Vinny the Diamond

Part 1 Don't mess with Father Christmas

Vinny the Diamond stood with his back to the wall and watched a woman in high heels shovelling snow. She should be wearing gloves he thought to himself as he observed her purple nail varnish. He took a final drag of his cigarette and tossed the butt into the air, it landed 2 metres away from him and fizzed in the snow. The snowstorm had given way to bright sunshine and if Vinny had smiled, his diamond tooth that had given him his moniker would have lit up in the sun. But Vinny wasn’t smiling; no, Vinny wasn’t smiling at all. Vinny was waiting, and Vinny didn’t like waiting. He felt exposed, vulnerable; the longer he waited the more chance someone would notice him, remember his face, be able to identify him in a line up. The longer he waited, the more chance that he himself could be targeted. He tapped his foot on the wall behind him like he’d seen Eastwood do in a gunslinger film. Vinny was like a young Eastwood, tall and wiry, his face gaunt, unshaven. He didn’t look like much, but underestimate him at your peril. It was well known that Vinny the Diamond was a nasty piece of work; he’d killed and maimed and been left for dead and he had the scars to prove it.  He lit another cigarette, inhaled and looked at his watch. 8 minutes! 8 minutes late. These people had no respect. He’d like to teach them some respect but the boss wouldn’t like that. Despite being low life scum, they were good customers and as long as they handed over the cash then the boss demanded he showed them the upmost respect. But he hated them, they were rude, drunk and stupid too. Vinny knew his boss had been ripping them off for years and they just took it, took it like a fag in a prison shower; stupid bloody foreigners. 
Vinny was angry now, he looked at the woman in high heels again, she was a good looking girl, late twenties, short hair, tanned even in this harshest of winters, a pretty face with sexy eyes, maybe he’d show her a good time once this job was over. He smiled at her, knowing his trademark diamond would catch the sun. She’d given up clearing the snow and was talking on her mobile in a rasping voice and a language he didn’t recognise. He liked it, it sounded sexy. She smiled back at him. Vinny looked up and down the street again but there was still no sign of the car so her turned his attention back to the broad. She was coming over to him, still talking on the phone but heading his way; she obviously recognised a potential good time when she saw one. She ended the call and put the phone in her pocket, she was standing in front of him now, hands still in pockets, smiling a dirty smile. Vinny could smell her sweet perfume and the odour of onions on her breath. She leant into him and whispered in his ear.
‘You want I show you a good time?’
Vinny could not believe his luck. But as he smiled and went to answer he felt a sudden pain in his side. His knees buckled and he fell to the floor.
‘Porcule.’ the woman spat at him. ‘Porcule’ she repeated as she walked away.
As Vinny the Diamond watched the snow turn red beneath him and the high heels click click away, he heard her say ‘don't  mess with Father Christmas.’

Part 2 Who is Father Christmas

Vinny walked out of the hospital and lit a cigarette; he inhaled greedily. Despite clinging to the dying embers of life when they’d brought him in three weeks ago, he was now well enough to go home. He inhaled again relishing his first cigarette for three weeks. The day was similar to the day he was stabbed, cold with crisp blue skies and bright sunshine the only difference was the snow had gone. The unfamiliar cigarette smoke made him cough, causing pain in his side from where that bitch has stuck the stiletto in with such relish. Worse than his side though was his pride, still dented by the events of that Tuesday afternoon. That day would be etched on his life forever. He’d never forgive himself for letting his guard down; he’d never forget the smile on her face as she twisted the knife; he’d never forget the onion breath, the rasping voice, the insult and the strange cryptic message. ‘Don’t mess with Father Christmas.’

 He hadn’t told his boss anything, he’d not told anyone about what happened. He’d kept stum. Partly because he was ashamed; if his boss found out he was giving the girl the glad eye instead of remaining on his guard, then he’d be back in the hospital or worse the morgue, quicker than you could say stupid fucking twat. But he’d kept quiet mainly because this was his battle; no one messed with Vinny the Diamond, no one. He would find that woman and when he found her she would wish she was dead or wish she’d finished him off good and proper.

He might have been finished off too if the Iscru twins hadn’t arrived. He was bleeding bad, but they’d bundled him into their car and driven him to the hospital. He owed his life to them, but then again if they hadn’t been late in the first place…mah! He owed those crooks nothing.
His boss had given him 3 days, 3 days to ‘do what he needed to do.’ Then he had to be back to work. 3 days should be plenty though. ‘Poor coo le’ that word, that insult, that was what was going to lead him to her. He had no idea right now what it meant, didn’t even know what language it was but it was all he had to go on and someone would know and for the right price someone would tell. For he was Vinny the Diamond and people knew not to mess with him.

Vinny hailed a cab, he’d go back to the scene of the crime. He figured that she must be local, she was clearing snow, who clears snow in someone else’s neighbourhood? He’d ask around, grease a few palms, he’d find her in no time. The cab dropped him on the exact spot where she’d attacked him, he looked for signs of his blood but there were none, washed away with the snow thought Vinny. He started asking questions, made it clear there would be something in it for any information received.  But all he met was a wall of silence - no one knew anything. Vinny knew when people were lying but these people seemed genuine. Maybe her snow clearing was part of the plan. Maybe murderers clear snow in someone else’s neighbourhood.

Next stop the Admiral, the type of bar you don't know about unless you know it and if you don’t know it, you don’t see it and you certainly don’t just walk in off the street. But Vinny knew it and Vinny walked in, lighting a cigarette and ignoring the smoking ban as he did so. A few people looked up from their drinks but most just ignored him. He sat at the bar an ordered a beer keeping himself to himself. You bided your time in a place like this; he might have been a big shot but the rules were the rules. People would come and talk to him when they were good and ready.

Some were probably pleased to see him, some probably wished he’d lost his battle for life. one or two offered handshakes, one or two  even offered him a drink, but none of them offered up any information. It was different in here, not like out on the street; these people weren’t genuine, he was sure he was not getting the full story. They knew something but they were not saying.
He watched the girls at the back table. Eleanora, Anna and Katerina, he’d fucked them all and wouldn’t mind another shot, he was horny after 3 weeks in the hospital. He smiled as Eleanora caught his eye. His diamond didn’t sparkle in here; nothing sparkled in the Admiral.
It wasn’t long before Eleanora was by his side.
‘I thought you were dead.’
‘Did you want me to be?’
‘No’ she answered quickly enough but without any feeling in her voice.
He looked at her. Remembered when he first met her. Just 16 she was then, just in from Bulgaria, such a pretty thing, a smile that could light up even this dreary hovel. So keen back then, keen to earn money and send it back home. She’d been a big hit in the club, all the men asked for Eleanora.  But the boss was ruthless, once you hit 21 you were out, hit or not; out on the streets. You could still play the game but you were on your own. Only you weren’t really on your own cos the boss still controlled the pimps so still took a cut of the money you earned.
‘You gonna buy us a drink then?’ Vinny nodded at the barman who lined up three shot glasses for the girls. Eleanora’s smile had long gone, replaced by a steely look, dead eyes. Vinny wondered how many men had used her services over the years. 
‘Wanna fuck?’
‘It’ll cost ya.’
Vinny looked at her, he’d never paid her for sex before.
‘Thems the rules Vin, can’t give it away, not in this climate.’
Vinny changed tack. ‘What does Poor coo le mean?’
Eleanora looked at him, picked up the three glasses and went back to her table. She’d said nothing but he knew she knew and she knew he knew she knew.
The three girls drank their drinks and headed back out on to the streets. As Eleanora passed him she said ‘I know nothing but I'll ask the Romanian girls, I hear them say that about tricks they don’t like.’
'Okay' Vinny slipped some cash into her hand 'and ask them who Father Christmas is too.' 
Eleanora looked at him askance. Vinny just nodded.
Vinny had some thinking to do.
The Romanians? Like the Iscru Twins? 

