This is an incomplete story that has hit the back burner. Hopefully some thoughtful critiques will help me breathe new life into it.
Re: The Bagman
Chapter 1- The Way Things Are.
Don Vincenzo “The Jerk” Coglione was holding court in Mama Maria’s Italian Eatery. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a little mom and pop place that the Don visited from time to time to do business. Everyone knew that it was Coglione’s money that kept this place from collapsing back into the rat hole where it came from, and that it was the strange affection he had for this place that kept him coming.
It certainly wasn’t the food. Not that it was bad, but it was hardly great. It was about on par with Olive Garden, but then again what self-respecting Mafia head would be caught jerking off at an Olive Garden? This wasn’t a five star restaurant, but the place had character. More importantly, Vincenzo knew everyone in the place. There were no strangers allowed at Mama Maria’s, especially not on the nights where Don Conglione dined.
The Don sat at his favorite table in the back of the room, sipping on red wine. He was in a plain, conservative suit, his thinning gray hair slicked black to cover the balding spot. His new wife tried to convince him to dye it black; make him look younger. Looking sloppy and disheveled was one thing, but there was nothing to be ashamed of with getting older. Some people- stupid people- might think otherwise, but being old and still in this business meant you were strong.
Vincenzo knew this. He also knew that someday some young turk would come and try to uproot him, take his place. He’d be ready on that day. IF and WHEN Vincenzo retired, it would be at a time of his choosing with an heir ready to take the reins and continue on the Coglione family name. His oldest son was a screw up, and a junkie- too much sampling the family product; practically ate up the profits. His wife had just got pregnant, and Vincenzo didn’t even know if the baby was a boy. So Vincenzo wasn’t planning on retiring anytime soon. He liked it that way.
For almost thirty years, Vincenzo had carved out his little piece of the Bronx, held it, and expanded it. There wasn’t an illegal gambling, drug operation, or prostitution ring that Coglione didn’t have his fingers in. And now, with that castrati Mayor outlawing serving portions, a new prohibition was on the rise. It was good to be in business.
Vincenzo had it good. Too good some might say. Not to his face, mind you, but it was said. The Don had his informants. The Families still had a good grip on New York, though, so his main competition was only competing for his money, not his life. He was a made man, so none of the Families would touch him or risk violating the code that kept them civilized. Not like those dirty Russians, the Triads, Yakuza, or the Jews. Pretenders- all of the them. They copied all of the organization that made this a business, and none of the honor that made this a lifestyle.
Every few minutes, someone came to his table to speak to him, to ask him for some kind of favor or make a business proposal. As was his way, Vincenzo just sneered at them, saying nothing. There was a reason he was called “The Jerk.” Vincenzo never showed a preference or hint of a smile at anything while doing business. He’d make notes of which proposals he liked and the people whose debt might be worth something in the future. Later on, he’d give out orders and send out messages to make his wishes known. Let the lucky few know that the Don had had a “change of heart.” It made the people he actually DID favor more eager to please. Whether he favored them or not, only the Don knew, and he kept only his own council. Let the peasants sweat trying to figure it out.
Vincenzo looked up as two cops walked into the place. More importantly- two cops that weren’t on his payroll. He didn’t recognize the first one. The kid looked young, rookie probably. The other one he knew well. Detective Roger Ditko, NYPD. One of the few “good cops” in New York. Someone who was too stupid to know a good thing when he saw one. Ditko had had a good run, but he was a has-been now, not even an old man yet, and his hair was going gray from the stress. In the three years he had known about the little piss ant, he had never seen the guy in a different suit, always that plain blue suit with a red tie tied on wrong. Weren’t detectives supposed to have at least two good suits? And weren’t they supposed to know how to wear a tie like a man? At least get a clip-on if you couldn’t dress yourself. Life was just so much easier when you knew you were beaten.
“Detective,” the Don broke his usual silence. “to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I wanted to show the new kid what evil looked like,” the detective replied. Really? Who talked like that? The mook was so far in dreamland that he was talking like he was out of some B-Movie.
Coglione smiled softly at the poor sap. He signaled to one of his soldiers to bring over a briefcase. Coglione hadn’t gotten this far without being prepared. The briefcase was opened a crack and a manila envelope was slid out and put into Don Coglione’s waiting palm. He presented it to the detective.
