William Dilbert is a writer with an affinity towards fantastic novelizations that focus on tales of fantasy and science-fiction. It is his belief that fictional writing often reveals more about the real world than works of non-fiction. To that end, Dilbert is a student at Full Sail University and is seeking a bachelor’s degree through their Creative Writing program. For more information, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-dilbert-05a48b1a5/
You Only Get One
Tony wiped the sweat from his palms as he stepped into the dim office tucked away in the back of Fucilli’s. A cloud of smoke hovered at his nostrils and stained the air with grey swirls. He took off his worn-down hat, making sure to swat the smoke from his face. A white-haired man with a pencil moustache sat behind a dark mahogany desk. A rose corsage stood vibrant against the black suit that blended into the dark wall behind him. Don Fonzarelli. “You wanted to see me, boss?” “Anthony, sorry for the last-minute call. I’m glad you could make it.” The boss sucked at a smoldering cigar between his lips. He bobbed his head at the chair opposite his and waited. Tony pulled back the chair lightly, noting the two others in the corner behind him. Vinny and Damien, the Don’s favorite fixers, both in their trademark tailored suits with slight bulges just below their arms. The pair sat around a small table playing with a shoddy briscola deck. A bead of sweat formed on Anthony’s brow. “Nervous, Anthony? Don’t be. We’re all family here, after all.” Fonzarelli reclined into his padded leather chair and smoothed out his black tie, wiping away small flecks of ash in the process. “So, what’s new with you, huh? How are the wife and kids?” Tony’s heart pounded against his lungs; his words came out stuttered. “I… they’re, uh, they’re good. Ya know Michael just came home the other day with his report card. Little squirt got straight A’s. Can you believe it? That’s gotta come from his mother’s side of the family.” “Really? Good for him. You must be proud. Not every day, your boy gets to show off his noggin. How old is he now?” Tony fidgeted with his shirt collar. “He’s, uh, he just turned ten last week. I hate to be so forward with you, boss, but can I ask what this get together is all about?” The Don’s face tightened. “I’m glad you asked, Anthony. Like I said, there ain’t no need to be scared. Just gotta tell you about a little rumor I heard the other night, right outside.” “A rumor?” “You know Vito, right? Well, Vito came by the restaurant and talked about how some punk kid went and dinged up his Royce.” The boss held his arms out to his side. “Now, you know me, I didn’t want to look into a little vandalism on account of that weasel, but I told him I would, so I did, you know how it goes.” Tony’s pulse regained its rhythm as the boss leaned into the desk and pointed into his face. “I’m tellin’ you this because you’re family and family is important, as you know. It was your boy that scratched up Vito’s ride. Don’t panic. I didn’t tell Vito, and I don’t plan on it neither. I just want to make it clear that if this happens again and someone else does the investigating, we’ll be meeting in a cemetery, not my restaurant. We clear?” he asked. “Like crystal, sir. It won’t happen again. I’ll make sure of it.” “Good, good. Last thing we need is for another turn out like the Corleone boys. Poor kids thought they were slick stealing those paintings from the museum. Next thing ya know, boom. They wind up with a new pair of cement shoes.” “Must be nice to have the Boss here to clean up your messes all the time.” Vinny said, smacking a card down onto the table. Tony clenched his fists. “Next time you might want to teach your boy some manners. They clearly don’t teach those in school.” Tony spun from his chair, closed his fist, and struck Vinny square in his jaw. The goon fell from his chair, blood pooled on his lip. He stood back up and shoved his hand under the suit’s arm. “You little shit.” “Enough.” The boss rubbed his eyes. “You had that one coming, Vincent. I don’t pay you to be juvenile. Now clean yourself up and sit your ass down.” “Sorry, boss,” Tony said. “I didn’t mean to cause a scene.” “Forget about it. You can go now. Just remember what we talked about. Michael gets into any more trouble and I won’t be able to help. Everybody only gets one.” “Yessir.” Tony put on his hat and left the restaurant, ignoring Vinny’s glowering expression. The street was a stark contrast to the cramped office. Its lights, even at night, blinded him as he stepped out onto the sidewalk. As he stood at the storefront, beneath the streetlamps and high rises, waiting for a taxi, he couldn’t help but flex his hand, his knuckles were red, and his face winced with every movement. Tony clenched his fist. “You only get one.” As he turned to make his way home, Tony froze noticing the expensive car that sat motionless beneath the prefect frame of a streetlamp’s light. A Rolls Royce.