Authors: Iceberg Slim
oudmouthed hoodlum winds lunged across the Chicago heavens and muscled away a mob of sooty clouds. Frosty stars suddenly spangled the black Caddie that cruised the snow-gutted ghetto.
Four-hundred-pound Lollo “The Surgeon” Stilotti stuffed chocolate cashews into the vulgar hole in his face. He broke rotted chocolate wind on the Caddie's rear seat and complained, “What a fucked-up Christmas morning!”
Angelo Serelli, at the wheel, said, “Mr. Collucci ain't gonna postpone justice for a guy who rips off eight kilos of Family merchandise.”
Phil, “The Surgeon's” first cousin, sitting beside Angelo, blew an impatient gust of cigarette smoke against the windshield. “I hope we wind this guy up before daybreak so I don't miss my twins tearing open their first Christmas score.”
Lollo groaned. “I got a broad waiting in my bed with size forty-two tits.” He sighed. “And she sucks like a milking machine.”
There were bumping, choking sounds coming from the trunk behind Stilotti.
Phil chuckled and said, “Lollo, Angelo can pull over and you can do a sixty-nine with the Bone's Mexican bitch.”
Stilotti said, “Fuck yourself, Phil. I respect my prick. You can get hard for even the coloreds.”
Angelo thought about his daughter Stella who had passed away at about the age of the teenage girl in the trunk. He pulled the Caddie to the curb and said, “I have to check her gag. I didn't like that sound.”
Stilotti sneered. “You worried about a chili-gut?”
Angelo said as he got out of the car, “Asshole, you want Mr. Collucci's witness against the Bone to croak on our hands?”
Angelo unlocked the trunk lid and saw that the girl's brown skin was nearly black. He removed the choking wad of Stilotti's handkerchief from her mouth.
She gulped air and gasped, “Please let me out of here. I won't make trouble. Please!”
Angelo loosened the rope that had rubbed her ankles and wrists raw. He said gently, “I'm sorry you let Bone trap you in his trouble. Like a father, I advise you to tell the truth when you get the chance.”
Tears welled in her brown eyes and she said, “When?”
Angelo removed a steel bumper jack from beneath her side. “Soon,” he said.
“You will speak good for me?” she asked in a voice that staggered the rim of hysteria.
Angelo nodded and regagged her with a smaller wad of Kleenex tissues from his pocket. He shut the trunk lid and got behind the wheel of the Caddie. Angelo passed Mack Rivers's Voodoo Palace Cabaret just before he turned off Forty-seventh Street into Calumet Avenue.
Stilotti said, “I'm so fucking tired and bored, I feel like pissing my pants just for the action.”
Angelo snickered. “Beat your meat, Stilotti.”
Angelo slowed the Caddie to a crawl and said seriously, “Bone is pretty strong, and he's got a guilty conscience. Maybe I should put him up front between Phil and me. Stilotti, you could calm him down with a twist of your choker if he got frisky. Whatta you guys think?”
Stilotti said, “It ain't what we think. You heard Mr. Collucci lay it all out sweet and smooth yesterday. A guy is always relaxed with nobody behind him. Besides, he trusts you like you're his old man.”
Phil said, “Angelo, you been edgy all night. You got a sucker soft spot for the guy or what?”
“I shortened my life mothering the sonuvabitch around the clock, running the cunt-lapper down before big fights. Hah! A soft spot for Bone? I woulda put a slug in his noggin a thousand times except Mr. Collucci owned him,” said Angelo.
Angelo cruised the Caddie into the next block and said softly, “There's the Bone's Eldorado in the slot.” Then he pulled past the rickety trio of carports beside Larry “Love Bone” Flaubert's ancient two-story apartment building and coasted the Caddie to a stop in front of it.
Angelo had stepped to the street and was pushing the car door shut when Stilotti leaned forward and said seriously, “Don't forget what Mr. Collucci said about eyeing through his joint so we don't leave nobody up there.”
Angelo pushed the door shut and nodded through the dark-tinted glass. A freezing blast of wind ripped at the hem of his blue Russian-front greatcoat. He hunched his beefy shoulders and sloughed his big rubbered feet through the snow to the sidewalk. His bare gray buffalo head wore a dull halo of silver light for an instant beneath the street lamp. As he went across the sidewalk toward the vestibule door, a corner of his eye snared a flutter of Bone's curtain.
He stepped into the shadow-haunted vestibule and held his breath in an eye-stinging smog of disinfectant and the
rotted-meat stink of a pygmy junkie whore “coasting” on the steps before him.
She huddled her frame inside a fake fur jacket and sprawled out bird legs pocked with sores oozing pus. He saw a rope of dried semen looped on her chin when she walled her piteous eyes up at him.
The whore clawed at him in slow motion as he sidestepped past her. She half-swiveled her chicken neck and slurred, “C'mon, sweetie, and have some fun. I got one tighter'n mosquito pussy, and hot and good, ooooooeee! No shit, baby, I ain't but twelve. C'mon back here and give your pretty white dick some Christmas sport.”
Angelo went up several stone stairs and heard the hornet's-nest buzzer unlocking the glass door ahead.
Upstairs, Love Bone draped angel hair on his Christmas tree. He had not been alarmed. He was only mildly surprised and curious at the sight of Angelo coming to visit him on an early Christmas morning. Angelo had been a tried and trusted friend through the years.
