Authors: J. B. Reed
“And that message was?”
“I told him to tell Tommy I was coming after him, and the other guy that was there that night, Ryan Kelly. Then I blew out both of Shane’s kneecaps.”
Joseph jumped to his feet, slamming his fist down on the desk.
“Son of a bitch…….Michael. Where is your fucking head? It must be up your fucking ass, because it’s not where it should be.
Joseph started swearing in Italian, waving his arms around, walking around from behind the desk to stand in front of Michael.
“I told you, I warned you Michael, you get involved with a woman and you get fucked up. You lose your focus and you fuck up. You cannot be an assassin and be involved with anybody….especially a woman. Women are good for one thing, Michael. Fucking, that is it, Michael. Fuck em and forget em. Anything more than that is not for you. You chose this life for yourself. I took you under my wing, I taught you everything I know and made you what you are today. You are the best mechanic in the business Michael, but you fucked up. Now this cum wad Murphy knows who you are; he can make you, Michael. Shit.”
Michael sat silently, waiting for Joseph to continue. He knew now was not the time to tell him that Vivie also knew that he worked for Joseph.
“Well, that explains why they hit the old man. They are trying to flush the girl out. They know if the girl shows at the funeral, you will not be far away. The girl can’t know about her father.”
“How can I keep that from her?”
“I don’t give a fuck, how you keep it from her, Michael. Just make sure she doesn’t find out. Nothing she can do about it now anyway. We may want to relocate the rest of her family though. I will send a couple of the guys up there to pack em up, get em out of there. We’ll make sure they are far enough away that no one can find them.”
“Joseph, the mother will be scared to death if you send the guys up there right now. Give her time to bury her husband at least.”
“Lucky, please, give me some credit. I’m not a heartless prick. I have not gotten where I am without knowing how to handle people. And, Lucky, I don’t think you need to be telling me how I should be handling anything, do you?”
“No, Joseph, I apologize.”
“Okay, go on home. Stay there until I call you. Do not go anywhere, Lucky, and I mean anywhere. Do you understand me?”
“I understand, and thank you.”
Joseph walked over to the window of his office, standing with his back to Michael, puffing on his cigar, his hands behind his back. Michael closed the door as he left. As Michael started the engine of his car, he thought of how he would keep the news of the death of Vivie’s father from her. It would be in the newspapers in the morning. He would have to make sure Vivie did not have a chance to see it. She has been adamant about looking through advertisements for a job lately.
When Vivie returned home, she found Michael’s note on the kitchen table. She was glad he was not home. That would give her a little time to gather her thoughts and decide on the best way to tell him her news.
“I swear that man never rests. No wonder he is so thin. Speaking of thin, Vivie ol’ girl, you’ll soon be losing your girlish figure.”
Vivie stood in front of the mirror in the hallway looking at herself. For a brief moment, the thought of having a baby seemed less repulsive to Vivie.
“Why does this have to be Tommy’s child? Why can this not be Michael’s baby?”
A thought came to Vivie’s mind.
“Why can this not be Michael’s baby? Michael has said he has fallen in love with me. Would it be so difficult for him to make love to me? I am only two month gone. If I could get Michael to make love to me soon……”
Vivie immediately put the thought out of her mind.
“No Vivian Clancy, you were raised better than that. You will not add the sin of lying to your other sins. Michael has been far too good to you for you to trap him into such a terrible lie as this. You must tell Michael the truth and let the chips fall where they may. If he throws you out on your ass, then out you will go.”
Vivie was changing clothes when she heard Michael come home. When she came into the living room, she saw Michael standing at the bar, pouring himself a drink.
“Hello Vivie, darlin, would you like a drink?”
“No thank you, Michael. Is everything okay? I read your note. You had to go out? I thought you were going to bed for a while?”
“Joseph called; just some business he wanted to discuss. There is nothing to be concerned about. How did things go with the doctor?”
Vivie was not sure how to start this conversation. She knew she could not put it off; she could not lie to Michael and tell him all was well. How was she going to tell him she was knocked up and she was carrying the child of the devil?
“The doctor at the clinic was nice. He checked me over, said I didn’t have the flu.”
“Well, that’s a good thing, right?”
“So, did he say why you’ve been so sick the last few days?”
“Yes, Michael, he knew exactly why I’ve been so sick.”
“Well, then, are you going to tell me or make me play twenty questions, girl?”
Michael’s glass of scotch hit the floor, as did his jaw.
“You’re pregnant? Vivie, this means that you’re pregnant with Tommy’s child?”
Vivie began to cry.
“Yes, Michael, I’m pregnant with Tommy’s child. Oh, Michael, what am I going to do?
