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Killer With a Heart
Killer Series Book 1
by J L Hill
Genre: Adult Crime Fiction
A raw in your face story of teenage love, lust, murder, and revenge set in the Bronx in the early seventies, where the cold business world of organize crime melds with the brutality of street gang warlords that ignites a winner takes all battle for underworld control.
Nicky ‘Nails’ Rocci’s gang is thick as thieves, but stealing mob money leads to murder. However, failing to kill Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson is a costly mistake for the Banoa family that adds to Morris’ mystique.
Maria Marino is a bewitching beauty, a sexy firebrand that has captured the heart of the feared warlord, Morris.
Joey Banoa’s lust for Maria, Morris Johnson’s desire for vengeance, and Nicky’s aspirations to lead his gang to the top of the criminal scene will ignite a mob war and unleash Hellfire on the streets of New York.
Mafia Book Portrays the Deviant Face of Sex, Drugs and Violence. With an eclectic blend of romance, deception and seduction set in the elusive and complicated world of mob rule, this story leads one out of the complacency of ignorance and sets awareness on what truly goes on in an unconventional world, where money, power, and vengeance become the ultimate dictator of human survival. Employing a fascinating set of diverse characters, this story reflects how interracial influences come into play in a setting where connections and alliances are put on high regard. This work shows how people of different backgrounds can come together for a common goal, demonstrating how they forge a true friendship at a time when interracial relations were taboo.
Goodreads * Amazon
A Hundred Friends
The sun is rising in the cloudless pale blue sky when I stop for a moment in front of my house and think about climbing through the bathroom window over the back porch; but I really don’t want Mom seeing me like this, and I definitely do not want to explain how I escaped a mob hit squad, or why. Instead, I decide to keep going and hang out at the Raven until I have a good story to tell her. Besides, the way my sides throb I don’t think I can climb onto the back porch. I probe my left side gently; it hurts like hell but I don’t think the ribs are broken. I run my tongue around my teeth and find the hole at the back on the right where my tooth used to be. Those guys tossed me a pretty good beat-down.
The Raven Social Club is locked up tight. Even the back door on the first floor hallway of the three-family house is padlocked. I slide down the cement wall of the Old Lady’s house on the corner across the street from the Raven. It’s our usual hangout opposite the deli, when we are not in The Raven shooting pool and drinking.
Sitting on the sidewalk with my back against the wall feels good. I slowly begin picking morsels from the French roll I took from the bread bag as I walked past the deli. I hadn’t realized until I pop that first piece of bread into my mouth how hungry I am; haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon. I get like this in the summer, especially when it’s hot. And even though it is only the first week of June, the temperature is already in the nineties and that is unusually hot for New York. I close my eyes and let the sunshine melt the pain away and clear my head of any thoughts. There is nothing but the red glow of the inside of my eyelids.
Blackness interrupts the crimson haze in my head momentarily. My eyes dart open, I instinctively spring to my feet, and reach around my back for the 007 switchblade.
“You’re one jumpy jungle bunny,” says Nicky Rocci. “But I guess you would be from the looks of you. Black eye, swollen jaw, some nasty black and blues... Well, blues on your sides,” he continues while holding my leather jacket open.
“You look like you had a rough night too, you whop cocksucker,” I reply, sliding back down to the sidewalk. “Who worked over your face, Nails?” I call him Nails partly because his family is in the construction business and he likes to tell everyone that he can chew nails and spit bullets. He is sporting a black eye, busted lip, and his nose looks like it was moved around his face a bit.
“My Dad wasn’t too happy about the job we pulled on the Deli Man. Let me get a piece of that bread.”
“Get your own,” I say. “And while you’re over there, grab a couple of quarts. I know the Deli Man won’t mind.”
Nicky Nails disappears into the alley that leads to the back of the deli and comes out with two quarts of Budweiser then reaches into the big brown bread bag and pulls out an Italian loaf. As he crosses the street I notice a slight limp, probably got stomped on too.
“So, why did you tell him about the Deli Man? I thought we all agreed to keep our mouths shut. No matter what!” I ask as I shade my eyes and gaze up at him.
“I didn’t tell him anything. It seems the Deli Man is more connected than we thought.”
“Not, we thought,” I correct, “You thought. You said he was a small time numbers guy. Easy pickings.”
“Well, MoJo,” Nicky sits down beside me.
He calls me MoJo, which is short for Morris Johnson, and after the lyrics in the Doors song, ‘L. A. Woman’. I love that song, play it all the time.
“Not only is he more mobbed up than I thought; he was paying my family to keep his bank here. Naturally, when we hit him, he complained to my father about not protecting his money. My dad asked me what I knew.”
“And you bitched up!”
“Does it look like I talked?”
I take a long deep swig of cold beer.
Nicky continues, “We saw Deli Man’s guys grab you. I guess you kept quiet too.”
“Of course I did; we wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. He was going to keep on beating me until I gave him the answer he wanted. That’s when he found out about Elizabeth and me, and went fucking ape shit.”
Nicky shakes his head, “I told you fucking his daughter was a bad, bad idea. She talked, didn’t she?”
“No.” I pause for a moment, as my mind jumps back to Deli Man’s kitchen, “Elizabeth was in the hall crying. Deli Man looked at her, and said something in Italian, which I didn’t understand. Her mother dragged her off down the hall. I thought he told her to get Elizabeth out of there. But a few minutes later her mother yelled ‘mignotta’, which I did understand, ‘whore’. She must have given her the old Virgin Finger Test. Deli Man forgot all about his money, and told his men to kill me.”
“Yeah, well, I told you, if you fucked his daughter he would kill you.”
“But at least he stopped beating on me.”
“Wait a second,” Nicky has a surprised look on his face. “If he told his guys to kill you, how are you here?”
I am about to answer when a black Ford Fury jumps the curb and screeched to a stop, its bumper inches from our faces.
Detects. We know who they are, Fitzpatrick and Mancotti, or Batman and Robin as we call them. They grab us by the shirt, well, me by my leather jacket since I’m not wearing a shirt, and shove us into the back of the car. No one says a word, not the two cops, not Nicky, and definitely not me. They drive a couple of blocks up to East Tremont and then down a little side street that dead-ends at the train tracks. It’s a secluded place where junkies come to shoot up or do other deeds that one won’t do in public. They get out of the car and walk back up the street a bit, leaving Nicky and me locked in the back.
Nicky and I look at each other; knowing we are both thinking the same thing. Either this is an open mike trick, or we are being setup for a hit. I am leaning more towards the former. It’s an old cop ploy. Leave a couple of suspects in a room with a hidden microphone or tape recorder and wait for them to turn on each other. It works just as well in the back of a police car, but Nicky and I are not about to fall for that. We sit in absolute silence. And if they are going to turn us over to the mob it will be just as easy to do, as it is really early in the morning and no one saw us get picked up. But then they would have been here waiting for us already. In my mind, there is no doubt this is the open mike bullshit, so all we have to do is sit here and be quiet. They will eventually get bored and cut us loose.
Fifteen or twenty minutes pass and the two detectives get back in the car. We smile at them. We are not some scared little school boys afraid they are going to tell our mommies on us.
Nicky says, “If you are finished playing games, you can drop us off back on the corner, our beers are going flat.”
“Shut the fuck up!” yells Mancotti. “You boys will be lucky if you see the light of day again.”
The car rips up the street in reverse and spins around at the intersection. They flip on the siren and speed down East Tremont Avenue again, catching the attention of the few people waiting at the bus stop. Thankfully, there are some people on their way to work this early Saturday morning already. We race through the street until we get to the police station, where we are summarily marched upstairs, not in handcuffs mind you, and into individual cells. They push us in and slam the doors shut behind us. It’s dark and stinks of urine and shit but there is also a long and narrow metal bench opposite the door. I sit on it then lie on my back; I am finally going to get some sleep.
Almost complete darkness greets me when I open my eyes again and I lie there staring at the ceiling. ‘This has been one long fucked up day,’ I think. Hell, it’s been one long fucked up month, as it has been just about that long since Nicky told us of his plan for robbing the Deli Man. May, second, to be exact.
It is the first really nice day in spring; so naturally, we all ditched school and are going to hang out at my house.
Maria, Bonnie, and Betty walk in and come straight up to my room.
“Your mom’s gone to work, right?” asks Maria.
I grab her by the waist and pull her down on me, “Of course.
And she thinks I left for school already.” I kiss her as her long black hair drapes over my face. “Get in,” I command.
“Oh no,” objects Bonnie, “you get up and come downstairs.
We want to have some fun. And we have to call everybody’s school and report them absent for the day.” She grabs Maria’s arm and hauls her from the bed.
Maria pulls away and gives me another kiss, her blue eyes darting wildly over my body.
