Hi there! Thank you for your interest in Miles Away! This is book one of a ten book mafia romance thriller series that takes place in fictional Carrion, New Jersey. All rights are reserved. Please do not use any of the below content without express written consent from the author, Addison Kline. Bloggers, if you’d like to sign up to review or promote, please contact Addison at email@example.com. Thank you!
Central Intelligence Agency
Division of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
On March 18, 1927, the Coalition was formed behind closed doors in the middle of the night at the La Fortuna nightclub in Brooklyn, New York. It was reported to be an intimate affair between the six heads of the major crime families in America.
Carmine Rigatti of New York City
Benito Capadonno of Philadelphia
Bruno Pena of Atlantic City
Anthony Fiore of Boston
Silvio Morena of Chicago
Eddie Castellano of Miami
Walking into the meeting, each of the men headed up their own families which were run independently of one another. After an insurgence of bloodshed between the families and the federal agencies breathing down their necks, it became clear to the six bosses of the major crime families in America (furthermore referenced as “The Six”), that it would be beneficial to work as a network instead of alone. This decision would prove to be mutually beneficial to the men, and as a result, each boss signed a non-compete agreement. This contract meant that not only would the families not compete in business, but also in street warfare.
In Atlantic City, the Pena’s cornered the market on bootlegging, gambling and prostitution, using the lights and glitz of the tourist location to line their pockets. The Pena’s had their hands in the cash register of every business venture that set up shop on the Boardwalk.
Up in Boston, the Fiore’s had infiltrated several unions including the Longshoreman’s Unions and the Teamsters, making it easy for them to get their hands on merchandise that had “fallen off the boat,” and get their choice of politician into office. On the North Shore, the Fiore’s had a direct import line from Belfast, trading drugs for illegal guns.
In Chicago, the Morena’s had infiltrated the banking industry, lifting millions off of American and international investors.
In Miami, the Castellano’s were up to their eyeballs in drug trafficking with connections in Cuba, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic.
In Philadelphia, the Capadonno’s were running protection orders for everyone from local Mom & Pop stores straight up to major sports franchises and politicians. Former mayor of Philadelphia Jeremiah Vincent paid off Sonny and Michael Capadonno just to keep them out of his office on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, up in New York City, the Rigatti’s were the reason the term white collar crime was even coined in the first place with embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, corruption and money laundering. It is estimated that the Rigatti’s profited over 7.6 million dollars in schemes in the 1960s alone.
“The Six” brought organized crime to unparalleled heights. Pooling funds together, the Coalition took their respective cuts and fanned the cash out to all the members of their families. A member’s standing in the hierarchy of their family dictated the amount of their cut, with Capos and Consiglieres earning more than a soldier or an associate. This proved to be an effective model for the Coalition until the summer of 1967.
Relatives of made men enjoyed a protected status, namely the women and the children. No connected member of the six could actively pursue a daughter, sister or mother of a commanding member of the crime family without that member’s consent. Whether it was a capo, a consigliere, underboss or a boss, if you wanted to date his daughter, sister or mother, you had to get his blessing. The Capadonno’s were never exactly known for following the rules, though.
In 1967, when Sonny Capadonno was just promoted to Capo, he made the mistake of getting romantically involved with Gino Rigatti’s daughter Stephanie on the sly. Sonny broke a cardinal rule when he got the daughter of a NY mob boss pregnant. Although Sonny did right by Stephanie by marrying her, providing her housing and giving her money to prepare for the baby, it wasn’t enough to undo the damage that was done. Gino Rigatti was mortified, and worse yet, enraged. Sonny Capadonno and Stephanie Rigatti had brought shame to the Rigatti’s family name.
It was the dawn of a new age. The game was changing, and the Capadonno’s weren’t playing by the old rules. They were flashy and brazen. It appeared to the other coalition members that the Capadonno’s were egging the feds on – daring them to make a move.
On April 17, 1968, Leon F. Capadonno was born to Sonny and Stephanie. It was a birth that should have brought the two families together, but instead it caused a great divide. The baby that came of that union would go on to become the mayor of an as of yet undeveloped town – Carrion, New Jersey. Although in 1968, Carrion, New Jersey was nothing more than a sleepy resort town in the Pine Barrens, it would soon become a hub for organized crime.
On August 24, 1971, as Sonny Capadonno was walking out of the Federal Court House in Center City Philadelphia with his brother Michael at his side, he was ambushed. As he stepped off the curb, three shots rang out. In the middle of broad daylight, Gino Rigatti opened fire upon Sonny, in retribution for bringing such shame upon his family name. Sonny clutched his chest in shock. None of the shots hit Sonny, but as he was blinded by the light of the sun, he couldn’t see where his attacker was coming from. His brother Michael did, though, and as the last blast was fired, Michael reached for his gun and shot Gino Rigatti dead on the spot. His body fell limp and crashed to the street. Michael Capadonno was arrested and served a term of 372 days after winning an appeal that he killed Gino Rigatti in self-defense.
This coup caused the Capadonno’s to make a strategic move. Uprooting from their home in South Philadelphia, the Capadonno’s sought out the quiet refuge of Carrion, New Jersey. The quiet marshes of New Jersey proved to be the perfect location – an epicenter of crime situated between just an hour from Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New York. Leaving the Corelli’s in charge in South Philly, the Capadonno’s oversaw the operations in Philly and Carrion, and now they had their eyes set on Atlantic City and New York. The Capadonno’s would stop at nothing until control was theirs. The Rigatti’s didn’t take too well to this power drive.
Time did nothing to heal the rift between the families. In 1998, Giancarlo Rigatti, son of Gino Rigatti, was shot and killed in a bar in South Philadelphia. Four days later, Miles Capadonno, son of Michael Capadonno, was arrested. He is up for parole in 2015.
As they say on TV, to be continued.
—Handwritten by Federal Agent Tom Cantrocini and contained within the official agency file
May 18, 1998
Mi Famiglia Restaurant
South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The cool croon of Mel Carter belted from the speakers of the Mi Famiglia restaurant as Miles Capadonno twirled a strand of linguini around his fork. The song, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me played from the speakers that were situated in the corners of the dining room as the patrons enjoyed their dinner. The song caused Miles to chuckle as he looked up at his girlfriend whose cheeks were turning pink from embarrassment. Letty Alves looked up at Miles with an innocent gaze. She was a radiant beauty with wavy brown hair and a pair of big, chestnut brown eyes. Despite the glances from other young men in the restaurant, Letty only had eyes for Miles. Sipping on a Shirley Temple drink with an extra maraschino cherry slipped in, Letty listened intently as Miles talked. A lull in the conversation presented itself when a waiter brought a slice of caramel cheesecake to the table. With one lit candle burning from the top of the dessert, Letty smiled, and quietly gushed, “Happy Birthday, Miles!”
Giving her a wink, Miles smiled. “Thank you, baby,” Miles cooed as the restaurant staff sung a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday. As the tune ended, Miles glanced up at Letty and smiled as he blew out the candle.
“What I was thinkin’ was, after graduation, while you’re in nursing school, I’ll be helping my godfather run the auto shop part time, when I’m not in class. Once we have enough saved up, we can get an apartment near campus.”
Letty looked up at Miles with wide eyes as a smile grew from her lips. She damn near choked on her drink. Setting her glass back down on the table, Letty smiled from ear to ear, letting her excitement be known.
