Nick had considered himself a lucky guy, until now. He may need all the luck he can get before this is all
over. He’s in Gregory’s Bar & Grill. Lucas told him he’s the right hand man of Bruno Roselli, the man he’s
about to meet. He knows he better step very lightly. Nicks may be walking on eggshells here, nothing like
living on the edge. A woman comes over to pick up his empty glass. He waves away the offer of another
one. Following in her footsteps is a man wearing a watch cap, a black turtle neck sweater, jeans, and
sneakers. He admires the woman as she walks away, turns, and stands by the booth where Nick is
“It’s good to see you’re on time,” said Bruno glancing at his watch. “I like promptness, that’s good.”
“That’s one thing I learned from my old man,” said Nick, his forearms resting on the tabletop, hands
clasped, and looking up at the other man.
Bruno is in his early thirties, stands five feet eleven, and carries one hundred ninety five pounds on his
lean frame. His brown hair is cropped short, and his eyes are set close on a face that has seen its fair
share of combat, as evidenced by his broad flat nose. Nick on the other hand has three inches and
fifteen pounds on the man next to him. His blond hair is cut in a military fashion.
“Let’s take it to the back,” said Bruno, stepping away a few paces to allow Nick to slide out of the booth.
They stride past tables crowded with men and women busy eating, drinking, and trying to carry on a
conversation in the noisy room. The smells of different perfumes, colognes and tobacco smoke assail his
nostrils as he leaves the main dining area. Walking down a dimly lit narrow hallway, they pause outside a
door. Leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over a thick chest, is a large man with a stoic look
on his face. He’s wearing a t-shirt on which is a picture of some cartoon character Nick does not
recognize. Seeing Nick behind Bruno, the other man unfolds his arms and begins to move forward.
“How ya doing Mr. Roselli? Is everything ok?”
“No problem Marco, he’s with me,” said Bruno as he jerks his thumb over his left shoulder.
“You need any help, jus call me. I’ll be right here,” the big man said, opening the door. His eyes
narrowing as he looks at Nick. Marco flicks on the wall switch, and steps aside.
Nick follows Bruno to the rooms’ entrance and pauses beside the big man now standing next to the
“Nice shirt,” he said winking at the man before walking into the room.
Against the back wall is an antique desk. A large cushioned chair sits behind it, and another one is off to
the side. On the opposite wall stands a wet bar, file cabinets, and another door that probably leads to a
small lavatory. Across the room opposite the bar, is a couch, in front of which sits a coffee table with
various magazines stacked neatly on top. Settling behind his desk, Bruno points to the other chair.
“Sit down.”
Nick takes the proffered seat. He crosses one leg over the other and does the same with his arms, giving
the room a thorough examination.
“Nice office you have here, although your doorman does not come off as very, how should I say it?” Nick
pauses a few seconds as his minds searches for the right term. “Sociable, that’s the word I’m looking
“No he’s not, but Marco has his uses. Now let’s get down to business shall we? Did you bring the
This Bruno doesn’t waste any time. Nick wonders how tight a leash he keeps on the gorilla outside the
door? What’s that saying…the bigger they are, the harder they fall? He can take the brute if it comes to
that, but if he play his cards right, that won’t be necessary.
“I have it right here,” said Nick reaching inside his sports coat pocket, and extracting a plain brown
package tied with twine and puts in the out stretched hand of Bruno.
Nick watches the other man untie the package, take out an envelope, withdraw a wad of bills, and begins
to count the money. With a nod toward Nick, he makes stacks of the bills in front of him, and pushes
one toward his visitor.
“This is your cut. It looks like it’s all here, all ten thousand of it.”
Nick reaches across the desk and is about to pick up the money when Bruno places his hand on top of
his. Nick looks at the other man.
“I’m glad you didn’t try to get greedy, and not show up. That would have been unhealthy, if you get my
meaning,” Bruno said, as he took his hand away, and a not to friendly smile crosses his lips.
Nick sits back in his chair, and crosses his arms across his chest. Bruno’s reaction is what he expected.
Nick needs to be careful here. He doesn’t want to arouse any suspicion on Bruno’s part.
“Oh I admit, the thought crossed my mind briefly, but my old man didn’t raise a fool either. Besides, I
made a few discreet inquiries about you.”
“Oh? What did you find out?”
“That you deal fair with people unless you’re crossed.”
“I knew Lucas chose wisely when he selected you for this job. This was only a passed. The big
one is next,” Bruno said as he rises from the chair and moves to the wet bar.
He pours himself a scotch and turns to Nick with the drink in his hand.
Raising it, he toasts him.
“To our business venture,” he said and tosses back the amber liquid before going back to sit on the
corner of the desk.
Getting up and bending his back, Nick moves over to the couch, and lowers himself. Nodding his
approval at the comfort of the cushion, he stretches his legs out, and clasps his hands behind his head.
“What’s next?”
“I want you to rob to the same Cash Express. Only this time, take all the money, and leave no
witnesses. If you get my meaning.”
“Is that wise? The police may be watching the place. And isn’t the owner…?”
Nick said, his brows rising, and his voice showing his surprise.
