Meanwhile at the Matteo’s Bar & Bistro, Jimmy was bound and trapped in the basement of the neighborhood hot spot. When he first gained consciousness and he didn’t like what he saw. Every instinct in his body told him this was a mob hit in the making and he had to get out of there. As Jimmy scanned the room for a door or window, he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Quickly, he put his head down and pretended to still be unconscious. The footsteps were slow and purposeful, they were also heavy, either the guy was huge or he was carrying something. “Careful, the boss said he wanted everything done exactly his way,” a raspy voice said.
“I know what I’m doin,’” answered a very annoyed and out of breath accomplice. Jimmy listened hard for any other voices or footsteps but heard none. He still couldn’t be certain there were only two of them, for all he knew there could be ten more thugs upstairs. Escape wasn’t looking good. As Jimmy listened on, he heard dragging sounds then a thud, quickly, he peeked and saw a body being dragged across the floor. His heart raced as he tried to discern whether this person was dead or alive. Did it really matter? There was nothing he could do, he was chained up like a dog which meant, this poor SOB was on his own. Closing his eyes again, he kept his head down and made sure not to move. As the men took off for God knows where, Jimmy was left alone with a body in the middle of the basement floor.
It was only after the door closed did Jimmy dare to open his eyes again. Taking a deep breath, he calmed himself down and looked around for a way to get out of his chains. To his disappointment, the room was completely bare, these guys were smart and weren’t taking any chances. They seemed to have thought of everything; the windows were covered, the door was steel, and there were shackles on the floor as well as chains hanging from the ceiling. However the most disturbing part of the décor were the drain traps on the floor. It was becoming crystal clear to Jimmy; this place was a slaughterhouse. Like cattle, he and his new roommate were going to be butchered. This was not how he imagined his life ending.
Once in awhile, Christina and Dellani like to relax a little. With Thanksgiving over and Christmas to come, they decided to talk to a few good friends and share words of wisdom about every author’s nightmare, marketing. To that end, he invited our friends to sit down, share a hot beverage, and chat for a couple of hours. Without further adieu, let’s meet our guests!
First up, my creative cohost, Christina Giguere. When she’s not saving the day as a virtual assistant, Christina Giguere likes to write. Her alter ego, Rachel Rueben has a blog called: Writing By The Seat Of My Pants for self-published authors where she discusses publishing news and tips for indie authors.She also has a free book called: Self-Publishing Hacks: What The Other Authors Already Know available on the blog.However her latest book is called: Social Media Hacks: An Authors Guide To Navigating Social Media.
Next in line is author and illustrator J.D. Holiday. JD has five books. Four children’s books: Janoose The Goose, Janoose And The Fall Feather Fair, The Spy Game- all picture books, a chapter book for six to nine year olds called, The Great Snowball Escapade, and an eclectic collections of short stories for adults in Stories & Imaginings For The Reading Spot. JD has been a radio show host where she interviewed a wide variety of authors, including all of the authors in this group. She gave Dellani her infamous “If your character had a theme song, what would it be?” question.
Our third guest is author and radio show host, Karen Vaughan. Karen lives in Peterborough, Ontario with her husband Jim and a cat named JJ who has plenty of catitude! Karen started her literary journey in 2005 when she was home on sick leave and was tired of starting at the four walls or twiddling her thumbs. An idea for what would become DEAD ON ARRIVAL popped in to her head and the feisty 30 something character Laura wouldn’t leave her alone til her story was written. Laura took a break from pestering the poor author, so she could write a free-standing novel DEAD COMIC STANDING.Soon Laura was on the campaign to get Karen back to what would become the Laura and Gerry series.It now has 7 books, the latest being DEAD TO WRITES.Karen is the proud mom of one, step-mom of 4 grown kids, and 2 grandchildren. While not writing her fingers to the bone she hosts WRITERS ROUND TABLE the second Tuesday of each month. She is also a partner with Viv Drewa in OWL & PUSSYCAT PROMOTIONS, promoting independent authors. Karen is a standup comedian who does her routine for local talent nights and loves reading, crafts and drawing.
Our fourth guest is Marta Moran Bishop, who says, “I started out as a child!” (writing, that is) Truthfully, my mother dragged me kicking and screaming to write chapters for Keeping The Upper Paw, but I didn’t really begin to work at writing until my mother was dying and we read her the short poems my Grandmother Helen Springer Moran wrote in the nineteen thirties, she loved them so much that after she passed away, I took them, extended them and wrote others and Wee Three: A Mother’s Love in Verse was born. Now I have 2 children’s poetry books, a novel called Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, the story of the first year of our rescue foal’s life told from his point of view, 4 adult poetry books, a dystopian series called The Divide, and four other novellas and five short stories. I write both poetry, (adult and children’s) stories of animals, the paranormal, dystopian, and many other things.
Fifth is author Viv Drewa. Viv is a Michigan native who has enjoyed reading and writing since 1963. Though she studied medicinal chemistry at the University of Michigan her passion has always been writing. She was awarded third place for her nonfiction short story about her grandfather’s escape from Poland. Later, she rewrote this story and was published in the “Polish American Journal” as “”From the Pages of Grandfather’s Life” and recently had it published again on Amazon.com
Viv took creative and journalism courses to help in her transition to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. She worked as an intern for Port Huron’s ‘The Times Herald”, and also wrote, edited and did the layout or the Blue Water Multiple Sclerosis newsletter “Thumb Prints.”
She has started Owl and Pussycat Book Promotions to help her fellow authors by providing affordable services.
Finally, Dellani Oakes, an author and radio show host. I don’t talk about myself much, but since I’m going to be more relaxed than usual, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a married mother of four, with two beautiful granddaughters.
In college, my father, who was a PhD in English, and a University Press editor, handed me a stack of papers for a book he was editing, and said, “This is the worst thing every written, so I need your help. You can recognize what’s wrong, even if you don’t know why, and you can correct it.” That and a blue pencil, were my introduction into editing. It was a good trial by fire. I can still hear his voice in my head when I edit. “You don’t need that. It’s crap!”
I have been writing stories since I learned how. Before that, I was telling them. I became a published author in 2008, with my historical novel, Indian Summer. I am an author, mostly of romantic suspense, but I have branched out to romance, sci-fi, historical romance, fantasy, and murder mysteries. My most recent novel is So Much It Hurts released by Tirgearr Publishing.
Following behind, Amato resealed the apartment and began coming up with his story as to why he and Jimmy were here in the first place. While Jimmy left the building he saw a white van coming slowly down the street. Not thinking too much of it, he waited on the curb until the vehicle passed. Instead it came to a complete stop, hearing the door roll back, his heart stopped, as three masked men jumped out of the van and tasered him before he could even reach for his gun. Amato could only look on horror from the lobby as they dragged his unconscious partner into the van. “Son of a bitch!” Amato growled as he fumbled to get his gun. Running to the front door, he made it to the sidewalk and shot at the white van but it was all in vain. The patrolmen also stumbled to react quickly enough and before they could even start their car, the van had already turned the corner and were out of their sight. Angry, Amato threatened the patrolmen, “Find them or it’s your ass!”
Not one to sit back and twiddle his thumbs, Amato got in his Kia and followed the chaos. Sadly, there was no use, the van was gone, as was Jimmy. So much for walking away Amato thought. Immediately, Amato went into action and called headquarters to his old boss to advise him about the situation. “Track his phone, the GPS has got to still be on,” Amato pleaded. Within ten minutes the entire neighborhood was swarming with Feds and local law enforcement. As the flashing blue and red lights reflected off the shiny glass door, it magnified the intensity of the beams nearly blinding Amato. Right there on the spot, the investigators bombarded him with questions about the appearance of the men as well as the description of the van. Calmly he answered their questions in the hopes that it would help them find Jimmy. Regretting having ever gotten involved in this case, Amato started to question his motives. Why was it so important to find Stephano’s killer? Why did he care about where Cassandra had fled?
His answer appeared in the street, dressed in his street clothes, Special Agent Cohen walked towards Amato. He began firing off questions, “What the hell is going on? How did some street thugs outmaneuver two FBI agents?” Immediately Amato could feel every muscle in his body getting tense. Taking a deep breath, Amato answered Cohen’s questions and only those questions. He never mentioned the results of his own investigation nor did he speak of his methods. He didn’t trust Cohen, not with this investigation and certainly not with Jimmy’s life. Amato would not give what was not earned. When Cohen was done with Amato, he tried to put together what was going on, was this a ransom attempt or terrorism? There were parts of Jimmy’s personnel file that were still classified, it’s very possible he was working some pretty important case.