“No, no, no, there will be none of that.” Bonnie drags her from my bedroom.
I come down to the living room about five minutes later, as Maria is ending her call with Fr. Robinson, my Dean of Discipline, “OK Father, you have a good day. Yes, I will. I have to go now or I’ll be late for work. Good Bye.” She smiles at me standing in nothing but cut off shorts. “Nice legs.”
“Your man is a track star, baby.” I strike a running pose.
“Fr. Robinson sounded a bit annoyed. I don’t think he believes you’re sick,” she says, scolding me. “How many days have you missed young man?”
“I don’t miss any of them,” I laugh. “Give me the phone, and I’ll call Aquinas for you.”
“Betty will call Aquinas for her and St. Catharine’s for me, thank you very much. You can go finish getting dressed. You need to cover up that stick figure you call a body.”
“I’m agile, lean, and a real power pumping sex machine. Go ahead, you can tell them, baby.”
“I don’t know anything about that,” Maria wraps her arms around my waist and I try to slide one knee between hers.
“Quiet fools,” Betty orders, “it’s ringing!”
“Ah, yes, is this Sister Thomas... This is Maria Marino’s mother. She is having a bad day this morning. No, it’s nothing serious, just the start of her time.”
“That’s a croc,” I blurt out loudly then dash to the kitchen and grab the other phone. “That’s what’s wrong with you women today. You cry about God’s natural ways, with your pills and feminist products...”
“Shut the hell up, you, old fool,” Betty yells into the phone. “I’m so sorry Sister, that’s her senile drunkard idiot grandfather on the other phone.”
The girls get the message and rush to the kitchen. I’m not only fighting off laughter, but also Bonnie, and Maria, with the phone held above my head.
“Who’s gonna make me breakfast? Forget that, get my vino!” I yell just before Bonnie slaps down the receiver and cuts off the line.
“So sorry Sister, but I got to go.” Betty hangs up abruptly and joins the other two girls in the kitchen punching and slapping me. “You are such an idiot! Maria, take him upstairs
and keep him out of trouble. Bonnie, you go with them and keep her out of trouble. I’ll get you when it’s your turn to call.”
Dino, the Greek, Sweet Jesus–pronounced just as when you’re excited–and Frank, walk in to see the girls piled on top of Morris. From the way the girls cover him they think he’s naked.
“All right, it’s going to be one of those parties,” Sweet Jesus shouts as he quickly pulls his shirt above his head.
Betty turns to see Jesus with his shirt half off, “Great, the other morons are here. Can we just get through making the calls first?”
Nicky busts into the kitchen, “good youse guys are here. I got a plan that you got to hear, let’s go downstairs. Sorry girls, it’s boys only.”
“Good, get out of here,” Betty tells him, “We also got real business here.”
Nicky likes to talk business in my basement because of the foot-thick stone walls and shuttered windows. No way for the cops to ever eavesdrop on us.
I think he’s overly paranoid, as he says the cops are always listening.
“OK guys. I was hanging out on the corner the other day and for two hours I saw a couple of guys go into the deli and leave after a minute or two. I recognized two of them; numbers guys for the Bananas.” The Bananas is what Nicky calls the Banoas, a mob family, whose territory is north of Tremont Avenue. “Deli Man is running a drop in my neighborhood! Can you believe that?” He’s watching us across the pool table, expecting us to be as outraged as he is. We aren’t. After a couple of seconds, he continues, “I watched the comings and goings for the next couple of days...”
“You haven’t been to school at all this week?” I ask and immediately know that it was a stupid question.
“Yeah, it’s been really nice this week. Besides, what do I need
school for? I’m going to work at my father’s construction business.”
“It might be good if you know how to add and subtract, or the difference between area and perimeter, or anything useful for the business.” I point out.
“That’s for youse guys. My job will be making sure I get my cut or I bust somebody’s head. Now, let’s get back to the business at hand. Deli Man leaves around three, when Elizabeth gets there. The bagmen make their drops and then Deli Man returns about five. For about a half-hour or so Elizabeth is there all by herself with the money. Guys, we are going to rob the deli before the Deli Man gets back.”
Sweet Jesus is the first to object, “You want us to rob Elizabeth? You do realize that she knows all of us.”
“I’m not talking about pulling a gun on her or anything like that. That’s for amateurs, I’m a professional. First of all, the five
bagmen go straight to the back stockroom, so she probably doesn’t even know what they are doing there. We are going to sneak in, find the hiding place, and take it without her even knowing we are there.”
“And how do you plan to do that?” asks Frank, who is six- one and redheaded, not quite the sneaky type.
“Well, I’m guessing Deli Man leaves his daughter there because he figures the cops won’t bust it when she’s there. His first mistake, Elizabeth has the hots for our friend here, MoJo. And she has it bad.”
“Jungle fever is easy to catch, and incurable,” I say.
“That’s why I excluded the girls, we need you to work your black magic on that dizzy little blonde and keep her busy while Sweet Jesus steals the cash.”
“That’s HEY-ZEUS, you blasphemous bastard. And what are you gonna be doing while me and Morris are taking chances
stealing mob money?”
Nicky lays out the rest of the plan. “I’ll be covering you, so you can get into the back room without being seen. Dino and Frank will be lookouts and warn us if Deli Man comes back.”
I think about a saying we have, ‘You have a hundred friends who can get you into prison, but not one who has a plan to get you out.’ Then, there is Nicky; his plans could get you killed, and I’ll bet this is one of those plans.
As Nicky sees it, Elizabeth is the insurance that no one will suspect us of the robbery. She will be able to swear that I was nowhere near the back room, and Nicky, while boosting beers, will also be cleared. It is risky, but it seems like an easy in and out job. Just like when we go shoplifting, all the store detects follow Betty and me around the aisles, while the others clean up. And if we really want a big score, we go to the jewelry counter. While Betty tries on cheap items, Maria and Bonnie try on expensive things and pocket them. The more upscale the stores, the easier it is to work them. While Betty is black, well, more like a cinnamon chocolate, with beautiful long lustrous obsidian hair down her back from her Indian heritage, she is still black.
We agree that it is a good plan, but also point out that stealing from the mob is asking for a bullet in the head.
According to Nicky, Deli Man is small potatoes, probably not even connected to the Banana family. Nicky is also almost sure it’s a rogue operation; that they are possibly skimming money from the Bananas. If that’s the case, the job is most likely good for a couple of thousand and they won’t be able to tell anyone about the loss. We plan to make a go of it next Friday, because that is the heaviest gambling day.
We join the girls in the living room again. Frank had brought along five quarts of Budweiser, so now we crack the caps.
I take mine to the window and pour a bit out, “To the brothers down below.”
“Why do you always do that?” asks Frank.
“Respect,” I walk back to the couch and Sweet Jesus pulls out a baggie full of weed. I go to work rolling joints and tossing them to the guys. In about two minutes, I rolled five fatties, and Maria, who has been sitting on my right leg the whole time, sticks the last one in my mouth and lights it up. I take a big deep toke and hold it in.
“Let it out,” Maria tells me. When I finally exhale a thick cloud of smoke straight up, she says, “Give me a shotgun.” I oblige, flipping the joint backwards in my mouth so only the tip is visible. I inhale deeply through my nose and blow a steady long stream of thick white smoke up her nose. As she starts to exhale, I pinch her nose shut and cup her mouth. After a couple more seconds, she shakes her head and I release her.
She lets out a huge cloud and a little cough. “Stupid, you’re choking me.”
“Now that’s how you smoke reefer... like a man.” I take a swig and another toke, but before I can exhale, she locks her lips to mine. After a few seconds, I manage to break away coughing out smoke. We break out in laughter, hugging and kissing, our eyes red and tearing. It’s such a rush.
‘Brown Sugar’ blares out of the speakers, as one of the girls puts on my new Sticky Fingers album. The party is just getting under way.
Nicky walks around the room holding up a little red capsule for either an open mouth or a beer bottle. I offer the beer bottle and he drops in the barbiturate. Maria and I sip on the downer-laced beer as we stretch out on the couch, entwined in each other’s arms and legs. By the time ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ pumps through the air, time is slowing down and I can feel Maria’s heartbeat through her breast as I fondle her nipple under the blouse.
Her breath is wet and hot in my ear, “People can see us.” My body completely covers her petite five-two frame, “Nobody can see a thing.” I say as I turn my head to scan the room. Only Betty and Dino are left, but they are too involved with each other on the other sofa to know what else is going on. “We’re alone,” I whisper softly as I unbutton the blouse. I feel her hand slip into my pants and wrap around my dick. Either the combination of marijuana, barbies, and beer, or her wanton emotions have completely erased any concerns. I study her plump white breasts and flush pink nipples rising to my mouth and dropping away from my flickering tongue as her hand works my hard-on in time to the music. I run a hand over her pussy, petting her kitty, as she likes to say, my fingers gently spreading her lips and my index finger probing her vagina. I hear her moan with resistance then sigh in acceptance as I slide just the tip of my finger into her.
