A small time criminal attempts to collect protection money from a local butcher. The attempt is promptly thwarted by an assassin.
Warning: this story contains graphic violence and coarse language.
You have been warned.
The butcher stood at the counter in his shop, ready to close for the night. He could hear the bustling of Little Italy outside, knowing it was always as such in Manhattan. Just as he went to empty the cash register, four men walked into the shop, dressed in trench coats and fedoras.
“Oh… well hello there, fellas,” he said, greeting them warmly. The man in front stepped forward, a burly man, obviously their leader.
“You know why we’re here, Emilio,” said the leader. “You haven’t been paying your tributes.” The butcher made a poor attempt to disguise his trepidation.
“Well, you know how it is out there,” said the butcher. “Rough economy.” The leader didn’t look impressed. A skinny man standing next to him chimed in.
“Bruno don’t give a fuck about no economy,” he said. “He wants the money you haven’t been paying.” The butcher was starting to sweat.
“L-look guys, I… I just need more time, I-”
“That’s what you said last time,” the leader interrupted. “Bruno’s done with your excuses. Give us the money.”
“Guys, I… I just can’t. I’m barely making ends meet here,” the butcher pleaded. “You gotta give me more time.” The skinny man stepped forward, cracking his knuckles.
“No no no, no more of that bullshit,” he said. “You’re givin’ us the money, now.” Just as he poised his fist, the lights went out. All the men looked around in confusion.
“The fuck?” said the skinny man. His voice was immediately muffled, and the others could hear him gagging. The lights came back on, and the other gangsters were shocked to see him clasping his throat, blood spilling onto his hands. He collapsed to the floor, choking and gargling, until he went limp thirty seconds later. The butcher still stood behind the counter, terrified at what had just happened.
“The fuck was that?!” asked one of the gangsters. The leader looked accusingly at the butcher.
“What was that, Emilio?” he asked in a malicious tone.
“How the fuck should I know?!” asked the butcher. A crashing noise came from the back of the shop. It drew the attention of the gangsters, causing them to draw their pistols.
“Keep an eye on him,” the leader said, motioning towards Emilio. He looked at one of his henchman. “Go check it out.” Nervously, the man obeyed. He walked toward the door leading to the garage. Opening it slowly, he stepped through, disappearing into the other room. The remaining two gangsters watched the door nervously, and after a few seconds, they heard a whoosh, followed by a yelp of pain. Slowly, they walked into the other room. They saw the man who had walked in, his pistol dropped on the floor, a meat hook stuck in his neck, suspended from a balcony by a chain. One of the gangsters vomited as the leader’s eyes were drawn towards the wall, which had the words “Corleone Wannabes” written in blood.
The leader looked towards a staircase, leading to the upper floor.
“Come on, we’ll get the bastard,” he said. His nervous-looking companion took the lead. Slowly, agonizingly, they walked up the staircase, nervously anticipating the emergence of their assailant. Getting increasingly more nervous, they finally reached the top of the staircase. Just as they went to step onto the top floor, they heard a click, followed by a loud boom as the man in front was sent backwards, landing dead on the staircase, his blood splattered on the wall behind him. Only the leader remained now.
He rushed forward, stumbling over the tripwire, hoping to dodge any other traps. I stepped out from the shadows and slashed his leg, sending him to the floor. Groaning in pain, he attempted to crawl away. I firmly planted my foot on his back. He yelped in fear.
“Mercy!” he pleaded. “For Christ’s sake, mercy!”
“Oh, not tonight, Moe,” I said as I raised my fist into the air, knife in hand. “Not tonight.” With all my strength, I brought my fist down, driving my knife into the back of his neck. He went limp as his spinal cord was severed. I withdrew my knife, and walked back downstairs, giving a nod to the butcher as I opened the backdoor.
“Bruno is small-time,” I said, not looking at him. “You won’t have to worry about him.” With that, I left the shop, and left the butcher to clean up the mess. My job was done.