Thursday, February 11, 2016

6 - ike

for previous episode click here

to begin at the beginning click here

down on the street sam saw a newsboy

extra! extra! the boy shouted

sam took a nickel out of his pocket

perhaps there really was some news

i hope not, he thought

too much change is never good

extraordinary events usually portend trouble

here, kid - sam flipped the boy the nickel

in stride he grabbed the paper

sam blanched

cold panic swept over him

on this day of all days!

nick must have known about this

fool that i’ve been, thought sam

unless nick has been playing us all

sometimes you have to grasp at straws

i feel sick

on the sidewalk a raindrop fell

now what?

he considered his options

everything would come apart now

forget any hope of playing a long game

eddie would declare total war on everybody

let the bodies fall where they may

tomorrow was today

sam shook his head, trying to clear it

there would be a funeral for mickey

regrets for his untimely passing would be expressed

and after that…

no quarter would be asked or given

great would be the woe and lamentation

eddie would see to that

last night everything seemed so rosy

yesterday was a million miles away

can i get away? sam wondered

and where can i go?

let me think

my options are severely limited

eddie might be on his way over here right now!

very likely, in fact

emptiness opened up in front of sam

run! he thought , i have to run!

yes, that’s it

tomorrow will be too late

hold on - take a deep breath

inhale… exhale

now walk slowly to the bank

good thing it is just around the corner

when sam got to the bank

a wave of panic swept over him

sam! he heard a voice call

great, he thought, i can’t catch a break

out of nowhere a figure appeared

ike mccarthy!

never in a million years had sam expected him to turn up!

good to see you, ike, he mumbled

that’s not a very enthusiastic greeting, ike boomed

oh i was just so surprised to see you, sam responded desperately

booshwa, ike answered

every one of you guys are the same

all forgetting an old pal

lest you forget

lest you forget, ike repeated menacingly

rejecting me is not on your best interests

i want my share

get me?

humor me

that’s all you have to do

to be continued

Saturday, January 23, 2010

5 - the mouthpiece

for previous episode click here

to begin at the beginning click here

sam kennedy was exasperated
in his experience he had seen a lot
nothing surprised him
confusion rarely entered his brain
eddie, though, was something else

he had approached sam about a month ago
entering his office by way of the service elevator

he had a proposition for sam
as always, sam listened
doubtless talk was cheap

regarding loyalty, sam had an open mind
eddie understood sam
at first, sam expressed surprise
loyalty is sacred, he insisted
i can't just blow kenny off
zero tolerance for rats is a law of nature
eddie just smiled
doubt never entered his mind

kenny was on the slide
events were conspiring against him
nothing he could do would matter
nothing he could say either
yes, thought eddie, i have him

when the first string is pulled
all the puppets look up
so long as he string is tight

fine, thought sam
out of all the guys he could have propositioned
lucky he chose me
little does he suspect
once he thinks he has me
when he's ready to spring the trap
i will be long gone
never to be seen again
goodbye, eddie!

ha ha ha
it was nice knowing you
mighty nice indeed

just then sam's phone rang
oh oh he thought
he picked it up
nick was on the other end
nothing he said made much sense
yes, yes. sam agreed

how come nick was calling?
always before it had been kenny himself
denoting caution

but now, was kenny getting careless?
everything pointed that way
especially now
nick was babbling away

politely, sam interrupted
right now were not a good idea
perhaps later
let's get together
eddie is the problem, yes
except when he isn't, of course
even when he seems to be quiet
doesn't this guy ever get to the point?

i wholeheartedly agree
no doubt

he finally got rid of nick
i need a thick porterhouse steak, he thought
so what if the doctor said no more

mulling the implications of nick's call
in the depths of his treacherous brain
notwithstanding his natural caution
decision time was reached

how had it come to this?
eddie had been nothing

was it destiny?
all sam knew was he wanted to pick a winner
so much for loyalty

continuing his train of thought
on his way out the door
nodding to the cleaning lady
flashing a big smile
under his restlessly probing eyes
sam never considered
eddie's true motives
decided long ago

