Warning! This content may contain scenes of violence, strong language and religious connotations.
Johnny stepped out of the shower and grabbed for a towel hanging over the rack. He wiped the water from his eyes then rubbed his hair, draping it around his neck when finished, he wrapped another around his waist, his gut helping to keep it in place as he tucked the towel underneath. He bypassed the mirror and stepped into his bedroom, warm light engulfing him as the floor-to-ceiling window showed the city’s skyline reflecting light from one building to another below. The activity never stopped down there, the 12am crowd simply replaced the 12pm crowd in a coordinated overtake of bodies throughout the day.
He looked over to the clock near his bed 1:54pm, early enough he thought. Throwing the towel that still hung from his neck on the bed he went over to the cabinet across the room. He picked up the half-empty bottle of scotch and poured some into the small glass sitting next to it, downing the glass in one mouthful, he picked up the bottle again and was about to pour another when he heard women laughing. Women laughing in his apartment. In his apartment where he lived alone.
He settled the bottle down and moved towards the door that lead out to the living room. He tried to steady his breathing as he turned the handle, opening it a sliver. The corridor appeared empty, but the voices grew louder. “She’s lying, she’s such a liar, I just hope the other girls can see it before it’s too late. Look out for snaaake.” Johnny closed the door as up-tempo music started playing and a different woman’s voice replaced the first, discussing a party she planned to throw that night. He scurried to his bedside table and pulled out a gun, the weapon shimmering as it was welcomed into the light and went over to the door, opening it enough so he could squeeze through. He slowly stepped out into the corridor, stilling whenever the floor made a groan or the drips from his still wet body met the ground.
Reaching the end of the corridor, he peered around the corner. “I just – just don’t know why you’d do that to me. Why would you do that? Why? Why?” said a distraught woman on screen of the TV to a man who looked like he had used an entire bottle of gel on his thick blonde hair. The light of the screen illuminated the man watching it. He was sprawled over the large sofa that followed the curve of the coffee table in front where his feet were resting. One of his arms ran down the head of the sofa while the other fumbled with the volume button on the remote.
Johnny stepped back and rested his head against the wall. Who was he sent by Luca? Rizzo? Ricci? Johnny couldn’t imagine any of Ricci’s men lounging about on the job, Rizzo’s boys were too stupid to find their way on the forty-second floor of an apartment building and that’s without the security that was stationed in the lobby. One of Luca’s? He peered around the corner, the man looked young, not a boy but couldn’t be more than thirty, he was muscular, but his dirty blonde hair wasn’t the profile of Luca’s crew. Luca’s crew was made up of the Capurso family and rugged noses and jet-black hair was present in every one them.
Hitman, maybe? Must be a cheap hitman, there were plenty of opportunities to kill him. Whoever he was, he was an idiot, one for entering the home of Johnny Bianchi and two for not killing him when he was in the shower, he would put up a hell of a fight now and Johnny Bianchi never lost. He pushed himself off the wall, raised his gun and turned the corner.
The couch was empty. The TV continued to blare but it was no longer being watched. Johnny spun expecting a weapon to be aimed at him from behind, instead, he found the man hunched over the kitchen island from across the room, picking at a handful of grapes. The man tossed one in his mouth, his eyes trained at Johnny, intrigue spread across his face. Johnny re-aimed his weapon, but the man did nothing but pop another grape in his mouth. “Nice towel”, he said in a voice as smooth as the fruit he was eating. Johnny sneered but said nothing, the silence an opportunity to assess his opponent. He didn’t look familiar, yet there was an easiness about him that made Johnny less cautious than he should be about someone who had just broken into his home.
His gun still aimed in the intruder’s direction, he asked, “who sent you? Was it Luca? You know he lost half of the family’s money on the tables, I’m sure I can double his investment.” Johnny’s brow furrowed, but he corrected it before confusion could settle on his face. Why was he bargaining with this guy? He was the one with the power, it’d be so easy just to shoot, but his finger made no move to the trigger.
“No, no Luca”, said the man, a smile crawling across his face as if he could hear Johnny’s internal struggle.
“Then who are you? Why you here?”
“Right, sorry, where are my manners”, the man stood straight and threw the grapes over to him, supposedly to catch but as Johnny was reluctant to drop his gun, he let them bounce off his chest and to his feet. The man continued as if nothing happened, “I’m Samael”, he said placing a palm to his chest, “and this”, he outstretched his hand and ran it across the open space between the living room and kitchen “is my new home”. Irritation throttled the confusion that was playing in Johnny’s mind, he scoffed, his finger finally reaching the trigger, which seemed to only add a gleam to Samael’s eye. “Yeah, you know I was surprised too, I had a penthouse a few years back”, he puffed out a breath audibly, “coming up to twelve years now. I’ve been living in one of those houses in the suburbs. You know the ones, big, more bedrooms than you need, a mile-long garden, friendly neighbours”, said Samael, a knowing smile at his lips. He walked towards one of the windows, “But you can’t beat that view, huh?” he sounded far away by the end as if he could see each individual person down there.
Johnny shook his head slightly, he knew the guy had just told him he was going to kill him and take his home, but his voice dripped with something else. Something that stopped Johnny raising his gun and shooting him square in the head. His voice dripped promise. Johnny placed his gun on the counter with a thud that made Samael’s eyes travel to it and patted it, letting his hand rest on top, “How about we make a deal? You tell me who you’re working for, you then change allegiances and I don’t shoot you between the eyes and throw you from that view you love so much.”
Samael’s mouth twitched, he started to speak but then looked over to near the TV. Johnny turned his head slightly in the same direction but saw nothing than the cartoon now playing on the screen. Samael tutted, “Ah, now as much as I love making deals, Johnny boy, especially when at least one participant is naked I must decline. Looks like your ride’s here.”
Johnny ground his teeth, he was done with riddles, this guy may know something but he wasn’t going to tell him and that made him a liability. “Then we’re through here”, he sneered and grabbed for his gun, his finger coiled around the trigger as he took one step forward and fell. His foot covered by the juice of the grapes that once laid at his feet, he could do nothing but stare at the sharp granite edge of the kitchen counter he was now tumbling towards. His head hit the side with a smack that echoed around the room.
“Poor, poor Johnny boy”, he heard the promising voice titter, as he felt himself slide to the floor, a trail of red following and then nothing.