“Detective,” Vincenzo began, “I have a gift for you.” He slid the envelope across the table. “Contained herein, is a final, damning, but conveniently missing piece of evidence on George “The Face” Smiley. As I recall, you boys at the Vice Squad were having difficulty pinning something on him. This won’t prove that he was running a drug cartel, but the photos should prove that he was involved in the murder of a pregnant, underage girl that ended up in the harbor a few months ago.”
“What’s the catch?” Ditko asked, rubbing his stubbled chin. Vincenzo could see the hunger in the man’s eyes. He wanted this. He wanted it badly.
“No catch.” Vincenzo clarified. “Just a gift. For free.” Ditko reached for the envelope, almost barely grazing it with his fingertips before withdrawing.
“You see?” the cop turned to his associate. “This is how it starts. He offers you a little something. As a gift. Then the next thing you know, his goons are breaking down your door and working you over while he tells you how he owns you.” Close. So close. Maybe next time.
“Ahem,” the Don cleared his throat. “Perhaps a little constructive criticism?” He looked up at the two policemen while a waiter refilled his glass and left him a check. He didn’t want the check yet, but he’d have to correct that later. Poor boy was going to lose his job tonight. The two cops waited. The older one glaring, the younger one reeking of fear.
“You might not see it this way, but we are on the same side.” the older gentleman informed them. “We’re two sides of the same coin, you and I. Men like you,” he gestured, “help the populace feel safe. Let them know that everything will be alright, and that in the end, good always triumphs. Good for you,” he added patronizingly.
“Men like me,” he gestured to himself. “We’re responsible for making sure people get what they want. It’s human nature to want to explore, to learn, to expand their horizons and to entertain them with pleasures they didn’t know they wanted. As soon as you realize this, and except that fact, that the city needs men like…us, your life will be a lot happier.”
“You’re talking about your drug and prostitution ring? Pretty ballsy.” the detective sneered.
“What?” Don Vincenzo feigned, “goodness no! I don’t know what you’re referring to. I was talking about the library at NYU named after me and the parts of Coney Island that I own.”
Ditko’s brow furrowed. “Man you’re a smug son of a-”
“COGLIONE YOU SACK OF SHIT!” Someone yelled from across the room. A man stood up with a revolver. He was greasy and sweaty and you couldn’t see his face for all of the hair that covered it. He might have been homeless from the smell. “MY SISTER OD’D CUZ OF YOU AND NOW YER GONNA DIE!”
Ditko was on him before he finished the sentence. The man was on the ground being restrained in cuffs within seconds, screaming bloody hell.
“Sir, you are under arrest for attempted murder. You have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney, if one-” he droned on. Vincenzo smiled, bathing in the irony. He had been wondering when the junkie was going to make his move, and fate had smiled on him, now the detective was doing his work for him. Not that his men couldn’t have handled it, but why bother when you didn’t need to?
“Thank you detective!” he called out as Ditko dragged the arrested man out of Mama Maria’s. The rookie was still there, flabbergasted by what had just gone down.
“I’m here every Wednesday,” he said to the rookie, sliding the envelope forward. The rookie looked down at it, as if afraid the envelope might come alive and bite his hand off. “Go on, take it. I’m just going to give it to someone anyways. Might as well be you. Go get yourself a commendation” He winked. The rookie took it and walked out just as Ditko was calling for him.
Vincenzo smiled. One more flatfoot in his pocket. Now on to other things. He waved over to the owner of the restaurant, always on hand on nights when Don Coglione came.
“Si, Signore?” the fat man groveled in a fake Italian accent. Vincenzo loved it when he did that! Just to know he had that kind of power to make a man go to such lengths amused him to no end. It was like masturbation; you think you’re gonna grow out of it, but you never do. Sex was better, but this was just great!
“You’re new waiter dropped off the check too early.” Vincenzo said. “I was thinking on ordering some dessert.”
“New waiter?” the owner asked, dropping the accent. “What new waiter?”