“Well, yeah! Miles, I’m so excited! Princeton. We’re moving up in the world!” Letty gushed as her brain began thinking of all the things they would need to get to make a house of their own. “It’ll be perfect.”
Miles grabbed Letty’s hand and brought her palm to his mouth. Gently he kissed the inside of her hand, his lips grazing against her palm. As quickly as he touched it, he released it. “Of course it will. But eat first. You’ve barely touched your dinner,” Miles urged.
Letty picked up her fork and broke off a piece of her lasagna. Bringing her fork to her mouth, she glanced casually out the front window of the restaurant. A tall, sturdy looking teenage boy passed by the window, glancing his eyes through the pane of the glass. He ran his hand through his wavy black hair, and his gaze seemed to cut right through Letty. She’d recognize his brooding face anywhere.
As Letty swallowed her food, she mentioned, “Hey Miles, Knox is here…”
“Knox?” Miles replied as he pivoted his neck to get a better look out the window. “He said he had shit to do in Jersey. What’s he doing all the way over here?” Miles wondered out loud.
“Damned if I know,” Letty replied as she continued to eye Knox from her table.
Knox disappeared from the window, and Letty wasn’t sure why his presence unsettled her. Knox was Miles’s younger brother and a good friend of hers. Shaking her head as if erasing the negative thoughts from her brain, Letty let the stress roll down off her shoulders. The second she did, a screeching blast howled as the glass of Mi Famiglia’s front window shattered to bits.
“Letty, get down!” Miles screamed as a bullet careened through the restaurant darting right towards him and Letty.
Barely able to process his thoughts, Miles threw himself over the table. He felt the rush of the bullet careen past him as his heart threatened to hammer out of his chest. Miles pulled Letty to the floor, knocking her from her chair. With all his strength, Miles pulled Letty to his chest, the bullet just narrowly missing his skull by a quarter of an inch. Letty’s head crashed upon Miles’s chest as panic flooded her system. Looking up from the floor, Miles saw three familiar faces outside the restaurant. He immediately recognized his brother, Knox, Vic Schiabetta, an associate of his father’s, and the Butcher himself, Michael Capadonno.
“Miles!” Letty screamed from underneath of him unsure as to whether he was dead or alive. “Miles!!!!”
“Ssshhhh….” Miles urged. He spoke in a whisper, “I’m all right. Be quiet,”
Letty knew that that bullet was meant for Miles. Try as much as she might, she couldn’t stop the scream from crying from her mouth.
“Grab my hand,” Miles said in a whisper. “We’ll go out the back. We have to run back to Corina.”
“But she’s seven blocks away!” Letty said
“Trust me, Letty. Please. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
“It’s not me that I’m worried about!” Letty gasped.
Letty’s eyes went wild with panic as she rose to her feet. As the other patrons screamed and rushed out the front door, Letty and Miles rushed for the kitchen door. Giving a glance behind him, Miles’s eyes met with Knox’s, and he rushed through the door of the restaurant’s kitchen with a knot in the pit of his stomach.
“Miles!” Knox called as he raced after his brother.
“Shit…” Miles said as he saw his brother chase after him. “C’mon! Here he comes!”
“Why are we runnin’ from, Knox?!”
“Because he’s with the guy who just tried to shoot me in the fuckin’ head! C’mon!”
Tears began to stream down Letty’s face as she gave a look back at Knox. Horror took over Letty’s eyes as her gaze met Knox’s. Shaking his head from side to side, Knox looked at Letty with a look of warning.
“It’s not what you think!” Knox screamed in a desperate voice.
But Miles continued to run, pulling Letty along behind him.
“Keep up, Letty. Come on!” Miles urged.
Letty’s heart beat frantically as she fought to keep up. Giving Knox one last glance behind her, she tried to wrap her head around what was happening, but logic failed her. Knox had always been Miles’s right hand man. He was his best friend, his brother, and often, his closest confidant. But in that moment, the lines blurred as Knox ran after Miles along with Vic, the triggerman, and Miles’s own father, Michael Capadonno, the Butcher of Carrion.
“Miles, wait!” Knox screamed as his pace quickened. He was catching up and fast. Miles pulled Letty at a faster rate, yanking her arm hard to keep her out of danger. Knox, catching up to his brother, cut into Letty’s stride, knocking her to the floor of the restaurant kitchen. A sauce pan clattered as it hit the floor, next to where Letty landed. Looking at Knox with a scathing look upon his face, Miles cut the gap between himself and his brother. He might not have meant to knock Letty to the ground, but it didn’t matter. Reeling his arm back, Miles drilled his fist straight at Knox’s face.
Miles’s fist collided with Knox’s nose as he sent his brother falling to the kitchen floor.
“Fucking put your hands on a woman! Especially mine!” Miles yelled as he glowered at Knox with a hostile glare.
Blood covered Knox’s face and shirt as he glared up at him. Before his brother could say a word, Miles grabbed Letty’s hand, pulled her up from the floor and started running again.
The echoes of footsteps falling upon the concrete sidewalk were drowned out by the approaching sound of the subway as Miles Capadonno and Letty Alves, raced hand in hand, fleeing from an unseen danger.
“C’mon, Letty! Run! We gotta get back to the car!” Miles screamed.
Letty fought to keep up with Miles’s swift stride as he pulled her forward, desperate to get her out of South Philly alive.
Miles’s voice was drowned out by the approaching train as the 7:17 Broad Street Line rushed under the street below. Miles’s and Letty’s feet slapped the pavement as they charged south on Broad Street. This was supposed to be a fun night out. A break from all the chaos that had broken out in Carrion. The last thing Miles and Letty thought would come from a visit to a restaurant in celebration of Miles’s birthday was an execution attempt on Miles’s life.
“Miles, wait!” a deep voice shouted from behind them.
“Ignore him, Miles. We need to just go!” Letty screamed.
“Fuck off!” Miles spat back at the man he once considered his best friend.
“Miles!” the voice called again.
“Knox, back off!” Miles shouted over his shoulder.
“Miles!” Letty screeched.
It took a moment for Miles to understand what was happening. His chest heaved as he continued to run, but something stopped him dead in his tracks. A vintage black Cadillac curled the corner of Broad and Mifflin Streets, Miles attempted to identify the driver, but the windows were tinted and it was impossible to see. The passenger side window rolled down slowly as the tip of a gun pointed out at Miles. Immediately, Miles recognized the man’s face.
“MILES!” Letty screamed.
Grabbing his girl by her waist, he ran faster ducking into an alley. Three shots were fired, each hitting the pavement just feet away.
“Miles!” Knox’s voice cried out again.
As the car pulled off again, Miles and Letty darted from the alleyway and raced down Broad Street with Knox still on their tail. The black Cadillac had turned onto the opposite side of Broad Street and was now traveling south. The driver had rolled down his window now. Letty’s mouth dropped when she saw the man’s face. The tears didn’t begin to flow from her eyes until she saw the passenger.
“I don’t believe this!” Letty screamed. She ran as fast as she could beside Miles, barely able to keep up. “It’s Vendetta Vic and the Butcher. Why the fuck are they after us, Miles?”
“Don’t worry about that, just run, Letty!” Miles screamed. The fear was apparent in his voice, though he was trying not to let it show for her own benefit.
