Entry 7 – A Gentleman’s Calling Card

Listen instead!
Listen instead!

He stood in front of the full length mirror and eyed the image reflecting back toward him critically.  Yes.  The years had been kind to him.  But he could see the whisper of gray beginning to make their appearance around his temples.  There were a few more wrinkles around the eyes.  And there was that new scar, just the suggestion of one, behind the hinge of his left jaw.  A fond farewell kiss from a woman’s razor blade a few weeks back.  Another scar to add to the set which added to the set he already possessed.  It was to be expected in his line of work.  After all, it wasn’t as if he was an accountant or a car salesman.
+++++A hard, barely perceptible sneer of amusement flashed across his thin lips before disappearing altogether.
+++++His jet black eyes were still clear and sharp.  His stomach was flat and as hard as cement.  He still moved with the athletic fluidity of Spartan efficiency which had been a hallmark others had commented on.  The high cheekbones; the narrow thin nose.  All there.  All intact.  Still . . .after all these years.
+++++“Ah!  The sport coat you asked for, Mr. Schmidt.”
+++++The voice behind him came from a little man with a large bald spot on the top of his head, reading glasses slid half way down his nose, dressed smartly in a pair of tailored slacks, with a long sleeved shirt with the cuffs rolled up to his elbows.  Around his neck was a tailor’s measuring tape.  In his hands was a smartly cut herringbone patterned sport coat, opened and held in such a way to suggest it needed to be slipped onto someone’s shoulders immediately.   Smitty half turned, glanced at the tailored inner silk lining of the coat, and nodded approvingly before slipping on the jacket.  Turning to stare into the mirror again, Smitty’s black eyes first glance at the image in the upper right corner of the mirror before looking at himself.
+++++“Perfect!  Just perfect, Mr. Schmidt!  See the cuffs?  As requested.  The end precisely at the wrist.”
+++++The mirror was reflecting back the image coming through the tailor shop’s large plate glass window of the large brick building directly across the street.   A dark building sans any interior lights shining at all.  On the large front door was a big sign that said CLOSED in large red letters.  Above the door was an unlit marquee which needed new lighting fixtures.  Once it said proudly in orange and blue neon lights JULIO’S PIZZA.  Now it was a dark, rusting hulk that had long since seen better days.
+++++As the little bald tailor danced around in front of him, concentrating and chirping lightly an unending reel of nonsense as he checked the fit of the new sport coat, Smitty watched as a big Lincoln limousine pulled up in front of the pizza palace and came to a halt.  Two rather large men rolled out of the front seat of the car.  The big man on the passenger side stepped back and quickly opened the limo’s rear door.
+++++The round blob of Giuseppe Falco, all four hundred pounds of him, clawed himself up to a standing position and stepped away from the car.   The bodyguard closed the door quickly and then stepped up and took the right arm of an unsteady Falco and began walking toward the door with the CLOSED sign.  The limo’s driver quickly opened the door and also helped Giuseppe inside.
+++++“Ties, Mr. Schmidt?  Are we looking for some new ties tonight?”
+++++Smitty’s attention came back to the dark eyed image reflecting back to him in the mirror.
+++++“Red silk.  And maybe a dark silk one as well.”
+++++“Excellent choices, sir!  Excellent choices!” hummed the tailor as he hurried off into the interior of the shop.
+++++The image before him was a man he knew all too well.  Small framed.  Fast.  An excellent shot.  Extremely good with a knife.  A killer.  Dressed in a tailored sport coat of exquisite taste, dark gray slacks, with a light gray button down collar shirt and with gold cufflinks.  And waiting . . . waiting for the right moment.
+++++He glanced at his watch just as the beaming little tailor came back with three silk ties draped across his right forearm.  One gray.  One a startling bright red.  One a very light blue.
+++++“I’ll take all three,” he said, nodding. “Hand me the red one now.”
+++++The little man nodded, handed Smitty the tie, pushed his reading glasses back up his nose, and stepped back and watched with immense pleasure as the dark eyed man expertly threw the tie around his neck and tied a perfect Windsor knot.  The little man didn’t notice a large gray BMW sedan pull up in front of Giuseppe’s and come to a halt.
+++++But Smitty did.
+++++Finishing the knot, the dark eyed man nodded, turned and faced the plate glass window, pulling down the cuffs of his shirt in the process, as a big man, alone, climbed out of the BMW and slammed the door closed angrily.
+++++The tailor’s eyes glanced out the window.  But only for a moment. Shaking his head, his tongue making clicking noises he turned away and looked at his prized customer again.
+++++“Thankfully they leave me alone.  And I certainly leave them alone, if you know what I mean.”
+++++“I certainly do,” Smitty said, grabbing the tailor’s right bicep gently and pulling him along with him. “I think we should move away from the window?”
+++++“Move away from the window?” the balding tailor echoed,  looking very startled.  “Why?
+++++“I believe there is going to be an accident shortly.  A very noisy accident, if I’m not mistaken.”
+++++“But . . . but . . !”
+++++BOOM!  BOOM!  BOOM!
+++++Three explosions.  One right after the other in a cacophonic staccato of ear shattering noise.  A nanosecond later the pressure waves from the three explosions blew out the gigantic plate glass window of the tailor shop.  The very same one both of them had been standing by only seconds before.
+++++When the dust and debris cleared, lying on the floor in front of the now shattered full length mirror was the bloody remains of Giuseppe Falco’s severed head.  Holding onto a now very pale, and very sick tailor, that same amused snarl spread across Smitty’s lips.
+++++“Hmmm. Apparently there was some kind of mishap.  Shocking.”
+++++For an answer the little tailor bent over and heaved up his lunch and breakfast as sirens, hundreds of them, began blaring in the growing dusk of a cold winter’s night.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
The following two tabs change content below.
B.R. Stateham

B.R. Stateham

B.R. Stateham is a sixty-seven year old boy who never grew up. A long-time contributor to Near to the Knuckle, he writes stories featuring a number of different characters who have come to life on these pages. And, come to think of it; some people have actually enjoyed reading them!
B.R. Stateham

Latest posts by B.R. Stateham (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *