Breaking Bones(8)

By: Amanda Washington

“What’s going on with Matt Deter?” he asked.

Matt Deter, the current bane of my existence, was a low-life dealer who owed the family three thousand dollars for a shipment of dope he’d taken to the streets and never paid for. He also happened to be Ariana’s ex-boyfriend. Last time they were together, he pumped her pretty little veins full of enough dirty dope to kill her, then pulled a disappearing act. That was Halloween, the night I met her. She’d recovered physically, but she never talked about Matt or the experience. I had every intention of finding the asshole and making him pay for what he’d done to her with his life.

“He’s been layin’ low, but I got eyes and ears watchin’. First squeak that rat makes, we’ll be all over him,” I reassured Carlo. “He’s arrogant. He’ll show his face sooner or later. Can’t help himself.”

“Good, good. As soon as he pops his head out of whatever hole he’s hiding in, do him up good.” He paused and leaned against his desk. “But shake him down and find out who he’s getting his junk from first. We need to get that shit off the streets. It’s bringing too much heat down on the market.”

Although I was just an enforcer, I understood the drug trade to be a tricky business. The product had to be cheap enough to keep buyers loyal, but also of high enough quality to keep them alive. The family policed the market to make sure balance was kept, but during the war with the Pelinos we’d lost control. Someone had flooded the streets with dirty dope, causing enough deaths to make the politicians pay attention. Carlo’s team had been hunting down the dealers and slowing distribution, but if we didn’t get it cut off at the source soon, even the greased cops would have to get their noses in Carlo’s business. Nobody wanted that.

“Yes sir. I’ll make sure he squeals.”

He nodded and crossed his arms. “In the meantime, I have another job for you. Renzo has a fence by the name of Jimmy Foster… you ever hear of him?”

Renzo was Angel’s third cousin, but I was unfamiliar with the fence. “No sir.”

“This guy Jimmy stiffed Renzo on a big deal. Probably thought the Pelinos were gonna come out on top of this war and wasn’t worried about offending one of ours. I’m sending you with Renzo to set this stronzo straight.”

Regardless of how big a bastard Jimmy Foster was, sending me with Renzo was a strange move for Carlo to make. Renzo was a made man—formally inducted into the family—who had his own team, and they were more than capable of handling some suicidal fence. But I’d learned long ago not to question the orders of my capo. “Understood.”

“I’ll have the new Tech send you the details when Renzo’s ready to make his move.” Carlo pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, stuck one between his lips, and lit it. He took a drag and then said, “Now tell me about Angel. The kid’s really going straight?”

Carlo knew everything about Angel the boss had tried to hide. He knew Angel was different. It wasn’t that Angel was soft—because he wasn’t—but he had a higher regard for life than what was acceptable for someone in our line of business. Even if Angel managed to physically survive leading the family, it’d tear him up inside.

“Looks like it. He’s already got a job offer with some big-time tech company.”

“So you know where he’s going yet?”

“No. The job’s remote. He can live anywhere in the U.S.”

Carlo shook his head, looking disgusted. “I always figured he’d come around. That one day his blood would kick in and he’d change. Always thought Angel would be your capo. You know that’s why I never brought you in, right? We were waiting. But with Angel out of the equation… well, we’re opening the books later this month, and it’s past time we brought you in.”

Now? I’d waited years to be made, and now that Angel wanted me to leave with him they were finally ready to go through with it? Why? Information was Carlo’s currency. He had to know I was planning to leave with Angel. Careful to keep my expression neutral, I nodded. Saying or doing anything else would most likely get my throat cut.

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