Vincenzo immediately put down his wine. He hadn’t taken a sip yet, and now dare not. Drink could be antifreeze. He signaled his men to pull the car around, and be on alert. He opened the check to take a look at it. Written on the check was a single word-
Johnny Spettro had the Devil’s luck. He had managed to get into the back of the restaurant, knock out the cook quietly with some chloroform, move in the ten tanks of propane he had brought with him, and blow out the pilot light, all without anyone noticing.
He had buried the tanks, one at a time under mounds of garbage outside the place hours ago. Garbage day was Thursday so the filth was at it’s highest, and the place wasn’t exactly up to code. Then it was just a matter of slipping in and setting up.
His months of scouting had paid off. Everyone at Mama Mia’s Italian Eatery was so on guard that it didn’t even function like a good restaurant when the Don was there. The old man had filled the place up with his goons and his boys, none of which partook in the crappy food, thrown enough money around to compensate the owner, and woe to the poor slob that interrupted the Don’s meal. Only the one cook and the one waiter remained to run the shop. Johnny had already dealt with the waiter.
Johnny savored the experience of looking that bastard in the face, pouring his whine while he waxed philosophical with some poor ugly bastard. He had wanted to say something, but didn’t want to give himself away. Next time would be bigger, he promised himself.
Then it was just a matter of going back in the kitchen, making sure the gas had leaked enough to catch, loosening the propane valves, and chucking a Molotov cocktail through the window from the outside. Johnny really hoped that Coglione had read the note before he was burned and/or crushed to death.
Now a blazing inferno and rubble were all that remained of Mama Maria’s; now quite literally a hole in the wall. Johnny walked away, not looking back, a sweatshirt and hoodie over his donated waiter’s vest. Yeah, it looked a little uni-bomber, but it did the job. He hit the subway and went home, making sure to switch trains three times and get off at wrong stops to make sure he wasn’t being followed.
This being his first strike, he likely shouldn’t expect much attention from either side of the law, yet. Drilling this kind of preparation was just keeping him ready for when he wouldn’t be just paranoid. He took his time counting the money in the clip he lifted off of Coglione. Nice. Easily two thousand bucks. This would help.
For most people this would be the end, vengeance had, justice served, call it a life. But for Johnny, this was the beginning. He was bringing down the whole thing and no one could stop him. Or so he thought….
Re: The Bagman
The Bagman Chapter 2: Calling the Bagman
The house was still. It was pristine. It was immaculate. It wasn’t too big or too small. The light tan Berber carpet perfectly complimented the white walls. The denim blue couch and brown Lay-Z-Boy Recliner faced the moderately sized television. It gave it a lived in, but sanitary look.
The bathrooms were all clean. You wouldn’t know that the toilets had ever been pissed in. There was a guest room with some overly decorated furniture; the kind of guest room that never gets guests. Pictures of other people’s families lined the wall of the staircase. A well maintained, but never used home gym was near the back, with an in-home office just a hallway away.
The basement…well let’s not talk about the basement. Let’s just say there was a reason there was a magnetic lock and soundproof insulation. Just by looking at this place, you wouldn’t think anything remarkable or out of the ordinary went on here. And its sole occupant preferred it that way.
The phone rang. Not just any phone-the white telephone with the old fashioned rotary dialer. The phone that never made outgoing calls, and for some reason changed it’s number after every incoming call, so you could never call twice unless the owner wanted you to.
A black leather clad hand picked up the receiver, and brought it to the owner’s ear. The owner said nothing. He simply listened, nodded as though the shaking voice on the other end could see him, and hung up when he was done.
The figure walked to the basement door and grabbed a bag hanging from a hook. It was a satchel really- black and leather just like his gloves-his tool kit. He checked through it to make sure he had everything: Bottles and containers, gags and tranquilizers, reagents and ingredients, things to contain messes, things to clean them up, a few nasty surprises just in case. All there. The basics anyway.
He’d need to go down into the basement sooner or later, but that could wait. He walked over to the front door, donned his fedora, and shuffled out the door into the night air. The cab was already waiting for him, even though no one had called for a pickup.
“Why the fuck are we here?” Donnie Cazzo wondered aloud to himself. “This can’t wait till morning?”
“One 'a the heads of the five got blown up tonight,” his buddy Tommy told him. “They’re prolly lookin’ to see who dun it an den chop up da territory.”
