Being Inspired, maybe - 116
A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like. For instance:
And, then, the words:
Watching the body language of both husband and wife, it was hard to tell who was in charge, but if I had to make a guess, Angelina was in front by a nose.
Who had the most clout in that room, that was Angelina, via her father, Benito? He might have retired and passed the reins onto his eldest son, but in terms of respect, he had it from all the crime families and syndicates, and was, for all intents and purposes, still a force to be reckoned with.
That was even after he and his eldest son, the heir apparent, decided to go straight. It was a surprising turn of events for a crime family that had been notorious in its heyday. Now the family was more involved in banks, shopping malls, casinos, and bearer bonds.
As for their illegal activities, those were shared out among the other three major crime syndicates equally so as to avoid a turf war. It also led to the marriage of convenience between Fabio Latanzio and Benito's eldest daughter Angelina, mutually profitable for both sides.
At that time, Fabio had just been promoted to understudy his father, the heir apparent for that syndicate. Fabio was ambitious but respectful until his father was killed in a suspected hit, which led to a few months of tit for tat killings until Benito brokered an uneasy peace.
That meant Fabio became head of the family, and instead of sitting back and letting others do the work for him, he chose to be hands-on. And three suspicious murders later this he had privately said was to avenge the death of his father, here he was, on the brink of a long jail sentence.
And the fact that he had allowed himself to be broken free of custody was a tell tale sign that he knew he was both guilty of the crime, and that he was looking at a long sentence in jail.
Then there was the other undeniable fact, he had sent in a team to kill me. If he was innocent, why would he bother?
Amy had been watching the family reunion with interest. She too saw the signs of a rift which she could use against him.
She sat down when they went onto silence each on a separate side of the room, the air between them could be cut with a knife. Benito, no doubt would be very angry at the turn of events, and of Fabio’s behavior. It was common knowledge that Benito thought him too big for his boots.
"Happy families, eh," I said.
"That's the trouble with absolute power, you tend to think after a while that you are untouchable. He's about to find just how wrong he is. And, if we're lucky we might yet get to find out who his high-level police contact is."
That of course was something else I learned very quickly that a few, a very few cops were corrupt, and one in particular, the one that ratted me out.
It was a bit of a shock to discover that your safety really couldn't be guaranteed, particularly when a high-profile criminal was involved, like Latanzio.
It was a can of worms she really didn't want to open, but those who had helped Fabio stay free as long as he had, it was her intention to find out who it was and make sure they were punished.
It was a determination I had seen only intensify since the attacking the hotel, and an escape after seeing several colleagues either killed or injured.
To me, sitting there watching the man who had ordered a hit on me and very nearly succeeded, and being able to observe the whole operation around his capture was, to say the least, fascinating.
It would be interesting to see how Latanzio reacted.
The least expected reaction was a steady pounding on the door, accompanied by yelling, Latanzio wanted to speak to the person in charge.
We watched him for a few minutes, and it looked like Amy wanted him angry, very angry, before she had him taken to an interview room.
She was expecting trouble, because he was not cuffed now, with two men collecting him, and two in the shadows with instructions to shoot a tranquilizer dart into him if he misbehaved.
The passageway was also set up so we could watch him, and there was definite proof he was seriously considering tackling the escort and making a break for it. Amy could see the signs, but watching his escort, there were very aware of what he might do.
But in the end, he didn't try to escape.
He was sent into the room, one guard outside, the other inside the door. He kept what looked like a truncheon visible so the Latanzio would think twice about considering his odds against one rather than two.
For me, I might get past the first but not the second. Any sensible person could see the odds stacked against them.
Amy stood up. "Time to have a first pass at him. Wish me luck."
She didn't need luck. So far her plan was working.
Two minutes, perhaps three, passed before I saw her enter the room. Latanzio has stopped pacing and had finally sat. I could see him evaluation the possibility of using her as leverage to escape.
Whatever happened, the guards were instructed to kill him, irrespective of hostages. It was a hard call, but everyone in the team chose to be there.
She sat but did not speak. It was up to him to make the first move.
It didn't take long.
"Just what exactly is going on here? Who organized this?"
She took a moment to look him up and down, the sort of look that could make another, more ordinary person, squirm. Latanzio was unmoved.
"The who, as I said before, is irrelevant. The what is because we are putting the rest of your journey together, and it's taking some time. With one person it's easy, with four it is more difficult."
"Then forget about the family. They're safe. No one will dare touch them. I should be your most pressing case."
Interesting that, if politely put, the rat thinks only of himself.
"You should realize that your wife and children will suffer the consequences of your actions if you leave them behind, so according to my instructions, you all go, or no one goes."
"What does that mean?"
I thought it was pretty obvious, but I was beginning to think Latanzio was not as clever as I thought he was.
"You don't want to find out."
"Is Benito behind this? This smells like something he would do. More about saving his daughter than worrying about me. He needs me."
From what Amy's sources had learned in the last few hours, the opposite was true. Benito had put a contract out on him. It hadn't helped Fabio’s cause that she had leaked the fact Fabio was cheating on his daughter.
"Not since he was told about Gabrielle. It is why we had to bring her in, too. So, Benito is not your benefactor, he had, in fact, put a contract out on your head. You should be thankful we got you out of jail, or you’d be dead by now."
I could see his mind working, taking in what she had just told him and processing it.
Amy decided to add another variable. "You have to decide who you want to go with you, Angelina or Gabrielle. It can't be both."
There were a few seconds delay like a conversation being conducted from the earth to the moon
The he said, " What will happen to those left tf behind?"
"I'm sure you know exactly what will happen. The problem is, if you hadn't shot that fool in the street in front of a witness, we would be in this situation."
"That witness is dead. There is no witness."
She shook her head. " No, Mr. Latanzio, he is not dead. You took on a very resourceful man, not your average Joe, not by a long shot. Special forces, or marines, I'm told, and he hasn't taken it very well that you sent in a team to kill him. It's another mess we're going to have to clean up. All in all, you were given a simple job to do, and instead, let your ego and stupidity get us to this point. You should realize my first instruction was to get you out and then put a bullet in your head. I might still do it. My people have been instructed to shoot you if you try anything. That also means if you die, so does Angelina, Gabrielle, and your children. My instructions are very clear."
She stood, signaling the interview was at an end.
"You now have to make a decision. Who would you like to see now?"
Angelina was going to be very impressed with her husband when Amy told her.
© Charles Heath 2020