The car swerved down the rainy streets at a hundred miles an hour. Pouring rain slanted hard and ran over the dark road while the rapidly moving wipers on the windshield could barely keep up with the deluge. Benny gripped the wheel and gazed into his rearview mirror. Dammit, he’s still there. He’d already pushed his foot all the way down on the petal. He’s a God Damn bloodhound! Maybe I can lose him on the off ramp.
Benny leaned forward and tried to see the blurry road. Fuck, did I miss the exit already? The brand new Mercedes shuddered with a slam and tilted forward as his head slammed onto the steering wheel. “Fuck!” He gasped while his body trembled with panic. He’s ramming my bumper! What kind of God Damn engine does he have in that car?
Benny knew he’d better think of something and quick. With this guy on his bumper and his ass, he was gonna go down for this one. He’d thought he just ripped a regular business man’s car, but maybe he hadn’t? I mean why all this fuss? He shrugged as he tried hard to see through the blurry windshield. Well, it was a hundred and fifty grand worth of car.
The car suddenly swerved erratically while he heard a loud pop. A blowout? He gripped the steering wheel with all his might and tried to control the Mercedes while it spun sideways and back. He knew exactly when it left the ground as it rose from the flooding road and flew through the wet whirling air.
A loud crunching of metal sounded and it went on forever, as glass rained in shards all around him. His world turned upside down and exploded with a reverberating roar. Time whirled by in a dream-like vortex and he opened his eyes. Smoke pinched his nostrils as he was lying in the twisted metal, the rain smattering his bloody face.
A pair of steely eyes gazed down at him through the shattered car window.
Benny laughed when he saw the stern face. “So, you didn’t get me, cop!” His mouth literally bled the words out. “I ain’t going in, you big dumb ass!” He winced with pain while his laughter grew. The gas fumes wafted under his bleeding nose and he knew it would only be a moment before the car went up in smoke and flames.
An evil sounding chuckle rippled from the man while the metal of his car twisted sideways with crunching glass spitting everywhere. Benny gasped and found himself standing on the slick pavement of the road.
The man, who held him in a steel-like grip, stood on long legs in a staunch, unrelenting stance, at well over six and a half feet of hard brawn—a truly unrelenting, brick laden physique. Damp russet hair crowned his head as his flinty dark eyes stared at Benny from a ruggedly handsome face, which currently wore an amused expression.
Benny blinked rapidly as he shook in the man’s one-handed grip. This isn’t a cop. A fearful shudder rolled through him while he peered up at the tall man who’d accosted him.
A malicious glint blazed from his eyes while he glared at Benny. “So, you thought you were gonna get away with this?” His cold smile had turned into a grin.
Benny swallowed. “I think my ribs are broke and my arm—” He winced as his body rose higher in the wet, smoke coated air.
“You stupid little car thief. You gotta go and face the man now. God rest your pathetic soul,” the stranger growled low.
Benny anxiously looked around as he hung aloft. He heard the cold laugh again, while his body swung around and was unceremoniously deposited into a backseat. The car door slammed shut as he slumped down onto the cool inviting leather.
“And don’t bleed on my seats, or I’ll fucking bleed the rest of you out!” The man warned from the front seat.
Benny heard the Mercedes explode behind them and lay his head back on the leather. Son of a bitch, how in hell did he get me out of my car? He closed his eyes with a shaky sigh. Go face the man? What the fuck did that mean?
Benny floated in and out of lulling consciousness, not knowing how long he’d been out. But then he was flung forward in the seat. Then he was thrown backwards when the silent driver took a sharp turn. The man drove like a fucking maniac.
Suddenly, he was out and held by the scruff of his torn shirt. It was some metal building. Then all the sudden, he recognized this area. Oh, shit. No way, man. It wasn’t his car, was it?
The huge man pushed him forward in through the doors at the front. He was then deposited into a chair.
Benny sat and waited. Blood dribbled from his nose. He felt like death warmed over. Damp clothes, cuts, lesions and bruises. His body shook. How stupid could he be? He hadn’t known he’d stolen a car owned by the mob.
A side door opened and a man in a well tailored suit strolled forward. Two very large goons on either side of him.
Benny felt his stomach clench and he felt like he was gonna throw up. Oh, fuck. This is the man I am supposed to see? I am so dead. Dead, dead!
The tall, older well dressed man stopped in front of him. He looked Benny over, contempt on his face. “You stole my Mercedes.”
Benny slumped down in the chair. Fuck. I did! I ripped a car from the man himself. Fucking Lagari? Crap! Crap! Crap! He shifted in his seat with panic and fear. He opened his mouth to speak.
