Returning home Luke found a message from Michael on his phone messages,
‘I got news for you. Come and see me this evening, we need to talk.’
‘What does Michael have in mind?’ Luke thought. ’Maybe he finally knows the name of the person who wants me dead. I’ll take Michael for dinner at the Sicilian bistro down from where he lives. After dinner, with a bottle of wine in front of us, we can talk.’
They enjoyed dinner at the bistro eating rice-meat balls cooked in the traditional Sicilian way and drunk some Hunter Valley Shiraz. Luke was in suspense as he waited nervously for Michael to explain the reason for the call.
After the waiter had cleared the table in front of them, Michael decided to get to the point.
“I heard that you were lucky last Saturday, Luke, but I’m sorry for poor Salvo. Finally, I got the information I promised you. Someone in business told me that Garrone was the one who set the contract and the ‘The Black Angels’, the bike gang, eagerly had took it. I warn you, they are a dangerous mob and they’ll try again. Those people do anything for money and they are still after your skin.”
“I thought Garrone was the one, even though I don’t see the reason behind it. He has Lola and should know I haven’t any interest in her. Did I tell you that she came to my house looking for sex? She acted like a whore but I refused to make love to her.”
“You don’t really know women, Luke. Women are unpredictable. You never know what they’ll do next. I tell you, never believe them. Distorting the truth for them is a natural thing and they spit lies as easily as moving the beads of the rosary. I bet she had invented an interesting story for Garrone, to have him believe it.”
“Well yes, you may be right there. I wish to talk sooner then later with him and clarify a few points on this argument.”
“This is the main reason I called you. Later tonight I have to meet someone in Bondi. I have a delivery to make and I want you to come with me.”
“You should know and I have told you before, Michael, I’m not interested in that kind of business even if I needed the money.”
“I know that, but let me finish. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. The person we are going to meet makes the difference.”
“Ok tell me more then.”
“Think how lucky you are. It’s Maso Garrone.”
“Thank you, Michael. But don’t you think my presence would damage your working relationship with him?”
“Not really. The Family is also a bit suspicious of him. This is our first delivery to him. The Family has checked him up and it appears that he has never dealt in this stuff before. They are suspicious that somebody else is behind this business, and I’ve been instructed to find it out. That’s why I need someone to look after my back. I thought of you, knowing you also want to see him to settle things. Being together we can protect each other, just in case… Of course, it’s your decision and if you don’t want to come, fine. I’ll ask The Family to arrange someone else to support me.”
“Ok Michael, you have convinced me. I know it’s risky but I must settle this business once and for all.”
“Fine, I was sure of you. I’ve a spare gun for you, just in case. It’s time to pick up the merchandise, and then we go to meet Garrone in Bondi.”
They reached Bondi in time. The building fronted the beach and the bright lights illuminated the promenade, where people still strolled around in the late hours. The night was calm and warm and, in the semidarkness, on the beach, a few couples rested on their towels busy in love effusions.
Michael carried a business port with the merchandise in. They walked over to the main door of the condominium where Michael rang the bottom flat bell. He spoke in the intercom and introduced himself, and then the gate opened.
In the hall they were met by a voice, directing them to an open door, “Come in and take a sit. I’ll get a drink and I’ll be with you.”
A middle-aged man with athletic looks was standing at the bar. He was barefoot and dressed only in a T shirt and casual pants.
The room was comfortable and elegant, furnished with a leather lounge and similar chairs. The bar was at the end of the room, with crystal glasses and bottles displayed on shelves illuminated by colored fluorescent tubes. Next to the bar a door opened into a dark corridor. The rest of the apartment was in darkness, creating the illusion that their host was the only person there, but all the same Michael sat watchfully.
Garrone returned with a large glass, half filled with ice cubes and scotch and sat in front of them in an armchair.
“I suppose you have the merchandise with you.” He asked.
. “Yes Mr.Garrone, and I suppose you have the cash ready. We can exchange our ports to finalize the deal.” Michael replied.
The ports changed hands at the bar were rapidly inspected. Their contents were evaluated, and they shook hands to confirm their approval.