Part 3 Searching for Father Christmas

Vinny looked at Pieter’s text message again just to check his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. After the bar Vinny had headed home. He needed time to think. Were the Iscru family behind his stabbing? And if they were, why did they take him to hospital? It didn’t make sense, but he was beginning to wish he had passed that bitch’s message on to his boss now and not taken this so personally. 
Pieter’s message was still there on the phone. Pieter was Vinny’s boy in blue, his man on the inside, the message was short and to the point.
‘Eleanora dead. Stab wound. Will call later.’
Vinny couldn’t believe it, Eleanora, dead! Only an hour had passed since she had texted him, he read her message again.
‘Porcule = Pig in Romanian. No one knows FC. Thanks for gift, I’ll come to yours after work to thank you properly ;-)’
She had been on her way to him but now she was dead.
His doorbell rang, Vinny hoped that it might be her, that she might still be alive, that the text message from Pieter might be a hoax, a cruel sick joke. He made his way to the door and opened it. Deep down he knew it would not be her standing there but he was still disappointed to find it wasn't. Instead Katerina, her make-up smudged, her eyes puffy and tears on her cheeks, fell into his arms. She was like a scared fox, shaking, breathing, vulnerable. He held her in his strong arms, fighting back his own tears.
She tried to talk but the sobs drowned her words. She just repeated her name over and over again. Eleanora, Eleanora, Eleanora and that awful word, dead.
Vinny eventually calmed her down, he sat her down with a shot of schnapps and told her to talk.
'T'was' sniff 'so normal' sniff 'black car pulled up, young lad beckons her over’ sniff, ‘she did her thang and and and and... ' the tears were coming again, 'that was the last I saw of her.' Katerina was the prettiest of the girls, a beautiful doll’s face with porcelain sharp features. But her beauty was warped by her tears, crying as she was with the force of a tornado. Vinny knelt down in front of her, held both her hands and spoke. 'You stay here, lock the door, have a drink, have a bath, sleep. I'll be back soon.' With that Vinny picked up his 3 phones and left the flat. 

As soon as he was outside he hit the call button on his least used phone. It only had one number in it. 3 rings and it answered.
‘I can’t talk now’ Pieter said.
‘Find a way.’ said Vinny, his voice contained a no nonsense edge.
‘Ok, ok’ Pieter went quiet for a moment and then spoke.
‘What do you wanna know?’
‘Okay, so her body was found on the side of the road not far from her ‘spot’. One single stab wound, looks like 7 cm blade, some kind of stiletto. This was not a robbery, she had plenty of cash on her and it doesn’t look like rape. Post mortem will tell us more.’
‘Anything else.’
‘Well one odd thing; she had a note in her pocket, it said ‘don’t mess with Father Christmas.’ strange eh?’
Vinny was silent, 7 cm stilletto, same tag line. What the fuck was going on here?
‘Yeah I hear you Pieter, thanks, let me know.’ he didn’t wait for a response. He ended the call, got in his car and headed for where the Romanian girls worked their pitch.

The Romanians worked the other side of the station from Eleanora and her crew. There were only two girls left on the street at this time of night. He pulled up and lowered his window.
‘You looking for a good time?’ the girl bent into his window. Shit, she was young, even with the make up and the slutty clothes she barely looked legal.
‘Get in.’ Vinny’s voice was cold.
She looked scared.
‘We need to agree a price.’ she said, her voice less sure than before.
Vinny pulled back his jacked to reveal his gun.
‘Get in.’ he repeated ‘and you won’t get hurt.’
The girl did as she was told. Vinny put the car into gear and sped away; he knew one of the Iscru pimps would be around somewhere so he didn’t want to hang around.
The girl was silent next to him. He glanced at her again, those bastard Romanians, at least his boss used girls old enough to fuck. This girl was just a child. She let out a sob, she was shaking with fear.
‘What’s your name?’ His voice had changed, the steal had gone, it was kinder, avuncular.
She was silent.
Vinny asked again and this time a little voice croaked back at him.
‘How much you earn for a trick?’
She told him. Vinny pulled over and parked the car. He shifted in his seat so he was facing Mila. She backed away as much as the seat would allow her.
‘I’ll double that if you give me what I need and there could be more in it for you if you’re a good girl.’
‘I don’t do anal and I always use a rubber.’ she said in her tiny voice.
‘I don’t want sex, I want information.’ He told her. She jumped as he reached into his pocket then to Vinny’s amusement a relieved expression flooded her face as he took out his wallet. He counted out some money and gave her a wad of notes. Mila looked at the money and then at him. ‘But I don’t know nothing’ she said.
‘Yes you do’ said Vinny still playing the nice guy, ‘you’ve just not been asked the right questions.’
First he asked her about Porcule just to double check the info that Eleanora had given him just minutes before she’d died. He asked if she knew the Iscru brothers, Mila nodded.  Then Vinny described the woman who stabbed him.
‘I don’t want your money.’ said Mila, panic across her face, trying to force the money back on Vinny. He let the money fall in her lap.
‘You’re safe with me.’ said Vinny lying through his teeth. 
They sat in silence.
‘That’s Georgina.’ Mila said eventually.