“It’s OK,” I comfort her, running my free hand through her silky black hair. “I’m not going to finger you all the way.” I slide my finger, wet from her juices, up her slit until I reach her tiny clit and work it around in little circles as she grinds and grips my dick tighter. I can feel how wet I am as her hand glides up and down; not as hard as I could be, thanks to the drugs, but Maria doesn’t mind, or notices, her body heating up as she writhes rhythmically to my stroking.
We are oblivious to everything, no other sounds other than our moaning and groaning intrude, and the only sight is the shimmer of our sweating half-nude bodies. Suddenly, her grip seizes up like a chokehold on my dick. Her other fingers dig into my back and rip down, setting me ablaze. Her legs clamp on my hand and I fight to slide my fingers down and into her tightening hole. I force my index and middle fingers in seeking her heat and hear her gasp and squeal as she continues to come. I’m so intent on pumping her throbbing pussy I don’t realize I am cumming in her hand too. Finally, our bodies come to a halt, our hands wet and sticky inside each other’s pants.
Maria let’s out an, “Ooh yuck.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I tell her, pull my hand out of her pants, and slide it under her buttocks. Then in a single movement, I roll over, sit up, and pick her up into my arms. “I’ll take you upstairs to the bathroom. Hang on.”
Maria pulls her hand from my pants and makes a motion towards my face.
“Don’t you dare!”
“What. What’s the matter?” She’s laughing and rocking in my arms.
“Do it and I’ll drop you on your head,” I warn. We are so stoned she doesn’t realize I almost dropped her while standing up.
I steady myself and carry her up to the bathroom. Our clothes loosely draped over our bodies, we peel them off and drop them to the floor, stand for a few seconds admiring each
other’s body, then hug for even longer. This is the first time we have been completely naked, and even in my hazy state I am taken with her beauty. Her black wavy hair frames her tanned face and those blue eyes sparkle like crystal opal. Two marble white breasts dotted with dirty pink nipples are just big enough to fill my hands and perfectly proportion her body. Bikini tan
lines accentuate them as well as her black-haired kitten reaching down towards her shapely legs. At just eighteen, she already possesses a well-developed woman’s body. I reach over and turn on the shower, we climb in and I pull her close.
“Don’t you even think of it,” Maria sternly warns me, as my dick is hard again.
“Let’s just get washed up,” she says with a little trepidation. “Don’t worry, I’ll never hurt you. You know that.” I begin to gently rub the warm water on her belly and she does the same to me. Within seconds, the warmth of the water combined with the effect of the downers gets us woozy. I wash her off quickly then myself then wrap a towel around her and another about my waist.
We cross the hall to my bedroom. Maria reaches for the doorknob but I take her hand, “Let’s check first.” I knock and Frank answers. We wait while Frank and Bonnie get dressed then open the door.
Bonnie gives Maria a look and she shakes her head “No.”
Frank also gives me an enquiring gaze and I confirm Maria’s denial.
As the door closes on us, she spreads the towel open behind her and begins shaking and gyrating to the music in her head.
“You are really pushing your luck, young Lady,” I tell her,
feeling myself get turned on again.
She takes one arm and pulls the towel across her body to her shoulder. “What’s the matter? Don’t like what you see?” She flashes me a quick glimpse then covers up again.
“You little cock teaser,” I call her with mock anger.
She drops onto my bed, towel wide open, and her legs spread apart, showing her pink pussy, “don’t be mad, baby. You want this, don’t you? You want it bad.” She snaps her legs shut as I take a step toward her. “No. No. No.”
I can’t tell if she is just playing or if she is really that stoned.
She springs up as I reach the bed and sticks her face against my throbbing dick beneath the towel wrapped around my waist. “Ooh that feels so good.” Maria looks up at me, pulls the towel down, and rolls her face in my crotch. Without another word, she opens her mouth and placing both hands on my ass, pulls my dick all the way in. Slowly, she draws my dick in and out, sucking as hard as she can. With each motion, my dick gets harder and when it’s rock hard I run my hands down her back. She stops moving but continues sucking harder still and I feel as if I am sobering up; Jesus, she is sucking the high right out of me. She goes on and on for what seems like an hour then unexpectedly pulls back. My dick is big, red, and pulsing painfully. “That’s enough,” she announces and slips past me with cat-like agility.
I stand there, unable to move, struggling to even bring one coherent thought to mind. I finally turn around, as I hear her shutting my dresser’s drawer. She’s standing in my Sly Stone tee shirt, which on her drops all the way down to her thighs like a mini dress. She bounces back onto the bed and pulls me down to sit beside her.
Maria falls over on her side and curls up into a ball, “stay with me. Forever.”
I brush the hair away from her face tenderly. Her eyes closed already, she is long gone. I pull the covers from behind her and fold them over her. This has been a fantastic day and it’s only 11:30. I look down at my lap, “God damn it, she left me with a raging hard-on.”
We spend the weekend as usual, hanging out at the Raven drinking beer, doing shots of vodka, and shooting pool during the day, then, at the stash house at night getting high. We could do jelly beans in the Raven without a hassle, but they frown on us lighting up in the place.
Thankfully, we don’t need to stand on the corner smoking joints like the other yokels in the neighborhood, not when we have a house of our own. We don’t actually own the stash house, it belonged to an old lady who Bonnie and Maria befriended. They used to help her out, taking her to the store, to go cash her social security check, anything the old lady needed, they did for her. They even used to call her Momma.
Bonnie and Maria spent many nights there, especially when their mothers picked up new boyfriends they didn’t particularly care for. They had grown up together; Bonnie was like Maria’s big sister, and both had seen some bad times, so Momma and the stash house saved them for some real ugly situations. I never met her; regrettably, she had died before I moved to the neighborhood.
Maria never spoke of Momma but became deeply melancholic when the others started talking about her with great fondness. Bonnie told me one night after everyone had passed out that Momma had collapsed in the street while they were at school and because she had no ID, no one knew who she was. It was days before Bonnie and Maria found out what had happened to her, and then only by chance. Bonnie overheard a woman at the Laundromat talking about an old lady she thought lived around the corner with her two granddaughters, who had died of a heart attack. She wasn’t clear on the older girl, but described Maria to a tee.
The girls had figured out long ago that Momma had outlived everyone in her own family. Her husband died in an accident and both sons during the Korean War. Momma was all alone, except for Bonnie and Maria.
It was also at the stash house that they met Nicky, Frank, and Dino. Dino lived next door to Momma and struck up a friendship with the girls. It wasn’t long before the five of them were hanging out at the house regularly, and Nicky started stashing his pharms in her basement.
That is also when they began calling it the stash house. After Momma died, the girls continued cashing her checks and paying the gas and electricity. The house was paid for and they felt that Momma wouldn’t mind them keeping the place for her.
I get an eerie feeling every time I am in the place, like being in somebody’s crypt. They have retained everything the old lady possessed, pictures of people nobody knows, furniture that is
decades out of date, and we keep the drapes closed at all times so no one realizes the old lady is gone. In fact, we enter the house from Dino’s backyard through the cellar door so nobody can see us come and go. Only Bonnie and Maria ever use the front door, as it is natural to them. The whole thing creeps me out, but it is no different from the hideouts I stayed in back in Fort Apache.
Back in my gang days with the Original Sinners, I never let anyone see me coming or going from those spots either. If someone accidentally did, I never went back there again anyway. It was a matter of survival and so is this. While the old lady was alive, the girls had been strict and only let Nicky stash a few bottles of pills, but now we stash everything there; pills by the case, a brick or two of marijuana, guns and knives for the arms business, and fake IDs. It is a safe haven because none of us is tied directly to the house, so the cops will have to bust us carrying stuff in or out of the house to make an actual case. A fact we were forced to drive home to the girls one day.
It happened a couple of months ago when I returned from making a pick up from a solid weed connection in Harlem. I had my book-bag loaded with a high potent weed called blonde, and some even better Thai Stick for our personal pleasure.
Nicky arrived at the house at the same time with a shipment of uppers and downers.
We walked into the basement and Betty, Bonnie, and Maria were in there playing Cops and Robbers with the .22’s and .38’s. I thought Nicky would lose his mind.
“What the fuck are you bitches doing?”
“Hey,” Betty yelled back, “You better watch who you are calling a bitch.”
“Are you bitches out of your fucking minds?” he yelled even louder.
“What’s your fucking problem?” asked Bonnie.
