Crime Fiction Urban Fantasy

Gerald had not seen Teague in such a state. He had seen the troubleshooter take more punishment than many a man, with nary a sign of discomfort: but the big troubleshooter now lay on Doc Morten’s exam table. Teague was unconscious and seemingly, covered in blood. 

Like many of his medieval counterparts, the Doc was a true barber surgeon. There was even a red, white, and blue pole outside of his office. The big bruiser liked to joke that the Doc was there in Bethlehem to deliver the babe in the manger: he looked that old. Doc Morten had been a fixture on the West side of the city for as long as Gerald could remember. Gerald could recall the old Doctor delivering his little sister; the one who’s coney had been fond of biting his fingers. In fact, if you picked any random person in this part of the city from the age of one to fifty; there was a better than even chance that Doc Morten had delivered them in their home.

After the Doc had seen to Teague, and announced that the troubleshooter should be okay: he spent a little time with Gerald as the bruiser helped to clean up the grisly scene that tending to Teague had transformed his exam room into.

The old healer told Gerald that Teague would have some scars; but that some of the ladies liked that sort of thing.

As Gerald was handling the discarded clothing that they had stripped his friend out of, he pointed out to the Doc, a deep gash high on the right inner thigh of the heavy canvas trousers he had been wearing as he faced off against Vittorio.

“Was that devil trying to geld him, do you think?” The old medical man took the trousers from Gerald and inspected the gash. The heavy canvas material had parted reluctantly and there was blood on the inside of the pant leg, but not that much.

“No Gerald,” the Doc told the big bruiser. “There’s a big artery there.” Morton continued as he put the trousers down and picked up the heavy canvas coat that he had taken off of the enterprise man.

“If your friend had been wearing regular trousers, he would have bled to death in the back of your motor coach.” The Doc showed Gerald one of the sleeves on the left side of the heavy canvas coat. There was a deep slice on the upper sleeve and Gerald heard the old man say; “there’s another big artery here.” As the old doctor shifted the heavy canvas coat in his wrinkled, but surprisingly firm grasp, he said “same thing goes with this cut.”

Doc Morten showed Gerald the high, thick leather collar that also had a deep gash; and was bloody on the inside.

“Your friend’s choice of wardrobe saved his life today.” As the older man manipulated the heavy leather collar to show Gerald that it too, had been sliced through, and showed blood on the inside.

The Doc offered his opinion, “Whoever did this, knew exactly what they were doing.” Gerald shook his head in the positive because he knew who had done this to his friend; and he shivered with the memory of what that beast had done to him with that same beautiful implement.

Doc Morten asked;”was someone going after your friend with a machete?”

Gerald shook his head in the negative; “it were a razor Doc!” It was the Doctor’s turn to shake his head in the negative; “a razor couldn’t do that son!”

Gerald shook his head up and down, and the Doc pointed at the leather collar and said; ”this collar is near a centimeter thick leather: no razor did this.” The big bruiser said nothing; he simply nodded his head up and down in an exaggerated motion.

“What happened to the ne’er do well?” the Doc asked. Gerald told him: “my friend beat him to death!”

The enterprise leader sat on the settee near the window and shared a glass of fine twenty year old whisky with the Pixie.

In a small high voice, Pecht told him; “the other whisky was better old boy.”

Penrose sniffed the spirit in it’s crystal glass and said; “you finished my thirty year old single malt last night Pecht.”

The Pixie grinned and lifted his glass to Penrose. “Quite right,” he said in his near piping tones. 

“So, you understand why Gerald is now my man?” the Pixie inquired.

Penrose nodded and said; “Gerald was a steady part of my enterprise for several years, and I’m loathe to see him go.” The Pixie had finished his drink and held it out for the enterprise leader. Penrose left the settee to fill the crystal glass with another drink of whisky. As he returned to the settee, he told Pecht, “but I understand that he wouldn’t be with us at all if not for you.”

The Pixie nodded and said simply, “just so!” The enterprise leader asked, “how did you do that by the way?” Pecht sipped his whisky quickly and asked, “do you really want to know?” The response he received was “Yes!”

“Get me another and I’ll tell you.” Penrose accepted the offered crystal glass from the small fae gentleman and went to retrieve yet another whisky for his guest.

