Strongarm - The Politics of a Criminal Underworld
Tommy was seated across from his nephew Nicky, who was secretly being dressed to get made, and he suddenly remembered that Nicky's friend Claudia was 3 days late on the weekly kick. Tommy puts his fork on the plate that plays host to expertly made chicken cacciatore, reclines in his seat, and takes a sip from his glass of wine. He puts the glass on the table and says, "That fuckin' schifusa..." Tommy shakes his head, and wipes his face with a napkin. "She's 3 fuckin' days late. This is the second week in a row, Nicky. You gonna let this broad jerk you the fuck around all the time? You know why she's holding out on you, right? Right?" Tommy points at the dance floor, but he's just implying the outside world, "Because she's out there, doin' blow like it's nobody's fuckin' business. Who does she think I am, Nicky?"
Nicky shook his head from the left to the right, glaring across the table at his uncle. He breaks eye contact for a moment, before looking back in to his uncle's eyes. "She's not holding out on me, I can guarantee that. This broad's been with us for how long now? Her business isn't getting any slower and her clients didn't suddenly turn into fanooks. She's just been busy. Besides, I've been meaning to get over there the last few weeks to see the broad, but I've been busy with the warehouses." Nicky pulled a package of Lucky Strikes out of his jacket pocket and lit one up with his Zippo lighter.
Tommy stared at Nicky with an uneasy coldness about him. He sat motionless, and without a sound. He breathed heavily, but slowly through, and out of his nose, until he finally breaks the moments of suspense. "Alright Nicky, you wanna be the fuckin' big man here and take the blame for this broad? Are you sure you wanna do this?" Tommy pulls the Rosada Sungrown cigar out from behind his ear and puts it between his lips. He strikes a match and holds the flame to the tobacco. He waves the match out, and speaks with the cigar in his mouth, "OK. I'll let you do that, then. I'll cut this broad a break - in fact, bring 'er down to Zerilli's tomorrow night, her and I can have some nice dinner. How about that? She's such a fuckin' angel, then alright, let me see for myself, huh? This fuckin' broad's a cocksucking wizard according to you, so why not?" Tommy speaks without showing any malice or discontent. He ashes the cigar in the ashtray and says, "In fact, tell 'er she ain't gotta work these high class jobs no more. Tell 'er she's got the nod from upstairs that she can take a break for a while. And while you're at it, how about you uh..." Tommy ashes the cigar again, sticking it between his teeth. "How about I tax you 5 percent on that scheme you got goin' on down the docks?"
Nicky drew on his cigarette for a few moments, taking the time to think out his next words carefully. Part of him wanted to tell his uncle to go fuck himself, but he knew that wasn't such a good idea. Tommy could still throw a mean right hook. "I'll let the broad know that you want her out for dinner when I go see her tonight. Hell, she can even take your cut straight to you herself. As far as taxing me on the docks, you'll be putting me in a pretty rough spot. Port authority is patrolling twice as much as they were three months ago." Nicky felt embarrassed but on the surface he retained a look of perfect serenity.
"Port authority?" Tommy stares at Nicky condescendingly, "port authority? N-..Nicky, you're tryin'a pull 'port authority' right now?" Tommy takes a drag from his cigar, ashing it again. He lets the smoke cinematically pour from the slight gap between his lips. "I tell you what." Tommy snaps his fingers and waves a waiter over, "Clean this up." He says to the waiter, who does exactly as he's told. Tommy looks back at Nicky, "I tell you what. I'll give my friend a call, you know the one, the guy with the friends in private security? Well, I'll give this guy a call, and have 'em keep these pigs out of the shipment yard. So, yeah, I'm taxing you 5 percent." Tommy got out of his seat, and left his cigar in the ashtray as he moved to the balcony of the privatized dining area in The Southie - a famous erotic entertainment bar in North Jersey - and watched the women move. "You know Nicky, it's been ah..." Tommy turns to face Nicky, but looks at his watch. "It's been about...- Jesus Christ, this thing's a real cocksucker. Won't even give me the right fuckin' time!" Tommy taps his watch furiously. "There we go, Christ al-fuckin'-mighty, finally!" Tommy nods a few times, staring at his watch. "If my watch is right, then it's been about...6 years since Gianna left me." Tommy looks up at Nicky with a shit-eating grin. You could tell that Tommy didn't think much of himself, but so what? This guy runs North Jersey. He doesn't have to think much of anybody. He doesn't even have to think at all. Tommy walked over to Nicky and put his hand on his neck and shoulder. "You know if I don't come down on you, I'm gonna look weak. 2 straight weeks this broad's either been light, or she's been late. You're her guy, you're the mother-fuckin' fuckin' one who calls the shots with her. Aren't you? Isn't that who you are?" Tommy pinches Nicky's cheek and kisses his head. "I gotta remind people...I'm the boss. I can't look soft over here...you know that." Tommy takes a seat after removing his blazer.
Nicky nodded his head a few times, speaking not only with his mouth but also with his hands. "She won't be fucking me around anymore on my money after I talk with her. You're right. What I do reflects back on you just as much as it reflects on me. I'm gonna set this broad straight." Nicky had to admit his uncle was almost always correct, at least when it came to business. Nicky pulled his pager out of his pocket and sent Cherry a quick message telling her to give him a call as soon as she saw it. Ashing the cigarette out on the tray, he set the pager down on the table and returned his focus to his uncle. Nicky gets lost in his own thoughts, catering to the fantasy of being in Tommy's shoes one day. He imagines that he'd make a suitable boss, maybe even better than Tommy, but Nicky tried not to buy into his own pseudo-narcissism. He knows all about the stress, and pressure that comes with being the boss. He recalls a time in his teenaged years when he was in charge of a fantasy football bracket, and how he almost lost the sheets, and everybody's picks, and choices along with it. It would have spelled nothing but disaster for him. "Yeah. You're right, Tommy. I'll show this broad what-for." Nicky nodded a few times, taking solace in his uncle's advice, but mainly in his own conclusion. While Tommy certainly influenced what he believed most times, Nicky was proud to know that he was the one, and only person controlling his thoughts. He knew he had to bring the hammer down on Claudia, but he also knew that it would be hard; he's always had trouble raising his hand to a beautiful woman. It's going to be hard, but Nicky knows he has to do it. He knows what making it in the mob is going to take...and he's willing to do anything.
Canonized playing the role of Dominick Terranova
Count Epsilon playing the role of Thomas D'Ercoli