Thursday, April 15, 2010

SUPR-ICE CREAM ~ debuting Author Jim Bronyaur AT THE BIJOU

"I've read the stories AT THE BIJOU and since I saw you wanted some "fool" themed stories for April, I had to put my name in the mix.  So what I have for you is a brand new, hot off the presses crime story that I hope your readers will enjoy. "  ~ Jim
 

Surpr-Ice Cream
By ~ Jim Bronyaur
a new *hit* sensation AT THE BIJOU
 

It was a Tuesday morning when Larry decided he was going to kill his longtime partner and best friend, Frankie J.  It was hot.  It was July.  And if Larry did it right, he knew where to dump the body where nobody would find Frankie J. nor care to even look.  Lots of people know what Larry did for a living and when you’re a wise guy, not too many people care when you’re knocked off.  Unless you're what’s called a “member”.  Larry wasn’t a “member” and neither was Frankie J.  In fact, both men were more or less the clean-up guys for one of the big bosses, Mr. Paul.

Mr. Paul would give the orders through phone calls from payphones.  From there,  jobs were done. 

As Larry straightened his tie, his phone rang.  He felt his stomach turn hoping it wasn’t Mr. Paul. 

“Larry,” he said into the phone.

If it was Mr. Paul, he did not like proper introductions.  He wanted to know who he was speaking to.  There was a great chance a bullet would mush your brain if you said “Hello” or “Hi” or even worse, some kind of cheesy phrase like “Yea?” or “Talk to me”.

“It’s just me,” Frankie J. said.

Larry sighed.  And not a single ounce of guilt came as he realized it would be the last time he would even speak to Frankie J. on the phone.

“What’s happening?  Hot as hell, eh?”

“I’ve seen worse,” Frankie J. said.  “I went to Death Valley once.  Had a job.  Man was that hot.”

On the list of reasons to kill Frankie J., on the top was the fact that he always had to outdo Larry.  Even with something as simple as talking about the weather. 

“You there?” Frankie J. asked.

“I’m here.  Really don’t care about Death Valley.”

“Listen, we have a job.”

Larry knocked his head against the wall.

“What kind of job?”

“What do you mean what kind of job?” Frankie J. yelled into the phone.  “We’re wise guys, we knock people off.  What’s wrong, the heat eating your brains?”

And then Frankie J. laughed.  That laugh.  Like a high pitched squeal and then half choking on chunks of phlegm.  Larry looked down the narrow hall of his apartment into his bedroom and saw the tiny black gun on the bed.  He wished he could kill Frankie J. through the phone.

“I meant who are we killing?” Larry said in a low voice.

“You’re not going to like this one bud,” Frankie J. replied.

Bud? Larry thought.  I’m no one's bud. 

“It’s a kid.  A young kid.”

“What do you mean a kid?” Larry asked.

“Like I said, a kid.  He’s under ten.  I’ve got the description and where’s he going to be.”

Larry paused and didn’t reply.  He thought about it for a moment.  It was his one fear as a wise guy.  He could handle killing men, women – married people, old people . . . but not kids.  Mostly because kids didn’t do anything wrong.  They were just there.  They were used as leverage.  But to kill a kid?  

That meant something big was brewing.

“Why a kid?” he finally asked Frankie J.

“You know the rules man, no questions.  Just action.”

Larry sighed and looked at the gun again.  His plan would have to wait.  No, just delayed. 

“Where are we meeting?” Larry asked.

“You know the park on Sanderson Avenue?”

“Yea, I know it.”

“Across the street and behind an empty store in the parking lot.  That’s where the kid is going to be.  One hour.”

Then Frankie J. hung up. 

For a second, Larry wondered if he was being set up.  In his two decades as a wise guy he’d never had to kill a kid.  And it just seemed fishy to be in that empty parking lot.  Why would the kid be in the parking lot?  Why would he be alone? Why . . .