Vivie dropped to knees on the floor. Michael got up from his chair and sat down beside her.
“Vivie, is the doctor sure of this?”
“Yes, he gave me an examination. He said I am two months along.”
“My sweet Vivie. Have you not been through enough?
Michael held Vivie close, as she wept.
“Vivie, you do have choices you know.”
“What do you mean; choices?”
“You don’t have to keep the baby, Vivie. You can give it up for adoption. Another choice would be is that you do not have to have the baby at all. I know a doctor, Vivie…..”
“Michael, you’re not suggesting I have an abortion, are you?
“I’m just trying to make you aware you have options, Vivie, that’s all.”
“I’m Catholic, Michael, I cannot have an abortion. I may be carrying the child of the devil himself, but this child is also part of me. I will not get rid of it. And I will not give it away for someone else to raise it. This is my child, Michael, no matter who the father is.”
“Okay, Vivie. I just needed to know what you were thinking. I do have one more option that I think you should hear.”
“What is it, Michael?”
“We get married and raise the child together. Let me be this child’s father, Vivie.”
Vivie looked up into Michael’s face.
“Michael, you cannot be serious? How can you even consider raising Tommy Flannery’s child as your own?”
“Because, as you said, this is your child, no matter who the father is. I can be the child’s father, Vivie. Maybe not biologically, but in every way that matters.”
“Michael, I cannot marry you, I cannot be a wife to you, at least not the kind of wife I should be, not the kind of wife you deserve.”
“Maybe not right now; but in time Vivie, who knows. Time brings change, in all of us. You may find that, in time, you can be exactly the kind of wife that I want, and need and deserve. I can be a good husband to you Vivie, and a good father to the child.
“Michael O’Bannon, what did I ever do to deserve you?
“Jesus, Vivie, I don’t know, but maybe you’ll be forgiven of that too, in time.
Michael and Vivie held each close and laughed. In the back of Michael’s mind, he was thinking about Joseph and what he was going to say about this. If he could keep her father’s death a secret, then he could keep his marriage to Vivie a secret from Joseph.
“Vivie, tell you what we’ll do. Tomorrow morning, we will get on a plane and fly to Las Vegas. We can get married there in just a couple hours. How does that sound?
Michael knew that if they were married in Vegas, Joseph would be less likely to hear about it. He also knew that getting Vivie out of town right now, she would be less likely to hear about her father’s murder.
“Las Vegas Nevada?”
“Do you know of any other?”
“Michael, do you know what this means? The letter I wrote to my folks will no longer be a lie. Thank you, Michael, for making my lie the truth. You are my Prince Charming.”
“Anything for you Princess Vivie; anything for you.”
Never, in his wildest dreams did Michael ever picture himself as a husband, much less a father. The best mechanic in the business, as Joseph put it, changing diapers? The very thought was laughable. But for Vivie, he was willing to try anything.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
To secure their safety, Michael knew he had to ask Joseph’s permission to leave the city for a few days.
He had a good excuse; he needed to get Vivie out of town, to avoid her finding out about her father’s death. Michael knew Patrick’s death would be in all the papers by this time. A gang related hit was big news. The media would be all over it, even if it did happen in Hell’s Kitchen. Michael was not convinced this was gang related. No, it felt more like a hit that was ordered by one man, one, Tommy Flannery.
While Vivie was busy packing, Michael placed the call to Joseph, taking care that Vivie did not overhear his conversation.
“Joseph, I need to get out of town for a few days. I need to take Vivian out of town. With the media all over this hit, she’s bound to hear about it. I think if I take her away for a few days, maybe a week, it will give things time to cool off here. You know the media doesn’t follow through on anything longer than a week.”
“That’s not a bad idea Michael.
It might be a good idea for you to lay low for a while as well. Listen, why don’t you take her out to Vegas for a couple weeks. I have a suite at the Palms; you are more than welcome to use it. No one will be looking for you there. Live it up a little. Might be good for the little girl too.”
Michael could hardly believe his ears. Joseph was actually suggesting he take Vivie to Las Vegas….could this be any more perfect? He and Vivie could leave for Las Vegas tonight, with Joseph’s blessing, get married with as little fuss as possible, and spend the next couple of weeks, absorbing all the pleasure that Vegas has to offer; all on Joseph’s dime. What a wedding present. Too bad Joseph did not know what a gift he had given them.
“That sounds great Joseph, thank you. We can be ready to leave in a couple hours. I’ll tell Vivian I want to take her on a little holiday.”
“That will give us time to get her mother and the rest of her family relocated too, Lucky. By the way, I’m going to take care of the expenses for the old man.”
“Joseph, I had already intended on doing that.”