“Yeah,” Maria jumped in, “The guns aren’t loaded, you, stupid prick!”
“Morris! Morris, talk to them,” Nicky told me as he threw down his book bag of pills, and grabbed his slick black hair.
“First of all,” I said as calmly and politely as possible, “Put the fucking guns down. I don’t give a shit if they are loaded or not. If you are stupid enough to shoot yourselves that is your problem.” I paused for a moment, waiting for them to put the damn things down. Finally, they complied, placing the guns on the table. I shook my head in disgust, “I guess you’re not worried about getting pinched for murder?”
“What murder?” Maria asked. “I told you the guns aren’t loaded.”
“They are not loaded now, but one day they will be, and someone will probably kill somebody with them. And when the police get them and dust for prints... wouldn’t it be a bitch if yours are the fingerprints they come up with!”
All three girls let out a simultaneous, “Oh.”
“Oh,” Nicky returned with three hand towels, “Oh well, you’d better start cleaning. Unless you want to do a twenty-five to life bid for something you know nothing about. And girls, please clean all the guns, I can’t sell any of them thinking they may be traced back to me. These ain’t fucking toys! This isn’t a fucking game! Jesus Christ. Stunod!”
But what we mostly do at the stash house is get high and chill out.
The rest of the week goes by in the usual manner; we go to school, hang out at the Raven, move merchandise, and now are casing the deli for the job. Frank is logging the Deli Man and his bagmen’s comings and goings, as we need a precise timetable to work with on Friday. I go into the deli with Nicky and start rapping to Elizabeth. Nicky boosts a couple of beers, a practice run for Friday.
“You look sexy sweet, Liz,” I half whisper to her, leaning
forward on the counter.
“Oh come on now,” she says, “I’m just wearing my school uniform. It’s nothing special.”
It’s a white short-sleeved blouse, blue skirt, and vest.
“It’s not what you’re wearing,” I emphasise; “It’s what’s inside what you’re wearing.” I reach out and with my index finger playfully flip her button loose.
She quickly grabs my hand and holds it down on the counter, “Stop it,” she says sternly, “don’t think I don’t know about you, Mr. Morris Johnson.”
“What do you mean? What do you think you know about me?”
“Some of the girls in school know you from your old neighborhood,” she continues, a blush growing on her face.
“They said you had a lot of girlfriends and that you, umm, took advantage of them... for lack of a better word. And I know you have a girlfriend now.”
I notice she hasn’t buttoned her blouse and her cleavage and top of her lace bra are still showing. I make believe I am distracted by her breasts. “Huh... What girlfriend? And who are these girls spreading these lies and slandering my good name? Are any of them a supposedly ex-girlfriend?”
“Oh, come on. Everyone knows you are going out with that little Italian girl, Mary. And I have heard her talking about you to her friends at school.” Elizabeth studies my face, looking for me
to lie about Maria.
Instead, I slyly change the subject, “You girls spend way too much time talking about boys, don’t you? And that’s why your math homework is wrong.” I point to the third answer on the open page in her book on the counter. “That should be x square plus xy minus y square. The next one is x over y plus ten.”
Nicky taps me on the shoulder, “Let’s go, genius. Nice tits, babe.”
Elizabeth clutches her blouse and buttons it all the way to
the top. “Hey, are you going to pay for those beers?” “No,” Nicky yells back as he walks out of the store.
“Just put it on his dad’s tab,” I tell her and start to walk out. Elizabeth grabs my arm. “What about your girlfriend, Mary?” “I’m not looking for a girlfriend,” I tell her, then, turning
back, I take her by the hand. “I need a woman. Are you a woman, Liz? Are you ready to be my woman?”
“No,” she blurts out. “I mean; I’m not going to be your girlfriend. You are so full of it.”
“Woman,” I correct her and leave.
I catch up with Nicky, grab one of the beers, crack the cap, and pour a splash out, “to the brothers down below. We’ve got a problem; Liz goes to Aquinas.”
“I know. What’s the problem?”
“She goes to school with Maria,” I take a drink, “Girls talk.
They talk a lot, and mostly, about their boyfriends.”
“So, you shoot her the breeze another day or two, and come Friday, we pull the job,” he slaps me on the back. “Then you are done. No problems.”
By Friday, we have our window of opportunity pinpointed from 4:30 to 5 o’clock. That is ten minutes after the last drop is made and fifteen before Deli Man returns. I go in first and draw Elizabeth away from the door. The door has a bell, so Nicky
needs to come in and hold it ajar for a second to let Sweet Jesus sneak in behind him. They will go up the aisle and across the back of where they will wait until I give a signal. After I have Elizabeth’s undivided attention, Sweet Jesus will disappear into the stockroom and locate the cash. Nicky in turn will cover his exit by unlocking the back door. Elizabeth will never know Sweet Jesus was in the store.
At 4:30 I enter the deli, “Hey, Sweet Thing, how are they shaking?”
“Uh... Ok. No, wait, what did you say?”
I walk over to the end of the counter, “Never mind. How’s the algebra coming along?”
“Not too good,” Elizabeth immediately bends down to pull out her textbook.
Nicky opens the door, Sweet Jesus slips in, and makes his way to the back of the third aisle. “You kids do what you do I’m just going to pick up a couple of beers.” He crosses the front of
the store and down the last aisle to the cooler.
“Come on, Nicky, you are going to get me in trouble,” Elizabeth objects.
“Don’t sweat it, Liz,” I comfort her, “Just put it on his dad’s tab. He already knows what a drunk he is. Let me see what you got.”
Elizabeth flips the pages of the textbook, “I have these word problems to do.”
“Yeah, but that’s not what I was talking about.” I run one finger along the opening of her blouse.
“Come on, Morris, stop it. Help me with this one,” she pleads. “Train A leaves the station at 7 a.m. travelling 45 mph. Train B leaves 2 hours later travelling 60 mph. At what time will train B catch up with train A?”
“Pittsburgh,” I tell her confidently. “Now let’s see those sugar cones.”
“No. And that’s not the right answer,” Elizabeth replies in disgust. “Come on now, be serious.”
I look back at Nails and flash him a ‘what’s up’ expression. Nicky shrugs.
“I am serious. I want to have a peek at your little sugar cones.”
“No, I’m not doing that,” Elizabeth defies me. “And you know the answer can’t be Pittsburgh.”
“Well, they have to be travelling west. Because if they were heading east they would be in the ocean in an hour.” I hear the tin bell ring.
“Let’s go genius, these beers ain’t gonna drink themselves.” “Ok,” I tell Nicky, knowing Sweet Jesus has scored. “3 p.m.” I turn to leave.
“3 p.m. Is that really the answer?” asks Elizabeth.
“Yep. 3 p.m. Pittsburgh,” I look at the clock on the wall near the refrigerators, it’s 4:45.
“Wait. How did you come up with the answer?” Elizabeth demands desperately. “I have to show the equation.”
“You need the equation,” I smile at her, as I walk back to the counter. “And I need a peek. I may be a genius, but I’m a horny genius.”
Elizabeth glances up at the clock, knowing her father will be back soon then looks around and notices Nicky has left the store already. “OK,” she quickly pulls up her blouse and bra, showing me her breasts. Her nipples stiffen instantly with subconscious excitement.
A smile spreads across my face as she re-adjusts her bra and tucks her blouse into her skirt. “Lucky guess,” I say, having more fun with her but see the look of frustration on her. “OK, it’s 45 times X equals 60 times X minus 2. X is the number of hours the trains travel. Only when X is eight is the equation equal, 360 miles is about the distance from New York to Pittsburgh. You add 8 hours to 7 a.m. and you get 3 p.m. for train A; you add 6 hours to 9 a.m. and you get 3 p.m. for train B.”
She writes down the equation, 45X = 60X - 2. I take her pen and put parenthesis around the X - 2. “Thank you,” she slips a kiss on my cheek.
“Au contraire,” I tell her, “My pleasure, truly.”
I cross the street to the guys and notice they all have disappointed looks on their faces. “What’s the matter, didn’t you find it?” I ask Sweet Jesus.
“The Deli Man has a safe,” he informs me.
“Not here,” Nicky warns us, “Let’s go to the stash house.
As we head down the block, I look back and see Elizabeth watching me. A smile creeps back onto my face.
Nicky asks, “What are you so happy about?” “Elizabeth has nice tits.”
“She showed you her tits?” Sweet Jesus asks in disbelief. “Next time, I work on the girl and you can do the sneaky work.”
“It won’t work. You don’t have the magic.”
“Oh yeah? Spanish men got machismo,” he shoots back, “We’re born with that shit. I can go all night.”
“Remember who you’re talking to,” I tell him as we cut through Dino’s backyard, “I got you your first lay and you couldn’t go five minutes.”
