Gerald looked confused; it was a look that often crossed his coarse features.
Teague told him; “I said that they took Pet from her, not that they took her pet.”
This had admittedly confused Gerald because Teague seemed to be contradicting himself. It wasn’t Gerald’s fault if the other man sometimes didn’t make no sense.
Gerald had gone on to comment about various sorts of pets; like his sister’s rabbit. That thing had not cared much for Gerald. He had tried giving it carrots and other things that rabbits are supposed to like but it just never liked him. He would try to pet it and hold it; and one day, after biting him yet again, it had wriggled free of his grasp and darted out of the yard where it was struck by a wagon. It made him a little sad that the creature had died; but he had to say that the thing was mighty tasty.
His little sis had cried quite a bit; but his mum said they couldn’t afford to waste anything, so she had cooked it up.
That’s how his afternoon had started off on this most unusual day. Gerald didn’t know it at the time; but he was going to die this day.
Gerald was a bruiser. He was a big man. 190 centimeters tall and weighing in at 17 stone; Gerald stood out in a crowd. He had always been big. His mum used to say that she near tore her in two when she birthed him.
He was always the biggest boy in school: at least for as long as he attended school, which was only up till the sixth grade. His old man had made him quit school to help make ends meet.
It was easy for Gerald to get work then because he was as tall as many a grown man when he were 12 years old. And in the summer of his 13th year, Gerald sprouted up nearly 20 centimeters.
His mum had been furious because she had to keep buying him clothes, only to have them be too small within a few months.
For 6 months after that growth spurt; Gerald had worn trousers that were several inches too short. The other kids in the neighborhood made fun of him because of it; so he got into a lot of fights.
He thrashed a lot of kids that summer and ran afoul of the coppers more than was good for him.
Truth be told; schooling were never easy for Gerald, so he didn’t mind leaving that behind. His mum told him that when he was a toddler; she wondered if he were mute, because he didn’t start speaking till well after other children were babbling away.
Reading was always difficult for Gerald and he found that if he concentrated for long, he would develop headaches. So it was easy for him to avoid school work; because it wasn’t easy for him, so he didn’t like it.
He found that he learned better in a hands on situation; and once he learned a thing, then he did it well, and did not forget it.
Gerald found that he didn’t like silence; so he would fill it himself if no one else was speaking. He would talk about anything and everything that came to mind.
He would often get impatient if things didn’t go his way and had no problem getting physical for little or even no reason.
That’s not to say that he was cruel or even mean. Gerald found that he sometimes had impulse control issues and that occasionally caused him some trouble. He actually felt bad sometimes after he flew off the handle; and would apologize more often than not. He would even talk with the Father in confession; as Gerald attended mass regularly.
He found comfort in the routine; maybe more than the faith. He liked to sing and could hold a fair tune. Early on during mass he had given up trying to read the hymnal because it gave him a headache. But the repetition of the sermons and hymns made it actually easy for him to learn; so he could sing all of the songs in the choir book without looking at the words.
Gerald had gone on and on about pets; especially after Teague had hinted, that maybe the cook lady had a giraffe.
Now that was downright silly and Gerald proceeded to let Teague know that. He had seen a giraffe himself at a circus that came through town the previous fall.
They would not make for a suitable pet; specially in a restauraunt. Gerald was fixing to expound on that when Fitz suggested quite forcefully, that he – Gerald- should shut his pie hole.
Gerald had been a little surprised at the bigger man’s outburst; and honestly he probably appeared a little hurt as well.
He had been surprised because the bigger man was usually quiet and almost gentlemanly. Make no mistake; Fitz could be a formidable foe. The large man with hair black as pitch, and a calm, serious face was the strongest man Gerald had ever known. Up until he had first met Teague; Fitz had been the only man to physically best him for longer than he could remember.
Gerald was tough and strong; and he was a scrapper, but Fitz was freakishly strong. Gerald remembered at that same fair where he saw the giraffe; that Fitz had won prize money by lifting up even more weight than the circus strong man. But for all that, his friend Fitz; and Gerald did consider both of his co-workers to be friends, was actually almost gentle at times.
So that’s why it was so surprising to him that Fitz burst out the order for Gerald to shut his pie hole.
Now since it had been afternoon; and Gerald was feeling a bit peckish: he had suggested that they get a bite to eat at that new Italian eatery that Teague wanted to investigate. Teague seemed a bit put off by Gerald’s request, until Gerald pointed out that they were going to be at a food place anyway, and eating would give him more time to look for the fairy what had gone missing from the “Cornish”.
Gerald had been quite confused when Teague said that Rowena had herself a fairy and that the Italians had stolen it from her. Of course Teague corrected him and told Gerald that Pet was a Pixie; and that Pixies and Fairies don’t get along.
It occurred to Gerald that it was just like the Chinese and Japanese; and Gerald said so. He didn’t know why Teague and Fitz seemed so surprised that Gerald should mention that, when it were obvious to Gerald.
Teague had let Gerald drive on the way to the Italian place. Gerald had voiced his concern when he found out where they were going because he had heard that Vittorio liked the joint.
Gerald shivered when he mentioned the Italian by name.
He had heard stories about the Italian trouble shooter who worked on the South Side of the city for the syndicate there.
Vittorio was a handsome man, just slightly shorter than Gerald himself, but maybe 3 stone lighter.
The syndicate troubleshooter was known to carry an ivory handled razor, that he had used to deadly effect on dozens of men, if the stories were to be believed.
Teague had told Gerald not to worry; that Teague would handle Vittorio if it came to it. That did make Gerald felt a little better because his friend Teague was the toughest man he had ever known. And Gerald had been a scrapper for most of his life.