However, Bone had, after buzzing open the downstairs door, pushed a vial of powerful Tuinal sleeping pills and an almost-empty glassine bag under a chair cushion. The bag, earlier in the evening, had bulged with a half-ounce of pure cocaine.
As Bone opened his front door he felt his head cloud. He, ten minutes before, had gulped a gob of the Tuinals. He wanted the most to descend from the leapy frozen peak he had climbed in a twelve-hour freak-in with a cocaine-banging trio of bitches in a far Southside hotel suite.
Angelo came slowly through the mildewed murk of gray-carpeted stairway to the second floor. He paused on the dim landing for a long moment and gazed at grinning Love Bone lounging in his doorway a-shimmer in a black satin wrapper.
Why must I be the fucking Judas goat?
Angelo thought as he moved toward Bone, with a warm con smile on his cratered moon face. How he hated this, his tenth mission of death for the Family. Just
this oneÂ .Â .Â . With the others he had felt absolutely nothing. Possibly even pleasure on two of them. He felt his sick belly quiver in the poisonous bile of his rage against stupid Bone for stealing Family dope. How he hated, at this moment, the whole Family, from Top Boss Tonelli all the way down to himself. Himself most of all for the debt of life he owed the Bone that now he could only pay off in Collucci's court of death.
Three feet apart, Bone and Angelo hollered at each other. “Well, I'll be Raquel Welch's tiddie baby if it ain't my favorite wop. Merry Christmas, Pappy, and all that other jazz.”
“Hi ya, Bone, sweetheart! Merry Christmas and a hundred more, you pretty black mother you.”
They flung themselves violently together. Then, like Mutt and Jeff faggots reconciling, jigged a prancy rigadoon into the living room. Bone took Angelo's coat and flung it across the end of a dazzling white silk sofa. A cunty zephyr wafted up Angelo's nostrils as he followed Bone.
Angelo dropped loosely onto the couch. He shot a glance into the gold and purple bedroom and mulled mission changes if some fucked-out broad was present. If so, she must, as his boss Collucci would say, “be put to sleep” with Bone. Bone sat on a giant red cushion beside a round alabaster coffee table facing Angelo.
Bone uncapped a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream. As he poised it above a pair of crystal glasses, he asked with a light overlay of sarcasm, “Pappy, baby, you still go for the usual with me?”
Angelo took a deep breath to unload tension that might fink through to Bone in his voice. Bone chewed his bottom lip as he studied the gaudy anguish etching Angelo's brow.
Angelo's heavy palms jiggled reproach above the coffee table. “Ain't this a bitch? Brother, you gotta ask after the vat of Harvey's we hoisted together through the years?”
Angelo smiled to hear himself say it so smoothly, laced with disarming soul shit. Bone poured the wine. His scar-crusted face was
cocked impassively. His eyes burned with the ultra-alertness of those of a priest of voodoo in his native Haiti, intently listening for voices of the all-powerful Loas, or spirit voodoo gods, to speak through a freshly severed human head in the flame and bloodstained night. The musical splash of the sherry was a baleful gurgle in the whirling silence.
Bone finger-stroked across the twenty-five automatic in his robe pocket. He pulled a cigarette from a pack and thought,
This Dago is flinging some weird vibes this morning. I feel them Tuinals kicking my ass fuzzy. Ain't this a bitch! I wish I could cop a few blows of the Miss Pure White Lady stashed under that cushion to clear my skull.
Bone grinned. “You know you my main man. But damn, you ain't called. You ain't been back to the pad since I let my three-way Hawaiian freak blow your mind Thanksgiving night. Pappy, I woulda bet a C-note against a jug of snot you wouldn'ta done me like that.”
Angelo averted his eyes and hula'ed the wine in his glass. He was weary and must use the first natural cue and serve Bone with Collucci's summons.
“Bone, sweetheart, I missed you,” he said. “But Mr. Collucci has got my ass dragging with all our troubles with Tat Taylor's Warriors and other serious trouble I can't talk about.
Bone blew a barrage of lazy smoke rings at the face across the coffee table. “I understand, Pappy, baby. You know I love ya. If I was a broad I'd let you wear my pussy like a football helmetÂ .Â .Â . year-round.”
They hee-hawed together.
Angelo swept his eyes about the seductively blue-lighted red and white living room.
“Bone, now you really got some kinda trap for broads,” Angelo said as he caressed his fly.
Bone gazed at a painting of his beauteous sister Mayme above the fireplace. “Yeah, I been catching and holding good since my sister
freaked the pad off. We going to redecorate every pad in my building by spring.”
Then he pulled back his punch-thickened blue lips in a white-fanged dazzle of black leopard grin. He locked Angelo's eyes in the cold gray stare of his own.
Bone almost whispered, “Man, what's happening?”
Angelo asked with terminal pain on his face, “Whatta ya mean, Bone?”
“I mean, man, on Christmas you ain't gonna neglect your old lady's big sweet lollipop tits for no light chitchat with even your boon spade.”
“Mr. Collucci wants to see you this morning,” Angelo said quietly.
Bone asked softly, “He downstairs?”
Angelo shook his head.
Bone fiddled with the lapel above the automatic and said harshly, “Man, what is all this shit going down on Christmas morning?”