Everyone bursts into laughter.
“Hey, no mention of Elizabeth’s tits,” I caution as we make our way to the living room of the stash house.
“Meow… Whittist… Meow… Whittist…” They mock and make whipping motions.
I flop down into a chair that is hard from years of wear and pull a beer from one of the six packs Nicky took from the deli. Music playing upstairs informs us that the girls are already here.
“Let’s get down to it;” Nicky turns to Sweet Jesus, “What kind of safe does the Deli Man have?”
“A safe safe. It’s about this high and this wide,” Sweet Jesus
holds his hand to his waist, then apart about three feet. “It has a combination dial and everything.”
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck Me,” shouts Nicky.
“Oh yeah, it also has a slit cut into the top,” Sweet Jesus continues. “About a foot long and two or three inches wide. I guess it’s for dropping the money in.”
“Did you look in? Could you tell how much was in there?” asks Nicky, still pissed.
The girls walk in, grab a beer, and take their seats in our
laps. Betty looks us over, knowing something is up, “Tough day at the office, boys?”
“You could say that,” Dino clues her in. “Our little robbery at the deli hit a snag.”
“The corner deli?” she questions. “That’s just stupid. You
don’t shit where you eat. Everyone knows that.”
“Thank you for that ageless insight,” Nicky snaps. “Maybe you can embroider it on a couple of throw pillows. Let’s get back to business; did you see any money in the safe?”
“No, it was too dark. But it has to have some because it is hidden behind cases of toilet paper. I had to move them out of the way to get a good look at the safe.”
“Did you put them back the way they were?” I ask.
“Of course,” Sweet Jesus assures me, “Exactly as they were.
This is not my first time.”
“Why are you robbing a rinky dink place like the corner deli?” Maria asks.
“Because that rinky dink little deli is a numbers money drop,” answers Nicky. Frustration rising, he begins pacing around the room.
“Oh,” Maria jumps up and looks down at me accusingly, “That is the stupidest plan you guys have come up with yet. Nicky, I know this had to be your idea, and you are going to get yourselves killed. Everyone knows you don’t rob the mob and live.”
The girls stand up and in unison shake their heads.
Dino takes hold of Betty’s hand, “You don’t have to worry about that. The money is locked up in a safe, so that’s that.”
“Not so fast guys,” Nicky grabs another beer, “MoJo, you’re the fucking genius, always making explosives in your backyard. How about you make a little boom-boom juice and we blow the safe?”
I got a chemistry set for Christmas when I was eight. Two years ago, I did an experiment that produced sulphur dioxide, a pretty nasty smelling gas. My mother demanded I get the set out of the house immediately, and I moved it to the tool shed behind the garage. Of course, this was my plan anyway, so I could have fun making nitroglycerin, boom-boom juice. It was a dangerous process and I didn’t want to blow up my mom by mistake, or the house.
The gang knows about the lab and won’t go near it, but Nails, naturally, wants to know if my mom can smell weed if he lights up in there. I forbid any smoking around the lab as carelessness will most likely blow the place up.
He was in the lab one day when I was making bombs for some Puerto Rican radical group, who wanted to blow up banks. They wanted the United States out of Puerto Rico, or to stop bombing Puerto Rico, or who knows what. All I know is that they paid $5000 for five ready-to-blow pipe bombs and promised that nobody would be killed.
Nails couldn’t understand not robbing the banks, just destroying some office furniture. I told him I didn’t care about the banks or those guys’ politics; I just didn’t need the F.B.I. coming after me for murder. And also told him that I had warned them, “If anyone dies, I don’t care if it’s the bank’s president or the cleaning lady, I’m making a sixth bomb for you.” Over the next two weeks, there were five midnight bank bombings in Manhattan. The F.B.I. is investigating.
“Two things wrong with that idea, Nails. First, I don’t know how much nitro it will take to blow open a safe, but I’m pretty sure it would blow up the entire building too. You know, because it is old and wooden. Second, how am I supposed to keep Elizabeth busy while you are blowing up a safe in the backroom? Not to mention that the rest of the neighborhood is going to hear it and see it. What happened to this being a secret affair?”
“Excuse me,” interjects Maria, now very upset. “What do you mean, ‘Keep Elizabeth busy’?”
“Yeah, it seems Elizabeth has a bit of a crush on our boy here,” Sweet Jesus offers the explanation gladly.
“Don’t worry,” I say as calmly as I can, “I’m just shooting her some BS while he sneaks into the stockroom.”
“I’ll keep that little mignotta busy. I’ll scratch her fucking eyes out so she won’t be able to see a God Damn thing when I get through with her!”
“This is supposed to be a clandestine affair, so the Deli Man
won’t know we robbed him. You fucking up his daughter is as bad as Nails blowing up his shop.” Dino offers.
“How about we steal the whole fucking safe?” Nicky quickly proposes. “Then again, it is the size of a washing machine and probably weighs several hundred pounds. How do we sneak it past Elizabeth and the rest of the neighborhood?”
“I can scratch her eyes out and rip her ears off,” Maria vents, “that fucking little whore.”
“Why don’t you guys crack the safe?” Betty suggests. “You must have someone in your family who specializes in that sort of thing.”
“Not really,” Nicky replies, “most safes have electronic locks nowadays, timers, and what have you. Safe cracking is a dying art. Besides, if I did know someone, they would want a hefty cut.”
“Wait a second,” I wrap my arms around Maria. Mainly to make sure she doesn’t try to hit me with a beer bottle or
something. “It probably is a pretty old safe, so we get a stethoscope and crack it ourselves. The tumblers should sound like bowling pins when they fall.” I’m really careful not to mention Elizabeth’s name again.
“Yes! Hell yes,” Nicky gets amped up, “That’ll work. We can go to that old folk’s home on the other side of Parkchester and steal a stethoscope.”
“Give me forty dollars,” Bonnie demands with her hand in Nicky’s face, “I know this goes against your religion and all, but there is a medical supplies store in Parkchester too, we will just go buy one.” She snatches the money from his hand and the girls head out the front door.
Bonnie looks back at us in the living room, “try not to commit any felonies until we get back.”
“Good thing no one mentioned Elizabeth’s tits,” Sweet Jesus jokes after we hear the door close.
For the next week and a half, the guys take turns trying to crack the safe. I keep helping Elizabeth with her algebra and helping myself to a peek-a-boo feast. Each time, I push the limits a little farther. It’s also coming up to finals so she is desperate for my help, and she really wants me, whether I have a girlfriend or not. She hasn’t asked me about Maria since she showed me her tits the first time and although she keeps telling me that I’m a nasty boy, she does whatever I tell her to do.
“What color is your hair?” I ask her. “What’s the matter, you blind? It’s blonde.”
“I’m not talking about that hair. It’s very pretty by the way, like waves of wheat in those commercials about America,” I smile at her.
“Thank you,” Elizabeth responds. “But I’m not going to do that.”
“Do what, Liz?” I play innocent.
“Come on,” she says with mock anger. “You want me to show you my downstairs. It’s the same as the hair on my head, so there.”
“Now, we both know that’s not true,” I tell her. “The hair on your head has been bleached by the sun for eighteen years.”
“Seventeen,” she corrects me, “I’ll be eighteen next month.
“Really? You seem much older, and mature. Anyway, the hair on your pussy has only been there for what, three, four years now?”
“Four years. Go on.”
“You are more mature. But... your pussy has never seen the sun, so the hair must be darker. I say a light brown,” I try to sound professional, “It’s science, you know.”
“Ha, you’re wrong, mister smarty pants,” like lightening, she pulls up her skirt with her left hand and pushes down her panties with her right, exposing a full and very light blonde bush. A second later, she realizes what she has done and her face reddens with embarrassment.
I double over laughing and she slaps me hard on the back of the head.
“You are the devil, Mr. Morris Johnson, but think you are so smart. If I told my father about what you’ve done, he’d cut your balls off.”
“Why do you girls always want to blame us guys?” I say accusingly. “You know you wanted to show what you’ve got. By the way, very nice, I’m impressed. And I’m going to have to re- think my whole sunlight theory. Unless,” I stop for a moment, pretending to think. “You have been taking her out for a sunning on a regular basis.”
“That’s disgusting and you better get out of here before my father gets back. But thanks for helping me with my homework,” she leans across the counter and gives me a kiss on the lips.
“Thanks for giving me something to dream about,” I say, running one hand across her ass.
“Get out of here, you pig, before my father catches you and does cut your balls off.”
I meet up with the guys at the stash house. Today, it was Nicky’s and Dino’s turn at the safe. Dino was the listener, so every time he thought he heard a click he nodded and Nicky wrote down the number. When they got a group of three numbers, they tried them in various combinations, but always without luck. When time ran out, they left by the back door in the stockroom, which leads to the alley. It was easier for them since they only had to sneak into the store.