‘One of the triplets.’

‘Dan and Gregor’s sister. They’re triplets.’
This was news to Vinny, he knew the Iscru boys were twins but had no idea there was a third.
‘What does she do?’
‘She runs us girls. The pimps you see on the streets are just her henchmen, she’s the real pimp. She’s a bitch, she’ll slap you around if you step out of line. Rumour has it she’s killed girls who tried to rip her off.’
‘Where does she live?’
‘I don’t know.’
Vinny looked at her.
‘Honest, but she comes to our place everyday.’
Vinny took the address and the details and then asked the final question.
‘And who is Father Christmas?’
‘Take me back now please.’ said Mila, her voice firm.
Vinny put another note in her lap. But the girl just looked at it and said nothing.
‘He’ll kill me’ she whispered.
Again she said nothing. Vinny waited.
Finally she shrugged and started talking.
‘Papa… He’s their grandfather, none of us have seen him but we all know him as Father Christmas. He’s old but he runs the business. And you don’t mess with Father Christmas,’ her voice trailed off.
Vinny put another note in her lap, he was getting sick of hearing that line. He started the car.
Before he drove off he said to her.
‘You keep your ears open. I’ll pick you up now and again as a punter. You know I pay good. But if you tell a soul…’ he tapped his gun. The message was loud and clear. ‘If she comes to the house, let me know and if you need me, call this number, remember it but don’t write it down. He said the number 3 times. Just before he dropped her off he turned to her again.
‘How old are you?’
‘18’ she said without missing a beat.
‘No really?’ Vinny said.
‘Really’ she said as she got out of the car.  Vinny lit a cigarette and sped away. Thinking he’d never see her alive again. 

Part 4 - Getting it Straight

Back at his flat Katerina was fast asleep on his double bed. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful. Vinny crept into bed beside her and shut his eyes. His body was tired and he needed to sleep but his mind had other ideas. Three female faces came to him whenever he closed his eyes, Georgina, Eleanora and Mila, all beautiful, all different, one dead, one would be dead if he ever found her and he was pretty sure he’d just signed the death warrant of the other. He sorted it through his head. What did he know? Georgina had stabbed him but her brothers had saved him, so this was a warning not an execution.
Someone had killed Eleanora because she had gone digging on his behalf, the MO was the same as his attack so he presumed it was Georgina or her brothers. Maybe that was meant to be a warning too but the good Samaritans had turned up too late. He’d ask Pieter who found the body. Father Christmas was head of the Romanian clan, he was a man not to be messed with, but why did he think Vinny or his boss was messing with him? So they’d been short changing them a little on the bootleg alcohol and cigarettes, they’d maybe over cut the coke they traded but nothing major; nothing worth murder. No, it made no sense. 