Once he sat down and handed the glass to the Pixie, Penrose listened as Pecht explained exactly how he had performed what most, if not all would consider a miracle. After all, Gerald had been killed by the Italian in that back room of Ottimo Cibo.

The explanation took nearly five minutes and fully a third of those minutes were filled with words that did not exist in any language known to Penrose or to anyone living for that matter.

The Pixie watched Penrose as he explained what he had done to Gerald and why he had been able to do it. Pecht could tell from the enterprise leader’s expression that he did seem to understand some of the explanation, which surprised the Pixie. He could see the confusion on the man’s face through much of it; and even pain, during some of it.

In his small voice, the Pixie finished with “so that’s how I did it.” At this, Penrose took a deep breath, and tossed back the rest of his whisky. He took another deep breath and said, “I’m sorry I asked.”

The plain looking Mediterranean man told his boss: “Signora, it was taken care of.” Sofia De Luca nodded slightly as her man spoke to her in Italian. She asked the man; “it was done with respect; yes Enzo?” “Certo Signora,” was his reply.

“You’re a good man Enzo, you served me well in this.” He nodded and smiled slightly as she continued. “I won’t forget.

“It’s my pleasure Signora.” Enzo said to his boss. He had found working for the widow of Tomas to be a bit more taxing. The old boss had been a relaxed individual who enjoyed good food and good wine. In the end, that had killed him as surely as a bullet or knife, just not near so quick.

Tomas could be brutal when he needed to; but overall, he was a much simpler boss than his widow. There was no mystery or intrigue working for the Signore. The Signora was a different story altogether. She always seemed to be thinking three or four steps ahead; and planning for things that might happen.

Enzo had gone to the Signora when he was approached by the late enforcer. Make no mistake: Vittorio had been a fearsome individual. He knew that man had done for dozens of individuals at the behest of their boss. But as much as he dreaded the man; he knew that the Signora was the one to truly fear.

He had made the necessary arrangements for the body to be taken care of. Enzo had told the Signora that. What he hadn’t told his boss was the condition of her nephew after his encounter with the troubleshooter from the west side.

When Enzo had been a young boy in Sicily; he had seen a man, who had been run over by heavy freight wagon. Vittorio’s body reminded the plain Mediterranean man of that recollection. He didn’t feel that the Signora had to have that particular detail.

“That will be all Enzo,” the Signora said, to dismiss him.

He told her, “of Course Signora!” Enzo continued with; “there’s a strange little man waiting to see you.”

He had seen the man in the small foyer waiting patiently as Enzo passed him by when he came to see the Signora.

The man was slight in stature and Enzo thought he might be English, or possibly German. The man had nodded at him as he passed by; and Enzo recalled thinking that strange man had “dead” eyes. He made Enzo a little uneasy, as Vittorio had done.

His boss nodded her head and said, “please send him in.”

August 04, 2021 20:29

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Beth Connor
17:07 Aug 05, 2021

Really great ending, leaving room for more. I loved the overall ambiance and mood set throughout the series of stories. I could feel my whole mindset shift when reading them. I look forward to re-reading this when it is in a novel format, and there is less clicking and wait-time between stories! Well done John.


John Del Rio
17:17 Aug 05, 2021

Thanks so much for your thoughts and for enjoying "Special Ingredient " ...the Signora owes her name to you of course ... I read your first installment on Amazon. Micah is the boy who was in the reedsy stories...look forward to reading more Bout him.


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John Del Rio
22:30 Aug 20, 2021

I saw you liked Dog Day Afternoon. That is part of a series of stories that all have "Day", in the title. The 2 characters are basically my wife and I. That's how we interact. I finished my first rough edit of "Special Ingredient ". The final tally on it was 158 pages and 50,989 word count


Beth Connor
21:21 Aug 22, 2021

That is so exciting! I look forward to more "Day" installments, and will have to read it again, knowing the character representations!


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John Del Rio
23:14 Aug 24, 2021

I have run through the whole story and did a rough edit. I am going to go through it with Grammarly. I can send you the story as one unit if you would like. As always, Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice is appreciated.


Beth Connor
16:56 Aug 25, 2021

I would LOVE that! my email is jbethconnor@gmail.com FYI I just went back to work full time, so I am working on balancing my schedule and keep writing and doing the podcast thing. If I am ever slow to get back to you- just give me a nudge. I'm also happy to share my experience with KDP (if that's the route you decide to go) and that whole process!


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