The man raised his hand. “No one steals from me.”
Benny gulped as sweat rolled down his face, stinging the already burning cuts along his cheek.
“Marshall?” The well dressed mobster called out.
Another man, stepped from the shadows in the warehouse and handed him a file.
Lagari took the folder and opened it. “Let’s see. Benny Matterson, Grand Theft Auto on two counts.” He raised his disgusted gaze to Benny,
Benny gave a slight shrug. He knew better than to talk unless he was told to. He also knew he probably had a minute or more to live. He swung his gaze over to the large guy who’d pulled him from the car. He now knew who this was too. God! I am so dead.
“So… you steal cars for a living.”
Benny swallowed heavily and nodded. When were they gonna off him? Why was this head of the biggest crime family in California questioning him? Maybe he was a twisted fuck like most of them were. Wanting to take Benny to task before he had a bullet put into his head. At thought of this happening soon, Benny fought back the urge to puke his guts out. It wouldn’t do to mess up the man’s fine leather Italian shoes. Then again, he was dead anyway.
“The way I see it, you have a choice here.”
Benny swung his lowered head up. A choice?
“You stop stealing cars on your own and work in one of my chop shops. Or…” He let the sentence hang.
Benny was breathing heavily at the suggestion that they might just let him live.
“Or you die in about…” The man swung his gaze over to the larger man who’d brought Benny in. “What Gen? Two or three seconds?”
Benny slowly looked over. It had to be the famous or rather the infamous Genaro. Better known as The Silencer. Maybe they called him that because he silenced witnesses or because of the type of gun, he used.
Genaro still had his steely gaze on him then he looked up at Lagari and he shrugged his wide shoulders. Glancing back over at Benny, he looked as if he itched to pull some trigger that Benny couldn’t see.
But Benny knew the weapon was there though. On his person somewhere. A special gun, long, gleaming and silver with a silencer or so he’d heard. Not that he ever wanted to see it. Nope. No way.
Benny pulled his fearful gaze away from a man most only saw just 30 seconds from cashing in their chips for good as he felt hope for the first time since he’d been pulled out of that burning mistake, back on the freeway. Well, of course, I would work—
“But…” Lagari interjected upon his exhilaration.
Benny’s eyes swung up to the older man.
“If you fuck up. Or if you steal another car on your own. You will be fired.”
Benny fought a nervous insane chuckle. Fired?
“As in set on fire and burned up…” He stepped closer looking enraged. “Just like you did to my fucking Mercedes!”
Benny flinched and ducked down.
“You will work for a long while, paying off what you owe me. By then, you will have proven yourself and will get a cut of the work you do for me. Got it?”
Benny readily nodded. Pay off the cost of a Mercedes? Fuck, he would be working for years!
The man leaned down close. “Do not fuck me over, Masterson. Do not take off on me either. I will have you tracked down and shot within a day. You hear?” His voice rose at the last part.
Lagari turned and left, the two large bruisers walking on either side of him.
Benny then found himself tugged up by his ripped, bloodied, smoke scented shirt collar.
“You lucky bastard.” Genaro chuckled. “I coulda sworn you were going down.”
Benny said nothing as the large man dragged him outside. He was too relieved to speak and he wondered if his s boxers weren’t ruined too.
“Get in,” the hitman ordered as they stopped at a red muscle car. The very one he’d been brought in.
“W-where am I going?” Benny asked nervously.
The man paused as his hand grasped the door handle. “It shoulda been a swift trip to hell, but now it’ll be to one of Lagari’s apartments. You will be starting all over, idiot.”
Benny stared at the man and felt aggravated by the insult. “What the hell did I do to you?” He, of course, instantly regretted the question. Why the fuck couldn’t he keep his dammed mouth shut? This man could end him in a half second.
Genaro shrugged as he got into the car. “I don’t like fools. And anyone who would steal Mason Lagari’s favorite car is retarded, period.”
Benny let out a sigh. Yeah, what could he say to that? He then smiled as he got into the backseat and shut the heavy door behind him, suddenly forgetting about his injuries and everything else. “But at least I’m a living idiot!”
Laughter came from the front seat as Genaro started up the very loud, powerful engine. “Yeah, dumbass, I’ll give you that much.” He then tore out of the parking lot.
Benny hung on as best he could. He’d forgotten for an instant just how wild this man’s driving was as he remembered the ride here almost gave him his second heart attack of the day. His first one was when he’d wrecked that car. Then his third near cardiac arrest was when he realized who he’d stolen the Mercedes from. But this hitman was right. He was a lucky bastard. He smiled as he hung on for dear life.