Seeing Cohen just sitting there, Amato grew agitated and took charge of the investigation going back to the apartment building where he found the manager and requested to see any and all security footage. Flashing his badge he was able to get the manager’s cooperation and was escorted to a small room next to the broom closet. Only one camera was facing the front of the building and it caught everything. Rewinding and replaying, Amato was able to finally pause the video and get a look at the kidnappers. There was one in particular who looked rather familiar but he couldn’t be sure since the man was wearing a ski-mask. Taking a zip file of the footage from the manager, he went back to the office to see if forensics could help him clear up the fuzziness of the image. So far, it wasn’t looking good for Jimmy.
Parking the Kia right in front of the building, Jimmy and Amato got out of the car trying their best to not look awkward. Being an undercover agent for over a decade, they knew that any odd or misplaced gesture could raise suspicion. Confidently, they walked into the building and going straight up to the apartment, they cut the tape that sealed the door and without a word, breached the crime scene. What they were doing was dangerous, not to mention, illegal. If caught, they could be charged with obstructing an investigation so they had to be quick. Looking around the living room, Amato saw things overturned and ransacked. Then he and Jimmy smelled the smoke, “Jesus, what happened here?” Shrugging his shoulders Jimmy couldn’t answer, since he too was completely stumped.
Seeing the window was open, he thought it was odd but figured the investigators did it to clear the smoke out of the room. Then he saw what appeared to be a high heel shoe which piqued his interest and since he didn’t have gloves, he searched for a bathroom. Grabbing a roll of toilet paper he tore a piece off, with his hand covered he picked up the shoe. It was scuffed up pretty badly and the bottom was worn out. “Well this got a lot of mileage,” he observed.
“I can’t see the mate anywhere around here,” Jimmy said as he carefully looked around the room.
“Yeah, that is weird,” Amato remarked, as he slowly stood up from the crouching position. Dropping the shoe back onto the floor, he also began looking about for the missing shoe. Their search turned up nothing, so they moved on to the dinning room where in the center of the room stood a table that was completely charred. “Looks like we got a point of origin,” Jimmy said as he leaned over the table and inhaled, “Smells like kerosene.”
“None of this makes any sense, why were they burning this place down? With all the people and security cameras in this building, it’s not very smart,” Amato said.
“Maybe it was personal?” Jimmy answered.
Since there nothing more to see in the dinning room they moved on to the bedroom, and once inside they saw yet another failed attempt at a fire. “Who the hell is this?” Jimmy exclaimed at the botched arson.
“This can’t be a job,” Amato deduced, “This is broad with mental issues.”
“You think this was Fenetti?” Jimmy asked rather shocked.
“Not sure, but look,” Amato said while pulling out a belt from the charred pile of clothing, “What Mafioso wastes time burning his enemy’s clothes?”
“Maybe there was trouble in paradise and Fenetti, had Stephano iced?”
“Could be,” Amato said examining the rest of the room which was ransacked as well. He had to keep an opened mind in this investigation but so far, it wasn’t looking good for Cassandra. As they moved on to the home office, they noticed things missing, like a computer which was hastily disconnected from the modem under the desk. Seeing the safe on the ground, Jimmy peeked inside but saw it had been cleaned out. “Okay, so the money’s gone and whatever else he had in here,” Amato announced. This showed that their arsonist was very well acquainted with the victim. “It’s starting to look like it was definitely Fenetti,” Jimmy said rather of fact.
As Jimmy was already wrapping up their investigation, Amato noticed something out of place. Staring at a cabinet that was obviously pushed away from the wall, he walked up to it and noticed, drag marks on the carpet which indicated it had been moved, but why and by who? “Come over here,” Amato said, “Help me move this thing.” Not sure why he was fixated on this cabinet, Jimmy went over to assist Amato move the thing and discovered a door. “Bingo,” Amato said feeling like he just won the lottery.
Searching inside, they found a small footprint in the carpet, pointing at it, Amato said, “Definitely female.” Standing there staring at the evidence he felt a sense of disappointment in Cassandra. He never thought she would stoop this low. Conceding to Jimmy’s theory, Amato sighed then said, “Guess you were right, it was Fenetti.”
Not feeling euphoric over the matter, Jimmy asked, “So now what?”
“We find her and throw her ass to the lions.” Amato said without any hesitation.
“Glad to see that you’re back on the team,” Jimmy said.
