A Deadly Game of Blackjack

I nervously eyed the dealer as I settled into my chair. It took all of my will power to resist wiping off the ribbon of sweat that trailed down from my high forehead. I knew Frankie and Sal were watching me closely. Looking for signs of fear. Their boss, Big Boy Roy Zizzi was sitting at a nearby table sipping Bourbon and playing footsies with a red-hot blond who laughed shrilly at everything he said. I waited for someone to explain the rules of the game I was about to play.

Finally Big Boy Roy Zizzi got up and ambled over to me. His girth stretched the dress jacket to the point of tearing as he bent over and said,

Myron my friend you’re a lucky man. I could have shot you in the back of the head and your body deposited in the desert by Frankie and Sal. But we’ve known each other for years before our little fall out here. You were my number one soldier. But your greed got the better of you. When I found out you were skimming money from two of my casinos. I had to take some swift action. The rules are simple. You get 10 chips. Bet any amount you want. But if you lose those 10 chips you get a free ride to the desert east of here.

Wait a moment! How can I win and save my life?

“You have to double those 10 chips. Your dealer tonight is Belinda who just happens to be the best dealer in both of my casinos. She has a great sense of humor. So, let’s get this party started!”

I looked up and caught Belinda smiling. She seemed to be enjoying herself. I looked at the card shoe next to her hand. It held four decks. It was better than playing against one deck in my experience. Especially if there were other players at the table. But now it was just me and Belinda. I watched her quickly deal the cards. It was like watching water flow in one smooth movement.

My face card was a king. My down card was a four. She had an Ace. Her down card could be anything. Her hand hovered over the shoe as she asked me what I wanted to do?

“Stand,” I replied.

She flipped over her down card. “Eight!” she almost purred. I lost the first hand and found myself staring down at the nine remaining chips with a mounting fear.

For 12 grueling hours I managed to stay afloat but was down to two chips. After a few hours I grew to understand that she could have won every hand but kept giving me last-minute reprieves. Frankie and Sal were slumped down in two chairs by the wall and Big Boy Roy Zizzi – to his credit – was still going strong at the table with his blond bimbo.

I took a chance and bet my last two chips. I was exhausted from the tension. Belinda’s mysterious smile gave me hope. My face card was a 10. My down card was a jack. Her face card was a seven. When she turned over her down card it was a six. She drew another card. It was a queen. She busted!

Let it ride,” I told her. And I won the next hand. And the next. I was up to 16 chips and flush with excitement when Big Boy Roy Zizzi broke away from his blond bimbo and waddled over to our table. He looked at my 16 coins. Then at Belinda. He nodded. She nodded and smiled at me. I lost.

-30-

The Train Leaves at 4/20

all aboard the pot train my friend

your time is here

the demonization has come to an end

it’s really mind blowing seeing marijuana legit

to an old hippie like me

that’s as good as it can get

back in the day pot was a crime

no such thing as legal weed

with arrests going on all the time

those who smoked Mary Jane

risked their very freedom

running in the fast lane

more than half of the USA

has legalized marijuana

and more states are on the way

I really didn’t think

I’d live to see the day

Reasons For Seasons

1000 words –

It wasn’t that Alto Morelli didn’t believe the best revenge was served cold, but at times he was sick and tired of waiting for his chance.

How long had it been since the bastard killed his brother Joey? Two, three years? It seemed like forever. But you can’t just knock off a Mafia capo and expect to live…unless you wait until just the right moment and no one can trace it to you. Rule one for successful revenges; live to tell the tale.

Alto was an independent contractor. He hired out his gun, but never his loyalty to many of the denizens of the underworld in 1932. The press referred to his kind as a “Hit Man.” But very few people in New York, New Jersey, or Chicago knew that he was one. Mostly Mafia crime bosses and leaders of other gangs like the Irish Mob.

The other thing about Alto was no one knew what his last name was. Only his brother Joey knew it, and he was dead now. His killer, Johnny Dancer, was a capo for the Bonnano crime family in New York. He was also a paranoid schizophrenic who surrounded himself with bodyguards at all times. Johnny knew there were plenty of people out there who wanted to see him dead…for a whole host of reasons.

Still, it was hard to wait. Alto was a man of action. At times he felt like a coward, taking so long to extract his pound of flesh because he wasn’t ready to die doing it. It felt like he was desecrating Joey’s memory at times. He shook those thoughts off and forged ahead looking for the perfect opening.

The bible said there was, “… a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens.” That encouraged him because he was a Catholic, even if he didn’t go to confession.

Faith in that quote kept him going. He knew there would be a season to kill, and his family burden would be forever lifted.

The season to kill finally arrived when Alto’s paid snitch in the Bonnano family told him Johnny and two of his rich friends were going upstate to the Catskills for a weekend of fishing and hunting. He gave Alto the directions, who thanked him and then shot him point blank! No witnesses. Number Two rule of survival.

Hunting season in the Catskills. How appropriate.

When Alto arrived at the hunting lodge he took his time sizing up how many occupants were there. He quickly spotted Johnny and what he took to be his two rich friends. Not far away were two alert-looking bodyguards watching the three men eat a meal outdoors on the open porch.

