Authors: J. B. Reed
“Jesus Vivie. How; where?”
“Ryan’s apartment. I waited for him to come out of Molly’s and followed him to his apartment. We had a nice chat…about him killing Papa. I then shot him.” Vivie’s demeanor was cold and unfeeling. Relating how she killed Ryan was almost like telling him what she had bought while shopping. No, she was more exited when talking about shopping. Michael didn’t like seeing her this way.
“I can’t believe this. I must be dreaming.”
“It’s no dream, Michael. I’m really here and Ryan is really dead. Don’t you understand Michael? I had to kill Ryan. It was my duty. I couldn’t let anyone else do what was my job to do.”
“Vivie, do you know what is going to happen? When Tommy finds out about Ryan, he’s going to think I did it. Shit, Vivie; when Joseph hears about it,
going to think I did it. He has ordered me to stay out of the Kitchen and away from Tommy and his crew. I can’t very well tell him that it was you that killed Ryan, now can I?”
“I don’t want you to tell him, Michael. I want to tell him. I want to talk to him, face to face.”
“No fucking way, Vivian. You’re going nowhere near Joseph. Vivie, he thinks I killed you. If he finds out you’re alive, Joseph may very well kill me.”
“Not if I kill him, Michael.”
“Christ, Vivian….do you know what you’re saying? There is no way you can get to Joseph, and no way in hell you can kill him. He’s well guarded Vivie. You would never make it past the door.”
“Then I’ll need your help. You can either get me in to see him or you can have him meet you somewhere, where I’ll access to him.”
“You have lost your mind.
Why would I do this? Why would I help you kill Joseph? Vivie, Joseph is not only my boss, he’s like a father to me. Asking me to be part of his assassination is out of the question. I won’t do it.”
“I’m sorry to hear you say that. I thought that a life with me and Rose was more important than Joseph, or anyone else. I guess I was wrong.”
“There is nothing I would like more than to be able to have a life with you and Rose, but this is not the way. If you kill Joseph, his entire family will be looking for you. There would be a hit out on you, Vivian, it would be open season.”
“Michael, are you forgetting this bastard ordered you to kill me? He is the reason we are not together, the only reason. You said yourself that he would kill you if he knew I was still alive. Is that the love a father for his son, Michael?”
“You don’t understand, there is creed men like Joseph live by. Loyalty is the key. If they feel someone, anyone, has betrayed them, that person has to pay; regardless of their position within the family.”
family? Have you forgotten we’re still married, that we took vows, Michael?”
Michael stood up and walked over to the bar. Standing with his back to Vivie, he was silent, thinking of what she was saying to him. To hit a man of Joseph’s stature was suicide.
“Very well, Vivie. I’ll arrange a sit down between you and Joseph, but I want to be there. I want to attempt to work this out with Joseph, try to make him understand why I couldn’t kill you. Joseph is a reasonable man if the facts are presented in the right way.”
Michael could hear the words coming out of his mouth, but he didn’t believe anything he was saying. There was no way Joseph was going to understand why he lied to him, why he didn’t follow his orders. This was going to end badly.
VIVIE AND JOSEPH MEET AGAIN
Michael convinced Vivie to rest for a while; she had been up for nearly twenty-four hours. He needed time to sort out the recent events in his mind. Joseph’s family and the Westies were at war; he had been ordered to stay away from Tommy and his crew; he had told Joseph he had killed Vivie and now, Vivie was here in his home; and Vivie just informed him she had killed Ryan. Michael had to wonder how his life could have become so totally fucked up.
He thought that, perhaps, he should go see Joseph while Vivie was asleep. Maybe he could explain everything to Joseph and get him to agree to meet with Vivie. If he could just persuade Joseph to see that instead of being a liability, she quite possibly could be an asset to him. He could tell him about Vivie killing Ryan; and that she, just as he, considers family obligation a sacred duty. If only he could convince Joseph of this, then Vivie’s plan to kill Joseph would be a moot point. Michael opened the bedroom door to make sure Vivie was sound asleep. He scribbled a note to her, leaving it on the kitchen table, and then left the apartment for Joseph’s office. Michael could not remember the last time he had prayed, but if he ever needed Divine assistance, this was the time.
“Lucky? I don’t recall asking you to come see me. As a matter of fact, I believe I told you to stay put until you heard from me. I’m assuming the reason you are here is important. Come in and have a seat. Talk to me.”
“Joseph, what I’m about to tell you will anger you. All I ask is that you let me say what I came here to say before you react.”
“I’m listening.” Joseph lit a cigar and sat down behind his desk.
“The first thing you should be aware of is that one of Flannery’s crew, one Ryan Kelly, was hit early this morning. He wasn’t involved in the fur heist, but this guy was the trigger man in old man Clancy’s hit. The person who whacked him was a member of the Clancy clan. And, this person, in my opinion, has become one of the best cleaners I’ve ever known. Joseph, the person I’m talking about is….Vivian.”