Wednesday afternoon went the same as all the days before.
“I’d just like to say, for the record, that you four guys suck. I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” I tell them.
“Mi Dios me ayuda,” exclaims Sweet Jesus, “We’re in the cramped, dark, dirty stockroom risking our lives if we get caught, while you’re playing show and tell with— what was that you called her today, you’re lovely, Lizzie.”
“First of all, it was vivacious Lizzie, and second, you can never get caught back there. If you hear the deli door open,
you get out, fast. If y’all don’t crack that safe soon, I’m going to have to fuck that girl and let Nails blow the safe, before her
father finds me there with her.”
“Don’t you fuck that girl,” warns Nicky, “because if Deli Man catches you with his daughter, he will cut your balls off. If you fuck her, he will kill you.”
At that moment, the girls storm into the smoke-filled room and all hell breaks loose. Maria is on me like a flash, slapping me in the face as hard as she can; the sound hangs in the air only to be replaced by the guys’, “Oh Shit.”
She starts punching me in the gut and I try uselessly to catch her failing hands. I finally get a bear hug on her, not a good move, as she knees me in the groin.
“You no good fucking Nigger,” she yells.
I’m in shock, from the pain and her calling me nigger. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard her said the word. “I’m BS-ing her, just shooting the breeze, helping with her homework to keep her
from noticing the guys.”
“What part of helping with her homework is this?” Maria pulls her top over her head, exposing herself to the whole room. The guys start to cheer and she flashes them a look Medusa would be proud of. She pulls her tee shirt back down, “oh, I know, it’s the part where she shows her gratitude. Or is that your normal fee for helping girls with their homework? You no good bastard!” Maria runs out of the room and storms upstairs crying.
“You’re in trouble now.”
“Shut the fuck up, Nicky! In fact, you guys get the fuck out of my house,” commands Bonnie.
“You guys leave,” I say quietly, “Catch up with y’all at the Raven.”
“Oh no, you’re getting the fuck out too! Now!” Bonnie points to the front door.
“I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving her like this.” “Go,” Betty says. “We’ll take care of her.”
“The girls are right,” Frank takes hold of my arm, “If you stay, you’ll only make matters worse.”
“Get your hands off me or I’ll cut your mother-fucking throat.”
“Whoa... Whoa... Whoa...” Nicky steps in, “MoJo, you got to give her time to cool down. But from that look on her face, it may be a day or two.”
“Maybe never,” Bonnie rips into me, “You fucking asshole.” “Just go,” Betty says in a kinder, gentler voice.
Killer With Three Heads
Killer Series Book 2
The Rocci Family is the most powerful Mafia family in New York and Nicky ‘Nails’ is about to replace his father as the head of the New York Mafia. His ties to the street gangs are strong and even though he hasn’t seen Morris in four years, since he disappeared in Columbia in 1980, the two are still thick as thieves.
Nicky’s power is being challenged by the Chicago Mafia who is trying to split the New York families and take control. Against Nicky wishes, Mojo has sent gang members to set up shop in Chicago, a move that threatens both the New York and Chicago Mafia. The pair knows FBI agent, Tom Green, is behind the kidnapping of Maria, they don’t know if Tom Green is working for the Chicago mob or the Government, as both would benefit.
Where Killer With A Heart took you into the dark world of organize crime and street gangs, this story takes the reader around the world to the very seats of power in Caribbean, Aruba and the Bahamas; into Columbia, Venezuela, the Baltic, Afghanistan and Egypt; and here in the U.S.A. - New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
Killer With Three Heads is an explosive, sexy, world-wind thriller that keep you wondering how far is too far. What kind of people would start a war with the most dangerous man alive? What will Bulletproof 'Mojo' Johnson do to get his daughter back safely? And what will happen if he doesn’t?
Goodreads * Amazon
Time to Kill
The sign over the door of the two-story brick building on the corner reads, Sons of Italy Social Club. Or at least, that is what it said years ago before five of the letters fell off. But it has been there long enough that the missing letters, the O’s and the I’s, left their mark on the brick façade. The blackened glass windows look out to the east and north while double steel doors angled between them face the busy intersection. They swing open, letting in the bright morning sun; they are not locked. The Sons of Italy Social Club is never closed. The blinding daylight draws everyone’s attention to the thigh-high black leather boots, red micro-mini skirt, and rabbit fur jacket that barely clothes a raven-haired ebony Queen. Five men and a barmaid squint to focus on her until the doors shut and the light gives way to a more normal view.
“Marone!” says the old man sitting at the card table facing the woman. The other two middle-aged men nearly snap their necks doing a double take. “You got the wrong place, honey,” he continues, slicking back his gray and black dyed hair. “This is a private club. You want the bus depot down the block.”
“I think I’m in the right place,” she coos and saunters deeper into the room. “I’m here for Benny. It’s his birthday and I’m here to make him a man.”
A skinny pimply-faced boy standing at the pool table’s voice cracks with uneasy arousal, “I’m Benny, but my birthday ain’t until next week.”
His pool partner, a slightly older boy, slaps him on the back of his head.
The woman stops at a table two feet from the boys, places her foot on the seat of the chair, so they can see right up the skirt, and reveals everything she has to offer. She kicks the chair and it slides across the floor to the pool table. Benny’s friend hustles him to the chair and pushes him down onto it. The three card-playing men position their chairs for a better view and one of them calls out, “Red, put on some music.”
The barmaid flips a switch and the club fills with Disco sounds, loud and pulsating. The woman starts swaying her hips and shaking her tits, which are now out of the rabbit fur and protruding from her red halter-top. She swings one leg high over Benny’s head, giving all the men a preview of what’s to come, while spinning around and thrusting her naked butt in his face. She slowly rubs her bare bottom down his chest and onto his lap. Benny already has a hard-on sticking up through his jeans and she is sure the other men have them too. Hands on her knees, she gyrates and bounces on his lap, rotating her cunt so close to his face he can smell her tangy juices and feel the heat that produces them.
The men are spellbound when she leaps up, spins around in the air, and lands on his lap again, wrapping her legs around him, and her ankles lock around the back legs of the chair. His face buried in her ample cleavage, he can feel his pants filling with cum. Ashamed, he tries to stop but his body is out of control, trapped by her overpowering essence. Everything is happening too fast.
The woman runs her hands through her long silky black hair, taking all eyes with them. She reaches down into the back of the rabbit fur jacket, as the men are glued to every move and watch intently as she pulls two .22 revolvers from her back. Hypnotized like rabbits in headlights, they don’t even blink when she fires point-blank into the pool player’s face. Then with the gun in her right hand, she sweeps across the card table, placing a slug in each man’s forehead.
“Sorry Benny, this is as close as you get to being a man,” she whispers in his ear before putting a bullet in it. Then pushing him to the floor, she quickly goes to the backroom door and kicks it in with a black thigh-high boot. With disco music blaring behind her and two .22s outstretched before her, she freezes in the inner office’s doorway.
“Vicky! I knew it was you I heard getting the boys all worked up,” says Nicky Nails with an easy smile. “Haven’t seen you in ages. Did you leave any of my guys alive?”
“I told her to kill them all!”
“Goddamn it, MoJo! This is a day for surprises.” Nicky’s eyes beam at the sight of the man standing behind Vicky in the back office.
She takes another two steps into the room and Morris Johnson slides to the right.
“I go by the name John Morrison now. Morris Johnson has been dead for ten years.”
“Worst alias I’ve ever heard,” Nicky laughs while still seated behind his desk.
“And I told you before, call me Clarita Sanchez.” Vicky snarls then turns to me. “Why don’t you let me kill this guinea prick and we can get on with our business?”
“Because,” I sigh heavily as I explain it to her one more time, “This guinea prick is my friend. And he has the drop on us. See he has his hands positioned on the edge of his big metal desk?”
“He probably has a hand grenade between his knees and is prepared to drop it and flip the desk over for cover.”
“That’s right,” replies Nicky. “This nigger taught me to always keep a hand grenade handy. And I guess you have one in your pocket too. Can we put the pins in now and get down to business?”
“Sure… and Honey can come out of the closet over there,” I show Nicky my grenade and thumb the pin back into the handle.
He reaches under the desk and does the same to his. Honey opens a secret panel in the wall behind him and comes out toting a sawed off shotgun. The three of us exchange embraces as Vicky reloads and holsters her guns, still angry that she doesn’t get to kill Nicky.
Rozalina brings in a large bottle of Absolute and Nicky pours five shots of vodka, we clink glasses and down the shots. She whispers in his ear and I say, “Come on Cherry Bomb, we are all friends here.”
