Friday, November 8, 2013

Just Do It

The man known as John Loomis stood in the kitchen, looking out the window at the rainy night. He’d have to mow again soon. That time of year. He swirled the two cubes and raised the last of his drink. He froze with the glass on his lips. Call it a sixth sense.

“I always knew this day would come,” Loomis said low and even.  

Ringing silence was the only answer coming from the darkened hallway.

There was no panic or fear when he realized he wasn’t alone. Maybe it was because he had always expected this. Maybe it was that he just didn’t care anymore.  

Jimmy Cobb didn’t turn from the window. He just stood there and sat the tumbler on the counter. There was a pause. Then there was a whisper of movement. He knew the guy was in the arched kitchen doorway now.

He closed his tired eyes, sad and slow. Sighed. Waited for the end.

“Keep your hands on the counter Jimmy. Don’t turn around.” The voice was young, rough, east coast … familiar.

“Sixteen years I had as Mr. John Loomis.” Cobb’s eyes were still closed.

“Long time. But hey, sooner or later, right? You always get found.” The man was closer now.

“Holy shit. Palmisano’s boy? Gio, that you?” Cobb’s voice was lighter, almost happy. “I remember watchin’ you crawl around on the living room floor, seein’ you play little league ball…Holy shit.”

No answer.

“Okay listen. Gio, hey, a drink? I got Makers here. We’ll both have one and then you can do this thing.” Cobb pointed at the bottle and shrugged.

“I shoulda just done it. No talkin’ like this. Just shoulda done it.” 

“Yeah, hey, relax kid. It’s okay. Hell, this is a relief for me believe it or not. My times up. I get that. We’re just having a conversation here? No problems from me. This is how it works…so, like, one cube or two Gio?” Cobb’s voice was smooth, calm.

There was no reply but he heard the kid farther to his left now, slowly circling around him. The reflection in the window told him what he knew already. Giovanni Palmisano, the youngest son.

“You’re old man was something son. He was the best there was. Like I gotta tell you that right? He was one of a damn kind,” Cobb said wistfully.

“One, yeah.” Gio still sounded uneasy. 

“When he finally went, half a me did too.”   

“I meant one cube. Let’s do this. One drink. Then I gotta take care of this business you and I got…and yeah… he always talked good about you too Jimmy.”

Cobb raised both his hands up slowly from the counter. “Just making the drinks okay kid?”

“Sure, sure. Just don’t do anything huh Jimmy? This drink is outta respect. Don’t make me regret doing that. I remember what my old man told me about you. I remember my uncle Jimmy watchin’ me play ball. I remember all that.”   

“No problems. You got my word.”

“Your word ain’t shit according to the people that sent me. You’re a fuckin’ rat.”

Cobb grinned, got another tumbler from the cupboard and dropped in a cube from the ice bucket. He glugged some whisky in both glasses and turned, sitting them on the counter.

“Tell you the truth kid, they’re right. Nobody’s word in this business is ever gonna be trustworthy. Including theirs.” Cobb’s tone had changed.

Palmisano took a drink with his free hand.

“Agreeing to a last drink like this?” Cobb looked disappointed, and shook his head slow. “No room for sentimental bullshit…rookie fuckin’ mistake. This is your first hit right?”

Palmisano frowned and took a big swallow this time. He was bowed up and feeling challenged now.

“Promise me you won’t do this half ass shit again. No thinkin’ next time. Just do it. Why didn’t you just shoot me like you was s’posed to?” Cobb sipped and swirled, staring at him hard. “What the fuck?”

“Because you’re you. My old man, all that.”

“And so, this’ll be easier now that we held hands?” Cobb gave him a look of disgust.

Palmisano was seeing red now. “Finish that.”

“That’s more like it.” Cobb finished his drink. “Remember tonight. I just gave you a valuable lesson. Only because of your old man. I don’t want you ruining his legacy down the road. Now do it, before you pussy out, or piss your designer pants.”

Palmisano clunked his glass down. “Okay, you old fuck.”

The gun came up but it was shaking and Palmisano was gritting his teeth. Cobb didn’t trust him, so he pushed.

“Check the cupboard afterward sonny. I had your little punk ass if I’d a wanted it.” He glared at Palmisano and took a step forward.

There were two quick shots and a third for insurance. And then another, before he could stop himself.  

Palmisano was too pumped up and forgot the spent casings like he’d been told. He had a gloved hand on the back door before he remembered.

Heart hammering and rushing now, he only found three of them but he had to get out. He shot a glance back at the cupboard. Didn’t need to look. It was there and he knew it.