In all the time he’d been working for his boss he’d always known him to be straight with everyone. He was a hard man but basically fair. Vinny’s boss had fingers in many pies. But diamonds were his thing; genuine, fake, kosher, blood, the boss dealt them all. But he also had an import export business that most would die for. Booze, fags, drugs, CDs Vinny’s boss was behind every great party in the land. Then there were the girls, shipped in from Eastern Europe to work in the club and on the streets.
Vinny had started life as a football hooligan, one of the best. Vinny didn’t know fear. It was that reputation that led him to be recruited as a doorman for the boss’s strip club.
He was a natural, just the right balance of courtesy and menace. He knew how to be discreet, he'd take no nonsense from the punters and the girls felt safe with him. The boss liked him too, liked his ruthless streak, he'd watched with admiration as Vinny handled punters who had stepped out of line. Soon Vinny was being asked to deal with other little irritants, a task he relished. People would end up in hospital for exactly the amount of time his boss had requested, once or twice people just disappeared without a trace. When instructed for a job Vinny showed no emotion, he asked no questions; he just nodded his head and a few days later the job was done. It was doing one of these ‘jobs’ that got Vinny his first diamond and paid for the dental work too.   Doing security at the club was how he got to know Eleanora and the other girls. Vinny was a hard man but he had a soft spot for girls and they seemed to like him too. But his boss took a dim view of his fascination with the staff. He didn’t like his best girls being distracted by his best doorman, they were giving away something that they could charge for. But more importantly he didn’t like his security being distracted by matters of the flesh. So the boss’s solution was to promote Vinny to be one of his drivers. The boss had 3 drivers; it was a strange set up that Vinny never quite understood. They sat round the office all day like whores in a brothel waiting to be picked. The boss seemed to pick them on a whim, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason.  Vinny never spoke to the other two, he’d been instructed not to. They nodded heads in recognition but never exchanged a word. Vinny guessed this whole set-up was a scheme to protect the boss's safety; if the drivers didn't know who was working and when, then they couldn't compromise his security. Despite the vagaries of the job Vinny liked it, it was more advisor than driver. He was a trusted man, a confidant, a bodyguard; part of the inner circle.  So he was disappointed when the boss decided to move him on. It was dressed up as a promotion but while Vinny had hoped he'd be a ‘go to’ man he had in fact become more of a ‘go for’ man. He did the odd jobs; collecting money from the pimps and dealing with trusted customers like the Romanians, arranging rendezvous and handovers, escorting diamonds to far away places and coming back with girls for the club. It was more responsibility, more independence, higher salary but he felt out of the loop. He used to deal with the boss everyday, he had his ear, had direct contact but now he saw him once a week at best, and more often than not had to go through other people to get to him. The boss told him to be patient but that was easier said than done.
Vinny rubbed his eyes, he was losing focus. Katerina was snoring gently beside  him. There was a couple more things that puzzled him.
Eleanora, was she seen talking to him in the Admiral or did her questions to the Romanian girls get her into trouble or was she just targeted because she was a known moll of Vinny’s?
Then, if they were telling him not to mess with Father Christmas, then why wouldn’t they tell him who Father Christmas was? Why were they protecting his identity? How did he know who not to mess with? It was a woman’s logic.

Vinny got up and lit a cigarette. He went over to the window blowing out his first lungful of smoke. The city was bathed in streetlight orange; still but sinister. He finished his smoke and pulled on his trousers. He wasn't going to find the answers in this flat; he needed to get out. He drove around aimlessly not sure where to start. Eleanora's pitch was obviously empty; she was dead, Katerina was in his bed and Anna, well Anna was always a law unto herself. He drove over to see if Mila was still on her corner but even the Romanian girls had gone to bed. There were no lights on in her flat either. He parked outside for a while smoking a cigarette. He hoped she was still alive but if the pimp had found the extra cash or seen her leave in his car then Georgina would have dealt with her by now.
He called Pieter and arranged a meeting down by the river. He parked up the car in the side streets near the water and walked the last 100 metres, hoping the fresh air might clear his mind; it didn’t. He lit another cigarette and waited for the policeman to show up. Vinny hated waiting.
Soon enough he saw the hulking frame of Pieter come into view. A 45 years old heart attack candidate, Pieter was fundamentally a good cop; he just supplemented his earnings by letting Vinny know things that Vinny wanted to know.
'You liked her didn't you?'
Vinny nodded slowly, inhaling deeply and blowing out smoke.
'I got nothing new to say Vinny, her pals told us it was her first pick up of the night so if it was a sexual assault we'll know, she had a load of cash on her though. Bit odd that.'
'I gave her that.' Vinny's voice was barely audible.
'Can I ask why?'
Vinny gave Pieter a look that told him he most certainly could not.
'Who found her?'
‘Two lads on the way home from the pub, their story checks out.’
Dawn was beginning to break around them, the few birds left in the city were starting their morning chorus. Vinny stubbed out his fag and leant in close to the big copper.
'I want them Pieter. I want them. If you find them then you give them to me.'
Pieter shivered, he knew Vinny was a bad 'un but that hint of menace in his voice was enough to scare the dead.
'One last question, Pieter.' Vinny was still whispering. 'Who the fuck is Father Christmas?'
Pieter shrugged his shoulders and turned to walk away. But he knew and Vinny knew that he knew.

