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The Missing Mobsters
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Steve Adams
Steve Adams

Apr-10-2009 07:25

I couldn’t sleep. Memories of Jenny kept probing in my mind. I thought she was the one, beautiful, smart and most important she challenged me. So many of the broads out there just rolled over, but not Jenny, she would let you know how she felt and she would tell you when you were making a complete donkey of yourself. Man, I loved that. Heck, just two weeks ago I had even taken her to meet my old man, but when I came back from work today she was gone. No goodbye, no nothing.

I kept playing it over in my head. It didn’t make sense. What had I done? I know things had been tough lately. We weren’t exactly living in the towers, but Jenny knew going in that starting a detective company in this city was going to take some guts, and some hungry nights. She was okay with it, she even said she welcomed the chance to show the world how great I was. Well, I guess a girl can say a lot of things when the dream seems possible, but after three months we had only seen one case, a missing husband, John Jacobs, who turned out to be some mobsters lackey. Not exactly high priority and not something we wanted to get too involved in. The mob in this town was getting out of control. Benny Provenzo was no small potato. He came from Italy with money and smarts and he was changing the streets, in a bad way.

After another hour of tossing around the sheets, I jumped out of bed and threw on some clothes and hit the streets. I knew I wasn’t sleeping tonight thanks to Jenny, so I thought I would listen to the sounds of the city. There’s no place like the city at night. Lights, sounds, steam everywhere, it gives the impression that its alive and not too happy that you are!


Steve Adams
Steve Adams

Apr-10-2009 07:26

I started towards The Block, a section of town that never seems to be asleep and a place Jenny and I used to try to dig up jobs, when I noticed a man a few steps behind me. At first I took him as just another late night wanderer, but as his pace quicken to gain on mine, I knew I was in trouble. I turned down an alley on my right intending to make a quick run. I may be a detective, but that doesn’t mean I like to get my knuckles roughed up. Whenever the chance to escape without violence presents itself I take the easy road! Unfortunately, turning down the alley was a wrong move. I was greeted by four more thugs and before I could even get a shove in, I took a blow to the head and was out.

I woke up in a dark, smoky room. My skull reminded me that I was in trouble. The pounding was like two prize fighters sharing blows in my brain. I looked around and realized I wasn’t just in trouble. I was in dead trouble. Around the room sat Big Agne Licavoli, Fat Tony, Carmine Palledio, “Angry” Jimmy Galant, Louie “The Nose”, and sitting in the middle with smoke licking his body like some demon rising from the depths.

Steve Adams
Steve Adams

Apr-10-2009 07:26

“Hello Mr. Adams. I apologize for not inviting you in a more…professional manner, but I couldn’t risk it. I have no doubt as you look around this room that you know some of these faces. We seem to find ourselves in print for various reasons often enough. I can even take an educated guess that you have some preconceived notions that you are in danger. Let me assure you that is not the case. We are actually hoping you can help us.”

“I am sorry Mr. Provenzo, but I don’t work on that side of the tracks,” I said hoping I sounded tougher than I felt.

“I understand Mr. Adams and I appreciate that. I am not asking you to take arms with us, I am only going to make a proposition that you do your civic duty and bring a killer to justice. I will pay you of course.”

“What killer are you talking about?”

“Now that is a question. I wish I knew. Each of us here have lost no fewer than 3 associates in the past three months. Some are just missing, but most have been found floating in the river.”

“Sounds like someone is taking out the trash,” as soon as I said it I knew it was a mistake. What was I thinking talking like this to a man like this! Fat Tony took a spit at my face and “Angry” Jimmy took a swing at my gut. I understood why they called him Angry.

“Mr. Adams, talk like that won’t get you far in a world like this, but I understand your point and that is why you haven’t read about this in the papers. We all weep when a steel worker falls down the stairs, but when a worker… of a different kind…is sliced open and thrown in the river…well, that’s a different story. And we also realize that because of the victims the police aren’t exactly jumping to find the killer. That’s where you come in. In fact, you have already been starting the search and that’s why you have been chosen. John Jacobs, the missing husband you were searching for.”

“I understand, but I am sorry I am not your man.”

“I thought you might say that Mr. Adams. So I took the liberty of inviting Jenny here as well.”

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Apr-11-2009 03:08

“Tell me again, Mr. Mayor, why I am here?” I said in disbelieve. “You cannot be serious.”

