Men in Suits

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two men, one young and one old, are brutally murdered by a pair of mysterious, sadistic killers. Why?

Submitted: December 12, 2013

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Submitted: December 12, 2013

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There is a young man, waiting. He sits at the bus terminal, smoking because he’s cold and bored. An old man was supposed to pick him up an hour ago, and when the young man uses the payphone to call his house, no one answers. He must have left already. But then where is he?

There is an old man, waiting. He lies in a ditch on the side of a road, bleeding because his nose was broken by the steering wheel. Someone should have come by now, having noticed the gash in the guardrail and the steam rising from the totaled car. But no one has. The old man knows the young one is waiting.

There are two suited men, looking. They are neither waiting nor bleeding, but instead driving through the night, along the freeway. They are expressionless, but they are searching. It will not be long until they find the old man. When they do, they will make sure he is dead. If he is not already, they will torture him until he does die. They will then find the young man, abduct him, shoot him, and dump his body where it will be found a few days later by the police, who will not catch the killers. This is their plan. They are ready.

*********

This is at nine o’clock at night. At nine o’clock that morning, the two men were just waking up, making themselves coffee, reading the morning paper, and grousing about their backs. The rod in the young man’s back still ached. The old man was sore from bending down to pick up the paper in the driveway.

After each had breakfasted, they went to their work. The young man is in manual labor, getting his hands dirty. The older one used to do such things, but he retired from it years ago. The work was punishing. Now he keeps books for a large company, and does rather well for himself. The two suited men were still asleep. They work with the older man, but in a lesser capacity. They have another job, one that keeps them up late. They did not wake up until almost eleven.

Neither the young nor the old man trust those with whom they work all that much. When they arrived at ten, they nodded and said hello to their coworkers, but for the most part stayed apart from them, choosing instead to put their head down and get their work done. They have reason to distrust their colleagues. The old man has a scar running down his side to the hip, from his days in manual labor. The young one had his back broken and rods inserted because one of his coworkers failed to do his job properly. The young man is not entirely sure it was a mistake. He does not trust anyone. That’s why, eleven hours later, when the old man has not come for him, he starts to worry, then panic.

At eleven a.m., the men in suits were waking up in a motel room, down the street from the old man’s house. They drove all night to be here, getting in at two in the morning. If they had their way, they never would have come, and if they had to come, they would not have gotten up at eleven. But three very old men, their bosses, had ordered them, and they needed this job. It was the only one they knew. They could do nothing else. So they drove all night, they woke up at eleven, and they made their way down to the old man’s house, now empty.

They did not have to break into the house. The three very old men had given them a key. They made their way to the garage, where there were three beautiful Italian cars. They knew which car the old man would take that night to meet the young man, and they went to work on it. It took them over an hour to sabotage it, cutting brake wires and adjusting the steering wheel. It was not exact. They would not know where the old man would crash for sure. They did not even know the route he would take. He might be suspicious, so it was not a given that he would take the quickest way. But he would crash. That they knew for sure.

After they left the house, they went first to a gas station, where they fueled their car, and then on to an abandoned storefront. The tools they needed for their job were stashed there. There were almost a dozen knives in a black briefcase and two handguns apiece. Each of the men could do the job with their bare hands, but they wanted to make sure there were no mistakes. From the storefront they proceeded to a diner to get some food and kill time. By then it was half past two.

At half past two the young man was finishing his first pack of cigarettes for the day. He and his coworkers all smoked, and did it even more when they were nervous. If that day had been a stressful one, they all would have gone through two and would be using their lunch break to go buy more. As it was, the young man tossed away the empty pack and still had a full one in his breast pocket. It was a lazy day for him. He lounged about, thinking about the old man and if he was right, that they had nothing to fear. He had heard rumors about the men in suits. They had been sighted for the first time in months. They were never seen unless they were on the move and prepared to strike. The young man knew that they targeted people like him and the old man. The old man, however, had been dismissive of his fears, assuring him there was no way the men in suits could get to them. Still, the young man worried.

At half past two, the old man was not worried. He too was smoking. His doctor had told him the habit was killing him, but he did not care. Dressed in a fine Italian silk suit, he slouched on a bench outside his office and breathed out slowly. The sun was out, but he was still cold and his hands trembled. Like his younger counterpart, he too had heard rumors about the suits coming to town. He was not worried though. They came around every few years or so and he had never once felt threatened before. Things like this always passed, he told himself.

