Part 1 – Welcome to the family
Silence fell suddenly, swiftly appearing and disappearing intermittently like floating snowflakes falling in snow- specks forming a whole. The heaviness of the tense atmosphere made it hard to breathe. An unbearable odour of mistrust and silent calculations pervaded the air of the room.
” You told me you would handle it. I trusted you Jake. I trusted you, and I was wrong to do so”, Will spoke in a calm and controlled manner but he couldn’t quite hide the boiling anger that hid beneath his words.
“I am sorry… truly… Will I couldn’t do anything… They got there before I did and…” Jake tried to explain himself but Will wasn’t having any of it.
“When I asked you: Jake, can you handle the Martini case? You remember what you said?” said Will slowly weighing each of his words on a scale.
“Will I just…. “, started Jake.
” It’s okay Will I got this, it’ll be easy just like Code 1; that’s what you said”, Will cut Jake short again, not leaving him any room for excuses.” I asked you if you were sure, insisted. I told you it would be hard but you told me to ‘trust you’. I was an idiot. When has trusting you ever gotten us out of trouble?” Cold and unfeeling were his words as they left the aperture of his lips.
Seeing this, Jake felt a cold shiver run down his spine. He wished he could be anywhere else in the world,other then in front of Will ‘Surekill’; presenting a failed mission. He felt remorse as he remembered how he had boldly claim that it would be a piece of cake and laughed with the others telling them it was an easy job; a guaranteed promotion.
However, the mission had completely gotten out of hand and he had lost his opportunity to prove his worth to the Boss. Now, he could only hope that Will ‘Surekill’ would be lenient with him and only slice off a finger or two.
Jake got on his knees, grovelling at Will’s feet for forgiveness, fast as a gazelle being stared down on by a lion in the Savanah.
” Please, boss, he said – no longer referring to Will by his name as they did when they were kids but as the great mafia boss he had become, I am sorry I never thought the parcel would escape. I didn’t think they’d send a kid to carry it.”
Jake trembled as Will answered with a smile that was no smile and a laugh that was not a laugh ” You got humiliated by a kid. One of my men got ridiculed in front of the whole citta. They say a man’s honour and virtue lies in the hand of those that serve him. If one of my closest men got humiliated by a kid and cannot complete a task the he himself called ‘easy’ what does that say about me, hmm? Jackie, I like you. Me and you, we go way back. But you cannot step on my dignity like this without consequence.”
Jake gulped loudly; finally, it has come to this he thought. ” Yes, boss. I will pay the price you ask of me. No matter the cost.” his voice quivered audibly. Looking behind the boss he saw the disappointed looks on the faces of his famiglia. He has brought dishonour to their boss, there was no grater disgrace. They awaited patiently his exemption for his crimes. Once exempted they would welcome him once more in the famiglia but until that moment came, he was a dreg in their eyes.
Will moved his hand swiftly and a knife appeared where there was nothing earlier. He looked coldly at Jake kneeling before him on the floor and handed him the blade.
“They say the one who best knows the price to pay for his crimes is the criminal himself. I will let you show me that you are sorry and if I or the famiglia deem it enough, I will forgive you and welcome you back as one of my sons”, said Will in a voice that could make any man, weak of heart, faint on the spot.
Jake nauseously stared at the spotless silver knife in the palm of his hand and tightened his grip. In the reflection of the blade he saw the fear in his eyes. When would Will ‘deem it enough’? How far would he had to go to prove his worth to the famiglia?
Jake swallowed hard and – mustering his courage as best he could- he rose up and faced them. Jake decided he would start big. That way they would stop him fast and he might have time to ‘stick back’ some of the pieces.
Thus he declared:” The things I care most about in this world are: The boss, the famiglia and my face the ladies love. So I will take away the only thing I can give you. I will start with my ear.” Jake grabbed his ear and in a rapid motion proceeded to cut it off without letting one scream of pain leave his tightened lips. He presented the ear displayed in his an open palm, without a word.
Then the boss slowly let a smile of satisfaction appear on his face. The famiglia discussed among themselves while Jake resisted the desire to scream out from pain. The pain from his chopped of ear was gradually worsening by the minute.
The famiglia finally seemed to have reached a consensus and all turned back towards him, the boss remained still smiling slightly.
” Jake, you have proven yourself in my eyes. I am happy and deem your exchange worthy, he turned around to look at the rest, Maldono! What is the consensus mi figli?”
Maldono a short robust looking man advanced. He had slick black hair and an air of experience about him. He was one of the oldest men of the boss having served him from the cradle. He spoke and said: ” We all agree that the sacrifice was worthy, we forgive him padre.” Maldono was much older than Will, however he respected protocol and addressed him as father, as he should.
Will swiftly spun around in his black tuxedo and somehow made two cigars and a glass of whisky appear in his hands. “Take it, he said as he handed Jake the glass, you will need it for the pain figli. You did well. But no more mistakes, understand?” He looked Jake straight in the eyes as he asked that. Jake looked back wondering if any part of the little boy who used to cry for ice cream still existed in there
” Si, never again. Mai!” he said.
“Now go put that ear in an ice bucket, and get the Family doctor to put it back. It’d be shame for one of my figli to walk around with no ears. The ladies of the citta would skin for doing this to you. Welcome back to the family!”
” Grazie padre!” exclaimed Jake and he ran faster than his shadow to get his ear fixed, solemnly swearing to himself never to fail the boss again.
Written by Issa Dioume
Author’s site: Click here