How Revenge Is Done

You might be surprised by the type of people you get to know, being on the streets as much as I am.

People like the Mulligan brothers.

Liam and Sean aren’t the nicest looking guys you’ll ever meet, nor are they the most sober. They’re ill-tempered, foul-mouthed and generally unpleasant to be around. Their moral compass has been broken for as long as anyone can remember and they’re not too keen on getting it fixed. Their one saving grace? Like any good Irish boys, they love their mother more than anything else on God’s Good Earth.

Deidre Mulligan is a sweet but stubborn woman. She refuses to stay in an “old foggie” home, as she calls them; she likes to go for walks, whenever the urge strikes her, wherever she damn well pleases; and if you ever do her wrong, you best be halfway to Mexico before her sons find out.

I guess the guy who tried to steal her purse almost a year ago was from out of town.

I had no idea who Deidre was when I rounded the corner onto Boston Road that night and saw her struggling with her assailant. When he finally managed to push her to the ground, he took off running and I was right on his heels. It took me four blocks to finally catch him (I blame a backpack full of spray cans for slowing me down) and… convince him… to hand her purse over.

Deidre was very grateful for its safe return and insisted on buying me a drink in the nearest pub. When her boys caught word of what had happened they let me know that they owed me a very big favor. They didn’t tell me directly, of course - that’s not how these things are done. Somehow a hand written note found its way onto my desk at work two days later with a simple thank you and a phone number to use when I wanted to cash in my favor.

So here I am, in a phone booth half a block away from the coffee shop I just left, dialling that number.

The conversation is brief - an address, two descriptions and then a dial tone. You don’t make small talk when you’re calling in to the Mulligan brothers. You don’t waste their time with unnecessary details. They don't ask why. That’s not how it’s done.

I keep the phone at my ear and continue to watch the shop door through the filthy, cracked glass of the phone booth. When the dark green sedan drives slowly past me I don’t make eye contact, I don't see shaggy red hair, I don’t point to the coffee joint. That’s not how it’s done. If you can be linked to the brothers’ under the table dealings in any way, shape or form, that makes them very, very unhappy. And you do not ever want to be on their bad side.

I hang up the phone and start walking in the opposite direction. I don’t look back, I don’t listen for muffled shots or screaming tires or terrified shouts. I don’t feel guilty.

I don’t know if either of them laid a hand on Paulie but I’m certain they were part of what happened to him. Even if they didn’t kill him directly his blood is still on their hands - and they damn near killed Emma B. I wish I could do the job myself, or at least be with Liam and Sean when they do it, but that’s not how revenge is done on the streets.

The two Russians will be dead before I step through my apartment door tonight and I will never be associated with the deed. Grozny and Wilkerson will wonder what really happened back there but by the time they figure out that I’ve started to fight back it will be too late. Hopefully.

I will be on the other side of town, a nice safe distance from my revenge. But it will still be my revenge. And the Mulligan brothers will owe one less favor.

That’s how it’s done.

The End

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