Dirty Martini: A Hitman’s Monologue
Some people just can’t keep their mouths shut. I mean, it’s more annoying than anything else, am I right? But it can also get people into a lot of trouble. Bring a lot of unwanted attention. Collateral damage and all that. Ruin lives. Break up families. Know what I mean?
Look, I’m a career man, so I take my job very seriously. If I didn’t, it might be me out there hanging by my nuts off the 59th Street Bridge or taking a trip down to DSNY-land in a fuckin’ Hefty bag. No way. We’re in this together, understand? So I’m here to help you, and you’re here to help me. A partnership. A mutual understanding. A pact, if you will, to ensure that trouble isn’t allowed a seat at the table. Capisce?
I’m sure you can understand my position; this assignment came straight from The Commission. From the very top, as in the Capo di tutti capi himself, so you should consider your presence here a huge fuckin’ honor. Really.
So. We’re gonna take our time here. Get to know each other. Have a few laughs. Hey, maybe we’ll even becomes friends at the end of all this? Sound good? Okay.
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel that it’s only right that you know a few things about how I work.
First, I’m very thorough. I hold myself to a high standard because that’s just who I am. But more importantly, others expect a certain level of quality from me. High expectations, reputations on the line, yada, yada, yada. You understand, right? People are relying on me.
Lots of guys could go this job, but they can’t do the work, and even for the guys who can do the work, a very precious few possess the . . . what would you call it? Creativity. Vision. Experience. Don’t get me wrong, what I do isn’t complicated. This isn’t fuckin’ calculus or rocket science. But it does require a certain awareness. A certain finesse. A certain restraint. Soft skills for a very hard profession. You follow me?
Second, I’m very particular. If Frank Diamanti says, “Take so-and-so for a swim,” I want to know where and what kind of swimming lesson it’s going to be. Swan dive, breast stroke, freestyle? That’s like going to Bamonte’s and ordering pasta. What the fuck is that? Now, you say, “I’ll have the cannolichi with castelvetrano olives, but please go light on the fucking tomato confit because I have acid reflux problems,” and then we’re in business. Capisce? But, to be fair, my employers, God bless every one of ’em, aren’t chefs. They’re patrons—my patrons—-and they require, and expect, a certain level of service. They come to me, because they know this sort of service isn’t available anywhere else. So they tell me what they want in very basic terms and I make suggestions. Sometimes they leave it to my discretion.
Other times, as in our case, they say, “Surprise us.”
Not many guys get that kind of . . . “artistic license,” if you know what I mean, and virtually nobody gets to put conditions on the contracts they work, especially when they come down from the top.
But then again, I’m not many guys.
I do message jobs and that’s all I do. Now, you might be thinking, “Aren’t all contracts message jobs?” Yeah, in a manner of speaking. Every job sends a message, but not every message conveys meaning beyond the job itself, beyond the actions that characterize that job. Understand? Let me explain.
Say for example that you want to burn some fuckin’ jamook because he stuck his dick in the skimming operation. Okay. But you and I both know that he ain’t the first guy with the notion. He’s just the guy who was careless enough to get caught. The operative word here is “careless” because everyone in this business, despite whatever they say about loyalty and trust and all that bullshit, is a fuckin’ conman. You ask me, that’s just human nature. Hubris. Greed. Falsehood. Innate fuckin’ depravity, my friend.
What? Don’t you sit there and shake your head like you have a choice in the matter. Like you’re somehow special. Because you ain’t. None of us are.
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” Timothy 6:9. What, you look surprised. Hey, I went to fucking Catholic school just like you. I still got the numbers from Sister Katherine’s yardstick tattooed across my ass. Anyway, I ain’t the first altar boy to do what I do, and I won’t be the last.
Look, our line of work specializes in, uh . . . what’s the word, cultivating “senseless and harmful desires.” It’s not something most of us really think about, right? We just do it because that’s all we know or because some capo sent out the order. It’s weird when you think about it, right? I mean, from the Borgata to the fuckin’ smoked-out crackhead over in Washington Heights, we’re working to fulfill desire.
Including our own. Now, you let your own desires get in the way of the bigger imperatives of our work . . . Well, you know what happens then, right?
Now, when it comes to my particular line of work, there has to be meaning in what I do. Purpose. Like I said, I provide a very specialized service, and it’s my responsibility to ensure that my clients, and my customers, appreciate the quality of the product. Knowing the quality means appreciating the value, which in turn produces meaning. Without meaning, what’s the point, right?
But we also have to believe in what we do. We have to believe in the mission of the Family. It’s not good enough to see or even appreciate the meaning. We have to trust in what we do, which means trusting those we work with, trusting their intentions. You understand trust, right?
That’s pretty fuckin’ hard when someone in the ranks violates your trust, shakes your beliefs. Then you start looking around, start looking at the guys next to you and wonder if he’s gonna be the one to skewer your kidney with an ice pick the next time you turn around. Then you get scared, you get paranoid, and that in turn makes you look fuckin’ suspicious, know what I mean? Hubris. Greed. Falsehood. Add to that Fear and you’ve got a cocktail of destruction that has the potential to bring everything down even though it might have only started with one guy.
