“Are you going to kill me?”
The staff at the Sicilian has been sent home early by the mobsters. If they were smart they might have called the cops but these people were way too scared to get involved in that kind of way. They had to think it was suspicious but no one was going to do anything. Everyone was terrified of Leo Crazy Fontana. Everyone had a right to be. This was a man who killed his own wife, not for having an affair but for attempting to leave him.
No one left the Mafia.
Danny, Patricia and I are lined up. The gangsters have their guns out but they don’t point. I’m upset. I’m so upset that I don’t know how to react about anything.
“Pops maybe we should think about this---“ Nicky Fontana tells his father.
“Shut up,” is his father’s response.
Leo Fontana looks at me. He’s itching to do something. He wants to shoot me. It’s as clear as day. The other gangsters are just looking at him.
“We won’t say anything,” Patricia promises.
I just want Patricia to shut up. She isn’t making this any better. She seems to annoy Nicky to the point that he lifts his gun. The thought probably wasn’t even in his head.
“That’s what people say before they say something,” Nuts Fontana explains, probably using his crazy logic and holding his twitching trigger finger, “So right now I’m thinking there’s no reason that we shouldn’t kill you.”
“Wait…” Kairo explains.
I can’t stand looking at Kairo. I trusted him. I dated this guy for years. Sure we broke up but this was someone that I shared something special with for such a long time. I can’t believe this fucking man was a mobster associate who ended up killing my father. I’ve never hated someone so much in my life as I look over at him.
He avoids my eye contact the entire time. He isn’t looking back at me. He would have never told me what happened. I would have never found out either way.
Nuts looks over at Kairo, “What is it?”
It’s funny how he doesn’t listen to his own son but he stops to listen to the lawyer.
“If you kill Regis now the Sicilian will go to the state,” Kairo warns Leo Fontana, “How about we have him sign over the restaurant---“
“And then kill him?” Danny says.
Danny’s punched in the stomach by one of Leo’s goons for speaking out of place.
“No,” Nuts Fontana says, “Regis. Cornbread. You sign over the Sicilian to me and I let you and your friends walk out of here.”
“Just leave?” I ask, “With nothing?”
“I’ll throw in 200 thousand.”
“This restaurant is worth more 800 thousand,” Patricia states.
“I gave you my offer,” Leo Fontana says.
He’s a bully. He’s threatening us. He wants me to sell my restaurant to him for a fraction of the cost. I guess what these wise guys did. They came to these small businesses and they threatened the owners to get what they want. That’s how they made their money.
It was only a matter of time before this was happening to me.
Kairo looks over at me, “Cornbread…take it.”
Kairo has the nerve to walk over to me and try to grab my hand. I pull back so hard that bump into the wall behind me.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” I say.
This causes laughter from the mobsters. They must be entertained by this little gay drama that they caused. Leo Fontana just thinks he’s the man when he’s standing there with this smirk on his face.
“So do we have a deal?”
“You’ll just let me walk out of here?”
I’m not believing him. That sounds a little odd.
“No he won’t,” Danny argues.
One of Leo’s guys pummel Danny. I look over at Danny. He’s on the ground. He’s splitting up blood. He shakes his head ‘no’ to me and because of it he’s stomped out a couple times. I hate seeing my friend in so much pain. I watch as a couple of Leo’s guys are taking turns on him as though forcing me to make a decision.
“You going to accept my offer?” Leo Fontana says.
“I have no choice,” I respond.
He wanted the Sicilian. He wanted to own it. If this was the only way to get away from this man and this city then I needed to do that. This wasn’t my lifestyle. I wanted something exciting and now I got way more than I needed.
“I have a private office over on Forest Ave. Regis Sr. had me take care of the past ownership transfer. I still have the deed,” Kairo explains, “I can go ahead and have some papers drafted for an outright sale,” Kairo explains.
“Fine go…” Leo Fontana says, “I’ll wait here with these three.”
“I need Cornbread with me,” Kairo explains.
