Crime Fiction Thriller

Gee, I hate turbulence…

Whether it be on a plane or any type of turmoil between people or families, which is ironic considering my occupation. I did what I did, not because I liked it but because I was good at doing it… and it paid a lot. Turbulence is also a great equalizer within planes, as first-class passengers like me, are shaken as hard as those in economy.

The last little shake woke me from my nap, but I was surprised that I slept at all, as I hated sleeping on planes. After rubbing my face, I looked around the still dark cabin and got a bearing on what was happening. My little monitor noted our location in the world, and I could just see Australia creep onto the screen. The final destination was Sydney and my mind wandered to when I had last lived there.

Being the only child of Italian immigrants to Australia, I lived a very comfortable life, even though I had no idea as how the life was sustained back then. My dad told everyone that he was an ‘accountant’ but the records he kept weren’t of the legal kind and when I turned thirteen years old, we moved back to Italy. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to adapt, especially as I had a good grasp of the Italian language and before I knew it, I began to follow in my father’s footsteps, after doing my mandatory tour of duty in the Italian army.

Having developed a reputation for being smart and a great negotiator, I was eventually summoned to assist in the larger ‘family’ matters, but I thought that what impressed the corporation most, was my ‘offensive’ traits. Having extensive martial arts and marksmanship training, meant that I had a ‘plan B’ if negotiations didn’t proceed as planned, which was why I was sent to Sydney.

Two factions of the Sydney branch of the family weren’t getting along, and it was affecting business but more than that, it was making our presence visible to the police. I thought about what laid ahead of me as I passed through customs, which was relatively easy due to my dual citizenship, but my mind snapped back to the present, when the customs officer asked,

“…and what is your occupation, Mr. Conti?”

“Oh! Uhm… I’m an accountant.”

Then I smiled, as the type of debts I settled, weren’t financially moral. Braving the cold as I left Sydney airport was relatively easy, thanks to my business suit and woolen overcoat but then again, Sydney winters weren’t really that cold. Apart from a medium sized suitcase, I traveled lightly, and was glad that I didn’t have to wait long at all, before three black Chrysler 300c SRT8s pulled up to the curb.

For a few seconds, I became a little anxious, as I didn’t know if they were my crew or the opposition.

“Signore Daniele Conti?”

Asked a man as he exited the first Chrysler, but I just nodded my head while maintaining eye contact.

“Sorry, we’re late but we had run into traffic. My name’s is Paolo Trulli and I work for Don Giacomo Celeste. Can I help you with your suitcase?”

I then exhaled and walked toward Paolo. He was about five foot six, very stocky, with an olive completion, dark hair, with a warm smile and friendly eyes. A few passengers of the other two cars hopped out and kept an eye open on the surroundings and I was happy to see that level of professionalism.

Grazie, Paolo but you can call me Dan…”

We shook hands and I was ushered into one of the cars. The drive to the inner west suburb of East Balmain was quite slow, thanks to the stop-start traffic but I tried to remain awake and aware of my surroundings. After we pulled up in front of a large historic sandstone building, I was greeted by a man who waited near the front door for my arrival. Paolo grabbed my suitcase, and I was led into an elegant foyer, where another man took my overcoat.

I looked up at the sound of an elderly man walking down beautiful wooden stairs and discovered it was my host, Don Celeste. He was about five foot two, a little overweight and he too had a friendly countenance but that’s what people didn’t understand about the mafia. The most dangerous members of any family seemed the friendliest as no one would expect them to shoot you at the base of the scull when your head was turned.

“Signore Daniele Conti! I’m so glad that you have been able to come and help us with our… issue. Tell me, how is your father?”

My father worked for Don Celeste when he was based in Australia, and he told me that he was an honorable and loyal man. Plus, the information that I was able to obtain prior to my arrival, led me to believe that he wasn’t the cause of the conflict between he and another senior, up and coming family member by the name of Simone Vecchio.

“He’s doing very well; Don Celeste and he sends his love…”

The Don escorted me into an elegantly appointed lounge room that had stunning views of the harbor, Sydney skyline, then he offered me a coffee and a few moments later, tasted the hot, strong, and sugary kiss of espresso - Absorbing it straight into my soul. We began discussing the difficulties that he had with Mr. Vecchio and the issue of the missing five hundred thousand dollars, but my investigation was ninety five percent complete, so I just needed to glean the remaining five percent from Don Celeste and Simone Vecchio.

My host had arranged for Mr. Vecchio to meet us for lunch the following day and I was set to get back on a plane and head back to Sicily the next day. The effects of jet lag were starting to affect me, so Don Celeste arranged for one of his six bedrooms to be available to me for the next few days but before ascending the stairs, I asked him,

“Don Celeste. Did you arrange for my… calculators to be delivered to me?”

“Ahhh… Yes, Daniele! You will find them in a briefcase in your room.”

And with that, I trudged up the stairs, was led to my room and went to sleep. It was about three in the afternoon when I woke up and it took a moment for me to remember where I was. Hopping out of bed, I walked to the bedroom window and admired the beautiful view of Sydney, then looked down to see several of the crew, on century duty.

Opening my suitcase, I retrieved a charcoal grey Zegna business suit, white shirt, navy blue tie and laid them on my bed, then proceeded to have a shower and shave. Feeling a hundred times better, I re-joined my hosts in his lounge room and socialized with his family and actual family. Dinner was a typically Italian affair with antipasti, pasta, steak Florentine, accompanying salad and desert, followed by some espresso with a shot of Sambuca, that we drank on the balcony.

