This is a disclaimer for the story you are about to read. This story is fiction and contains F words along with other swear words. I don’t normally use them but for the characters in this story they seemed right. So if that kind of language bothers you then this story may not be for you. Just sayin’.

As he stepped into the alley, Joey stopped by the dumpster and waited. And listened. The street light showed years of grime on the brick walls. Garbage lay on the ground by his feet. He was careful not to step in the wet things. He could hear nothing but the sounds of rats scurrying across the alley but he knew they would be there, waiting. Micky and his flunky, Stan. Micky Generro, loan shark, thug and all around asshole. And Stan. What could you say about Stan, Joey thought. He was an idiot, but he would do anything Micky told him to so he got to hang around. With friends like Stan tagging along it made Micky look stupid too. Micky was stupid, but he was tough enough to make up for it.

Joey had come here to meet Mickey because he owed him money. And he couldn’t pay him back. $5000.00 was a sizable chunk of cash. He was worried, sick to his stomach. He didn’t know how this was going to go down and he didn’t want to wind up dead. He took a couple of deep breaths, shook his head to clear it and walked to the back of the alley. Just around the corner at the back of the alley sat Micky, with Stan hovering near by.

“Well well well,” said Micky, “nerve enough to show. I like that in a man.”

“Yeah a, Hi guys. Well I’m here, so what’s up?”

“You know goddamn well what’s up Joey, where’s my fuckin’ money? You was sposed to pay me back a week ago but that didn’t happen did it Joey?”

“Yeah well, about that Mickey”- Micky was on him in a second, slapping, punching and slamming Joey against the wall.

“DON’T YOU EVER CALL ME MICKY YOU PIECE OF SHIT!!! I AM MR. GENERRO TO YOU!!” he shouted, spittle running down his chin.

Stan, looking from side to side nervously said, “Shh, shh Mr Generro, you’ll draw attention sir.”

“Shut the fuck up Stan you little weasel, don’t shush me.” Micky let go of Joey and straightened his jacket. Joey was shook up. Micky looked around and said, “Stan’s right, we don’t need no undue attention.”

Stan stuck his middle finger up at Joey and said, “You hear that Joey, you prick? Mr Generro said I was right.”

“And I also said to shut up Stan.”

“Right sir.”

“So, am I right in guessin’ that you don’t have my money Joey?” Micky growled. “Am I right?”

“Yeah Mic-Mr Generro, you’re right. I don’t have it.”

Micky cocked an eyebrow at Joey and said, “And what do you plan to do about that?”

“Well I don’t know Mr Generro, I can’t seem to get it together,” Joey said. “Times are tough you know.”

Micky sat down on the empty crate he had occupied earlier. “Oh don’t I know it,” he said. “I got pricks like you not payin’ me what they owe. Not only does that make me look bad Joey, but it’s hard on my wallet. Times are very tough.” Micky stood and stepped up to Joey, his face an inch away. “If you wasn’t married to my cousin Joey, I’d gut you like a fish.”

Joey said nothing as he stared into Micky’s eyes. He had never been more scared in his life. Micky stepped back and said, “So I got a plan, see?” He put his finger to the right side of his nose and blew snot on the pavement of the already filthy alley. Did the same on the left side. Wiping his hand on his shirt, he said,”You gonna do some work for me Joey. That’s how you gonna pay me back. There’s this Pharmacist see, down on 42nd street. Name’s Lackney. Peter Lackney. Got a little shop down there. He’s into me for money too. And funny thing Joey, he can’t pay up either.” Micky pulled a gold watch out of his pants pocket and flipped the cover to check the time. As he put it away he said, “So you’re goin’ down there to convince him to pay up.”

“Ah Mr Generro, I don’t know. I don’t have any”- “You don’t have any what Joey? Any balls?” Micky said. “Listen up you little prick, you don’t have a choice! Either you do this or I start cutting.” Micky pulled a switchblade from his pocket and flicked it open. The blade gleamed in the streetlight. “Cousin or no cousin Joey, you are payin’ me back one way or the other.”

Micky pretended to clean his fingernails with the knife. “Now I need this guy to pay me what he owes,” he continued. “But he’s no good to me dead. I got some connections through him and he gets me drugs so I need him alive. So you’re goin’ down there and mess him up a bit. I don’t think he needs to be hurt to bad ’cause he’s kind of a weasely fucker. You’re gonna do this Joey and don’t you fuck it up. ‘Cause if you do, you better disappear. The rest of the family thinks the world of that wife of yours and if I’m forced to cut you up it’s gonna cause me problems. So you do this right Joey or by God I will make you suffer before you die, you get it? Huh? You gettin’ me Joey?”

Joey rubbed his hands over his face and sighed. “Yeah” he said slowly. “I get it. And if I do this for you, are we clear?”

“We’ll see” said Micky, “how good a job you do. Now get the fuck out a here and get to work. I want to hear from you in two days.”

Joey stepped back and put his hand into his open jacket. Micky moved quickly behind Stan, and Stan had a gun in his hand in an instant.

“Hey, HEY WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOIN’?!!” Stan shouted.

Joey pulled a small paper wrapped package from his jacket. “Ah oh sorry, I ah, my wife, she made, well I didn’t have any supper so I took the bread pudding my wife made. She’s a good woman.”

“Fuck me” Stan mumbled, as he lowered the pistol and wiped sweat from his brow.

“Damn right she’s a good woman” said Micky, visibly shaken. “Too damn good for you. You know Joey, I like bread pudding, don’t I Stan?”

“Yeah” said Stan, “and so do I.”

“See, Stan likes it too. So why don’t you hand that over and get the fuck outta here like I said.”

“But I…” Joey started to say. Micky snatched the package from Joey’s hand and stared him down.

“Alright Mr Generro, alright.” Joey hung his head and turned and walked away.

When he got to the end of the alley, Joey stopped by the dumpster and waited. And listened. Nothing yet, just the sounds of conversation between Micky and Stan around mouthful’s of bread pudding. He waited a little longer and then he heard a cough. And another, and choking. An agonizing, gurgling scream came up the alley and he just had to look. There, in the middle of the alley lay Micky, his hand clutching his throat and the other reaching out toward Joey. Foam came from his mouth and snot from his nose. He couldn’t see Stan but he could hear him. He knew the same thing was happening to him. Joey was horrified as he watched the poison work it’s black magic. Lackney had been right.

Joey had been very lucky he had met the Pharmacist a few nights before when the man had had a little too much to drink and had a loose tongue. They realized they had the same problem with Micky and this was their answer. Lucky they met. Lucky Peter Lackney was a a pharmacist. No more sleepless nights. No more secrets from the wife. Micky had quit making anymore sound and finally lay still on the ground. Joey turned and walked away. Yes, he had been lucky he met Lackney. Very lucky indeed.

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