Letty was only seventeen, and scared out of her mind. Miles was holding his composure a little better, though eighteen years of age, Miles was nothing more than a kid, himself. Miles could see the lights of Broad and Snyder fast approaching. Letty’s knuckles blanched as she clasped onto him, running for dear life. The Cadillac screeched up Broad Street, fast approaching on them. Another shot was fired. It hit the ground just inches from where Letty stood.
“Miles! Listen to me!” Knox screamed. It was a terrible blood curdling cry.
But as Miles turned around to face his brother, the one man that Miles had grown to love and trust, he realized that his trust was misplaced. Three officers on foot raced up the sidewalk behind Knox, shouted at Miles to drop his weapon.
“I don’t have a weapon!” Miles shouted with a perplexed look on his face.
“He didn’t do anything!” Letty shouted.
Out of the corner of his eye, Miles watched as the black Cadillac rolled off with not even a second glance from the officers.
“I’m sorry, Miles,” Knox said with a look of guilt on his face.
“Yeah, you are sorry,” Miles said in a voice of total disgust.
As the officers rushed past Knox, they cuffed Miles, Mirandizing him, leaving Letty in a state of shock.
“What am I being arrested for?” Miles asked with a dark edge to his voice.
“The murder of Giancarlo Rigatti,” one of the officers said as they led Miles to the patrol car that sat idle in the shoulder of Broad Street.
“What?” Miles spat. “I had nothing to do with that!”
“Fifteen witnesses, Capadonno. Let’s go.”
“Miles!” Letty screamed.
Giving his girl a glance back, Miles gave Letty a cool wink.
“It’ll be all right, Letty. You’ll see. Everything will be all right. Wait for my letter.”
Quickly, Miles flicked the keys to his car to Letty, as she ran off, fear ripping through her body.
“Miles!” Knox called out.
Turning his glare in Knox’s direction, Miles spat, “Don’t ever speak my name again. You’re dead to me!”
As Miles was loaded in the back of the squad car, he grit his teeth, hell bound and determined to gain revenge on the men that had framed him. As the patrol car sped off, Miles watched as the black car slinked off Broad Street, rolling east down Passyunk Avenue.
October 5, 2015
Franklin Correctional Facility
Seventeen Years Later
“Bruce Springsteen can tell you everything you need to know about New Jersey in a song. For that matter, the dude from Asbury Park, New Jersey, can tell you everything you need to know about me in a song, too. I walk a Thunder Road. I was Born in the U.S.A. I’m On Fire and baby, I was Born to Run. I got a Hungry Heart and I’ve Been Dancing in the Dark. These feet have pounded the Streets of Philadelphia and I’ve stirred up trouble in Atlantic City. I’m Working on a Dream from the confines of a 6×8 cell.”
Miles Capadonno spoke with certainty. There was no trace of insecurity in his deep voice or his big as life stance. Standing at six feet, six inches tall, with a long black beard, and intricate tattoos covering every inch of his arms and back, Miles was certainly a force to be reckoned with. Every word he spoke was gospel. He was commanding and knew how to hold an audience. When a man like Miles Capadonno talked, you sure as shit listened.
“He’s called the boss for a reason. What other singer has the balls to write a song about a South Philly mobster? I haven’t heard one of the Boss’s songs in years, but I remember the sermon he preached loud and clear. Being in prison doesn’t afford me some of the things that you probably take for granted.”
Miles leaned in closer to the bars of his cell.
“Yeah, you heard me. Prison. The clink. A 6×8 cell. For the last seventeen years, I’ve called the Franklin Correctional Facility in Center City Philadelphia my home. What? You have something you wanna say? I see what’s happening here… Your face, it just changed. Was that a change of opinion? Was it judgement? Before you slam your gavel on me, you might want to know the facts first.”
Miles ran his tongue over his teeth as his eyes took on a dangerous quality. Wrapping his fingers around the bars of his cell, Miles Capadonno demanded attention.
“Here’s all you need to know. Number one… I was framed. Number two… I’m not a rat. Number three… vengeance belongs to me. I can hear the Boss’s voice in my head loud and clear to this day, preaching about suicide raps, hitting the open road, and bolting from the town that intends to slay you. I should have listened to the message that the Boss preached. I should have run. I look back often and think what if I would have packed up Letty and hit the road in my Charger. Things would have been different. Right?”
Shaking his head slowly, Miles sighed heavily as his eyes darted to the floor.
“She’s long gone, along with my freedom. Now here I am, doing this interview with you through the bars of my cell at the Franklin Correctional Facility, where I’ve spent half my life rotting away. I took the fall for another guy. The men I once called brothers were nothing more than blood-thirsty cowards. They were spineless swines wearing the guise of a made man. I wear no such disguise. I say what I mean, I mean what I say, and God help the fucker that stands in my way.”
Smacking his lips, Miles continued, “I grew up in Carrion, New Jersey. Set deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Carrion is a town with a unique setting. Founded in 1922, Carrion is in a coastal forest along the Jersey Shore. The City Council named the city Carrion. They were sadistic sons of bitches. Who names a town after the rotting flesh of an animal? Did they know what would happen to the town that stood in the shadows of New York and Philadelphia? It was an epicenter of crime, and it just so happened to be the halfway point between the two busiest mob cities in the United States. New York was were the kings sat on their thrones and called the shots, but Philly was where shit went down. South Philly is where the action was. I knew the towns all too well, but none as well as Carrion. It was a town that lived up to its namesake. Organized crime families with ties to the five boroughs of New York and the blood thirsty demigods of South Philly rocked this town. It didn’t matter that the boss was a man that I called uncle, and my father was the enforcer for the Capadonno crime family.”
Shouts from the other inmates distracted Miles for a moment. As he refocused his attention, Miles continued.
“My uncle, Sonny Capadonno, is half the reason I am locked up in this shit hole to begin with. The other half belongs to my father, Michael. If you want the whole story, you’ll have to ask around. I’ll never tell. Around here a snitch is a rat, and rats get killed. Omerta. It’s a code of silence. An oath of secrecy. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
Miles laughed darkly. “Ha. If only I was joking…”
Miles pivoted on his chair as he tapped three times on the cement wall of his cell. The words La Cosa Nostra were etched onto the wall some time ago by another hand with a pencil. The words translated from Italian to English as This Thing of Ours. Tapping his finger at the words, Miles laughed facetiously.
“I ain’t worried about La Cosa Nostra no more. I’m worried about this thing of mine. All I want is to pick up where I left off. Find Letty and pick up the pieces. The creeps that put me in here will get what’s coming to them. I’ll go up against Carrion. I’ll wage war against the foot soldiers of South Philly. I’ll rage through the five boroughs until everybody remembers my name and my face. There is just one thing that slows my stride. The mob couldn’t kill me. Prison couldn’t break me. Going home threatens to do both.”
A somber expression takes over Miles’s face.
“I shouldn’t have expected her to wait around for me. It’s not like we were married. We were kids. But when she didn’t return my letters, I felt burned. Say what you want. Think what you will. I know we were young, but it wasn’t just some summer fling. Yeah, we were irrational, but what we had was real. She could be married now, for all I know. She could have a family of her own. Shit, living in Carrion, she could be dead. I have no idea what happened after I went on the inside. Thoughts about Letty have plagued my nights for seventeen years now.”
