Chapter 9

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

The police returned to interrogate Miss Day, Miss Pamela and others present in the café regarding the shooting. Miss Day wanted to tell the police about Powell carrying a gun but was signaled by Pamela to hold her tongue. This greatly intrigued Miss Day who sensed that perhaps her friend and Powell had shared a past.       

The officers asked a few victims to accompany them to the station to press charges. Miss Day enthusiastically signed up, while Powell chose to stay back in the café.

Pamela too decided to stay back to shut shop. The café was practically empty now except for Powell.      

“Why did Stefano order you to kill so many innocent people? You could have just shot me and I would have taken his secret to the grave,” Pamela shrieked after ensuring they were alone.  

“He had an ulterior motive for that. The Boss wanted to create a scare and shut down this café. He wants to buy over this place to expand his distillery. He told me he wanted you dead anyhow. What’s the story?” Powell asked.

Pamela closed her eyes momentarily and recounted her sordid saga:

She was just twenty when she fell in love with a mafioso named Stefano, a.k.a. ‘The Boss’. He owned a popular pizzeria in a nearby town where she waitressed. Though married and much older than her, he had money, fancy cars and power – everything a small town girl like her fancied. He showered her with lavish gifts and passionate sweet nothings. Her Cinderella moment came when he proposed that she move in with him. Completely awed, she agreed.    

The distillery next door belonged to Stefano where he brewed cheap whiskey. One fateful day, some revelers died after drinking the spurious liquor. Stefano was arrested. In a secret plea bargain with the police, he agreed to disclose the names of other mafia bosses in return for his freedom. Few days after his release, he confided in Pamela about the plea arrangement. He feared being hunted down by other gangs.

Over time the other mobsters got a whiff of his betrayal, prompting several attempts on his life. Fed up of hiding and running for her life, Pamela escaped Stefano’s clutches to start life afresh with a new appearance and identity. But she knew that an enraged Stefano would somehow track her and others down.        

“He hired you to kill us so as to keep himself alive,” Pamela said ending her tale.

As an afterthought she added,

“Was the young shooter sent by Stefano because you failed at your job?”  

‘No. He was here to make a quick buck,” Powell replied.

“How do you know that?”

“Because he is my son.” Powell’s voice broke.   

 “But he didn’t recognize you.”

“He doesn’t know I am his father.”

Pamela stood in stunned silence.   

“A young life wasted,” she sighed.

Realizing what this might mean to Powell, Pamela quickly added,

“Go. Save him from damnation! Tell him who you are before it’s too late.”  

Comments

Wow! Such a lot of story and detail that ties things up. Not sure I would have put so much in but everything is well explained. Good use of single line dialogue at the end to reveal a secret and leave the last writer several choices. Exciting chapter, Hemali.