Leo Fontana gives him a suspicious eye. He’s suspicious of everyone. This doesn’t surprise me.
“Fuck outta here. He stays.
Kairo explains, “What? You don’t trust me? Since I’ve been in Staten Island I’ve been working with you. Now you don’t trust me? I need him to fill out the right paperwork on the sale papers.”
“Fine take him.”
“My friends too,” I state.
“No. They stay here to ensure that you come back to sign off on the sale of the Sicilian,” Fontana tells me, “And you better come back in one hour.”
“I’ll need more time to draft these papers,” Kairo explains.
Fontana nods, “Fine. 3 hours… Or else I’ll kill them.”
Kairo and I arrive at the office. Kairo hasn’t said anything. He’s embarrassed for getting caught. I am so pissed that I’m shaking. I just want to get this over with.
“You not speaking to me?” he asks.
I can’t believe him. I look away. I’m so pissed that my heart is racing and I feel a little faint. Patricia and Danny are being held hostage in my own restaurant.
“Let’s just get this over with,” I explain.
Kairo’s office is in the middle of a usually busy street in Staten Island. It’s night time though. All the businesses have closed. Kairo is still staring at me as though wanting to say something.
Kairo drafts out the paperwork. He takes the old deed. I’m waiting silently. I can see him look back over at me every couple of minutes while he does the work. It doesn’t take him nearly as long as he told Fontana it would take him. I’m not surprised he was being shady. That’s the kind of person that Kairo is. I know something is off when he hands me the paper to review.
“You told Fontana it would take a long time to get this paperwork done,” I say looking at the paper.
“We aren’t going back to Fontana.
I look at Kairo hard.
“Joe Bananas wants to buy the Sicilian. We’ll go sell it to him and get the fuck out of town. We’ll take the money and we’ll get out of here. It’ll be enough to start over somewhere.”
Kairo is serious. He is looking at me with this look of love. This man really thinks I’m dumb enough to forgive for killing my father. He is in my face right now. He’s really in my face as though this is some kind of strange p
I laugh at the idea, “You’re fucking dumb as hell. We won’t even make it to Jersey.”
The mob had eyes all over Staten Island. One call and we’d be dragged back before anyone even noticed. I can’t even look at Kairo right now.
“Listen. This is the perfect plan. Joe Bananas buying the Sicilian is going to start a war,” he explains, “Fontana will be too busy dealing with Bananas to worry about tracking us down. By then we would have disappeared. We’ll be able to start a new life together.”
He hasn’t thought this through.
“You really think I’d abandon my friends---to start over with you?” I ask.
Kairo is still this hopeful loser who is completely out of touch with reality. Now that he killed someone that didn’t change anything. He was still desperate. He was still a fucking loser. He was still annoying as fuck and I still hated being around him.
“Listen I’m sorry this happened. Fontana has a lot of connections in Staten Island. He has connections in high places. Working for him I could be prosecutor in a few years,” Kairo explains, “I was trying to make a better life for us.”
“By killing my father?”
“Weren’t you so bored with me?” Kairo asks me, “Yeah. I put a bomb on your father’s car. I did what the gangster’s do. How many people did Carmine Fontana kill in his lifetime? Do you know? Do you even fucking care…and yet you chose him over me.”
“There is a big difference between Carmine Fontana and you.”
I hit Kairo where it hurts.
“His dick is way bigger.”
Kairo seems to snap. I think it must be the idea that I’m admitting to Kairo I had sex with Carmine. Kairo swings on me at that moment. It’s open handed. He lands the slap dead across my face.
I can hardly take it.
He turns around as though I’m not going to do anything back.
I hit Kairo hard on the back of his head causing him to fall over. The fucking pussy doesn’t expect me to hit him back. He attempts to hold me down but he isn’t anywhere as strong enough. I begin to beat the fuck out of Kairo in his office.
I’m pummeling him in the face. I hit punch him so many times that he starts bleeding all over his office. He’s screaming at that moment and begging for help.
“Please…please!” Kairo is begging me to stop.
