Betrayal At Midnight: Big Joey's Last Stand.

Big Joey had gone soft; everybody knew it. It was the talk on the streets, at the corner bar, and even in the small article tucked in the bottom corner of page three of the New Star newspaper, where two clubs owned by Joey had been razed down. Nobody dared to touch any of Joey's properties before, and now it had been four days now, and there was no reply from Joey. Phil Lucky sneered at the mirror as tales of the past Joey came to mind. Now Joey had to go; there was no place for slobs in the business, and a fat soft slob was what the once-great Joey had become. He picked up his gun and adjusted his fedora hat. The other families had approved the hit at a secret meeting days ago. It was time, and it was his luck; he was the one chosen for it. Well, he had always been one lucky son of a bitch; no wonder everybody called him Lucky Phil.

Big Joey smiled as he rolled the Cuban cigar, thinking back to the time he had carried a gun and was the right-hand man for the Bonanno family. He had been there when Bonanno himself was killed, and he had assumed control of the family then. Maybe he wasn't as athletic as he was, he thought as he looked down at the extra flesh he had gathered in his middle, or maybe he had lost his speed. But he had made enough for him to live for the rest of his life. He smiled as he thought of the diamonds from that last job in China that were safely locked in the safe deposit box outside the railway station. He would pick up the diamonds and contact Jimmy, the weasel, for the money for all his stakes in the various businesses he owned that he had half-sold secretly this week.

"No, Jimmy will not betray me. He's no rat. But if he does, by God, I'll empty my clip on his body." The cold, hard steel strapped to his flesh gave him confidence as he stood to check up on Monica.

"My love, could you finish everything quickly? We have to go before dawn," he said as he saw her still powdering her nose. She smiled and asked him to get a drink and promised to be done before he came back. He asked if she had locked all the doors, and she confirmed before he went back to his seat to continue his reminiscing.

"Ah, Monica. Hers was a pleasant thought," he remembered. He recalled the first time he met her. He had just finished a job for Rastelli and was waiting for the evening train back to Chicago. He stopped at a bar to burn time, and the most beautiful thing he had ever seen came on stage and started singing. His jaw dropped, and at that moment, he wanted her like he had wanted nothing else. He watched her until she finished her performance and went backstage. He downed his drink in one swallow, paid, and went backstage. He tipped the potter a hundred dollars for a few minutes backstage with her. Immediately he stepped into the room; she turned frightened at his sudden appearance. "I'm not here to hurt you, baby," he said, twisting the big diamond on his pinky finger, and he saw her smile and watched her eyes brighten. "I want to talk to you," he whispered, drawing her closer. They kissed, and a few minutes later, they were in the backseat of his car. Three months later, they married in Italy. It was as easy as that with her.

His mother, God rest her soul, had said he would never amount to no good, but the poor old woman was clearly wrong, he thought. He had gotten Monica, and he had over twenty million dollars in diamonds in the safe deposit box. He was getting out of the life of crime tonight with Monica. His clothes were packed, and she was his only reason for the delay. The other families were coming for him. He was aware of the plan to send Lucky Phil to kill him, as an old associate of his who had attended the meeting had told him. But he was not afraid of any man, dead or alive, and certainly not of Lucky Phil.

Women!" he scoffed as he finished his drink and stood up to hassle Monica, so they could leave already. He stopped in his tracks as he saw Lucky Phil in the living room with his bottle of expensive whiskey in his hand." Ahh, Joey, kind of you to join us. I see you have very good taste," referring to the bottle in his hand and gesturing to Monica, who was being led in by two of Lucky Phil's men. "Don't touch her, and how did you get in?" Big Joey said in a croaky whisper he could barely recognize as his voice. "A little bird told me," Lucky Phil smiled as he turned to Monica, who approached him, and they kissed while Big Joey watched with slouched shoulders and shook at the betrayal.

"See, Joey; there's no place for slobs and soft fools like you in the organization. If you were still the Big Joey, I know," he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes, "then you would have seen that your pet was nursing the intention to strike you," he said as his men removed the Colt strapped to Big Joey. "Where are the diamonds, darling?" he turned to Monica and asked. "At the safe deposit box at the railway station, number 423," she said as she brought out the key and gave it to Lucky Phil.

"Thank you, my darling," Lucky Phil said as he shot her through the chest. She slumped and fell loudly to the floor. "I have no use for Jezebels and two-faced bitches," he said with fury, pointing the gun at Big Joey. Big Joey closed his eyes, smiled, and knelt down as memories of his entire life crossed his mind. As he heard the bang of the gun and felt the bullet shatter his head, he hoped his mother would be happy to see him as he joined her wherever she was.

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