“I assure you, when it is done. You will be profusely rewarded--“

“But that’s not the point--“

“There is no other point.” The mayor thumped his fist on the table, and then softened his demeanor by leaning back, knowing he had gone a bit too far, “Mr. Zeo. Either you are in, or you are gone. You know the reach of our … association. We can revoke your detective license right away. Your agency will close down by the flick of a pen. Take this as doing some good for the city.”

I looked down at my shoes. Do I have a choice? But that had never been my scope of work. Why did they want to heir me to do this? There are more then enough ‘capable’ people out there. I am sure I was not the only one. I had a feeling there was a bigger scheme behind this, but the true was beyond my reach.

The mayor took my silence as an anonymous yes. “When you return to you agency, you will find a brown paper bag in your safe.” The mayor smiled, I gave him a defiant look. “Don’t worry, we wouldn’t touch any of your precious collections. The package contains everything you’d need, including a 50% deposit.”

I was ‘escorted’ out as soon as the mayor finished with what he had to say. I lit a cigarette and exhaled a whiff of smoke into the night air. Why me? The question still lingered. I decided to visit Shady at Ritz. He may be the only one who knows what’s really going on underneath.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:36

*same night - ‘The Straight Eight’ pool hall downtown*

I’ve never been much of a religious man, but if there was one thing I ever treated as a religion was poker night down at the pool hall. Every Wednesday I and three other chumps would gather up in the old whiskey cellar down in the basement for a game. The stench of booze in walls would make a weaker soul lose focus just by stepping inside, but it didn’t bother us. The prohibition wasn’t reaching us down there, so as long as we could play and drink it was all just fine.

So there I was that night, as usual along with the Snyder brothers and Whispers. Also as usual…I was losing.

We were all muscles for the local parlors and for…well, anyone who would need to hire us for this kind of services. Tom and Russell Snyder were a couple of old friends I grew up with. They were brothers by name, yet they didn’t look anything alike. I always considered this lack of resemblance as an occupational hazard of their mother’s, considering the kind of ‘services’ she was providing in her youth.

Tom was tall and slim, eyes back in the bottom of his head, looking as if he hasn’t had the chance of getting a good sleep in years. He looked nothing like your regular muscle, but he was darn good with a knife.

Russell on the other had was short and heavy…well, I don’t think there is an actual word to describe his shape, so let’s say he was more wide than he was tall. Russell was a rabid dog when it came down to crushing bones: no matter how hard you’d hit him he kept on coming back again and again until he finally made his point.

I’m not sure which of the two was the smart one, but I’m guessing…none.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:37

Well, anyway…moving down to the third character at the table, I couldn’t say much about Whispers. Never even knew his full name. He just appeared one day from out of nowhere and made himself a reputation as a rough guy around the city. He had a funny voice…sounded somehow like the hissing of a snake, reason I guess for the funny name. There was also a story behind that name, about how some goons tortured and cut him up like a pig, but he managed to survive and butcher them all. I didn’t know how true it was, yet it was ‘somehow’ sustained by some nasty scars on his face and neck. That, put together with the size of a freaking ape, a sadistic grin and a mad man’s sparkle in his eyes made him a horror character. In fewer words…Whispers was scaring the crap out of me.

2 hours past midnight…

“I’m cleaned…” I concluded tossing my cards on the table and pouring myself another shot.

“Damn…I’m out too” Tom followed my example.

Russell leaned back into his chair and posed the largest smile looking at Whispers. “I see…now this leaves only two of us, big guy…and if I’m not mistakin’ you’re out of dough. Guess that makes me ‘the man’, now ain’t it?”

“Not so fast, fatty…” Whispers hissed. “I still got this!” He reached into his jacket and threw a golden pocket watch right in the middle of the table.”

“Now that’s a real beauty!” Russell’s eyes sparked as he picked it up. “I have to say, big guy, it’s gonna’ be a pleasure to take this off your hands.” He raised his hand and dropped the cards in front of Whispers. “Straight flush! Now that’s what I call poker!”

“Damn!” Whispers got up with a defeated gesture. “This luck must come from rubbing the ass of that fat wife of yours!” He stretched his bones and started walking through the room.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:38

Russell just laughed and grabbed the watch to check it. “I hope it’s real gold, big guy, or else you’re gonna owe me, my wife and her ass’s!” He lifted the cover and discovered there was a small inscription. “Franco Chiappetta…” he read it out loud. “That sounds familiar…hmm…ain’t that Frankie ‘Teeth’?”

