Risky Choices: Chapter Two

“Well done, Violet,” Big Tony’s voice boomed.

Vi’s heels echoed as she crossed the warehouse floor, their sharp clack bouncing off the pre-fab steel walls. Her eyes darted nervously from side to side, sizing up the dozen or so armed  henchmen that made up Big Tony’s personal bodyguards. So many guns. High powered rifles with obscenely phallic magazines in the hands of men who may as well have been machines themselves.

In the center of the warehouse, surrounded by crates and stacks of empty pallets, sat Big Tony, lounging in a cushy leather chair. A plume of blue smoke danced in the still air above his head. With a pair of sausage fingers, Tony pulled a fat stogie out of his mouth and smiled.

“I knew the day I hired you,” Tony said, waving the cigar at her, “you would be instrumental in helping me weed out the weak in my organization.”

Vi pointed to a slim, black briefcase on the ground next to the chair.

“Is that my money?” she asked with a nod.

Tony reached down beside him and gave the case a gentle pat.

“One million, perfectly laundered dollars,” he replied. “Just as we agreed.”

“I’m impressed that you kept your word,” Vi began.

The sound of a dozen slides loading bullets into chambers surrounded her.

Vi glared at Big Tony and shook her head.

“What the hell is this? I gave you Greg,” Vi snarled, taking a step forward, “as well as the contract with the Maple Gang and turned my back on a legitimate career. In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve given you everything I have to give.”

Big Tony stood up.

“Violet,” he cooed walking towards her, “you didn’t think I was gonna pay some two-bit ambulance chaser a million bucks for setting up a hit, did you? I could have had one of my boys take care of your backstabbing husband for free.”

Vi stopped in her tracks. “What? But I thought—”

“You thought wrong, girlie,” Tony said. “All I really needed was that contract. A nice, legal connection to Maple Foods, Inc. and now that the ink is dry, I can dispose of you. There is no room in my organization for DA rats.”

“I never ratted you out Tony,” Vi muttered.

Tony casually reached into his long coat and produced a Glock. With an emotionless face, he aimed the gun at Vi.

“Yeah, but you might be tempted,” he fired back.

Violet stood her ground. “I’m the one who has been taking all the risk laundering your dirty money! Why would I throw myself under the bus and snitch to the DA?”

Big Tony threw his head back and let out a belly laugh.

“Bitch, you still think this is about laundering money?” he said. “You’re gonna die because I can’t risk you shooting your damn mouth off about the heroin!”

The blood drained from Vi’s face. Her knees began to wobble as she thought back over the last four months. The cargo manifests that kept disappearing, the sudden need for new construction at the docks, and all those weird trips Tony had sent Greg on… she gasped. Greg knew. He knew all along.

“Starting to make sense now, Violet?” Tony asked.

“How does the Maple Gang fit into all this?” Vi said through clenched teeth. “Mable Swan won’t tolerate you using her business as a front for a heroin operation. Are you willing to piss her off?”

“The Sara Rosa secret formula is heroin,” Tony replied. “It’s amazing what science can do nowadays. Mable figured out how to cook it down and purify it so pure, that in its crystal form it looks like glass. Ten times more potent than traditional smack, which means we can sell it one part heroin to twenty parts filler and still offer the best high in north America.”

Vi shook her head. “You’re insane. Why are you telling me all this?”

Big Tony shrugged his shoulders. “Why not? You’re gonna die anyway.”

As Tony leveled the gun at Vi, a million thoughts ran through her brain. She thought about Greg and how much she loved him. Even when she was plotting his death, Vi’s heart ached with longing. He was her first love. The only one who believed she could get through law school. The only one who wanted to put a ring on her finger.

The only one that knew enough to take Big Tony Russo down.

Out of the blackened corners of the warehouse, a series of hollow popping sounds rang out, followed by the telltale hissing of releasing gas. Quickly the warehouse was filled with thick, blinding fumes. Big Tony’s men began hacking and choking.

“What the fu—” Tony shouted, covering his face with the sleeve of his coat. “I’m gonna kill you, bitch.”

Big Tony squeezed the trigger over and over, firing blindly into the sea of white gas. As the last round exited his gun, Tony felt a pair of hands on his shoulders.

“We gotta get outta here, boss.”

Tony nodded, allowing his loyal henchman to herd him out the back door to his awaiting car.

Molly Neely


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