Larry pushed the thoughts away.  The reality of the situation was that behind the parking lot there was a deep ravine that went into thick brush and mud.  Larry knew about the place because he’d dumped a body there once before.  He figured once the kid was gone, he could then take out Frankie J. too.  He’d even stand behind Frankie J. so he wouldn’t have to see the kid being killed. 

It also soothed his mind a little knowing that he was going to kill someone who had just killed a kid.  Anyone who killed kids didn’t deserve a life of their own. 

Larry made a large breakfast for himself – two eggs, two pieces of toast, four strips of precooked bacon that only need a minute or so in the microwave, four pancakes, a cup of orange juice, a cup of milk, and a cup of coffee.  It somehow all fit into his one-hundred-fifty pound frame.  Larry only ate breakfasts like that when he knew the day was going to be long.  He learned a long time ago that hunger can be a huge distraction.  He wasn’t a doctor, nor did he care how being hungry actually worked, all he knew what that when he was hungry, he wasn’t focused.  The feeling of him stomach contracting and gurgling took away from his sharp awareness and that can only lead to trouble. 

Especially when you’re trying to take out a wise guy.

Wise guy’s wake up everyday knowing it may be their last. The good ones don’t fear death but are prepared for it.  That meant Larry had zero room for error, he needed to kill Frankie J. quick.  One bullet. 


 * * * 

When Larry saw Frankie J. standing on the corner with one leg against a stop sign taking a long inhale on a fresh cigarette, he began to feel guilty.  The guilt wasn’t so much for killing Frankie J., there was no in guilt in that, but it was guilt for the life.  Seeing Frankie J. standing like that reminded him of how he used to stand on the corners as a kid watching the world pass by.  He could have been anything he wanted to be.  He could have done anything.  Gone anywhere.  Been anyone.  And he chose the life of a wise guy.  And through the years, Larry had himself convinced that the life chose him.

With Frankie J. gone, Larry would move up a notch in the clean-up world.  He’d be the one receiving more calls.  He’d be able to force younger guys to go out on jobs.  It was like getting a promotion.  But in the wise guy world, promotions only came when someone died (usually through murder).

“We have three more minutes,” Frankie J. said as Larry made his way up to him.

Larry nodded. 

“I’m just gonna keep quiet and enjoy this cig just in case it’s my last.”

The comment should have bothered Larry but it didn’t.  

Frankie J. always said that when he was going on a job.  He told Larry it prepared himself mentally.

“Take your time,” Larry said.  He kept focused on the plan.  He reviewed the killing over and over until it seemed flawless in his mind.

“There’s a little bit of bad news in this one,” Frankie J. said taking another long drag.

“What’s that?”

“He wants you to kill the kid.”

Larry felt like he was punched in the chest.  He opened his mouth but only air came out. Frankie J. looked at him and smiled.  He took one last drag of his smoke, threw it into the street, and then shrugged his shoulders.

“Why me?” Larry asked.  “He knows how I feel about that.”

“His orders, not mine.”

“What did he exactly say?”

“What?”

“When he called, what exactly did he say about me?”  Larry held Frankie J. by the arm now and was squeezing it tight.  Inside he told himself to calm down or he was going to ruin the plan.  At the end of the day, the plan was to have Frankie J. dead.  Whatever happened in between or whatever it took to get there meant nothing.

Frankie J. shook his arm free.

“He says we have to kill this kid.  He pauses.  Then he says to have you do it.”

Larry sighed and took a deep breath.

“Just for the record,” Frankie J. continued, “I told him you didn’t like that.  I told him I had no problem taking out a punk kid.  But he told me he wanted you to do it.  No exceptions.”

Larry knew no exceptions meant no exceptions.  Mr. Paul had eyes everywhere at all times.  And there was no loyalty other than to Mr. Paul.  That meant if someone saw Frankie J. kill the boy, then both Larry and Frankie J. would be killed.  Larry would have no choice but to suck it up and kill the kid.

“Let’s move,” Frankie J. pointing to his watch.

