It isn't anything new to see Joey and his two partners in crime out at 5 o'clock in the morning. It was the best time to set things up when it came to vampires, because it was right before dawn rose over the horizon, and that meant that most of their species was moving back to their respective dwellings before the 'big sleep' took a hold of them and knocked them out for the rest of the day. No vampire would be caught out too far away from home at that time of night. None except for Joey and his tag-a-longs for the evening, that is.
"Are you sure you know where the hell you're going, Joey? We seem to be walking in circles here." Said Milton.
Joey looked back and replied, "I already TOLD you, I know exactly where I am. Now pick it up a bit, I'm not looking to get toasted out here."
"You better be sure."
"I AM sure! We are not going in circles!"
Milton looked over to his left and pointed, "THERE! You see? I could have sworn we passed that tree before!"
Joey sighed out of frustration. "Like YOU can tell one damn tree from another!"
"I know the same tree when I see it twice."
"Milton, you couldn't tell up from down if you had three guesses! Just keep up with us and quit whining. And you MIGHT wanna pipe down too. We're not exactly delivering 'flowers' here." Joey turned and kept walking before Milton had a chance to reply, and that quieted things for a while. Then...his other right hand man, Jimmy...stumbled forward after tripping on a particularly high curb.
As he fell unexpectedly, his hands flew out in front of him to break the fall, and the huge satchel that he was carrying went flying up into the air. Seeing this in motion, Joey and Milton gasped in horror, and dropped down to the ground at the speed of light, covering their heads with their hands. The three men lay there, frozen for a moment, when the satchel hit the ground with a thud and turned over on its side. There was a minute of silence...and Joey finally looked up to see that the coast was clear. Then, he sighed in relief, and asked..."Hey Jimmy, can I see your hat for a minute?"
"Yeah..." The second Joey had it in his hands, he swatted Jimmy over the head repeatedly with it! "OW! What the hell!"
"What's the MATTER with you??? You DO realize that's 10 pounds of highly concentrated explosives you just dropped, don't you? What the hell are you trying to do, KILL us?" Joey fumed!
"Whaddya want me ta do? I tripped!" Jimmy aid in his defense.
"You tripped. Yeah, well your 'trip' almost splattered all of us over most of the Chicago area. Milton...you're in charge of carrying the bag from now on!"
Milton looked up from underneath his hands, "Why me? I ain't carrying that shit!"
"YOU'RE carrying the bag, and that's THAT!" Joey shouted. "Now GET up! You too, 'butterfingers'. Get up, let's go. We don't have much time." Then he walked forward as the other two brushed themselves off.
Jimmy whispered, "What is HE so touchy about tonight?"
"He's trying to impress the higher ups..." Then Milton raised his voice a little, laced with sarcasm, so Joey could hear him, "...so's he can be a 'made man'!"
"Hey!" Joey stopped in his tracks for a moment. "It's MY time to shine a little, and if I do this job right, maybe Mr. Bogart will notice me and give me a little boost to a higher position. I get kinda tired of being so expendable. I paid my dues until I paid 'do NOTS' for crying outloud."
"So you're gonna be a hot shot, Joey?" Jimmy asked.
"Someday. I know it."
Milton broke in with some negativity though. "Someday 100 years from now, maybe."
"Shut up Milton!" Joey finally saw the dwelling up ahead, and knew he was almost there.
"It's not that you haven't been close to the old man, Joey. It's just....well..." Milton started.
"Just....? Just what? Spit it out?"
"Well...Joey...you happen to be a bit of a...uhhh...you know...a bumbler."
Joey stopped again, "A bumbler? A bumbler? Listen, I ain't no bumbler! I get the job done, and that's what counts!"
Milton continued with, "Except for that one time, when you were supposed to deliver that explosive to the rival gang leader, and it blew up in the car on the way over because you set the detonator was set too short."
"Hey...how was I supposed to know traffic was going to be that bad going out to the south side?"
Jimmy added, "And that time you accidently knocked the boss' wife, Lauren, into the Chicago River off of the Michigan Avenue brige."
"She SLIPPED! Ok? It was a slippery surface, she fell over. End of story! I was trying to HELP her!"
"And remember the whole 'blood deal' fiasco where you offered it to a couple of cops, and..." Milton started to giggle, but Joey cut them off.
"ENOUGH already! Geez! You guys can't remember how old you are, and yet you can remembe the intimate details of a few unfortunate mishaps that happened over the last 20 years or so."
"This was all last month, Joey..."
"SHUT UP ALREADY!!!" He shouted. "Geez! You two have the bitch and moan power of 10 nagging wives a piece! Whatever happened in the PAST, it's all ancient history now. Now...things are going to be better tonight, and we'll make sure that this all goes off without a hitch. No biggie." Joey led his two accomplices up a hill to the top, and finally reached the car of the manthat they were going to lace with explosives. "Alright...this is it." Joey whispered.
"What did this guy do, anyway?" Milton asked.
"It seems he destroyed the business of somebody that was a very good friend of Mr. Bogart's. Reparations were to be paid to him and his friends. This guy decided not to pay, and this here is Mr. Bogart's version of a pink slip. Just a little something to 'remind' him of his responsibilities, that's all." Joey said, taking the satchel from Milton and getting down on his knees to slide under the car.
