Mick sinatra 4: if you don't know me by now (page 3)

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“Come on,man!” he said, pulling him away.

But Teddysnatched away from him and continued to beat on Troy. “I want this motherfucker to eat hiswords. He haven’t eaten them yet. He hasn’t proven to me that he understandswhat line he crossed.  That’s right,asshole, beg. Beg, motherfucker, beg!”

But Troywasn’t begging. He was in too much painand distress to utter a word. And thenthe sirens had arrived, and the police were upon them. Joey and Gloria both shook their heads. Crazy-ass Teddy just got all of them inserious trouble! The kind of troubletheir father was going to kick their asses over because they didn’t outsmarttheir opponent. They just beat themdown. And got caught doing so.

              CHAPTER THREE 

“Who does hethink he is?” Granville Wallace and hiscampaign manager stood outside the boardroom of Sinatra Industries and waitedto be seen. “I’m mayor of this fuckingcity! And I have to wait?”

“Do you wantto win reelection, or don’t you?” Joe Strasberg, his campaign manager,asked. “Because if you do, we’ve got toget this done.  Lubinski has the goodson us. We lose if that crap comes out,there are no two ways about it. This isdo or die for us. If you want to win.”

ButGranville’s pride, more than anything else, was wounded. “But to be treated like this,” he said.

“Like what?”Strasberg wanted to know. “The man is ina meeting, Gran. We didn’t have anappointment. We can’t just barge inbecause you’re the mayor. This man is acorporate giant, a titan in the industry, and you and I both know what else heis too.”

Granvilleknew all too well. He used Mick’s“services” in the past.

“Mayors comeand go, as far as he’s concerned,” Strasberg continued. “We’d better be glad he agreed to see us atall. He could have told us to take ahike. Then where would we be?”

Granvillelet out a long exhale and ran his hands down his fat face. He just found out what Lubinski had onhim. He just found out that Lubinski hadcalled a news conference for tomorrow afternoon. “You’re right,” he admitted. “I need help.”

“Hiskind of help,” Strasberg remindedhim.

Granvillenodded. “Hiskind of help,” he agreed.

It would beseveral more minutes of impatient waiting, but then the doors to the boardroomopened. The mayor moved over to thewindow and turned his back as senior executives walked out. None of them appeared to realize that themayor of their great city was waiting in the wings, and he wanted to keep itthat way. They talked amongstthemselves, got on the elevator, and left. Then Blair Conyers, Mick’s executive assistant, walked over to the mayor.

“Mr. Sinatrawill see you now, sir,” she said.

The mayorsmoothed down his wrinkled suitcoat, exhaled, and began to head toward theboardroom. Strasberg began to followhim. But Blair stopped the manager. “Just him, sir,” she said.

Granvillelooked back at his campaign manager with fear in his eyes. He was unaccustomed to handling a mess likethis alone. But he also knew who he wasdealing with. It was either Sinatra’sway or the highway. The highway, at thislate hour, was no longer an option. Hewent into the boardroom.

Mick Sinatrasat at the head of the massive table, leaned back, his legs crossed. He was looking over a document. Another one of his assistants was at hisside.

Granvillewalked in quietly. He would havepreferred for the assistant to not be there, but it couldn’t be helped. This wasn’t his show to run. He had to take what he could get. But he was still the mayor. Sinatra wasn’t going to just ignore him as ifhe was one of his flunkies too. Hewalked over to Mick and extended his hand.

“Mick,hello,” he said jovially.

“Run thetotals again,” Mick said to his assistant. He handed her back the document. “I want a full study.”

“With howmany controls, sir?” the assistant asked.

“Line it upwith three more,” Mick said, rising to his feet. “If there are any discrepancies, pull theplug.”

“They won’tlike it.”

“Tell themto come see me.”

Theassistant smiled. It was the green lightshe was hoping for. “Yes, sir,” shesaid, nodded a greeting toward the mayor, and left. Mick shook the mayor’s hand.

Granvilledidn’t like the fact that his extended hand had been left him dangling for morethan a few seconds, but he had bigger fish to fry right now. “You’re like me,” he said with a smile. “All about business first. We’re just alike on that front.”

“No, wearen’t,” Mick said with a smile of his own. “We’re nothing alike on any fronts.”

Granvilleswallowed hard. He knew not to let thatsmile fool him. He knew Sinatra wasn’tjoking.

“Have aseat,” Mick offered, and they both sat down.

Mick crossedhis legs again and waited. His cell phonesat on the table in front of him, but nothing else. Granville knew what that meant. It was late, and Sinatra was ready to go hometo his wife. Or somewhere else to hismistress. Or wherever the hell a guylike that went. Granville had to come fastand come hard, or not come at all. “Lubinski has a series of tapes depicting my indiscretions with acertain lady of the evening,” he said.