Joseph didn’t say a word, but Michael could see the fire in his eyes.
“I know I lied to you Joseph, I told you that I killed her; but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I got her to agree to leave town and that’s exactly what she did. While she has been away, she has used her time to train. Joseph, this woman is, without a doubt, one of the best. Her hatred for Flannery and Kelly fueled her desire to become the best. She now wants a sit down with you Joseph. She feels, and I agree, she has gone from being a liability, to an asset for you. She wants to work for you Joseph. I know that you’ve never employed a female in this capacity, but if you would just talk to her Joseph, you would see what I’m saying is true. I know you are angry with me for not carrying out your orders; for lying to you. I deserve whatever you give me, even if it means killing me.”
“You finished now?”
“Yes, I guess I am.”
“You’re right about one thing; I’m angry as hell with you. You betrayed me once before, Michael, when you told the girl that you were working for me. Now you come here telling me that, not only did you not whack her, but she’s become a fucking mechanic and wants to work for me.
wants a sit down with me. Forget the fact that I think everything you just said is bullshit; give me one reason I shouldn’t blow your head off, right now? You know how I feel about betrayal and yet you’ve betrayed me twice. Do you think I should forgive you because this girl whacked the fuck that killed her father? That this should make the fact you didn’t carry out my orders to whack her, okay? And what makes you think that I wouldn’t agree to the sit down just to get her here, and then whack you both?”
“Joseph, you’re an honorable man. If you agree to meet with her, to hear her out, you wouldn’t harm her. As far as I go, I’m in your hands, whatever you decide to do with me, Joseph.”
“A fucking female mechanic. Jesus Christ. Why do you expect me to believe I can trust her? How do I know she’s not coming here to off me?”
“Because that’s not what she wants. She wants to work for you, not kill you.” Michael was lying again; he just hoped that he would be able to convince Vivie that working for Joseph would be better than killing him.
“You know, I am a man of vision, Michael, and I could possibly see where having a female mechanic could be useful. No one would ever expect a girlie to whack em.”
Joseph stared up at the ceiling, puffing on his cigar. Michael was praying that he would agree to at least talk to Vivie.
“When can she be here?”
“I can have her within the hour, Joseph.”
“Get her here; I’ll talk to her, see what she has to say. If
can convince me of her ability, I will consider it. But she has to convince me, and I’m not easy; you know that better than anyone. But as for you, Michael; you’re not off the hook with me just yet.”
“I understand. I’ll have her here as soon as possible.”
Michael left Joseph’s office and headed for home. Now the only thing he had to do was convince Vivie this was the better option, for all concerned. By the time he returned home Vivie was up and sitting at the kitchen table, having a bite to eat.
“Hope you don’t mind, I just helped myself.” Vivie stated as she smiled at Michael. “Where did you run off to, Michael? The only thing your note said was that you had to run out.”
“I went to see Joseph. He's agreed to a sit down with you.”
“So you convinced him to see me? That’s wonderful, Michael. This will be easier than I had imagined.”
“No, you don’t understand. I told Joseph about you killing Ryan. He wants to talk to you about coming to work for him, in the same capacity as I do.”
“Whoa, hold on a minute. Joseph wants to talk to me about working for him? That was not the plan Michael. The plan was to kill Joseph so we could be together, to raise Rose. Now you’re telling me that
want me to work for him, as a hired killer?”
“This is a better plan, can’t you see that? Do you not remember telling me, right here in this apartment, that you wanted to be a cleaner? Have you forgotten that?”
“That was before Rose was born. I have an obligation to my daughter, to live to see her grown. How can I even trust that Joseph doesn’t want to get me there to kill me?”
“I swear to you, Vivie, that is not what he wants. He wants you to convince him that you would be an asset to the family. I believe you would. And what better way to make a life for Rose? Do you realize the kind of money you could earn? It’s true, you would not be able to spend as much time with her, but you could visit as often as possible. Please, Vivie,
is our way out.
“When does he want to meet with me?”
“Right now. Are you ready to go?”
“Shit, Michael, you sure didn’t give me much of a chance to think about this.”
“There is no time. Now that Joseph knows you are here, we either have to meet with him, or we both need to leave town.”
“Very well then. Let’s go.”
Vivie grabbed her coat and they left the apartment. Standing outside of Joseph’s office, Michael knocked twice then opened the door. That was his signal to Joseph that it was him.
“Joseph, you remember Vivian, don’t you?”
“Of course, you’re the little girl that worked at the pub in Hell’s Kitchen. Michael tells me you’re thinking of a career change; you no longer want to be a waitress but one of my employees. Is that correct?”
“Perhaps.” Vivie answered Joseph’s question while looking him dead in the eyes.
Joseph laughed at Vivie’s response. Whatever else she was, she appeared to be very self confident. Joseph liked that.
