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A Prequel

Joe Martello #6

A novella by

Phil Nova

Smashwords Edition

ISBN: 9781370186082

Copyright 2017

This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

WARNING: This book contains adult language and/or situations.

This story is dedicated to Al and Chris

The Old Testament


New York City. August 1978.

It was hot and sticky outside, but inside the Brooklyn social club, the air conditioner was pumping icy cold air. The walls were covered with fake wood paneling, and the floor was linoleum. Doo-Wop from the 1950’s was barely audible from a pair of speakers on the wall.

A few men played cards at a table while others sat at the bar drinking and watching a black-and-white TV. They were watching an evening news recap of the funeral of Pope John Paul VI. The men gave themselves the sign of the cross along with the priest on TV.

Guido Manigritto, aka Fat Guido, was on a rotary phone that hung from the back wall, waiting for someone to answer. The phone continued to ring.

The image on the TV changed and the men at the bar began chattering.

Guido hung up the phone and turned to his chubby twelve-year-old son, Angelo, who was sitting at a table by himself reading a comic book and eating Cheetos from a bag. “We’ll be out of here soon, Angelo.”

“Okay, Dad.” Angelo stuffed another handful of Cheetos into his mouth and then turned the page without looking away from the comic.

Guido picked up the phone and dialed again. The number began to ring. Guido looked at the TV. The newscaster spoke of yesterday’s nuclear test in the USSR.

The men at the bar began to raise their voices and talk about the end of the world.

Guido yelled, “Shut the fuck up, you idiots! I’m on the phone!”

The voices lowered, but the chattering continued.

Guido was beginning to lose his temper as the phone continued to ring.

Sal the Geep, a small twenty-five-year-old man in a leather jacket and slicked back hair strolled through the front door. Black prison tattoos were visible on Sal’s neck and hands.

When Guido saw Sal, he hung up the phone and yelled, “Where the fuck have you been?”

Sal scratched his face. “Sorry, man. I had this hot chick . . .”

Guido slapped him. “Don’t give me any excuses.”

“It’s not an excuse.”

Guido punched Sal.

Sal wobbled, but stopped himself from falling.

The other men in the club laughed.

Guido had suspected that Sal had been getting high on dope, and now, between the leather jacket in the middle of a summer heat wave, the sunglasses in a dark club, and Sal’s slow movements, Guido’s suspicions were confirmed.

It was too late now. Everything was already planned. Sal was going to Sicily in two weeks where he would pick up a suitcase full of pure heroin. He’d done the job before, he knew his way around Sicily, and he spoke perfect Italian.

But Guido knew that after this last job, he had to get rid of Sal. It would be hard to find someone else to make the pick-ups, but it would be better than getting locked up . . . or whacked. Sal was now becoming a liability. Guido handed him a folded piece of paper and said, “Don’t ever keep me waiting again. Capisce?

He nodded and slipped the paper into his pocket. “Can I get an advance?”

“You’ll get your money when it’s done. And you better get yourself clean.”

Sal nodded again, then moped out of the club with his head hung low.

Guido lit a cigarette, turned to his son, and said, “Let’s go, Angelo.”

Angelo picked up his comics and Cheetos and followed his father out the door.

The hot air hit Guido in the face as soon as he stepped outside. On the street, cars beeped at each other while pedestrians passed on the sidewalk. People wore bell bottomed pants and cutoff T-shirts. The women wore short skirts and short shorts. Afros and perms were everywhere.

As Guido and his son strolled down the sidewalk to the parking lot where Guido rented a monthly space for his long black Cadillac Fleetwood. “I just got one more stop to make and then we can get home for the game.”

Angelo replied, “There’s no game tonight, Dad. Tomorrow.”

The elevated train rumbled by above their heads as they entered the fenced-off parking lot. Guido reached into the pocket of his yellow jogging pants, pulled out a five-dollar bill, and handed it to the black man sitting on a chair. Guido was well known among the people who lived in the housing projects across the street. Most of them were black, but unlike his counterparts, he treated them with the same respect as the whites and the Jews.

Angelo started to say something as he got into the car, but another train rumbled by overhead, going the opposite way.

Guido turned on the radio and tuned to some fifties Doo-Wop, then he followed Stillwell Avenue toward Coney Island.


After Sal the Geep had stumbled out of the social club with a swollen eye and a bloody lip, he walked four blocks and then got into his shiny red ’75 Camaro that was parked in the street. Before he could close the door, someone stopped him—two detectives in cheap suits.

