The shots in the office

1933, New York city. The city is stained red as various crime family's go about their regular business. Luca is nineteen and by the time he turns 20 he will join the family business. At least that's what he thought. Called by the Don( his father) Luca is ordered to take part in an evening job. Stuck between what he was expected to do since the day he was born and what he believes is right, Luca will have to make his own choice. One thing is certain there will be shots in the office.

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1. This life of ours

 

 

“This life of ours, this is a wonderful life. If you can get through life like this and get away with it, hey, that’s great. But it’s very, very unpredictable. There’s so many ways you can screw it up”. -Paul Castellano

 

New York, in the night was never quiet, too many things kept such a place awake and alive. The alleyways were filled with men. Men with guns and intent to hit a target, men who had something to gain, to prove and to succeed. The 1920’s brought the age of organized crime and the banning of alcoholic substances. The crime organizations were not a group of people to sit idly by and watch as there drinks were taken.  A boy sat on his window sill watching the last of the sun’s rays disappear and melt into the night sky. Luca Zanbini was 19, and his days were numbered. All too soon he would join the world of the Mafia. The life which he had never wanted anything to do with, not until he had to. Sighing, he ran his fingers through his short brown hair.  He glances at his watch and turned to face the window. The night would not stay silent for long, the Family would make the city run red. Tonight’s activities were what he would call a typical night.  A few months back a man by the name of Anthony Reid had requested a loan. To Luca whenever someone cut a deal with his family, he would pity them. Making a deal with his Family or any type of Mafia was, in his eyes, a way to a very painful and gruesome death. Not many people who requested loans lived long enough to have the debt paid in full. Those who could not pay back, paid back with their lives. One Anthony Reid had been given warning multiply times regarding his ever growing debt and his procrastination to pay it. Tonight that would change. The Zanbini family would take over whatever establishments he had owned and get rid of the man. For he would not be of any use to them now.  A shiver ran along his spine of the thought of the lifeless eyes that would capture the lively ones. He hated how his family dealt with those of the lower standing. He knew most of what they did was to insure the absolute loyalty to the Zanbini family. It was to be a warning and display if nothing else. A warning to those who still had time to pay, to those who served them.

Turning his head to face the door he noticed the presence of a maid. She looked so tiny and fragile, her eyes were glued to the floor as she tried to find the courage to address the next head of the Zanbini family.

“Young Master Luca, the Don wishes to see you right away” she says politely.  The Don, his father. Luca glances at the window for a moment catching the last ray of light, then reluctantly and with the slowness of a turtle, walks past the maid and out into the hallway. Luca did not hate the one who created him, yet he did not love him either. The Don is head of Zanbini family, he organizes everything. With his word anyone can be whacked off.  The man scares him.  Yet, one day he will be the one to give the commands and that scares him even more. It scares him to know that one day, in his future he is to take the roll.

The hallway is lined with velvety red carpet, no windows line the walls. The walls were painted with a darker shade of red, it reminded him of the red wine in the cellars. Walking in silence he makes a few twists and turns until he arrives a set of large double doors. The doors were oak and a small pattern of diamonds were carved into its beautiful wood. Standing directly in front of the doors were two large, intimidating men.  The Don was never without his security, to be without protection was a stupid and foolish idea. The Bosses of crime families have many enemies, inside and outside the Family. Although having a rat in the Family was rare, it still happened from time to time. It was those men and women who he truly pitied, they had sworn the oath of Omertà and loyalty. With breaking any rule there was always a punishment to follow, the punishment for breaking the vow of silence was one of the heavier fates. A fate he would rather not think on.  He stopped a few feet from the door, the guards remained silent as their eyes observed him critically. His father a few months back had demanded that he too take a bodyguard, however this matter and argument was won by Luca.  Unfortunately, such a win came with the cost of constant observance from the Don. Many of his Father’s men would follow him and report to his father after any outings. Soon he just stopped going out. The guards still gaze at him. Reluctantly, they step to the side and allow him to enter.      

 

Luca steps in, and as he does he sends a quick prayer to whatever god may be listening. It’s usually never a good thing to be asked for. Most made Men were “called in” for punishment and never seen or heard again. Luca however, considered himself to be the exception to this.

 

When he enters he is greeted by the sight of a man sitting in his desk, his back is toward him. The smell of cigars lingers in the air. He almost gags, smoking has never been in his interests, he considers the air to be dirty enough, and it needs not the homemade pollution of man’s stress relievers. Luca takes a deep breath and approaches the desk. The office is something that is familiar to him, as a child he played in here almost every day. The days when he had the child-like innocence about him. The walls are covered in beautiful paneled wood. A white marble fireplace is directly at his side, the golden fire utensils adoring its side. There are windows in this room, unlike in the hallways. The blood velvet curtains hang all the way to the hardwoods floors.    

