TheFBI Agent says, "Paulo, Don Giuseppe's son, has started a Mob War over the death of his father. He believes the assassin who shotgunned Don Giuseppe and Gyp and is now after him. "You're the only one who's seen the killer." I'm shown a sketch of a Frankenstein's Monster look-alike. "Is this Gyp's killer?"
"No," I tell her, "not even close, "Who is he?"
"The Jackal." A killer-for-hire. His weapon is a shotgun. Have you ever heard of him?"
Heard of him?!? Every time I couldn't pay Gyp's 25%/day vig he threatened to sic "The Jackal" on me.
"Never heard of him," I tell the FBI Agent.
Police sirens wail in the distance.
"That's Detective Sweeny's whine," says Agent Merry, "Get out of here." I take the back door. In the alley a heavy hand falls on my shoulder. The hand belongs to Frankenstein's Monster.
The Monster says, "Jack Thayer." This is a complete sentence - my death sentence. He uses a shotgun to shove me into an alleyway. My back is against a wall.
"Take this!" he says. I close my eyes waiting for the shotgun blast that will paint the wall red.
"Take this!" he repeats.
I open my eyes. He holds out an envelope. I take it from him.
"If I Die Give Dis Ta Jak Thaya" is written in Gyp's familiar grade-school drop-out "spell-it-like-you-say it" scrawl.
The Jackal steps back. I tear open the letter and read:
"Jak - If yur readin' dis leta ahm ded. You no that my Nonno Giuseppe, Grandpa Joey, wuz moidered.
What no1 nose, not even encluden' my Zio Paulo, Uncle Paulie, iz dat nonnos death waz my fawlt. Hears what hapend - some1, i dont no hoo, invites nonno ta sum big deal House poka game. He axes me ta go wit him to kollect hiz poke. I says, No! Ahm buzy. So he goes a loan an gets hizself kilt. Itz awl my fawlt!!!!!!
Now ahm investigatin' hiz moider. Looken' four dis poka House. I tawkta some1 hoo wood no 4sure an learnt nonno playd poka with only for regula guise. One of 'em cooda cudda mighta axed nonno to play poka at dis House."
Once again I have the feeling something's wrong. I continue to read Gyps' letter:
"Tonite ahm gonna bring awl for of 'em ta yore goalfish game an, friendlee like, tawk 'bout da Dons moider, 'n axe 'bout dis House. Hoo nose may be 1'a dem is da moiderer.
If somethin' go's rong tonite my compare Jacopo wil give ya dis leta.
ps Give da utta note ta Jaco"
In the envelope I find a folded- over note addressed Jaco.
I ask, "Are you Jaco?" The Monster nods yes. I hand him the note. He looks and hands it back to me to read: Vendetta!
I ask, "Do I call you Jacopo, Jaco or Jackal?"
"Call me Jake," he replies. "What," I ask, does Vendetta! mean?"
"Revenge!" says Jake angrily.
"We must revenge Gyp's death. You and I will work together. You will find Gyp's murderer. I will kill him." I tell him, "I want nothing to do with any vendetta! My answer is no."
"No!" he screams, raising the shotgun.
"Jaco, Jake, Jackal! Wait! I. . . ."
Again he screams, "No!" aiming the shotgun. I stare straight down the O of the shotgun's barrel.
He says two words and fires.