In fact the last person to best Gerald physically had been Teague himself out back of his mother’s flower shoppe. If you asked Gerald; he would tell you that Teague likely had a jaw of iron and fists of stone.
At least when Fitz had thrown a beating to Gerald, he had been able to get in a lick or two. At the end of it with Fitz; at least the larger man had known he had been in a scrape.
With Teague it had been like more like a ten year old going up against a bare knuckle champion. Gerald had been almost amazed at how easily Teague had thrashed him.
In truth; Gerald had been out cold for several hours, and had been a bit dizzy for 2 days after his encounter with Teague.
So Gerald was looking forward to a fine meal while his two friends looked into the fairy kidnapping – sorry- Pixie kidnapping.
Gerald enjoyed working for Mr. Penrose and his enterprise. He liked the sense of power that he got when he picked up the weekly from the various storefronts and other businesses on the west side of the city.
He would occasionally get impatient when people took too long to give him the tribute; and he probably got more physical than he needed to, but that was just the way he was.
Gerald knew that Teague almost never got physical with any of the shop keepers; and he could tell that they mostly preferred to deal with his more patient friend.
People knew who he and his coworkers were; and would mostly defer to them in different ways.
When they arrived at the restaurant was a prime example.
There was a line in front of the establishment; but after they had been there a few minutes, one of the little Italian gentlemen who worked there had come out and ushered them inside past more than a few waiting customers.
The little fellow who took them in was dressed very fancy; like a banker, or maybe like he was going to church.
When one of the men up front grumbled a bit as they were going in; the little fellow gave him such a look, that the man waiting just shut right up.
At first Gerald thought it a bit funny that the little fellow made that other man shut right up.
Then he thought about his own employer. Mr. Penrose ran the west side of the city. The older man was a good 20 centimeters shorter than Gerald, and probably weighed half as much as the bruiser who worked for him.
But that being said; he would much rather face off against either of his two big coworkers, than his physically smaller boss.
The Italian eatery was somewhat fancy and took up the entire first floor of a nicely appointed red brick building that was over a century old.
The restaurant itself took up about a quarter of the first floor; with the rest of that floor being a maze of hallways and rooms, behind the expansive kitchen.
Even from outside the aroma of the place was delicious. Once inside; they were taken to a table in the rear of the restaurant.
There were only twenty tables in all; and everyone but three, had diners at it. But it was almost a little creepy how quiet it was as they were shown to their table.
The only real sounds that Gerald heard were the scrape and tink of silverware as people eagerly attacked their meals.
And there was another sound. Soft and almost sensual it was.
People were nearly moaning in pleasure because the food was that good.
Honestly it made Gerald’s mouth water as they passed by people devouring dishes that he couldn’t identify; but that he definitely wanted to eat.
When the sharply dressed little fellow sat them at their table; another well dressed Italian man brought them a basket of bread with the most delicious garlic butter that Gerald had ever tasted.
And the bread itself was a thing of wonder. Wine and water followed even before the menu.
Gerald had trouble with the menu. He had trouble with English; much less a different language. He definitely butchered the pronunciation when he ordered; but he figured anything they brought him was going to be delicious.
Gerald was surprised when Fitz ordered his meal. The big man spoke Italian like he had been born and raised in Rome. Gerald saw Teague’s eyebrows lift in surprise; or maybe appreciation, as Fitz ordered meals for the three of them.
Gerald was already halfway through the basket of bread before Teague asked one of the sharp dressed servers where the bathroom was to be found.
He knew that Teague was looking for the fairy -oops- Pixie. Like that was a real thing. Teague got up after getting directions to the bathroom and headed to the right side of the restaurant.
When Teague had gotten several tables away; Gerald noticed movement from the other side of the floor. He saw a man dressed even nicer than the little fellow who had brought them in. It was Vittorio.
He had been watching the three of them and he made to follow Teague. Gerald was going to ask Fitz what they should do; but the big man was busy talking in Italian with the server.
Gerald couldn’t let that Italian devil follow Teague without him knowing, cause who knew what shenanigans he might get up to.
So he followed the well dressed syndicate troubleshooter; who was in turn following his friend Teague.
The rest of the first floor was a maze of corridors and rooms; unless you were familiar with the layout. Gerald was able to follow Vittorio; who in turn was following Teague.
At one point after Teague had gone out of his view; he saw the Italian draw out a beautiful razor with an Ivory handle.
Gerald would put money on his friend Teague against any man; even if they were armed, but if he was ambushed: that could be a different story.
Gerald made a quick decision; he charged the Italian and tackled him. His rush took the both of them into a side room and Gerald shouted out: “I got ya, you slippery devil.”
The next minute was a blur for Gerald. He had no doubt that he was stronger than the Italian; but that didn’t seem to matter.
Stinging pain flared up on Gerald’s hands and arms. He was near helpless against the ruthless syndicate man. The stinging pain to his throat brought things to a halt for Gerald. He slipped in his own blood and fell to the floor. Vittorio kicked him in the belly and ran from the room.
He tried to get up; but his body wouldn’t seem to work. There was so much blood.
He thought maybe he would just take a nap.
He saw Teague run into the room and thought; at least Vittorio didn’t get a chance to sneak up on his friend.
Gerald wondered why it was so cold. Even though Teague was holding him with his head in his lap. He noticed that Teague had torn off a sleeve and was holding it to his throat.
Gerald felt a little sad that Teague’s nice shirt was getting bloody. He was having trouble thinking. He wanted to again tell Teague that it was silly for a cook lady to have a giraffe in her restaurant, but he couldn’t get the air to speak.
Gerald thought about his mum.
Then he thought. -Maybe I’ll take a nap.-