Captain Frank Blits was a twenty year veteran of the New York City Police Department, and hated the Vice Unit. He hated it in the sense that even being around the Vice Unit would give him gas. And it was gas that was troubling him all the way over to the apartment complex on
Vice, unlike other non-uniform details, didn’t report to a station house because they were strictly undercover. If someone saw a Vice officer step out of a station house anywhere in the city, instantly their cover was compromised. Therefore, Vice was one of the only units in the city that got to report to apartments as headquaters.
Blits had his driver wait outside as he walked up the three flights to the condo where the city’s 4-7 Vice Squad was quartered. He grumbled along with his stomach, as he made sure to break wind on every new flight of stairs.
The condo was accommodating, even to Vice standards. They had a large living room with leather couches that they used as a squad room, with the bedrooms and offices as private offices and seldom used interrogation rooms. Only in rare occasions did members of the 4-7 bring witnesses or suspects or even their bread-and-butter, Criminal Informants, or “CIs” back here. If word got out that the cops were laying low in a condo, everyone’s lives were at risk.
Blits knocked on the door to number 3H and waited impatiently. He looked around door the hallways and knocked again before cutting another fart. He groaned, knowing that the Chinese food he had at lunch wasn’t the only thing disagreeing with him.
After twenty long seconds the door unlatched and came open on it’s chain. Standing behind the door was a young man with shaggy black-as-a-subway-tunnel hair and green eyes who appeared not to be wearing a shirt looked out at him. Blits lifted his wallet badge and ID and showed it to the crack in the door without saying a word. The shirtless officer closed and unchained the door and opened it up.
After closing it he introduced himself and Blits could see he was only wearing a towel and wet.
“Officer, can you… can you explain, why…” and the young naked officer sniffed the air and turned his face down. “Can you explain to me why you’re out of uniform in the middle of your shift?” The dark haired officer looked over his shoulders as if someone were to materialize to help him answer the question, and when he saw no one he simply shrugged at the captain.
“Sorry sir, I just was in need of a shower, I guess?” And with that, the 4-7’s commanding officer, Captain Carlos “Tiger” Ramirez walked out of one of the bedrooms and stood holding his coffee. He smelled the air as well and looked down into his coffee cup, curious if the crème had gone bad.
“Captain Ramirez, I demand to know why your officer is out of uniform in mid shift!” Bellowed Captain Blits. Tiger Ramirez looked at his young officer clad in only a towel, and then looked back at the other captain. He sighed and gestured with the coffee cup.
“Officer Clark, why are you only in a towel, in mid shift?”
“Well sir, I needed a shower. I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Officer Clark said. He then excused himself to go get changed in the bathroom.
When the two captains were alone, Ramirez motioned that Blits follow him back to his office in the master bedroom.
The office was typical of what you’d find in most inner city station houses. A desk with a computer, a chair, filing cabinets, a big cork board with black and white photographs with pins and index cards stuck to them. Ramirez told Blits to close the door behind him and told him to have a seat.
“What do you want, Frank?” Ramirez said as he sat. He smelled the room again and his face went foul on him.
“Jesus, it’s me, ok! When I have something I hate to do, I get the shits, ok? Lay off!” And Blits went red in the face. Ramirez simply nodded, got up and opened a window and sat back down.
“So what do you want,”
“I’ve got the go ahead from
“I’m listening,” Blits paused, choosing his words carefully and then looked back at his counter part in Vice.
“Last week, one of the guys down in Brooklyn Homicide picked up a case on two dead goombas in Red Hook. It looks like it was a planned hit out front of a diner. The guys were Capasso foot soldiers, low ranking little shits. But they were also the fourth Capasso men, particular to ‘Dollar Bill’ De Luca’s old crew to end up dead in recent weeks. When this dick out of Brooklyn Homicides started piecing together some facts from other unattended deaths that the city was looking at as suspicious, it started to paint an interesting picture.” Blits pulled out a manila folder and from it took some glossy color photos and laid them out on Ramirez’s desk. The Tiger bent over his desk and took a look at the grisly crime scene pictures.
The first was a rather large white man on his stomach, his back exposed, hairy pimpled, a pool of blood underneath him. Blits picked it up and tapped the man’s back.
