Police Superintendent Melissa Kovaks grasped blindly in the darkness for her ringing cell phone.
"Yeah, this better be bloody good."
Melissa listened for a few more seconds before blurting out "Alison Agostino? As in, the daughter of Donny 'the Dean' Agostino? Okay, I am on my way." She had been rather unsuccessfully on the trail of a serial rapist for the past seven months, and now it seemed he had made the biggest mistake of his life. She and Donny had crossed paths numerous times before while she had worked in Vice and, while she didn’t like the man for what he did, she respected and understood him enough to know trouble was sure to follow.
Donny the Dean had spent the last eighteen years in jail for murder and aggravated assault of a man who had brought disrespect against the 'legitimate' business that Donny ran. In fact, Donny had been known to be a very violent man - it was the worst-kept secret in the seedy and violent underbelly of the city that if you wanted someone 'taken care of' in a way that was beyond the means or abilities of your everyday, run-of-the-mill hitmen, Donny was the guy to see. But through all this, he was hugely respected - from the small-time crims to the Dons of the city, Donny was The Man. His one soft spot, though, was his daughter Allie, for whom Donny would, and did, absolutely everything for. She was a continual source of pride for him and may god help anyone who caused her even an iota of pain or discomfort.
Her pager announced a call from a private number, with a simple message: "Ring me the fuck right now. Donny."
Picking up the phone, she dialed the number.
"Kovaks here, how can I help you?"
"Don't play the fucking goody-two-shoes with me, Kovaks - you know why I am calling and here is the deal. You have three choices: You either get that bastard who raped and murdered my daughter by yourself, which could take forever; you let me take care of it and leave you numerous dead bodies in my wake, which I am sure you wouldn't want; or, thirdly, you and I work together - within the rules, your access to manpower and records, my sources and underworld connections....what do you say? I know of your record as being a bit of a loose cannon, someone willing to do things that aren't strictly - how shall I say this - legal. "
Melissa paused for only a fraction of a second, "That, as they say in the classics, is an offer I simply can't refuse."
A few hours later, Melissa and Donny had met at Smoky Joe's Cafe to discuss their plans They had decided to track down Bobby Vassio, one of the more well-connected snitches in the seamy side of the city. Finding him had been another story altogether - all the small bit-players and confidantes had gone to ground, fully aware that Donny would be on the warpath. They found Bobby in a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar, knocking down scotches as if he knew that today would most likely be his last and he may as well enjoy it while he could. Donny waited out in the car - he had told Kovaks that they would do things by the book, at least while they were in public. Kovaks came out of the bar, Bobby in tow, and they headed towards the car, Bobby nervously scouting the area, hoping that no one was seeing him get in a car with a police officer. Once he was sure things were okay, he settled into the front until he heard a voice from the backseat, "Hey Bobby, glad you could join us for a chat....Kovaks, you know where to go from here."
Later, at the penthouse suite of the Marriott Hotel, Donny was in fine form, relaxed and easy going, and yet still exuded a sense of malice and hatred.
"Donny, man I honestly know nothin' man....like I would fuckin' lie to ya - do ya think I'm fuckin' crazy?"
Kovaks watched the young man closely, watching for any sign of what may be considered evasiveness or plain, outright lies. She need not have worried; sweat has turned Bobby's once neat brown hair into a straggly mess; his black muscle shirt was pulled taut across his young chest; and the fear in his eyes was enough to suggest that he was on the narrow - besides, who in their right minds would lie to Donny Agostino?
"Sure, kid, you don't know shit....what about the rest of your gang, pack, or whatever you call yourselves? I am really starting to get annoyed and you don't want to annoy me, Bobby, you really don't."
Kovacks interrupted, "Hey Donny, isn't this where you threaten to cut off his fingers or shoot him in the testicles?"
"Lady, the minute I become a walking cliche, you can shoot me in the testicles!"
