Fedelta 2: A Bad Day At The Office

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“Hey Cassie, ya alright?” Jimmy asked softly.  When he got no response, it concerned him.  That’s when he really started to fight in order to free himself.  Using the prong in his belt, he started to slowly began to feel for the pins in the lock.  One by agonizing one, they clicked until the shackle popped at the top of the lock.  It was a miracle, he slid out from under his chains and made his way to Cassie.  She was bleeding from the head and was starting to make gurgling sounds as if she was aspirating on her own blood.  It didn’t seem to him that she was going to make it to Destiny’s public execution party.  He had to get help but in order to do that, he was going to have to leave.  Jimmy didn’t have any doubt in his mind that he could pull it off but he didn’t know if she would be alive when he came back?  Fate didn’t hand him a good hand in this situation but he knew he had to get out, so he began to prepare himself for escape.

Taking his belt he wrapped it around his hand, placing his middle finger through the metal buckle.  It was now a crude set of brass knuckles.  He saw inmates do this kind of stuff in prisons.  To even the odds, he took Cassie’s belt too and connected the lock to the buckle.  He could now use it like a pair of nunchucks.  He was no Bruce Lee but he knew how to inflict damage with his new makeshift weapons.  He pitied whoever he hit, because he was gonna do damage.  He already began coming up with various scenarios in his head as to how this was going to go down.  As he mustered up the courage to head off to war, he wondered if he lost, would they ever find his body?

Slowly, he crept up the basement and made it to the door, which was unlocked.  Destiny and Danny must of forgot to lock it and that was mistake number one.  Quietly, he peeked his head out of the door, and looked up and down the hallway.  There was nobody around, was this a setup?  He never knew the mob to be so messy, when they kidnapped someone, they usually killed them immediately.  There was little mercy and little tolerance for showboating.  He knew that once the other families heard about Danny’s plan there would be consequences, the old school didn’t like attention.  And they didn’t tolerate soldiers crossing the line and killing their bosses and installing themselves as king.  Was this why Danny was riding with such a small crew?  It didn’t matter Jimmy told himself, he had to get through this alive and well enough to make it back home.  Stealthy, he emerged from the door and closed it quietly behind him.  He saw a bright light in the north part of the building, avoiding it, he went south.  He didn’t want any confrontation if possible.  When he got to the end of the hall, he stood still with his knucks ready but again there was no one to be found.  What the hell was going on he thought to himself?

Proceeding into the kitchen he found himself alone and figured the staff of the bistro were sent home while Boris and Natasha executed their evil plan.  Seeing a door, Jimmy bolted towards it and spent a good thirty seconds unlocking the latches and chains.  Within in moments he was outside and he took off southbound towards a tiny alleyway.  Picking up the pace, he got further and further until he almost got to the corner, when a fat guy emerged from nowhere.  Jimmy knew he had to get the drop first before the guy knew what was going on so he didn’t break his stride and went straight at the guy.  When he was at arm’s length, Jimmy saw the guy reach into his waistband, so lunged himself at the guy, hitting him with his belt.  With all the might he could muster he directed the belt, lock and all at the guy’s face.  The surprise attack had the guy flat on his behind and Jimmy jumped on top of him trying to wrestled the gun out of his hand.  It was fast and brutal, Jimmy had no mercy on the poor bastard.  He had him beaten within seconds and his reward was a shiny new gun.  Looking around, he saw no one in sight except a homeless lady digging through the dumpster at the corner.  Casually as he could, Jimmy crossed the street all the while keeping his eyes peeled for anymore Alunni surprises.

With his heart racing, and the adrenaline still flowing Jimmy found the nearest public space which was a furniture store.  There, he startled the cashier who thought the store was being robbed.  He had to explain that he was a cop and needed to use the phone, handing over her cell, she threw it on the counter, still not trusting his story.  When she saw he called 911, her opinion changed.  He asked to be transferred to the department’s dispatch and gave the code words: Tom & Jerry.  Immediately, he was patched through to one of the local dispatchers and when she answered, Jimmy requested to be put through to his supervisor and gave another code word: Argos.  Within seconds he was on the phone with Agent Cohen who was at the office seeing over the manhunt.

“This better be good, I’m in the middle of an impor..”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re busy!”

“Agent Schiavone?”