“Michael also tells me you just whacked Ryan Kelly. Pretty brave of you, I must say. For a little girl like you to go down to the Kitchen and whack the guy that killed your father; it’s pretty damn brave.”
“Bravery had nothing to do with it. He had to pay for what he had done. It’s as simple as that.”
Joseph sat silently staring into Vivie‘s, eyes, trying to read her.
“This little girl has some mighty big balls, Michael.”
“Excuse me, Sir, but my name is Vivian; I am not a little girl and I would appreciate it if you would stop referring to me that way.”
Joseph reared back in his chair and laughed.
“Okay, okay, I apologize,
. I assume you know that I put out a hit on you. That I ordered Michael here to whack you?”
“I am aware.”
“Michael failed to carry out my order; he betrayed me and lied to me; said he
kill you. What do you think of that? What do you think of a person who betrays you, Vivian. What should be done to a person like that?”
“Do you think you are the only one he betrayed? He knew that Ryan had killed my father because of what he himself had done to Shane. But instead of telling me, he took me to Las Vegas and married me instead. When we returned home, he then forced me to leave town, alone, so that he wouldn’t have to carry out your order to kill me. As far as what to do with a person who betrays you….I think they should be punished, but not necessarily killed. The person who betrays you can become useful to you; given the right opportunity.”
Joseph thought about what Vivian had just said. Michael did not tell him that he had married her out in Vegas, only that she was knocked up. What else was Michael keeping from him? But she was correct in saying that person who betrays you can become useful, if given the right opportunity. Joseph got up and walked around his big desk and sat back down on the edge of it, directly in front of Vivie. Michael sat quietly, knowing it was best, for now, to let Joseph and Vivie talk. He didn’t, however, like the direction the conversation was going; the fact that he had betrayed them both.
“Tell me, Vivian, what would you say if I told you the only way I would let you come to work for me, and the only way I will permit you to live, is for Michael to die? After all, he has betrayed us both. What would you do if I would shoot him, right where he sits, right beside of you.”
“I would say that you had better be damn quick. Otherwise I suggest you say goodbye to your balls. The gun in my pocket is pointed at your crotch right now. I guess the next move is yours, Sir.”
Michael had broken out in a cold sweat. But as nervous as he was at the possibility of what may happen next, he couldn’t help but be damn proud of Vivie. The girl does have balls.
“Sounds like she’s everything you said she was, Lucky.”
Joseph laughed again as he got up and moved back around to the chair behind the desk.
“Vivian, I think I
be able to use someone like you. Do you want to come to work for me, for my family?”
“If you can guarantee Michael's safety, it would be an honor, Sir.”
“Sir? Get that Lucky; she already pays me more respect than you do. Okay, let’s talk business; and you can call me Joseph, Vivian.”
Michael, Vivian and Joseph began talking about the issues with the Westies. Joseph explained to both of them what he felt needed to be done and the role they would play in bringing this war to a successful conclusion. Successful, from the
point of view. This was not something that was going to happen overnight; they all new that. He also agreed to give Vivie time to arrange things for Rose. Joseph still believed Rose to be Michael’s child; he would never learn any different.
Tommy sat in his office, the table in the back room of Molly’s. He had tried all morning to reach Ryan by telephone. Shane arrived and Tommy asked if he had stopped by Ryan’s before coming to Molly’s.
“No. I haven’t talked to Ryan this morning. He was pretty loaded when we left here last night. He’s probably still asleep.”
“Well it’s time he woke the fuck up. Come on, we’re going to his place.”
When they got to Ryan’s apartment building Shane stopped right inside the doorway of the lobby.
“You know I can’t get up to the apartment, Tommy. There’s no elevator in this building.”
“Damn it, Shane, you fucking cripple. What good are you? Park your ass right there and wait for us.”
Tommy climbed the steps to the third floor. He knocked on Ryan’s door but received no response. He pounded harder, yelling for Ryan to open the door; still no response. “Fucker has probably overdosed." Tommy said aloud, reaching for the doorknob. The door was unlocked; Tommy knew it wasn’t like Ryan to leave his door unlocked, no matter how high he might have been. As he opened the door and stepped into Ryan’s apartment, he immediately saw Ryan’s blood soaked body on the floor. He walked over and looked down at him, staring at the large hole in his chest. Michael must have been there. Tommy knew it had to Michael that killed Ryan to avenge Patrick Clancy. Tommy suddenly became frightened, knowing that he may still be there in the apartment, waiting for him. Tommy fled the apartment and ran down the three flights of steps. When he got to the lobby he said nothing to Shane, he just ran out of the door and down the street to Molly’s. Shane didn’t know what was going on, he looked up at the steps, wondering if Ryan was coming down; but Ryan was nowhere in sight. Tommy had been as white as a sheet. Shane left the apartment building and rolled himself up the street to Molly’s. Tommy was in the backroom, a bottle of whisky on the table and a glass in his hand.