For the Don

“Alright, Vincent,” Rico started. “Pull over here.”

Vincent did as he was told.

“This looks like a good place to rob,” Rico said, pointing to the mansion across the street. “We’ll hit this place real quick and get out of town before anyone notices.”

Vincent nodded. Rico was the brains and what he says, goes.

This was the third city they were passing through on their way to California, the land of milk and honey. Their goal was to make out with a few big heist, so when they arrived at Cali, they would be able to throw their weight around.

“Let’s case the place real quick, and when we’re sure it’s empty, we’ll hit it,” Rico explained.

They got out of the car and split up, each checking out both sides of the mansion, looking for any signs of movement and a way in.

“What’s you fine?” Rico asked, once they met in the back of the place.

“I didn’t see anyone inside, and their looks like a library with a ground floor window we could easily get into,” Vincent explained.

“Perfect,” Rico said. “I didn’t see no one in there either. Let’s get our tools and rob this joint.”

Each one carried a large duffle bag. Their tools were minimal, but the bags were mainly used for loading any stolen jewelry and china that they could fence later.

Once they arrived at the window, Vincent pulled out a crowbar, and pried it open.

Seeing that there was still no one in sight, they both climbed through the window and started looking around for anything that looked expensive, which wasn’t hard to find.

Being the skilled thieves that they were, they moved silently through each room, grabbing what they could, until their bags were full.

Satisfied that they had more than enough to qualify a big score, they met back in the library to make their escape.

“What’s your hurry?” came a gruff voice behind them as they were climbing back out the window.

The coward parts in them wanted make a run for it, but the tough wiseguys part begged them to stay, confront the man who interrupted them, and take whatever he had on him.

They turned to face the man dumb enough to try to stop them, when they were instead facing a large man smoking a cigar. While that was intimidating enough, he was flanked by two gorillas of men each holding a machinegun at them.

With a wave of one of the machineguns, Vincent and Rico were directed to the center of the room.

“Have a seat boys,” the large man said as two more men appeared behind them carrying chairs for them to sit in. “Let’s talk.”

The large man sat down behind a large desk facing Vincent and Rico. He was still flanked by the two men aiming their machineguns at the two thieves.

“Do you know who I am?” the large man asked.

Vincent decided to let Rico do the talking.

“No, sir,” Rico answered, with a tremble in his voice. “We’re not from around here. We’re just passing through.”

The large man studied them and then said, “My name is Mario, I’m the Don of this city. Do you know what a Don is?”

“Yes, sir,” Rico said. “I’ve known of a few but have never had the pleasure to meet one.”

Rico hoped his over politeness would buy them some points with the large Don. It did.

With a slight smile, Mario said, “You’ve broken in my home and have tried to steal from me. What do you think I should do with you?”

Neither of the thieves had any idea how they should answer.

“Let us go?” Vincent answered, causing an immediate round of laughter from everyone in the room, except Rico.

“The balls on this guy,” Mario said. “I like that.”

Vincent and Rico were about to relax when the smile left the Don’s face and was replaced with a very menacing look.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, boys,” he said with a growl.

The thieves both gulped.

Then the Don sat back relaxed.

“I’ll tell you what,” he started. “You do something for me, and not only will I let you live, but I’ll let you keep whatever’s in the bags, except of course, anything that is sentimental to me. How does that sound?”

Knowing there were no other options, both of them quickly nodded.

“Very wise choice,” Mario said with a smile.

Vincent and Rico watched as Mario wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it one of his thugs to give them.

“On that piece of paper is an address,” Mario started. “I want you to go there and steal a ring. It’s kept in a safe in one of the bedrooms. I don’t care if you bring the whole safe, as long as the ring is in it. I also don’t care who you have to kill to get it. The only rule is that it can’t lead back to me. You try to accuse me, I’ll deny it and make sure you end up dead. Do you understand?”

They both nodded their understanding. Fortunately for them, they knew how to crack safes.

“Good,” Mario said. “We’ll keep your bags here for safe keeping and boys, don’t try to leave town. My guys will be watching you the whole time and if you try to leave, they’ll gun you down. Capiche?”
They nodded again.

The Don waved his arm and said, “Good. Now get out of here and don’t come back without that ring.”

The thieves didn’t need to be asked twice. They quickly rose and walked out the front door.

Once they were in the car, Vincent said, “What the hell? What have we gotten ourselves into?”

Trying to remain calm, Rico said, “Calm down. We have no choice, so let’s go to this address, find the ring, give it to the Don, and then get the hell out of here.”

Vincent nodded his understanding and they drove off to the address they were given.

When they arrived, they found themselves looking at another beautiful mansion, but instead of raising their spirits, they felt sure they were breaking into another Don’s house.

“Shit,” Rico said, but knew they had no choice. He could see the headlights of the car following them pull over and park.