Donnie Cazzo and his buddy Tommy were nobodies; they were soldiers, glorified thugs, looking to make their way up in the Families. Tommy was a dumb ass. He wasn’t going no where, but Donnie was gonna go all the way to the top; he just knew it. He just had to wait and show everybody else so they knew it too. So for now he used his muscle to make himself useful and waited till some of the high rollers would really need his brains.
He wasn’t bitching just to bitch, he wanted to see who was listening. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, and then they’d ask him why he was bitching, and he’d tell them, showing his keen intellect and reasonable business instinct. Yeah, one of the big Don’s died. He was sloppy and careless. That’s why all the others should be hunkering down, not out in the open like this. Donnie had it all figured out.
“The Open”, in this case was a cleared out warehouse off of the docks. Which docks? Fuck you, that’s which docks. You know any more about this, and the last thing you see is the inside of a trunk.
Dons of the remaining Four Families of New York were already there, sitting at a plane wooden table that had been set out for them. This was an emergency meeting and it was no time for luxuries.
Don Alphonse Mezzanotte sat at the head of the table. He had the most influence in the city, even before Coglione bit the dust. He had chosen the last five mayors of New York, yet implications of election rigging and voter fraud had never even made it past the accusation stage. At a little over 40 years old, Don Mezzanotte had never even seen the inside of a courtroom.
Tonight as always, he was dressed in black. No one had ever seen him wear any other color. Even his eyes were black. He had to be dying his hair by now, but his face had an ageless, almost supernatural quality about it. His thin black mustache made him look like classic depictions of the Devil.
To Don Mezzanotte’s right was Donato Leone, the Young Prince of the Five Families. Donato was on the better side of 30, and had taken the reins of the Leones after his father lost a battle with cancer. It was tragic, Donato assured everyone. The Leone’s were the premier smugglers in the North East, and Canada, and expanding their operation to the Eastern Seaboard. New York was their nesting grounds.
Their clientele were fewer, but with much more expensive tastes. Rich people paid a lot of money for pet tigers, Cuban cigars, fine cocaine, ivory, and little boys. “Prince” Donato made sure that every need and desire was met to his customer’s satisfaction. Soon enough, he’d have enough records to go into blackmailing and New York’s Merchant Prince would become the Prince of Truth and Lies.
Always fashionable, his gold hair was slicked back and his beard was neatly trimmed. Even his blue Armani suit though put on hastily fit him like a second skin without a wrinkle or blemish on the fabric.
Across from Don Leone sat Giovanni Canecattivo, the “Mad Dog”. Even in a three piece suit, he still looked like a greasy sleaze ball. Those with the balls to whisper such thing said that he had Gypsy stock in his family. Regardless, he was proof that money couldn’t buy class.
Don Canecattivo had experienced the American dream. He climbed up the ladder from being a simple drug dealer to being the Head of his own family. He left a trail of dead bodies in his wake and caused a bloody gang war to do it, but he did it. There were certain rules when conducting business that respectable gentlemen did not break. Not being a respectable gentleman, the Mad Dog had broken at least half of them. He was only welcome because he had agreed to change his business tactics in return for recognition. Now his profits were halved, but he was recognized as a “legitimate” Mafioso.
Finally, at the end of the table, sat Alberto Zecchino. Zecchino was a coward. For years he had been trying to go “Legit.”, but never fully committed, being afraid to cut ties. Now he was the main money launderer to the Families, with his soldiers- what few of them there were- running protection, insurance scams, and gambling. It was a shame when such a once proud family’s main source of income was white collar crime. Yuppies on Wall Street did the same sort of thing…the kind of people who thought they were better than you.
Frankly, any of the other Families could have taken him and his boys out. But Zecchino was good with money and figures. The glorified banker knew where all of their money was. If he died, all of the money he handled might suddenly vanish. So he was allowed his seat at the table in spite of being a spineless wimp.
So he sat at the end of the table, as far away as possible while still remaining respectful. His salt and pepper hair was combed messily and the gray suit that he had first put on this morning looked disheveled.