“Glad you noticed,”

“Where the hell are you?  We’ve been…”  Before Cohen could get the rest of the sentence out, Jimmy began talking over him, “Never mind, I was captured by the Alunnis with Fenetti.”
“What?!?” exclaimed Cohen.

“Bring backup to Matteo’s Bar & Bistro and bring a bus.”

“Are you hurt?”

“No, but Fenetti is.”

“Alright, I’ll be there in a..”
At that point Jimmy just hung up, he had neither the time, nor the patience, to deal with Cohen.  He had been through enough without having to play nice with someone he couldn’t respect.  For Jimmy this was just another bad day at the office and the future held no promise that it would get any better.

Fedelta 2: The Devil Wears Prada

Stopping in his tracks, he recognized the voice, “Fenetti, is that you?”

Looking over her shoulder, Cassandra glared at Jimmy and moaned again, “Shiiit!”

“Nice to see ya too, bitch!”

“Fuck off!” she yelled as the room swirled around her.

“Not fucking with you period,”  Jimmy said as he continued trying to pick his lock.

“What the hell is going on?” she demanded to know.

“We’re about to be butchered because of you,” he answered her.

“I didn’t have anything to do with this!” she exclaimed.

“If you weren’t such a shady bitch, me and Amato wouldn’t have been running all over this town looking for your dank ass.”

“Keep talking troll and I’ll shove my foot straight up your ass.”

“Bring it Princess!”

“Oh the language!” A loud nasaly voice said.  Shocked, they both looked up and heard footsteps coming down the basement steps.

Though her instincts told her to run and hide, Cassie didn’t.  Instead she awkwardly stood up to meet her fate as Jimmy could only look on.  Slowly from the staircase emerged none other than Destiny Van Holsten, Stephano’s ex wife.  The sight of her made Cassie sick to her stomach and she began to feel just as bad she did before.  Nonetheless she fought the urge to not tremble, Cassie would not allow this woman the satisfaction of intimidating her.  If this was the end, then she was determined to die with a little dignity.

Walking towards Cassie, Destiny’s black and white sheath dress made her look terribly out of place in a situation like this.  Behind her, was her new benefactor/boyfriend, Danny Marchesi. Immediately Cassie demanded to know, “What the hell is this?”

“A celebration silly, tonight we celebrate the life of Stephano Rimaldi while his fiance tragically disappears.”  Destiny answered.

“Tisk, tisk, you were always irresponsible Cassandra,” Danny snickered, “But not showing up to your own fiance’s wake, that’s disappointing.”

Being mocked by dumb and dumber made Cassie seethe and she lunged at Destiny but luckily for her, Danny grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back just a few feet out of range from Destiny.  That didn’t stop Cassie from spitting on her, which is right when she felt a carefully manicured hand slapping her across the face.  Like a sick threesome, the two got off on torturing Cassie knowing that her beloved could do nothing.  As Cassie was restrained by zip ties and held by her hair, Danny looked over at Jimmy and said, “It’s gotta hurt to see the one you risked everything for getting gutted.”  It was then Jimmy realized they thought he was Agent Amato, knowing there was a way to save Cassie, he said, “I think you got this all twisted.  I ain’t her boyfriend.”

Putting her pimp hand down, Destiny walked over to Jimmy and looked really hard at him.  “Holy shit, Danny, you got the wrong guy!”

“Don’t listen to him, he’ll say anything to trick us.”

“No, he’s not the guy I saw in the newspapers.  He wasn’t this small.”

“Hey, who the hell you callin’ small, Barbie?”

“Oh shut up, Frodo!” Destiny said with disdain.

“Damn it!  I knew I should’ve checked before we pounced,” Danny lamented, “At least we got her,” he said yanking again on Cassie’s hair.

“Yeah, two outta three ain’t bad, but still it would’ve been nice to kill her while he watched.  The fact that he’s a fed just makes it yummy.”  She said laughing like a psychopath.

Taking his gun out of his waistband, Danny put the barrel to Cassie’s head and looked at Destiny, “You want the honor?”

Taking the gun from him, Destiny surprised everyone when she pistol whipped Cassie instead.  “Wish I could do it now, but she’s the entertainment.”  Lifting up Casssie’s head with her index finger, she explained, “We’re inviting everyone here tonight to watch the great Cassandra Fenetti get capped in the face.  We’re even live streaming it on social media.”  As Cassie’s face began to bruise, Destiny added insult to injury, “I would tell you to clean up and get yourself together but what would be the point?”  As soon as those words left her mouth, Cassie headbutted her, knocking Destiny right on her ass.  Though he didn’t mean to, Jimmy snickered and had to conceal his amusement at the events unfolding.

