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Vinny

The Family

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James-

 

"It's a local job. And that's why we need to be so strict with the rules." Vincenzo says, walking around the table, observing the balls from all angle. He puffs on his cigarette and lines the cue ball up again and shoots, pocketting a stripped ball on the side hole.

 

"This is Don Marlino's neighborhood. These are the Don's people. He respects them, so they respect him in return. If you're gonna work for us, you gotta remember that..."

 

Vincenzo looks around and sees no straight shot he can take. Nonetheless, he lines up the ball against the railing and bounces it off, luckily pocketting another striped but also pocketting his cue ball. One of the men around the table fishes the cue ball out and hands it to you.

 

"So that's why you can say the Don's pissed off. He's pissed off cuz some punk from the Brooks decides he can muscle in on OUR turf and hustle greens from OUR people. So here's the job. The bastard's name is Horatio Cruco, lives over down in 5th street. I give you a list, an address, and a wad of cash. The list has all the people the f**ker hustled in the last week. The cash is to pay back the money he took from them. The address is Cruco's. Don't whack 'im, but other than that, I think you know what to do with that piece of elf."

 

"So find Cruco, do your job, and pay all of those people back, then come back to me and you'll get paid." Vincenzo says, waving for one of his men, who approaches and hands him a large manilla enveloppe. He takes it and offers it to you. You notice for two simple lists, its quite a bulked up enveloppe. There must be alot of cash in there.

 

"I want the job done before dinner. To-Day. Is that gonna be a problem for ya?" he asks.

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"So find Cruco, do your job, and pay all of those people back, then come back to me and you'll get paid." Vincenzo says, waving for one of his men, who approaches and hands him a large manila envelope. He takes it and offers it to you. You notice for two simple lists, its quite a bulked up envelope. There must be a lot of cash in there.

 

"I want the job done before dinner. To-Day. Is that gonna be a problem for ya?" he asks.

 

James thinks to himself, "Hmmmm meebe one of the easiest jobs I've ever done and for not to shabby of pay either."

 

James in turn puts the cue ball back on the table and gives one of the other guys his stick. He looks to Vincenzo and says, "Not a problem. I might as well get going then. Times a wasting." He takes the manila envelop from Vincenzo and asks, "By chance you got a picture of this [email protected]#rd Horatio Cruco? If not no biggie I think I'll be able to take care of business for you. (Whispering to himself, 'Lil f&^%er gonna pay nice ---- plus get a lil practice in as well.') If you don't mind I'd like to start on this now however if you wish I'll finish this game with you..."

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James-

 

"I got not picture of 'im, but he wears a melon hat and he's got a beard, if that's any help. Just ask around the place he lives if you need. They'll point him out. None of em like the f*cker anyhow." Vincenzo says and he too puts his stick on the table.

 

"Go on, time's wastin' away. We'll finish this some other thay. B'side, I need a drink anyway..." he says and walks away towards the backroom.

 

As James is about to leave, he hears someone calling him. He turns to see one of the Vincenzo's guys, a young short little guy in a cheap suit.

 

"Hey, new guy. Ya need a ride?" he asks. "I gotta go anyway. I'll drop ya off, if ya want."

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"Hey, new guy. Ya need a ride?" he asks. "I gotta go anyway. I'll drop ya off, if ya want."

 

"Hey ya sure... that'd be great.... By da way --- name is James whats yours?"

 

After he states that, he walks in line with man down the steps..

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"I'm not so sure about involving you in this sort of thing, bro, but the money would be nice." Sal says. "We can't even begin to pay Uncle P back for all that he's done for us, but that kind of money would help. Maybe if we can pull it in regularly, he can retire from that sh$t job he's been workin'. And anything extra we could use to help put Carolina through that fancy law school that she's been saving up to try to go to."

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"Tha's what I mean, Sal. So long as we wanna keep this up it'll be the way to go. But this little trip don' have no easy stop at tha end ya know what I mean?" Vitto takes a bite out of his Reuben relishing the taste and knowing that the trip over here was worth it. "So it looks like we gotta new line of cash commin' in. Hey we gotta take care of tha family now don't we?"

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James-

 

"I'm Larry. Yeah, I do the drivin' often, so hey, no sweat, ya know?" he says. James follows Larry out of the pool hall and a few paces down the street where the car is parked. Unlike Frank's roadster, this car is a two door, beat up sedan with wooden sides and rusted iron railings. A very shabby ride, in all respects. It took Larry at least three tries before the engine ignited and the car rumbled violently, shaking even as it stood parked in its lot. James wonder how much worse it could get when it actually drove down the road, but to his relief, the rough ride wasn't that bad and didn't last that long.

 

"Ya know," Larry says to James, who is sitting shotgun next to him. "With you bein', you know... non-Italian and all that, I gotta tell ya, its gonna be a lil tought around here. Yeah, us boys down in at Paulie's, you're probably with us... or at least you will be after a few jobs, but around here, people really don't care for yer kind."