“That’s the beauty of this plan. The police won’t be expecting someone to hit the same cash store twice
in a row. I’ve had the other three randomly robbed. They will be concentrating their efforts on the
remaining one that has not been hit.”
Nick rubs his hands across his face as he gathers his thoughts. He’s got to make this look and sound
convincing. This is not what he expected. Bruno is more conniving than he thought. One false step and…
“Are you in?”
“Yes, but the owner is… I mean I don’t want any repercussions.”
“You just do your job, and leave everything else to me. We’ll be fine.
Anything else?”
“When do you want me to do the job?”
“After the furor of the last one has died down. I leave that in your capable hands. You know how to
contact me. Until then, I think we are finished for now,” Bruno said standing up from the desk.
Nick unlimbers himself from the couch, and Bruno walks him to the door.
Outside the room, Nick nods to Marco.
“See you around Mac,” he said before he walks down the hall and out of the building.
Seated back at his desk, Bruno makes a call.
“Lucas, I want you to keep an eye on Nick. He came through fine, but I’m still around because I don’t
take chances. You know what to do if things go awry. Right, if this goes bad, our troubles will just be
starting. You’re the only one I can really trust. Good, I’ll be waiting for your call and hey… watch
One week later on a stormy night, Nick Delgado enters the Cash Express five minutes before closing
time. The weather has kept everyone indoors, with the exception of Nick, and a man huddling in the
shadows of an alley next to the store, trying to keep the slashing rain from obscuring his view. The
normally clean-shaven Nick has a week’s stubble on his face. His disguise is complete with thick black-
rimmed glasses, a moustache, a non-descript trench coat, and a fedora.
From his previous visit, he knows where the bolt on the door is, and silently slides it shut before turning
the sign hanging on the door over to read closed. He approaches the counter. The owner is bent down,
and unaware of his visitor until Nick rings the bell. Rising up, and adjusting his hearing aid, he glances up
at the clock, and then at Nick, not recognizing the man who had robbed him only a week ago.
“I’m sorry sir. I did not realize the time. It’s six o’clock, and I’m about ready to close for the day. If you’ll
come back I’ll be more than happy to help you. I open at…”
“I know you’re closed. As you can see, I’ve taken the liberty to lock the door and turn the sign. Now it’s
just you, me, and your money Enrico, said Nick holding a .45 in his right hand”
“How…how, do you know my first name?”
“That doesn’t matter.”
The man begins to perspire, and takes a handkerchief from his back pocket he mops his brow and
balding pate. After two unsuccessful attempts, he finally pockets the kerchief.
“Now, let’s see how much money you have in your safe shall we? Where is it old man, in the back?”
Not being able to reply, the man only nods his head.
“Ok, show me, and hurry it up” said Nick and emphasizes the point by grabbing the man by his bony
shoulder, spinning him around, and pushing the man towards the back room.
The owner turns on the light switch. Nick moves him aside, closes the door, turns the lock, and surveys
the room. Inside on the back wall, are a few shelves piled with boxes, stacks of paper and other items
needed to run the business. Against the opposite wall is a small desk and chair. In the corner next to
the shelves sits the safe.
“Now, open it,” he said shoving the man forward.
Enrico bends on his knees and begins turning the tumblers. Reaching in he removes a packet of money.
Turning he hands it to Nick, and starts to get up.
“Not just yet old man,” said Nick as he reaches inside his coat pocket and takes out a flashlight. Bending
down beside the owner, he shines the light in the safe. Inside are several containers that resemble
savings deposit boxes.
“Get up, and go sit at the desk. If I hear any sound at all coming from you, well… you get the picture.”
When Enrico is seated, Nick turns his attention back to the safe. He withdraws four tin cases, and using
the butt of his .45, smashes each one open. Taking a canvas sack from another pocket, he begins to fill
it with bound stacks of bills. Satisfied, he has it all, he rises and faces the seated man.
“You think you were going to hold out on me didn’t you?”
“Wouldn’t you have done the same?” the old man said and shrugs his shoulders.
“I would, now get up and lets go. I want you to stand in front of the counter where I can keep an eye on
you. Now move it.”
Nick unlocks the door, and two men walk to the front of the store. Rain slithers down the window like a
snake, as water cascades over the curb to join the small stream heading down the street toward the
gutter. The man standing outside, moves across the road to a dark sedan, and gets inside.
Finally out of the elements, he continues to watch the two men through binoculars.
Back in the store, Nick goes over to the phone on the counter, and yanks the cord out from the wall.
Before opening the door, he turns to the storeowner.
“Nice doing business with you Enrico.”
Just then a flash of lightning crackles, sounding much like a bowling ball that has just knocked down all
ten pins.  Thunder soon follows, sounding like cannon fire in some far off war zone.
“No, don’t shoot,” the old man, shouts just before another flash of lightning reveals Nick firing one
round into his chest. With a shocked expression on his face, the owner takes a step back and slowly
slumps to the floor, leaving a red stain on the back of the counter as he slides down, and slumps
forward. Turning the door closed, Nick sees the street is still deserted, except for lone car parked on the
opposite side. He walks up one block, turns the corner, gets in his car, and is soon out of sight.