It was no laughing matter however when Danny unleashed several punches to Cassie’s face.  Unlike Destiny though, Cassie continued to stand upright and took the punishment. Outraged, Destiny kicked Cassie in the knee all the while shrieking, “You think we’re playing?”  As Cassie grunted in pain, she was down to one knee that’s when Danny went in for the final blow punching her in the temple.  Cassie collapsed in a heap on the floor still restrained and remarkably quiet for someone getting the stuffing beat out of her.  Disturbed by what he was seeing Jimmy yelled, “Hey!  You made your point, back the fuck off!”  This enraged Danny who wasn’t done dolling out punishment.  He took the gun off the floor and was stopped by Destiny who said, “No!  He could be a bargaining chip.” Stroking Danny’s face, she explained, “He’ll be useless dead.”

Looking back at Cassie, who was unconscious Destiny growled, “Fenetti, on the other hand is dead.”

Signaling him, while she fixed her messy hair, Destiny said, “Come on, we got a party to plan.”  Relieved that it was over, Jimmy watched as they slithered up the stairs and back to whatever pit they crawled out of.

Fedelta 2: Captured

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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.

Fedelta 2: Into The Night

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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.

When You’re The Killer: A Revelation On Writer’s Block

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In the past year I’ve been suffering from writers block when it came to my novel Miss Mary Mack and I couldn’t understand why?  I mean I could see the story clearly but I had trouble coming up with the right words.  Every scene was a struggle, which led to me abandoning the story several times.  Then one day I was having a discussion with a friend who was struggling with her teenage daughter while she came to the realization that their problems were rooted in the fact that they were both so similar.  If that isn’t the ultimate form of irony then I don’t know what is?  However as my writer’s block continued, I read several articles on why authors write themselves into their work and a shocking conclusion was reached: I was Miss Mary!!!

No, I don’t go around murdering people, (although those thoughts do pop up in my head from time to time) I took pieces of my life and sprinkled them throughout the story.  Miss Mary was in fact physically modeled after my first grade principal Miss Murray, who wore dark clothing that covered her body from head to toe.  She also was a disciplinarian which made her a terrifying figure in the first grade.  However she wasn’t evil, just tough.

I also had a fourth grade bus driver by the name of Miss Johnson who was sometimes called, Miss MaryShe didn’t really like driving a bus and insisted we all ride in silence.  Weird, huh?

Then there’s me, I’m not too fond of children, I mean don’t hate them, I just prefer not to be around them.  P.S. I come from a long line of women who were reluctant mothers.  So I was able to draw on that when it came time to summon the callousness required for a serial killer.  It was also then I realized that I was trying to make sense of my past.  And guess what?  Miss Mary is the perfect vehicle for that, I can run loose and do as much damage without really affecting anyone in the real world.  The big plus is that I can kill and not wind up in prison.  I guess this is what George R.R. Martin feels like every time he sits down at his computer.  LOL!

Okay, Get To The Point!

When your work hits too close to home, it can be difficult to navigate through the story.  If you have a real unresolved conflict in your own life, it may be near impossible to resolve the one in your story because you can’t imagine your characters finding peace.  You know, the apology that never came, the relationship that failed, or the never ending dysfunction of a family, can really damage your perception and almost make you blind to the obvious.  I know, I had this problem and the only way to get through it was to think my way logically.  I had to know what readers or in this case society expected from this book.  I had to be God and dole out punishment and correct injustices.  This doesn’t always happen in real life.  I also sometimes have to step back and let my characters go their own way.  For example, would a man care about an argument he had with his wife as he fought space aliens?  Probably not.  You have to let your characters be who they are and come to their own conclusions.  Once I did that, their world unfolded and things began making sense again.

A Final Thought

As with most things in life, writing isn’t about you.  Sure you can create worlds and characters but once you do so, they start to develop their own reality.  Try as you may, you are not of their world and vice versa.  Only a piece of you will live on in your work, but the rest of you gets to move on and make peace with the reality that is meant to be.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Miss Mary Mack: My Latest Um…Novel?

Miss Mary Mack Cereal Authors

 

The sound of little girls giggling and playing a hand clapping game could be heard all the way up to Old Man Oscar’s porch: “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack…All dressed in black, black, black….She wore her buttons all down her back, back, back…”

“Whacha know ‘bout Miss Mary?” said the old man rocking while the children clapped along. Looking at him one of the little girls answered, “It’s just a song, there’s no Miss Mary!”

“Girl hush! I tell y’all it’s true, there was a Miss Mary and she used to run that ol’ orphanage near LaGrange road.”

Thinking these were just the ramblings of an old man, the girls continued to play on. Meanwhile a skeptical little boy asked, “Oh yeah, how come I ain’t never heard of no Miss Mary?” Seeing a little bit of himself in the boy, the old man answered, “Befo’ yo time boy.” As he slowly rocked back and forth in his chair, the memories began flooding back. Having caught their attention the children came closer to the porch. Noticing he had an audience, the old man took a knife to a scar on his arm and pointed, “You see that there, those is boins (burns) I got fo eating befo’ sayin’ Grace. She grabbed a lit candle stick and just pressed it into my arm like it whattin nuthin’.” The children gasped in horror and now that the old man had their undivided attention, he felt obligated to finish what he had started.

Chocking up as he remembered the dust from old dirt road that led up to the ancient manor. Old man Oscar pulled on his collar feeling the blazing Alabama sun as he recalled the hard labor he was forced to do for the demanding matron, Miss Mary. Finding it hard to breathe, he began to take deep breaths as his hands shook, from the trauma at the hands of that unforgiving serpent. Hearing the sound of her leather strap as it whipped in the air before making contact with his skin, he had no choice but to take another sip of gin from his flask so he wouldn’t lose his composure in front of the children who were now demanding to know who this Miss Mary was.

Unlike most people old Man Oscar, considered the memory loss that old age bestowed upon him a blessing for a hard and sorrowful life. He had lost so many friends, and family over his 70 years, but it seemed God himself would not allow Oscar to completely forget Miss Mary, so reluctantly, he began the tale…

He was around 8 years old when his mother brought him to the orphanage ran by the First Apostle Church of Morecliff Hills. As she led him up the stairs Oscar’s mother promised, “Now, don’t fret I’ll be back for ya. This is only for a little while.” When they reached the top of the final step of the porch, she hugged him. Holding on tightly Oscar pulled on her blue cotton shawl, tears streamed down his mother’s eyes as she instructed him, “Now you be good for Miss Mary, she’s gonna take care of ya.” As on cue, a woman appeared from the porch door, as though summoned by all the sadness.  Clad in a black dress covering all her flesh, the woman looked like a ghost emerging from the shadows. Peering down at Oscar she asked, “The people ‘roun here call me Miss Mary, what’s your name?” as though she didn’t already know. What little Oscar didn’t understand was that this arrangement had been in the works for almost a year. Though Oscar’s mother promised to be back, Miss Mary knew she wouldn’t, most parents never returned. A few guilty ones might write a few letters but eventually, all contact would cease. This was why Miss Mary felt it was important to build a rapport with the children in the beginning to make the transition easier so she smiled and spoke sweetly to the young boy to keep him calm as his mother walked out of his life.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Fedelta Parte 28: All Hail Cassandra Fenetti!

Fedelta Part 28
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*Warning Language*

As Cassie poured the champagne, there was a knock at the door.  Knowing who it was she yelled, “It’s open!”  Instead of Stephano, several armed bodyguards entered the building and immediately began a security sweep of the place.  Turning over several tables, Cassie shouted, “Hey, no breaking stuff!”  One of the goons smiled at her and proceeded to open the ladies restroom door and peeked inside for any ambushes.  As they swept the entire room, they went back to the entrance and gave the all safe signal.  Within seconds, Stephano appeared with a huge grin on his face, “Ad victorem ire spolia!” (To the victor go the spoils) he said feeling like Julius Cesar.  With his coat draped on his shoulders, he looked like a great Roman conqueror as he slowly approached Cassie.  Accepting the glass of champagne she offered, he declared, “It went smooth as silk.  They didn’t even so much as talk shit to us, let alone put up a fight.”

“Good.” Cassie answered raising her glass.

As their champagne flutes clanked, Stephano asked, “Now it’s confession time, how did you know about the gas stations?”

Figuring it was time to come clean, she answered, “My father ran the gas stations, and when he died, my brother took them over.  The Cosimos replaced him with a half-assed hood.”

“God, you’re ruthless.” Stephano said admiring her darker side.

“We’re not done yet, the Cosimos will be back and when they regroup, they’ll throw everything they got at us.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll handle the dog fights.” He said reassuring her.  As he did, he made a gesture to one of his men who immediately left the room and returned with a large black, Hermes Birkin bag.  Handing it to her, he said, “As per our agreement.”  Looking inside, Cassie saw several stacks of cash neatly piled inside.  “You remembered.” She said rather impressed by the $10,000 handbag.

“I remembered, I remember a lot of things.” He said caressing her cheek.

Smiling up at him, she asked, “What about Destiny?”

“She ain’t gotta know.”

“But she will, when I tell her.  You know me, Stephano, I don’t play second to no one.”

“Stop bustin’ my balls, I’m doing the best I can here.”

“Alright, but I’ll only accept this for so long.  I’m not a patient woman.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said in a murmur.  As he leaned in to kiss her, a scuffle broke off, outside.  The sounds of cursing and loud thuds could be heard as Amato and Jimmy fought their way into the room.  With their guns drawn, they entered through the door as Stephano’s security team tried to pin them down.  Waving his hand in the air, Stephano said, “Calm down everybody, what’s the matter here?” as though he didn’t know.

This was Stephano’s big moment and upon seeing him, Amato realized he was just a pawn in a bigger scheme.  Infuriated, he seriously contemplated blowing Stephano’s head off right there and then.  As his hands shook, Cassie immediately stood between the two men and said, “You can’t, you’ve come too far to blow this now.  Let us do what we gotta do.”  Bewildered Amato looked at her and asked, “You can’t be serious?”  And through a broken heart broke, Cassie answered, “Do you want this to be over or not?  With the Cosimos gone, we’ll both be free.  No more running and no more hiding.  I know it sounds like a dream, but we’re close now.  Just let me go.”

Amato had to force his fingers to slowly unwrap themselves from the trigger.  As he did, Stephano’s men backed off and rallied around their boss.  Walking out the door, Cassie didn’t look back, and as Stephano followed her lead, he looked at Amato and adding insult to injury he mocked, “How did you think this was gonna end?”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 27: Snitches

Fedelta Part 27
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Warning: Language

All of the old hat detectives delighted in reviving their alter egos from yesteryear, “Hey you mutha fuckas ready to roll?” Jimmy yelled from the end of the hall.  “Aihhh, keep your toupee on!” Amato yelled at Jimmy.  As the others at the bar laughed at the exchange, Cassie kept checking her phone.  She got a call from her ex Stephano, over an hour ago, but couldn’t answer it without looking suspicious.  She already knew that Amato would figure things out eventually but how long that took would all depend on her ability to play it cool.  She had to make good on this one deal with Stephano because it could change her life.  As Cassie watched the boys chum it up, she was desperately waiting for them to just leave.  Finally her prayers were answered when the guys started filing out of the room, and as the door slammed behind them, she fumbled around in her purse until she found her phone.  Looking at the screen, Cassie saw that Stephano left a text that read, “Location, location, location.” With that text was a pic of an empty parking lot and an unguarded gas station.  Her heart leapt for joy, it was starting to look like she had a business partner. Getting up from her chair, she texted her location and invited him to the VFW.

There was no way Amato and Jimmy’s crew of grumpy old men were going to be able to pull this off without a little help.  Okay, a lot of help.  She hoped it wouldn’t come to this but it looked like her worst fears were about to come to fruition.  She would have to watch Amato get killed, or be killed herself.  Looking at their stupid corkboard, Cassie ran her hands over the pictures and chuckled.  She knew it would never be enough, because once you learned how the play the game was played, the rules would change.  And she could sense change in the air, it was a sudden decision but she had to seize the moment.  Cassie would return, back into the fold and take what had always eluded her father and brother—kingship.  She knew Stephano could get her that, and she had to try for everybody’s sake.