I kick Kairo dead in his ribs. Kairo lets out this large squirm when I do it.
“I should beat you death,” I tell him.
I really think about it. Kairo killed my father. This was my chance to get back at him once and for all.
“Please…I’m sorry…” Kairo says.
I hate him but I need him. I need him to get my paperwork back. If I showed up without him it’d look suspicious as fuck. So I needed to do this. I needed to stop.
“Get what the fuck you need,” I tell Kairo, “We’re going back to the Sicilian.”
“Ok. Ok,” Kairo explains, “I give up. I’m sorry.”
“Get what the fuck you need. Hurry up.”
Kairo wipes his bloody nose, “Ok. Let me just wipe my nose. Holy shit.”
I rub on my fists. It hurts and I probably went a little overboard because of one smack but I really do hate Kairo. I turn back to Kairo to see what the fuck is taking him so long but instead of a napkin Kairo has a gun.
Kairo holds the gun at me.
I don’t even put my hands up when Kairo points the gun at me. I’m beyond pissed. He’s such a fucking coward that he went into his dresser and pulled a gun at me.
“I tried to be the man you need. I came here. I dealt with these crazy fucking gangsters to make a better life for us,” Kairo tells me, “You never respected anything I did. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to have to kill you. I’m not dealing with those fucking people anymore. One way or another you are going to sell this restaurant to Joe Bananas…not Nicky Fontana.”
Kairo is desperate. I can see it in his eyes.
“You going to shoot me Kairo?” I ask him.
“Yeah. If you don’t agree to leave with me…I’m going to shoot you.”
“I’d rather die.”
I’ve never been so sure of something in my life.
Kairo shakes his way. His pride is wounded and I’m glad.
“Fine,” he tells me with this pain in his voice, “Suit yourself.”
I close my eyes when I hear a gun shot.
There’s no pain.
I open my eyes again and I haven’t been shot. I haven’t even been shot at. Instead I see the body of Kairo on the ground. Kairo is on the ground covered in his own blood. He’s not moving. He’s dead! I look over at the door and see whose shot Kairo.
Our eyes connect. I’m shocked that Carmine is here. He’s really here and he really has a gun in his hand. He shot Kairo just in time.
I just stare at Carmine as he outstretches his arms. He walks over to me. I can already smell him. I’ve missed him more than words can describe. Carmine approaches me slowly with as much swagger as I could remember. Those dark Italian eyes glaring into my soul with every look. Carmine’s eyes just watch me and for a minute I’m just blown away.
Carmine attempts to wrap his arms around me but I punch him. I punch him so hard that I think I’ve broken my knuckles. I hear the crack against his chin. He doubles back in shock when he feels the pain.
“What the fuck was that for?”
“You left me.”
“I never left Staten Island,” he explains, “I just went into hiding. I’ve always planned on coming back and finding a way to take my father down. I never left you.”
I’m beyond pissed, “All this time your father has been flexing his muscles in Staten Island…you’ve been in hiding? Where the fuck are your balls Carmine?”
“Are you fucking joking me?” Carmine asks, “I’m here to save you right fucking now. You’d be dead if it weren’t for me. I should have ignored Nicky when he called me.”
“Wait…Nicky helped?” I asked.
“Our brother was concerned about my father’s behavior. Everyone is. How do you think I was able to hide for so long? I can’t believe you thought I just left you in Staten Island. I’ve been trying to get the Commission to act but they needed proof. That’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. Fuck you for thinking I left you. I’m far from a coward. I should have let your ex fiancé kidnap you or whatever the fuck he was about to do. Maybe then you would have been happy. I’m getting the fuck out of here. Clearly I’m not needed.”
I’m pissed at Carmine but right now I don’t want to see him walk away.
As he turns and really threatens to leave I stop him.
“I need you.”
I don’t know how I mean it. I don’t know if it’s a personal level or I need something more from him.
Either way, Carmine nods and stays where he is, “Go wait in my car outside. I’ll clean shit up in here…”
Carmine comes back and puts Kairo’s body in his trunk. It’s an awkward ride and I notice that he has some papers that he took from the office.