“That’s Mrs. Cherry Bomb Rocci to you,” Nicky corrects me.
“What? You’re kidding, right?”
Rozalina holds up her hand to show off the huge sparkling diamond ring as proof.
“Immigration was trying to deport her,” explains Nicky, “I couldn’t let my favorite girl go.”
“Some guys are out there,” Rozalina tells him, “Cleaning up the mess.”
“Your friends from Chicago had something to do with my daughter’s kidnapping,” I let fly a heated accusation. “I intend to find out what. And—”
“Hold on, MoJo,” Nicky pours another round, “I don’t think Chicago is behind Maria’s kidnapping. They have nothing to gain; it’s not the way we operate.”
I accept the drink sitting on the edge of his desk. Vicky looks nervous and Honey, who had returned the sawed-off back to the hidden closet stares at the two of us, not knowing what to expect next.
I kinda don’t blame them; I disappeared for four years and now return to light up the club with Vicky. “As I understand it, you are about to replace your father as head of the New York Mob. Maybe they want to draw me out and discredit your loyalty to the family. After all, you are where you are today because you supposedly had me killed.”
“Yeah, but that’s ancient history now.” Nicky downs his drink and continues, “That all died the day Angelo did as well. Besides, anybody who could stand in my way of taking over from my father is already at the bottom of the East River. Those guys are here… well, were here… because your boys are moving in on their territory back in Chicago. I have been telling your boys to pull back before we end up in a shooting war.”
“I have them keeping a close eye up north because you have been asleep at the wheel,” I tell him and down my next shot. “Those guys have been muscling in on our drug trade and infiltrating your operations.”
“Oh Yeah? How about that little motherfucker, Benny?”
“Benny!” Nicky half laughs, “I had him running for me since he was in the third grade. I was fucking his mother for years,” Nicky quickly shoots an apologetic look at Rozalina. “Before I married you, honey.”
“That might be so, but his Grandfather is Beniamino Brunello. You know, the Chicago godfather. They have been setting up a power play for years and I think they are going to use Maria as their pawn.”
“Look, Maria is my goddaughter,” Nicky says, the smile gone from his face. He looks me in the eye with a dead-cold stare. “I have her bodyguards down in the basement, and they’ve been telling me exactly what happened yesterday. I know they are telling the truth. No one from the north is involved. If I thought for a second they were, bullets would be flying and the streets of Chicago would be flowing with blood.”
“You sure about this?”
“Yes, and as soon as those two stunods come to, I’ll finish getting the information out of them.”
I notice the bruises on his hands. His knuckles are skinned and scraped. Nicky Nails has put on thirty or so pounds since I last saw him, and it’s all muscle. Now, he does look like he could chew nails and spit bullets.
“For now, you stay out of sight; I’ll handle Chicago and find out where Maria is. Man, I hate to have to tell Benny’s mother he’s dead. She is gonna be pissed. And if she is connected to Chicago, things are going to get ugly.”
“Don’t worry about them, call her up and tell her you sent him on a job. My boys will handle the rest. I also got them working the streets, we will find Maria.”
“Yeah, we will,” he looks down and then back at me with his boyish grin, “You haven’t seen Elizabeth yet, have you?”
“No.” I say flatly. “I wanted to have some good news to tell her.”
“Well, just seeing you’re alive will be good news,” he tells me. “She is quite sure that you died in Colombia when you didn’t return from that last mission. Four years is a long time, MoJo. What the hell happened? Oh, and by the way, I wouldn’t just go walking in the front door, the feds are there.”
“It is a kidnapping case,” Nicky says angrily, “It’s kinda their thing? And you know they never stopped paying her a little attention. Anyway, you know the guy, he came out of retirement or something to work this case.”
A young black man in a red jumpsuit knocks on the door that is hanging half off the hinges. “All done, John,” he says.
Nicky looks him over from his paper hair net to his paper booties. He looks like he just stepped out of an operating theatre.
“They are in the van,” he continues, “Do you want us to dispose of them in the usual manner?”
“No,” I reply as I come to my feet. “We are gonna have to store those guys for a while. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“Real professional,” remarks Nicky then refills my glass and gives it a tap. “Girls, give us a minute.”
The three women return to the bar. Rozalina is amazed at the sight, not a drop of blood anywhere, not a chair overturned, the place spotless. When she left minutes previously there were rivers of blood on the floor and flowing from the card table. As precise as Vicky was, shooting five people in the head leaves a mess, but now one can’t tell a harsh word had been spoken in the place. The cleanup crew, five husky black guys in red one-piece jumpsuits transformed the place. It looks better than it ever did.
“I’m leaving Vicky here to help you with security,” I inform Nicky. He gives me a frown and then resigns himself to the inevitable. “Until we get to the bottom of this, you need someone you can trust watching your back.”
“Watching my back,” Nicky downs another shot, “She’s more likely to put a knife in it. You know she thinks I left you hanging in Colombia. I didn’t, you know. I had our people all over the place trying to find you. What the fuck happened down there?”
“I know you did but it’s like I told you that night, the government was about to pull a double cross, and did. You saved both of our lives. You didn’t tell her, did you?”
Nicky shakes his head, “Not a word, although I don’t know why you wanted to keep it from her. Anyway, how many times do I have to tell you? Never work with the government. They’ll fuck you every time.”
I run a hand across my chest and up to my left shoulder, it’s an automatic reaction to the phantom pain that flares up when I think about Colombia. “She knows now. I told her two days ago. She wasn’t very happy.”
Vicky sits at the bar staring into a half-full glass of vodka. Rozalina and Izolda give her plenty of space; they can tell she wants to be alone. She had slipped on underwear and jeans and sits there barefoot, her mind nowhere near the bar. She is in the Grand Caymans, days ago...
It was 2 a.m. and the only person who could get the drop on her was kneeling by her bedside with his hand over her mouth.
Her eyes snapped open; her fist flew wildly then changed to an embrace midflight. Her arm wrapped around MoJo’s neck as he spun and whipped her out of bed without disturbing her sleeping husband, Derrick. His hand went from her mouth to clutching her bare ass and he carried her into the living room.
“My God! You’re alive,” she whispered then pulled my shirt open, down over my arms, and places her right hand carefully on my chest over the three bullet-hole scars, making sure I was not a ghost. She fell against my chest and I could feel the tears rolling down my body. “I knew you were alive. I told Derrick. I told Nicky. I told them all, it would take more than three bullets to kill you,” she said defiantly. “We’ve got to wake up Derrick; he has to know you are back—”
“Not just yet,” I tell her. I notice her eyes are tracing the whiplash welts that crisscross my body. I take her by the hand and lead her out into the night. I hold her tight against my body, searching for the words I must impart. Her body melts into mine, her fingers running along the marks on my back. Finally, I place my hands firmly on her shoulders and hold her at arm’s length, “It was Derrick. He set you up. These bullets were meant for you.”
“No. No, you’re wrong. The Colombians fought back.” Tears welled in her eyes, pain and anger collided with confusion and reason in her mind. Her face contorted as thoughts and rehashed events buried for four years but never forgotten resurfaced. “No,” she cried. “No. He loves me. He’s my husband now; we’ve been married two years…”
“I know,” I said impassively, “And I wouldn’t say so if I wasn’t sure. I told you he was CIA, not to trust him. He set up the mission; the raid was designed to get you killed. Remember, I wasn’t supposed to be there, and that’s why I waited until the last minute to show up.”
“Half the team got killed that day in the jungle,” her voice was hard.
Vicky turned and walked back into the house. Her slender body stiff, her nightgown fluttered in the gentle island breeze, but she was oblivious to it all, had already switched into killer mode, and from that moment on, she felt nothing, merely focused on the job at hand, moving with precision. Quiet, just as I taught her, she re-entered the bedroom, and slid back between the sheets. Derrick inhaled deeply as if he were asleep. Vicky stretched an arm across his stomach and waited. The minutes passed slowly, both lying in wait for the perfect moment to strike. Vicky turned onto her side, facing him, and her arm went limp across his body. Derrick was lying on his back and thought this was his chance. He flipped over on top of her, clamped his huge hands on her throat, and was about to use his full body weight to break her neck when flames erupted in his abdomen. It coursed through his stomach and exploded into his chest, ripping it way out of his shoulder. And before the first shockwave of pain could be fully realized and reacted to, another fireball cooked his intestines, followed by another, and another.
Within seconds, Derrick’s massive weight came down on Vicky’s petite frame, wet and bloodied. Vicky lay there with the gun in her left hand and her husband’s head cradled to her in her right. She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t want to. She stared into the dark night, oblivious to everything around her.
