“You Tyrrell?” the bartender asked.
He pointed to the back of the restaurant. “See the guy in the suit.”
I did, in fact, see a tall, thin man in a black suit. Dark-gray hair, slicked back from his forehead and at the temples. Pencil mustache. Carlo Mancini. The guy who had bribed me on behalf of Dominick Senior. The guy who had threatened me when I failed to come through. The guy who had probably arranged for the hit on Maggie and me. It had never occurred to me how much hate I would have for this guy if I saw him again. How much I would want to tear him to pieces with my bare hands. Deep breaths, Tyrrell, deep breaths. Carlo is not the focus of this evening's activities. Yeah, but maybe he could be a bonus . . . ?
As I walked toward him, he smiled widely, “Former Deputy Marshal Jack Tyrrell. What a surprise. I never thought I'd see you here in a million years.” His voice was a high tenor, a little surprising in such a tall man.
“I'd like to see Mr. Gianetti.”
“That's between him and me.”
“Maybe we could settle whatever it is without bothering Mr. Gianetti.”
“Carlo, if you don't take me to see Dominick, I'm going to tear your balls off and shove them down your throat.”
He wasn't fazed. “Brave talk for a drunken bum who got his wife killed.”
I moved so fast it shocked even me. My Ruger was under his chin before he could blink; my left hand cupped his testicles none too gently.
“Would you care to rephrase?” I asked.
“Who the fu―”
“Carlo,” I smiled as I squeezed hard with my left hand. “Care to rephrase?”
He grunted and would have doubled over in pain if my gun under his jaw hadn't prevented that. The restaurant crowd didn't seem to notice us, but two very large men in dark suits with no ties were walking toward us.
“If you think those guys are going to save your nuts, you are sadly mistaken,” I whispered, punctuating my sentence with another hard squeeze of his balls.
He groaned loudly, causing some nearby patrons to look at us.
“I'd stay away from the clams,” I said and shrugged, as I pushed Carlo into the approaching duo. They grabbed him and managed to keep him from falling to the floor.
I slid my gun back into my holster. “Why don't we go see Mr. Gianetti before anyone else gets hurt?”
The big guys hesitated, but Carlo said, “Take this bastard inside. But search him first.”
I put my hands up, but only shoulder high, not over my head, and said, “Maybe this would be less disruptive in Mr. Gianetti's office?”
Carlo nodded and let out a string of curses. The big guys, one as tall as me, the other an inch taller, each grabbed an arm and paraded me into the inner sanctum of Dominick Gianetti Jr. Carlo limped in behind us.
Dominick's office was much more old-school than the restaurant. Wood paneling, plush beige carpeting, leather couches and arm chairs. Not really my taste, but it would have been fine in some WASP's law office. Dominick was also not to my taste, either. Not quite as tall or as thin as Carlo, but Dominick didn't go for the sleazy mustache or the slicked back hair or the black suit from the Goombah Catalog. He effected a nouveau Rat Pack style: well-cut, dark royal-blue sharkskin suit, a white shirt so bright it hurt my eyes, no tie, black loafers with a gold thingy (I had no idea what it was) and no socks. He stepped to a leather swivel chair behind a teak desk with a massive and clean desktop. He sat down and appeared to be posing for a catalog for powerful men.
Two other men, both older, shorted and stouter, sat on a couch to my right, Dominick's left. They looked like what they were: long-time flunkies in the Gianetti family.
Carlo waved at me, and the two guys who had so graciously escorted me into the office, dropped my arms and began to search me, patting me down with no gentleness whatsoever.
“Be real thorough,” Carlo growled. As much as a falsetto can growl.
One of the guys practically smashed my balls with the heel of his hand, which I understood to be a thorough search procedure. I was too manly to indicate the pain I felt, refusing to groan or stoop over in reaction. But I must confess that I hoped I would get a chance to return the thorough “pat” down.
The guy who didn't smash my gonads pulled my Ruger from its holster and laid it on top of Dominick's desk.
“He's clean except for the automatic.”
“Oh my,” I said, “automatic is such a big word for gun. Hope you didn't hurt yourself.”
“I'm gonna guess you didn't come here to swap insults with these guys,”Dominick said. “What do you want?”
I pointed to a chair in front of his desk and asked, “Do you mind if I sit down?”
“No, help yourself.”
As I sat, Dominick waved the big guys away. They took seats on another couch near the older, stouter flunkies.
“The first thing I want―”
“The first thing? You got more than one thing?” Carlo snorted in his high-pitched voice. “This one has brass balls.”
He was standing to my left, a smirk from ear to ear, which curled his pathetic little mustache up at the corners of his mouth.
“If you say so,” I replied to Carlo, then said to Dominick, “The first thing I want to say is that you and I have no unfinished business. What happened, happened. I'm not here to square anything with you; we're all square.”
“Really? Your wife is dead.”
Stay calm, Tyrrell. I paused, long enough to take a breath and exhale slowly. “Your father and I had a dispute. He settled things his way then . . . died. His death settled everything between him and me.” I pointed at Dominick then back at myself, “Between us, there's no ill will.”
“Okay,” he nodded. “I get it. Agreed. Nothing between you and me.” He grinned―it wasn't pretty. “What's your second thing?”
“I want to contact the man who shot my wife.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish