This one isn’t part of any challenge. This week, Kate Loveton posted and awesome story about an eviction – make sure you read it here! I found the story so good that I wanted to punch the antagonist right in the kidneys…and realized that, being a fictional character, that’d be kind of hard. So it inspired me to wreck a little fictional justice at the hands of my favorite thug, Pinky Black.
“Johnny, I need your help. Ma needs your help.”
I looked across at the man that was talking to my boss, Johnny the Gent, and saw the look of worry on his face. His eyes flitted nervously from the Gent, who sat in a nice, big, comfy leather chair, to me. Big, burly. Angry looking. I’m sure it made me look more intimidating. It was meant to. Johnny steepled his fingers, and breathed in deeply through his nose.
“What I don’t understand, Henry, is how things got this far in the first place,” Johnny said after a moment’s consideration. “You dad, Mr. Pauley, he passed, what, three, four months ago?”
Henry nodded, his hands worrying themselves together.
“So how is it that your mother, dear old Mrs. Pauley, hasn’t paid her rent in three months?”
Henry swallowed, hard.
“I…I guess it’s just not something she ever thought about, Johnny. Pa always took care of those things…”
Johnny’s hand slammed down on the rich, mahogany wood desk in front of him. Henry jumped. I didn’t flinch, didn’t even blink.
“You knew your father took care of these things, and not you, nor one of your five brothers bothered to step in and check on it?”
Johnny was pissed. Family…family was about the most important thing in the world to the Gent. Disrespecting one’s family was one of the quickest ways to get on his bad side. And his bad side was enforced by thugs, like me. I guess it was because Johnny never had a family, really. He was an orphan, and came up through the system a hard, bitter man. But family…family was his soft spot. And his sore spot.
“I…I…I…” Henry stammered, but Johnny waved him to silence. The Gent reached up, rubbed the bridge of his nose, then sighed.
“Who’d you say the slumlord is that runs her tenement?”
“J-Jamison. Jacob Jamison.”
Johnny nodded. Jamison was a sleazebag, sure. He was also competition. He’d edged Johnny out of some prime turf, and Johnny didn’t forget things like that. He’d never had a legitimate reason to lay down the rough on the guy. Till now.
“Something like this, Henry…it’s a big thing. I mean, it’s your ma’s home, right? She don’t know anything but, right?”
“Ok. I’m going to make this right. Not for you, Henry, you miserable shit. But for your Ma. And then, you’re going to owe me. You and your brothers. You understand that? This is an open ended favor, Henry. You ask of me a great thing. I may ask great things of you in return.”
Henry’s eyes shot down to the floor. This was no small thing Johnny was asking. If Henry agreed, he’d be owned. Obligated. He wouldn’t have a choice, unless he wanted hell to come up and visit him personally.
“I understand,” he said softly. Johnny nodded, dismissed him. The room was quiet.
“You know I’m not happy with you, Pinky,” he said softly. I almost winced. It’s when Johnny talks soft that bad things get done. “I asked you to do one thing, one fucking thing, Pinky. One little trial. You fucked it up, bad. Cost me a lot of money.”
I said nothing. I’m not saying I wasn’t scared. Only a fucking idiot isn’t scared when the Gent gets quiet. But I’d be damned if I was going to go down like a blubbering Henry.
“This Jamison guy, you know him?”
“Heard of him.”
Johnny turned, looking at me. Cold. An auditor looking at an asset.
“I want you to take care of this for me, Pinky. I want you to make sure Jamison understands that Mrs. Pauley is to be relieved of her outstanding debt, and restored to her residence. Punctuate the point, with your fists. You aren’t getting paid for this. You owe me. I don’t like being second guessed, no matter what the cause. If we didn’t have history, I’d have had you shot. You need to make amends. This is a start.”
I gulped. Couldn’t help it.
“Sure thing, Johnny.”
I headed for the door.
“Make sure he feels the message for a long time.”
I nodded, went out the door.
Poor Jamison. He was about to learn just how protective an old neighborhood could be.