*********

The police will find the young man’s body first, floating in the river. There will be a bullet in the back of his head and strange cuts carved into his chest. They will not find the old man for another week. When they at last notice the ill-repaired guard rail, his body will have decomposed, but they will still be able to make out the knife slashes across his face and the cigarette burns on his hands. His finger and toe nails will have been pried off. The police will never look into it, because the mayor cannot be bothered with such things, the police chief is too corrupt to care about anything other than sex and booze, and the officers that find the body will know what had happened and will not want to implicate themselves. The brothers, sisters, father, mother, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews of the victims all will mourn, prepare an elegant funeral, but will be unable to seek retribution or restitution from the men in suits. They will already be in another state and will not surface for years to come.

*********

A little before three in the afternoon, the old man finished his long cigarette break and flicked the butt into one of those filthy thigh-high stone dishes that are supposed to act as ashtrays but instead hold sand, gum, spit, rainwater and three or four dozen stubs of varying age. He wondered why the tray was never cleaned. It was a blight to the otherwise spotless exterior of the building. It was probably a minor plot of the city to force smokers off the streets, to push them into back-alleys and next to dumpsters. The old man was paranoid enough to entertain this idea but did n0t worry about it too much. He had an important meeting inside that he could not afford to miss.

He wished that the young man was here. As his years advanced, his eyes dimmed and his instincts dulled, the old man had become aware that without the younger one, he was increasingly vulnerable. He had once held his position with ease, but now his associates sensed his frailty and closed in. It was a ruthless business. Bookkeeping may not seem like a particularly dangerous or hostile profession, but there was a fair share of money in it, and everyone wanted more. Even the old man wanted more than he had. That was what the meeting was about.

Across town, the young man was also thinking about the old man’s meeting. He too wished he was there. He knew the old man could not possibly do it by himself. It was a delicate, tricky business and the older you got, the more likely it became that you would make a minor slip that would cost you. One decimal point off was all it took. He did not want to lose the old man.

He also thought of his young wife and child. Ever since the injury to his back, he realized that his family was in a precarious position. If anything ever happened to him…he should have gone with the old man. What if it went wrong? What if he was not prepared? Then all would be for naught. And then there were the men in suits. No matter what the old man said, he was worried. Not for himself. He was strong enough and the old man was smart enough to protect themselves. It was his family. As much as he loved his family, sometimes he wished he did not have one. It was another vulnerability. What if he came home tonight and…but no, he could not think like that. Why would the men in suits come to him? He was just a lowly worker. No, no, he told himself, he was safe.

*********

At ten p.m., the old man will die, moaning silently in agony as one of the suited men twists a serrated blade underneath his fingernail. Blood will trickle from the corner of his mouth, and the men in suits will look away because they do not relish the work they do. A killing as intimate as this is not an easy thing, and the men, though depraved, hold a sense of honor. That honor will irk them as they drive away from the old man, towards the younger one. By now he will be annoyed. Where is the old man? When will he finally come? It’ll be cold, and he will want to go home.

But he was right to worry earlier. The men in suits will come, and when he is struggling in the trunk of their jet black sedan, he will remember his concerns and curse himself and try to regain his composure so he can say his final prayers. Then the men in suits will drag him out onto the pier and beat him until the blood trickles out his mouth, just like the old man. Then they will draw out a knife and pin him down, and one will come towards him with the knife and he will scream against the gag they stuffed in his mouth, but it will be no use. The searing pain will spread across the chest, and he will weep. If only he had called the old man.

*********

At half past five, the young man considered calling the old man to ask about the meeting. He wanted to know how it had gone, but he knew the old man hated when he called about business. Business is business and family is family, he said. Don’t bring business into our house and don’t bring family into the office. So he did not call. Every five minutes for the next half-hour he glanced at the payphone down the street and reconsidered, but at six, he sighed, stopped working, and went to dinner with a friend. They went to a family Italian place two blocks from work and ate as much as they could.

The old man was at home when the clock struck seven. He was eating dinner with the young man’s family, bouncing the young man’s son on his knee. He was trying to forget the meeting. It had not gone well. Business was getting harder all the time. The young man had not called. He should have called. There was a seat laid out for him, and his young wife was nervous. Every time there was a noise outside she rushed to the door, but he never came. He was never going to come. The old man knew how it was. One drink became two, then three, and then one cannot drive home, but all the taxis are gone. So the subway it will be. The old man knew. The time was seven-thirty.

At seven-thirty, the men in suits were drinking. They sat at the bar and downed five beers each in one hour. They knew that this was their exact limit. More and they would not be sharp enough. Less and they would not follow through with their plan. They drank with determination, not because they wanted too.