 

The chair squeaks pulling him out of his thoughts, the man he calls father turns to face him. The Don is not ugly by any standards, he wears a fine tailored suit, the likes of which no common man could afford. His eyes are a bear brown, such power and authority spill from them. His hair his dark brown, almost black. It is short and greasy.  Pablo Zanbini that was his name.

Figlio.” His father slips into his Italian language. The Don drags another breath and then lets the smoke billow out before continuing.

“I see you have finally arrived, that maid has finally done right and here I thought all she could be of use for would be entertainment. Although, women are for another discussion.” The Don smiles at the thought of his many conquests. It only lasts for a moment, then he puts back his mask and sighs. He places the cigar on a silver tray. Then directs his brown eyes at Luca.  

Luca looks down at his shoes, trying to avoid his father’s eyes. He was aware of his father’s many conquests.

The Don's eyes drift over him for a minute more before he picks up his cigar and gestures to the chair in front of his desk.   

Luca allows his eyes to move off his shoes and to the chair. Sitting down means that this is not just a friendly visit, business is to be done.

“Luca, my son you are not in trouble” The boss sighs and gestures to him to take his seat again. His father is getting impatient the lines on his forehead are an indication and a testament to that.

“This night is not for me to question your activities and whereabouts. It is to ask you to take part in tonight’s hit job.”

Luca felt his blood run cold. Suddenly images of dead bodies and blood come into mind.

“Luca, don’t just stand there like a frightened child. You are the next head of family and as such you are to act with strength and confidence.”

The sharpness in his voice hits him out of his contemplation.  Sitting down in the chair, Luca looks down at the ground. The Don lets out a small sigh. Leaning back in his chair he pulls out a small candy. Luca sits perfectly still as his father's eyes observe him. So many thoughts buzz around his head, so many thoughts that he starts to get a headache. He has yet to give an answer, he knows he has no choice in the matter one way or another he will have to head out. What his father asked is not yet an order, but with the way things are going it may be an order soon enough. He gulps and looks to meet the eyes of the Don.

“Father, I still have a few months left until my 20th birthday, I thought we agreed that I would start the family business then-”

But he never finishes. The Don stands and looms over Luca, anger written all over his face with a hint of disappointment.

“Luca” he address him sternly “You are not a child anymore, I will not stand for this behavior. People are starting to think us weak. It's time you played your role and take responsibility, you are nineteen Luca, you know what is required of you. You will accompany the rest of the men i have set aside for the task. Do you understand?”  

He didn’t answer.

Suddenly, He found himself being held up by his father. Struggling for breath he gasps and grabs at the hands.

His father repeats again.

“Do you understand?

He can’t find his breath. He feels helpless, the air is almost gone and he has yet to indicate whether he understands or not.

Of course he understands, but he is being asked to kill another being. He never wants to have blood on his hands. He loves his family, but he does not love the family. He will never be able to accept and justify that what they do is right. He can never accept the way others will treat him, he will not be able to have friends and not have them turn into his enemies. He understands and yet, at the same time, he feels so lost. More lost then the time he kissed Nancy Peterson in fifth grade. More lost when he found out his mother had died because of an overdose. More lost then when he found out that he would be head of the family. He was lost and for the first time, he felt his whole foundation shake.

All the beliefs he had been taught, gone. All the skills and fighting, gone. All the praises to his name about being a good kid, gone and false. His foundation was breaking and underneath his own morals and ethics invaded. He understood what his father wanted, he knew that. He also knew what he wanted and so he also knew what he had to do. He just wondered if it was worth it. One for the price of many, freedom and life for one and yet all. Utter chaos would follow would he be willing to stain these hands one time for his freedom and for future others? Was it worth it?  

 

“Do you understand you foolish boy!”

He understands.

He swings his feet at his father’s shin, the impact is hard, so hard his hands release Luca, falling to the ground he lands on his knees, taking huge breaths he tries to regain his normal breathing pattern. He hears his father cursing. But pays no attention. All too soon he tries to stand, his legs wobble but he manages to stand. He runs to the double doors and bolts them. Quickly he turns, only to find his father standing in front of him. He dodges right as his father’s hand tries to grab him, evading his father's arms he runs to the desk that holds what he needs. He rams into the desk and frantically searches for the item that will end it all.  While he searches he hears the sound of the guardsmen yelling coming from outside the doors. Scrambling he opens the last drawer on the desk, his father is getting closer his hand on his shin as he hobbles toward Luca. He finally finds it and for that one moment time slows down. Resting it in his hands he tests the weight. The weight of a Colt m1911a1 pistol.

