Friday, December 28, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
By Joseph DiBartolo
The loose gravel crushing under his boots caused his current target to quicken his pace. Stan Holmes was currently on his third target in 3 months, all of which have been in South America. Being that he was ex-military, now a hired hitman to whoever would pay, he was constantly on the move. Now tracking his current target in Peru, and trying to do so with extreme vigilance. His prey was crafty in his attempts to elude the pursuit, but Stan had played this game many times before and had him right where he wanted him. They were moving alongside an old decrepit building with open doorways about every 20 feet. The Peruvian prey quickly turned around pointing his pea shooter at nothing but air. Then, like a ninja, Stan appeared behind him from one of the doorways and snapped his neck, silent and deadly.
After giving confirmation of the kill on his prepaid burner, he headed back to his hotel to gather his things. Stan never asked questions about his targets, so he really never knew what they did or if they were just innocent men who made a few bad decisions. It was just a job, like a waiter in a restaurant taking an order. A waiter wouldn’t ask a customer why they were ordering the porterhouse steak. Once back at the hotel, he showered, and then began packing to head back to the states. He was an average size man with a face and body that appeared as if it was carved from stone, with many chiseled scars on his face and torso. Most of his battle scars were engraved during his time in the military, not many more since then. This line of work was much less hazardous to his health, as his most recent assignment indicated. On his way out he tipped the young concierge quite generously, hailed a cab, and then headed to the airport.
Once back in New York, he made a quick pit stop at the bank and then back to his place. Stan had more than enough money to get out of this game for good but one thing was keeping him in it. He was patiently waiting for his contacts in the Russian mob to locate one of their own that was excommunicated from the organization, and had disappeared. The rumor was that he returned back to Russia but he hasn’t been seen by anyone yet. His name was Sergei Tasarov and he was the man responsible for the botched hit on Stan that left his companion, Lena Valander, dead. By no means was he in love with her, but they had a strong connection and he trusted her. In his line of work that was extremely rare and she would be alive if she never had met him. He desperately needed to right that wrong and knew eventually Sergei would surface, nobody can stay hidden forever.
Now after a couple of relaxing weeks, and no new assignments, Stan was planning to take a trip to Las Vegas. He was not much of a gambler on the tables but you could say he rolled the dice in the bedroom, often. The only kind of companionship he required now was from the ladies of the night. He vowed never to get close to anyone ever again after Lena was murdered. Love and assassinations did not mesh well and the only thing a prostitute loves is cash, which he has plenty of. Now shortly after he finished packing he received a text message from his Russian contact that read, “Your PERSONAL friend is staying at the Bellagio in Vegas.” Stan felt his heart rate accelerate after he read the text for the third time, making sure that he was reading it correctly. His relaxed demeanor quickly was replaced with stone cold focus as he zipped up his bag and headed to the airport.
Traveling commercially meant no weapons and Stan actually preferred to use his hands as the murder weapons when possible. Besides, this would be an up close and personal elimination, so it worked out well. Shortly after the plane touched down, Stan got his bags and headed to the strip. The ladies of the night would have to wait due to the more pressing business that popped up, but they can be sure that Stan would be ready to celebrate after he handled his business. He checked in at the Mandalay Bay under his alias, Stephen Connor, dropped off his bags and headed to the Bellagio to scout the situation. The first thing he did before posting up somewhere with a good view of the lobby, was buy a baseball cap from the gift shop for some cover. He also purchased a cup of coffee and found a spot close to the lobby doors to observe everyone coming and going, and now he plays the waiting game.
Nearly 3 hours had passed and Stan decided it was time to stand up and stretch his legs. His patience was unmatched and knew he could sit there for days if necessary, when suddenly he saw Tasarov coming off the elevators, and head straight through the lobby towards the entrance. Stan shielded his face a bit more but sneakily took another glance at him for confirmation. He had no doubt that it was Sergei, despite his feeble attempt to change his appearance with that awful mustache. Now just as his oblivious prey was approaching the door, he stopped in his tracks, put his hand in his pocket, and then turned back toward the elevators like he forgot something. Noticing a crowd of people waiting for the elevator, Stan swiftly made his way across the lobby to blend in with them and board the elevator without Sergei suspecting a thing. He squeezed behind him and shifted his focus to what floor he was exiting on, Tasarov hit 7.