Miles glanced up at his prison wall again. Strike marks filled up the empty spaces on the wall. Each day Miles Capadonno has served as an inmate earns a check on the wall. Grabbing a pencil out of his back pocket, Miles strikes the wall one last time.
“Last one. That’s the last one I’ll ever have to make. I was arrested on May 18, 1998 – my eighteenth birthday. Letty was only seventeen and scared out of her mind. Age eighteen and the Capadonno family had put a contract on my head. I had to choose between the women I loved and the men I served. Part of the code is that if the Capadonno family needs you, they expect you to turn your back on the world.”
Miles pulled a photograph from his pocket. He stroked the old polaroid as if it was his most prized possession. Anyone that knew Miles Capadonno well knew that his only photograph of his mother Andie was extremely important to him.
“Nothing else matters. Not your girl. Not your own mother. My mom, Andie Cormack, was not a well woman. A week before my eighteenth birthday, she took a turn for the worse. Her ovarian cancer had become stronger than she was and that was saying something. Andie Cormack was the strongest person I knew – male or female. My mother was the perfect combination of spit fire and sugar, honey and hell.”
Miles continued to glance down at the photograph. There was a pain in his eyes that was palpable.
“In my father’s youth, he had hooked up with my mother and quickly became the brunt of his brother’s jokes. Why? Because my mother wasn’t Italian-American. She was, however, a smart, beautiful, Irish-American woman with a heart of gold. He married her despite the jiving. They had six kids together, but among their three oldest kids, I was the only one that rushed to her side. My mother was a saint and I had to watch her die.”
Miles’s face fell into his hands for a moment. Emotion filled him and he needed a moment to swallow it down. Letting a sharp breath escape his lungs, Miles continued.
“I had to choose between being by my sick mother’s side and running jobs for the Corelli’s in Philly. Loyalty won. I was the good son. The Capadonno’s didn’t quite see it that way, though. The Corelli’s were short a man, got their panties in a bunch, and sent Nico Firenze, fresh off the boat from the boot, to kill my uncle Sonny. Nico failed to kill him, and got deported shortly after. In retribution, Uncle Sonny sent a guy to ice Giancarlo Rigatti. They whacked him at a bar near the Navy Yard in Philly, and sent my father, the “Butcher” his body. Rumor is that he turned Giancarlo into Vienna sausages which were delivered to his grandfather, Nunzio Rigatti, boss of the Rigatti Crime Family up in New York. Problem was, rumor got out that the guy who whacked Rigatti was me. After that, they were all gunning for me. The Corelli’s. The Capadonno’s. The Rigatti’s. Even my own brother. There was only one thing to do. I had to get out of Carrion. I had to get miles away.”
Miles tucked his photograph back into his shirt pocket. Unfolding himself from the chair, he stood up to his full height. His presence was commanding. Surely much more commanding than the kid he was when he entered Franklin Correctional Facility all those years ago.
“See, there’s no loyalty where there’s no money involved. I had to learn the hard way. Now, not only is the Coalition pissed because they received chopped up bits of Giancarlo Rigatti served up on a platter with a letter with my name on it, but the Capadonno’s are pissed because I put someone else before them, putting them in a tight spot. Lord only knows how many hits were put on my head.”
An unseen reporter cleared his throat. “Tell me about the Coalition, Miles…”
“The Coalition. That’s like the league of nations of the mafia families. If you wanna know more, maybe you should set up a fuckin’ interview wit’ them…” Miles spat, giving the reporter a nasty look. “I ain’t a rat.”
“Sorry, Miles. Continue…” the reporter said apologetically.
“Now seventeen years later, after spending half my life in this shit hole, the great state of Pennsylvania has deemed me fit for civilization. Imagine that. Freedom. What the hell would I do with it?”
Casting a dark look out of his cell, the edges of Miles’s lips turned up just slightly. With a voice ripe with assurity, Miles said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got a plan.”
“Fuck you, Capadonno!” Vic Schiabetta screamed from his cell as Miles was ushered through D block by two armed prison guards. Vic gripped up the bars as he bared his ugly stained teeth.
Fuck… That breath! Miles thought to himself.
Vic’s years of meth abuse didn’t do him any favors. Not that he was ever a looker anyhow. He was known for his particular set of skills. Skills that didn’t involve the use of soap, water or a toothbrush.
The only thing that keeps me from knocking Vic into next week is the fact that no matter how bad I beat ‘em, he’ll never get any uglier.
As they cut through the rows of cells, the grisly population of D Block voiced their disgust that Miles was breaking free of this hell hole, and they were stuck to serve out the rest of their terms. With a cocky smile on his face, Miles smirked at all of them.
What do I care? They had never did me any favors, anyway.
“They’re gonna get you, Cap! They got a bullet with your name on it!” Vic screamed.
Miles smiled at the man he once considered his mentor. That was a long time ago, before the man had tried to kill him.
“Bring it on, Schiabetta! I’ll just dodge it once again,” Miles yelled back in a self-assured voice. Confidence has never been something that Miles lacked. The guards nudge him forward but it doesn’t stop Miles from pushing Vendetta Vic over the edge.
“Public Enemy #1, Capadonno!” Vic yelled.
Turning his head, Miles barked back, “Ask me if I give a shit!”
Vic reached his arms through the bars of his cell and gripped Miles’s brand new white t-shirt. Miles looked down at Vic’s disgusting fingers. There was dirt caked under his fingernails.
“You will when you see what we’ve done to her!” Vic threatened.
Glaring at Vic, Miles was certain that he saw the look of pure insanity in his eyes.
I don’t care who comes for my neck. I will fuck a brother up that comes at me with the intention to hurt or kill… but come after a woman? I’m not having that shit. Especially not my woman. Letty. It had been a long time, but in my heart, Letty was still mine.
“If she is hurt, I will snap each and every one of their necks,” Miles spat.
“Capadonno…” the guard warned.
Miles seethed at the sound of the guard’s voice. Ten more feet, Miles. You can do this, Miles thought to himself. My pep talks suck ass because I didn’t feel any calmer. I sure as hell wasn’t any less likely to refrain from decapitating Schiabetta with a lethal upper cut. Bam! Halitosis breath, be gone. I wish.
Vic the Dick wasn’t satisfied though. He smirked cruelly as he blurted out, “Good luck, Miles. You got lucky last time. That contract is still active.”
A growl resonated from Miles’s throat. Some of the other inmates glare at him with a ravenous look in their eyes.
They are always looking for a little action. A little entertainment. They can go watch Jerry Springer in the common room. I’m not here to put on a show for their crooked asses.
After a moment, Miles replied, “Let ‘em try it. They’ve got something coming their way.”
As Vic continued to sling shit through the bars of his cell, Miles stepped out into the glaring sun, blinded by the day.
“Gotta ignore the noise, Capadonno,” Officer Chapman said as the doors of the prison slammed shut. “If you listen to the chatter, you’ll only wind up back in here.”
Miles laughed loudly as he shook his head. “I’m heading a lot of places… but Franklin Correctional Facility ain’t one of ‘em.”
Officer Luciano slipped a silver key into the lock of Miles’s handcuffs. With a clang, the metal bonds released from Miles’s wrists.
“Good to hear, Cap,” Officer Chapman said as they walked through the courtyard towards the perimeter gate of the prison. As they approached the chain link fence, the security system buzzed loudly and the gate swung open.
