NSFW: Imagery and language
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My informant sent me to an alley that was a scene right out of a bad B-flick. Snotty midnight rain didn’t help. Across from the alley, a streetlamp crackled and snapped, struggling for enough confidence to at least try. It wasn’t having much success. It didn’t do much good on the far side of the street. My eyebones worked to make sense of shapes and colors.
Twenty-odd yards into the alley, I found Randolfo Palucci slumped against the brick wall between a dumpster and a stack of broken crates. A slow lava of black blood burbled from his lips. His good hand, the one not attached to the arm carrying more lead than a loaded Colt, tried to keep what was left of his insides from falling into his lap. What color his shirt was or might have been was impossible to tell.
“Mr. Palucci,” I announced myself to a semi-conscious lump. “Alfonse sent me.”
“Good man, Alfonse.”
“Mr. Palucci, looks you’re in a bad way.”
“I know. Call me an ambulance wouldja?”
“Not much point.”
“You got five, maybe ten minutes.”
“Hour tops. Seen it too often.”
“Cops would see it was a slow ambulance.”
“Yeah. They would.” Palucci sighed a blood bubble.
“Anything you wanna get off your chest? Anyone I should get word to?”
“Cold. So damned cold.”
“That’s part of it, not much time left, Mr. Palucci. Anything I can do?”
“Can’t see you. Who are you?”
I ignored Palucci’s question and asked again. “Anything you need taken care of?”
“Yeah. Envelope in my pocket. See it gets to Metro Vice.”
“Anyone in particular?”
“Anyone but Mc Kluskey.”
“You got a hard-on for this Mc Kluskey?”
“Reason I’m in bad shape.”
“How you figure?”
“Been after me fifteen years now.”
“You think he’s got it in for you special?”
“Never met the man, but he’s been real bad for business, you see?”
“He’s a cop. They do that.”
“Yeah. But seems Mc Kluskey made me his life’s work. Him that put his men into rushing my place this afternoon. Took out Renzo and Dominic. Killed my Jeanie too.”
“Everyone else down. I got through the skylight.”
“And got here.”
“Yeah. I want to do Mc Kluskey real bad. Real bad.”
Palucci twisted as if to pat his breast pocket with his dead hand. He gave up on it. “Right dick gets hold of it, they’ll see Mc Kluskey dirty.”
“All of’m are. Worked a long time to get that dirt.”
“Some of it, sure. Do me a solid. Deliver it for me.”
“Just in case, you know,” Palucci struggled. “We ever meet again, I don’t know your name.”
Palucci’s head jerked up. He said nothing. His eyes said nothing. Then his neck stopped trying to hold his head up. I waited the next fifteen minutes.
He did have an envelope in his inside suit pocket. Left him in the rain.
© SP Wilcenski 2021