6. ike

Monday, January 11, 2010

4 - mickey

for previous episode click here

to begin at the beginning click here

on mickey's ninety-third birthday the boys sent him a cake
nurse jones delivered it

three orderlies sang
happy birthday to you
everybody had a good time

outside the birds were making noise
too much noise
happy birthday was over
eternity beckoned to mickey
remorse smiled uncertainly at him

he ignored both of them
as the hours ticked away
nothing to worry about
despair was for chumps

mickey had plans
and plans for his plans
yes he did
behind his wraparound shades
evil schemes abounded

harry miller the haberdasher
everything mickey knew he learned from harry

down in the old neighborhood
in the seventeenth ward
did he learn his lessons or what?
no one learned better
things were good then

under mickey's placid exterior
plots spread like kudzu

'i need to sweep under the bed"
nurse jones was back

turning his wheelchair to the window
humming an old favorite tune
eyeing nurse jones surreptitiously

somnolescence overtook mickey
kicking cake crumbs under his wheelchair
yawning like a crocodile

but tomorrow
i'll get started he thought
revenge flickered like a volcano
determination like flowing lava
see if i don't come back

as mickey flopped forward in his chair
nurse jones did her job
duty was her life

plots and plans were alien to her
lately though she had been thinking
and certain thoughts
never before acknowledged
entered her brain
softly as summer rain

why was she here?
every day was the same
really what was the point?
explanations were lacking

feeling faint, she paused
looking out the window
yellow leaves lay under the bare trees
i'm like those trees, she thought
nobody notices me
guess i am getting old

turbulence roiled mickey's brain
a master plan formed
kerosene-like it flamed
in an instant it was gone
never to return
gone forever

ashes blew down the street

packing a shotgun
al brown stood on the running board
in the window of uncle dave's pawn shop
return to sender

open your eyes
form a plan

peeking at her
as she finished making his bed
nurse jones filled his vision
there was a woman
she was the key

"oh, nurse," mickey called
falling halfway out of his chair
fumbling for his brain

too late -
his brain disintegrated
empty hopes dispersed into nothingness

all over
it was the end

but his body remained
strong hands gripped it
"i've got him" nurse jones called
dr wilson appeared
equanimous as always

he had almost liked mickey
in a strange way
suspecting him of terrible crimes

but he was a patient
egregious though his deeds may have been
dr wilson sighed

jones had things under control
orderlies appeared
happy birthday was over
now back to work
never a quiet moment
yet they carried on

paperwork paperwork
until the cows came home
too bad about the cows

they never came home
how sad
eternity beckoned to them too

outside the birds and bugs were quiet
none of them cared about mickey

5. the mouthpiece

Sunday, May 10, 2009

3 - lucky

for previous episode click here

to begin at the beginning click here

uptown at the midnight club lucky was waiting patiently.
nothing much bothered her.
lucky was a philosopher.
in her eyes nothing showed.
kenny had picked her out of the crowd only weeks ago.
everything was fine now.

kicking against fate had never been her style.
eventually things would work out.
now and again a thought passed through her brain.
nobody knew her name.
youth wouldn't last forever.

what was that?
had she seen something out of the corner of her eye?
oh no!

honey johnson!
a person she never wanted to see again.
did she have to pop up now?

right now was not the time
in lucky's mind a plan began to form
so what if honey johnson knew what she knew?
everything was going to be all right
no problem

isolating honey was the first priority
now,not later

turning on the barstool lucky nonchalantly scanned the room
her brain was tingling
emerging from its deep sleep

only concentrate
right now
get the old brain moving
a thought began to form
nobody liked honey johnson
i never liked her, lucky thought
zero good intentions
and everybody thought the same
there are people like that
it's kind of sad
on the other hand
nobody gets a free pass

just walk up to her
"o hi honey, remember me? "
honey turned to face her
"no, who are you?"
"nobody you want to remember."
yet nothing registered in honey's face

had lucky been mistaken?
all her instincts screamed no
duplicity had always been honey's road game

facing reality, lucky turned away
as she turned she said
"little joe"
leaving honey she looked straight ahead
eyes bored into her back
now what?

taking her coat off her chair she walked out
outside the night was clear

to wait for kenny was impossible
he might not show up at all
everything depended on herself

lucky started walking
on her left a bus was pulling to the curb
why not?
entering the bus she took a seat by the rear door
slowly she turned her head
the street behind was empty

lucky opened her purse
everything she owned was not in it
very likely
everything she could take with her was
lowering her eyes
she considered the risks

on her right a man was looking at her
friendly eyes gleamed behind thick glasses

she looked over at him
on his head a fedora rested
calmness descended on lucky
i can do this, she thought
"excuse me," she said
to the man with the fedora
"you remind me of someone i used to know."

pausing momentarily
expectancy in his eyes
robert harris (for that was his name)
held lucky's gaze
all his caution evaporated
prior experience went out the window
she was so beautiful!

kenny, meanwhile, had stopped watching the rain
energy flowed through his brain
nothing could stop him now
no thought of failure was in his head
years of triumph awaited

contrary to lucky's calculations
all his thoughts were elsewhere
revenge against his enemies
evolution of his ambitions
did he think of lucky at all?