From behind the bar, she took out two Champaign flutes and borrowed a very expensive bottle of Dom Périgon Rosé.  She would pay Jimmy back later, today, she had a lot to celebrate, her rebirth and the Cosimo’s funeral.  She convinced herself this was the best for everyone, Amato would get what he wanted, and she would get off the hook, so it was win-win.  Putting the Champaign on ice, she smiled as she grabbed the glasses and put them on the counter of the bar.  This felt right, no longer would she be at the behest of Amato or the FBI and now she would have a new family, the Alunnis.  Once the money started pouring in, Stephano would make his move and she would help him rule over the entire family.  This was her chance to reclaim her family’s honor and to lead the next generation into a new era.  First however, Amato and Jimmy had to play their parts.

As Cassie planned her next move, Amato and his crew were parked down the street from Clark’s gas station waiting on Caruso to come back with the intel.  Info had trickled in via social media in the form of pictures and videos which he was sure to encode with hashtags and phrases like, #CarusosDayOut #OpReCon to be sure that the threads were vague and understood only by those it was meant for.

Things were going great and when Caruso returned to the surveillance van, Amato was relieved that the first part of their operation was done.  “I can’t believe how little security there was!” exclaimed Jimmy as he went through photo after photo of empty rooms accessed by Caruso.  “They’re getting very sloppy.” Amato answered back, “This would’ve never happened on Frank Fenetti’s watch.”  Surprised, Jimmy responded, “It sounds like you admire the rat bastard.”

“No, but I do admire a tightly run ship.” Amato replied.

“Well, we got what we came for maybe we should go back to base an…”

Amato cut him off and said, “No, we need to move now before they have time to redeploy.”

Thrilled by the response, Jimmy said, “Okay, we can throw down today but we need backup.”

“Let’s roll.” Amato said as he exited the shabby, white van.

Walking up the street to his car, an elderly woman approached him on the sidewalk and said, “Hey I know you, you’re the guy from T.V..” she said.

Confused and taken aback, Amato said, “I think you have me mistaken for someone else.”

“No, you were the cop.  The double-crosser!”

Laughing nervously, he replied, “Ma’am you got the wrong guy.”

That’s when another older woman who was sitting on a porch next door threw a glass jar at him and yelled, “Rat!”

Dodging out of the way, the glass jar shattered all over the sidewalk but Amato kept his cool and remained silent even though his cover had been blown.  Getting on his cell he called Jimmy and said, “Get the hell outta here, we’ve been made.”  As he heard the van start, he made it safely to his car, when a black SUV pulled up blocking the road ahead, trapping them all.  Bewildered, Amato stared in disbelief as four heavily armed men popped out of the SUV and proceeded to enter the gas station.  “Son of a bitch!” he muttered to himself.

“What the hell is goin’ on?” yelled Jimmy still on the speakerphone.

“I don’t know.” Amato answered.  However deep down he had a feeling Cassie had something to do with it but how, he didn’t know.  Scrambling to get inside the car, he started the ignition, and put the car in reverse, then Amato ordered, “Back to base boys.”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 26: Checking Out

Fedelta Part 26
Image via Pexels

*Warning: Language*

It was all being set up, Jimmy and his crew were preparing to play supporting roles to Amato’s takeover of Clark’s gas station on 105th.  They surveillanced the station for the entire day coming back with photos of both the outside and inside of the building.  Jimmy pinned them to a corkboard next to the bar and as he finished, another group of his boys came in with the names and addresses of the men employed by the gas station.  Jimmy’s right hand man, began running these name through the PNC (Police National Computer) and even the NNCP (National Name Check Program) to see who they were.  As expect, most of them were petty criminals while a few were internationally known for drug dealing.  So they knew what they were dealing with now, a drug depository for the city.

Amato and the guys hypothesized that the drugs were imported from Sicily and flown into New York where some airport employee, would lose the cargo.  The drugs would most likely be taken by truck to the gas station and the dope would be dropped off at the local distributor.  Then the associates (drug dealers), would come by in droves all day long in vans, trucks and SUVs under the guise of filling their tanks.  “They gotta be making millions, easy!” Jimmy said astonished.  Amato looked at one of Jimmy’s men, a shady looking character wearing a black leather coat and aviator sunglasses.  He looked like a hood and Amato was going to us it to their advantage.  “Hey you, Sticks!” he said, referring to the man’s spiky hair.  “What’s your name?”

“Caruso, Enzo Caruso,” he answered standing up from his chair.

“I want you to visit our friendly little gas station and see if you find anything unusual.”