“Miles Capadonno, sign here…” Officer Luciano said as he handed Miles a form on a clipboard. “All of your belongings are in this bag. Please check to verify everything is there.”
“Yeah, your belongings. Everything you had on you when you came in… All the stuff you had in your cell,” Officer Chapman explained.
My life now fit neatly in the restricted confines of a plastic bag.
Miles’s mind crashed back to that night when he first passed through the gates of the prison. It seemed like a lifetime ago. In reality, it was. Miles is not the same guy that he was when he came in. Grabbing the white plastic bag, Miles rifled through it, eyeballing the contents of the bag. There was an old pair of Fila sneakers, a black button shirt, a silver skull ring, a wallet, , three legal pads full of Miles’s messy scrawl, a bible, a photograph of Miles and Letty, an obituary for Andrea Cormackthat was clipped out of the Philadelphia Inquirer from May 16, 1998, a pencil, a couple of Rolling Stone magazines and a yellow post it note with the names of fifteen men.
Writing down their names had made my revenge seem more real. I didn’t write their names because I had trouble remembering. No, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I wrote their names down to remind myself that they could be erased in the blink of an eye.
“Looks fine to me,” Miles replied.
If the guards had any fucking clue what that post-it note meant, they’d never have let me out of my cage.
“I’ll check it out later,” Miles assured the officers.
“All right,” Officer Luciano said as he passed Miles the clipboard and a pen.
Taking the pen in his hand, Miles slashed the Capadonno name from the registry. He struck the name out as a way to remove himself from this lifestyle. Now, if he heard them calling Miles Cap’ from down the block, he’d just keep on walking.
What had this lifestyle done for me? It stripped me of my freedom. I lost Letty. I damn near lost my life. Now seventeen years later, they are apt to remind me there is still a contract on my head. This time I won’t run, though. I paid my debts. They owe me.
This time, Miles was brazen enough to collect on owed favors. Scraping the pen across the form, Miles signed the name Miles Cormack big and bold.
Taking my mother’s maiden name, I intend to make my allegiances loud and clear.
Miles passed the clipboard back to the officer. Officer Luciano looked down at the form and gave Miles a look of approval.
“Good for you, Miles,” Officer Luciano said.
Putting two fingers in his mouth, Officer Chapman whistled for the door guard.
“Open ‘em up!”
The access gate of the prison clanged open, and Miles took his first step towards freedom. Not even giving the gray façade of the prison a second glance, he walked forward, slinging his bag over his right shoulder. A glossy black 1970 Dodge Charger waited at the curb.
“Corina…” Miles cooed in nothing more than a whisper.
My car. My baby. Corina still looked as good as the day I got her. There she sat just feet away with a cocky twenty something kid leaning against the side door. Despite myself, I laugh.
“Last time I saw you, you were in diapers, kid…” Miles said to his kid brother Landon with a smirk on his face.
“Not quite but it has been a minute,” Landon said as he flicked a set of keys to Miles. Miles caught them mid-air, trapping them in his right hand. Landon stood at about 5 feet 11 inches, about a half foot shorter than Miles. Rather than sporting the usual Capadonno dark look, with black hair and brown eyes, Landon favored the Cormack features that their mother sported. With straight blond hair and bright blue eyes, Landon had a happy smile on his face as he greeted his older brother. Landon was the spitting image of Andie Cormack.
“Ah, freedom,” Miles said as he twirled the keys on the index finger of his right hand.
Damn it feels good, Miles thought.
“I should have known the others wouldn’t show,” Miles said nonchalantly as he approached his kid brother.
“Rainey is well… Rainey. Preoccupied with her own drama. Hangs out with this guy, Anthony. I don’t know if they are together or broken up. It changes daily. Knox is just as stubborn as our father,” Landon began.
“Fuck Knox,” Miles said bluntly, clearly catching the kid off guard.
“Dustin is busy running his garage and driving Dad around,” Landon explained. “He’ll be around later.”
“And what about Sasha?” Miles asked as a grilling look escaped his eyes.
This kid probably thinks I’m insane. He’d be half right.
“She had to be at the house for a meeting with the home health nurse,” Landon explained. “Though, I’m sure if she didn’t have that she would have come in the church van along with her other bible thumpers to pray for you,” Landon said with a wicked smirk on his face.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Miles griped loudly as his eyes rolled.
This is the same sister that was supposed to keep me out of trouble, but instead, was too busy getting high behind the same church where she now acted as secretary and Sunday school teacher.
Landon shrugged his shoulders. “It is what it is, dude.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Miles replied as he stared at the kid.
Landon was only four years old when I’d last seen him. It seems so strange seeing him an adult now. A man. I’ve missed so much, Miles thought sadly.
Time is a funny thing when you go on the inside. Although Miles mostly remained the same, a youth afforded to him by hitting the weights out of necessity to stay in prime physical condition, the rest of the world moved on. Everyone aged, went about their lives, made mistakes and tried new things.
I’ve been trapped in limbo for the past seventeen years.
Gazing over at Landon, Miles brought his brother into a bear hug, lifting him off his feet as he slapped his back hard.
“Good to see ya, kid,” Miles said happily with a broad smile on his face.
“You too. You look good. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting you to look like when you came through those doors. You look nothing like I thought you would. The beard, the tats, the clean threads…” Landon said as he gave Miles a piercing look.
Miles ran his hand through his beard. It was a conversation starter, that was for sure. Women loved it, men respected it. Miles didn’t care, though. The look worked for him.
“C’mon, what are you waiting for? Get the hell in,” Miles barked at Landon as he stood on the curb, shooting the shit.
At the sound of Miles’s voice, Landon ran around to claim shot gun. Slipping into the driver’s seat of his beautiful car, it felt like home to Miles. Stretching his legs to the pedals and his bulky arms to the steering wheel, he gripped the soft leather tightly, as a groan slipped from his mouth. There was something animalistic about the growl that ripped from his throat. Sexual. Wild and free. Miles’s knuckles went white as he gripped the leather of the steering wheel.
“Oh, baby… You only get better with age,” Miles cooed as Landon gave him a perplexed look. He lifts an eyebrow at Miles, looking at his older brother as if he were insane.
Maybe I am. I love this fucking car, Miles thought happily.
“What?” Miles asked as he gave the kid a non-plussed look.
“You’re talking to the car like it’s a woman,” Landon said looking confused.
“The finest of women,” Miles uttered. “This old girl has never let me down.”
Inserting the key into the ignition, the motor purred as it started up. The sound was like heaven to Miles. It was ecstasy. Corina’s motor was heaven and hell, sweetness and sin all rolled up into a single sound. It brought back a flood of memories for Miles. Opening up the glove box, he grabbed a CD. Not even bothering to look at the title, he inserted it into the CD player, and not a second later, a familiar song blared out. Born To Run wailed from the speakers as Miles revved the engine. As the Boss’s familiar voice cranked from the stereo, Miles gave a glance over at his brother. Miles winked at Landon. Landon had a fresh look in his eyes. He had hope. It had been a long time since Miles had seen hope in anyone’s eyes. The feeling was infectious. Miles couldn’t help but feel a little hope, himself. Two seconds later, he slammed on the gas pedal as the Charger sped forward leaving his past and Franklin Correctional Facility behind him.