However Amato did not feel like celebrating, because they still had no clue where Cassandra could be. And if they found her, then what? It was unlikely that she would surrender even if confronted with a show of force. In fact, it would make things that more dangerous because he knew from the surveillance video, she was well armed and not backing down from anyone. In that instance, the thought that maybe he should turn these findings over to Cohen crossed Amato’s mind. He didn’t mind if Cassandra shot Cohen, in fact, it would relieve him of all his problems professionally speaking. His two least favorite people in the world taking each other out, now that was a thought that brought a smile to his face. Giving in to the idea, Amato looked up at Jimmy and said, “We’re done here, I’ll call this in and call it a day.”
In the meantime, Cassandra Fenetti was awaking refreshed in a soft, memory foam mattress. Not wanting to get out of bed, she commanded her voice assistant to turn on the television to the morning news. As the picture became brighter and more clear, she saw her own image reflected back at her in the form of a composite sketch. “Ugh! Shiit!” she sighed, as she sat straight up in her bad. Rubbing her eyes with her hands, Cassandra squinted to see the image again, just to be sure she wasn’t dreaming. Unfortunately for her, it was no dream, her face really was on the morning news. Running her hands through her hair she knew she had to act fast. Sliding out of bed, Cassandra stumbled to her closet, where she found her trusty box of wigs, inside, she found a dark, but short brunette wig. It was a far cry from her usual look, but nonetheless, she began pinning up her hair, to at least attempt to make the lace front look as natural as possible. As she applied her makeup, she thought to herself, this was happening way too soon. Cassie knew how the cops operated, and this wasn’t their style. To share their investigation with the public showed they were desperate or considered her a real threat to society. Maybe this wasn’t the cops? Maybe the Feds were on this already? Otherwise, how could they have ID’d her so quickly? Despite all of the questions, Cassandra knew she had to act quickly, if she was going to succeed at escaping. Luckily, her only trip out of the safe house would be to the bank but there, they had lots of security cameras. So she had to look and act as normal as possible.
Blocking out the “what do I do?” voice in her head, she focused on the mission at hand. Cassandra had to keep telling herself that everything was still okay. As she carefully finished putting on her makeup, she said to herself, “This is only a glitch, nothing’s changed,” and she meant it. Her determination was no less shaken nor was her courage diminished. She would get out of this town and not only that, she would return to exact revenge. Whoever was trying to ruin her life, was going to be made an example of. This thought was the only thing that kept her going. As she searched the room for clothes, Cassandra looked around and thanked her neurosis for prepping this safe house. When she decided to go back into this life, she made sure that she did not make the same mistakes her father made. He was so stuck in the old ways that he never saw the new threats on the horizon. He treated La Cosa Nostra like a religion, while others only saw it as a business opportunity. Cassandra would make this life give her back everything it had stolen but in the meantime, she had a date at her local bank. Giving herself the once over in the mirror, she made sure the wig was straight, the clothes were mute and her appearance didn’t raise any eyebrows. Once she was satisfied with her appearance, Cassandra grabbed her gun, and her favorite purse then, headed straight out the door and right into the path of danger.
As Cassandra slept, Amato and Jimmy were reuniting in Central Park after losing their tailgaters, “Hey long time, no see, asshole,” Jimmy joked.
“Come on, we gotta keep moving. You dumped the car, right?”
“Yeah, it’s all the way on 9th and Broadway, probably getting towed as we speak.”
“You’re brilliant, for an old fucker,” Amato said, knowing the police will be searching that area for them, Jimmy just bought them at least half a day.
“Cohen doesn’t have the resources to track you and Fenetti, plus, the assassins.”
“I hope you’re right, goomba” said Amato, uncertain.
They both walked to the other side of the park and to the train station on 3rd. He had a plan to get another car and Jimmy probably wasn’t going to like it, which is why Amato was keeping it a secret. He didn’t need Jimmy throwing a fit, not now. Walking down the street, they came across an old fencer who ran a chop shop parading as an auto part store. The moment Jimmy saw Amato’s right foot cross over onto the property he exclaimed, “Whoa, whoooa, whooa, you’ve gotta to be crazy!”
“Come on, we need a car, and you know Desi’s got one.”
“Yeah but he’s a weasel. Who’s to say he won’t snitch and get us killed?”
“He’s not snitching on nobody, just trust me.”