“What are we doing here?” Giovanni Canecattivo growled like his nickname. “Some little shit blew Coglione up, who cares?” He waved his hand in dismissal, before rapidly scratching his stubbled jaw. Donnie figured that would happen. The Mad Dog and the Jerk were rivals, with Coglione being Canecattivo’s only real competition in the city in terms of drug distribution. The Mad Dog would shed no tears tonight.
“Giovanni,” Don Mezzanotte chided, “I would hope you would show more respect for the dead than that. We are convening to discuss our next steps. Vincenzo’s killer cannot go unpunished.”
“My apologies, Alphonse,” Donato broke in, “but I do not believe we all share your concerns. It’s known that Vincenzo was your friend and mentor, but not all of us have such emotional ties.” He smiled an elegant smile, a practiced smile. Then he had the decency to turn it upside down and sympathetically shake his head. “I am sorry for your loss, truly I am. But what does this have to do with us?”
“We can’t afford to look weak,” Alberto Zecchino answered, his arms crossed and his eyes darting from side to side. "If one of us dies, it makes the rest of us look vulnerable. If we look vulnerable we are vulnerable. Vulnerable people die…they die. " He broke out into a cold sweat. It was definitely about time for him to retire.
“Alberto is correct. We can’t allow someone from outside the Families to attack Bosses and made men. That is,” Mezzanotte continued, “assuming it was someone from outside the families.” All eyes were on Giovanni.
“What?” Giovanni asked. “You think I did it? Yeah, I hated Coglione’s guts, but I wouldn’t have blown him up.”
“Isn’t that what you did to your last, ahem, rival?” Donato asked. “Please excuse me if I’m not convinced that this is beyond you.” He leaned back in his chair.
“That was before I was at the top.” Giovanni Canecattivo replied. “Now the rules are in my favor. I’ve got a lot more to lose if I break them.”
“Giovanni’s correct in this,” Don Mezzanote spoke up. “I would like to think that we’re more civilized than to break our code of conduct; and that if we weren’t we’d at least be quiet about it. Blowing up an entire restaurant. That’s going to make things more difficult for all of us.”
“So what do we do?” Zechino asked nervously, his eyes still darting.
“We make a statement”, Mezzanotte answered decisively.
“You don’t mean-?” Giovanni sat up straight.
“I do,” Mezzanotte answered. “We hire the Bagman.”
Everyone new who the Bagman was. He was a bogey man, THE bogey man of organized crime. When cops wanted to scare each other, they told stories of crimes they’d witnessed, scenes of murders and rapes. When wise guys wanted to keep each other up at night, they’d tell Bagman stories.
The Bagman was legendary, a hitman’s hitman. He only took hits on people within a Family or crime syndicate. Yakuza, Triad, Russian, Jew, Italian, Irish; it didn’t matter. The only rule is, you never hired him to take out someone from another organization. He was a punishment reserved for fuckups and traitors, and only the ones that you had no further use for.
A few he left alive as an example. All agreed that they were better off dead. Most just disappeared-gone. No body, no crime scene, no nothing. Literally disappeared into thin air. If you called the Bagman, you were inviting a monster into your house, hoping it wouldn’t take an interest in you.
“Who’s going to call him?” Zecchino shifted in his seat.
“I’ve already been called”, a gravely voice echoed throughout the warehouse. Donnie raised his gun and aimed into the shadows. “Don’t bother, kid, or you’ll be dead before you run out of ammo.” the voice echoed in response.
“Relax, Mr. Cazzo,” Don Mezzanotte told Donnie. “Regardless of how he slipped by you, the Bagman was invited.”
Shadows took shape as the figure stepped out of the darkness. He was fat, with his belly hanging over his relaxed fit slacks. His cheeks were puffy and his eyes were sunken in and had bags under them like he hadn’t slept in weeks. His stringy grey hair reeked of sweat like it hadn’t been washed in months. The cheap black fedora that he wore over it looked like it hadn’t been washed ever. This was the Bagman?!
He wore a grey button up shirt, and a black duster that reeked of a thousand cigarettes. He walked with a slight waddle up to the table. Over his shoulder, he carried a bag, more like a satchel really…or a purse. The thing even smelled faintly of perfume. The Bagman carried a purse! Wait till the fellas heard this! This guy has got to be more myth than legend, lookin’ like this, and carrying a purse. He looked like a friggin’ toad!