Caruso looked at Jimmy and he gave Caruso a nod in approval.  The loyalty these guys showed towards Jimmy surprised Amato.  In his unit, loyalty only came if it didn’t conflict with one’s own ambition.  He remembered what Cassie said about, being the best and it angered him.  He had spent his whole career going above and beyond and for what, to have his colleagues stab him in the back?  Yes, he had burned her, and he did it intentionally because he believed it was for the greater good.  He hoped she would see that one day but it was unlikely.  Recalling all that Fedelta crap she talked about, Cassie was most likely going to the grave with a chip on her shoulder.  Besides, vendettas were more fun than forgiveness, and for some people it even gave their lives a purpose.

Looking over at Caruso as he was being wired, Amato saw the cold stare in the young man’s eyes and it always frightened him to see it on someone’s face.  It meant they were mentally checking out.  As an undercover, you had to take all of your normal thoughts and compartmentalize them.  Caruso would no longer be needing them when he went into Super Cop mode.  Thinking as both prey and predator, Caruso would have to walk a fine line all the while looking natural.

“Brings back memories doesn’t it?”  Jimmy asked seeing the longing in Amato’s eyes.  “Yeah, don’t envy the fucker though.”

“Sure you do,” Jimmy said cracking a smile.  “And if you could, you would do it yourself.”

“Guilty,” Amato confessed.

“A good agent never leaves anything to chance, not unless he wants to end up iced in a dumpster.”

“Why are you here Jimmy?”

“The same reason you are,” Jimmy answered.

“Nah, that’s not what I mean, it seems like you want something more and I’m not sure this operation is going to give that to you.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I want to clear my name and clean up the department but you seem to need absolution.  Trust me, there’s no forgiveness in our game.”

Insulted by his psycho analysis, Jimmy coldly replied, “You got it all wrong brotha.  I don’t do this because I got sumthin’ to prove, I do it because it’s all I got!  I’ve been spat on, stabbed, punched and kicked…”

“We’ve all been!” Amato interrupted.  “And at the end of the day, sometimes it don’t mean shit.”

The room went silent, and all eyes were on Amato.  Jimmy got in his face and said, “Maybe it don’t mean nuttin’ to you, but it always means something to me.  This job is my life!  It’s my God damn’ religion!”  Tossing his drink at the wall, he yelled “If you ain’t got the balls anymore, maybe you should hide under that fuckin’ bridge with you mentor and powder your pussies!”

Not intimidated, Amato calmly asked again, “Answer the question Jimmy, what are you getting out of this?”

“I’m here because I hate every last single one of ‘em and I want to watch ‘em rot in hell for everything they put me and my boys through!  I want to watch them eat shit and die!  What does it matter to you anyhow?”

“Fedelta.” Amato answered.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“Loyalty, Cassie, was telling me about it…. It’s the one advantage the Cosimos have over us. Speaking of that, where is she?”

“She took off for a smoke and hasn’t been back.”  said one of Jimmy’s men.  “Want me to go look for her?” the guy asked.

“Nah, it’s good.” Amato said rather nonchalantly.  However, it wasn’t all good, he knew she was up to something but he had to play it cool.  Meanwhile Jimmy was still holding his head as he tried to calm down so Amato decided to back off lest Mt. Jimmy erupt again.

Looking over at Caruso, Jimmy yelled, “Caruso, get the fuck outta here already!”

However before Agent Caruso left, Jimmy’s crew hooked him up with a body cam and gave him a smart phone to collect intel.  As Caruso was leaving, Cassie was entering the building.  Amato looked at her really hard as she made her way confidently across the room, when she smiled at him, he knew something had changed.  Disappointed, he smiled right back at her then said, “Hey, welcome back!”  When she came within range he hugged her tight and said, “It’s just like old times,” and he meant that in more ways than one.

Author Bio:

Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 25: Forget Me Not

Fedelta Part 25
Image via Pixabay

Cassie waited impatiently in the corner booth of Carmelita’s for Stephano.  Tapping her red nails on the table’s black, laminate veneer, she wondered what was the angle?  Either he had talked to his boss, or he didn’t want his wife Destiny, hearing what he had to say.  Perhaps it was a little of both?  Turning her head towards the window, she watched people passing by the restaurant, when finally she saw him.  Dressed in a long wool coat,  with his face barely peeking out from his black fedora was Stephano Rimaldi.  Flanked by his two bodyguards, he walked into the restaurant and was greeted instantly by a server who took his coat and hat then, carefully placed them on the coat rack in the corner.  Stephano looked over his should at one of his men and without fumbling, the man pulled out a fifty dollar bill and tipped the server.  Having made his day, the server smiled and said, “If you need anything Mr. Rimaldi, just give me a holler.”

