Friday, June 7, 2013


     When I got to Bill and Bud's, the lunch crowd had taken over. I asked the girl at the register for Lieutenant Davis, and she pointed to the rear; Tony was holding down a booth., seated next to a young man who had "banger" written all over him. He scooted away from me as I sat down.

     "Easy, Jerry....this is the guy I was telling you about," Tony said to the boy, "Jerry....helps me out, from time to time",  which probably meant that Jerry was an informant. "Jerry's with the Tenth Avenue Kings; you remember them, Wish?" I sure did, considering one of their lieutenants came close to putting an extra hole in my head-one more reason to move to Cleveland. They'd been a major force on the drug scene since the Eighties, task forces or not.

     We ordered, and tied into our lunches. After a while, Tony spoke. "Jerry called me last night, scared," he said, nudging the young man, "Tell Wish what you told me."

     Jerry said, "Last night, I was headed up Phillips, goin' past Jenny's Place, when this weird lookin' dude comes walkin' towards me, dressed all in black, with no tan to speak of, lookin' all pale and creepy. I was gonna walk around him, when he steps right in front of me, and calls me by name.
     'Jerry Micelli', dude says, 'tell your friends the Kings that they have twenty-four hours to stop selling drugs and terrorizing decent citizens, or face the wrath of the Legion of Night' This kinda pisses me off, so I go to shove the creep back, but it's like shovin' a wall.

     "Dude grabs me by the arm, and I can feel the heat of his touch through my shirtsleeve. I couldn't jerk away from him, and punchin' on him did no good, either. He lets go of me, and says, 'Tell them!' real loud, then....he just disappears, like smoke. I took off, before he changed his mind, and came back, or somethin'."

     I'm not sure what to make of this; it isn't Tony's style, to joke about something like this, but....
Then, I look at Tony, and Jerry....they're not joking.

     Like he's reading my mind, Tony says, " Wish your arm." Jerry rolls up the right sleeve of his t-shirt, and there, seared an angry red into the flesh, is a handprint, like a brand. An icy finger starts to trace the nape of my neck, like when I'd have to go after a skel in an abandoned building at night.

     To Jerry, I says, "what are the Kings planning to do?" "Nuthin'", he says, "they think they can handle these guys, but they can do it without me-I'm gonna go see my cousins in Florida , tonight."

     "You do that," Tony tells him, "and keep outta the mess down there; they're all over."
Jerry leaves, and Tony and I get to talking about the general opinion on this. The rank-and-file don't know exactly what to make of it, and the brass are, as usual, taking a "wait and see" attitude, which makes sense-the next move belongs to the Legion.

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