He led Larry down to the corner where the stolen car was parked.  That was all part of the deal – always steal a car for a job.  That way if by some chance there’s a slip-up and someone sees the car, it will lead the police elsewhere until the mess is cleaned up. 

The ride to the parking lot was quiet.  Frankie J. always kept quiet before a job and Larry didn’t mind it.  His mind raced between thoughts of killing Frankie J. and killing the kid.  The whole killing the kid thing was eating him up bad.  He kept trying to convince himself that at least at the end of the day, Frankie J. would be dead.  He’d even gone as far as coming up with a new plan.  Once the kid was dead, Frankie J. would show sympathy.  When you’re a wise guy, sympathy is pure weakness.

“Who cleans up?” Larry asked as they made a left turn on Parkview Blvd.  He could see the playground poking out of the horizon.  Only a minute to go and they’d be there.

“He didn’t say but I’ll take care of it.  I know this is bothering you.”

“Thanks,” Larry said with a smile. 

Once Frankie J. had his back to Larry, that’s when Larry would kill him. 

When Frankie J. steered the car into the parking lot, Larry prayed it would be empty.  But it wasn’t.  The kid was standing there in the middle of the parking lot.  It then began to bother Larry as to how the kid ended up there.  What was said?  What was offered?

“You ready for this?” Frankie J. asked as he put the car in park.

“Not one bit,” Larry replied.  He took out the small, black handgun from his jacket and hid it with one hand.  Whatever the deal was, the kid had to die.  The less Larry knew, the better.  He wanted to just get out of the car and shoot the kid. 

When Larry opened the door, the wave of guilt and terror hit him worse than he could have ever imagined.  Instantly his brain reminded him that this was someone’s kid.  Someone that would have to bury their own child.  Someone that would mourn the child forever and always wonder would could have been.  Someone that would . . .

“Let’s move,” Frankie J. said grabbing Larry’s arm.  “We’re being watched.  Don’t cost me my life.”

Larry stood up and started to walk towards the kid.  The kid up until that point looked confused.  Once he saw Larry, he began to cry.  Full on crying.  Tears.  Pouting.  Head shaking.  

He kept saying “No, no, no” over and over. 

“Does he know?” Larry yelled to Frankie J.

“I don’t know.  Just do it!”

Larry kept walking towards the kid. The guilt rumbled in his stomach but he kept telling himself that once the kid was dead, then Frankie J. would be next and the day wouldn’t be so bad.

“It’s not so bad,” Larry said to the kid. 

“But sir, my momma is sick,” the boy said. 

His voice, Larry thought, his voice is just so . . . young.  

Innocent.

“She’s got the cancer.  Bad.  And my daddy only bet the money to make some for her medicines.  We’ll pay it back . . .”

The boy’s voice trailed off.  Larry lifted the gun to the boy’s head but couldn’t pull the trigger.  Each second that ticked by was a wasted second.  Each second was a second someone else was watching and would be reporting back to Mr. Paul. 

I have to do this, Larry said to himself.  Just pull the trigger.  When you do, the kid stops talking.  The story goes away. 

Larry felt his finger tense and he closed his eyes.  He couldn’t bear to see the kid die.  He slowly pulled the trigger . . . and then everything stopped.

Including his own thoughts.

“Hey, why’d you let him put the gun to my head like that?” Billy yelled to Frankie J.  “He could have shot me for real.  I want another five bucks for that.”

Frankie J. laughed and tucked his gun away.  It all went so perfect.  Larry’s mind was in another place when Frankie J. walked up beside him and put the handgun to Larry’s temple and pulled the trigger.  Frankie J. wasn’t stupid.  He had seen Larry’s attitude change in the past month.  He knew Larry was going to kill him.  And once Larry got something on his mind, it ate at him nonstop.  So Frankie J. needed a diversion. 

“Come on man, give me my cash,” Billy yelled.  “I can hear the music playing.  I gotta go.”

“Music?” Frankie J. asked.

“The ice cream truck, fool,” Billy replied.  “If I miss it, I’m going to charge you more money.”