We call that guy a dirty martini.
And the guys around you, you start to go soft, start to lose that belief, they’ll see it. Smell it. Guys who been with the Family for a long time, especially the consiglieri, will smell the fear on you from a mile away. I even heard that Vito Galante once . . . Wait, you know Vito, right? Vito “Baby Sledge” Galante? He used to carry around that single-shot .45 he made out of an old set of brass knuckles and some pipe. He’d carry it on a different part of his body everyday based on where he was going and who he was seeing. I once heard that . . . ah, it’s not important.
Anyway, one night we were at his restaurant having a few drinks after hours, and at some point we start talking about Joey Colosimo. Joey did a dime up in Sing-Sing before he went fuckin’ crazy and murdered his cellmate, some fuckin’ rapist from the lower East Side. At his arraignment the judge asked him why he done it, and he said, “I couldn’t stand the stench.” Judge looks at him, “I’m sorry, Mr. Colosimo, could you repeat that?” Joey looks right back and says, “Fear. The stench of fear. The same stench that’s comin’ offa you right now you fuckin’ pucchiacha.” Judge nearly shits his pants but not before he serves Joey a hamburger with fries . . . twenty fuckin’ years.
So Vito and me get to talking about fear, and at some point Vito gets real serious and he says, “You know. Fear has distinct aroma.” I look at him and laugh ’cause I though it was a fuckin’ joke, you know. But Vito was dead fuckin’ serious. “You mean, like, you can sense it, right?” I asked. “No, fear has an actual scent. Not in the metaphorical sense, but an actual aroma: roses and lime,” he says.
Yeah, I know, right? I respect Vito, but when he told me that I though he was off his fuckin’ rocker, you know what I mean? He saw it in my face, too, so what does this guy do? Brings out a plate, slices up a lime and throws a handful of crushed rose petals from the bouquet on the table. Anyway, just as I started to crack a smile, he says, “Wait.” Then he signals to two of his guys who go into the kitchen. Few second later, they bring out some kid, maybe about seventeen, eighteen. His hands are tied, he’s got a gag in his mouth, blood all down the front of his shirt like they had worked him over pretty good.
“So,” begins Vito. “I sent this fucking babbo over to Harlem yesterday to make a pick up. Simple job. But this little fuck comes back light. ‘Where’s my fucking money Louis?’ I ask, very politely. Says he was robbed by some mooley. Pretty fucking convenient, if you ask me.” Louis starts screaming through his gag, so Vito gets up and walks over to him. Very slowly Vito reaches into his jacket, rummaging around his pockets as if he can’t find what he’s looking for, and Louis stops screaming. The whole time he doesn’t take his eyes off of Vito’s hand as it moves beneath his jacket, and the whole time Vito doesn’t take his eyes off of Louis. If you’ve ever looked for too long into Vito’s eyes, chances are you’re not still among the living. But Vito knows exactly what he’s looking for; he’s just drawing it out, building the tension. Louis doesn’t know this, though, and he’s getting more and more nervous. Eventually, Vito slowly pulls out a switchblade. Beautiful fuckin’ knife. Ivory handle with gold inlays, and he starts cleaning his fuckin’ nails. Doesn’t say a word to Louis. Just stands there cleaning his fuckin’ manicured fuckin’ nails still looking directly at Louis, who by this point is shaking and sweating like a pig.
Just when Louis is about the piss his pants, Vito has his boys bring him to the table, where they sit him down and tie each of his legs to the chair. Vito puts his knife away and takes out his gun. Starts polishing it, checking the cylinder. By this point Louis’s eyeballs are about ready to pop out his head and I swear he’s hyper-fuckin’-ventilating. I gotta say, I was getting pretty nervous myself at this point. So Louis starts screaming through his gag again, but now he’s crying and shaking his head . . . it was kind of sad and funny at the same time, you know?
Vito looks at me, nods to the kid and waves his hand under his nose. You know, like you see chefs do when they’re leaning over a pot of sauce or something and waving the aroma into their nostrils. So I walk over to Louis, who’s lookin’ at me like I’m the angel of fuckin’ death, and I bend over and sniff. And what do you know? Limes and roses. Faint but distinct. Then he waves me over the plate of sliced up lime and rose petals. Same fuckin’ smell. Amazing. We sat there and laughed for a good minute while the kid finally pissed himself. Vito let him go after.
Minus a hand.
I mean, it’s probably a hormonal thing or somethin’, or maybe it was just the power of suggestion, I don’t know, but Vito called it a combination of fear and doubt, two things that make you a liability in this business. Fear and doubt. They make people do some crazy things, right?
But, fear. Fear’s like a fuckin’ plague. Once someone catches it, it can infect the ranks faster than you can say a Hail Mary, so you gotta nip it in the bud. Find the infection and cut it out.