Finally after a couple of stops on the way up, they were on 7, and they were the only two that exited on that floor. Stan started to slow his pace, keeping his head down hidden from security cameras. He began coughing loudly to get Sergei’s attention, going down on one knee like he was choking on something. Sergei turned and asked Stan if he was alright but he just coughed louder and louder drawing his unsuspecting prey closer. When he was in striking distance, Stan popped up and drove his forearm into Sergei’s throat, driving him back into the wall, crushing his larynx. Now Sergei, unable to make a sound, looked dead into Stan’s eyes and instantly knew his time on this earth was done. Stan quickly grabbed his chin and the back of his head, snapped his neck, and watched him drop to the floor, wide-eyed and lifeless.
Immediately after he hit the ground, Stan calmly walked to the stairwell, then once inside, drastically changed his pace and took off down to the lobby. Once outside he lost the hat and put on a pair of sunglasses he had in his pocket. No doubt by now someone would have found the body and called it in, but he knew it would go into the unsolved murder files eventually. With a look of satisfaction on his face, he would now be able to go celebrate his conquest with the only companions he had left in this world.
By Joseph DiBartolo
Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe social networking is relevant in the world we live in today. It just seems to me that it should be used as a platform for business purposes and to make contacts beneficial to your future. More and more I am coming across self-obsessed individuals using it to let the general public know what song they just listened to or what they had for lunch. Who cares? The time being spent over the course of the year that you are informing the general population about your most recent bowel movement, could be spent being a bit more productive. And the rants and raves could also be mildly annoying, more particularly, the rants. The raves are greatly appreciated by Apple when someone praises the functionality of the new iPad. On the other hand, the people that are compelled to document every gem of a thought that comes to mind, some restraint would be welcomed with open arms. For example, someone going on a frantic political rant about a policy they don’t agree with or a candidate they hate, like they actually have an insight to what is really going on. Everything we see in the media is fabricated and the government will never tell the general public what is really going on. If you want the truth and are so opinionated, go into politics yourself and run for president. Finally, the pictures portion of someone’s facebook or my space or my face spacebook page. This is to those who insist on taking a million pictures of themselves and posting them on their page. Go to Christian Mingle or JDate or whatever site where you can find a suitable mate. I sometimes wonder if these people have pictures of themselves hanging all over their walls at home as well. To some this article may actually seem like a rant, but you can’t argue with the logic and hopefully it gets some people to use their valuable time more wisely.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
By Joseph DiBartolo
The line hadn’t moved in nearly five minutes now and I couldn’t unclench my fists. I found myself fantasizing about what I would do to the clerk with that meat cleaver he was wielding ever so slowly. A sandwich, turkey and cheese was all I wanted, that’s it. Now, finally, the line moves to the elderly gentleman right in front of me, one more order and I’m up. I was practically salivating at this point but my malicious thoughts abruptly shifted from the clerk to the old man when he asked his fourth consecutive question about the Veggie delight. I began to see red, and then like a horror film I was watching, I saw myself pummel the old man nearly unrecognizable. What drove me to commit such a vile act? Perhaps it was losing my job of 8 years and my wife of 15 all in the same week. Or maybe it was losing half of my money along with all of my possessions. I suppose when you lose that much and you’re that close to the edge, the slightest annoyance can send you over. Now as I’m staring down at this bloody mess I’ve created I here a voice getting increasingly louder as if someone was turning up the volume on the television. “Sir”, the clerk yelled, as I snapped back to reality, Can I help you?
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I just entered "Pure Justice" in the 13th Annual Writer's Digest Competition. Winners will be notified by Feb 28, 2013.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
By Joseph DiBartolo
Immediately after the coitus, my latest squeeze, now unequivocally tangled in a fresh web of lies, raced back to her husband, brushing her hair on the way out. I had been growing concerned as of late due to the black and blue marks that continued to revisit her athletic figure. She had told me they were from a kickboxing class she took up at the local gym. As convincing as she was, I wasn’t buying it, especially when I heard a loud thud outside my door. Expecting the worst, I quickly ran into the hallway to see her standing over an unconscious man nearly twice her size. Before I could comprehend what just happened, she took off her wedding ring, placed it on the husky man, and looked at me with utter satisfaction.