Ed Johnson, a big 40-year-old black man with a gray mustache, grabbed Sal by the arm and yanked him out of the car. “Where you going, kid?”

“None of your business, pig.”

Ed squeezed Sal’s arm, hard.

Sal winced. “What the fuck?”

Tony Martello, a 23-year-old, small, handsome, Italian-American rookie detective, said, “I suggest you answer his questions before he accidentally breaks your arm.”

“This is police brutality.”

“You wanna see brutality?” Ed Johnson spun Sal around and slammed his face against the car while pulling his arms behind his back to cuff them.

“I didn’t do nothing!”

Tony Martello said, “We had a report of a robbery in the area and you just happen to fit the suspect’s description.”

Sal replied, “What a fucking coincidence.”

Ed frisked Sal. “You better tell me now if you got anything on you. If I get stuck by a needle, I’ll fucking kill you.”

“I don’t use needles.”

Ed rummaged through Sal’s pockets and found two small baggies—one with marijuana, and one with heroin. “Wait, don’t tell me . . . this is parsley . . . and this is baking soda.”

Tony chuckled.

Sal said, “You planted that.”

Ed replied, “Yeah? I bet your fingerprints are all over them.” He dragged Sal to an unmarked gray police car across the street.

Tony opened the back door.

Ed shoved Sal inside and slammed the door.

Sal yelled, “What about my car?”

Tony got into the driver’s seat and said, “We’ll give you all the information you need after it’s impounded.”

“They’re gonna fuck it up.”

Ed sat in the passenger seat and closed the door. “That car is the least of your worries, kid. With all those tattoos, I’d bet good money this is not your first time going away . . . and with the Rockefeller laws in place, you could go down for a long long time.”

Tony pulled the car away from the curb and cruised up and down the quiet residential one-way streets lined with two-story semi-attached brick houses.

Ed continued, “We know you’re just a pee-on, kid. And we really couldn’t give a fuck about you either way. It’s Fat Guido we want.”


Tony chuckled.

Ed replied, “Don’t even try it, kid. It’s either you or Guido. Someone is going down.”

Tony stopped at a red light at the intersection of a four-lane street with heavy traffic going both ways. “Which way?”

Ed replied, “That depends.” He turned back to Sal and asked, “Which way should we go? Should we turn around, or should we go to the precinct?”

Sal didn’t answer.

Ed looked at his watch. “Let’s give the kid a few more minutes to think about it.”

Tony backed up, down the one-way street, then turned down an adjoining block and cruised nice and slow. No one spoke.

Finally, Sal said, “They’ll fuckin’ kill me.”

Ed replied, “They won’t know. We’ll arrest you, too . . . just to make it look good. Then after we separate everyone, we’ll let you out.”

Tony glanced in the rear view mirror to see Sal’s sad expression.

Ed looked at his watch again “Sixty seconds. Make your decision. You give up Fat Guido . . . or it’s your ass.”


Tony kept driving.

Finally, Ed said, “Time’s up. Make your decision.”

Sal replied, “Okay. Fuck. What do you want me to do?”


Guido drove over the small canal into Coney Island and then past rows of mechanic shops. He turned down a small street only one block away from the beach and amusement parks.

Angelo asked, “Dad, can we go on a couple rides?”

Guido parked in front of a locksmith, then glanced at his gold Rolex. “If we have time.” He took his keys and handed them to Angelo. “Stay in the car with the doors locked. And keep your eyes open. You see any cars that look like detectives, you run into the deli and get me.”

“Okay, Dad.” Angelo took the keys and held them tight.

Guido stepped out of the car and took his time lighting a cigarette while making sure he didn’t see anyone suspicious. Between the humidity and his nerves, sweat began to accumulate in every crevice of his fat body.

Cars were passing at a steady pace, but only a few people were walking around.

After giving Angelo the thumbs up, Guido strolled into the deli next door.

Inside, the shelves were half stocked with potato chips and other snacks. Sodas and beers filled a refrigerator on the wall. An assortment of cigarettes hung suspended behind an old black man with gray hair who stood behind the counter.

Guido nodded at the man, opened a door to the back room, and entered.

The smell of weed hit Guido in the face while two young black men with big Afros and more gold than a jewelry store sat at a small table smoking a joint.

The man with the joint in his hand said, “Guido. I know you said you don’t smoke, but you really gotta try some of this shit. It’s far out.”