“Yeah, I kind of figured you were. I do not want you anywhere near this thing Lucky. The Westies get even a whiff of you, and it may be all they need, you got me?”
“Yeah, got it.”
“Okay, then, go pack and get your ass out of town. Do not call me when you get there. I’ll contact you when it’s safe to come back.”
“Thanks again, Joseph.”
“No problem, Lucky. I have got it taken care of on this end. You go, have a good time.”
Michael hung up the telephone and opened the bedroom door. Vivie’s bedroom door was open, and Michael could see all the clothing that she owned scattered across the top of the bed. Vivie was on her hands and knees, peering under the bed, as Michael walked in.
“Vivie darlin, now is an odd time to be praying.”
“Michael, I’m not praying, I’m looking for my shoes.”
“They’re on your feet, darlin.
“No Michael, I’m looking for all of my shoes.”
“Vivie….good God…don’t tell me you’re taking every pair of shoes you own, with you to Las Vegas?”
“Michael, I need my shoes, I won’t know what pair I’ll need, until I decide on what dress I’ll be wearing.”
“Very well, Vivie, I know there’s no need to argue with you, but we do need to get packed. I called the airport and our plane leaves in two hours.”
“Two hours? Michael, I’ll never be ready in two hours.”
“You will, if you’re going to catch that plane, Vivie.”
“It’s easy for men, all they need is a pair of pants, a pair of under shorts, a pair of socks and a shirt and they’re all set.”
“The under shorts are optional, Vivie. Now hurry, and get packed.”
Michael gave Vivie a quick peck on the cheek and left the bedroom.
Michael and Vivie did get to the airport in time to make their flight. Despite the fact Vivie had never flown before, she was relatively at ease, her hand intertwined with Michaels, waiting for the plane to take off. Soon the plane was in the air and they were on their way to Las Vegas, and a new life, a married life. Vivie closed her eyes, thinking about what her wedding day would be like, wishing her mother and father could be there with her. Michael closed his eyes as well; only Michael’s thoughts were back in Hell’s Kitchen with Tommy and his crew and Vivie’s family, or what is left of them. The quicker Joseph can get her family relocated, the better. If Tommy would take out Patrick Clancy to flush him out, what else would he do?
The funeral of Patrick Fergus Clancy went as planned. His body was taken from Moran’s Funeral Parlor to St. Peter’s Catholic Church for the funeral; he was then laid to rest in the church cemetery. Mary Clancy was in anguish. Not only had she lost her husband in such a brutal, tragic, manner, but she had no way of notifying Vivie that her beloved father had been murdered in the street. Mary had convinced herself that if only Vivie could have been there, had she not ran off and gotten married, her father would still be alive. Mary was filled with anger, bitterness, and resentment. Most of it was for the man, or men who killed her husband. Some if was for her daughter, Vivian.
Just a few blocks away, Tommy, Shane and Ryan sat at Tommy’s table in the back room of Molly O’Hanlon’s. Ryan was ready to celebrate his successful hit. Tommy was not quite in the mood for a celebration.
“What say you, Tommy, did I do a damn fine job or did I not?” Ryan hoisted his glass toward Tommy and Shane, waiting for them to return the gesture on his behalf.
“What say I, Ryan? I say you’re damn lucky. Lucky that you didn’t shoot your mother fucking leg off, when you pulled that Luger up to the window, like you did. Who the fuck, told you to drive up by the old bastard, and fire at him, from the car window?”
“But, Tommy, I was dead on balls on target. Right between the eyes, I was. I couldn’t have gotten a better shot had I walked up beside him on the street.”
“Well, you may as well have walked up on the street, as sloppy as this hit was. Do you know many fucking witnesses saw you pop that old man, you fucking retard? How high were you that morning, Ryan? How much of my dope, had you stuffed up your nose, before you went out to do an important job…..a job I trusted you to do?”
Ryan, dropped his head, and then looked over to the other side of the room, avoiding eye contact with Shane. Ryan and Shame had always vied for top man in Tommy‘s crew, top man in Tommy’s eyes. The embarrassment of Tommy‘s chastisement was more than Ryan could deal with at that moment.
“That’s what I thought. Stupid fuck. And here you are, wanting me to tell you what a grand job you did. Bull fucking shit.” And you, Shane, if you hadn’t got yourself fucked up, I could have had you take care of this. But there you are, sitting in that fucking chair, rolling around like you think you’re in a fucking little red wagon. Having a good time, are you Shane? You like being in that chair, do ya?”
“No, I don’t like being in this fucking chair, Tommy. What the hell’s wrong with you, Tommy? Why you talking to us like this? We don’t need to hear this shit. We do the best we can for you.”
Tommy jumped up from the table, knocking over the chair he was sitting in, ran around to the back of Shane’s wheelchair and grabbed it, nearly turning it over backward.