“This guy here is Bobby ‘The Tooth’ La Dente, he was found in his basement in
“Who tipped Homicide off, I mean, he could’ve been down there for weeks,” Ramirez said as he put the photo down.
“He was CIing for the Narcos on the Russians. So the focused naturally turned towards the Russians. This was three weeks ago. Then, we have Signore Ralphie Bambito,” and Blits pulled out the other photo, a glossy color of a blue faced older gentleman with obvious bruising around his neck. “He was found hanging in a meat locker at a deli on
“These two unlucky fucks walked out of a diner in Red Hook last Friday or Saturday night and were ambushed. Witnesses in the diner are slim picking, but word is that they were targeted. Now this is where the new intelligence comes in: Apparently the Don Giovanni Capasso is fed up with his weak leadership. He was never happy with De Luca, and since De Luca’s gone to Jessep, no one has really shown initiative to step up. So word has it that he’s contracted an outsider to take over the crew.”
“Ha, the Mafia’s outsourcing!”
“Believe it, they’ve brought in, get this, a twenty-four year old woman, who I guess is Queen Shit in Canada, to take over operations. And this did not sit well with a lot of the soldiers in De Luca’s old crew.”
“So you’re thinking that this dragon lady cleaned house?”
“Either that or Capasso ordered it himself, regardless, the Italians are making a move, and with them on the brink of being stamped out of this city forever, Police Plaza does not want them to regain any of the ground they’ve lost.”
“So how is this a Vice issue, Frank?” Blits picked up the photos and put them back in the folder and then produced a bound report and slid it across to Tiger. The cover was slicky produced with the NYPD logo and “Confidential” stamped under it. He flipped through it quickly, and then closed it. “Ok, and?”
“And we need someone from Vice to get in. It’s a gambling operation, and that’s Vice’s territory. It’s going to be multi-departmental, with Homicide running the show, Narco running the surveillance equipment, and Vice,” and Blits smiled “doing the leg work.”
“So why the 4-7?” Blits stood up, collecting his things.
“Intel believes the gambling den is going to be in the Meat Packing District, which is your jurisdiction. This is a short notice operation, so have your team prepped and ready to go by 2300. The rally point will be the roof top at
Blits stopped short of the door, holding his stomach and grimacing.
“Is this what Vice officers do all day? Watch tv with their feet up?!” He yelled, and
“Wow that guy stunk, who was he?” Vice Officer Sean Clark asked when his captain returned alone. Ramirez sighed and slumped down next to his star officer on the couch.
“He’s a ball breaker. He was a ball breaker in the academy twenty years ago, he was a ball breaker as a sergeant, he was a ball breaker as a lieutenant. He’s a professional ball breaker, don’t let him bother you Sean.”
He graduated second in his academy class, first in firearms and physical fitness, second in testing. He was originally from a small town outside of
Vice primarily was a “nickel and dime bust” unit. But what attracted
“And this is going down tonight?”
“I’m thinking of using you and Harper on the inside,” Ramirez said.
“Yeah, but how are you planning on getting us in. It seems like it’s pretty exclusive company,” and
“You know Jimmy Tattoo?” Ramirez said.
“Jimmy Tattoo, the guy that bar tends down at the Churro Lounge?”
“Yeah, he owes us a favor right?”
“Yeah with that thing, the heroin thing; we turned the Narcos off from sniffing around his boss’s place.”
“Let’s go pay him a visit, huh?” And
They pulled up in front of the Churro Lounge on East 15th Street and Broadway, a lowball place that served stiff highballs all day to the mostly punk-chic crowd that wandered over from St. Mark’s Street.
Being that it was middle of the Fall,
The two walked into the bar and found it empty, which wasn’t surprising being that it was before eleven in the morning. Behind the bar stood a big biker looking guy covered in ink. Jimmy Tattoo cleaned a glass and looked up as the door swung open.
