I sat alone at a little café and the mafia boss walked in, “Why are you wearing such nice shoes?” he asked nonchalantly “You won’t be walking anywhere anytime soon unless my notebook is returned”. I looked up at him and pulled out the black notebook “Safe and sound, he’s a kid sir he didn’t mean anything by it.”
He took the notebook back from me and stared hard into my eyes as he took his seat. “He couldn’t even unlock the damn thing” I uttered. He kept staring, silently. Like a chef choosing which lobster to take from the tank for tonight’s meal. I looked down at the table and waited for the storm of judgement to pass.
“If that lock were busted, I wouldn’t hesitate to put a bullet in his head, do you understand me?” He may as well have been ordering coffee from the Blaise tone of his voice.
He let out a deep sigh “But I appreciate that you made the effort to make things right, I heard about what you did. Do you have it?” I nodded and gulped. “Good, put it on the table.” I hesitated, but only for a moment. The café was empty besides us and the old barista, so I took the lumpy bundle from my bag and let it sit on the table. “That fucking stinks, open it and let me see.” By now I could tell that this barista was a pro, he had walked to the front of the store and changed the sign to closed, before walking out the back door with a pack of cigarettes, leaving us to our dirty business.
I unwrapped the bundle and the smell worsened, the boss’s eyes widened and he let out a short chuckle. “You sick fuck, for a moment I thought it would be a cow heart or some shit but you really did it didn’t you? This isn’t some fucking homeless guys hand is it?” I pulled out my phone and showed him video proof.
The video began with two heavily muscled men struggling to pin the arm of a lanky teenager onto the bench out back of a butchers shop. Then, the camera turned to show my face and then back to the boy, struggling and screaming like an animal.
“SHUTUP” My voice roared through the phone speaker, the struggling stopped. “You’ve shamed us, you’ve disrespected every ounce of credibility this family has strived for over generations. You know the price.”
“I know, I know!” he desperately pleaded in the video “I didn’t realize what was in the bag I thought I’d score something I could sell for cash that’s it I swear!”.
“You moron, you knew who you were stealing from! You put our whole family at risk!” I roared back as a steady stream of snot and tears poured from every orifice of his terrified face.
“Please, please don’t do this! Please!” He sobbed as he begged.
I signaled the men to hold him still and the screaming started again.
“For the family.” I said to him as I brought down the cleaver.
It was a good swing, didn’t get caught on the bone at all – the butchers cleaver was as sharp as a diamond. A second chop and the skin and tendons gave way.
“God he’s squealing like a fucking pig isn’t he.” the boss said emotionlessly as he watched.
He smiled as in the video I held up the same hand that sat on the table in front of us.
“Good work, good work. You did the right thing, he won’t steal again.” He said with a light, amused tone, as if he’d just heard a great joke.
“Absolutely had to be done, you’ve brought honor back to the family.” I nodded and sat silently.
“Here, get him one of those fucking plastic hands.” He said and put a money clip on the table.
I nodded and pocketed the cash; it was a heavy roll of 100’s – probably 20 grand.
“I’ll call next week; I’ve got a job for you.” He said as he got up. “Oh, and give your brothers hand to the barista he’ll get rid of it for you.”
He gripped my shoulder and squeezed it for a moment “You’re a good man, you did the honorable thing.” He reassured me.
“Thanks Dad.” I replied.