Don Celeste had a twenty-two-year-old daughter named Clara, who was currently single. A point repeated several times during the evening and truth be told, she was gorgeous! Not to mention smart and wise beyond her years and as I was twenty-three and single myself, though that it may be something to peruse in the future. In fact, I invited her to come and visit me at my villa in Palermo.

While smoking a few cigarettes, I chatted with Clara, my host and family until we decided to call it a night. Getting to sleep was somewhat difficult and not just because of the jet-lag. Tomorrow, was going to be a big day…

I awoke to the morning chorus of the local magpies and enjoyed the uniquely Australian musical experience. Having a few hours to prepare, I opened my laptop and went over my notes and findings, before having a shower and shave. After I met my host, Clara, and family in the dining room, we had a delicious breakfast of Italian pastries and ‘latte café’, which was like the Italian version of ‘café au lait’. Once we were alone on the balcony, Don Celeste turned to me and said,

“You know, Daniele… we hope that Clara finds a good family man. Someone who is dependable and can do what is necessary for the family, even if it is difficult.”

I agreed by nodding my head but thought that one way or another, I’ll be showing them what I was all about, very soon. Friends would describe me as good looking, charismatic and very approachable, which was another trait that I shared with my successful ‘cousins’.

Before I knew it, the meeting had commenced once Simone ‘No Thumb’ Vecchio and three of his crew entered the home. I made note that one other crew member remained by their car… Simone and his team seemed quite arrogant and dressed quite poorly, with velvet tracksuits and jewelry. Simone himself, had a ponytail and a gold tooth and yes… had a missing thumb, thanks to a past transgression.

We all shook hands, and I saw contempt and hubris as he looked me up and down but after lunch and obligatory drinks, we got down to it. The issue was that a briefcase containing five hundred thousand dollars was delivered to one of Simone’s men by one of Don Celeste’s. Or actually… ‘wasn’t’ delivered, depending on which side you were on. The payment was for a drug deal involving the Comanchero bike gang, who the family used for the distribution of drugs and other services, so our reputation with them had been tarnished.

“Like I said to ‘the Don’ my man was there in front of the address we decided to meet at, and his man didn’t show!”

Simone said with arrogance and irreverence and Don Celeste angrily rebutted,

“My man Enzo ‘did’ go to the address, but he never returned! You killed him, didn’t you?!”

Both men were on there feet at that stage, but I calmly asked them to take a seat then asked my man Paolo to retrieve the briefcase from my bedroom. They eventually settled down and took their seats, just as I was handed my briefcase. Opening it up, I withdrew my laptop and explained,

“Being the accountant, I have access to all sorts of data, including your bank records and I note that there hadn’t been a deposit of five hundred thousand dollars into your bank account, Mr. Vecchio…”

I noticed snide smile he directed to Don Celeste, but his expression changed as I continued.

“However, there had been about twelve deposits made over a five-day period, at the same branch of the Commonwealth Bank in Habberfield… totaling exactly five hundred thousand dollars.”


Said a very upset Simone but I remained composed and agreed with him.

“You are absolutely correct!”

It was then that I slid the laptop toward him and added,

“This is CCTV footage taken from across the road of the drop off point… You see your car enter the frame… then Enzo’s car… You stepped out with three of your men, while Enzo was alone and after checking the contents of the brief case that he brought… you shot him and carried his body to a nearby van.”

Simone and his men sat there dumbstruck, while watching the dark but otherwise clear footage and didn’t notice me deftly remove two silenced 9 mm Glocks with extended mags from the briefcase.

“Never steal from the family…”

Was my last words to them and within a matter of two seconds, I shot all four men, twice in the head, then walked to the front door and waved frantically at the driver waiting in their car. He ran into the house and found me and my two Glocks waiting for him.

Before returning to my host and family, I made a call to a number and uttered one word.


Within three minutes, a pest control van advertising a popular pest control company parked in the driveway then four men in HAZMAT type suits exited the van and headed into the home. I directed them to the location of the five bodies and they carefully placed them into large plastic bags, before methodically cleaning any trace of blood from all surfaces. As they left the premises with the body bags, I handed them my guns and the parts of the mobile phone, that I had since destroyed.

While this was happening, Don Celeste and Paolo tried to ask me questions, but I just smiled and held up my hands, giving a ‘just wait’ gesture. Once my clean-up crew left, I explained what I had done.

Il Capo (The Boss) was pretty sure what had happened, and he asked me to take care of it. That way, it wouldn’t cause a war between yourselves and Simone’s crew. I even arranged for the cleaner to arrive ten minutes ago in anticipation. Simone’s estranged wife has been located, contacted and is willing to transfer the five hundred thousand dollars into your account. She’s just waiting for a call from you on this number.”

It was then that I handed him the telephone number. The look of bewilderment slowly changed to awe as I finished my Negroni.

“So, what are those guys going to do with those bodies?”

Asked Clara but I just turned to her father and said,

“Don’t worry about it…”

Don Celeste and his crew regarded me a little differently from that moment on and even though they were always respectful because position in the family, they now saw me as formidable.

During my trip back to Sydney airport, I thought about how clean I had left everything and couldn’t wait to tell my father and the boss. Don Celeste and Clara decided on the date that they would come and visit, and I couldn’t wait to see her again on my turf.

Checks and balance are a fundamental focus in accounting but in life, there are pros and cons… Yin and yang… Weather you’re talking General ledgers or cause and effect, there are consequences to our actions, as Mr. Vecchio well and truly understood. I’m hoping that my pendulum swing toward Clara, might result in a pendulum swing back but as the Italians say…

‘che sarà, sarà’ (What will be, will be) …’

July 08, 2022 06:50

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