He waited abeat, as if Mick was going to react, but Mick remained as he was. The mayor continued. “I was set up by the lady and Lubinski, butthe voting public isn’t going to give a damn. And it’s too close to Election Day for me to defend my actions.”

Mick knew itwas going to be critical. Politiciansdidn’t come to his office, late at night, for the hell of it. But he also knew they understood the stakeswhen they came to him. His servicesdidn’t come without a cost to them that never involved money, but alwaysinvolved influence-peddling and corruption. Far moreriskierthan any cash payment couldever be.

“I will loseby a landslide, Granville continued, “ifthose tapesever become public. That’s how seriousthis is.”

“It isserious,” Mick said, “but what is it my problem?” he asked.

Granvillehadn’t expected that response. “It’s notthat it’s your problem,” he said. “It’smy problem. But I need you toeliminatemy problem.”

Mickcouldn’t believe the sliminess of these politicians. Straight up gangsters had more morals. “Which problem do you want eliminated? The tape problem, the lady problem, or youropponent?”

Granvillelet out a harsh exhale. “All three,” hesaid.

But Mickwasn’t about to make it easy for the mayor. If he wanted that kind of shit done, he was going to have to ownit. He was going to have to verbalizeit. “And how do you suggest I eliminateall three?” Mick asked.

“Torture,”Granville said without batting an eyes. If his campaign manager had been allowed in the meeting, he could havespoken it for him. But Sinatra was toosmart for that, and Granville knew it. He wanted Granville to have skin in the game too. “I want you to torture both of them untilthey give up all evidence.”

Mick staredat the guy. A sleaze ball just like hesaid. “And then?” he asked.

“And then Iwant you to kill their asses. Both ofthem. And destroy the evidence. But none of it can ever be tied to me. It has got to look like they were in arelationship, and they died accidentally while having kinky sex.  Something powerful like that. When it’s all said and done, I don’t want asingle citizen, not even their spouses, to have sympathy for them.”

“Just sowe’re clear,” Mick said. “You want me totorture and then kill two people just so you can win an election?”

Granvilleexhaled. The things holding onto powermade him do. “I know it sounds harsh,” hesaid.

But Mickcorrected him. “No, it does not soundharsh. Calling your opponent a liar isharsh. Calling your opponent a crook anda wife beater is harsh. Killing youropponent and an innocent woman just to win an election is not harsh. It is evil. You need to understand the difference.”

 Granville wasn’t going to go there. “What are you trying to say?” he askedMick. “You won’t do it?”

Mick nevertriedto say anything. He said it. “You need to understand the difference,” Mick said again, and thenlooked at his cell phone as it began to vibrate. He only checked his phone, not to answer anybusiness calls this time of night, but to make sure it wasn’t his wife or oneof his children calling. It wasn’t anyof them. But it was one of the men heemployed to keep an eye on his kids.

“Iunderstand the difference,” Granville said. “Alright? I get thedifference!” He didn’t need somethuggish gangster like Mick Sinatra moralizing to him. “So does that mean you’ll help me?”

Mick lookedat Granville as he pressed the Talk button and put the phone to his ear. “What is it?” he asked into the phone.

“They’vebeen arrested, boss.”

Mick’sexpression didn’t change outwardly, but inwardly his heart squeezed. “My children?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Whichones?”

There was ahesitation. “All three, sir,” his mansaid.

Mick leanedback. What the hell? And then he stood up quickly. Granville stood up quickly too, as if Mickwas about to attack him. “I’ve got toleave,” Mick said, heading for the exit.

Granvillewas stunned. “But what about myproblem?” he asked.

“Will be intouch,” Mick said.

“But he hasa presser tomorrow afternoon! You don’tunderstand. It’s all over if he has thatpress conference!”

But Mick wasalready gone. He didn’t give Mayor Wallacea second thought. There was a time, notthat long ago, when his business affairs would always trump his personalaffairs without exception. But that wasbefore he married Rosalind. That wasbefore she encouraged him to establish a true bond with his grownchildren. That was before he became afather to two perfect twins six weeks ago, and discovered for the first time inhis life what fatherhood in its infancy was truly like, and how tragically hehad missed out before. His wife, and hischildren, trumped all else now.

 

But thatdidn’t mean he wasn’t angry with each and every one of those grown children ofhis. He was enraged. He made this clear to them after theprosecutor, a brownnoser who had hopes of being District Attorney someday andwasn’t interested in drawing the ire of the powerful and well-connected,declined to bring charges. She concludedthat they all jumped on each other and the Sinatras should not be chargedsimply because they won the fight. Theywere released to their father. Andalthough Mick didn’t say a word to them as they walked through the parking lot,every one of them, from Teddy on down, knew he was mad as hell.

So they alldecided to tell their side of the story. Mick walked, and listened, and they talked.

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