“Thanks for the offer, but I prefer not to go too far out.”

They all laughed.

The second young black man reached behind a cardboard box against the wall and retrieved a briefcase.

Guido had his pistol in his waistband, covered by his oversized brown shirt. He didn’t think he could outdraw these young guys, but he was always prepared. It wouldn’t make sense for them to rob him anyways, they were making a lot of money with him. It was his own people he had to worry about. If they found out he was into selling dope, he’d be dead.

The young man handed Guido the suitcase. “How about a drink, then?”

Guido eyed the bottle of Cognac on the table, then said, “That . . . I can go for.”

The young man smiled while retrieving a brand new glass from a box. He poured a couple fingers, then handed it to Guido.

Guido sipped, then said, “Very nice.”

They all held their glasses up and clinked them together.

Guido finished his drink in three separate gulps, then glanced at his Rolex and said, “Ten minutes, fellas. I’ll be outside.”

“You got it, man.” The young men shook Guido’s hand.

Guido left the deli holding the suitcase tight, still paranoid out of habit.

He knocked on the car window.

Angelo unlocked the door.

Guido sat in the driver’s seat, locked his door, and placed the case on the floor of the back seat. Angelo had changed the radio from the oldies station and was now listening to disco. Guido didn’t mind the music, but it was too loud. He reduced the volume, then checked his watch and said, “A few more minutes, then we’ll go on those rides. And how about an ice cream?”

“Before dinner? Mom will kill us.”

“So we don’t tell her.” Guido winked.

Angelo smiled.

Guido watched as a faded delivery truck pulled up to the curb. Two young Italian men in undershirts were sitting up front. The driver stayed in the van while the other man got out, circled the van, and removed a small cardboard box full of heroin.

A lit cigarette hung from the young man’s mouth as he carried the box into the deli.

Guido checked his watch again. It was only a few minutes, but it felt like a few hours.

Finally, the young Italian man came out of the deli and got back in the van.

Guido started his car after the van pulled away.

“Let’s go get that ice cream.”

They only drove one block, but it was like crossing a threshold between worlds. Suddenly, there were hundreds of people, most dressed in bathing suits. People eating hot dogs, ice cream, and other delicious fattening foods.

As they joined the crowd on Mermaid Avenue, they worked their way up to the boardwalk. The smell of the ocean in front of them instantly filled their noses. There were only a few people still sunbathing while city workers tried to clean up the garbage left on the sand.

Guido’s body temperature decreased as a cool breeze went right through him. He inhaled deep, then exhaled and said, “I love that cool beach air.”

Angelo inhaled and exhaled, then said, “So do I.”

Guido laughed and smacked his son on the shoulder.

They turned around and entered one of the small amusement parks.

Guido was too fat and had no desire to go on any rides, so he gave his son forty dollars and let him have free roam. He sat on benches, watching Angelo and cheering him on while Angelo went on the haunted house, the wonder wheel, and the cyclone across the street. By the time Angelo finished on the rides, the sun was almost gone, and bigger, more rowdy kids were beginning to show up.

Guido made a quick call on a graffiti covered payphone, then told Angelo to call his mother. He didn’t feel like listening to her nag.

When Angelo got off the phone, he said, “She’s mad. She said we should have told her before coming here . . . and she said not to spoil my appetite.”

“Fuck her. Let’s go get that ice cream.”

Angelo laughed.

While eating their chocolate ice cream on a wooden bench, staring out at the ships in the distance, Guido said, “Your sister is not gonna be happy when she finds out I took you here without her.”

“She went to the pool with her friends, anyway.”

“Oh, okay.” Guido took a couple licks from his ice cream then said, “We’ll pick up a few candy apples for your sister before we leave. And some cotton candy for your mother. I still can’t figure why she likes that shit.”


The next day was Sunday and Tony Martello was off-duty, at home, watching the Yankees game on his new 21” color TV, a recent step up from the old 13” black and white that his parents had given him a few years earlier after returning from Vietnam.

He and his wife, Karen, lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in Benson-Hurst, Brooklyn—a mostly Italian neighborhood at the time. The apartment was furnished with a few pieces of old furniture that they had brought with them and some new furniture that both of their parents had given them. The wallpaper and the wood floors were faded and the building was old, but Tony and his wife were both saving money so that one day they could buy a house.

Tony’s wife, Karen, was in the bedroom while Tony tried to stay awake through the most boring game he’d ever seen. Neither team scored any runs.

