We’ve fallen deplorably short on fencing and sword stories. To tide us over, here’s a bit of a scuffle taken from a new title, Fratricide: No Good Deed, by SMT Maxx, which was just published by our mothership, Secret Archives Press…
I admit, this might not have been my smartest move. Before the hour of noon, I’d made an enemy of a rich and influential con. For a girl I’d seen for less than two minutes the night before, and had absolutely no reason to believe that she even remembered me. Sometimes even a figurer like me acts like a fool...
It hadn’t been my only mistake. It looked like Papa Ilardo, Maria Dolorosa’s old-fashioned Sicilian father, sure wasn’t one to waste time to get even with me on account of his daughter.
When my cab dropped me off in front of my Upper East Side apartment building. Charles, the doorman, was not at his post. In his stead, two hoods stepped from behind the potted orange trees. Mafias, the two of them, short, stocky, dark, with hair lines as liquid and low as puddles of fish oil on a Palermo dock on a Sunday noon. One slipped his stubby fingers into a pair of brass knuckles, the other picked at the back of a straight razor.
I’m not a great advocate of physical violence. But it has its place in the greater scheme of things. I hit the one with the razor in the throat with the edge of my hand before he even had the blade out. He crumpled, a puppet with his strings cut. Knuckles was coming at me with a straight right. I sidestepped the punch, pivoting on my toes while grabbing the pork hock he called his hand with my left, placing my thumb on top of the knuckle that sprouted his little finger and grabbing the meat of his thumb with the rest of my hand. Twisting his hand outward, I swung back to face him, and when I rolled his wrist further and helped it along with with own right hand, his eyes got big, his mouth opened, and he suddenly did a cartwheel that terminated with the impact of his upper body on the sidewalk. My heel found his nose, driving it back into his skull. He started groaning as a viscous red puddle spread around him. I grabbed his compaesano by the collar and whacked his head into the concrete a few times. Their mamas would’ve difficulties recognizing either of them ever again. If their mamas had ever acknowledged them in the first place.
Of course, I knew I had it coming. I’d ended my engagement to Maria Dolorosa last night, after one last and not entirely unacceptable roll in the hay. She’d turned very stridently dolorosa when, afterwards, I asked her politely to get the hell out of my bed, put her dress back on, and hightail it home. I even called her a cab. There’d be hell to pay, I was sure. Sicilian mothers take their only daughter’s virginity and matrimonial status overly seriously. As do Sicilian fathers. Even if that virginity might’ve been peddled for a couple of gins and a smoke to a hairy mafia cousin at age thirteen. This would not just cost me, but it also ended my prospects to tap into her father’s organization on the cheap, a not entirely pleasant but well-connected mafia business specializing in protection as well as the import and export of slightly used goods, both metal and human.
I stepped over the Wop with the razor, only bending over to scoop up the blade. It was a pretty thing, the handle inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the blade a soft, fluid rectangle of exquisite sharpness: If it comes to picking a blade or slitting a throat, there’s no-one better qualified than a terrone fresh off the boat from Palermo.
Inside the lobby, I helped Charles the doorman to his feet and placed his cap back on his head. He winced when the stiff rim pressed down on the welt the Wop’s sap had raised. I stuffed a fiver into his chest pocket and told him to keep up the good work. “And hose down the sidewalk when you get a chance.” When I looked down from my tenth-floor apartment a few minutes later, the two hoods were gone. Only a dual snail trail of wetness pointed at the direction they’d crawled off. Knowing Charles and the hickory ax handle he kept handy near the door, it wasn’t just their heads that would be hurting. He’s the pettty, vengeful kind….
REPRINTED, with permission, from:
Fratricide: No Good Deed, by SMT Maxx (Secret Archives Press, 2014).