“So I meet this girl in Philosophy class,” Rachel told her brother. Both of them were walking out of the subway entrance on their way towards Rachel’s apartment. It was another bright blue morning. The sister was reflecting on her memories from college:
“Let’s call her… Sally.”
“What,” Angelo smirked, “You can’t tell me her real name?”
“She’s Italian and some kind of Asian, maybe Japanese, I dunno. But she’s drop-dead gorgeous. Had sort of a Gina Gershon thing going on, you know from Bound?”
“That was an awesome movie,” Angelo looked to his sister.
“I know,” Rachel smiled.
“Weren’t those the same guys who did The Matrix?”
“All right,” Rachel waved her gloved hand, “Don’t get off-track here. So word around the campfire was she liked girls. The next day I start talking to her in class. The usual stuff: ‘Hey don’t you think the teacher is a crack-head?’ That sort of thing.”
“I miss college,” Angelo smiled.
“You didn’t go to college!”
Angelo stopped walking for a second and looked off into space. Rachel stopped to wait for him. “Oh yeah,” Angelo finally realized his error and continued walking.
Rachel rolled her eyes and continued, “Well long story short, I tell her we should study together. And… forgoing some of the details, we fuck each other’s brains out at her place.”
“That’s a little more info than I needed,” Angelo admitted.
“It was fucking amazing. At the time, best sex I’d ever had in my life. But more to it, I liked this girl. She wasn’t just some one-night stand, she was actually fun to talk to, fun to hang out with. You know what I’m talking about… Well actually you probably don’t, but it was quite something.”
“So,” Angelo pried, “How did you two do in the class?”
Rachel looked at her brother like he was an idiot, “It’s not fucking important. You said you wanted to know about me, I’m telling you a story here. We both failed. But we were really into each other. I think a lot of kids in school knew we were a couple, but we didn’t publicly show that much affection. We were together all the time, held hands, but no public make-out sessions or anything. Would have been nice to eat her out in the cafeteria, but you can’t have everything.”
Angelo was very surprised at his sister. She never said anything more than two sentences to him, much less anything so private about herself. He found this all fascinating.
“So one night,” Rachel said as she and her brother came to the front of her building, “The two of us are out at this party, lots of drinking going on, among other things.” She pulled out her keys continuing her story, “The two of us are making out on the way back to my apartment. I’m drunk off my ass so I don’t bother to think about Amy.” Opening the building door, she and her brother continued their conversation up the stairs. “So our mutual cousin is sitting at her desk studying for God knows what, her glasses are on, and the two of us come barging in with our hands on each other’s boobs. I can’t for the life of me remember what Amy said, or the look on her face, but I thought she was gonna shit her pants.”
Laughter escaped the taller brother. “That’s awesome!”
The two now entered Rachel’s apartment. It was pitch black. “Let me change and we can head to the city,” she said. The black-hair threw off her coat to the ground.
“So what did you do when Amy found out about it?” Angelo asked.
“Well the two of us…”
The conversation was interrupted as a bat came crashing against Angelo’s legs. Rachel turned to see what was happening. She saw the bat now hit her brother on the back as he fell to the ground. Before she could even react, she was picked up by a strange pair of hands.
“Angelo!” She felt a pair of arms wrapped around her and struggled to get free. “Let go you fuck!” Rachel was not easy to hold on to. The arms were losing her.
“I can’t hold her!” A voice from behind her cried.
Rachel now saw a figure moving towards her. It was still hard to make him out, but she felt the hard end of a bat smack her in the stomach. The tough girl yelped in pain and lunged forward. Her captor kept hold of her. She wouldn’t cause any problems from here on out.
“You fucking assholes!” Angelo managed to squeeze out. He was having a hard time catching his breath. The figure moved back towards the brother and smacked him again with the bat. Angelo screamed again. Rachel couldn’t react to her brother’s pain at all. It seemed like the man carrying the bat would hit Angelo again.
“Snakes!” A familiar voice took over the room.
Suddenly the lights came on. The man carrying the bat was in fact Snakes, Columbo’s Consigliere. However, Snakes was covered in bandages, his nose completely busted, one of his arms in a sling. His other arm carried the bat. He seethed anger looking over Angelo. The man holding Rachel was Bobby. And who owned the voice that controlled the room? The man himself: Frank Columbo. He walked out of the bedroom slowly. A devilish hatred was in his eyes. Even in pain and unable to speak, Rachel feared the worst as she saw the man enter the living room.
“Frank,” Angelo managed to speak aloud. He was on the floor bleeding from the mouth, “You’re fucking dead Frank!”
“Shut the fuck up!” Snakes screamed as he hit Angelo again in the legs. The young Giovanni tried his best to hold his pain. His eyes shut and his teeth grinding. Rachel could only imagine what was going through her brother’s mind.