So this is what freedom feels like. No ties to the past. No cage to hold me. Nothing could tame this wild heart. Nothing could rein me, chain me or hold me down. I have debts to collect, and I won’t stop until redemption is mine.
“Where are we going?” Landon asked when he saw that Miles was heading south on Market Street instead of towards the Ben Franklin Bridge that would lead towards Jersey.
“A quick detour,” Miles said as a slick smile grew on his face.
“I don’t like the sound of this,” Landon said with a weary tone to his voice.
As Corina pulled up to the stop light, Miles looked over at the kid with a wink, “What’s life without a little excitement?”
Miles could hear him gulp from across the car. Corina roared down Broad Street as Miles weaved through traffic.
“Fucking cabby! Move!” Miles yelled out as he was nearly clipped by a taxi driver going no less than 90 miles an hour through Center City traffic.
“Lunatic,” Miles griped.
“Dude, where are we going?” Landon asked with a nervous edge to his voice.
Miles was still singing along to the song that blared from the radio, so he didn’t bother answering until the last word was sung. Finally, Miles answered him in the most nonchalant voice that he could muster, “South Philly.”
It was the place where all this bullshit began. But today, I wasn’t on business. Today, I was just fucking hungry and I had a hankering for some Mi Famiglia grub. The corner café might look like a hole in the wall to an outsider, they had the best damn food in South Philly. Think mussels, linguini… hell, they even served up a mean cheesesteak. It had been forever since I had a decent meal. The kid, though I wouldn’t exactly call him scrawny, looked like he could use a good meal, too. Mi Famiglia also happened to be wise guy central.
“Please tell me you just wanna see a Phillies game, or something,” Landon said, his leg tapping up and down. The further into South Philly they went, the more Landon’s anxiety showed.
Cutting through the city, Broad Street was a major artery. It was always crowded, always full of activity. You can see the best of the city, from the theatres and restaurants that line Broad Street in Center City to the cluster fuck of beggars, prostitutes and fast food restaurants at Broad and Snyder. Nothing had changed since Miles last seen it. Sure some of the store names weren’t the same. But the shuffle? The coming and going of people? The stark contrast of poverty and wealth? It was all the same. Broad and Snyder. Miles knew this intersection well. It was a crossroad of his own life. Freedom and Incarceration.
The light turned green and Miles hit the pedal as fast as he could, leaving the intersection behind him. Seeing the place where he had fled for his life only to be arrested set his teeth on edge. Miles sped past South Philly High, careened past Methodist Hospital, and made a sharp turn onto Wolf Street. It was like no time had passed at all.
“Come on, man,” Landon complained. “The Penrose diner is right down the street! Why Mi Famiglia?!”
Miles rolled his eyes at his kid brother, “Fuck off. I’ll eat where I want.”
Landon gave Miles a look as if he now knew with certainty that his older brother was certifiably insane. There was symbolism to the location of Miles’ first meal as a free man. It was the place where the Capadonno’s had tried to execute him. Tried and failed. It was at the Mi Famiglia restaurant that Vic Schiabetta had shot out the front window, with a bullet aimed right for Miles’s head. The cold truth of the matter was, it wasn’t just Vic’s doing. He was a foot soldier, following orders from capo. Vic followed orders from a man who should have had Miles’s back. The thought that they were returning to the restaurant sent shivers up Landon’s spine.
“You comin’ or what?” Miles asked him with a smirk on his face.
Throwing his head back, Landon appeared to be fighting with himself about entering the establishment.
“Fine! We’re not staying all damn day though!” Landon spat.
“You got that right. I’ve got a woman I need to see and business that needs handling,” Miles replied coarsely as he opened the front door. As the bell over the front door rang, all eyes were on Miles. Miles’s silhouette darkened the doorway of the restaurant as seventy two pairs of eyes drilled to his face. Some of the patrons stared up at him in anger, others in fear. But all of them, every last one, looked up at Miles Capadonno with respect. They all knew, you never cross a Capadonno. They weren’t exactly known for their forgiving nature. There was something about the looks on all of their faces that gave Miles a deep sense of satisfaction.
“Mr. Capadonno,” Rita Marone said in a thick South Philly accent. She looked surprised to see Miles. “What a pleasure seeing you here!”
The look of trepidation in Rita’s eyes didn’t match the warmth of her voice.
“It’s Cormack now, Mrs. Marone,” Miles said, correcting her gently. Nodding her head, Rita’s expression changed into one of deep approval.
“Good for you, Miles,” Rita said as she placed a hand on Miles’s arm partially covering the skull on his sleeve tattoo. “Your mom and I, we go way back, you know.”
Miles nodded politely as he stepped out of the doorway to let Landon through.
“Do you remember my kid brother, Landon?” Miles asked as he pointed towards the kid. In typical Landon fashion, he grinned from ear to ear. As Miles watched Landon grin at Rita, he began to wonder if the kid’s got even a drop of Capadonno blood in him.
My mother must’ve had some side action. For all I know, Landon could be the mail man’s kid.
“Oh, yes! I remember Landon!” Rita gushed. “You were just a baby when I saw you last…”
“Hi, Mrs. Marone,” Landon said with a wave of his hand.
Rita glanced at Landon, then back at Miles. She continued to compare their faces with her eyes until a wicked smirk formed on her face.
“What?” Miles asked as a smile grew on his own face.
“He’s so….bianco!” Rita said with a laugh as she continued to compare the two Capadonno brothers.
While Landon peered at Miles and Rita in utter confusion, laughter ripped from Miles’ mouth. Miles’ eyes watered, his belly hurt and he couldn’t stop laughing.
“Bianco?! What’s bianco?” Landon demanded to know with wide eyes and a self-conscious look on his face.
Mrs. Marone was still laughing, so Miles acted as her proxy and replied for her.
“She said you’re so white…” Miles replied as he wiggled his eyebrows teasingly at Landon.
The kid stood there with a nonplussed look on his face.
“Ummm…” Landon said in a confused tone of voice, “Thanks. I guess.”
Miles elbowed Landon in his gut and explained, “His Irish American side is much more prominent.”
“I see! I see! I hope you’re staying out of trouble!” Rita said as she pinched Landon’s rosy cheeks.
“I am,” Landon replied as he broke away from Rita’s clutches.
“He’s a good kid,” Miles confirmed. “He’s my buddy.”
Rita smiled in approval as she grabbed two menus.
“Follow me, gents,” Rita said as she led the way through the dining room.
The light atmosphere faded as Miles and Landon followed Rita into the dining room. The patrons continued to stare. They were watching Miles’s every move, like a hawk stalking its prey. Landon noticed it too. He whispered in Miles’s ear, “We should go.”
Miles rolled his shoulders as he let his stress roll down his back.
“Chill,” Miles spat through his teeth.
It wasn’t a request. It was a straight up fucking demand. Don’t act like a pussy in the heart of South Philly. You’ll be forever known as a chump. Around here, respect is everything, and once you lose it, it’s gone forever.
Dante Sabotino glared up from his seat at Miles. With sneaky eyes and well gelled hair, his appearance was as slippery as his personality was. Dante’s cousin, Vinnie “The Fish” Moretta, wasn’t much of an improvement. His rounded belly threatened to pop the buttons off his striped button down shirt. His terrible comb-over damn near made Miles laugh. Damn near, but he didn’t.
