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.”