Joseph DiBartolo, Aspiring Writer, Film enthusiast.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
“A long walk home”
By Joseph DiBartolo
The click of his phone closing was drowned out by an obscenity James blurted out as he exited the restaurant and discovered it was raining. His call to his friend Greg went unanswered, which means that he got drunk and passed out so James would be walking home from work. James, being the conventional type of course had his umbrella with him. As he began to open the gigantic awning of an umbrella, two police cars went by with great haste in the same direction he was walking. He instantly began wondering what was going on that required such urgency for the police. Although leading a mundane life for the most part he often longed for some adventure or even danger.
About a mile into his 5 mile hike on this damp Boston night James became startled by a sudden commotion coming from a nearby alleyway. Without hesitation he dashed into the dark narrow corridor to see what was happening. As he turned the corner he instantly reacted to the man running towards him with a woman’s purse by lowering his shoulder and spearing him into the dumpster immediately rendering him unconscious. He kept his composure and grabbed the purse and headed down the alley towards the woman who was a bit shaken up to say the least. James was at a loss for words as he approached the woman due to her unmatched beauty.
“Are you alright?” asked James, as he handed the woman her purse. “Yes, thank you so much,” she replied. “My name is Natasha, what’s yours?” “Hey, I’m James” he said, beginning to get a bit nervous due to his lack of experience talking to women. Luckily, before he said anything asinine, her ride pulled up. She told James that she worked across the street at the bookstore and that he should come to visit her. After thanking him again for his courageous act, she jumped in the faded red jeep and departed.
Before James continued his walk home he went to see if the thief had a pulse. He was relieved to find that he did and then quickly got out of there before anyone saw him. After jogging for a few minutes to put some distance between him and the unknown perpetrator, James realized he dropped his umbrella during the incident. The rain had subsided by this point and he was not about to go back to find it. It was quiet out being that it was late and not much traffic around. He began to replay the incident again in his head with the thief and the beautiful Natasha. With an almost goofy smile of satisfaction on his face, James was unaware that his 5 mile adventure was just beginning.
As James continued to recap the earlier event his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of sirens. It seemed the sirens were getting louder and louder which could only mean that they were getting closer. The possibility of someone seeing what happened made him think the fuzz was coming for him. He quickly ducked into an alleyway only to see a man running by who happened to drop a small package on the wet sidewalk. Only seconds later two police vehicles made their way past my location at dangerously high speeds. Although relieved that they were not after him, James could not take his eyes off the small brown envelope just laying a few feet from him.
Looking at the little brown envelope with much scrutiny, James calmly grabbed it and instantly knew what was inside. He gave a quick glance in each direction and continued heading home at a rapid pace. Quickly peeking inside he could see the thick stack of hundreds. His heart began racing making it hard for him to keep his composure. As James passed the next alleyway he noticed a woman and her daughter curled up together by the dumpster. He thought to himself that these could only be ill-gotten gains and should be put to good use. Without counting James took a stack of cash from the envelope and gave it to the woman with advice to go find a motel and some food.
For the next half mile he kept his head on a swivel looking out for anyone suspicious. Up to this point in his journey home he almost felt like some sort of superhero who could do anything. Overwhelmed with feelings of excitement and anxiety, James attempted to calm himself with thoughts of his next encounter with the lovely bookstore girl. This feeling of bliss almost made him forget about the massive stack of cash bulging from his back pocket. He had never seen so much cash nor had this much adventure in his entire tedious existence. Things had seemed to calm down a bit as he passed by the local watering hole that was known for their unsavory clientele.
Still deep in thought about the recent events James thought he noticed Natasha inside the bar. The bar was packed so he could not be certain. Not wanting to push his luck or look to eager he decides not to go in. Whether it was her or not it really stimulated his imagination. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, James noticed a black SUV quickly pass and something didn’t seem quite right. The woman driving looked panicked from the brief glimpse he got. It seemed as if she was trying to stop but couldn’t. Then as she came to the intersection she was plowed by a black sedan that had the green light.
The loud collision was heard by everyone around, and inside the pub, even with the music blaring. James and a couple others ran over to assist as another woman quickly dialed 911. He was able to pull the little boy from the car seat which was miraculously still in tact. The brunt of the blow was on the front end, and the other man pulled the woman out, who seemed to have a broken arm. Shortly after the rescue, the paramedics showed up and quickly attended to the woman and her son. James heard applause coming from behind him and turned to see that the entire pub had emptied onto the street. It only took a second for him to recognize that the woman clapping the loudest and running towards him was Natasha.
