Trust No One, Promise Nothing
It’s been two agonizing months since my son died and I’ve spent every day since then, alone in my bedroom, pissed off and drunk.
It took my son’s death to make me rip the band-aid off my bloated ego and find a blind, stupid fool underneath, who’s wasted his life doing the wrong things for the wrong people.
I know I'm powerless to stop those guys, but if I want o cut ties with them and reclaim a part of what I've lost, I better have the balls to do it.
It's gotta be soon, and it ain't gonna be easy.
They are the Catanetti brothers by blood, but by oath, they are my Mafia family. Two of them are my closest friends although, there’s another one I suspect is my enemy. And the Don? Besides being formidable, he can be a friend or a snake. I haven’t crossed him yet, and hopefully I’ll never have to.
Neither of us would like to die on the spot.
I’ve been avoiding those guys for two long months and dodging them is dangerous. When I took the Vow of Omertà, I also swore to a code of ethics, one of which is to respond immediately when they call, but in my current state of mind . . . just kill me now.
My wife, Grace, doesn’t know about the Catanettis.
She doesn’t know about my son or his mother, either.
There’s a lot Grace doesn’t know, and I’ve worked hard as hell to keep it that way.
Believe me, it’s been exhausting.
At first, Grace was concerned about me and asked why I was such a mess.
I told her a friend died.
Finally tiring of my nasty mood, and fed up with my rudeness, she stopped trying to help and ignored me.
Even Patty and Merry, our twelve-year-old adopted daughters, quickly learned to leave me the hell alone. They had no choice.
I’m a miserable bastard.
Grace and I haven’t shared a bedroom for going on ten years now. The twins were eighteen months old, into everything, and she was always exhausted, so I moved into the guest room. Shit, it didn’t matter. I never loved her, not like that, but I’ve cared and sacrificed my life to protect her.
However, she’s not Carmelita.
Grace shouts through my bedroom door. “Ray, there’s a call for you from a Mr. Francisco.”
Snatching the door open and grabbing the kitchen phone from her, it irritates the hell outta me that its long cord is wound into crazy knots again. I can’t take the time to straighten it, and the stupid thing won’t reach into my bedroom.
Now Grace will hear my conversation with Franco Catanetti. Thank God, he used an alias and he better be calling me from a safe phone with all the wiretapping that’s going on these days. This is not only serious, it’s also dangerous.
Franco’s one of the Mafia brothers I can count on . . . I hope.
You never know with these guys.
Trust no one is a bitter lesson I learned from his pop, Mafia Don, Marco Catanetti Sr., who eventually became my third father, figuratively speaking, years before Marco Jr. stepped into his powerful shoes.
Jr. is the Don now, and he’s a piece of work. Franco, his Underboss is the one I’ve always reported to.
Jesus, I better alter my shitty attitude before I take this call.
It’s all I can do to put some life into my voice. “Mr. Francisco! How can I help you?”
“Dammit Ray, I’ve left a bunch of messages with your answering service. You haven’t returned my calls. You know the rules, brother.”
I know the rules and I don’t want to play by them anymore, which he’ll find out soon enough.
“This can’t wait, so just listen up. Carmelita hasn’t been answering her phone, either. That’s a big concern. A huge shipment is arriving in Juarez this weekend and she needs to do her job so you can do yours. I sent one of my guys to her apartment, and after some serious pounding on her door, she finally opened up.”
When he lowers his voice and says, “She looks terrible, Ray . . . my condolences, my friend. Your son’s death has been tough on both of you.”
I almost lose it, but manage a quiet thank you.
Since Grace is listening, I can’t mention the beautiful flower arrangement he sent to my son’s funeral.
“Be in Denver by Friday to pick up your semi. We want this cargo leaving Juarez by the weekend. There’s a bonus in it for you. Don’t worry, I guarantee Carmelita will answer her phone from now on.”
With Grace tuned in like a hawk, my answer has to be discreet.
“Yes, Mr. Francisco, I’ll secure the contract and deliver the product. I’m on my way.”
“There’s a lot riding on this, so be careful. And good luck with Carmelita. You know we care about her.”
“I appreciate the call, Mr. Francisco.”
Fuck me! Now I’m forced to do this job and tread cautiously through a minefield of quitting. I don't know anyone who's ever safely retired from the Mafia since our oath binds us until death.
You retire when you stop breathing.
I'm hopeful, however, that they care enough about Carmelita and me to let us go. We’ve been part of their family for over forty-two years, but that’s no assurance they won’t kill us both.
The odds are not in our favor.