Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

Over the next three years, I loaned the car to Tony regularly. At first, he would tell me his car was getting serviced, or his dad was using his car. In the end, I wasn’t bothered why he needed the car. At fifty bucks a time, who cared? It never occurred to me that I should be loaning the car for free to a friend. Tony was happy to pay.

As my twenty-first birthday was the same month as Tony’s, he decided we should celebrate together on his birthday. His father was paying, and it promised to be a great party. Plenty of ‘made’ guys were going to attend with their wives and girlfriends and all of Tony’s street gang. My mom and dad politely refused an invitation, saying that my dad would be on nights that week. He worked as a supervisor at the power station and couldn’t stand the thought that his colleagues would find out about him drinking with the mob.

Compared to the upcoming party, my own family party was a real dull affair. Mom, dad, aunt Rene, and grandmother Brown sat around the dining room table reminiscing on my life so far and making a big thing about cutting an iced sponge cake decorated with the usual message and a large 21 across the middle. I wasn’t surprised that Tony didn’t arrive. I never expected him. He rarely came to the house and when he did it was to pick me up or drop off the car. Of course, I received handy gifts … a beer mug with my name on it from my parents together with a diary and a gold St Christopher bracelet. Yeah, bloody useless.

It was at Tony’s that day of the party that I was given a chance to have a real job working for Tony’s dad. After several years working in Jerry’s D.I.Y. store for a pee-poor wage, I accepted right away.

“Happy birthday, Joe,” said Tony, winking. “You’ll get five hundred a month. You’ll soon be looking like one of dad’s crew.”

At that point, I knew nothing about the job and was told to see Tony’s dad the following day by ‘Digger,’ a giant of a man in his forties no-one liked to cross. He came from Brooklyn and had a voice that sounded like a rusty file, and a pair of hands as big as shovels. Rumor had it that he was a hitman, but of course, no-one knew for sure. 

The following day, Tony picked me up. He was driving an old Cadillac and certainly looked the part with a pair of Ray-Bans and cool casual outfit. I guess it was that day that I decided what to do with my life, but that decision was after I had seen Tony’s dad who said everything but at the same time, nothing at all.  

“The first thing you gotta know, Joe is that Tony had a special gift for his twenty-first. He’s now a ‘made’ man.”

Comments

This story is going brilliantly. I love the inuendo and the sub-text weaving through it. It's what is happening in the white of the page that is important.