Reluctantly, Jimmy followed Amato into the shop and cringed at the sound of the bell on the door. “Nice ambiance, assholes,” Jimmy said under his breath as he batted the stupid chain that hung from the door.
“Behave,” Amato warned.
Holding his tongue Jimmy played along with this farce, while his gut told him this was not going to go well. Hearing that there was a customer in the shop, the owner himself, Desi Fostino, appeared in a dirty apron and even dirtier hands which he was trying to clean off with a red rag. Though he looked like you’re typical middle aged Italian man, he was one of the most notorious car thieves in New York. “Can I help ya’s?” he asked without bothering to look up.
“Yeah, I’d like to place an order for a 2014 La Crosse, no frills, just candy apple red.” Amato replied.
Snickering, Desi, continued to get the grime out from under his finger nails without bothering to look up at them, “I dunno what you’s guys heard, but I don’t play tha…” Amato stopped him by grabbing his grease rag.
“Hello Desi, remember me?” Stunned, and wide eyed, all the old man could do was nod.
“Look I don’t want any trouble, we run a clean business here,” he said trying to appeal to Amato. Snorting, Jimmy wasn’t having any of it, “You neva, run a clean business Desi, just look at ya.” Not wanting to scare Desi too much, Amato rephrase his request, “Desi, I need a car with new plates, can you do it?”
“Ye…yeeah!” he said shaking in his sneakers.
“Good, what ya got in inventory?”
“Three Corollas and a Kia Optima.”
“I want to borrow the Kia for a few hours, is it ready to roll?”
Nodding his head yes, Desi said, “I’ll go get the remote.”
“Thank you.” Amato said, while staring him dead in the eye intentionally making Desi uncomfortable.
As they waited, there was a television on the wall broadcasting the 6 o’clock news. To their dismay, they were already broadcasting the murder, as well as the security footage. As their day went from bad to worse, the news station even posted a composite sketch of Cassandra Fenetti, along with her name, age and last known whereabouts. She was labeled a person of interest as well as a suspect brandishing a weapon at police. “Geesh!” Amato said angrily. Jimmy watched stunned by the carelessness of the local police. “This isn’t gonna end well,” he declared.
Rubbing his jaw, Amato looked like he was ready for a fight. Slamming his fist onto the counter, he said through gritted teeth, “Son of a bitch! They shit all over this investigation just like I knew they would.” Hearing the banging of Amato’s fist, Desi came out of the back in a hurry, “I’m trying as fast as I can,” he said doing his best to get them out of his store. Throwing the remote on the counter, Desi expected a look of contentment however, all he got was an icy stare from Amato who scooped up the remote. Sensing the anger, Desi took a step back and said, “It’s out in the back, please, just go. I don’t want anyone seeing this, they’ll think I’m a rat.”
“Too late,” Jimmy answered, not able to resist.
Following Amato out the front door, he inexplicably turned his head and saw Desi turning off the television. It was too little, too late, the damage had already been done. Amato was now on the warpath, and Jimmy knew nothing would stop him from finding Cassandra Fenetti, even if it was only to rub Cohen’s face in it. This was becoming personal, but when it came to Cassandra and Amato, it was always personal. He felt like a third wheel, but he had to look out for his friend and colleague. There was bad blood in the ranks when it came to Amato. There were still some who believed he couldn’t be trusted, considering since his return, seven agents were arrested for having ties to the Cosimo family. This benefited only Fenetti, and her new crew the Alunni, she and Stephano had to purge and consolidate their power. What better way than to get rid of all the back stabbers and make a public statement? Amato looked like a foolish lover who got tossed like a piece of trash by an ambitious mafiosa. It wasn’t right and Jimmy wanted to help restore Amato’s reputation, not to mention, his career. He watched too many people get steamrolled by Cohen and wanted to put an end to it. This was the perfect opportunity to do it.
As they walked around the building to the back, Amato reached for his gun as they turned the corner. Following suit, Jimmy reached for his as well. Creeping slowly around the corner, they were both relieved to find nothing but a white Kia Optima parked amongst some other beat up cars. Using the remote Amato disarmed the alarm system, and unlocked the doors. Inspecting the car for defects, he listened to the hum of the engine to be sure it purred just right. He also looked at the plates on the car and they were New York license plates to his satisfaction. “Smiling, Jimmy said, “Looks like Desi delivered.” Amato simply nodded his head, still pissed off from the unwelcomed media coverage. Jimmy could see the intensity in his gaze and knew he was already planning the next move.