“My, my Luca, what do you think you’re doing holding my gun?”  The Don chuckles.

“You’re not even a Made Man yet, you’re just a child who is afraid to do what is expected of him. You disappoint me so”

Luca holds the gun tight. So tight it imprints on his hand.

“Maybe so father, maybe I am scared to take on head of Zanbini family. Maybe I am just a stupid child, you can call me a disappointment all you want but it will never change the way I feel about this Family. I will not become a part of this life, I will not be responsible for the deaths of people.”

His father looks at him with an unimpressed look. Lifting the gun towards his father he puts his finger on the trigger.

“I won’t stop you then” the Don replies

But before he shoots he says something that makes the Don freeze.

“Maybe this gun wasn’t meant for you” Luca said quietly.

Outside in the hall a single gunshot rang out. The guards stopped for a moment and looked at each other.

The one on the left whispered to his partner.

“We have lost one this night”

“Indeed” the other replied.

“The Don or the new Don?”

“We shall know soon”

And they removed their hands from the door hinges and waited.

 

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do”- Potter Stewart  

      Notes and vocab.

Author's note:  Throughout writing this I learned a lot about the mafia and, well, slang.  Also, the ending is a complete cliffhanger. I did this on purpose, I could see Luca killing himself or I could see him killing his father.  Although, Luca doesn't want blood on his hands. But he still debates if it's worth it or not. It's not called ethics for nothing.   As for the don saying that he will allow Luca to shoot him, that my friends is because he believes that Luca doesn't have the guts to.  In other words it's like the United Kingdom saying that the earlier stages of what would become known as the revolutionary wars, was a temper tantrum and saying they don't have the hamburgers to oppose us. Long story short it wasn't a temper tantrum, it was more of a demand and a statement.    “America you sly dog, you wounded the lions pride”  Fun fact: Did you know that these mafia groups only allowed italians and American-italians !!!! ( crazy so i can't go join them? shame)


 

Vocab /slang for da awesome Mafia hipsters!

Rat- Basically a person who snitches (shame on them)

Omertà- A vow of silence in da awesome Mafia, if broken punishable by death (the lesson is just keep da mouth shut)

Don/ Boss- Don basically is a boss, da boss of the Mafia or clan.

The Family – The family is reference to all those who are in the Mafia (in this case the Genovese’s)

Made Man –A fully inducted member of da family

Hit job- Okay, so the job part in this is all me. However, hit means to kill or murder. So I put it together and well, created this.

Called in- Alright, well being called in can mean a different number of things, it can be good or bad. The said person gets called in to see the higher ups (Boss, Don, Superiors) to receive orders or punishment. Most at that time avoided those calls and well, they ran. If they ever got caught lord have mercy.

Colt m1911a1- It’s a pistol.  Actually it’s a pistol made in the 1920’s earliest use 1911 .  It’s super cool.

Whacked-  Basically it means killed off.  (Nobody wants to be whacked off)

 

Genovese’s- Okay, so there actually is a crime organization that has this name and is up and still running. I was on wiki and was looking at dates and stuff. I ran across birth dates in the mafia organizations and saw it said present.  That was super cool.  So I in no way say that these things actually happened I just needed a name and a scene. So any names in this story relating to people living or dead are purely coincidental. This also goes for situations.

 

The Prohibition act- First off, think for a second and imagine America without alcohol. Thought about it? Good. So in the 1920’s alcohol was a no go. So all the mafia bosses were like:

“Guys these government peeps are taking away our happy drinks!”

“Oh hell no, I need this stuff to take the edge off, the cops say were so hard to catch. Do they know how hard it is to organize this crap?”

“I don’t think they do.”

“Guys I have an idea, there is no way I’m saying goodbye to my vodka”

“PROTESTS AND IF THEY IGNORE US, WE SMUGGLE IT IN.”

“I like this guy”

“Who’s ready to party?”

“Vodka, beer, tequila “

“Let’s do this”

Okay, so no go with the alcohol. But the bosses made millions with this smuggling of theirs. This act was lifted in 1933. Turns out America was wanting its alcoholic substances back. FREEDOM!

 

The author only owns the characters and plot. The rest belongs to the specific others.  

 

 

 

 

 

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