4. mickey

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2 - kenny

to begin at the beginning click here

when kenny got the news about johnny, he was momentarily taken aback.
he sent nick off to doc gamus with jerry to fix jerry's arm.
every time he tried to figure out what had happened, he drew a blank.
nothing made any sense.

how could a guy like johnny get mixed up in something like this?
explanations were scarce.

when nick got back kenny was looking out the window.
"eddie's the problem." kenny announced.
"no kidding," nick thought.
to kenny he just said.

"that sounds about right."
opening the window, kenny leaned out over the street.

"let's get this thing organized."
"organization is the key," nick agreed.
"out of every ten guys on the payroll. put seven on it."
kenny took his head out of the window.

"of course we'll have to lose a little money for a few days," nick suggested tentatively.
"understood." kenny agreed.
taking his cue, nick turned and left.

talking to himself under his breath, nick went down the stairs.
he wasn' t at all sure kenny knew what he was doing.
eddie could be getting the best of it.

while nick was going down the stairs, kenny picked up the phone.
in a few seconds he was connected to his mouthpiece, sam kennedy.
nothing and everything would be said.
during his rapid rise in the organization, kenny had come to rely on sam to a perhaps dangerous degree.
on balance, things had worked out well.
well enough, anyway,

today would mark a turning point in kenny's fortunes.
he was dimly aware of this.
energy flowed through his brain.

remembering the early days he thought of johnny.
always johnny had been a loser.
i always stood up for him, kenny thought.
now i wonder why.

whenever mickey gave him a job he messed it up.
and mickey usually laughed.
sometimes he didn't though.

sometimes i had to bail him out.
two or three times he almost messed up too bad.
i came close to giving up on him.
lucky for him i didn't.
lucky for me mickey finally told him to get lost.

consolidation was the key.
organization was important too.
mickey had been smart.
i was smart to go along with mickey.
now after all these years someone goes after johnny.
growth might be a factor.

decreased opportunity due to market saturation could also be involved.
what did it have to do with johnny?
nothing that he could see.

outside, eddie had slipped down to the street.
under cover of the rain, he slipped into a cab.
tony was driving the cab.
since the shooting started, he had been waiting.
in seconds, the cab pulled out.
despite the urgency, tony kept the speed reasonable.
eddie leaned back.

on the corner a girl was standing.
nothing showed on her face as they passed her.

tony kept driving.
he didn't say anything.
eddie didn't say anything either.

cold rain fell on the windshield.
on eddie's face a narrow smile appeared.
"right here," he said.
nodding, tony pulled to the curb.
eddie got out.
rubbing the back of his neck, he looked around.

"happy new year." a voice behind him said.
eddie whirled around.

sergeant kosalski was standing in a doorway.
at eddie's surprise he laughed.
"what's up, eddie?"

kosalski was the most hated cop in town.
everyone was afraid of him.
no one could get the best of him.
not too many tried.
yet eddie kept a poker face.

war had not yet been declared.
and kosalski would deal.
in fact, that was all he ever did.
treachery was his road game.
"i am a little surprised to see you here," eddie said.
"never too early to talk to an old friend." kosalski replied.
"great," replied eddie,

kosalski nodded at the door behind him.
nothing else for it, eddie decided.
nothing good could come of this.
"you remember kenny, don't you?" he asked kosalski.

"how could i forget him?"
as he spoke, kosalski opened the door.
darkness was inside.

before eddie's eyes could adjust, kosalski grabbed by the arm and pulled him inside.
eddie stiffened momentarily.
eventually his eyes adjusted.
now he knew where he was.

harry miller's place.
in the old days harry miller had a haberdashery here.

but what was kosalski's game?
"eddie, i am sure you are wondering why i brought you here today."
"to be frank, i was kind of wondering that myself."

"frankness was always your game."
"i remember this place - harry miller had his haberdashery here."
"eddie, you amaze me. you must have hardly been born when harry miller had his haberdashery here."
"no. i used to buy my hats here."
dusting off a chair beside the window, kosalski sat down.

"all right, let's get down to business."
turning to face kosalski, eddie listened.

"concerning kenny," kosalski began. "he has got to go."
at this, eddie made no immediate response.
"my thinking," kosalski continued, "is that consolidation is the wave of the future."
perfect, thought eddie.

eddie knew this was the moment he had waited for all his life.
victory was in his grasp.
everything he had ever done tended toward this moment.
"no argument here," he answered kosalski.
"to tell you the truth, i expected a little more resistance," said kosalski.
"unless you and kenny aren't such pals as i thought".
all right, eddie thought, he's trying to set me up here.
'let's get one thing straight, detective, kenny is no friend of mine."
"let me ask you, eddie, do you have any friends?"
"yeah, i got friends."

