Author : Garrett Harriman
The dockyard was fragmentary; it reeked of grease and seal. Jetties devoid of craft sprawled like shattered ribcages, and two figures perched atop a decommissioned cruise liner.
This murky scene had backdropped thousands of Proto-Mob outings. Since the advent of TelePersonals and catholic surges in blip vacationing, however, the Carnival Fiesta’d graduated to a decaying national monument.
Its hulking obsolescence also dutifully cloaked a Neo-Mob proving ground.
Clay, guts equalizing, canvassed loaves of morning mist. Then Irving’s hand thudded his hunchback. “I warned you, Boss: this hit was vintage.”
The rookie’s knees swashed, pillars in the wind. He buckled and cussed, eyes averted from their “patsy.” Codenamed–intercepted–Sunday.
“I’m~m gonna yak, Irv. Ah-h Jesus, gonna lo~ose it—-”
“No. You won’t.” Irving unholstered an amorphous Wrigley’s pack from his trench coat. “You’re gonna squat till you can chew this. Then you’re gonna chew this.”
Great, loathed Clay. Another antique.
His fingers convulsed, disrobing the foil. Irv injected a stick of his own.
Clay cudded and glared down the lido deck after Its hurled trajectory. He still couldn’t concede having “chilled” his own Sunday. Least in the aftermath he was officiated.
What a fucking tradition.
Irving ruminated to the eroding coastal walls. “Proto-Mob bumped goons on every corner like that, kid. Drilled ’em fulla Tommy pills, too.” He mimed hugely. “Ratta-tatta!”
Clay didn’t comprehend. Boilers like Irving were rites of passage to Neo-Mob debutants. Memorabilia buffs shoehorning Prohibition lingo like “whack” and “kapish” and circle-jerking on Valentine’s Day. They were overbearing. Universally ignored outside initiations. And, reputedly, amassed pre-dematerialisation arsenals.
Clay was now a convert to such claims.
He swam a throbbing palm through his hair, depleted. “They used those how long, Irv?”
“Sixes? Centuries. They were dietary staples. Then we got lousy with TPs. Chiseled ourselves outta car trunks and counterfeiters. We’ve ransomed tourists ever since.” He shrugged, unimpressed. “Families say pieces’re old hat. Blip-Snatching’s cushier, I guess.”
A fearsome smile seized him. “Folks used to kiss dirt though, Clay. Ohhhh yes. Riddled into meaty little puzzles…”
Again the man relinquished to invisible weaponry.
Clay gnashed Wrigley’s, forfeiting imagination.
Suddenly bereaved, Irv ceased his bloodbath. “Bosses’ sons revolve, Clay. Always. You and me, though…we’d keep history alive. You’re a natural with a rod. The genuine article. Be goofy to follow the leader.”
Fogbanked buoys plugged at breakwater. Unseen gulls confronted steely wind.
Still Clay didn’t answer. Instead he beelined, forgoing the indignity of brushing off his ass.
The thirty-eight special had fumbled fifteen yards aft. Clay approached the archaic iron curio. Its recoil still blizzarded his upper-neck.
And the racket It’d drawn–KAPOW!
With a remote islander’s apprehension, he shuddered and scooped It by the barrel. Fucking hot, he clanked and snagged Its nickel-plated butt.
Irving jerked to reclaim it, make It “safe.” Pacified, the mafioso appraised him without gentleness. “Feel like yourself again?”
Clay considered. “No.”
Irving’s impervious bust nodded. “Close range’ll do that.” He flicked his gum wad to their cadaver’s soiled dungarees. Slithered the “bean-shooter” twixt his “mitts.”
Both eyes unfocused: “You absolute, kid? I mean…we could grift everybody…”
Inconceivable. Clay gelatinized just tracing Its curvaceous revolutions. How had the rudimentary gangsters managed?
He politely abdicated. “Sorry, Irv. Got no moxie.”
The Boiler’s eyebrows piqued at the term. Truly, he was an anachronism. “Born too late, weren’t we Clay?”
Together they eyed the lapping swill. Irving sighed with futile propinquity.
“Grab his arms then, Boss. Before dawn.”
The Neo-Mobsters hupped Mr. Sunday, activated their TPs, and dusted out, tandem-blipping to their safehouse to squabble over the palooka’s disposal.
Some things never changed.
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