“Just get me my usual.” Stephano replied.  Then without a word the young man ran off to the back to get his order.  Meanwhile Cassie, watched his entre and was not impressed at all.  Quietly ignoring him, she continued to sip her caramel macchiato, and only when he sat down did she even bother looking up.  Placing her cup on the saucer Cassie asked, “Why the change of heart Stephano?”  Shrugging his shoulders he answered, “Guess I’m just sentimental.”  She could see he was lying.  His boss got to him.

Playing the game, Cassie pretended to be sentimental too.  She forced her facial features from resting bitch face, to a more softer, gentler, look.  “We did have some good times back in the day,” she sighed as she looked around the room.  Smiling at her Stephano said, “Yeah, what I wouldn’t do for simpler times.”

“Simple?  I was the one who had to sneak around my father’s house like a crook.”

“Hey my parents weren’t so keen on you either.  I had to keep a lot of secrets from my father too.”
Intrigued Cassie asked, “Why am I just hearing about this?”

“Cuz, it didn’t matter to me, I would’ve walk on hot coals just to see you.”

“I was crazy about you too, ya know.”

“So what the hell happened to us?” Stephano asked.

“John happened that’s what.” Cassie said in an accusatory manner.

An uncomfortable silence lingered over them as the room buzzed with activity all around them.

Playing it safe, Cassie stuck to her original plan and just pitched the deal.  “The Cosimos are getting sloppy and right now a few of their gas stations are unprotected.  It would be a shame if someone absconded with those properties.”

“Okay, I’m listening,” he answered.

“Hey, I don’t anything for free.”

Laughing Stephano remarked, “I remember!  So what’s this gonna cost me?”

“40% of the loot.”

“That’s steep!”

“I know a guy who’s interested in selling some info,”  Cassie said.

“What kind of info?”

“Blue prints, names, and shifts of the soldiers in charge.”

“You’re talking about a takeover, that could start a war.” Stephano said rather uncomfortable.

“Yeah, it could but if the right person did the takeover, there’d be no worries.”

“God I miss you Cassandra but I don’t trust you.  Not anymore.  You’ve been talking to that FBI stronzo (asshole) and if you recall, that ruined both our lives.”

“Both of us?  As I recall you married a model and got a nice cushy, brownstone in Brooklyn while I was the one with the bullet in her head.”

“Yeah, and it didn’t teach you anything.”  He said looking over his shoulder when he heard the sound of cups clanking.  As the server approached the table, Stephano smiled and accepted his overpriced Illycaffè, placing it on the table in front of him.

“Anything else?”  The server asked.

“No, I’m good.” Stephano answered.  When the server left, Stephano leaned in, looking Cassie right in the eye and said, “If you were smart, you’d stop worrying about business and start…”

“What, get back in line?  Too late for that ain’t it?”  Cassie said then chuckled a bit.
“Well I hate to see anything else happen to you Cassandra.” Stephano warned her.

“How sweet,” Cassie said coldly.  Looking at the blank expression on her face, sensing her tone had changed from curiosity to heartless, Stephano asked, “Jesus, what happened to you?”

“A lot.” She said taking another sip of her macchiato.  “You know as I lay dying on the floor, I had a revelation.  I realized I had to trade in my tiara for the crown.”

Laughing rather nervously, Stephano said, “Come on, you’re talking crazy.”  When she didn’t react, he became intrigued, “So what, you’ve been playin’ everybody?”

“Are you in?” she insisted.

He sat in silence and began gulping his fancy coffee drink while Cassie looked on in anticipation.  “Okay, Meryl Streep, I’m in but if anything goes sideways, you’re gonna wished you’d bled out on Mira’s (Café) floor.”

So it was set, Cassie had an out but now she had to make plans for an ugly showdown.  Getting up from her seat, she walked out of the restaurant a free woman but for how long?  Flagging a cab down, she began the journey back home to her stronzo, Amato.

 

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.