 

"And don't get me wrong, either!" Larry adds quickly. You have the feeling he's quite a talkative person. It's almost as if he's the only required to fuel a conversation. He continues: "Don't get me wrong, I got nothin' against micks.... I mean, Irish. Y'all are hard workin' people and all that, but I gotta tell ya, we Italians... we ain't the most tolerant people around, as you have noticed."

 

"So anyway, you want to be a good worker, you need to earn respect in the neighborhood. Earnin' respect, that means lettin' people know you ain't some potato-eata from some farm somewhere. No offense or anythin', but you know what I mean?. You gotta be tough. Ah, here's the place."

 

The car pulls over at a street that, in all respect to James' lack of direction in this new neighborhood, seems the same as any other.

 

"Alright, this is as far as I can take ya. Cruco'd probably get spooked if he saw me; we already tried to talk to him last week. Didn't work. Here, his place is down here, just head straight down to that address on that list Vincenzo gave ya, shouldn't be too hard. He might or might not be home, but find out where he is and take care of him. I'll see you back at Paulies." And with that, Larry hands you the large manilla enveloppe, and drives off.

 

The street James is standing at is right outside what seems to be an apartment complex. Next to it, on both sides, are similar housing buildings. To his eyes, they all carried the same style. There seem to be a slightly more dense population in this place. Kids are running in the streets, vendors carry their wares in carts. Above, in the balconies, women, maids, and housewives clean off carpets or are hooking the laundry to dry on rooftop clothes line. Occasionally, a dog or two would prowl the busy road looking for morsel, or a cat would leapt from garbage can to garbage can.

 

The envoloppe itself is fairly weighty and quite suspiciously large. Inside are two pieces of paper, one written on a tax accounting form with 5 names and an ammount of money next to each. The second piece of paper has the name Cruco written on it, along with an address (About five digits or some from the address James is standing at). As for the rest, the enveloppe holds four thick wads of cash, approximately five times the pay Vincenzo is offering James. That's enough to buy a house and two cars for the garage, a weighty sum to trust a new guy with...

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"They've always been there to take care of us," Sal replies, "so I guess it's only fair that we take this opportunity to take care o' them."

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James thinks to himself, "Hmmmmmmmmm, what to do????? First things first --- needing to get respect. I kicked enough of Italian a$s down in the docks so thats not that big of a deal. But for now I think it would be best to get some neighborhood vendors on my side. They may be able to point me in the right direction at the same time for finding this Cruco fella."

 

James looks at the addresses and decides to go to the first name on the list making a mental note of the names and amounts. Thinking to himself, "Children in the streets, best place to ask where these guys store would be at..."

 

After the thought James walks up to the first set of children in the street, fishing in his pockets he finds a $.25 piece and says to the children, "Hi guys ....... by chance would any of you be willing to make a quick $.25 cents?"

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James-

 

"Oooh, pick me! Pick me! Mista! Mista! me! Pick me!" the boys start hollering, bouncing up and down enthusiastically with their hands up, as if you were a teacher holding out candy.

 

Then, pushing through this crowd, you notice a tiny little boy of around 5 or 6.

 

"Step aside, boys. Commin' through." he says, pushing through the bigger kids. Strangely, the bigger kids actually part way for him, as if he was the don or somethin.

 

Even as tiny as he was, the boy was made even more small by the large handmedown clothes he worre, oversized canvas slacks and jacket with a soiled buttoned up shirt underneath. His hair is unkempt and red, and his cheeks dotted with freckles. Nonetheless, his large bright eyes betrays his intelligence and a hint of childish malevolence. His little grin oozes slyness. He stands with one leg out, hands behind his back, holding a ragged felt cap.

 

"Bongiurno, mista. Come va, eh? Ya don't look like you from around 'ere." the little boy says with a forceful Italian accent, as if trying to act like a wiseguy. "A quarta? So, whatcha need? A cab? A gat? Maybe a woman, eh? Hehehe..."

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Pulling out the list in the envelop James gives it a quick read.

 

Lucas Aprillo Lucas's Cobbler Shop $ 310

Francis DiAtrio Soup and Bread Diner $ 250

Giovanni Grochi Gio's Cobbler and Shoes $ 400

Maria Tarino Maria's Pasta $ 300

Peter Marlesco Marlesco's Bed and Diner $ 160

 

James looks to the little boy and states, "Okies fella, where might I be able to find: Lucas Aprillo Lucas's Cobbler Shop,Francis DiAtrio Soup and Bread Diner, Giovanni Grochi Gio's Cobbler and Shoes, Maria Tarino Maria's Pasta, and Peter Marlesco Marlesco's Bed and Diner. Lets say we start with the closest shop. You can show me the way and for each shop you get me to that'll be a $.25 tip for you help. So whaddya say?"

 

James looks to the lil one for his answer and thinking to himself, "Hmmmm lil one must be the ring leader of the crew..."