“Let’s just get this done so we can get the hell out of here,” Rico said. “Grab your gun and let’s go.”

They slid their pistols into their pockets and got out the car.

“Now, just like before,” Rico started. “Let’s case the place and move in.”

Vincent nodded and they went their separate ways to find a way in.
All the windows were too high, so they decided to jimmy the back door instead.

As they moved through the house, it seemed deserted, which relieved them and worried them at the same time.

They cringed as they made their way up the stairs to the creak of each one.

When they reached the top floor, they didn’t’ waste their time with the smaller bedrooms, but focused solely on finding the master bedroom.

Before they went into the room, they cautiously looked around to make sure no one was in the bed or bathroom.

The master bedroom looked as empty as the rest of the house.
It didn’t take long for them to find the safe hidden behind a painting. Rico kept watch while Vincent used a stethoscope to listen to the clicks inside the turn-wheel.

Usually, the loud click of a safe unlocking would relieve them, but this one seemed to echo throughout the whole house, causing them to stiffen.

After listening and ensuring that there were no footsteps approaching, they both let out a sigh and opened the door of the safe.

“There it is,” Rico said, coming up behind Vincent and pointing to the ring in the center of the safe. “As long as we’re here, take the cash too.”

Not caring about the consequences, they stuffed the cash into their pockets along with the ring.

“Okay, let’s get out of here,” Rico said.

They froze in place at the top of the stairs when someone unlocked the front door.

They backed up around the corner out of sight and strained to listen how many had arrived.

The voices of several men could be heard.

One of them said, “Shall we grab a drink in the study?”

There was no reply, but Vincent and Rico could hear them walk away from the door.

After a few seconds, they risked a look to see if the path to the door was clear. It wasn’t.

Standing on either side of the door stood two armed men.

Vincent and Rico looked at each other in confusion. It was unusual for the men to stand guard inside the door. It was as if they were there to keep someone in rather than keep people out.

The reason didn’t matter to the thieves. They knew they had to get out of there quick, so they went into the first bedroom and walked to the window.

It had been a while since they had been forced to jump out of a second story window, but they knew they would most likely be fine.

They were also fortunate that there was a pile of raked leaves below them. The fall would still hurt, but not as bad.

They heard laughter coming from downstairs. They decided they would immediately jump when they heard another round of laughter to hide the sound of their fall.

Moments later, another round of laughter erupted and they jumped out of the window.

As quietly as they could, they swiped the leaves off themselves and began to move away from and around the house. They were going to travel a few houses down before making a run for their car across the street.

The street was clear when they appeared out of some dense shrubbery onto the sidewalk.

“Okay,” Rico said. “Let’s get to the car and get out of here.”

They stealthily made their way up the street to their car and got in.

“Whew,” Vincent said, letting out a sigh. “That was close.”

“I agree,” came a gruff voice from the back seat.

They both turned around in surprise and saw one of Mario’s thugs sitting back there pointing a pistol at them.

“We got the ring,” Rico pleaded, hoping the thug wouldn’t kill them.

“Good,” he replied. “Now get out of the car.”

Skeptically, they complied.

The thug ordered them to turn around so that he was standing behind them.

Rico felt the thug slip his hand into the pocket, push pass the cash until he felt the ring.

“Now, walk,” the thug ordered.

“Where?” Rico asked.

“Back to the house you were just at,” he said and gave them a shove with the pistol.

Unsure what to do, they walked as directed.

When they arrived at the front door, the thug told them to knock on the door, which they did.

One of the armed men standing guard inside opened the door and led them to the study where Vincent and Rico saw Don Mario enjoying a cigar with another older man sitting behind a desk.

Vincent and Rico were roughly shoved into a couple of chairs facing the desk.

“See, what did I tell you,” Mario started. “As soon as I found out what they were about to do, I came directly to you.”

The thieves sat there, unsure what was happening.

“Frank, check their pockets,” Mario ordered.

The thug from their car, pulled the cash, guns, and the ring from their pockets, and placed them on the desk.

“See,” Mario said, gesturing to the pile on the desk.

Rico was about to tell the man behind the desk the whole story when everything went black.

Before Vincent could scream at seeing his friend shot in the head, he was shot too.

Seeing the deed done, Mario stood and said, “I hope you will remember my assistance in this matter in the future when I ask for a favor from you.”

“Of course,” the old man said.

Mario nodded to his man, letting him know he was ready to leave.

After a short, but courteous goodbye, Mario and Frank got into their car.

“Do you have it?” Mario asked Frank.

Frank pulled out the ring from his pocket and handed it to Mario.

“It was as if God himself sent those two thieves to get this for us,” Mario said. “By the time Don Mateo figures out what happened, it will be too late.”

As they drove off into the night, Mario couldn’t help but try on the ring.

It fit perfectly.
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Published on October 12, 2020 13:15 Tags: antonio-garcia, podcast, short-story
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