The Pilot, the Witch, and the Hitman Part – 04

4

Another Chance

 

The hit had been arranged months ago through Phil Germano, Caesar’s contact. Phil met Caesar planeside and together they entered the small general aviation terminal at the West Palm Beach airport. Slightly hunched over, Phil led.

“I’ve got an office upstairs. Let’s go,” he said, pointing a crooked finger at an open door.

Phil had a large formless nose, narrow face and playful eyes. He enjoyed bragging about what he knew, especially with a long-standing employee like Caesar. Hershey had stolen from several of Frank Luzzatto’s operations during the eighties. A Florida boss, originally from Cleveland, Luzzatto withheld his revenge due to a decade-long battle with the IRS that utilized Hershey’s skills. All that changed when Luzzatto’s grandson graduated in 1990 from Harvard at the top of his class and would introduce his grandfather to plenty of new talent. As 2000 neared, Luzzatto was ready to act. Not only the theft, but Hershey’s knowledge of his operations could eventually hurt his grandson’s chance for elected office. Besides, Frank liked to occasionally clean house.

Closing the door, Phil handed Caesar a manila envelope.

“You have a nice deal comin’ up.” Phil pointed at the single chair in front of the desk and walked around to the boss’s side and sat down.

“DiPaulo’s right here in town. Sunday looks good. After church he drops off the wife and tells her he’s going to the cemetery to visit the parents and runs off to the girlfriend’s. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.”

“I did my preliminary work a few weeks ago,” adding to himself, DiPaulo’s a real fool, leaves a trail of crumbs a mile wide wherever he goes.

Phil pointed to the envelope. “Everything else is in there. This should be it for a while. Besides, I don’t want to overload you in case the boss wants Ruth Peyton wacked as well.”

Phil smiled and Caesar just stared, expressionless. “Hey, I’m just busting your balls. She’s not down for house-cleaning. C’mon,” Phil said, opening his arms wide, a moment of truth. “I’m only teasing. Everyone knows you had the hots for that witch. The best thing you ever did was stay away from that voodoo snatch. Hey, no firsthand experience here, but the boss says she’s on fire down there.” He raised his hand, ready for his oath. “That’s just what I heard.” Phil made a lopsided shrug. “I guess she helped him out with some personal matters, read his fortune, made him another million and probably knows a shit-load of stuff on the guy. Geez, Caesar, you look worried, believe me, just kidding. She’s not on the list.” He chuckled deeply, a lower register used for great moments of wisdom. “Me, I’d never let that witch get anywhere near my joint.”

Caesar hadn’t known about Luzzatto’s affair with Ruth and for several minutes his anger against his lifelong boss stormed below the surface. But he had lost control only once in his career and would never again permit that explosion of hatred.

Caesar sat hunched over and shrugged, nodded his head and even smiled a few times. He decided his next hit would be his last. And just as swiftly, another plan surfaced. If Ruth had been privy to Luzzatto’s business she might be led to believe that she was a target, like Hershey and DiPaulo, for “house cleaning.” Caesar decided to go after her. It felt right, like the perfect hit. All he had to do was point to the writing on the wall, to the obvious. He would bring Ruth terrible knowledge, but also her chance to be saved.


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