“You’re coming with us, and if you do anything dumb I swear to god I’m going to make it so you piss out of your asshole,” Ramirez cuffed the hunk of colored meat and shoved him in front of them. The three walked out of the bar into broad daylight, and stuffed the thug into the back of their unmarked Crown
They drove out to the
“We heard something today that we thought was sort’ve interesting Jimmy,”
“We heard that you might know how to help us out with it too,” Tiger said right after. Jimmy Tattoo looked from one to the other, his big wet lip quivering slightly
“I don’t know what the fuck you two are talking about,” he said.
“We know about the gambling casino in the Meat Packing District tonight and we know your boss has access to it. We know he’s going to be there tonight, and we know he told you where he’s going to be, because like the pimple on his ass, you’re never far behind him, right Tattoo?” Ramirez said.
“I heard something about that, yeah,” Jimmy brightened up a little bit and
“Here’s what we’re gonna do, so listen up,”
“You fuck this up Jimmy and next time we take you out for a talk, it’ll be in
“Charlie-One-Nine-Four-Seven, central” he spoke.
“Go ahead C1947,”
“Yeah I need a pick up, one ten46 male by the battery, could you send a blue and white?”
“Ten4 Charlie-one-nine-four-seven, you got a better ten20?”
“In the area of the uh,” and he unkeyed the mic and looked around. “In the area of all the seagull shit.” Ramirez shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Be advised C1947, you’re on the central channel.”
“Copy, ten4 central, ten20s going to be by the Waste Management Building at Cross Street, over,”
It was on the rooftop that Sean Clark had a clear idea how big this investigation was going to be. It was a windy and cooler than usual night for October, and there had to be a dozen or so people standing around under a collapsible awning with tables of electrical equipment. Guys in NYPD windbreakers drinking coffee out of paper cups, flipping channels on closed circuit tv feeds, speaking into ear pieces.
Clark and Ramirez were the only members from Vice, but there weren’t too many dicks from Homicide either, as they were lead to believe. The bulk of the unit was guys from Narcotics who were busy tweaking their equipment.
The plan was to go like this: The number that
A narcotics officer walked over to the well dressed
“What the fuck is this?”
“It’s a surveillance recorder,” the narco said dumbly.
“I fucking .. know that, but I’m not wearing it.”
“Then, how are we going to know what’s going on?” Ramirez interjected.
“My man here isn’t going to wear a wire. I’m almost certain that if Milano doesn’t pat him down in the car, the goon at the door will. And if he’s caught wearing a wire, they’ll most likely kill him where he stands. Nope, no guns, no wire. That’s how Vice rolls,” and Ramirez crossed his arms.
“It’s too bad Harper couldn’t get in on this,”
“Too many people in on a sting like this isn’t a good thing. Remember to just take note of everything you see, and come out in one piece. Don’t get cocky, don’t get arrogant, just observe, ok?”
The interior was dark, but rich with the smells of leather and cognac. He sat across from a rather large man sipping on liquor and breathing heavy.
“You must be Mr. Milano,”
“What family, up in
“I don’t know if news spreads up that way, but we have a new capo being introduced to our family tonight,” Milano said.
“Oh really, can’t wait to meet him then,”
“Her, meet her.”
“Mm, yeah. She’s this Canadian from our Families in
They pulled into a lot by the loading docks of a butchery factory and got out. It was and a small line of well dressed people stood at the manager’s door by the big bay doors to the factory. Goons in pinstripes were waving metal detecting wands over party goers and waving them in slowly, eying everyone suspiciously. Without incident Clark and Don Milano were screened and sent inside.
It wasn’t a big casino floor, maybe a dozen different tabled games ranging from blackjack to roulette to poker. A lot of the men were old, and a lot of the women were young, maybe some still in high school. Clark caught a glimpse of some of the underworld’s heavy hitters, guys like Tony “Bats” Battaligia, a guy who did fifteen years back in the 1980s for numbers running and attempted murder of a federal witness. By the bar was Charlie “Two Shoes” Schemani, a pimp who broke the skull of an off duty city fire fighter who happened to try to stiff one of his girls. And then by the money cage, surrounded by four goons in Armani, Jeffy “The Croc” Carmella, an old war horse and alleged hitman for the Dibiase Family in the 1970s, who switched families after the Dibiases planned a hit on him in order to make things right with a family across the river in
An hour went by, and being up ten grand and a little tipsy things suddenly got very quiet and the gaming came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly, the slight bent little old Italian man, Don Giovanni Capasso stood on top of a sturdy butcher’s table with his arms spread wide.