Part 5 Meeting Father Christmas

When he got back to the flat Katerina was sitting on the bed smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. She was wearing his shirt. He leant over and kissed her forehead. She tried to force a smile but it looked more like a grimace. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot. Vinny leant against the wall.
‘Any news?’ Katerina’s voice was weak and fragile.
Vinny shook his head.
‘Why would anyone want to kill Eleanora? Why Vin?’
Vinny shook his head again
‘I dunno Kat, I dunno’ but he knew it was because he’d asked her to ask around. He knew and Kat knew he knew.
‘Vinny am I in danger?’
‘No Kat, I don’t think so, but you wanna take a few days away? I’ll fix it.’
Katerina nodded, tears forming in her eyes.
‘I wanna go home Vin.’
Vinny nodded, he knew she didn’t mean back to the hovel of a flat she shared with Eleanora but home home.
‘Ok Kat, I’ll sort it.’
Silence filled the room broken by the inhaling and exhaling of cigarette smoke. Then Katerina jumped as Vinny’s phone bleeped.
It was the phone he used for Pieter but it wasn’t Pieter’s number. Mila! He read the message.
‘She’s here.’
Vinny went over to a safe in his desk. He punched in a number and the door swung open. He took out a passport and a wad of cash. ‘Don’t go back to the flat.’ he said as he handed Katerina her documents.  ‘Book a ticket with this, keep the rest and leave today.’ With that he grabbed his keys and left the flat wondering how long it would take her to find the diamonds tucked inside her passport and wondering how he’d explain his moment of altruism to his boss.

As Vinny drove he was well aware this could be a trap, a set up, so he had to keep a clear mind and his wits about him. He parked up about 60 metres away from Mila’s flat. Up ahead he could see a little black Jeep. He’d seen it before somewhere. He wracked his brains and lit a cigarette. It was warmer today but rain in the air, the start of spring? The street was quiet, a few cars went by but there was hardly a soul to be seen. Vinny waited, Vinny didn’t like waiting. He checked his mirrors again - no one around. He’d wait for Georgina and then follow her. If the chance arose, he’d make his move but he was happy for this to be a recce, an exercise in gathering information; information was power.  The door to the house opened. The woman that emerged was unmistakably the woman who had stabbed him; stylish, sexy and moving with self-confidence. Vinny decided that he’d have his way with her before pulling the trigger. He didn’t need to worry about leaving traces, she would just disappear like the others. Following Georgina out of the house was another unmistakable figure; the small childlike Mila, she looked scared, Vinny feared the worst. They both got into the Jeep, now Vinny remembered where he had seen that car before. It was in the street on the day of the stabbing. It was beginning to make sense to him now.
He readied himself to start the car but they didn’t go anywhere.
His mobile bleeped. It was Mila's number again. He now knew this was a trap. He looked down at the message.
‘Father Christmas wants to see you. :-)’ The smiley face was a bit excessive thought Vinny.
Before he knew it, his passenger door opened and one of the Iscru brothers climbed in.
'Follow the Jeep, don't try anything, I’ve got a knife and Dan's in the car behind.’ His accent was thick, the voice tarred by 1000 cigarettes.  Vinny saw the glint of the knife in Gregor's hand and looked in the mirror to see the other ugly fucker right up his arse. He was stuck in the middle with Iscru.
He did as he was told. They drove towards the ring road. When they got on the dual carriageway Vinny thought about putting his foot to the floor, he could lose the Jeep and the heap Dan was driving in no time. But he’d still have to deal with the idiot with the blade next to him. Then the passenger door of the Jeep opened and Vinny saw something fall heavily on to the road. He swerved to avoid the object but instinct told him Mila was already dead... And so for that matter was he.

