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.