“In the future always count on us. We are reliable with the goods, Mr. Garrone. You will find out we are the best.”
It was Luke now voicing up, “I like to introduce myself and I hope you don’t mind Mr. Garrone. I am Luke Caruso. Does this name ring a bell with you? Apparently we have some common connections.”
Garrone looked at Luke and his face whitened.
“There are several things to clarify, Mr. Garrone, including Lola.” Luke continued.
“Well yes…mmm, you really surprise me, but… Well… I admit that I have listened to Lola too much in the past. Somewhere I got things wrong, Luke. Well…mmm. If you know Lola you should understand me… It didn’t really come from me…”
“Ok fine. Then tell me why. Tell me also to which extent I have to thank you. There are three long years of my wonderful life lost, while I’ll been locked up in a cell. Does that concern you? I was innocent, Mr. Garrone. I had a lot of time there to think with pleasure of the man who deprived me of having a wife and to enjoy some good time. Do I have to tell you what I intended to do to him when the opportunity arose? No? You got enough imagination, I suppose…But thank you all the same, Mr. Garrone, and do you know that overnight, you and Lola have sunk my dreams of a beautiful life?”
“Luke, I was only partly responsible of your miseries. She has always manipulated things behind the stage. She always wants to appear in front of other people as the most innocent person. Tell me Luke, how much do you really know Lola?”
“One question to answer your question, Mr. Garrone; why did you put a new contract on me? Wasn’t it enough to kill my brother? Give me now a reason why you have to cripple my nephew, would you? Why have you done this? I warn you once and for ever. You may succeed in killing me, but know that my Family will make you pay for it. One way or the other you are a dead man, Mr. Garrone. Your days are numbered.”
‘I have nothing to do with the last contract. It came from someone else.”
“Be a man, Mr. Garrone, don’t be a coward and admit it. There is evidence directly pointing to you. Was that only because you wanted Lola so badly? Was that your only concern? You can have that whore till you die, but I have warned you already. Your end it’s coming sooner then expected. The Family will punish you for what you did to poor Salvo.”
“Honestly, it wasn’t me, Luke. She is the one who raised the contract. She only dreams of power and riches for herself. What is inside that case doesn’t belong to me. That coke is hers. That is her dream of richness and power. With that contract she wanted to punish you. She swore to kill you as the man who refused her seduction. Didn’t you know how revengeful she is? I told you before. Apparently, you don’t know the real Lola well.”
It was then that Lola, scantly dressed, wearing only underwear, appeared from the corridor. She was in a fury. She had hidden in the dark, all the time, behind the door and listened to the conversation. A gun was in her hand and a homicidal look was in her eyes. Finally, she showed the real Lola, the dangerous wild cat that she had always been.
She glanced at Garrone, and spat in his direction.
“You have betrayed me, Garrone. You have mercilessly sold me out tonight, without my consent. You deserve to pay for it.”
She raised the gun and shot him. The bullet penetrated his liver. He bent down and heavily fell into the chair. With an effort he moved his hand behind the cushion, where previously he had hidden a gun.
He raised his arm and blindly shot the six bullets in the cartridge. Lola was hit, and fell on the floor, with five bullets in her, but she was still conscious.
She rattled off, “You bastard…”
There was energy enough in her to shoot three more bullets in Garrone’s direction. An agonizing rattle exited his throat. No one could have possibly saved him.
Unexpectedly it was the conclusion of the act.
Luke and Michael were left with no other alternative but to quickly leave the apartment before the police arrived. There was no evidence to incriminate them.
On the way out, a weak voice stopped them.
“Help me Luke, have mercy on me.”
“I cannot Lola. You have signed your destiny. You wanted too much and finished with nothing. But yes, were you looking for power to come from that powder? I can help you there.”
He went to the bar, and took a plastic bag from the port. Punched a hole in it, and returned to Lola.
“Taste how sweet is the glory you were looking for, it’s all yours, Lola.”
The white powdered coke spilled from the bag and coated her body and mixed with her blood and saliva. There was a weak final dying rattle from her.
Silently, Luke and Michael left the room. All was over and all the debts and contracts were finally paid out.