I might not be scared of these idiots, but the last thing you want to do is disrespect him in his own backyard. Vinnie ran the blade of his butter knife over his finger nail. Now that actually made me chuckle. I guess that shit was supposed to scare me. A dumbass with a butter knife. I’ve created weapons more threatening in the confines of my cell. Shaking my head as I walk by, I decide not to give Dickhead Dante the time of day.
“Here ya are, fellas. What can I get ya?” Rita asked as she slipped on a pair of reading glasses and whipped out a note pad to write upon.
Miles ordered first. It’s been forever since he’s had a decent meal, and in his eagerness, he accidentally cut off the kid. Landon looks like he understands, so Miles isn’t too embarrassed.
“Putanesca with some of those garlic knots,” Miles tells Rita.
I can almost taste it now. My favorite dish. Angel hair pasta, extra virgin olive oil, capers, olives, fresh tomato and basil. Delicious, Miles thought.
“That meal comes with a salad. Do you want chef, Caesar or garden?” Rita asked.
“Chef,” Miles replies quickly.
“White wine or red wine?” Rita asked.
Miles shook his head, “Tall glass of ice water. I have to drive back to Jersey tonight.”
“Very good, and Landon, what can I get ya, hun?” Rita asked as she scribbled Miles’s order down onto the note pad.
“Cheesesteak wit… and an order of fries,” Landon said as he handed over his menu.
“And to drink?” Rita asked.
Landon gave Miles a crooked glance. The kid wears his heart on his sleeve. Miles could immediately see right through his brother’s facade. He was going to try to play his hand. He wanted to see how far Miles would let him slide.
“Make it a Jack – straight up,” Landon said with a wicked smirk on his face.
Rita laughed at Landon and then looked at Miles.
Miles quickly replied, “He’ll have a Shirley Temple with an extra maraschino cherry.”
Landon scoffed as Miles winked at him. “I think that’s a little more your speed, kid,” Miles said as he chuckled loudly.
“All right, Miles. Order will be up shortly. I’m glad to see you looking so good.”
With that, Rita walked off, disappearing behind a set of kitchen doors to place their order. Miles looked over at Landon, and he seemed nervous as he sat across from his brother, tapping his fingers on the wood of the table. Clearing his throat, Miles caught his attention as his stark blue eyes peered up at him.
Jesus, he looks like my mother.
“So… what’s been going on?” Miles asked. The kid looked like something was plaguing him. Landon shrugged as he looked up at Miles.
“Just the usual, man,” Landon began.
Miles laughed darkly.
“Your usual and my usual are worlds apart, dude… You are staying out of trouble, right?” Miles asked, giving his younger brother a scorching glare.
The look of pure hostility on Miles’s face causes Landon to recoil from his gaze. Landon stared back at Miles with a nervous look oozing from his eyes.
“Not trying to make you nervous. I have your back. I’m just wonderin’ what I’m coming home to,” Miles explained.
Landon let out a deep sigh, “The focus is on Dad right now. The doctors are saying he’s fading but he’s still a loud, miserable bastard. Sasha’s living at the house again. So is Rainey but she’s rarely home. Dustin comes and goes. We have a nurse that comes to the house during the week, and she’s helping to take care of Dad.”
“What about Knox?” Miles asked with a lethal edge to his voice.
Knox was the one person Miles was most anxious to see. They were tight once. Miles had only heard from him once in over seventeen years. Once was enough.
“Knox is Knox,” Landon explained. “Busy up in New York being DA and all. I haven’t seen him since Christmas.”
Miles let out a breath of relief.
At least I knew that I wouldn’t be ambushed the second I strolled through the damn door.
“You let me handle the old man. Just give me a heads up when you hear about Knox coming around. He and I need to have words,” Miles said.
“All right…” Landon said as he took a swig of his drink. “What about?”
“That’s between him and me,” Miles said coarsely.
As Miles closed down the conversation, Landon stared at him with a confused look on his face. There were questions in his gaze, but Miles’s lips refused to provide the answers he sought.
Miles thoughts began to wander. According to the United States Government, Landon Capadonno was a man. He was old enough to vote for whatever, rich self-serving scumbag he saw fit. Landon could enlist in the military and pop a cap in however many American-hating ISIS assholes his little ticker could handle. Shit, despite Landon’s baby face and shy demeanor, he could walk into any bar and demand a beer. But just because he had reached the almighty echelon of twenty-one years of age, it didn’t mean that Landon was ready for the skeletons that would come crawling out of the Capadonno’s proverbial closet. I could only protect the kid so much – eventually, he’d find out the truth and he’d have to decide which side of the fence he wanted to stand on… and around here, you didn’t have a choice. You had to pick a side.
Then again, maybe things weren’t so cut and dry. Not everyone’s choices were laid out for them like they were for Miles. When it comes to family, the line between right and wrong wavers. There is a grey line that people often walk.
I would kill for my family… and now that some had crossed a line that should never be crossed, I’d kill them, too. Family vendettas create an unstable environment. Foundations liquefy, relationships change, bonds break. Knox Capadonno used to be my best friend. Now I want to kill the fucker.
And that’s just one name on Miles’s list. Landon would need to make up his own mind. Miles’s grudges were not his cross to bear, and Miles wasn’t about to make him, either. This vendetta belonged to Miles. The red fury that burned within him since the troubled days of his youth bubbled up like molten lava. Yeah, you could say Miles was a little pissed off.
As quickly as Rita escaped through the double doors of the kitchen, she swooped back out carrying a pair of drinks and a basket of garlic knots on a tray. Despite the teasing, Rita brought the kid a beer. He was over twenty-one and a paying customer. Miles was the one who was driving, anyway. Although Rita got his order wrong, Landon seemed to be happy enough with his Budweiser.
Nobody lays a hand on my baby, Miles thought, referring to his precious car.
Miles took a bite out of a garlic knot, and took a swig of his ice water. The cold drink chased down the savory treat that he had not sampled in over seventeen years. Closing his eyes, you’d think Miles was having an orgasm at the table. Landon stared at his brother with a disgusted look upon his face.
Miles didn’t care, though. “Don’t judge me. Prison food sucks.”
“I believe you,” Landon said with a laugh. “I have no intention of ever visiting.”
“Better not. I’ll beat your ass,” Miles said with a smirk.
Landon gulped down his beer as he stared at Miles. To Miles, he seems like such a straight laced kid.
“So Landon…” Miles asked, breaking him from his thoughts. Landon took another swig of his beer and placed it back down on the table.
“Yeah?” he asked with a nervous look in his eyes. Landon hadn’t taken his eyes off the door since he arrived.
“What have you been doing with yourself lately? Got a girl?” Miles asked, trying to drag a conversation out of him.
“Not right now. Playing my options,” Landon said as a cocky smirk crossed his face.
“Mmmhmmm…” Miles muttered as his eyes moved from face to face in the restaurant. Many he recognized, but others were completely new to him.
“I was never really one to hop from girl to girl,” Miles explained. “I never really saw the fascination. It was hard enough figuring out what one woman wanted, let alone a handful.”
Besides, Letty would’ve beat my ass, Miles thought.
Landon’s eyes perked up with alarm as he watched someone walk through the front door of the restaurant. Miles couldn’t see the front of the restaurant from his vantage point, but whoever just walked in caught Landon’s eye and his gaze trailed them across the dining room.