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James-

 

The boy looks on the list and scratches his head. He tells you Giovanni is the nearest one here, and Maria shop is right across the street. He tells you that all of these places are down the streets, but he takes you to Giovanni's place.

 

The man himself is in today, repairing some shoes on a stool. His shop is kinda small and smells of shoe polish and leather, and he himself is an balding man with a droopy mustache and roun spectacles at his nose, like a grandpa. He looks to you and says:

 

"Salute! How can I-a help you?"

 

And he looks down at the boy who leads you and smiles.

 

"Buonjourno, Paulo!" and then a little Italian that you can't make out.

 

"Mille grazi, signore Giovanni." The boy responds, and some more Italian you can't seem to determine.

 

The boy then turns to look up at you.

"This is it, signore. Signore Giovanni makes good shoes. Genuine leather, you won't regret buying one! I give ya my word!" he says, then waits a few moment, as if an idea came to his head.

 

Without another word, he holds out his hand eagerly for the quarter, smiling. No, grinning...

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James fishes in his pocket and pull sout the coin. He flips it to the boy and states, "Okies here it is now if you could please wait outside I'll be right out."

 

After the boy leaves the shop with so that its only James and Giovanni. James looks to the man and says, "So .... you Giovanni eh. Well I understand we gots the same friends." Opening up the letter he sees Giovanni Grochi Gio's Cobbler and Shoes $ 400. He then takes out one of the other envelopes and counts out $400.00. He says to Giovanni, "Well sir Vincenzo sends his best along with Don Marlino. Now I got a question for you. What can you tell me about this f*^K Cruco and where might I be able to pay him a visit?"

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James fishes in his pocket and pull sout the coin. He flips it to the boy and states, "Okies here it is now if you could please wait outside I'll be right out."

 

After the boy leaves the shop with so that its only James and Giovanni. James looks to the man and says, "So .... you Giovanni eh. Well I understand we gots the same friends." Opening up the letter he sees Giovanni Grochi Gio's Cobbler and Shoes $ 400. He then takes out one of the other envelopes and counts out $400.00. He says to Giovanni, "Well sir Vincenzo sends his best along with Don Marlino. Now I got a question for you. What can you tell me about this f*^K Cruco and where might I be able to pay him a visit?"

 

 

James-

 

As the boy steps out, old Giovanni looks at you with a bright look and shakes your hand warmly, taking the money.

 

"Ahhh, thank you! And thank Don Marlino as well!" the man says, his accent thickly Italian.

 

"It's been-a weeks since that gaffone's been causin' trouble around the neighborhood. Most of us wanna stay out of trouble, so we pay him! But Don Marlino does not forsake his people! We surely are thankful that he is now dealing with that young man!"

 

"Cruco? Cruco lives down the street. I think you passed it on the way down here. He has a room on the top floor, usually goes early on his morning run. He's been collecting fairly often these days. Think he owns the place or something. I dunno where the money goes, but he's sweatin' us like-a dogs."

 

Then, the man leans closer to you, and whispers gently.

 

"I don't know how dependable this is, but every weekend, a car parks outside where he lives. He don't drive, but sometimes, they say they've seen Cruco driving away with them and commin' back in the morning. I dunno if Don Marlino knows, but you best be careful. I don't think Cruco's alone."

 

"Well, that's all I know, friend! Hey, I'm speaking for the whole block here, probably. But if you deal with Cruco, you'll be doin' alotta good for the neighborhood. We respect Don Marlino. All of us." he says, nodding.

 

You sense that there is very little fear in that statement. This man seems to respect the Don more than he feared him.

 

"Well, come back any time you like!" Giovanni says with a smile. "I have to unpack a new shipment. We have good Italian leather goods here. Would you like a look?"

 

Outside, the boy raps on the shop window impatiently with the quarter.

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Giovanni says with a smile. "I have to unpack a new shipment. We have good Italian leather goods here. Would you like a look?"

 

James looks to Mr. Giovanni and replies, "No thanks, looks like I am gonna be pretty busy. However in due time I may just have to swing in and see what you have to offer. (He says this with a smile ----- nods and shakes Mr. Giovanni hand) Have a good day my friend."

 

James turns and exits the store looks to the little boy and says, "So your names Paulo? Well ..... who should we be off to see next?"

 

[Putting into his memory James takes from his previous conversation: Cruco? Cruco lives down the street. I think you passed it on the way down here. He has a room on the top floor, usually goes early on his morning run. He's been collecting fairly often these days. Think he owns the place or something. I don't know how dependable this is, but every weekend, a car parks outside where he lives. He don't drive, but sometimes, they say they've seen Cruco driving away with them and commin' back in the morning. I dunno if Don Marlino knows, but you best be careful. I don't think Cruco's alone.] James thinks to himself, "Hmmm [email protected]$%in [email protected]#$!rd! I'll have my way with him shortly but to learn more of this [email protected]#K - o*f"

 

James cracks his knucles and follows the little boy.

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