Type of Short Story: Short Story
Summary: Justice comes for a bedridden New York mobster during his last confession.
Brook looked at the entrance to the Intensive Care Unit. The subject of her story, a New York mobster, lay somewhere behind the door guarded by two police officers. He was shot earlier that morning. With three bullets in his chest and life support a necessity, there was little hope he could beat death.
She pursed her lips and played with a slightly out of place blonde curl. “Tony, can you tell me something more than the chief’s press release?” Her voice turned softer and warmer as she stepped closer to him. “Leads on the shooter? Suspected motive? Something I can publish tomorrow.”
Her jasmine perfume was overpowering, but Tony shook his head again. “Look, I can lose my job over this. Check tomorrow with the chief and he may have something. Good day.”
Brook frowned. She turned and began walking away. “I thought you were my friend,” she shot over her shoulder.
“Friends don’t get friends fired.”
“Piece of work, eh?” Mikey, the other police officer, said. He pointed at Brook’s lean figure and her swinging hips. “Pretty, smart, and ballsy.”
“Yeah, she is. A word of advice, Mikey: never get involved with someone from the press. Ever.”
“Will do, Tony,” the young police officer replied, flipping his paper to the sports section. He was sitting in a chair by the entrance to the ICU, while Tony was standing.
“I’m gonna get me some coffee.” Tony gulped the last sip from his paper cup. “Want something?”
“Get me a large one too.”
“Sure thing. Hope Brook doesn’t come back.”
“No worries. I won’t let her or anyone else get in.”
“That’s my boy.”
Tony turned his large body around and headed for the elevator. He passed a group of men in shiny suits and greasy hair. They were the mobster’s associates, waiting for their friend to wake up.
Mikey was halfway through the baseball scores when he heard approaching footsteps. He glanced at a man neatly dressed in a black suit. A briefcase hung from his left hand. He could be a banker or a lawyer. Mikey suspected a banker wouldn’t be meeting a dying mobster. Definitely a lawyer then.
“I’m here to see my—” the lawyer said.
“No visitors allowed,” replied Mikey without looking up.
“He’s my client, and I’m his lawyer, appointed by the Mancini famiglia, so I nee—”
“You deaf or something? I said no visitors allowed.”
“You can’t stop me. It’s within his rights to see a lawyer.”
Mikey put his paper away. “No, it’s not,” he spoke softly and slowly, as if talking to a two-year-old child. “Silvio Mancini is not under arrest. He’s under doctors’ care. Their orders are for the patient not to be disturbed by people like you. Or anyone else for that matter.”
The lawyer smirked at Mikey. “Huh, people like me, huh? And doctors need the police to keep lawyers away from Mr. Mancini?”
“We’re here to keep away the killers who didn’t finish their job in South Bronx. No one sees the patient without a doctor’s order and a DA’s authorization. Period.”
The lawyer raised his voice. “I can’t believe this. You want me to see the district attorney just to have a word with my client? Unbelievable!” He waved his arms. The contents of his briefcase rattled.
“You got something illegal in there?” Mikey arched one of his eyebrows, trying to hide his grin.
The lawyer snorted. “This ain’t over.” He stormed away.
“Have a nice day, counselor.” Mikey returned to his paper.
A couple of minutes later, Tony arrived with two large paper cups and a brown paper bag. He was chewing on a chocolate glazed donut. “Want some?” he asked, handing Mikey his coffee.
“No. Those things are gonna kill you, man.” Mikey took his coffee and nodded toward Tony’s large belly.
“Uh-huh. Stress is gonna kill me,” Tony replied between big bites. He washed them down with coffee. “Anything happening here while I was away?”
“Some jerkface of a lawyer wanted to see the mobster. I told him to take a hike.”
“Slimy weasels,” Tony groaned. He finished his donut. “Guess who I saw downstairs at the cafeteria?”
Mikey looked up at Tony, who was still standing. “Who?”
“Don Francesco Moretti? What’s he doing here?” Mikey didn’t hide the confusion in his voice.
“He was talking to some of the mobster’s associates. The Mancini family attends his church.”
“Yes, I’ve seen them a few times, the bastards.” Mikey shook his head.
“When? You haven’t been there in a few months. I go every Sunday.”
“I know, but ever since Stacy got pregnant, she doesn’t feel well in the morning. And then these Mafiosi coming and going as if they own the church. They really think they’re religious and their sins can be forgiven?”
“You’ll have to ask Father Moretti about that.”
“He’s gonna come upstairs?”
“I’m sure he’s here to see the mobster. He’s a large contributor to the church.”
“You know… Father Moretti has this strange sixth sense. He can sense death.”
Tony frowned. “What do you mean?”
“If Father Moretti is here, that means Mancini’s hours are numbered.”
Tony shrugged. “The man has three holes in his lungs. It didn’t take much to assume he might die at any moment. And Father Moretti likes to do the last rites in plenty of time. That’s what I’ve heard.”
“It could be true, but I wouldn’t be so sure about him dying. When you were at the washroom, I overheard one of the doctors talking to a nurse. He was saying Mancini’s breathing better and he’s stable.”
“So what’s Father Moretti doing here then?”
“I don’t know. Why don’t we ask him?” Mikey pointed at the approaching figure.
Father Moretti wore black pants and a black shirt. A small white square rested under his chin, and a small well-worn Bible was in his left hand. He carried his fifty years with an aura of solemnity and grace.
“How are you, my sons?” he asked the police officers.
“Great, we’re doing great, Father,” Tony said.
“How are you doing, Father?” Mikey said. He rose in respect.
“Well, very well. Visiting the sick and the afflicted. How’s Stacy doing?”
Mikey avoided Father Moretti’s piercing eyes. “She’s… she’s doing well. Sick in the mornings and weak during the day. That’s why we haven’t been around much. But we’ll come back soon.”
“We have a special mass this Sunday for new couples. And I’m looking forward to the baptism when the baby is born.”
“Oh, of course, we’ll bring the baby for baptism, for sure.”
“That’s very good, my son. And how’s your family, Tony?”
“Mama’s not doing that well, Father. It’s difficult for her to walk and sometimes even stand up. The rest of the family is doing great.”
Father Moretti nodded. “Tell Mama she’s in my prayers. May God’s hand rest upon her.”
“Thank you, Father.”
“I learned Silvio Mancini is not doing very well, is he?”
Tony shrugged. “We… we don’t know. He got popped really bad in the South Bronx.”
“I see,” Father Moretti said with a frown. “His family asked me to administer the Anointing of the Sick. Mr. Mancini needs to confess his sins so he is ready for eternal life.”
Mikey shook his head. “Father, we’re not supposed to allo—”
“Of course, Father,” Tony said. He moved out of the way and gestured toward the door.
“Thank you,” said Father Moretti. “This is not going to take long,” he said to Mikey.
“OK,” Mikey said.
Father Moretti opened the door and entered the ICU. Tony closed it silently behind him.
“I don’t know if that was such a good idea,” Mikey said.
“What if he tells Father Moretti a secret? Something he wants him to give to his associates? Information, an order.”
Tony frowned. “No way. Father Moretti’s not a Mafiosi.”
“I know, but what if it’s a sort of a last favor? A last will and testament so to speak?”
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