By John Paulits
Comic Mystery, 293 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
Mayhem and mix-ups follow Bruno Brunotaglia’s murder of a hit man sent after him by a rival mob. Panic stricken, Bruno leaves behind a briefcase of money and an import notebook. Two down-and-out friends find the briefcase and notebook, and Bruno needs them back before his father, head of the Philly mob, blows a gasket. Will Richard get to keep the briefcase of money he found with Strangler and the Indian hard on his trail? Can Clarence make hay from the information in the notebook? It’s a battle of half-wits in this deadly game of hide and seek.
Bruno waited in the dark, his panic festering. Where the hell were they? He’d decided to waste the two kids and hope the old men ran off. At any rate, after he shot the two kids, he’d run off so fast those old men wouldn’t have a prayer of catching him even if they tried. But where the hell were they? He decided to investigate.
He crept along in the dark, growing less and less comfortable about walking over people’s graves. It was like begging for bad luck, and he’d already had enough bad luck tonight to last him until the 2015 San Gennaro Festival. Bruno saw the mausoleum and paused. The assassin’s body lay in full view, and he wondered what had become of his jacket. He knew it had covered most of the body.
Oh, shit! Oh, shit, shit, shit! The briefcase! The hundred thousand dollars! The whole purpose of the night. He rushed out into the open and scanned the area. No briefcase. Oh, shit. Please, God. He proceeded to the body and, with a grimace, turned it over. The Glock appeared, but no briefcase. Bruno picked up the Glock. Now he had enough bullets to waste all four of those motherfuckers. One of them must have taken the briefcase. He cocked his head to listen for footsteps. Nothing. They hadn’t gone past him, so they could only have gone the other way. Why would they do that? he wondered. They must have seen him waiting. They must have seen him! Oh, shit, oh shit. Tears welled in Bruno’s eyes. No money, a dead guy and four people knew about him! He started running in the only other direction the four interlopers could have taken.
When he reached the far end of the cemetery and dashed breathless out onto the sidewalk, he saw them. Oh, shit! he swore. The two kids were already on the porch and following the old guys into the house. Bruno dashed down the street, trying to think. They would call the cops. It had to be they’d call the cops. He had to get out of the neighborhood and pronto. When he rushed past the old guys’ house, he noted the address. His stomach in knots, his ear dreading the sound of a siren, he beeped open his Lexus, got in, and stepped on it.