“Who is it this time?” the Bagman croaked out, his voice scratched from a lifetime of cigarettes and booze.
“Don Coglione’s, dead,” Mezzanotte answered. “We want you to take care of his assassin.”
“Name?” the toad asked. There was silence. All four men looked down at the table.
“We…don’t know.” Zecchino finally sputtered out. The Bagman looked them over.
“You expect me to do extra leg work?” the Bagman accused the assembled group.
“Couldn’t hurt, he might lose a couple pounds,” Donnie sniggered to his buddy Tommy.
“No name? Nothing?” the Bagman continued, apparently not noticing Donnie’s dig at him. “How do you know this isn’t war?”
“I’m terribly sorry, sir,” Donato Leone spoke up, “but we have reason to believe there’s a traitor in our organization. No outsider could ever have gotten that close. Even if they could have, they would have let us know it was them.” The fat man stared at them, arms at his side. Whether he was taking time to think, or just breaking wind was anyone’s guess.
“Quadruple my usual fee… from all of you.” he finally rasped out. None of the Dons said a word. “Double my usual fee because of Coglione, and double that because I have to get the name myself. You get me a name before I do, and I’ll knock it back down to double.” They looked at each other, each silently nodding their consent, then passing it on to the man that they called. “Any problems with this? No? Good.”
The fat man turned his back on the table and walked to the front door. He brushed shoulders with Donnie. Donnie almost fell over, but not from the force, from the stench. Did this guy ever bathe? Donnie breathed out a sigh of relief when the stench had passed.
“One more thing,” the Bagman said, suddenly right by Donnie. “Your name’s Cazzo, right?”
“Yeah,” Donnie nodded, “Donnie Cazzo. What’s it to ya?” he snarled at the old, fat bastard. The Bagman put his hand on Donnie’s shoulder. Ewww, he was touching him! Donnie shuddered.
“I’m so SORRY to hear about your erectile dysfunction, Donnie Cazzo.” The Bagman spoke . “I’m so SORRY to hear about your bowels, Donnie Cazzo. I’m so SORRY to hear about your hair, Donnie Cazzo.” Then he took his hands off Donnie, and walked out again.
“The hell was that all about?” Donnie asked Tommy. Suddenly, Donnie felt cramps hit him in a tidal wave. Pressure was building up, and Donnie was doubled over in pain. Before he knew it, shit was rolling down his leg.
“FUUUUCK!” he cursed, pulling his hair in frustration. Donnie was greeted with the sight of his once beautiful hair in his hands as it started to fall out in clumps.
Re: The Bagman
he Bagman Chapter Three: Withdrawal Slip
“wake up sir! hEy sIr, wAkE Up! Al wake up! Wake up Al! AAAAAAALLLL!”
Alberto Zecchino’s eyes pried themselves open. So tired. So sleepy. It was dark, and he couldn’t see well. It was also very hard to move. His arms and legs were made of lead. They just didn’t want to lift. But he could see and move his head. Man he was sleepy. The thought just kept ramming into his mind.
“Keep awake, little buddy, keep awake!” the disembodied voice said, and he felt a hand gently slapping his face. Or maybe it was a mermaid tail. Hard to tell, really…but it was magnificent. He liked being touched on his face. Zecchino stirred himself and let his eyes adjust.
The walls had been painted bright, glow-in-the dark green over the wallpaper, and the flowers were dancing. Maybe it was a flower petal that was slapping him. He looked up and saw something, it was like an ant-eater, or an elephant, only it was bright red and it’s trunk was shaped funny. Don Alberto remembered that elephant on Sesame Street that his kids watched when they were young, or an animal.
“Heeeeeeeeeey….” he said drunkenly. "Sembri davvero divertente! Chi sei?
“Shit…” he heard the elephant say, it’s voice sounded hollow or muffled, or huffled….huffled….teehee. “I don’t speak Italian, Alberto old buddy, old pal.”, the strange elephant’s voice echoed out. “Try that again.”
“I shaid…” Alberto slurred, “You look funny, who are you?”
“I am Gotham’s retribution.” The elephant said in a weird accent and dark voice.
“Huh?” was all Alberto managed to get out, missing the joke entirely.