Just when he was about to get up from the sofa and change the channel, something else caught his eye.

Karen entered the living room wearing a black negligée. Her red, feathered hair hung down over her shoulders, just barely brushing along the top of her big white juicy breasts.

Tony’s dick almost exploded. He stood, grabbed her slim waist, and inhaled her freshly showered scent.

Karen kissed the side of his neck, then whispered in his ear, “You sure I can’t drag you away from your game?”

“You already did.” He squeezed her breasts and began to kiss her.


That afternoon, Fat Guido was also at home watching the Yankees game with his family. They always ate early on Sunday. By the time the game started, dinner was finished. Guido was having a cigarette while waiting for his wife to bring his coffee and cannoli.

They lived in a three-bedroom detached house near Avenue U in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The floors were polished marble, the walls were wood paneled, and the furniture was all high-end Victorian. The house was cooled by central air, which was cutting edge technology at the time. The 32” color TV was the best model available and looked like a piece of furniture.

Guido’s wife, Anna, entered the living room wearing a housedress and slippers. She had a coffee cup in one hand and a small dish with a cannoli in the other. After putting down the cannoli and placing the coffee onto a coaster on the small wooden table next to Guido’s recliner, she hurried back into the kitchen and quickly returned with a small bowl of ice cream. She got Angelo’s attention, who was half-sitting and half-lying down on the sofa, staring at the TV. “Sit up right when you eat this.”

Angelo sat up straight and then his mother handed him the ice cream.

“I’m going to see if your sister wants anything.” Anna headed down the hall toward the bedrooms.

Guido tried without success to stay awake while neither team scored a run during the first five and a half innings.

Angelo yelled when the Orioles scored their first run, “No!”

Guido woke up and lit a cigarette.

Angelo yelled again when the Orioles scored twice.

When the sixth inning was over and the TV went to commercial, Guido said, “I don’t know, kid. They might not get this one.”

Angelo replied, “The Yankees always come back when they're down. That’s when they’re at their best.”

Guido chuckled.

When the game returned, it was the top of the seventh inning.

Angelo jumped up and down yelling as the Yankees scored five runs in a row.

Anna returned from the bedroom, “What’s all the ruckus?”

“Sorry Mom.” Angelo returned to the sofa.

Guido, still on his recliner, just laughed.

The top of the seventh inning was over and the TV went to commercial again.

“I told you, Dad. The Yanks always come back.”

“It’s not over yet. The Orioles could score three more runs and take it all.”

Angelo asked, “You wanna bet?”

Guido said, “One dollar.”

When the game returned, the Orioles began batting, but it started to rain. As the rain got heavier, the game was called off. And because the seventh inning was never finished, the score went back to what it was after the sixth inning. The Orioles won.

Angelo yelled, “That’s bullshit!”

Guido wanted to laugh, but he said, “You better not let your mother hear you talkin’ like that.”

Angelo glanced down the hall.

“Let this be a lesson to you, kid. Don’t ever count your chickens before they hatch.” Guido felt his stomach rumbling, so he headed to the bathroom.

When he returned to the living room, his brother Larry was sitting on his recliner, waiting for him.

Larry, aka Larry the Tank, was six-feet-tall and husky with big arms and a thick neck. He was three years younger than Guido, but acted more like a father than a younger brother.

Anna stood next to Larry holding a white box tied with a red string. “Your brother brought cookies. I’ll go put some fresh coffee on.” She headed into the kitchen.

Guido turned to his son and said, “Why don’t you go to your room and do a little homework while I talk to your uncle.”

“It’s Sunday, Dad. I don’t have any homework.”

Larry chuckled.

“So go to your room and do something else. Give us a few minutes.”

“Okay, Dad.” Angelo headed down the hall and entered one of the bedrooms, closing the door behind him.

Guido asked, “You think he’s jerking off yet?”

Larry replied, “You keep sending him to his room, he’s bound to start.”

Guido laughed, then asked, “So what did you want to talk to me about?”

Larry placed his finger across his lips, but didn’t say anything. He retrieved a small metal box that looked like a voltmeter from his pocket.

Guido didn’t know what it was. “What the fuck?”

Larry didn’t say anything, he just walked around the room waving the device in the air and watching for the needle on the gauge to move. Finally, he turned it off and handed it to Guido. “The room is clean.”

“I’ll tell my wife you approve.”

Larry handed Guido the device. “It’s a bug finder. Just want to be sure the feds aren’t listening. I’m not gonna end up in prison like those other mooks.”

