Forget – A Mafia Tale

It’s not easy being a mafia boss, but someone has got to do it. Sitting at his desk, Tony let out a sigh. The day had gone well. Problems aside, proceedings went much smoother than they tended to. Still, something was bugging him. For some inexplicable reason, Tony couldn’t shake off the feeling that he forgot something important. The first time the thought flashed through his mind , he pushed it aside. It had been a busy day, but he was sure he had done everything that had to be done.

Or did he? The longer Tony sat around thinking about it, the more unsure he felt. Maybe he really did forget something. The thought reignited and started spreading through his head.

Forgetting things in this line of business is not an unhealthy habit. In fact, any wrong move can have you set an early foot or two into your brand new gravely estate, complete with a beautiful oceanic view. Concrete footwear thrown in free of charge.

Tony’s mind started racing, desperately speeding and drifting along the corners of his mind, hoping he’d reach some form of thought or image awaiting at the other side of the finish line. No luck, his mind was too far ahead of him to catch up.

Perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps he hadn’t forgotten anything. Perhaps that was so, but many wrong men got wrong visits from wrong people about things having gone wrong in this day and age. Tony personally arranged a lot of these visits. If anyone had a good idea of what happens to anyone who left something unfinished, it was Tony.

Calm down. Look through the agenda and carefully go through the events of the day. If anything was left undone, a calm and logical approach would force it to show itself. All of his important events of the day were recorded within these pages.

Meeting w/t Sharktooth Shaun?
No, that couldn’t be it. Sharktooth had learned his lesson the hard way. You do not steal from the boss. And you especially do not steal the boss’s own office. Those swords were a gift from another family, and it doesn’t matter how much Sharktooth liked them, taking them was a no go. The meeting had left Shaun behind without much reason to smile. In fact, he could start looking for a new name. The things you could do with a corkscrew, a little effort, and the pride some people held in their teeth was an amazing thing.

Meeting w/t Tommy the Tuner and Mr. Freddy?
No, that couldn’t be it either. He took them out on his boat, promising a nice relaxing talk about business far, far away from the pesky rats, the bugs, and the rest of the big-eared, large-mouthed vermin that were crawling the streets these days. You know, because he trusted them. There was this nice feeling of solitude and of not having a single other soul around, a couple of drinks, and no officer, there’s nothing shady happening on this boat. No officer, we haven’t seen anything suspicious happening here. Good day, officer. Sure, it was a simple trick, but it simple tricks work every  single time. After you pull the old boat and cop routine, they’ll never talk about anything to anyone again.

Laundry transport?
No, Tony was sure he hadn’t forgotten that one either. He wished he did. The idiots who were supposed to be moving the dirty goods had tried taking off with the load. In an act of panic-fueled stupidity they ended up driving into a fast food chain restaurant. Bewildered and unsure where to take it from there, they decided to try to rob the place. It went wrong. The police came from one side and they quickly fled the other. Luckily Mr. Freddy and Jaywalkin’ Jeffrey managed to pick them up and bail them out of the spotlight, securing the cleaned laundry and what little they had yielded from their little hold-up in the process. The two were a young bunch. Tony had never seen them before they were supposed to have performed this single task. He never had to see them after either, he reflected as he was looking at the next task: Trash Disposal. It was underlined several times to stress the urgency.

The rest of Tony’s agenda was full of notes, and scribbles, and new contacts and their phone numbers. A few addresses and locations of future hits. And a few small meetings of no real importance. If his agenda was to be believed, the day went relatively smoothly. Nothing left out.

Still, the feeling kept nagging at Tony. There was something he forgot, and whatever it was, it had to be important.

Tony went for the phone book. Maybe seeing the right name would ring a bell or two. While going through the pages, he made the occasional stop to cross out a name or two. There’s always people dropping out of the business, never voluntarily, always permanently.

The phone book landed on his desk with a loud thud. There was nothing out of place there either. Maybe he was getting paranoid? Thinking about the possibility and playing with it from several angles, he decided that might be it. Jaywalkin’ Jeffrey did mention how he seemed more on the edge than usual lately. Although it could have been because of the meeting with Tommy the Tuner and Mr. Freddy. Any run-in with the police – no matter if it’s a set up or not – was a massive risk.

His mind starting to make peace with the self-admittance of paranoia, Tony felt like he could finally relax. He leaned forward, resting his head against the desk. A vacation would do him some good about now. Slowly dozing off, his gaze fell on a photo of his wife and kids that he kept on his desk. Tony closed his eyes. Yes, a vacation with his family. How long has it been since he had one of those?

How long had it been since he’d last seen them?! Jumping out of his chair in a panic, Tony finally realized what it was he’d forgotten. He hadn’t been home for… for at least a couple of days. Perhaps even more than a week. He wrestled with his coat, trying to get the damn thing on. Damn it, Tony, focus. How could you forget? You have to get back home, now! For the first time in ages, Tony started making his way back home from the office.

A home should never feel as unfamiliar to anyone as Tony’s home did to him. It’s a tell-tale sign of a bad husband and father. The only possible worse sign would be coming home to an empty house.

Everything was gone. Not just the wife, his kids, his cat… No, everything. Even the wallpaper had been torn off the wall.

The only thing left behind was the letter that had been taped to the wall opposite to the front door. At least, Tony imagined that it had been taped there. He had been gone for so long that even the tape had given up on Tony’s arrival, and the letter was greeting him on the floor. He didn’t have to read the contents to know what the letter said. She had left him and taken everything. She was tired of living in constant fear, knowing what kind of things he did for a living and never seeing him around the assure her that’s he’s still breathing.

Tony looked at the note anyway. It did say all those things. There was no new address on it. There was no date to tell him how long ago she had left. She did sign it with her name, Beth. Tony shook his head, he had even forgotten her name.

The truth hit him hard, like a drive-by shooting. He had been a terrible husband. If he had been around more often, Beth would not have left him. His kids would have still been here… Gods, what were their damn names?! He couldn’t even remember that!

Tears fell down Tony’s cheeks. He hadn’t just been a bad husband, or father. He’d been a terrible person. His energy seemed to be draining from him quickly upon this realization. His head slowly moved down, and he looked at the pools of blood slowly spreading through his shirt.

Tony fell to his knees, a faint smile appearing on his face. He’d been a terrible husband. A bad father. A horrible person. All of that was okay. If he wasn’t any of these things, his family would have died in this shooting along with him.

Closing his eyes, Tony rested. Completely sure that he didn’t forget anything this time around.

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