Not On Tony's List

Being a Gangster isn't always just cocaine and hookers ...

Paul Greenberg sheds some light on the daily grind in "Not On Tony's List"

Not On Tony's List by Paul Greenberg

“So, this broad says to me, 'How are you at spatial relations?' And I says, 'you mean like, would my dick fit between your tits?'  I thought she was going to wet her panties. Yeah, I gotta go. Yeah, right bye.”

Tony Keyes clicked off his cell phone, stuffed it in the pocket of his Neiman Marcus suit, took out his Moleskine notebook, glanced at his notes and hopped into to his yellow Hummer. First stop, Uva's Bar. Pete Fargo would be there and he owed four thousand for the month.

Tony Keyes was a collector. Every town had one because every town had a bookie and every bookie had clients that didn't pay. Tony pulled the Hummer into a handicap spot by the front door.

It was 10:00 a.m. and inside, Pete Fargo was having a Bloody Mary, and chatting up Bill Hannity, the bartender.

“Every time I watch The Walking Dead, all I can think about is toilet paper...” Bill heard the rumble of the Hummer and suggested with a flick of his head that Pete take the back door out.

Tony Keyes was an imposing presence.  A former professional wrestler, his signature move was called the “Keyes to Your Heart.” A rip off of Stan “The Man” Stasiak's “Heart Punch.” Though Stan was never asked to find a new career, after punching an opponent into cardiac arrest.

“Where is he?”

“No one’s here Tony.” Bill said, picking up the half empty glass and wiping down the bar. Tony closed and locked the door behind him.

“Listen Tony...”

“You listen. Pete owes four grand. If you’re going to lie for him, maybe you’re going to pay for him too. Huh?”

“No Tony...”

Tony Keyes pulled a pair of pliers from his inside coat pocket and grabbed Bill Hannity by the neck, smashing his face downward onto the mahogany bar.

“Open your fucking mouth.”

None of Bill's kicking and squirming could stop Tony Keyes from pulling out one tooth for every thousand dollars that Bill Hannity’s friend Pete Fargo owed.

When the extractions were complete Tony suggested to Bill that he give the teeth to Pete as a reminder of how much he owed. Bill Hannity was spitting blood on the bar as Tony took out his Moleskine and checked off the first item on his list.

Tony hopped into his Hummer and popped on his Pandora station of ’70’s Blaxploitation music. Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown were the soundtrack for the day. Tony loved his job. He could drive and enjoy the weather, listen to music and eat, which was on his agenda at his next stop, Mario’s Pizzeria. Mario’s son Junior, owed seven grand after picking Stephan Bonnar to beat Anderson Silva.

“Hey, Pisano,” said Tony to the kid at the counter, as he walked into the back room where Junior was sorting money into piles.

“I got $3,500 for you, Tony. I’ll have the rest next week.”

Tony picked the money up off the desk pivoted, turned and headed out to the restaurant, where he grabbed a slice of pizza from a pan that had just come out of the oven. Returning to the back room he slapped the hot pie on to Junior’s face.

Tony left Junior screaming and picking the scorching pieces of pepperoni, sausage and cheese from his face, while he boxed up the rest of the pizza and took it with him to the Hummer. There, he took out his notebook and checked off two items; Junior and Lunch.

Tony drove down to the beach and enjoyed the rest of the pizza. If he finished up early enough he would head to the gym and then take his niece to the movies. A police cruiser drove by and gave Tony a “hello” toot of the horn. He didn’t have to worry about the police. Most of them gambled and most were good customers. If they were late, they took it up with the boss.

His next few stops were uneventful in that, his clients had their money ready. Eddie at the barber shop was an old timer who made a few $50 bets every Sunday during football season. He owed $250. There were some kids at the hardware store that pooled their money and lost $350 this week. Even the girls at Elsie’s Hair Salon got some action. They lost $100. All in all it wasn’t a bad day. Tony collected $4,250 and sent two messages.

The last things on Tony’s list were to report in and drop off his collections. So was his habit, he took a $1,000 off the top and tucked it in an envelope under his Ruger Redhawk .45, in the glove box. He adjusted his notebook to show that Junior had only paid $2,500. He took the rest of the money and put it in a separate envelope and put that in his coat pocket.

He pulled into the police station parking lot and walked directly to Lt. Hanley’s office. Hanley was on the phone and had three Blackberries on his desk that were beeping in bets for the Thursday night game and the MLB Playoffs. Tony dropped the envelope of cash on the LT’s desk. Hanley put the envelope in a drawer and motioned for Tony to wait a minute. When he finished his call he suggested that they take it outside to the Hummer.

Tony was running down the day’s events and how Pete Fargo had given him the slip when Hanley popped open the glove box, took Tony’s .45 out, placed it under Tony’s chin and pulled the trigger. Without much emotion he placed the gun in Tony’s hand and took the envelope containing over ten grand from the glove box and exited the vehicle.

As other cops came running out of the building, Hanley called to Sgt. Stein and said, “We’ve got a suicide here Sarge. Clean and impound that vehicle ASAP. My phone is ringing off the hook."

Paul Greenberg is convinced God doesn't want him to work. So he spends his time mentally cataloging his long lost record collection and writing. Jim Morrison said: The future's uncertain and the end is always near. So, fuck it. Not on Tony's List is Paul's fourth story for Out of the Gutter.