“You’ve got two days to get me my money, Charlie. Two days. You understand?” he said, his index finger inches away from Charlie’s nose. Stevie wasn’t a very big man, but he had a reputation.
“Yeah Stevie. Yeah, I understand,” replied Charlie, his breath visible in the cold November air. Dawn was breaking on a night of gambling and Charlie was in the red. Big time. And to the wrong guy.
“Hundred-and-fifty large, two days,” Stevie said, turning to go back into his bar.
“Hundred-and-fifty? Stevie,” Charlie nervously cleared his throat, “I was in for a hundred.”
Stevie leaned in close, jabbing his index finger into Charlie’s chest, “Your marker’s for a hundred-and-fifty. The fifty’s interest for the the two days I’m giving you. So. You’ve got two days.”
“Right, hundred-and-fifty. Alright,” said Charlie as he watched Stevie and his three enforcers walk back into the bar. Where the hell was he going to get a hundred-and-fifty grand in forty-eight hours? He pulled out his phone and dialed Frank the Fixer.
“You’re talkin’ to Frank,” said the voice on the other end of the phone.
“Franky, it’s Charlie. I need some work.”
“Hey Charlie! Long time, brother. I thought you got out of this racket. What brings you back?”
“I’m in the red and I need a quick way to raise some cash.”
“Yeah, okay. You could make a few drops for me. Five hundred a pop.”
“Listen, Frank. I’m gonna need a lot more than that,” he said with a bit of desperation creeping into his voice.
“How much more?”
“A lot more. A hundred-and-fifty large, more.”
“Charlie! Who are you into for a hundred-and-fifty large!?”
“Stevie,” he said with some hesitation in his voice.
“Suicide Stevie!? You out of your mind?”
They called him Suicide Stevie because you’d have to be suicidal to cross the man. If you owed him money, you paid him. Or he took it out of you, your family, your neighbors. Any way he could get it back. And he made sure you were the last one to die so you’d see the carnage your stupidity caused.
“You don’t think I know who I owe? I’m a dead man. Can you help me or not?”
“Let me make some calls. I’ll call you back,” he said, hanging up the phone.
Charlie put up his jacket collar to protect himself against the morning chill, lit a cigarette and started walking to the diner a couple of blocks away. He was hungry, and if he was going to be dead in two days, he might as well eat a proper breakfast while he still could. A block from the diner, his phone rang.
“It’s Frank. Your luck must be turning, brother. I’ve got a job for you.”
“But Charlie, it’s with the Russians.”
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