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The Ride

crime caper by Charles Thiesen

Artie the Angel had had it.

With foolish young soldiers. With their capos who didn’t watch out for them. And with Sally Pesci, The Fish, his feudal lord, droning on about the importance of Omerta, and zipped lips and sinking ships. Artie wanted to be home watching Jeopardy with a bottle of Pickwick Ale and some Cape Cod chips.

Another thing Artie had had it with was killing. Unfortunately, killing was what Sally was talking about.

“We can’t have rats, Artie. Remember what we did to Vinnie? We cut him up. We don’t have to be so baroque with the Katz kid. He isn’t one of us anyway, but whether you’re us or not, you can’t talk. “

“What did he do?’

Sally shook his head. “The kid told stories and now there are consequences. The mayor, the one we own, is being investigated, fachrisake. If you don’t want to do it, give it to one a’ your crew. They’re reliable. Take a vacation, you look tired.”

But Artie didn’t want his crew to get too used to killing. They had to do it sometimes, sure, but they were too young for the nightmares to start, and Artie took care of his crew.

He had Benny Benedetto boost a car and some plates and drive over to the Katz kid’s place with Artie in the back seat, his rusty wire garrote in his back pocket. When they got there, Artie walked over to the kid with his hand in his windbreaker holding a thirty-eight police special, the butt visible in his fist. “Hey, Mouse,” he said. “Get in the car.”

“Artie! Okay! Where we goin’?”

Mouse was named ironically. His excitement could crack the sidewalk. So Artie stood back a little. He motioned with the gun through his pocket. “I’m sorry, kid, I gotta take you for a ride.”

“I get the front seat? Thanks!”

Artie hadn’t believed the stories about how dumb Mouse was. That the kid thought Lost was a reality show. That he’d tried to lay a hundred on Jack Bauer not making it through another twenty-four hours. That he’d asked the mayor’s daughter to go bowling with him.

Now Artie wondered. “Benny, drop us off at my place. I can take care of this myself.”

He took the kid up to his apartment and sat across from him in the living room. “Mouse, did you talk to a police lieutenant name of Sikorsky lately?”

“He wasn’t such a bad guy, Artie.”

“What’d you tell him?”

“Nothin’!”

“You spent a long time in conversation. What’d you talk about?”

“He ain’t a bad guy, Artie. He loves the Sox and hates the Yankees. He took me to a Burger King because he says it’s better than MacDonald’s, even though it was further –“

“What’d you talk about? Besides haute cuisine?

“Oat what?”

“Mouse!”

“He was okay. He knew my business and he didn’t arrest me. He just wanted to know my favorite thing to do.”

“And you told him you loved going along as the muscle when the envelope got delivered to the mayor’s house.”

“It’s a beautiful place. And the mayor’s daughter is really sweet. Mr. Pesci must a’ told you! I already told him the whole story.”

“I know.”

“Aren’t we going for a ride, Artie?”

“Yeah, kid, I’m afraid so, You go downstairs and wait in my car. It’s the green Prius.”

“A Prius! Cool!”

Artie called Sally. “You know that guy, the one about the thing, today?”

“I think so.”

“Well, you know he’s an idiot?”

“I heard stories.”

“No, Sally, he really is an idiot, like low IQ, like very low.”

“Whatever, Artie, you still gotta do what you gotta do. Take some time off when it’s done.”

#

It was a long ride. Made longer by the kid wanting, every ten minutes or so, to know how much further. At one point Artie considered taking him behind the dumpster at the back of a rest area parking lot and getting it over with right there. Instead he said, “Don’t be in such a hurry, kid.”

After four hours they pulled into a diner parking lot.

“Are we –“

“We’re there already! We’re there. We’re meeting a friend of ours. He’s got a job for you.”

Artie slid into a booth across from a guy with a beard. “Mouse, this is Stan.”

“Hi, Stan.”

“Stan, how’d it go with the thing I called you about?”

“It’s all set.”

“Kid,” Artie said, “You’re going with Stan.”

“You’re not coming?”

“Mouse, I got some bad news for you. You did a really bad thing back home without knowing it.”

“What’d I do, Artie?”

Artie sighed. “It doesn’t matter. Mr. Pesci — you know, the boss? — he wants you dead.”

The kid’s pink face lightened to almost as white as paper. A tear started down his cheek. “Artie, I never did nothin’–“

“I know. But you can’t go home.”

“You’re gonna kill me.”

“No.” Artie gently touched the kid’s cheek. “We’re in Canada. In Montreal. If you stay here I don’t have to kill you. Stan will get you a job and a new driver’s license with a new name.”

“Not Katz?”

Artie looked over at Stan. Stan said, “You’re Adam Pesic.”

“Adam. Adam what? I’ll try to remember. It’s a funny name.”

“It’s perfect,” Artie said. Perfect because, as Stan had told him, it belonged to a missing Bosnian who’d made it clear he was intent on destroying America by whatever means necessary. Mouse couldn’t get back to Cabot or anywhere else in the U.S. of A.

“Just remember, Adam, you do so much as email, send a letter, call anybody at home, we’re both dead.”

Artie left the kid with Stan and drove up along the Saint Lawrence. He’d always wanted to see Quebec City and he’d been told to take a vacation.

He’d hate anyone to get the idea he couldn’t follow orders.

Copyright July 2010 by Charles Thiesen

Charles Thiesen lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He earns his daily bread as a journalist and technical writer and salves his soul writing (unpublished) novels and flash fiction. His work has appeared in Roofscape and here at 10Flash.

[Return to the Issue 5: July 2010 stories]

One Response

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