Special Delivery


Tomasso “The Bull” Scavolini rocked back and forth, back and forth, letting the gentle squeak from an ancient plank on his porch slowly put him to sleep, part of a daily ritual here on the old family place now that he told himself he was retired.  The old lady in the kitchen, the one that once excited so many as an exotic dancer with flame red hair and intense green eyes, but now with gray-white matted hair and dull lifeless eyes, the one cooking up a pot of lamb shanks with pasta, snorted every time he mentioned retirement.  “So young, so stupid.”  She remembered how The Bull abducted her, and after a while, she just rode with the flow.

Her brother, Tony “The Nose”, had tried to rescue her a couple of times, but The Bull had too many connections with too many of the families.  He was the hit man to go to, thus he had the protection of those that needed his services.  Broken ribs, windows blown out while driving, all told Tony to lay off.  “The Bull wants that woman, and he will have her,” was the message.

“Retirement?  You gotta have a job from which to retire, asshole,” the anger never left anymore.  He just smiled that soft smile that allowed him to kill so many.  They called him The Bull because of his size, his brute strength, but it was his gentle voice, soft smile, and friendly eyes that allowed him to get close to his enemies.  “They never suspected,” he remembered as the squeaking slowed a bit.  He swatted tentatively at a mosquito, and wondered what that sound was he could hear.  Not a car or truck, not an airplane, but a strong humming sound more like the sound a turbine at an electric plant might make.

She heard it too, and a smile crossed the old face, remembering that a month or so ago she had heard that there was a price on the old hit man’s head.  The Bull knew too much, too many names, too many hits.  No retirement for those that kill for a living.  It wasn’t easy, but she got word to her brother and The Nose is responding.

The Bull pulled a screwed up baseball cap that was a favorite toy of She-Wolf his little yellow cat out of his back pocket and walked off the porch to see if he could find the source of the noise.  “Can you hear that?” he hollered into the kitchen, and too late he understood.  “Company’s a-comin’ and I ain’t home, got it?”

He ran as hard as his fat old legs would go, not getting twenty feet before the bullets tore through him.  “Well, damn me.  The Bull is retired for sure, now,” she murmured, putting the lid back on the lamb shanks.

The motorcyclist spun around, stopped in front of the porch and threw a packet to her, a few bills showing through.  “Thanks, sis, you earned this.”

~ fin ~

Mr. Gunn is retired from a fifty year journalism career, devoting his time to fiction writing. His collection, “Out of the West … Tales of the American Frontier” (Bottom of the Hill Publishing), was released in December 2010. His short fiction can be found in Shotgun Honey, Yellow Mama, The Mac Guffin, The Storyteller, and Rope and Wire among others.  He lives with his wife, Patty and a menagerie that includes a couple of horses, some rabbits and chickens, and one goofy goat, about twenty miles north of Reno, Nevada.