“As a matter of fact, it is…” I replied, suddenly alerted at the sound of the name. “Didn’t the cops fish’im up this mornin’ down at the docks? I think it was in the papers.”

“Actually…they did” answered Russell, lifting his eyes up to Whispers. “Hey, ‘hissey’ how come you got his watch? Where did you get it from?”

The big guy gave him a ‘let it go’ gesture. “Got it as payment from ol’ Homer on a ‘collecting’ job this mornin’. He didn’t have cash so I took whatever I found. What…you don’t like wearing a dead man’s watch? Give it back.”

“You’d wish! Nah…I’ll hang onto it.” Russell stiffed the watch in his pocket. “One thing bothers me though…whadda’ hell was old Homer doin’ with Chiappetta’s watch?”

“Who cares?” replied Whispers taking a seat back at the table and filling his glass.

“Well…” Tom butt in with a thoughtful look. “’Teeth’ ain’t the only one found floating in the river lately. I heard quite a bunch of ‘goombahs’ have been takin’ swims lately…or gone missin’. All Provenzo’s soldiers…”

“Well…” I replied upon taking another sip “…maybe someone’s tryin’ to send’im a message. After all, it ain’t like he came here walkin’ on a red carpet and he did manage to step on everyone’s toes up to now.”

“So? Someone’s been wastin’ a bunch of ‘wise guys’. Whadda’ hell do we care?...Hmmm…think I got a fly in my whiskey…” Whispers stuck his finger inside his glass and pulled the poor insect out. “I wonder if it’s dead or drunk…” said him raising it in front of his eyes.

“That may be…” continued Tom still looking thoughtfull.

“Which one? You think s

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:39

“Which one? You think she’s drunk?”

“I’m talkin’ about the dead ‘grease balls’, Whispers!”

“Oh, that…hmmm…it ain’t movin’…I think it’s dead.” He threw the fly in the ashtray and started burning it with the tip of his cigar. “So what about the ‘goombahs’? You think it’s a payback on Provenzo?”

“Maybe…but I heard a strange story…”

Tom marked his words with a moment of silence.

“Well?” burst Russell after a couple of moments. “You gonna’ share it with us tonight or we gonna’ have to use some persuasion methods on your ass?”

Tom took a sip out of his glass and made a short grimace of disgust. “This booze is startin’ to get nasty. Where did you get it, Russell?”

“Forget the booze. You think you can do better? Next time you buy. Now go on with that story. Whadda’ hell did you hear?”

“Well…” Tom leaned a bit over the table posing a somehow secretive attitude. “You know that little gamblin’ parlor behind the bakery on 34th?”

“What’s that got to do with anythin’?”

“Louie ‘The Bookie’s doin’ his business down there.”


“So…remember the train heist about a year an’ a half ago? They say it was carryin’ tons of greens! ”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“Well, Louie says a bunch of ‘wise guys’ did it.”

“’Wise guys’ as in…Provenzo’s guys?”

“Nah, he says Remy ‘Slugs’ was behind it.”

“Oh c’mon…Louie’s full of crap!” Russell exclaimed in dismay. “You ain’t got nothin’ in that ugly skull of yours if you’re listenin’ to him! ‘Slugs’s been dead for over a year now. He was the first one Provenzo took down when he came.”

“Maybe he was…maybe he wasn’t. They never did actually find his stiff.” Tom raised a finger and tapped his temple.

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:40

“So what if it was ‘Slugs’?” I asked with a slight shade of curiosity. “What’s that got to do with the killings?”

“Well…Louie says he used some of his ol’ soldiers, now Provenzo’s goons. Word on the street is he’s started to cut’em off the jackpot and also he wanna’ make sure no one knows it was him. If Provenzo would find out he’s still alive he’d have’im buried in a hole alive!”

“That doesn’t really add up, Tommy…” I said slowly shaking my head. “I’ve never heard anythin’ about ‘Slugs’ since he went missin’ and that train job was…outta’ his league, I’d say. And why would he stick around for so long? If that train was so full of cash, I’d be on a sunny island by now. It’s been a long time, you know…”

“Well…Louie says Dickey ‘The Lawyer’ was in on it too. At the time they gave him the money to hide them so that the cops won’t find’em. Apparently he hid them somewhere in the desert, made a map and spread the pieces amongst all of the robbers, so that none of them would be able to pick’em up alone.”

