlier, the man he had spoken to on the phone, he could tell by the sound of the voice. Benedict was stood in front of “The Mexican” the man he had heard all the stories about, the man who was at the centre of all the tales was now sat no more than two metres away! Benedict nodded ‘he has a problem that he needs you to take care of for him; he told me to tell you he wants it to be messy, he wants to make an example of these people!’
The man frowned under the brim of his large cowboy hat ‘who is it; rival Mob?’ his tone inquisitive.
Benedict could feel the man’s eyes searching him, searching his thoughts, searching for a sign, any sign of strength or weakness keep focussed ‘no, it’s a shopkeeper who’s not complying with Mr Calcone’s wishes’ he felt uncomfortable in the room standing in front of “The Mexican” while one of his cronies stood behind him at the door. Benedict could feel the coloured mans breath as it reached around his neck, tickling, lingering keep it together, you’re doing well ‘I have the details of the man in this envelope’ he raised his hand up to his chest to reach inside for the envelope. The Mexican glanced quickly over to the coloured man standing behind Benedict Jesus they think I’m going for a piece ‘may I just reach in and take out the envelope’ he asked nervously, his voice had suddenly gone a little higher, he looked at the Mexican as his hand hovered around the outside of his jacket.
The Mexican stared at Benedict’s hand; he eyed him up and down then with a gentle flat of the hand he made a downward motioning movement to the large coloured man standing behind Benedict. After the Mexican had nodded his permission Benedict tucked his hand inside his jacket pocket, it trembled slightly as he withdrew the envelope and passed it across the table, Benedict eyed “The Mexican” closely as he gently pulled the envelope from the table. Benedict still felt nervous, anxious even, the air in the room was clammy and he could smell something? He thought about it what is it that I can smell suddenly it came to him death he could smell death. Conscious of the two men who occupied the room with him Benedict let out a quiet gulp; he just wanted to get everything done and leave the room and the bar behind him; once outside he would be gone, they would never see him again damn even Calcone won’t see me again; I’m outta this hellhole of a job. But even with all the fear he had; all the fear that was playing within his mind, nudging him, telling him…..a thought was still intriguing him though why do they call him “The Mexican” when it’s quite clear he’s English or maybe an American who’d been educated over the pond?
The Mexican opened the envelope and pulled out several sheets of paper and began flicking through them one by one; Benedict had made sure he had left nothing out in the details; he had put down everything about Stanley Baker and his family; his wife; his daughter and his son. It was silent in the room the only sound seemed to be coming from Benedict’s heartbeat as he watched “the Mexican” read through every sheet of paper he had taken from the envelope, Benedict was sure that “the Mexican” would be pleased. The document he had presented read like an autobiography, he watched the man as he read them several times, watching as the pages turned and his heartbeat pounded on his chest, Benedict watched the man as he read them, over and over again, taking in every morsel of information. Finally he looked up into Benedict’s eyes ‘they are on holiday as of today?’ the voice was calm and collected.
Benedict felt pleased ‘yes they’ve gone into the Rocky Mountains in a cabin one of those holiday ones for the city slickers’ he knew the Mexican would act quickly knowing that it’s all in the detail!
‘Tell Mr Calcone that I will take on this job’ he nodded down toward the papers on his desk ‘I will make an example of this Stanley Baker and his family, I’ll do this because Mr Calcone always pays well’ the Mexican licked his lips; they looked a little dry?
Benedict was glad, this time he had not been a failure; the job was done, the Bakers would now be dealt with and Benedict would now be allowed to leave; leave the bar and leave the services of “the Calcone clan” those fucks ain’t never gonna see me again! But that niggling thought came back again; it was still bothering him why do they call him “The Mexican?” he was feeling a little more confident now that the meeting was finally over and besides he had seen nothing from these two men that really scared him, the only negative thought was the strange atmosphere in the room. ‘Do you mind if I ask a question?’
The Mexican looked up from the papers into Benedict’s eyes; he looked intrigued ‘ask away’ his eyes narrowed under the rim of the stetsun.
‘Why do they call you “The Mexican” when you are quite clearly English or maybe even American’ he asked it inquisitively; his sweaty brow furrowed into a crease all the stories about him being Mexican must be a myth, a legend even, created to scare his enemies? It’s what some of the Eastern European gangs do, set up scary stories to make them sound invincible!
The Mexican laughed ‘I’m not the Mexican’ his eyes glanced over to the far wall ‘he is!’
Benedict saw the movement from along the wall off to his left, he caught it out of the corner of his eye; it was quick and decisive the man had materialised from what seemed like no-where but there was no-one else in the room I checked! Before his head could turn to register the movement the man was upon him; Benedict felt the blade enter under his rib cage as his head turned to take in the features of his attacker. He was South American, 6 feet tall with a slight scar that ran down the length of his cheek; Benedict’s gaze dropped to the mans throat to the larger scar that, even now after all these years still looked raw. It is true he thought to himself as he began to feel his shirt becoming wet, the wet feeling spreading across his shirt and chest, even down to his underpants.
It registered with Benedict that he was about to die the devil has stabbed me he looked into “The Mexican’s” eyes he was sure at first that his pupils had glowed red like the stories he had heard? But now as he looked deeper into them they were black; black like pools of oil! Benedict stared into the black bottomless pools, there was no emotion in the eyes, just death, benedict could feel his eyelids becoming heavy, until the knife was brought up six inches; the force making Benedict grunt, making his eyes open wider. Another feeling came, he felt his trousers becoming wet, then his legs I’ve pissed myself the blade was now up to his chest fuckin things going to come out of my throat at this rate! His breathing was becoming weak as each breath began to get shorter; his lungs fought desperately for more air, his heart pounded on his ribcage as it clung desperately to life. The whole attack had lasted seconds but in Benedict’s mind it had played out slowly, all the strength in him began to disappear until eventually his legs could no longer hold his weight; he dropped lifeless to the floor. Benedict was dead!
Chapter 2 will be posted Friday September 27th 2013 but until then if you liked the first instalment of Samson then why not check out 'The Semiotic Networks' my first novel available in paperback, e-book and I-Tunes. You can gain access through this site.
Thanks for reading......Dean Horton