“What’s all this stuff?” I ask.
“Proof of what?”
That’s when I notice that we aren’t headed to the Sicilian. Carmine has us going across town to another area. I’m getting more suspicious of him. After what happened with Kairo I don’t know if I can trust Carmine or anyone else for that matter.
“Contracts…receipts for explosive parts. This is going to be the proof the Commission needs that my father hired an associate to kill his wife. Kairo also had some documents that tie my father to Big Paulie’s death. I guess he was using Kairo quite often for legal stuff. We’re going to take this stuff to the Commission.”
“Wait…no. Your father has Patricia and Danny.”
“I know that,” he explains.
“So we have to go sell him the Sicilian.”
He rolls his eyes, “That’s not going to work. You go back there and he’s going to kill you. I’m not going to let that happen. We need to have the Commission take out my father.”
I’m beyond pissed at Carmine.
“Carmine I’m not gambling with the lives of my friend and my cousin.”
“Do you trust me?”
“It’s not about that.”
“It’s exactly about that,” Carmine explains to me, “I know I’m this guy from the street. I know that I’m a gangster. I know that I’m not a good person. I know all those things. At the end of the day though I’m telling you that I’m here for you. I could have left Staten Island if I wanted to leave. You know why I stayed?”
Carmine leans over. He slows down and kisses me. His tongue enters my mouth. My heart races. I’ve never felt safe since I came to Staten Island. I came here looking for drama. I came here looking for excitement. Carmine was giving me that danger right now. Carmine was giving me that excitement. There was nothing safe about Carmine.
And maybe that was why I loved every moment of this.
“The most important thing in this lifestyle is loyalty. If you stay loyalty to me I’ll go to the ends of the Earth for you,” Carmine explains, “I’ll help you. One way or the other.”
We head across the bridge into Brooklyn. We stop at a warehouse and Carmine has me wait. It takes almost an hour but all these guys come out with Carmine a little later. They are gangster looking guys. These guys have guns. These guys have weapons. They are piling into cars. There are tons of cars that are following up behind us.
“Did they agree?” I ask Carmine.
“For a price,” Carmine says, “They will help.”
“They want the Sicilian,” Carmine says.
“I’m helping them out. They should want to get back at him for killing Big Paulie!” I explain as Carmine sits in the car.
“Listen. These aren’t guys that you argue with,” Carmine explains, “This is for the best. This isn’t your life. They are willing to give you 2 million for the Sicilian. That should be way more than that place is worth. You trust me?”
“Then take that money and run with it…” Carmine explains.
“What about you?” I ask Carmine.
Carmine doesn’t look at me. He just starts driving. We are driving back to Staten Island across the bridge. Carmine is just thinking. It scares me.
“There is no leaving La Cosa Nostra,” Carmine tells me.
“I’m not leaving without you,” I explain.
“This isn’t your life,” Carmine explains again, “And they won’t let me leave…”
I look out the window.
“Will I ever see you again…after tonight?”
Carmine shakes his head, “No. I’m not going to lie to you again. I’m not going to bullshit with you and go into hiding. We are heading to the Sicilian right now. For all I know I may not even leave out of there alive. After I get you out of this situation, I want you to stay out. This is my life. I was born into this. You weren’t…”
I try to hold back tears. I don’t get any hugs from Carmine. I don’t get any soft words. That’s not the kind of relationship he has with me. He just stares out after delivering the hard news. If I wanted someone to baby me and be gentle with my feelings I would have fallen in love with Kairo.
Carmine is different. He’s going to tell me the truth whether I like it or not. He just stares out on the road. The shit is about to hold go down at the Sicilian and he knows it. He has no time to save my emotions. He has no time to be sweet. The look in Carmine’s eyes is the look of a cold blooded killer. There is a pistol in his hand and an army following us back to the Sicilian.
I came Staten Island for a change.
I ended up finding love…
To read the next chapter go to www.crushedcrown.com