Billy the Kid Returns Home: Part One of the Finale
Note to My Readers
The end is near for Billy and Genna. If you’ve been keeping up with the story you know that Genna just informed Billy that she is pregnant. Billy has decided this whole messy affair needs to come to an end, so they are heading back east to New York City to end it once and for all.
Billy has a plan.
Let’s find out what the crazy Mick bastard is going to do.
Springtime in New York
It began here. It should end here.
Here is Washington Heights, the neighborhood of my youth and the place I shot and killed Ivan, the Russian crime boss who wasn’t too fond of me for screwing his darling daughter. Since then I’ve had a price on my head, and until I take care of that little matter, Genna and I, and our unborn child, won’t have a moment’s peace.
Fight or flight, and I’m tired of running.
The Russians have had a stranglehold on the Heights since the early 90’s. You want to run whores, run numbers, do a little loan-sharking, deal some coke or black tar, then you do it with the blessings of the Russians, and kickbacks are expected, and may the Lord Almighty have mercy on the soul of any fool who thinks he can cut out the Russians and go independent.
“Do you really think this is the right thing to do, Billy?” Genna asked me as we wound our way through the Heights.
“The right thing to do? Genna, I know we can’t beat the Russians. There are too many of them no matter how many we kill. They have tentacles reaching every corner of this country, so running is out of the question. That only leaves us one choice: we have to let them kill us.”
She turned her head and looked at the storefronts and brownstones we passed. On the radio some weather gal with more body than brains told us the day would be unseasonably hot for late April. We moved into Pinehurst on our way to 183rd.
“Why are we driving by the Russian’s home?”
“I just want to see where the enemy lives, Genna. Call it motivation.”
“He has family, right? We can’t hurt his kids, Billy. That’s not right.”
“I promise, Genna. Family is sacred.”
The “he” Genna was talking about was Sergei Andropov, the current Russian crime boss in New York and the man who put a price on my head. He lived comfortably in Pinehurst, free from fear with his wife and two teens, unaware that his worst enemy was slowly driving by his modest two-story with the flower pots on the stoop and the morning paper on the brick pathway. There was really no reason to see his home other than morbid curiosity. I just wanted to see where the enemy lived.
We passed his home and then I took a left at the corner and headed for the meeting with Pappi.
Pappi had been a fixture in the Bronx for as long as I could remember. Hell, he had done a couple favors for my old man, so that put him here for at least forty years that I knew of. Pappi is a fixer. He’s made a comfortable living fixing problems for people. He has no allegiances other than to money, none to friends (he has none), none to family (no favoritism for Greeks) and none to the law-abiding or the criminal-minded. He answers only to money. If you’ve got the green and a problem to be solved, Pappi is safe, neutral ground where problems go away. He’s lasted this long by practicing neutrality.
We found him in his favorite watering hole, The Keyhole, nursing a Bud with a Jack back, at nine-thirty that morning. He raised his beer in salute, took a healthy swig and smiled his gap-toothed smile. His thick, gray hair flowed to his shoulders. He’s a stout man, a former fisherman in the Greek islands as a lad, thick shoulders, thick forearms and a permanent smirk sitting on a pale face lined with wrinkles and scars.
“Well if it isn’t Billy the Kid. Billy, you truly are a crazy Mick bastard. I knew your old man, God rest his soul, but you might be crazier than he was and that’s saying something. You do know the price has increased on your ass, right? One-hundred large for anyone willing to dime you. You should be on a tropical island somewhere, kid, anywhere but here.”
“But here’s where it started, Pappi, and here’s where it will end. Genna and me need to disappear forever. I need foolproof identities for us both, and I need them fast, and then I need you to develop amnesia.”
Pappi only needed one question answered.
“Twenty grand is what I need. Five now, the rest when I deliver in three days. As for amnesia, I wouldn’t have lasted this long with loose lips. If we have a deal then be back here, same time, in three days with fifteen large. Slide the five my way and then smile for the camera.”
I gave him the cash. He pulled a Nikon from a backpack at his feet, took my picture, then Genna’s, toasted us once more with his beer and the meeting was over. As we were walking out I’m pretty sure I heard “crazy Mick bastard” tossed in our direction.
Everything I know about writing
Two Days to Plan and Then Execution
We needed a place to stay. New York is one damned big-assed city, but it’s not that easy to hide in if you’re known and wanted. I was both, so I took the Holland Tunnel to Jersey City, then threaded my way west to Newark and some semblance of anonymity. It wasn’t perfect but it would have to do.
We found a flophouse on the outskirts that dealt with cash. I was tired from driving all night so we crashed for a four-hour nap. We woke to sunshine filtered by smog and the sounds of a city in full business mode. A diner two blocks north was good enough for eats and plans. Of course Genna had more questions than I had answers.
“Will the new identity do the job, Billy?”
“Pappi makes them perfect, Genna. It’s not our new identities we have to worry about. We have to stage our deaths and we have to do it with all the flair of a Super Bowl halftime show, because if the Russians don’t buy our act we’ll be running for the rest of our lives….and it all begins with a phone call.”
I pulled out a disposable cell phone and called my friend Lorenzo. He gave me the number I needed and two minutes later I was talking to none other than Sergei Andropov, the latest Russian czar in Washington Heights.
“Billy the Kid,” he said with all the warmth of an ice pick. “How is it that I may help you this beautiful spring day?”
“There have been misunderstandings, Sergei, and think we should meet to discuss them.”
“By misunderstandings do you mean you shooting Ivan and then killing more of my men in Iowa? Is this what you call a misunderstanding?” He then laughed for several seconds before continuing.
“You do understand, Billy, that you must die, do you not? It is only way. I tell you what, my friend. I will allow that black bitch of yours to live if you come in today. Kiss her goodbye, turn yourself in and it ends today. Otherwise, I will take black bitch and make whore of her, after she has pleased me. What say you, crazy Mick bastard?”
“Sergei, we were doing pretty well there until you called Genna a bitch. I was going to let you live. Now I’m afraid your two kids will be without their father soon. Here’s how it’s going down. I will meet you in three days at a warehouse located at Eighteen-twenty-four on Sixty-fourth Street in the Heights. Be there at three pm. We’ll work out our differences then.
“And one other thing, Sergei…..Fuck you!”
Let the Games Begin
We are down to the final chapter. Stay tuned. Next week we’ll find out if Billy and Genna can actually raise that child of theirs together, or if the family-to-be will all die as the cherry blossoms bloom in New York City.
Thanks for following along.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)