Melissa Kovaks stared at the box of Cubans that Donny Agostino had brought her, as a present for helping him locate and "deal" with the murderer of his daughter. They had worked together well as a team; no indiscreet conversations, all phone calls made from private mobile phones, very quiet inquiries made with the idea of secrecy in mind. After finally tracking down killer, Donny had made a bit of a mess of his face, and other parts of his anatomy, and left the body in an abandoned warehouse in the southern suburbs of the city, where a dead body was as commonplace as a prostitute in King's Cross. Leaning against her desk with Donny standing next to her, they both simultaneously reached for the cigars, accidentally rubbing elbows in the meantime. Melissa stared at him; his rugged good looks, his athletic body, the way he used his hands to communicate feeling, she could just imagine herself kissing him, feeling the warmth of his embrace, the stubble on his chin gently rubbing against her face. Suddenly, Melissa was amazed at the almost-elegant way her body slumped to the floor, the bullet from Donny's gun planted firmly in her brain....
"Not one of my cigars, honey," he said as he tidied up the only loose end that could tie him to the case.
Shakespeare was wrong - shooting the messenger was alright with Donny Agostino, legendary underworld figure, and now, as he had just heard, Number One With A Bullet (if you will excuse the pun) on the FBI's Most Wanted list. He had been involved in a messy, and eventually bloody, hunt for the rapist and killer of his daughter, Alison. In the end, he had killed the investigator he had worked with because, as he knew from personal experience, that leaving loose ends would always come back to bite you on the ass. One of his junior underlings, Jimmy, had reported in that he had heard from a reliable source that Donny was now the most wanted man in the world and, normally, that would be just fine with him, except that getting heat from an international crime unit wasn't his idea of fun. Donny knew that the FBI, CIA and all sorts of crime fighting units would be on his trail so the best thing was for him to make tracks and get out of the country quickly. But, before he did, he had had to remove the loose end that was Jimmy - waste of a bullet in Donny's opinion.
Jimmy’s death stirred something in the night, some shadow of a being that had long ceased to be of this world. A throbbing could be heard that transmuted into a rhythmic sob and then a wail so plaintive as to send shivers through those dwelling in lesser darkness. Jimmy had a sister. In the days before darkness consumed her humanity she and Jimmy were close. His memory fed her tenuous grasp on this plane of existence and when the bullet entered Jimmy’s brain, that grasp was lost. She could see through his eyes as the killer pulled the trigger and now Janie’s got a gun…
Donny was relaxing at the bar of the Lago Park Apartments in Playa de Muro, Mallorca, seemingly millions of miles from anywhere. Donny felt the weight of the world lift from his shoulders as he settled in to his easy recliner, cocktail in one hand, cigar in the other, thinking that here, on this tiny Spanish island, the troubles of his past were behind him. A sudden shift in the breeze ran a cold chill up his back, making him rather uncomfortable for a moment, and try as he like, even after the breeze had calmed again, he couldn't shake a feeling of unease.
She came from nowhere, her walk exuding such sexuality that no man could resist the lure of her allure and in front of Donny Agostino she lingered, “Hey baby, you got another cigar?” her voice mirroring her walk. As Donny reached not for a cigar but for something harder she stepped between his reclined legs, running her long, long nails along his pressed tan slacks and lightly caressing his most sensitive of all places, “come on baby, play nice” she purred as Donny fell entranced. Janie’s red, red lips reached Donny’s ear and as she whispered the names of everyone of Donny’s victims, he is forced to relive their deaths through his victims eyes; save for Jimmy’s…. in Jimmy’s death Donny will live through his own as Janie seductively withdraws Donny’s nickel plated revolver and ends the parade of death that was Donny Agostino.
Finally, it ends. She had returned the spade and the ropes to her car and was now resting, with her back against the pole, staring out at the ocean, letting the gentle sea breeze sweep her hair off her face, allowing her to cool down after the strenuous activity she had just partaken in. She was not generally a day person but the time had felt right and the secluded beach in a foreign country had seemed like a perfect place to bury the past. She had swept up handfuls of sand to use as the finishing touches, unafraid to get sand inside the form-fitting dress she had been wearing the night before when she had concluded her business with a former "client". In a way, she was feeling a little melancholy, the way you do when a part of your life finishes and you know you will never have that time again. Janie took one last handful of sand, scattered it around the pole where she had only just now laid Donny to rest.
(Another rap to Daniel Stine for the work he contributed to this piece. What had started off as a tale on Six Sentences grew into this longer piece, in which Daniel was not particularly happy with my ending, and hence added the death of Donny. I appreciate greatly his writing and hope soon to work with him again.)