“You know Angelo,” Columbo walked across the room and pulled up a chair, “I never liked Marlon, but at least he had a sense of decency.” He now sat in his chair, “You’re nothing but a piece of shit.”
Rachel was slightly confused. Why was Angelo getting the beating? Why was he getting berated by Columbo?
“So you’re gonna kill me Frank?” Angelo tried to smile, he was struggling to breathe, “You think Gotti is gonna stand for this?”
“Gotti will stand by me,” Columbo said very matter-of-fact like.
“My sister’s apartment Frank?” Angelo spat back, “And you call me a piece of shit?”
The rival mob boss hesitated and looked around. Snakes did the same. Even Bobby couldn’t help but look around as he held onto Rachel.
“This don’t look like no princess’ mansion to me?” Snakes spoke in a nasally tone.
Frank looked back to Angelo, “You took my daughter to your sister’s place?”
Rachel became more confused. There was a long silence. Angelo’s eyes wavered back and forth. “What the fuck are you talking about?” His voice sounded sincere.
Unfortunately, Columbo jumped up from the chair. He walked towards Snakes, vehemently pulled the bat from his hands, and held it like a paddle. He smacked the heavy end of the stick right into Angelo’s face. The Giovanni son shouted in pain.
“Do I look like a fucking bitch to you?” The boss was yelling louder and more angry than anybody, even his own crew, ever heard before. He smacked Angelo again in the face. “You know what you did Angelo!” Columbo dropped the bat and pulled out his phone. He touched it a few times before he found what he was looking for. Kneeling down, the fat man pulled Angelo’s head up by his hair and shoved the phone into the boy’s blood covered face. “Why don’t you try explaining this?” Rachel didn’t even need to see the picture to know it was Angelo and Julia. “You defiled my daughter, you disgraced my family, death is too good for you!”
As Columbo stood up, letting go of Angelo’s hair, a look of realization came over the young Giovanni’s face. He clenched his teeth in pain, but it obviously wasn’t from the beating he was taking. Angelo Giovanni let out a loud sigh, knowing his end was near.
The boss of the Columbo family simply nodded his head. He picked up the bat and handed it to Snakes.
Rachel was finally able to speak up, “Frank, I did it. It was me!”
A long silence encumbered the room. Angelo now looked to his sister. A look of semi-disgust came over Columbo and Snakes’ faces as they slowly turned to look at the daughter Giovanni.
“What?” Columbo snorted.
“I’m in love with your daughter Frank. Angelo had nothing to do with it.”
“What are you sick?” Columbo spat back, “That’s disgusting! I ought to shoot you right on the spot!”
“Fine shoot me!” Rachel tried to break Bobby’s grip. “Just leave Angelo alone. He did nothing wrong!”
“She could be right boss,” Bobby spoke up, “The two of them were oddly affectionate with each other the other night.”
“Shut up Bobby!” The boss shouted, “Are you saying my daughter is a lesbian?”
“She IS a lesbian!” Rachel shouted back, temporarily breaking hold from Bobby, “She was hitting on me at my father’s funeral.”
Frank Columbo pulled out a gun with lightning fast reflexes. He moved towards Rachel seething in anger. Rachel closed her eyes fearing the end was near.
“Frank!” Angelo shouted in full voice. The mob boss turned around to see the son struggling to push himself up, he only manage to push his arms and chest up. He looked strong, “Leave her alone. There’s no way Gotti would pardon you for killing a civilian.” Columbo looked off to the side and thought about it.
Rachel and Angelo looked each other in the eyes. Angelo mouthed ‘I love you’ to her. Rachel began to feel tears gathering in her eyes. She mouthed ‘I’m sorry.’ Bobby took a hold of her as Frank moved back towards Angelo. He calmly knelt down and looked his rival in the eye.
“Is she telling the truth?”
The old boss of the Columbo family and Marlon Giovanni’s successor stared each other down for what must have been ten seconds and felt like an hour. How Angelo could stay so stoic with busted legs and a bruised chest was beyond any of them. But finally, Angelo answered with a cold tone of voice:
Columbo nodded his head. He realized the sister would do anything to keep her brother from dying.
“GOD DAMN IT ANGELO!” Rachel struggled to break free from Bobby. Even with Columbo’s gun pointed at her, she wouldn’t stop. “FRANK YOU PIECE OF SHIT! I’M THE ONE YOU WANT!!!” Bobby could barely restrain her.
Columbo had enough, he walked back towards the girl and smacked her in the face with his pistol. Angelo reacted, but still couldn’t get up. Rachel was now in pain.
“I don’t know what to believe!” Columbo shouted. “This whole fucking family is crazy!”
“What’s the matter Frank?” Angelo spoke with a smile on his face, “Can’t handle that fact that your own daughter wants some Giovanni in her?”
Columbo’s expression turned deadly. Rachel simply began to cry. She knew her brother was sacrificing himself to protect her.
