Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Okay, I know what you're thinking.
It's officially November- why another thriller? Shouldn't I be posting something warm and uplifting in the season of Thanksgiving?
Actually, I want to work on a romantic comedy short soon, but in the mean time, I hope you enjoy this thrilling number.

Aaron M. Smith- September 2009

The hood was yanked off of Richie’s head with a hard yank, twisting his neck painfully and tugging at his ears. His world flooded with blinding light, and he squinted into the harsh glare. As his vision began to return to him, he noticed several hulking figures positioned around him, silhouetted in the harsh yellow light of the streetlamp above. None of them said anything; the only noise he could hear was the sloshing of water somewhere close by. Off in the distance, lights twinkled, reflected off of the inky surface of the river. He must be at the docks.
He strained his mind to remember what was happening… one minute, he was in the deli enjoying a roast beef on rye. He’d walked out into the alley, and then… nothing.
Suddenly, someone stepped into the circle of light in which he stood, and he wish that whomever had taken the hood off of him would put it back on.
Heya Rich,” said a deep, gruff voice. The man who entered the spotlight was middle-aged, probably in his mid-fifties. He was in athlete shape, though, and dressed to the nines in the most expensive, immaculate suit Richie had ever seen. His tie was a silvery shade of green, the color of a faded dollar bill, his salt and pepper hair and close cropped beard perfectly styled and trimmed. The cold grey eyes staring back at him might as well have been carved from marble for all the emotion they showed.
Richie’s mouth went entirely dry. He tried to speak, but croaked silently for a moment before he was able to form any words. “Gino! H-How ya doing?”
“Me? I’m doing just fine, Rich. Yourself?” Gino hadn’t moved a muscle since walking into the glow of the streetlamp.
“Uh, yeah, me too. Fine, I mean.”
“That’s good. Good to see you fine. And living comfortably.”
Richie tried to speak, but felt like something was caught in his throat. He said nothing.
“I, ah, was hoping you had something else for me tonight.” Gino said conversationally. Gino Marcelli never said anything conversationally. There was always more than met the eye.
“Uh, well,” Richie gagged, his mouth a desert. “Well, I haven’t heard anything else from my contacts recently, but I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.” He shifted his weight as if to step out of the circle of light, and immediately felt a huge hand on his shoulder.
“You’ll leave when Mister Marcelli says you may,” said the man standing behind him. There was the unmistakable click that a gun makes as a bullet enters the chamber. Rich froze.
“Thank you Lawrence.” Gino said. “Like I said, I was hoping for a little more information. Specifically, more information about the whereabouts and accommodations of one Anthony Lorenzo. You remember, the man we spoke of last week.”
Richie began to relax, for just a moment. “We did talk about Lorenzo, last week. I gave you all the information I had on him.”
“Yes, and that’s what I’d like to talk about.”
Richie’s heart sped.
“You see, we deployed a welcoming committee for Mister Lorenzo at the location you provided, at the time you provided, just as you suggested. Room two-forty-two at the Crown, if I’m not mistaken.”
Richie didn’t say anything. Cold fear had frozen his tongue to the roof of his mouth.
“There was nobody in that room, Rich.”
“Well, there’s an e-easy explanation for—”
“Nobody registered for that room at all. Not in weeks, Rich.”
“Well, Lorenzo’s people obviously decided to move him…”
“The thing is, Rich,” Gino removed a gold cigarette case from the pocket of his jacket and extracted a cigarette from it. He offered one to Richie; Richie shook his head. One of the men standing next to Gino whipped out a silver lighter the instant the cigarette touched the man’s lips. After a puff, Gino continued. “I recently acquired a very useful acquaintance. One in the employ of Mister Lorenzo himself. And this acquaintance informs me that Mister Lorenzo has been at his vacation home in the Virgin Islands all month.”
A sweat broke out on Richie’s brow. He dared not move to wipe it away.
“Lorenzo was never going to be in Chicago, Rich. Which of course, caused me to think, as I am apt to do,” Gino took another long draw on his cigarette. “I thought, who was it that informed me of Mister Lorenzo’s trip to the windy city in the first place?” He pointed with his cigarette. “You, Rich.”
“No! It-it-it was my informants! They got it wrong!”
“You see Rich, that’s the thing. I have many acquaintances, you see. Some are even your acquaintances, unbeknownst to you. I know that you have no informants. I know that most of the information that you’ve supplied to me over the last month has been… what’s the word?”
“Falsified, mister Marcelli?” said the man with the lighter.
“Thank you, Dominic. Falsified.” Richie felt strong hands take both his arms and his legs. He began to squirm and cry out, but the man called Dominic pulled a gun from within his coat. Richie felt someone wrapping something about his ankles; two men were wrapping his legs with ropes with the sure fingers of men who’d done this a thousand times.
“You see, Rich, I am a businessman. I run a very tight ship. Productivity is very, very good for the bottom line. And, I’m afraid, waste is very bad for the bottom line.” Richie watched with horror as a series of concrete blocks were dragged into the light and fastened to the ropes which were wrapped securely around his legs. “You wouldn’t have me lose productivity, now would you? I can’t afford to pay workforce that’s slacking off on the job.” He looked around at the men gathered around him. “That just isn’t fair to the other workers, now is it?”
Two of the largest silhouettes gathered up the stacks of concrete blocks. Out of Richie’s view, there was a grunting sound. With a snap, the ropes around Richie’s ankles pulled tight and hauled him off of his feet, dragging his across the wooden planks beneath his feet. The harsh wood tore at his clothes and hands as he scrabbled furiously to stop himself. He screamed, watching the circle of light and Gino Marcelli shrink until the edge of the pier met his chin, and he was tumbling through the air for a split second before colliding with the frigid surface of the river below. He screamed as the twinkling stars of the Chicago night vanished above him, devoured by chilling blackness that clung to him tighter than the finest suit ever made.

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