Frankie J. couldn’t help but laugh again.  All it took was a promise of five bucks to get the kid to go over to the parking lot.  Originally Frankie J. was just going to kill the kid too but since he’d played it so well, he decided to let him live. 

“Here ya go,” Frankie J. said slapping a five into the kid’s hand.

“Hey fool, I said five more,” Billy said pulling on Frankie J.’s jacket.

Frankie J. nodded and placed another five in the kid’s hand.

“Wow, ten bucks!” Billy yelled.  “You’re a sucker man!”

Frankie J. could see the ice cream truck slowly moving up the block.  He paused and then an idea came to him.  He dropped to one knee.

“Hey, Billy, I have an idea,” he said in a soft voice.  “Why don’t we do this all the time?  You and me.  You could be my set-up man.  Whaddaya say?  You could have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  And I’ll pay you with so much money you won’t know how to spend it.”

Frankie J. smiled.  Having a kid like Billy would make him a legend and legends were promoted by Mr. Paul.  Legends were the ones who got to make phone calls and were able to sit around and collect money without killing anyone.

Billy looked around the parking lot.  He saw the ice cream truck and then he looked to Larry’s body that lay in a pool of blood.

“Man, this is a fool’s job,” Billy said.  “Killing people?  I just wanted a damn ice cream cone and my mom wouldn’t give me any money.”

Billy began to run away.  He quickly stopped and turned. 

“And ice cream for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner?” he yelled to Frankie J.  “Then what would be a snack or a treat?  You really are a fool.”

Then Billy ran and ran until he was across the street at the playground.  He lined up with the rest of the kids and waited for the ice cream truck.

“Eh, maybe I am a fool,” Frankie J. whispered. 

He then patted Larry’s back.

“But I do know one thing, this fool,” he said pointing to himself, “needs to get rid of that fool.” 

He pointed to Larry’s body and then started to laugh.  His stomach growled and he felt like he was in the mood for an ice cream cone.
 (c) 2010 ~ Author Jim Bronyaur
Premiering . . . AT THE BIJOU


Carrie, Carrie Clevenger, you all know that spunky spirited author, right? Well she sent JIM over, opening wide the double mahogany doors AT THE BIJOU. The rest, I kinda figure is going to be literary history (or hits'story?), as we want to read more and more of what Mr Bronyaur's wise guy wit has in store.  

AUTHOR JIM BRONYAUR: Absolutely*Kate ~ I was told to tell you that Carrie Clevenger sent me.  She forced me to write the story I sent to you.  She forced me to edit it.  I swear, she did!  :) Anyways - I've read the stories AT THE BIJOU and since I saw you wanted some "fool" themed stories for April, I had to put my name in the mix.  So what I have for you is a brand new, hot off the presses crime story that I hope your readers will enjoy. This is so new that even Carrie hasn't read it yet! Thanks in advance everyone for the read and your thoughts!

ABSOLUTELY*KATE:  Anyone mention to you that when I have to strengthen up for something I watch the GodFather trilogy again and again, encore e encore? Wiseguys are some of my fave fools. I still can't watch the flick without yelling to Santino, "Don't take the turnpike! Don't go on the causeway!" That stunad never listens.
 
Jim, I've been checkin' your writing out while you've been nosing around AT THE BIJOU and like your words along with the cool quick attitude that backs 'em up. This story rocks ... like a walk in an ... empty parking lot?

SO GO AHEAD. DO A COOL DANCE. 
TELL OUR READERS THE REAL DARN GOOD STUFF
ABOUT YOU AND WHERE YOUR WRITING HANGS ITS GLORY

CARRIE CLEVENGER, pokin' her pocketful of loose change in: Well, well ... heehee. My job is done here. Jim is a fine writer. Did you see his two new serials Kate? I'll let him tell you all about it, maybe plug anything else he has cooking. The man ROCKS, and by that I mean he makes music and puts it up FOR FREE. Ask him about it. I'm sure he can say more than me. ;) Carry on. 
  