The other two took positions next to him, and kept a lookout just in case anyone were to come across them and figure out what they were up to. Joey opened the bag, and laid his equipment down by his side to go to work. "Hand me the screwdriver, will ya, Jimmy?" He asked. He got the right tool for the job and kept talking, "I'm telling you guys...if we get this right, and maybe pull a few more jobs without any mistakes, Bogart's bound to notice my potential for bigger and better things."
Jimmy asked, "Bigger things like what, Joey?"
"Like working the underground casinos, that's what. Do you have any idea how much money is in those places? Or maybe I could move up into the blood dealing racket. Who knows? But anything is better than this 'fieldwork' garbage. Pass me the timer."
Milton passed it over to him. "Joey, all of this sounds wonderful, but I somehow doubt that Mr. Bogart is gonna just wrap his arms around you and 'hand' you a higher position. He's got people for that. REAL maffia types. Guys who walk into a crowded room and leave it a graveyard. I can't see you contending with players like that."
"THAT, my dear friend, is because you have no faith." Joey replied.
"I hate to admit it, Joey...but Milton's got a point. You're good and all, but these other guys...it's like they got no souls at all. Ruthless. You're not 'wicked' enough to do the things they do."
Joey looked out from under the car, "I can't help it if I have a conscious. I just happen to be a loving and caring member of the Jewish faith. I'd like to think that I can be noticed without losing my sense of humanity." He said, and then..."Now hand me the detonator, will ya?"
As Joey took the device and wired it up to the car, Jimmy and Milton continued in their own conversation. It only took about five minutes for Joey to finish hooking everything up, and then asked, "Ok...done. See? No problem." He smiled. "Now...how do I set the timer on this thing?"
Milton looks at the notes he had written down on a piece of paper before they left, and responds with, "It says to press the red button, set the timer for 14 hours, and press the red button again."
"Alright, I get that part. But how do I stop the numbers from moving so I can set the timer?"
"What are you talking about? What moving numbers?" Milton asked.
"The numbers on the timer. How do I get them to stop?" Joey asked...and there was a silence. He slid out from under the car and looked at the both of them. "I thought you wrote down the instructions to set the timer!"
"These ARE the instructions! And it doesn't say anything about any moving numbers."
"Well didn't you check it before we packed up and came out here?"
"Of COURSE I did! We checked everything! I even had Jimmy practice setting the timer himself before we left." Milton said, and Joey's face turned white.
"What do you MEAN he 'practiced' setting the timer???"
Jimmy replied, "I tried it out to make sure that we had the instructions right, so we set the timer for four hours, hit the button, and everything worked out fine. So we put it in the bag and here we are."
Joey's eyes must have become as wide as saucers as the shock of what had happened came rushing at him all at once. He grabbed Jimmy by the collar and shouted, "YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT WE'VE BEEN WALKING AROUND WITH A TICKING DETONATOR AND A BAG FULL OF EXPLOSIVES SINCE WE LEFT THE HOUSE???"
The three men looked at each other, not knowing what the hell to say to one another. "SHIT!!!!" Joey screamed, and slid under the car to see how much time was left on the bomb. "53 seconds!!!" He yelled. Suddenly, there were lights in the background, and evidently, the commotion had alerted their intended target.
"HEY! What are you guys doing over there?" They shouted, and a few armed men came to join him.
Jimmy and Milton began to back away from the car, their hands in the air, and Joey followed suit as soon as he realized that they had been caught. "Don't mind us...just out for a stroll." Joey said. "We'll be on our way now...sorry about the noise."
"DON'T MOVE!!!" Said the armed bodyguards. And everything stopped.
Jimmy whispered, "This doesn't look good, Joe."
"Oh really? What makes you say that?" Joey said.
"We ain't got much time left." Milton reminded them, the three of them still standing next to the car.
Joey thought for a second and said, "I say we just run. Make a mad dash down the hill and pray for the best."
"Are you CRAZY, Joey? These guys mean business! If we move, their gonna start raining bullets on us something awful!" Milton whispered loudly.
"Bullets MISS! Bombs DON'T!" Joey began looking for a path to take, and signaled to his boys to make a run for it.
Jimmy whined, "I hope you know what you're doing."
"That makes two of us!" Then, Joey gave the order, and all three men took off running as fast as their legs would carry them down the hill! The gunshots began the second that they started, but they only had a few seconds left to wait.
The timer reached zero, and the explosion that followed was enough to knock everyone within the area down to their ground, the thunder shaking the air around them. Joey and his men fell face first into the dirt, and laid there until some of the flames and smoke died down a bit.
Evidently, while persuing the three of them, the bodyguards and their target ran past the car as it blew up...hitting them afterall. As Joey rolled over onto his back, he sighed outloud and took the moment of silence to think. The word 'bumbler' came to mind...but it won't be there for much longer. The mishaps wil stop...and Joey will get the recognition that he deserves. He's worked for it, and it's time he made his name shine as brightly as his ambitions.
From the creator of "Gone From Daylight"
Alone, each one of them is a force to be reckoned with. But when all five UNITE...prepare for fireworks!!! Even the vampire Maffia has it's rebels...
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