So, you take that first jamook I mentioned earlier and you make an example out of him. You turn him into the meaning. Capisce? Sure, you could bring in a crew, work him over with bats and crowbars, Mossberg kiss to the back of the head, feed him to the mulcher or the fuckin’ dogs. But those are just the kinds of overstatements that people are expecting. Beyond the short-lived shock value, they don’t have much substance. Definitely no style. People read about ’em in the paper and don’t even bat an eyelash. And, besides, any fucking cugine can do that kind of work.
So you gotta do something that’s going to make people sit up and pay attention. Get them to think about the meaning behind the work.
A few years back, Jimmy Tulano came to the Family, complained that a couple of his girls down on Spring Street were getting knocked around by one Marco Silvestri. Yeah, you remember him, right? Handsome kid, big, used to work the docks until Frankie brought him on as a dropman and a head-crusher. But poor old Marco, his belt didn’t go through all the loops, know what I mean? Not his fault he never made past the sixth grade. His old man was a real piece of work, used to beat the living fuck out Marco because life hadn’t turned out quite the way he expected. Probably beat the entire fourth and fifth grade out of Marco. Anyway, turns out, that all this . . . ah, “conditioning” made Marco good at two things: following orders and hurting people. In fact, Marco liked to follow orders and he loved to hurt people. Like they say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the fucking tree.”
But sometimes Marco went too far. He had that bloodlust that made him a mad dog. And there’s only one way to deal with a mad dog.
But Frankie, God bless his big fuckin’ heart, thought that maybe Marco just needed some taming, some reconditioning, so he set it up with Jimmy, and a couple of times a week Marco would . . . you know, release any unspent aggression into one of Jimmy’s girls. Worked out pretty good for a while until one of the girls got mouthy with him and Marco cracked her one. So, long story short, Marco discovers that he likes hitting women. Apparently he got off on that shit. Only reason Jimmy or any of the girls didn’t say anything sooner is because Marco threatened to dismember anyone who did, even threw in a little extra cash for property damage. But eventually, Jimmy started losing business. Johns don’t want girls who look like they French-kissed a wrecking ball. So Frankie makes the call and I get the job.
This wasn’t an execution job, which meant that once I got through with him, Marco would be a living symbol of what happens to mad dogs. To fucking misogynists. To guys who don’t have any respect for women. Who don’t have any respect for the Family.
Marco’s life would finally have meaning.
So I tase Marco at the base of his skull as he’s about to get into his car one night, I tie him up, and then I take him over to a little place I have in City Island. And you know what? As Marco is sitting there crying like a fucking baby, blubbering about how sorry he is, how it’ll never happen again, and yada yada yada, scared as holy fuck that I’m holding an acetylene blowtorch about a foot from his nuts, you know what I smell? Roses and lime.
It was only after Marco was staring death in the face that he got a conscience. Now that’s something to ponder, ain’t it?
Anyway, it took surgeons over three hours to detach Marco’s melted dick from his melted leg. And thanks to a few swipes of the old angle grinder over those well-used knuckles of his, Marco can’t make a fist anymore. You see, Marco’s body had now become a narrative, a story with a moral. It’s advanced reading, but not so difficult that even the doctors couldn’t pick up on it. They discharged him the next day.
Hey, look at you, getting all worked up! See, I knew that you especially would understand. I mean, you think about it, that’s fucking beautiful, right? A man’s life goes from being a cliché to a work of fuckin’ art. He becomes a symbol. A logo of my handiwork and a representation of Man’s folly.
Wow, that . . . excuse me. Sometimes when I think about this stuff, it kind of gets to me, you know?
Okay, I’m alright.
So, here we are. Just you and me. I just gotta say, sir, it’s a real honor to meet you. Frankie’s told me so much about you. Wow . . . so you used to run with fucking “Gorgeous” Guiliano D’Amati, right? Man, that guy was a fucking legend. Anybody from the neighborhood mentions his name, they cross themselves. That’s fucking respect. Omertá to the end, that guy, but he was determined that his last statement would be a resounding one, am I right? Grenade in each hand, walks right into the fucking Fifth Precinct, and declares that he was there to turn himself in. And BOOM! Fucking incredible. I mean, who does that?
Yeah. Who does that?
Hey, definitely not you, right? Frankie says you like to talk.
Hey, I’m sorry, that was disrespectful. You’ll have to pardon me. It’s just that . . . well, sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me. It’s just that . . . I really fuckin’ love what I do, you know?
So then. Listen, it’s been really nice talking with you, you know? But now we need to get down to business.
So I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine . . .
. . . hold on. You’re gonna love this . . .
. . . this is something very special. Something new I’m trying out. The package calls it a “finecut power handsaw,” but I call it fucking awesome. Am I right? See, I knew you would agree.
And . . . what do you know . . . it’s not even that loud.
Hey . . . you smell that?
Smells like roses and lime.
~ J. Boydstun, June 20, 2014