“I mean who can blame her. Look at you?” He laughed, “You’re a fat, bald, unhappy excuse for a boss who has to assert authority over his own daughter, because God knows you ain’t getting respect from anybody else. She needed a real man in her life.”
Snakes backed away knowing full-well what was about to happen. But still, Columbo stood there with wide-eyes.
“Angelo please,” Rachel managed to squeeze out. Why now, of all times, was Angelo there for his sister?
“I gotta tell you though,” Angelo didn’t stop, “Julia’s got one hot body on her. I mean it’s a shame she covers up so much, maybe you force her to. But that beautiful figure… she obviously got it from her mother, there’s no way she inherited your ugly genes. Nice boobs too, wasn’t expecting that… And that sweet little innocent-“
Just before he could finish what he was saying, Columbo picked up the bat and vehemently beat Angelo over the head with.
“No!” Rachel cried out loud. Snakes came over and silenced her.
The two crew members watched as their boss beat the Giovanni son over and over again. He was smacking him hard, like a hammer smashing on an anvil. Angelo said nothing, but his body twitched and turned. Blood began to splatter all over the floor. Frank Columbo’s face could scare ghosts away. Rachel cried furiously, even with Snakes’ hand over her. The murdering boss just wouldn’t stop. Blow after blow after blow, nobody could live through this kind of beating. After he practically broke the bat, Frank Columbo got down on his knees and beat the kid with his own fists.
Bobby let go of Rachel and moved towards him, “Frank, that’s enough!” He tried to pull his boss away, but Frank Columbo wouldn’t stop.
“Frank!” Snakes eventually shouted out. Finally, the maniac got up, breathing like an animal and looked at Angelo Giovanni. Rachel dropped to her knees crying. Snakes allowed her to do so and walked to his boss. “You okay boss?” Frank Columbo looked at both of his crew members and said nothing.
Rachel looked at her brother. His face was covered in blood, almost unrecognizable. “Angelo,” was all she could bring herself to cry out. There was no response.
Now Columbo turned his attention to Rachel. He pulled out his gun again and pointed it towards her.
Rachel was ready for the end.
Bobby came to his side and pushed his arm down, “Frank, we can’t kill her. She’s a civilian. We’re in enough trouble with Gotti as it is.”
It was hard to diffuse this man. Both his bodyguard and his Consigliere just had to wait and see what would happen. It was a long minute of silence with Rachel staring up at him. The expression on her tear-stained face was a combination of intense sadness and shock over her brother’s death and murdering hatred for the man who was standing before her.
To her surprise, Columbo let out a loud sigh. She was crazy all right, but this girl was no threat to him or his business. He put the gun away and knelt down. The daughter of the Giovanni family was now looking eye to eye with her enemy. She stared at him wanting to rip his face off.
“Be smart!” He said to her, “I know you’ve never liked your family, so leave! I’m giving you a gift, a new life.”
Rachel couldn’t say anything. She was shivering starting at Columbo with murder in her eyes.
Columbo got up.
“Let’s get out of here,” Snakes said. “My arm is killing me.”
Without saying another word, the three men walked out of the apartment closing the door behind them.
Rachel was now alone in her silent apartment. She crawled over to check Angelo. He was completely motionless. She shook him, no response. While crying her eyes out, she put her hand to his neck. There was no pulse. Her brother was gone.
She spent the next few minutes crying next to him.
Eventually Rachel heard her phone ring. It took a long time for her to bring her head up and pull it out of her pocket. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Amy’s name appeared on the screen. Rachel didn’t want to answer, she knew what the conversation would be like. Reluctantly, the sister answered her phone:
“Amy,” Her voice was sad.
“Rachel listen to me,” Amy’s voice was unusually panicky, “Mom’s been shot.” Rachel’s grief was replaced with shock. “We’re on our way the hospital in Cypress Hills, we’re still in Flushing. I need you to get over there. Okay?”
Rachel began to cry again. “Amy!” She cried.
“Rachel?” Amy was concerned for her sister. She never sounded this horrified, “It’s okay we’ll get her to the hospital, she’ll-“
“He’s dead!” Rachel cried.
There was a short pause.
“Who’s dead?” Amy demanded.
A long shortness of breath came over Rachel before she finally responded, “Our brother!”
There was a long pause on the phone. It might have seemed like the call was dropped, but Rachel didn’t say a word. She just looked back at Angelo. And now her mother too? How could this be happening? It was all her fault too!
“Where are you?” Amy finally responded strongly.
“My place,” Rachel managed to squeeze out.
“Is anybody else there?”
Rachel didn’t answer, she just started to cry again.
“Listen to me Rachel! Stay there!” Her sister told her, “I’ll get somebody out there soon. I gotta get back to mom.”
The phone hung up.
Rachel had seen her brother beaten to death before her eyes. Her mother had been shot, mostly likely by some of Columbo’s men. Who else would be killed in this war?