“That’s…kind of a stupid thing to do. I remember Dickey got gunned down in the street about a month from the heist.”

“Well…” Tom concluded “…now ‘Slugs’ is back and gathering all pieces.”

I shook my head again in disbelief. “This story’s sued up with thin wires, Tom. You got a dead ‘goombah’, a pile of cash that wasn’t found and a bunch of other dead ‘goombahs’. Not even a kid would believe it.” I stood up and put my hat on. “Now I don’t know about ya’ all, but I’m beat and Tom’s drunken ramblings kinda’ made me sleepy, so I’m off. Yo, Whispers, could you give me a ride, mate? My car’s down at the shop.”

“Yeah, I’m kinda’ worn off myself too. “ Whispers got up and grabbed his trench coat. “See ya’ next Wednesday, fellows!”

“You got old, guys” Russell went off in disappointment. “Well…whadda’ hell…I guess this means more booze for the Snyders. See ya’ around, ol’timers!”

Joey "Bulldog" Bane
Washed Up Punter

Apr-12-2009 07:42

With this we left.

A couple of minutes later, in the car…

“Hey, Joey…I’m thinkin’…” Whispers started.

“You ain’t neva’ been much of a thinker, big guy and I doubt you grew a brain while I wasn’t lookin’” I replied leaning back in my seat.

“Well, if you don’t wanna’ hear it…”

“Oh, whadda’ hell…spit it out. I’m in danger of fallin’ asleep over here anyway.”

“I’m thinkin’…what if Tom’s story is true? That would mean somewhere in that desert there’s a lot of cash stashed out.”

“Now I know you ain’t thinkin’, Whispers. You hit your head when you were little and kept believin’ fairy tales, mate?”

I looked at him and noticed the disappointment into his eyes. He actually was looking like a child whose father wouldn’t buy him the toy he wanted. I figured it wouldn’t cost me anything to give him a brake.

“And what if it was true, big guy? What would you do about it?”

A light of joy suddenly sparkled in his eyes. “I’d visit Homer. If he’s got that watch, he should know somethin’ ‘bout what happened to Chiappetta. You think we could do this, Joey?”

“You mean go to Homer’s? Now? It’s past two in the mornin’ for Heaven sake?”

“Well…it means we got a chance to find him home, ain’t we?”

I sighed exhausted. “Ok, big guy, I’ll humor you. Just drive and le’me catch a short nap in the meantime.”

The car went off as I was pulling my hat over my eyes.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Apr-12-2009 21:19

The Ritz is a small but swanky hang out hidden at the basement of the Carlton Hotel downtown. Prohibition may last forever, but it didn't stop anyone from drinking. In truth, I'd say that it actually heightened people's thirst for the booze. Ricky at the 'soda' bar handed me my regular doze of Vodka in an opaque bottle, and I turned my attention to the darker corner at the back.

Shady noticed my presence right away. "Hey Gumshoe, got another 'dirty laundry' you need cleanin'?" Shady asked with a ghost of a smile.

"Not this time." I looked around the joint to make sure no one was eaves dropping. "I just needed some information on a name."

"Go on."

"Remington Barkley."

"He's dead."

I smiled, "I can find out about THAT from the archive, buddy," and took a gulp of my Vodka. "The drive by shooting 14 months ago by the dock. No one ever pointed a finger but we all knew it was Provenzo's grand entrance to this part of town." I lit a cigarette and offered Shady one, "but Remy's body was never found..."

Shady declined my cigarette and gave me that ghost of a smile again which never touched his eyes. He paused for a second; I could hear his brain churning away with calculation. Finally he gave me a figure.

"Ouch. That's steep." I cringed.

"Ya know my price, and it's always worth it."

I looked into my wallet, that's all i've got on me, and I always carried extra cash. That 50% deposit better be in my safe by now. Grudgingly I slid over the greens under the table.

"Always a pleasure doing business with you."

"Spit it out." I barked.

Shady lowered his voice. "Remy really was dead." I was about to slap him in the face, Shady or not, but he continued, "He had a protege, who took after his title, but no one had ever seen him..."

So, I was looking for a new 'Slugs', with an invisible face. "How the hell I am going to find him?" I muttered under my breath.

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