Guido wanted to know more about the technology he was holding, but before he could ask any questions, Larry spoke.

“Someone saw you talking with a couple of those zips downtown.”


Larry didn’t answer Guido’s question, instead he asked a question of his own, “You fucking with that smack?”

“Come on.” Guido didn’t want to lie to his brother, so he didn’t really answer. “I’m your older brother. You’re not supposed to be scolding me.”

“I’m looking out for you. You know that if the Maranzanos don’t whack you first, then Uncle Jimmy will have to do it.”

“Uncle Jimmy won’t whack me.”

“If he doesn’t, then the boss will have him whacked. You know that.”


Later that night, after an evening of passionate sex, Tony and Karen lay in bed, exhausted. A box fan moved hot air around the room while more humidity entered through the open window.

Karen fell asleep with her head on Tony’s chest, but then she later rolled over onto her side.

Tony closed his eyes, but it was too hot to sleep. He began to wonder what had happened with the Yankees.

He crept out of the bed and turned on the 13’ inch black-and-white TV that was now on top of his dresser, but kept the volume low. He turned to the news and then adjusted the rabbit-ears antenna until the snow was gone. He got back in bed without waking Karen and waited for the recap of the game.


Three weeks later.

After dinner, while his wife cleared the table, Guido and his children entered the living room. Guido’s fat was bulging out of his thin white undershirt. He lit a cigarette and plopped into his recliner.

Angelo turned the TV on and pressed the clicker until he was at the Yankees game. He adjusted the antenna until the picture was clear.

Gianna, Guido’s chubby ten-year-old daughter complained, “Baseball again?”

Guido said, “That’s why I bought you your own TV.”

“But I wanna watch TV in here, not in my room.”

Guido replied, “In here, the men are watching baseball. In your room you can watch anything you want.”

“Yeah,” added Angelo. “I didn’t get a TV for my room.”

Guido looked at Angelo and said, “What’s a matter? You feel cheated?”

“No, Dad. I’m just saying.”

On TV, the crowd roared as Reggie Jackson hit his 20th homerun. Guido and Angelo turned to look.

Angelo snapped, “Look what you made us miss!”

Gianna stuck her tongue out at him and said, “Good.” She stuck her tongue out again, then said, “I’m going to my room to watch TV now.” She went down the hall and disappeared into her bedroom.

Later, Angelo cheered when the Yankees won.

Guido grew up watching the Brooklyn Dodgers, but after they went to LA, he began rooting for the Yankees. By the time the Mets came on the scene, Guido had forgotten about baseball because he was too busy running the streets and making money. Angelo had re-sparked Guido’s interest in baseball and he was happy to see his son happy.

Guido had another cigarette along with a cup of coffee while Angelo and Gianna put on their pajamas and prepared for bed.

After they brushed their teeth, the kids came back into the living room to kiss their parents good night.

When the kids were in their rooms, Guido put out his cigarette, kissed his wife on the cheek, and said, “I have to go out. Don’t wait up.”

“Be careful.” Anna picked up Guido’s empty cup and full ashtray and headed into the kitchen.


Tony finished dinner with his wife, then kissed her before leaving the house.

“Be careful.” She said.

“I’m always careful.” Tony kissed her again, then headed out the door.

He met with his partner and twelve uniformed cops at the precinct. Ed gave the briefing, then they all headed out, armed and wearing bulletproof vests. They already knew where Guido was meeting Sal.

When they began investigating Guido, they thought he was just another supplier. After learning from Sal that Guido was a trafficker, the NYPD increased Ed’s budget and fought against federal agencies to keep the case.

Ed and Tony drove to the location, an industrial district near the Brooklyn waterfront.

The factories and warehouses were closed and there wasn’t much traffic in the area. The sparse streetlights provided a haven for criminals. Graffiti covered the closed steel gates as well as most of the parked trucks. An occasional cat or rat of the same size scurried along the sidewalks in the shadows.

Four uniformed cops sat in an unmarked car at the end of the street, while two snipers were posted on opposing rooftops. Four other cops waited one block away in another unmarked car. Tony and Ed sat in their unmarked car at the opposite end of the street along with two uniformed cops.

Ed checked his watch. “They should be here in less than an hour.”

Tony sipped coffee from the thermos that his wife had prepared for him.


Guido cruised down the quiet street in an old, rusted out, delivery truck. He found an empty spot and parked along the curb.