Her face in the mirror behind the bar is stone cold and her eyes are empty. I run my hand down the back of her neck, pulling her back from the abyss of self-doubt. I trained her to trust no one but herself, to believe everyone lies all the time. It was the world we lived in, the only way to survive the jungle, and she was a stone wrapped in a façade of humanity. Everyone was a killer, and everyone was expendable. Trust, faith, even love were weapons more deadly than knives, guns, or bombs. I taught Vicky to use each with precision and without a conscious. I taught her to be a weapon.
“I’m heading out to the Island,” I say, not certain if she is fully back yet. “Keep your eyes open, if anything jumps off… Well, you know what to do. You know how to reach me.”
“I still think your friend knows more than he is telling,” she hisses as she watches Nicky in the mirror behind the bar.
“Of course he does,” I whisper in her ear, “but all that will come out in due time. I need you here and on point if he is wrong about Chicago. And if he’s not, and I believe he’s not, then we are in for a nasty fight. Worse than Colombia, and I need you razor sharp and ready to kill.”
As I leave the club I take a quick look back and lock eyes with Nicky, he nods and I go. I’m reassured that he’ll keep Vicky out of danger, and I hope to hell she doesn’t kill him. I hop into the back of a blacked-out Lincoln and tell my three guys there has been a change. We are going to Long Island but not to the mansion as planned, not with the FBI working on Elizabeth. We are rather going to take the indirect approach. And after what Nicky told me in his office, the indirect approach will work on several levels. I will be able to get Elizabeth to a safe place, and then I’ll find out how much the FBI knows about the kidnapping. Yeah, the plan has changed, getting Maria back is not going to be as easy as putting a bullet in some asshole’s ear.
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12 years of Catholic education and a couple of years in college spread between wild drug induce euphoric years, which did not kill him, produced an unique moral compass that swings in any direction it wants. A scientific mind and a spirit that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough guides his writings. He enjoys traveling to new places and seeing what life has to offer.
With little other interest outside the bedroom, and still a hopeless insomniac, he is free to pound out plots. Killer With A Heart is the first in a series for Bulletproof Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson and Killer With Three Heads continues the saga. James writes crime stories (as J L Hill) and science fictions, with a slant on the dark side of life. He recently penned, The Emerald Lady, the first in the fantasy Gem Stones Series is coming soon.
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I have always liked telling stories, coming up with plots and adventures. When I was a kid (around 8) we would buy comic books. Marvel comics were 10 cents then, I would trace out the characters and write a story that I believed would be the next month’s installment. That is when I started coming up with my own ideas for stories. Back in the sixties, I was heavily influenced by James Bond, Errol Flynn, and the space programs, so I gravitated towards action, adventure, and science fiction. I never lost the love of storytelling.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
My father used to call me Radio Mouth because I talked to myself, a lot. Usually, not as myself but as different people, as the characters I create. I imagine myself in their lives, who they know, what is happening to them. I live their life or they live through me. I hold full conversations, sometimes out loud. My father used to say, “You talk so much, you talk when nobody is listening.”
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Definitely, the Killer Series; Killer With A Heart and Killer With Three Heads were written with the movies in mind. Killer With Black Blood and Killer With Ice Eyes will have the same fast pace, action-packed, thrill-a-minute stories with great characters and a deep meaning behind them. The series centers around the theme of two guys living in a world where morals are questionable at best, loyalties are always being tested, and it is their unshakeable friendship which is forged in this world of war that carries them through.
I’d like to take a moment here to advise other writers who would like to see their work turned into movies. As a publisher, I see a number of manuscripts from writers who say this will make a great movie. And the story idea would make a good movie, but where they come up short is they don’t actually write a good book. They write as if they are recanting a movie they’ve seen rather than a novel to be read. The old adage, ‘show don’t tell’, gets flipped around, they tell me the story instead of letting me see it unfold in my mind. If you want to see your book turned into a movie, first and foremost, write a good book.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I wouldn’t call it a pilgrimage, but I went to Egypt. Killer With Three Heads is an international thriller. Mojo Bulletproof Johnson and Nicky Nails Rocci have graduated from the ranks of ordinary street criminals and run a Mafia/Gangland arms and drugs racket. A part of the story takes place in Egypt, so a trip there to get a firsthand feel for the place and its people was great. I have also been to the Caribbean where another part of the story takes place.
I love to travel. I am always aware of my surrounding and the people I meet as fuel for my writing. As a writer you absorb the sights, smells, sounds, and souls of that which you come in contact with, then filter it into your writing as needed. It is how I breathe life into my stories.
What inspired you to write this book?
The whole Killer Series came about because I grew up in New York City with gangs and mobsters. They were everywhere, in the news, in the neighborhood, in your family. Often, when somebody ends up on the news as a big time criminal you hear, “I never knew he was into that! He was such a nice guy.”
It got me into thinking, “You never really know where true criminals come from.” People always think they just pop up from nowhere. Most start their life of crime at an early age and grow into the monsters we later know. However, there is always another side to them, the good family man, and the quiet kept-to-himself type. For years, the Mafia operated in this shadow world. Street gangs operated with an opposite set of rules, making their power known in the neighborhood. Gang leaders as they grow in strength use their gang to shield them from the law and prying eyes. I wanted to show how the two were not so different.
How did you come up with the title for your first book?
The title, Killer With A Heart, came as I was nearly finished writing it. The original title was Bulletproof, the alias that Morris Johnson picks up early in the story. Near the end, Nicky Nails makes a statement reprimanding Morris on his decision to take on the Russian mob, and that’s when I said that’s the title of the novel and the series became the Killer Series. So, the title was given to me by Nicky Nails Rocci.
Are the characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
In the writing of crime novels, you cannot use actual people. You take the personalities of many people you might know and those you read or hear about to build the individuals in the novels. The characters are not exactly based on any individual but architypes that I have known all my life. I have known people who were mafioso, gangsters and wannabes. Growing up in New York you hang out with many different people, and what we used say on the corner, “You have a hundred friends who will get you into jail, but not one who can get you out.”
What did you edit out of this book?
I had to change Maria’s age, a major character in Killer With A Heart. She is Mojo’s girlfriend. Originally, she was sixteen. Due to the sexual scenes and the explicit way they are described I had to make her eighteen. It was either change her age or everything I wrote about the love affair or it would have been considered pornography. I guess I didn’t edit out the sex, in other places I edited out the age of those involved.
Who designed your book covers?
I design my book covers and the covers for some of the other books I publish. I have received many compliments on the covers. I also use a graphic artist and some of my authors have covers designed by companies they hired.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I am a planner. I write synopsis, chapter outlines, and character profiles. I start the story with all the major people firmly in place. I know when and where they will make their appearances. But with all the planning some people still find their way into the story that I didn’t plan on. They introduce themselves at just the right time. I take them as they come and add them to the profiles. Stories are a fluid thing; I can’t plan for every twist or everyone that shows up.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
The publishing marketplace has never been easy to navigate. Some may think it is better, easier, and open to all today. That last part is true, but it does not make it better. I returned to writing and started my publishing company, RockHill Publishing LLC, because it is easier. However, the same rules and standards must be upheld. Many people who self-publish skip the basics of good editing, strong plots, and well-defined themes. Which means some books that are published shouldn’t be, and when the traditional publishing houses were the gatekeepers they weren’t.
There are publishers who will print anything for a price, but the new technologies are slowly putting them out of business. Or at least cutting into their business. Independent and small publishers can put out quality work without ripping off the authors. We do the things the major houses do, and most importantly, making sure the book is ready for the marketplace.
Pen or computer?
I write mostly, almost exclusively, on computer. Computers make editing, rewriting, and writing in the first place easier. I used to write longhand because I am that old. I wrote on typewriters, even though I am a terrible typist. Sometimes, when I come to an important part of the story, I go back to pen and paper. Because I can write faster and freer, get my thoughts down before they escape my mind. I cannot type as fast as I can write, I cannot write as fast as I think, and I cannot dictate at all.
Describe your writing style
My writing style has morphed over the last few years. I still outline and plan my novels before I begin. I would write a few chapters, go back over them and edit, then move forward. I write and edit at the same time. It helped me keep the storyline straight and on track. It took a year or more of actual writing to complete a book. It takes two to three years to put a book together this way.
A couple of years ago I joined NANOWRIMO, the national novel writing month competition, during which you write a novel in one month. Throughout November, you try to reach 50k words, the bare minimum for a novel. The plan is to write 1,666 words each day without looking back. No editing, no rewriting, just move forward. I have done three novels that way, The Emerald Lady, Killer With Black Blood, and The Ruby Cradle.
The Emerald Lady is in print. Killer With Black Blood and The Ruby Cradle are going through editing and rewrites as we speak.
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