While Nicholson was trying to warn Amato, he was sitting in front of his television watching the New York Mets take on the Toronto Blue Jays. In his black leather recliner, Amato ate his dinner and began to decompress from his encounter with Special Agent Cohen. In the middle of the stretch he heard a knock at his door. Cautiously, he opened the door just a crack and to his surprise, it was his old buddy Jimmy Schiavone. Opening the door all the way, he saw the look on Jimmy’s face, “Uh, oh!” Amato exclaimed, knowing something was up. “Lemme guess, Cohen sent you?”
“What, no hello or how ya doin’?” Jimmy exclaimed.
Rolling his eyes Amato played along, “Okay, hello, how ya dooin’?” he said poking fun at Jimmy’s Long Island accent.
“Prick! You mockin’ the one guy that single handedly saved your ass?”
“Single handed, eh?” Amato caught him exaggerating.
“Okay, I had a little help,” Jimmy confessed as he walked into Amato’s apartment.
Closing the door behind him, Amato muttered, “This is gonna be a long day.”
Seeing he was watching the game, Jimmy sat down on the couch and asked, “What’s the score, yo?”
“Just in time,” Jimmy said making himself at home.
Returning to his chair, Amato sat back and waited for it. Looking over at his plate, Jimmy asked, “Hey what ya eatin’ over there?”
“Vegan eggplant parmesan.”
“What the fuck is that?”
“What, eggplant parmesan?”
“No that other shit you said.”
“What, vegan parmesan?”
“Yeah, what’s this vegan shit I keep hearing about?” Jimmy asked curiously.
“It’s means no animal or animal by-products.” Amato answered.
“So what the fuck is on the eggplant if it ain’t cheese?”
“You know, soy or cashew.”
“Brotha, ever since you and Irene broke up, things haven’t been the same for you. I ain’t neva seen an Italian put fake cheese on his food,” he said snickering.
Throwing his towel at Jimmy, he asked the big question, “Okay, Jimbo what’s up?”
Looking visibly uncomfortable, Jimmy clasped his hands as if he was trying to come up with the right words. As he looked about the room, he finally returned his gaze to Amato, then confessed, “It’s Cohen, he’s requesting your personnel file.”
“So what?” Amato responded, unimpressed.
“You don’t know this guy Amato, he’s a total dick. He’s sacked more than one guy in his day and it looks like he’s got his sights set on you.”
“Thanks for the warning Jimmy, but I’m a big boy and can handle myself.”
Putting his hands up Jimmy said, “I’m just the messenger, Nicholson wanted me to warn you.”
Just as he said that, the crowd on television erupted in cheers as the Mets shut down the Blue Jays. The ending was anticlimactic but Jimmy seemed to be thrilled that the game ended in a win. Getting up he announced, “I’ll see myself out, just remember to watch your back from now on.”
“It’s the only way I know how to roll.” Amato reassured him.
When Jimmy left, Amato was alone to contemplate whether or not he would bother participating in this case. After all, Cassandra Fenetti wasn’t necessarily in need of his help. She was probably on the other side of the planet, if she were smart. However something told him, that this wasn’t the case. Feeling it in his gut, he knew she was nearby and if Cohen approached her, she might blow his head off. So all in all, if he kept his hands off the wheel, Cassandra would take care of his Cohen problem. Smiling, the idea did appeal to him. Nonetheless, there was piece of him that needed to see her again. Amato wasn’t sure if it schadenfreude, or if he actually had feelings for her. No matter the case, it was stupid of him to come running when she was in trouble, not after she two-timed him. So what was he going to do when he saw her again, say I told you so? Having dragged his feet for nearly half the day, he rose to his feet and declared, “Okay Amato, it’s time to get that damsel.” Slipping his feet into a pair of rubber soled Oxfords, he grabbed his badge and gun then went out the front door. Standing outside in the hall was none other than Jimmy, “Jesus Christ, Amato, you take foreva to do right,” he complained.
“Sorry, I forgot we were in this together.”
“Damn straight,” Jimmy said popping his collar.
Seeing him getting psyched up, Amato chuckled and asked, “Whose car are we taking General?” referring to his old street name.
Without batting an eyelash, Jimmy answered, “Whatcha working with?”