Finally, Sal the Geep pulled up in his red Camaro.

Guido took one last glance around to be sure they were alone. He didn’t see anyone, so he opened the side door.

Sal heaved the big, heavy suitcase into the truck, then climbed in and closed the door.

They shook hands. “Any problems?”

Sal replied, “Tutta buon.

Guido dragged the big case into the back of the truck, which was empty and dusty. He opened the case and inspected the taped up kilos of heroin. “Beautiful.”

Sal scratched his face while looking around the back of the truck.

Guido knew Sal was looking for his package with the money in it. He said, “I have your payment right here.” He slipped his pistol out of the back of his waistband and shot Sal in the head. Blood splattered.

Sal’s body dropped and went into convulsions.

Guido fired another shot into Sal’s temple, just to be sure.

Just as Guido grabbed the suitcase, he heard noises outside.

Before he could open the back door, a voice on a loudspeaker yelled, “This is the police. We have the truck surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

Guido had his pistol in his hand, wondering how many of them were out there, and wondering if he could shoot his way through it.

The voice yelled again, “This is your only warning!”

Before Guido could decide what to do, the front window was blasted open and a small metal canister landed inside the truck. Guido coughed as the entire truck instantly filled with smoke. He reached for the lever to open the back door.

The back door exploded open. Guido felt his body slam into the side of the truck, then he lost consciousness.


After two days in the hospital, Guido had spent two days in solitary confinement at the Brooklyn House of Detention. His face and arms were burned and covered in bandages, but overall, he was okay.

When he stood in front of the judge, he said, “Not guilty, your honor.”

“Not guilty? The NYPD has you on tape. You were caught red handed.”

Guido shrugged.

Guido’s lawyer said, “This is only an arraignment, your honor.”

“I know what this is, counselor.” The judge glared at Guido. “You will not get away with this.” He then turned to the court reporter and said, “Strike that from the record.” The judge then turned back to Guido and his lawyer. “I am entering your not guilty plea, but don’t even think about bail.”

The lawyer said, “But your honor, you haven’t heard—”

The judge’s wood gavel slamming down on his desk interrupted the lawyer’s sentence. “Bail is denied.”

“One more thing your honor,” the lawyer added, “My client would like to spend his time on Riker’s in solitary confinement.”

The judge smirked. “If your client has made enemies, then it is because of his lifestyle. It is not the court’s problem. Your request is denied.” He slammed his gavel down once again.


Saturday afternoon, Tony sat at home, watching the Yankees massacre the Red Sox for the fourth game in a row.

The phone rang. Tony almost didn’t pick it up, but the TV went to a commercial, so he got up and answered the call.

Ed was on the other line. “Tony, did you hear what happened?”

“About what?”

“Six inmates stabbed Fat Guido to death in the showers.”

“Holy shit. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Fuck it.” Replied Ed. “If it means less smack on the street.”

“I guess that’s one way of looking at it.”

“Don’t even think about feeling bad for that motherfucker. He was a real scumbag.”

“I know.”

After they ended the call, Tony went back to watching the game, but his mind kept drifting back to the image of six savages stabbing a naked fat man to death.


Twelve-year-old Angelo also watched the Yankees massacre the Red Sox on TV for the fourth time. When the game ended, he waited by the phone for his father to call so they could talk about the game.

A few hours past and no one called.

Gianna was already in bed.

Finally, Angelo’s mother said, “They can’t always use the phone in there, Angelo. It’s time to go to bed. You can talk to him tomorrow.”

“I don’t want to go to bed!”

“Didn’t your father tell you to behave and to do what I tell you?”

Angelo stormed to his room.


A few days later, young Angelo stood next to his weeping mother dressed in black. He and his sister were silent, both of them staring ahead at nothing.

Hundreds of people attended Guido’s funeral. There were so many flowers, the cemetery looked like the botanical gardens.

Uncle Larry put a hand on Angelo’s shoulder.

Angelo looked up and saw a single tear running down his uncle’s cheek.

A month later, the Yankees went on to win the World Series, but Angelo didn’t care.

The New Testament


January 1989.

Two months after Angelo’s twenty-third birthday, Uncle Larry took him to do a hit for the Underboss. Angelo wore boots and a heavy ski coat that concealed his gun while Uncle Larry wore a jogging suit.

Standing in front of his two-million-dollar white brick mansion in Staten Island, Uncle Larry said, “This is your last chance to turn back, kid. No one will hold it against you if you want to go into a different life.”

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