Lucas exits his car, and runs to the store. Pushing the door open, he takes four quick steps and looks
down at the man. Hearing a siren in the distance, he quickly leaves the store not taking time to check the
old mans pulse. Why should he, after all he was just shot at close range with a .45. That’s enough to kill
a much younger man, let alone an old one. Just after he leaves the scene of the robbery, a fire truck with
its red and white lights flashing, speeds by on its way to an apartment house fire. Lucas drives to a pool
hall several blocks away to make his call.
Minutes later, Bruno picks up the phone.
“What have you got for me Lucas? Yeah, go ahead. Are you sure? Did you check the pulse? Was it the
cops? Ok, it was better to play it safe. Like you said, a .45 at close range can do a lot of damage. Nice
work. I’ll be in touch.”
Two days later, Nick is back in Bruno’s office. He accepts a drink from the man and sits in a chair
opposite the desk. He twirls the ice around, making clinking sounds against the side of the glass, and
takes a sip.
“Any problems?” said Bruno, stretching his hands behind his head.
“No, it went even better than the first time. Having that storm was an added bonus. Hear, listen to the
tape,” he said extracting a cassette tape from his shirt pocket. “Next time, I don’t want to be wired.
Makes me nervous.”
This worked to my advantaged. This tape sounds convincing…at least he hope it does to Bruno. He’d
hate to have to go to plan B. Especially since he doesn’t have one.
Bruno takes the tape, pulls out a small recorder from a bottom desk drawer, puts in the cassette, and
settles back to listen to what transpired at the Cash Express store. Nodding his head in approval, he
stops the tape and extends his hand.
“Let me see the take,” Bruno said as he leans forward in his chair, his left hand out stretched.
Nick gives him a manila envelope, leans back, crosses his legs and takes another swallow of his drink,
while Bruno counts the money.
“I understand you wanting to muscle out Enrico, but why have me kill him?
He's your own flesh and blood, the man who raised you. He would have been the grandfather of your
“Two reasons. First, I had to send a message to anyone who might have thoughts of moving in on me.
If I have my own father killed, this sends a clear picture that I’m not a man to be crossed.”
“That’s a harsh message to send.”
“Yes it is, but it will be effective. Secondly, pop told me his last check up revealed he had lung cancer,
and he didn’t want to face what lied ahead of him. This way was faster, and he didn’t have to suffer.”
“I’m glad it worked out for you. I’ll take my cut, and when you need me again, just give me a call.”
Bruno counts out a wad of bills and places them in Nick’s hand.
“Don’t you want to count that first?”
“Nah, I trust you,” he said, pocketing the money. Rising he starts for the door, and then before opening
it, he stops.
“Oh, before I leave, there’s someone I want you to meet,” he said then opens the door, and blocking
Bruno’s view said, “Ok, you can come in now.”
Into the room walks an older man. Standing before a wide-eyed and open-mouthed Bruno, is Enrico
“This can’t be,” he said turning to Nick. “Lucas saw you shoot pop through the store window. I heard it
all on the tape. Lucas even went in and saw the blood on the counter and shirt as pop sat slumped on
the floor. What’s going on?  Marco!” he yells as he starts to reach into his inside jacket pocket.
Bruno is a step slow in reacting. Nick hits him with a left to the solar plexus, and follows that with a
wicked right cross to his jaw, flooring the man. He draws his .45, picks Bruno up by his collar and
pushes him over to the desk, and into his chair. He removes a .38 from Bruno’s shoulder holster, and
steps back.
“Marco’s not here right now. He had an appointment with some of my friends.”
His brows furrowing, and still a little dazed from the blow to his jaw, Bruno struggles to catch his breath
and grasp what just happened.
Once he had his wind back, he said “What about the blood Lucas saw?”
“Lucas saw blood alright, but it was chicken blood. Enrico had a small sack attached to his back so when
he hit the wall it broke and left a trail. As for the blood on his shirtfront, he had on a bulletproof vest
and another sack in his pocket. When the slug hit the other sack it burst, making it look like he had been
shot. A very clever and effective ploy if I say so myself. Enrico is a pretty good actor. He even had me
“But why?” said Bruno, a bewildered look on his face, as he looks at Nick, then back at Enrico. “What
about the cancer pop?”
“Oh, that parts true enough, up to a point, but I’m not dying yet. I’ll have treatments, and it will be in
remission for a time. I want to make amends for the life I’ve lived. It was a mistake to set you up to take
my place.
You’re methods are crude. So I went to Nick here, and told him enough, and filled him in on the details
of some jobs only you and I knew about in order for him to gain your trust. So far you haven’t killed
anybody yourself or had anyone killed on your behalf, but it was only a matter of time. By bringing you
down now, I’m saving you from eventually ending up on death row.”
“So, who are you Nick, who do you work for?” Bruno said rubbing his eyes and then running his hands
through his brown hair.
Nick pulls out a small leather case, flips it open and shows Bruno a gold shield. Printed across the front
are the letters FBI.
By Les Williams