“The best you can?
You let some fucking hit man blow your legs off and at the same time, tell him exactly, where he can find me. I should kill you myself for being such a fucking rat. And then we have Ryan over there that has to stay so fucked up on coke that he can’t carry off a simple hit on an old bastard who can barely walk, without the whole fucking city seeing him do it. You and Ryan couldn‘t find a whore‘s twat if I didn‘t spread her legs apart for you. I should dump your crippled ass out the window, Shane. What good are you to me now, anyway?”
Tommy released Shane’s wheelchair, giving it a shove toward the wall of the backroom. Ryan was standing in the corner of the room, half frozen in fear. He had seen Tommy when he was in this mood. He knew it would only take one word from himself or Shane to push him over the edge and Shane would, in fact, go straight out the window.
“In case you little pricks didn’t notice, this ain’t exactly the time for a fucking celebration. The guy we’re looking for didn’t show up at the funeral today. And neither did Vivian. Something’s not right. Why would Vivian not come to her father’s funeral? This guy, he’s out there somewhere, just waiting, waiting for us to let our guard down. He said he’s coming after us, for what we did to Vivian. I think we can believe he will keep his word.”
Shane and Ryan had never seen Tommy so disturbed. Tommy was always so damn cocky, always bragging about his accomplishments, about his standing with the Westies. Tommy wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody. Tonight they were seeing a different Tommy Flannery. Tommy was worried, and rightly so.
“I want both your asses out on the streets, Shane, roll your ass up and down the streets; find out what you can about the funeral today. See if anyone heard anything about Vivian, where she was, why she wasn’t here. Ryan, keep trying to find out about this Michael, or whatever the fuck his name is. I haven’t given up totally on the family idea. Vivian has a sister about 14. We may have to snatch the sister.”
“You gonna rape her like you did Vivian, Tommy?” Ryan was a little uneasy about Tommy wanting to kidnap Vivie’s sister. After witnessing the attack on Vivie, Ryan did not want to see the same thing happen to a 14-year-old girl.
“Well now that will be my decision, won’t it Ryan?
But for now, the answer is no, not yet anyway. For now, we’ll just snatch her, hold her until Vivie comes home to get her. I’ll have to think about that plan, think it through. I don’t want a repeat of the Papa plan. For now, do as I told you, get out on the streets and bring me some information.”
Ryan and Shane left Molly’s and Tommy sat back down at the table.
Tommy was getting to the place where he was fearful of leaving Molly O’Hanlon’s. He knew he was safe at Molly’s, it was his refuge. No one came into Molly’s that he did not know. If a stranger did come in, he was the first to know it. He also knew if he stepped outside, Michael could be waiting for him.
Uptown, Joseph had called in a couple of his boys, Jimmy “Two Fingers“ Costellano and Joey “Baby Joe“ Portifillo. He promised Lucky he would wait until after the funeral before relocating Vivie’s family. Technically, it is, after the funeral. The quicker they get this family moved the better. Hopefully, Lucky can reunite the girl with her family when he gets back into town with her. Life could then, once again, get back to business as usual.
“I’ve got this Irish family up in the Kitchen that needs to be relocated. You guys heard about the hit on the old Irish guy, right?”
“Yeah, is this his family, Joseph?” Baby Joe had heard about the hit from a guy he had grown up with, who still lived in the Kitchen.
“This would be his family. Now, I’m thinking, this hit had to be ordered by the Westies. We need to get that family out of the Kitchen as soon as possible. Those dirty micks might do anything and that includes going after the kids or, God forbid, the mother. Who knows the reason the old man was hit. A friend of the family asked for our help, as a personal favor you might say, to get this family relocated. Either of you have any ideas where to relocate them to?”
Jimmy Two Fingers was the first to speak up.
“What about West Virginia? There are so many damn mountains and valleys, roads going this way and that, nobody would find them there. There are coal mines in West Virginia too. All kinds of little mining towns; little places, not even on the map.”
“How do you know so much about West Virginia, Jimmy?”
Joseph was curious how Jimmy would have such extensive knowledge, about a small state, such as West Virginia, a state so far from New York.
“Do you remember about 15 years ago, that bad business with Chucky Molinaro?”
“Yeah, I remember, that. Chucky took off, nobody ever did find him. Don‘t tell me he‘s alive and well and living in the hills of West Virginia?”
“Well, you’re half right. Nobody ever did find him. That’s because he’s buried in the hills of West Virginia, in a little place called Mingo County. That’s where they had that big fight with the miners and the Baldwin-Felts detectives, remember? A lot of people died? Lots of history down in West Virginia, boss. A lot of our history too.”