"tell me about them"
"hey, what is this?"
"eddie, i can't do business with someone if i don't know about them."
"you're the cop, you got sources of information."

"how shall i say this?"
at that moment, as kosalski was playing with eddie's head, kenny was talking to sam kennedy.
"decisive action is required."

"decisive action," the attorney repeated.
"right, i hear you. but you can't be too careful"
"i want you to file a wrongful death suit against eddie for johnny's murder.
for good measure, throw in a pain and suffering suit for johnny's mom"
taken aback, the lawyer was almost at a loss for words.
"eddie doesn't have any money - at least he doesn't have any assets."
"doesn't matter - we are sending a message.

a message that we aren't a bunch of street punks.
perhaps eddie and his pals will see that we have other weapons in our arsenal"
"arsenal - that's a big word."
"right - and i got big plans."
turning to the window, kenny watched the raindrops sliding down.

3. lucky

1 - johnny

johnny woke up.
outside it was raining.
how it rained!
never had he heard such rain.
now he had to get up.
yet he did not want to get up.

when he went to look out the window, the rain was still coming down.
outside on the corner he saw kenny waiting.
kenny had been his best friend at camp.
eventually they had drifted apart.

unlike kenny, who had risen in the organization, johnny had fallen to the lowest levels of society.
perhaps kenny cared.

on the other hand, maybe he didn't.
up in the sky, birds and planes were flying.
taking a pair of pants off the chair beside his bed, johnny put them on.
since he had realized kenny was following him, johnny had been perplexed.
in his mind he was confused.
despite his confusion, he felt strangely calm.
everything was going to be all right.

"i can handle this". he said to himself.
talking to himself was something he rarely did.

when he went back to the window after putting his pants on, kenny was still there.
and there was someone else with him.
someone johnny didn't recognize.

right at that moment a car pulled up beside kenny and his new friend.
another person got out.
it was starting to look serious.
not one to waste time, johnny quickly finished getting dressed.
in a few minutes he was ready.
next he put his hat on.
going to the door, he checked his pockets.

he was halfway down the stairs when he heard someone coming up.
on impulse, he reached for the handle of the door beside him and turned it.
when he closed the door softly behind him, he heard voices on the stairwell.

"i know he is up here", he heard someone say.
to his surprise, it was not kenny.

"relax,"another voice said.
another voice that was not kenny.
in the room behind johnny something stirred.
next thing he knew something was stuck in his back.
"eddie," said a voice behind him, "i always knew you'd come back."
despite his situation, johnny almost laughed.

"not eddie," he said.
evidently the person behind him was not amused because he stuck the object harder into johnny's back.
"verify that you are not eddie." the voice behind him said.
"eddie's i.d. isn't in my pocket."
"right - like that proves something."

"have it your way."
"all right."
despite his bravado, johnny was terrified.

he didn't know what to do.
evidently this was the end.

how he wished he could go on living.
eddie - who was eddie?
and what had johnny ever done to him?
rage erupted in his brain.
desperation mingled with the rage.

so this was the end.
until this moment he had never realized how much he wanted to live.
considering he had never gotten a break in his life, this was somewhat surprising.
how could things have gone so wrong?

retreating into his brain, he tried to remember the good times.
anything at all would seem good under the cirumstances.
"i'm not eddie," he repeated in surprisingly calm voice.
"no kidding," the voice behind him replied.

new hope flooded into him.
oscillating with a new despair.
what was going on?

he had hardly begun to hope when he heard a shot and a hot slug ripped through his kidneys and guts.
energy and life flowed out of him.

he was dead.
all he had ever done was meaningless.
dead - totally.

tucking the pistol into his belt after blowing the smoke off it, zeke johnson grimaced disgustedly.
"of all the rotten luck.'

gus hansen nodded disconsonately.
"eddie's still out there."
"tell me about it," zeke replied.

"unless we find eddie, pete's going to be very unhappy."
"pete don't have to know about this guy."

"you might be right"
"except that i might be wrong."
"time will tell."

"help me drag this guy down the stairs."
"excuse me, but shouldn't we put him back in his room?

"dang it, you might have something there."
"i guess."
"didn't i hear someone outside on the stairs?"

"now that you mention it. yeah. i did."
"open the door just a little, see if anyone is out there."
turning the handle, gus peeked out on to the staircase.

when he didn't see anything, he gave zeke the high sign.
at that moment, they heard steps coming down the stairs,
nick and jerry appeared.
too late, gus tried to close the door.

taking a .357 out of his belt, nick approached.
on the other side of the door, zeke pulled his heater out.

gunfire blazed.
everybody in the building and the block heard it.
two or three of them called the law.

up on the roof, eddie lit a cigarette.
puffing away, he smiled faintly.

2. kenny