Dead Men Tell No Tales

The garbage tug left the docks towing behind it, a barge filled with the putrid remains of the eastern seaboards trash and debris.  The Manhattan skyline slowly disappeared into the horizon,  as it navigated away from it's shores, en route to it's dumping site, some 100 miles off the shores of New Jersey.  

The missing FBI agent that had been tracking the money wires made by Louis Shepard, Esquire. now lies dead beneath the tons of discarded belongs and rotting food, that's now  headed out-to-sea.  His name is Jose' Manello. A Puerto Rican agent that had been missing from Chicago, Illinois for nearly 2 weeks. When he failed to report back to his office in Chicago, they put it over the wire.  How he ended up in New York City is somewhat of a mystery. Who killed him is not. I did. It seems one of Mr. Shepard's clients, took a visit to the Windy city. Along his travels, he'd caught up with some old friends from Joliet Maximum Security prison. He'd told them about his arrangement with Mr. Shepard and how easy it was to clean-up the money his boy's earned from the streets. But, what Shepard didn't know, was that the cash he took from his client in New York City, was also coming in from the streets of Chicago, Illinois, and when one of his old pals was looking at 10-15 years for a check cashing scam. They cut a deal.  He told the Feds everything he knew about the operation back in the East, in exchange for a reduced sentence.

The agent that lead the investigation was Jose' Manello, age 26. This rookie agent who's charisma and good-looks swagged into the Chicago bureau one Monday morning. He charmed the hell out of his superiors. He wasn't a sycophant, not at all. This guy knew just what to say,  when to say it, and even how to say it!  They knew this guy could go undercover and ask the right questions without raising anyone's suspicions about who he was associated with. He was handed this assignment with the Bureau's blessings. Every good agent knew that these swindlers and con artists played it safe.  No drug deals, arms deals and No murder. These three  golden rules kept these boys out of the big leagues. And, if you wanted to make a name for yourself in the bureau and be immortalized in the pages of history. You didn't bother with these lizards. Manello had taken the assignment because it kept him in the trenches. Mostly, because it kept him sharp as a razor, mentally.  Some of these bad guys never finished high school or even elementary school.  However, that doesn't make these boys any less dangerous. In fact, it makes them an even smarter predator. They follow up on every conspiracy theory on the streets that threatens their empire. They follow-up on any new business opportunity. Their efficient, and their out there! Everyone of them, chasing the same dollar bill.

That's pretty much how everybody in, "The Big Apple." got started. I worked for a bookie when I was just 12 years old. Back in the 70's, it was easy. Nobody cared! Not even the cops. Hell, they even handed me a bet every now and then. They were all in on it. Some days, these boys' made more on their bets with the bookie's, then they brought home in payroll. So, corruption was raging out of control among them. That's when the shake downs, and the pay-offs kicked in. If you wanted to stay out of the klinker. You paid! They knew every courier's face and who they worked for. So, if you wanted to stay alive, you hustled for the top brass.  You showed them that your a good earner, and most of all, that your trust-worthy, and loyal. No matter what!

"Mick the Hired Dick" was the one that shadowed me. I was making the usual rounds in the East side.  I'd just collected from the butcher shop down in Coney Island.  I jumped onto my peddle bike and headed out down the street. I was busy watching the kid's cooling off in the open fire plug, behind me. When someone opened up their car door, sending me flying through their open window. This was no accident! I layed their blooded and brusied.  Then a large man with a beet-red face from drinking too much whiskey and a wrinkled overcoat reached down and grabed my by the collar. He ran his hands around my waist and unhooked the money belt I was wearing.  I fumbled for the pen-knife in my pant's pocket, and stabbed the side of his face, multiple times. Lucky for me, some of employer's thugs were riding by, and happened to see this bull, trying to get free hand-out. The brakes locked-up on their Cadillac, then four men jumped out of the car and began beating that detective with bats and chains. I lost track of all of the blows this Irish bull took before he fell to the ground.  He was alive, but he was beaten down.  I'd never seen anyone take as many hits, as this man did, even the Italian's were astonished by this man's toughness. After they'd finally got this bull to surrender, each one of the kicked at him, then spat on him.  I recognized one of them. He was the one they called, "Joey Bag of Donuts." They called him that because he was always eating donuts, no matter what time it was.  He reached his fat, sticky hand down to me to help me up. "You okay kid?...You should be more careful with your employer's money!...Lucky for you I was in the neighborhood. Didn't you know you were being shadowed?" he asked.  Joey had a strong New York City way of talkin, even his hands floundered around, wildly.  He was what you call, "a made guy." It wasn't easy to become that. You had to be 100% Italian, no exceptions. And, someone had to vouch for you. Someone who was already, "made."  Joey took a shine to me, right away.  He took me under his wing, introduced me to the bigger bosses.

  By time I was eighteen, I was running my own crew out of some Coney Island pool hall.  We high-jacked tractor trailors, didn't matter what they were hauling.  There's a market for everything! I liked to high-jack ice cream trucks alot. Not because there's money in it, but because of a childhood episode, I never got over. I'd pull into a neighborhood park with it, then, I'd tell the kids to eat as much as they wanted.  I remember when I was a kid growing up in Trenton. There was this hippy driver that drove the Good Humor truck down my street. He would always tell me that he would give me a popcicle for free. Me, like a smuck. I believed him. He'd jump back into the truck, then take off down the street, laughing at me. Well, I saw that same guy 10 years later, only now he owned a franchise and ran a fleet of ice cream trucks out of the Bronx.   So, every time I saw one of his trucks, I stole it.  I'd drive it to the nearest park, and yell "Free ice cream" 

Comments

Great start Dana. Certainly hooked me when you revealed that the narrator had done the killing. Now I'm wondering how it will all be developed to reveal why the narrator did it and how.

Title grabbed me straight away and after reading what you have so far, can even imagine the cover.