“I got a 2017 Chevy Camaro,”
“When they bring that back?”
“Oh about 2010, you probably didn’t notice since you were busy gerneraling and all.” Amato said in jest.
“Yeesh! It’s like the 80’s all over again.”
Pushing the button for the elevator, Amato said, “Before my time, brotha,” as the door opened, they both stepped inside. Jimmy pushed the button to the ground floor and like that, they were on their way to their next adventure, just like old times.
As Amato and Jimmy made their plans, Cassandra was making hers. Desperate for cash, she knew she had to start liquidating her assets if she wanted to escape. Doing her best to stay one step ahead of the cops, she grabbed her spare phone, and started looking up the number to her local bank branch manager. With her fingers crossed, she called and explained that she needed to withdraw all of her money. “In cash?” the manager asked rather surprised.
“No, in puka shells,” she retorted, “Of course in cash!”
“Well Ms. Fenetti, we’ll need at least 24 hours.”
“We’re low in cash,” the manager explained.
“You’re a bank, how is that even possible?”
“Just bear with us Ms. Fenetti. We’ll have all of the funds tomorrow.”
“Urgh! Okay, I’ll be there at opening.”
“Alright, see you then.” He said in a sickening sweet tone.
Hanging up the phone the manager place a call to his supervisor, the Vice president of the branch, “Steve, it’s Marty, sorry to bother you but Fenetti called. She’s coming by tomorrow morning at opening.”
“Thanks Marty, I handle this one myself.” He said.
He wasn’t quite sure why the President of the bank would want to personally handle the closing of an account, but Marty, simply agreed to have his admin send the files to his boss’s computer. That was one less account he had to deal with, and since it was the end of the day, he grabbed his jacket along with his brief case and left for home.
In the meantime, Cassandra had to figure out where she was going once she had the cash. Placing a call to her favorite airline, she chartered a plane to the Cayman Islands. Once she got off the phone with them, she booked a hotel room at the Hilton. Nonetheless she still wasn’t done, Cassandra had to make sure no one would be able to track her, not the cops, and certainly not the killers. She already knew that the cops were checking phone records and looking at security footage. As if that weren’t enough, Cassandra would have to change her appearance as well as get a new identity. Placing a few calls to some of the best forgers in New York, she put in an order for a new driver’s license as well as a passport. The ones she had were old, and looked outdated. Sending him a recent photo of herself, she got the okay from the forger and they worked out a deal. She regretted not staying on top of these things, she knew better, being the daughter of a mobster and the fiancé of another. This life was unpredictable and deadly, Inpatient she mumbled to herself, “When will you ever learn?”.
This was only phase one of her plan, she still had to keep herself alive and evade police for the next 16 hours. Cassandra had to lay low, if she was going to survive the night. Starting the engine, she made a journey to her old hideout, a safe house of sorts. Making her way through Little Italy, she made it to an old pizzeria. Parking down the street, she took out a key and went to the back and climbed a set of rickety stairs to a tiny apartment. Cassandra figured she would be safe here since she and Stephano rented it under the table. There was no paper trail and they were careful to not tell anyone about it. Despite all that, she was still paranoid and took out her glock. Quietly she went from room to room to be absolutely sure she was alone. When she was able to let her guard down, Cassandra put the gun away and went straight to the closet to find the clothes she had purchased for a time like this. There was an array of outfits, some of them were shabby chic, while the others were high end luxury brands. There was no way she could dress as she always had. Too many people knew her style, and if her instincts were right, the cops were already creating a profile of her, if they hadn’t already. It was a hot day and she still wasn’t feeling well, so Cassandra decided to take a shower and call it a day.
Collapsing on the bed, she made herself comfortable and clutched a pillow. Fighting the urge to cry, she refused to think about what happened and focused instead on what needed to be done. Going over the plan in her head, she went over every possible scenario again and again like a mantra of sorts. After all, Cassandra needed something to believe in and her plan was that thing. She would succeed, she would pull herself out of this mess. Confident, she slowly drifted to sleep, safe for now.