 The young man drank because he did not want to go home. The old man’s three drinks had become eight, and he did not want to stop. But his friends left and when the clock chimed eight, he took a shot of whiskey, then tumbled out of the bar and staggered to the subway. While he walked, he passed the bar where the men in suits were drinking so that they would be able to forget his terrified, miserable, dead face. He hummed a tune and did not worry. He got on the subway train and fell asleep, unaware.

At eight forty-five, the old man got up and told the young man’s wife that he was going to the train station to pick up her husband. She was grateful but said nothing and continued to bathe her children. The old man grunted at the naked little boy running down the hallway to go to bed. He then got into his car and pulled out of the driveway. Ten minutes later, he lost control of his car and crashed through a guardrail on an abandoned highway in the middle of nowhere.

*********

It will be two in the morning, and the men in suits will be driving away from the city. Few know them. Less trust them. Almost none control them. When the sun rises, everyone will hear of them and fear them and not let their children play in the yard and lock the door at night. But it will not matter. They will be gone and they will not return. Four years later, they will kill again, in a different city. Their victims will be two middle-aged men and a younger one. The gore and the horror of it all does no overwhelm them. It feeds their rage.

*********

It is nine thirty and the old man is groaning as the men in suits light cigarettes with matches and put them out on his arms, stomach and face. “Why are you doing this?” he asks. But they only take out a screwdriver and come towards him. “Why?” “Why did you do what you did?” they reply. The old man’s answer is cut short by the screwdriver. At last they stop to check the time. It is nine forty-five. They need to leave to take the young man. The old man will die soon anyway. They get up to go and the old man whimpers. They do not look back, get into their car and leave. The old man is about to die when he gathers his last breaths and says, “Lord, forgive me my trespasses, and lead me not into temptation, but deliver…” He dies before he finishes.

*********

GANGLAND MURDERS STRIKE TERROR IN CITY

In a chilling reminder that organized crime has persisted in the city, two Mafia bosses were found murdered in two separate locations, in related killings, the police said.

Antonio Gambino, 75, was found in the woods near Interstate 75. His grandson, Giovanni Gambino, 24, was found in the harbor. Police said that both showed injuries consistent with torture and mutilation.

Sources say that Giovanni Gambino was shot in the back of the head, with a dollar sign carved into his chest. Police said that Antonio Gambino is believed to have lost control of his car, crashing into the woods off the highway. The brake line to his car was snapped, probably due to wear and tear, the police said. According to the autopsy, Gambino’s finger and toenails had been pried off, and his forearms showed signs of cigarette burns.

Detectives said they had not identified any possible suspects, and Police Chief Patrick O’Connor said that although his men would try their best, he doubted that the case would ever be solved.

“When it comes to suspicious deaths within the mob like this, there is always going to be a level of mystery that will be impossible to clear away. The Gambinos were criminals who died brutal deaths. Their murderers deserve justice, but that doesn’t mean we need to mourn them. The fact of the matter is, with either Gambino off the street, our city is a safer place.”

Giovanni was arrested and accused of sexual assault, battery, impersonating a police officer, arson, robbery, manslaughter and murder. As a young man, Antonio was arrested for the same charges, and in his later years, added tax evasion, tax fraud, insider trading and embezzlement to his rap sheet.

Both are well-known members of the Mafia, but have never been indicted of any charge. In 1963, Antonio Gambino was connected to the murder of another Mafia boss, Frankie Colombo, but the prosecutor dropped the case under suspicions of corruption and bribery. Many mob experts believe it was this murder that caused the Gambino family to rise in prominence.

In recent years, though, Antonio and Giovanni, Antonio’s right-hand man, were rumored to have lost control of the family. Detectives personally believed that Giovanni was caught ten months ago, stealing from the family’s front business by his associates.

Police arrived on the scene after a passerby called 911 to find Gambino almost beaten to death. He was treated for a broken back, fractured ribs and dislocated jaw at a local hospital, but was never formally charged. His assailants were never identified, and he refused to cooperate in the investigation.

The Gambinos’ neighbors expressed shock at their brutal murders, but were not surprised that the two were involved with organized crime.

“They’ve always been a bit suspicious to me,” a neighbor who did not wish to be identified said. “They were always up at all hours of the night and some very unsavory people used to stop by. I was afraid to say anything to them though.”

Another neighbor said she saw two men “snooping” around the house yesterday. She said she was interviewed by police, who were not interested in her information. The men, described as tall, dark and well-dressed, have not been identified.

Police Chief O’Connor said his men would not follow up on the lead.

“We can’t go around checking out every crazy story people bring to us,” O’Connor said. “We will proceed in this investigation in a calm and professional manner. Rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to find who killed these men. No wild, made-up story about men in suits will distract our dedicated officers.” 


© Copyright 2019 Max McKeon. All rights reserved.

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