It took a few more hours before he discovered the other two bodyguards who were patrolling the perimeter of the lodge. Six people who he had to kill, but it was worth it to get Johnny. He was already envisioning where he would dispose of the bodies afterward. No one would ever know what happened.

His inner survivor briefly questioned if this was the right season, after all the odds were against him. Then he focused upon the task. He waited until late at night, past midnight, and snuck up on the first guard outside the front door, slitting his throat neatly and professionally.

The second guard was nodding in a chair in the living room. He looked up in time to see Alto for a moment, then a hand went over his mouth while his throat was slashed open. Then Alto cautiously went into the first bedroom. Saw someone in a bed. Went right over, checked his face briefly in the light of the full moon streaming through the window. Another guard. Slit his throat.

He went to the second bedroom. This time the sleeper was one of Johnny’s pals. Slit his throat. The next room had the other pal. Slit his throat. That left Johnny and one guard. Was that guard in Johnny’s bedroom? He opened the last bedroom door slowly. Inch-by-inch. His keen ears attuned to any sound.

Then he heard a click! Without thinking he dropped down to the floor as the shotgun blast tore into the door! Alto pulled his .45 Colt Automatic out and fired from the prone position in the direction of the blast! A man screamed and collapsed directly across from him. Then another shotgun blast hastily fired over his head from the right near the bed! When he rose up Johnny was trying to reload, but was fumbling with the cartridge.

Instead of immediately killing him Alto jumped up and rushed him, knocking the old twin-barrel shotgun aside as he grabbed his neck with one hand and hit him alongside the head with the pistol in the other. He stood over the bleeding and semi conscious man and considered how he wanted to kill him.

He thought about when he found his brother, just before he died, and how badly he suffered. His tormentors took a drill to both his hands and feet. They pulled out all of his teeth. There were numerous burns and cuts from head to toe. They blinded him with a hot poker and cut his tongue out.

In the end, he took Johnny outside for a short walk from the lodge and tied him to a tree. Then he cut him from sternum to groin so his guts leaked out while he was still alive. He stayed long enough to listen to and savor his screams which deteriorated to moans as his lifeblood soaked the base of the tree.

Two novice hunters heard the screams. They followed them through the forest. Both were teenagers and eager to find the source. Suddenly something big burst through the undergrowth and they both panicked and fired their rifles!

Alto spun around when one of the shots hit him in the chest, falling to the ground heavily. His last thought made him grin at the irony, “There’s also a season for dying.”

The Philosopher

It’s time,” his executioner said.

He knew he was paying the price for making prominent Athenian’s look like fools. His supposed crime; not believing in the gods of the state.

His wisdom, once sought after throughout the civilized world, did not save him from his fate.  Justice and the pursuit of goodness led him to this last moment on earth.

He became the purifying remedy for Athens’ misfortunes despite his contributions to the state. The sacrificial goat. But he had the last laugh, eternal fame for his wisdom.  

Drink this,” the executioner offered, handing Socrates the cup of poison hemlock.

The Hit

Luke, a hitman for mafia boss Sam Giancana, looked up at the School Book Depository building knowing Lee Harvey Oswald was inside waiting.

He was told Oswald was going to try and assassinate President J.F. Kennedy as his motorcade slowly drove by in downtown Dallas. They told him Oswald was going to be the false sponsor for the murder.

Luke checked under his trench coat, touching the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle briefly. Identical to the one Oswald had. No one noticed him blend into the tree line of the grassy knoll.

He waited until the time was right, took aim and fired!

 


The Ghost

Since the ghost first appeared while Jena was making herself dinner, she was determined to ignore it.

No such things as ghosts. Common knowledge. Still it was getting harder to ignore her dead husband who only showed up when she was alone. His appearances were becoming more frequent lately.

One day she decided the “ghost” might be her conscience. If so, it was a first. Even her family thought she was “calculating and cold-blooded.

With restored belief there were no ghosts, she smiled the next time she saw him, even though he was holding the revolver she killed him with.

Murder Mystery

Don stopped typing and looked at the last passage he wrote about a horrendous murder in his hometown:

“The Burke family was slaughtered in their beds. Parents and the two children had their throats slit. No clues left behind. Investigators baffled about motive.

As the lone reporter for the local newspaper he had to write about the murder. He didn’t want to sensationalize it, but the editor insisted. One side of his brain said tamp the story down. The other said quit worrying and do your job.

The last thing he wanted to do was bring unwanted attention to himself!

 

The Feast

What a feast!

That top sirloin steak was the tastiest meat I ever did eat. Folks in the hills would be green with envy if they saw what I just finished packing down.

Beside that 16 oz. steak, I had a lobster, a baked potato, and some steamed collard greens with gravy on them. I followed that up with some rhubarb pie topped with vanilla ice cream. I have to say, it’s the best meal I’ve ever eaten.

And its the last meal I’ll ever eat. Crime don’t pay.

Go ahead jailer. Flip that switch.

I’m ready to meet my maker!

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