“Oh my god James that was great,” said Natasha, as she approached him in the middle of the mayhem. “Hey you, I thought I saw you in there as I passed by but then the accident happened,” James replied. “So is this an average night for you, going around saving people all night long?” asked Natasha. As he was just about to answer, James noticed the man who dropped his envelope full of cash was in the crowd staring right at him. The thick brown envelope was bulging from his back pocket in plain sight for the stranger to see. Drawing attention to myself trying to play superhero was probably not the smartest idea considering the night I had, James thought to himself. “Hey Natasha, I gotta get goin,” he quickly said. “I’ll walk with you,” she said. Feeling uneasy about letting her come thinking this guy may follow, James agreed and they departed the scene.
They had been walking for about ten minutes now, and there was no indication that the stranger was tailing them. James would still give a quick glance over his shoulder every couple of minutes to be safe. They had been getting to know each other a bit during their stroll, and James became more relaxed as they neared his apartment. Suddenly James heard the sound of a man clearing his throat behind them, no doubt to get their attention. He quickly turned and noticed the man standing there, shivering, perhaps in fear of the much larger James. As he walked towards the little man, James turned to Natasha telling her to stay back, unaware the man was concealing a pocket knife up his sleeve, James walked right into a brutal assault to the ribs. Dropping to his knees holding his ribcage, the assailant quickly snatched the envelope along with his wallet and took off into a dark alley. Natasha began screaming frantically as she rifled through her purse looking for her phone, and called 911.
A couple hours had gone by since James passed out, and was now starting to come to. In a bit of a daze, the bright white walls made him think he was in either heaven or the hospital. Seeing Natasha’s face did not make him come to any conclusions as to where he was since she looked like an angel. Then the doctor walking in made James realize he was still alive. The doctor told him he would be a little weak due to the blood loss, but he would be just fine. With a feeling of relief, James turned his attention to the door as his friend Greg walked in with a guilty look on his pale face.
His first instinct when Greg walked in was to get up and pummel him. Then reason was able to prevail, and James realized that Greg not answering the phone was the best thing that ever happened to him. If it had not been for his unreliable, drunk of a friend, James would not have met Natasha the way he did, or save the people he did. In a way, Greg was the real hero because he set this whole night in motion. The knife wound was even warmly welcomed because the scar will forever remind James of the greatest night of his life. Just as Greg was about to speak, James grabbed his forearm and said, “Thank you”. Finally, he laid his head back, closed his eyes, and smiled from ear to ear.
By Joseph DiBartolo
The streets of South Boston were flooded with green on this damp St. Patty’s Day. Ray McGloin, though his blood was green, did not have a single article of green clothing on. Instead, the hulking Irishman was wearing all black, as he often did. He was a freakishly large man with a scar on the right side of his face from a car accident a few years back. This car accident was well-known around here and changed Ray’s life forever. He lost the only remaining family he had left, his sister and his father. A faded blue Chevy Caprice ran a stop sign and slammed into the passenger side of his green Nissan, where his father and sister were sitting. The man was never found after he fled the scene on foot.
Ray has not spoken a total of a hundred words since that horrific day. The word around town was that he was still deeply depressed, or that the accident affected his brain and that’s why he is practically a mute. Wherever he went people would make an extra effort to stay out of his way and avoid eye contact, which was fairly easy since he always looked at the ground when he walked. He walks everywhere since that tragic day, another reason why people think his physical or mental state was compromised. Ray walked into Murphy’s pub and the bartender quickly started filling a pint glass with Guinness.
A couple of hours and three pints later, the Irish drunkards began pouring in from the street. Ray constantly had to deal with the snickers and whispers due to the rumors going around about him, but he paid them no mind. Nobody had the balls to say anything to his face, and he knew that. He kept on coming around and tolerating all the whispers hoping he would get the information he was searching for, the whereabouts of Nate Rooney, the man who fled the scene of the accident that killed his family. His strategy of hanging around the local bars in hopes of some wasted local shooting his mouth off, although logical, wasn’t getting him any results. The time was rapidly approaching where he would have to use tactics that were a bit less subtle.
It was after midnight now and the rain had finally stopped. Ray threw back the last drops of his ale, slapped a twenty dollar bill on the bar, and turned to head for the door. Most of the patrons averted their eyes as he made his way to the exit, trying not to stare at his unsightly scar. He pushed open the decrepit green door and noticed Melina, an old friend of the family, was crossing the street and heading towards the bar. “Hi Ray,” she said, as she hopped up on the curb, softly giving his mammoth arm a soft caress as she passed. Ray gave her a quick nod and proceeded to cross the street. Anyone who would have witnessed this brief exchange would have thought Ray to be extremely rude, but Melina knew better. She cared for him deeply and understood that he was utterly consumed with finding Nate Rooney. Opening the door, she turned with a look of adoration towards Ray, hoping that he would not find the man he was searching for. As much as she wanted him to find peace, Melina knew it would come at an overbearing price.