“Yo, Miles, head’s up. Ruin Rizzoli is staring at you…” Landon said, his forehead scrunching up as the stress began to show on his face.
“Ruin, huh? You mean Rich Rizzoli?” Miles asked with a confused look on his face.
“Yeah, he’s known as Ruin now. He’s fighting in the underground arena.”
Miles craned his neck around, expecting the worst, but when he meets eyes with his old buddy, all he can do is laugh. Standing up from the table, a loud laugh ripped from Miles’s throat.
“Fucking Richie,” Miles said as he peered back at one of his oldest friends.
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Landon asked with a confused look on his face.
“It’s uh… it’s neither. It’s fine. Richie is harmless,” Miles said, unsure of how to answer the kid’s question.
“Shut the front door and shut the back one, too! Miles fucking Capadonno…” Ruin said as he approached Miles with a shit eating grin on his face.
“Richie Rizzoli… holy hell,” Miles replied. “It’s been forever.”
“I can’t believe they finally let you out,” Ruin said as he shook Miles’s hand.
“Hi, Miles,” a petite female with a head of long black curls and deep red lipstick said from behind Ruin. Miles immediately recognizes her as his cousin, Rumor.
“Hey Ru!” Miles said, happy to see a familiar face. “You two?”
Ruin laughed as he grasped Rumor’s hand. “Yeah… Six months now, we’ve been together, right, hun?”
Rumor rolled her eyes, “Eight. But who’s counting?”
Standing up from his chair, Miles towers over both of them. Miles could remember when he and Richie both stood shoulder to shoulder in elementary school. Miles slapped Ruin hard on his back, damn near knocking the wind out of his chest.
Ruin looks Miles up and down and laughed, “You look nothing like I remember you!”
“Yet you recognized him from across the restaurant,” Landon said with a nonplussed look on his face.
“Hey Landy,” Rumor said as she pinched her cousins cheeks.
“Stop that, and don’t call me Landy, anymore!” Landon complained. “It’s Landon. I’m a man now.”
“I’m sowwy!” Rumor said in her best baby voice.
“Dude, you look nothing like I remember either,” Miles said as he slapped Rumor’s bulging bicep.
Fucking ‘roids. He’s probably got a pecker the size of a tic tac.
Ruin threw his head back as a laugh ripped from his mouth. “So when did they let you out?”
“Like an hour ago,” Miles nodded towards Landon, “The kid picked me up.”
“I was just saying to Rumor that my buddy, Miles, owned a Charger like the one that’s parked outside…” Ruin mentioned.
“Oh, yeah. That’s Corina.”
“You still have the car?” Ruin asked in a shocked voice.
“Yeah… A buddy of mine had kept her safe in his garage in Jersey City.”
“Knox started a rumor that it was riddled with bullet holes…” Ruin said giving Miles a look of disbelief.
“Yeah, well, what else is new? My brother always was full of shit.”
“So, damn… Buddy. What’s with the beard?” Ruin asked with a bewildered look on his face.
Miles lifted his eyebrow. It was a conversation starter for sure. Running his fingers through his beard, the soft hair grazed against the rough skin of his hand.
Winking at a girl at the next table, Miles replied, “The ladies dig the beard, man.”
The beautiful blonde at the next table over gave Miles a smoldering smile. She smoothed her long blonde hair down her back and summed Miles up in a glance. Lifting an eyebrow, blondie was impressed. Miles stroked his beard and gave her a wink. That was all the verification that he needed.
The kitchen doors swung open as Rita emerged with a tray full of steaming hot food.
“Hate to cut you short but…” Miles began as he turned from Rumor and Ruin to take his seat.
“Oh, yeah… yeah… I’ll catch up with you later. What’s your cell number? I’ll call you,” Ruin said, clearly forgetting that Miles just got out of the clink.
“Yeah, I’ll get back at ya when I get that far,” Miles replied.
“Oh, right. All right man… see ya…” Ruin said as he backed away with Rumor’s hand in his.
Miles didn’t expel another ounce of energy upholding the conversation as Rita placed his deep dish of putanesca in front of him. The scent brought him back to 1998. It was as if he hadn’t just spent half his life in a cell. It was like Miles was seventeen again. Twirling his fork around the angel hair pasta, Miles dug into the best meal of his life.
“Dude, you should reserve those noises for the sack,” Landon said with a laugh as he watched Miles eat.
Flipping Landon the bird, Miles continued to savor his meal, not giving a flying fuck what anybody thought of him, his beard, or the sounds he made while eating the best meal of his twisted life.
After he was finished eating, Miles flagged down Rita and asked for the check. In typical, Rita fashion, she was back in 2.5 seconds. Miles paid the bill in cash and left an eighteen percent tip
Because I’m classy like that, Miles thought.
Miles told the kid to quit making goo-goo eyes at the blonde at the next table, and wrap it up.
I have things to see and a woman to do. Maybe I said that wrong? Nope. I crack myself up.
“C’mon, ante up!” Michael Capadonno spat as he picked his cards up off the table.
Sitting in a hospital bed, Michael Capadonno looked weak as he spoke to the men that sat around his bed. They pretended not to notice as they dropped their bets on his lap and surveyed their hand.
Anthony Schiabetta sat by Michael’s side trying to give him pointers on his hand, while five other men held up their own cards. Eddie “The Landlord” Torrento sat at the foot of Michael’s bed with an annoyed look on his face. Beside him sat “Big Bang” Benny Mancini, whose reputation was as large as his gut was round. Next to him, sat Salvatore “Six” DiBlase, the six standing for the number of ex-wives he had. They’ll probably be calling him Seven soon enough. On Michael’s right hand side sat Luke “The Face” Demograzzi, who had earned his nickname after no less than four rounds of plastic surgery.
“So whaddya think is gonna happen with your boy gettin’ out of the can, today?” “Big Bang” Benny Mancini asked as he eyed up his cards.
Michael’s right eyebrow raised as he considered the question. Glaring down at the cards in his hands, he didn’t respond.
“Cat got yer tongue?” Big Bang asked Michael when he didn’t get an answer.
Michael glared at his associate from over his cards.
“Yo, Mike, that’s a good question. I’d like to know the answa’ too…” Eddie “The Landlord” Torrento said as a cigar hung off of his lip.
Salvatore “Six” DiBlase rolled his eyes. “Quite frankly, I don’t give a shit. It’s just one more asshole to clock.”
“Who says we’re watchin’ ‘em?” Anthony Schiabetta asked darkly as he brought his glass to his mouth. Sipping down the amber colored drink, Six had an unreadable expression on his face.
“Seriously, Mike… Are ya gonna answer my fuckin’ question or just ignore me?” Big Bang asked testily.
Michael Capadonno cast a lethal glare at Benny as he laid his cards down.
“Royal flush, suckers… Pay up,” Michael said with a sly smirk on his face.
“Motha’….” Six griped as he slapped down his cards on the table.
“Madonn’!” Big Bang complained as he snapped down a one-hundred dollar bill onto Michael’s lap.
“So seriously, boss… Whaddya want us to do about Miles?” Six asked.
Michael sat silent for a moment. Staring at each of his men, he replied, “That, gentlemen, remains to be seen.”
-End of Sneak Peak