Twenty minutes later they pulled up outside a big house in the suburbs. Vinny approved, he thought it was the kind of place that he would buy if he were Father Christmas.
‘Don’t move.’ said Gregor flashing the knife to support his words.
Vinny waited until the Romanians had manoeuvred into place.
‘Don’t make sudden moves.’ Gregor was relishing the role of captor. ‘Get out of the car and follow Dan, I’ll be right behind you.’
Vinny had little option but to walk the metaphorical plank. He followed the Romanian gorilla up the path towards the front door. As he passed Georgina she smiled and blew him a kiss.
He had half a mind to punch her, claw her pretty face, ruin her looks; what did he have to lose? But Gregor had read his mind and put a steadying hand on his shoulder, keeping him on the straight and narrow.

Dan knocked on the door. Vinny could hardly believe his eyes when he saw who opened it.
‘Boss, what the hell are you doing here?’ Relief flooded Vinny’s body; his boss was here, now everything would sort itself out, this unseemly mess could be cleared up and they could all go home.
Before Vinny could shake his boss’s hand Georgina skipped passed him.
‘Papa’ she said and hugged the old man. Vinny’s relief turned to confusion as he watched his boss kiss that bitch on the cheek. Was his boss Father Christmas?
Vinny was led through the house to the study. His boss settled behind his desk and signalled to Vinny to sit in the chair opposite. They were alone except for one man who stood stock still in the corner. Vinny recognised him as one of his boss’s drivers.
‘What’s going on?’ Vinny didn’t usually feel fear, he’d never been afraid, not even when he took a beating from a rival faction at the football. Fear had never been part of his DNA. Until now; now he was terrified.
‘Vinny, Vinny, you’ve spent the last 6 months ripping me off and you have the gall to ask me what is going on? You think I wouldn’t find out that you’ve been squirreling away anything you can get your hands on. I trusted you.’
Vinny had no argument, since he’d been fired as a driver he’d been finding ways to feather his own nest, to look after himself, he'd stolen goods, overcharged customers and taken some extra commission from the pimps. He’d been careful, not too much from any one place, spread out his crime,  covered his tracks but obviously not careful enough.
‘But… you’re Father Christmas?’
‘Yes, it was a nickname I had back in Romania.’ because of my surname. When my daughter married that little runt Iscru I set him up in business running the girls on the other side of town and selling drugs and booze in places where I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. He had a free hand but still reported to me. I told him to call me Father Christmas as a code. He was good to start with and when the little toe rag started to cheat on my precious daughter well I could ignore it for the sake of the business. But when he started to beat her I had to take care of him. In fact, you did it for me, remember Georgi?’
Vinny nodded, it’d been his first kill.
‘I offered my daughter the business but she didn’t want it, so I took it over until my grandchildren were old enough to take it back into their own family. ’
‘Why stab me, why not just kill me.’
‘I wanted to see if you’d come to me for help Vinny. If you still trusted me’ his boss shook his head. ‘I’m disappointed.’
‘Fine, you got me, but why did you kill Eleanora?’
‘You were too close to her, she was too fond of you, she’d do anything for you. You asked her to get information she was getting too close, she had to be eliminated.’
‘How do you know all that?’
‘You have your girls and I have mine.’
‘Anna?’ Vinny nodded, he’d never trusted her.
‘No, Katerina.’ Father Christmas enjoyed the confused look on Vinny’s face.  
Vinny couldn't believe it. He'd been duped. She'd been in his flat reporting back on his moves. All the tears, the fragile little voice, that fucking whore should win an Oscar.
‘I warned you about your weakness Vinny. But would you listen to me? No. And I knew I could use it against you. Stand up.’
Vinny hesitated and then left his chair. His boss stood up too, Vinny watched his boss raise his gun until it was level with Vinny’s forehead.
‘And now, for the final time Vinny the Diamond, don’t mess with Father Christmas.’

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1 comment:

  1. I fell in love with Vinny when I was reading the whole story for the first time :-)