On the other side of town, Amato was winding down the day and getting himself ready for dinner. Since his divorce he had to learn to live like a bachelor and it really didn’t appeal to him. He had a service that prepared his meals for him after nearly burning down his kitchen when trying to fry an egg. He also had a cleaning service come in and clean his apartment after breaking his thumb while trying to scrap the ash from the stove after the the egg debacle. It was getting expensive being alone, not to mention humiliating. Amato always prided himself on being independent but he wasn’t cut out for this life. He was missing companionship of the female kind. Online dating didn’t suit him because he knew from his work that you’re just one serial killer away from making the nightly news. Besides, he was sick of disappointment and dating was the express lane to Regretsville. He would either be disappointed by finding out his date lived with 100 cats or she would be disappointed by his unhealthy obsession with his work. Amato had to face reality, he was no catch. He was approaching his 40’s and the grey streaks were already starting to appear in his dark brown hair. His left knee now cracked every time he bent it and he was even prescribed a pair of reading glasses. It was safe to say he was getting a little long in the tooth.
As he began heating up his vegan eggplant parmesan, there was a knock at the door. Knowing exactly who it was, he made no attempt at hurrying to answer. Setting the oven’s thermostat to 350°, he gently put the eggplant dish in the oven. After closing the oven door, he heard a second knock. Hearing the frustration of his guest as they began pounding on the door, Amato smiled. Taking his time to the door, he threw a kitchen towel over his shoulder and yelled, “Hang on!”
When he opened the door, it was none other than Special Agent Cohen, looking worn out and angry. “Oh hi, Agent Cohen, what brings you to this part of town?” Amato inquired. Glaring up at him, Cohen growled, “When I call, you answer the fucking phone. Got that, you piece of shit!”
“Whoooa! Wait a minute here, you didn’t come all this way to insult me, did you?”
“Fuck you Amato!” he said with his finger pointed in his face. “I ain’t got time for your stupid games.”
Laying down the law Amato warned, “Apparently you’re under the impression that we’re at work. If you want to bark orders and berate your fellow piss ants you might want to return to the office. But if you wanna stay for some eggplant parmesan, you’re welcome.” Pretending as if he didn’t understand the severity of the situation, Amato smiled then added, “It’s vegan.”
“You’re a disgrace.” Cohen bellowed.
Admitting to defeat Amato threw his hands up in the air, “Well, I tried to make nice,” he declared as he began closing the door on Special Agent Cohen.
“The fellas were right, that Fenetti chick got you all pussy whipped.”
Not falling for it, Amato kept his temper and closed the door. Walking away, he refused to deal with Cohen in this state, even if it meant losing his job. So he went back to preparing dinner while Cohen began making his plan to end Amato’s career. Cohen was going to be damn sure he got whatever he needed for his investigation even if he had to pull it out of Amato’s gullet. As he retreated to the elevator, Cohen began making phone calls.
On the outside it seemed like Amato just poked a bear with a small stick when in fact, he was politicking. Not content to be a solider in Cohen’s army, he would not play second fiddle to anyone on the force anymore. He nearly lost his life the last time. One might say he had control issues now when it came to his work. Turning on the Mets game in the living room, he listened from the kitchen as he got the veggies out crisper. Carefully, Amato began chopping up his salad while he waited for Cohen to make the next move.
By the time Cohen made it back to headquarters, he made a b-line to Agent Nicholson’s office. Storming in without so much as knocking, Cohen demanded, “I want his file.” Confused, Nicholson asked, “What the hell ya talking about?”
“Amato, I want John Amato’s personnel file,” he said nearly out of breath.
“What the hell for?”
“Just send me his God damn file,” Cohen said through gritted teeth.
“You know that you gotta send a request through the proper channels.”
“Not you too?” Cohen said bewildered.
“We have rules Cohen, I can’t just go showing personnel files to any ol’ body.” Nicholson said rather annoyed by his request.
“Damn it, I got a job to do!” Cohen yelled.
“So do we.” Nicholson retorted, “Fill out the paperwork and send it my way.”
Disgusted, Cohen barged out of the office. Knowing this was serious, Nicholson made a phone call to a mutual acquaintance of both he and Amato’s in order to warn him about what was going down. He didn’t want to get directly in the middle of this, Amato just wasn’t worth it. At least not to him, he had no skin in this game. However Nicholson knew that Cohen was vindictive and had ruined several careers, and he thought it would be shame if Cohen struck again. He knew that snake wouldn’t rest until he had Amato’s head hanging on his office wall. Unfortunately, Nicholson couldn’t take him down by himself, but he could send a message indirectly, and whatever happened, was up to fate. If Amato was as good as people said, he would be able to handle Cohen if not, there would be a new opening in the office.