Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Historical Fiction: "After Dinner in New York"

After Dinner in New York: April 15th 1931

The two men remain at their table in the restaurant long after the other diners have left. Umberto the proprietor would also doubtless like to shut up shop and go home, but you don't argue with customers like these, and in any case he expects to be well paid for the inconvenience. The food is good: Joe attacks it with his usual greed and uncouthness; Charlie is more abstemious. After the meal is over. Joe reminiscences volubly about old times, and when they are alone in the room, the two talk business. Eventually Charlie excuses himself to go to the lavatory.
As he rises his hands and sliks back his hair, he contemplates his reflection in the mirror above the washbasin. He is only in his early thirties, but his face looks much older: a result of the pressures of his work. The livid scar down his cheek, which gives his right eyelid a permanent and sinister droop, aches with the tension, but he forces himself to ignore it. he bears the nickname "Lucky", which he dislikes: his success has been due to careful planning and determined application, not to luck. he glances at his watch: it's three o'clock.
There is a sharp retort of gunfire. Charlie retreats into one of the cubicles, wher ehe pulls the chain and then waits awhile. Only when he is sure the coast is clear does he venture back into the restaurant. There he finds his careful planning has once again paid off: Joe is dead.

(This is a description of the assassination of Joe Masseria ("Joe the Boss"), New York Mafia chief, at the instigation of Lucky Luciano)

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