The next morning Ray was up early to go visit his family at the cemetery, as he did every morning, then to go run some errands. The streets were nearly empty, most likely because everyone was sleeping off a long night of partying. After stopping by to see his family he headed to the bank to get some cash, and then head over to the coffee shop. His father had a large life insurance policy that was all left to Ray since his sister was also lost in the accident. Now having this large sum of money allowed him to quit his construction job and fully focus on his only mission in life. He often wondered exactly what he would do when he found Nate Rooney, being that he was the only one with a clear motive to kill him. Deep down he knew his family would want him to get on with his life, but he knew that would be virtually impossible with this man still out there. After ordering his black coffee, Ray found a table out front, secluded from the others, where he could sit and figure out how to get the information he was seeking.
Coming up with a short list of schemes, first of which was to simply just throw some money around to some of the locals for any information, and another was to just save his money and throw the locals around until someone talked. In the interest of not drawing to much attention to himself, his last option on the list was to pay Melina to start digging for answers. This seemed to be the most sensible choice being that people would be more inclined to speak to a beautiful petite woman as opposed to giant man with an ill-favored look. Knowing her as well as he did, there was a slim to none chance that she would take any money from him. Melina and his sister were best friends since they were seven years old, and in some ways, they were very similar. They were both extremely precocious and curious from a young age, and always trying to hangout with Ray and his friends. He figured the best way would be to stuff an envelope with cash and a note explaining what he needed her to do, and slide it under her door on the way to the pub later.
It was a little after 9 p.m. and Murphy’s bar was crowded yet again, with yesterday being St. Patrick’s Day, one would think people could not drink like that on consecutive days. But this was an Irish pub in Boston so that was not the case. The word hangover was incomprehensible around here as was the term “social drinker”. Ray found a seat at the bar and without mouthing a word; the bartender grabbed a pint glass, filled it to the rim, and placed it in front of him. Maybe about an hour had gone by when a man came up to the bar, slapped down his credit card, and asked to close out his tab. Ray got a glimpse of the name on the card before the bartender grabbed it, Nate Rooney. It took everything he had to keep his composure until he was able to fathom what just took place. There were so many emotions running through him and he couldn’t decide which one to unleash. He had to be smart and vigilant due to the fact that he would be the prime suspect in the mutilation of Mr. Rooney. Perhaps he could make it look like a robbery gone bad. Before he knew it, Nate had paid his tab and was headed for the door.
Ray dropped a twenty on the bar for the pint that he never even finished. On his way to the door, about 15 feet behind his prey, the bartender yelled out, “Thanks Ray”. Nate had slowed his stride a bit as if he recognized the name. Ray turned and glared at the oblivious bartender as he was halfway out the door. As soon as he stepped on the pavement his phone vibrated in his pocket, but he ignored it. He figured it was Melina trying to tell him she was coming to give his money back. At this point his attention could not be swayed and had decided that an appearance of a botched robbery was the way to do this. They were a couple of blocks away from the bar now and Nate had obviously walked here. There was about 30 feet between them when Nate quickly turned and was pointing a gun at Ray.
“I know who you are,” Nate said. “It was an accident what happened that night.” The veins were literally popping from the neck of the giant Irishman. Without saying a word and with total disregard of the gun that was pointed at him, he ran straight at Nate. In complete shock of what Ray was doing, Nate fired off a nervous shot that hit Ray in the shoulder, knocking him off his feet. But to his dismay, Ray was quickly back to his feet and there were now people everywhere. Nate shot out into the street and was slammed by a blue Honda Civic going a good 45 m.p.h. Ray immediately recognized the vehicle, it was Melina. She got out of the car, hands shaking, in complete shock of what just happened as she walked over to the bloody corpse. As Ray stumbled over to the body, holding his wounded shoulder, realized that the man he wanted dead, was now just that. There were plenty of witnesses to say that neither Ray nor Melina were at fault. Ray, now standing over the lifeless body of Nate Rooney, cracked a smile and looked at Melina and said, “Money well spent.”