He wore rose tinted glasses, and a sharp suit with no tie, and he shook a little when he spoke. Close by was his right hand man, Consigliore Jack “The Carpenter” Carpicize who watched over everyone closely.
“Ladies and gentleman, friends and family, let me please be the first to introduce you to Ms. Martina De Rossi,” and from behind him through a small narrow dark door way, emerged De Rossi in a beautiful gown and diamonds. Her hair up, but curled, to
“Ms. De Rossi is going to be overseeing the earning in
“See, that’s what I was talking about. Some sight, huh kid?” And
De Rossi was just finishing a short conversation with another Mafioso when she turned to see
“Martina De Rossi,” she said with a heavy accent.
“Sean Clark,” and he took her hand.
“That doesn’t sound very Italian, Mr. Clark.”
“It’s not supposed to be. I’m with a different outfit,”
“And what would this outfit be?” She was trying to stay composed but he could feel her boredom radiating off of her.
“I’m with the Irish out of
“Oh, and how did you hear about our little gathering this evening,” and De Rossi looked around the casino.
“I got an invite from a man named Milano, do you know him?”
“I’ve heard of him yes, will you excuse me Mr. Clark?” And De Rossi slipped away to join another small cluster of men around a roulette wheel.
Things began to wind down and people were leaving.
There was Micky “The Frog” Fattamia, who was linked to contracting jobs. He would sell under-spec materials to big contracting firms, who would then use the materials in non essential parts of big building projects, knowing that building inspectors will never get around to checking those parts. Another was
After twenty minutes went by since the last car left the lot, and Clark was left alone standing at the Mercedes with no one around it, he decided that Milano wasn’t coming and he should probably head out on his own. He was wary of making any calls from his cell phone to the op center to send someone to pick him up, at least, this close to the Meat District. He decided to walk a few blocks back towards Broadway.
He got about two blocks when a blacked out GMC Denali came to a skidding stop in front of him on the wet pavement.
“Hey, what the fuck!” And
When they finally stopped, they hadn’t driven far at all, maybe a handful of blocks.
He was sat in a chair and handcuffed behind his back. The hood was then pulled from over his head and he was looking up at De Rossi, the two shaved goons, and Don Capasso.
Before he could regain his senses, the other goon was punching him too, and both men worked over
“Assez,” she said and both men stopped.
“I know everything, Mr. Clark, so it’s in your best interest to tell the truth, capiche?”
“Why were you here tonight?”
“I wanted to set up a trade market for some Ecstasy I’m running out of
“And you know that the Italians are no longer dealing in narcotics, no?”
“I wasn’t aware, I’m from out of town,” and he winced.
“This is why we tell you fucks to stay the fuck out of
“No, just trying to make money,” De Rossi smiled at him.
“Aren’t we all, Mr. Clark? Aren’t we all?.” She walked over to a freezer and pulled the door open. Her two goons walked in and wheeled out Milano and his driver’s body on two slabs. They were cut from their chins down to their testicles; eyes plucked out and mouths sewn shut.
“What kind of deal?”
“You forget the drugs, and come work for us. I’m sure we can find something for you to do in our organization.” He looked from De Rossi to Capasso to the two goons who were waiting on the word to beat the shit out of him again. He glanced down and saw his own blood puddled under the chair. He sighed and looked up at the lady capo.
“Mm, work for you huh? Yeah, you can go fuck yourself. I’m not switching teams to work for some meatball cunt,” and to this De Rossi was stunned.
There was about five seconds were no one could say anything. Even Capasso was stunned, as were the two goons. But
“Ok,” De Rossi started slowly. She walked back between her two men. “That’s unfortunate. I hope you’ll have a chance to reconsider Mr. Clark. My two associates will make sure you get home this evening. A good night to you.” And she and Capasso left the room arm in arm to her clicks and shut the door. The two goons spent an hour taking turns beating on
As the sun was rising over the city, with it’s golden glow reflected off the glass facades of the buildings downtown, the blacked out