JIM: Kate, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to appear AT THE BIJOU.  And I am honored that you have been reading my stories too . . . gives me that tingly feeling that I may someday have lots of fans and be able to write full time . . . ah, such is that life that I dream of! :) Yes, as Carrie bragged, I write lots of music too.  I have a new serial that follows a guy name Gage Sloane who is the lead singer/guitarist for the band Living Lost.  I write the stories AND the music. Anyways . . . here's a little bit of a bio for you ~


Jim lives in Pennsylvania, published in many anthologies including Flash!, Elements of Horrors, Diamonds in the Rough, and Inner Fears. Other stories have been published in Flashes in the Dark, Twisted Dreams, Pow! Fast Flash Fiction, among many others. He doesn’t sleep, drinks lots of coffee, and listens to Guns’n Roses. 
  

ABSOLUTELY*KATE:  Impressive. Folks? Want more JIM? He stayed up all night to dream up this site-name ~ Catch his drift at www.JimWisneski.com. Damn cool site!

CARRIE, pushin', pushin': TELL HER MORE, JIM! Kate likes to share good stuff with good folks. She believes in believers ... and the Phantom AT THE BIJOU.

 JIM: Okay, since Carrie pushed . . . I also have two serialized stories out there in the internet world to read.  The first is called Guns n' Graves. My other serialized story is called Living Lost and it follows a man named Gage Sloane as he fights the undead and demons, all the while writing music for his band (Living Lost).  Not only does this come with a story but it also features ORIGINAL music. I also have a small ezine for poetry, art, and pictures called Soft Whispers. And finally, if someone just wants to read stories check out my stories-only blog at www.jimwisneski.wordpress.com. So there you have it. . . that's Jim in an AT THE BIJOU debut-intro! :) Thanks a trillion for tossing my story on your site. . . can't wait to see it! 

ABSOLUTELY*KATE:  Well look now Jim. You're up under our kleig lights AT THE BIJOU. You're going to be a fine fool around this laughter and talent endowed joint. Yep.


HEARTY WELCOME  to JIM
                    
and . . . 
Welcome Back BARRY


*AT THE BIJOU*
where the hits just keep coming!



9 comments:

Michael Solender said...

engaging and definitely a different type of tale, good pace and payoff.

Debbie Lamedman said...

Bravo to Jim! What is it about wise guys that is so enticing? Great story!

Carrie said...

I love it! I'll keep dragging in the good ones for you Kate. You know I will. [Mexican Martini] Drink one on me. <3

ABSOLUTELY*KATE said...

I'll take that Mexitini Ms Carrie and *clink* it to Jim's justifiable wise guy debut. Should Mr Paul come to call I'll answer without a "Yeah?" and snap to the sounds of the ice cream truck comin' faster than you can mumble 'double-dip'.

JIM ~ I feel bad -- Larry was growin' on me even before I smiled at his hefty breakfast scene. That killer had heart. Billy now - that brat's headed for a life o'crime. I can see it comin.

Nice to see you comin' round too Mr Solender sir and playwright Debbie. Curtain's sure raisin' on a lotta good folks AT THE BIJOU! ~ Absolutely*Kate

Harry said...

Poor Larry. Doesn't it suck when the fool winds up being you? Great Bijou debut Jim!

Jim_Wisneski said...

WOW! Thanks for the welcome from Kate and everyone else. . . what an awesome site! :)

So glad I found it and was able to be apart of it.

Jim

Jeanette Cheezum said...

My guess is... the boy grew up to be Pretty Boy Floyd. Welcome Jim.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Very well done. enjoyed that a lot.

Allie said...

What a great tale. I did NOT see that coming. Good noir feel, well told. I was feeling like the middle was dragging with the mention of the kid over and over, but I saw the brilliance of that (to hypnotize the reader into Larry's mindset and distract the reader the way Larry was) at the end. Very well done.

There was an error in this gadget