“Never mind,” the red elephant told him. “I’m your buddy the…the-”
“You look like a weird elephant pixie,” Alberto babbled out, his head bobbing on his own pillow.
“Yeah, that’s it. I’m your elephant pixie!” The Elephant Pixie told him in realization. “Elephant Pixie’s are special pixies that never forget…to… help you with your money!” His friend the Elephant Pixie gave him two big flippery thumbs up.
“Oh…” Alberto started to drift, “okay”. Then he went back to sleep. Mermaid tails slapped his face again, waking him up. He was just starting to have the most beautiful dream about a red Elephant Pixie with mermaid tails for hands and dancing flower wall paper….oh…yeah…that was right now. Focus. Focus for the Elephant Pixie.
“Don’t go back to sleep yet,” the Elephant Pixie told him. “I have a couple of questions, Al.” Nobody called Alberto Al, not even his best friends. He didn’t really have friends though. He liked being called Al. He’d change his name to Al tomorrow after he woke up.
“Wush you wanna know?” Al asked his amusing friend.
“What are the pass codes to your marketing account on your laptop?” the Elephant Pixie told him.
“Oh, ish that all?” he smiled. Such a silly question for an Elephant Pixie to ask. "Itsh shix-shix-shix-free-ate-too.
“Is that it?” The pixie asked.
“Yep. Shix-shix-shix-free-ate-too…spells moneta on a phone. Moneta means coin.”
“Got it, buddy! Thanks!” The Elephant Pixie told him. Al felt a sharp prick in his arm and then felt really sleepy.
“Hey Mishter Picshie…wusha name?” Al asked as sleep started to envelop him.
“Johnny Spettro.” Spettro. Something important about that name, something worth remembering. He’d have to think about name in the morning when he woke up.
Detective Roger Ditko walked into the medical examiner’s office. He couldn’t believe it. Two big name mobsters dead in less than two weeks. On the examiner’s table covered in a sheet was a naked body. The chart read “Zecchino, Albert”.
“How’d it happen, doc?” Ditko asked the medical examiner.
“There are a lot of variables to consider,” the doctor said, taking off his gloves. “CSI found several empty canisters of nitrous oxide in the ventilation system of the mansion.”
“Laughing gas?” Ditko asked.
“A sleep aid and anesthetic,” the doctor confirmed. “Tox screens came back positive for high doses of heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.”
“So he OD’d?” Ditko questioned.
“He might have,” the doctor said, pulling back the sheet to reveal what was left of Alberto Zecchino’s head. “If he hadn’t been shot in the head.” The doctor shook his head. “Wife woke up next to the body. Screamed her head off.”
“Zecchino’s security see anything?” Ditko pressed. He was putting the pieces together.
“The men were all fast asleep in their beds” the doctor said. “Or their posts.”
“Knocked out by the laughing gas.” Ditko said with certainty. “We have a serial killer on our hands.”
“Or a mob war,” the medical examiner interjected.
“I don’t think so,” Ditko shook his head. “Something doesn’t feel right about it. Anything stolen or missing?”
“Just a laptop, or so I hear,” the examiner told him. “Look, this isn’t part of my job, if you want more details, the boys in the lab should have a file for you to look at.” Ditko nodded and left to find it. He didn’t dare go looking for anything official. He wasn’t technically assigned to this case; technically. But he had an intense interest. Something was going on here. Something bigger than just a petty grab at money or territory. This reeked of vendetta.
Ditko strolled into the crime lab and searched with his eyes. He saw the file marked “Zecchino,” and scooped it up like it belonged to him. He glanced over it. No unfamiliar vehicles seen entering or leaving the Zecchino compound that night. No security footage inside either though, for obvious reasons. Maybe it was an inside job.
But what about the missing laptop? Something didn’t add up to that. One of Zecchino’s men could have stolen it, but the officers on scene were pretty thorough. How did the assassin get on Zecchino’s property without anyone noticing? Then Ditko thought about the Zecchino compound layout.
It had a huge garage that connected with the compound proper. All of Zecchino’s cars, even the ones that his employees drove, were very nice and expensive. Each had a place inside his garage. Maybe….maybe…but how would the assassin get out. Then it hit him!
"Chief! He yelled as he ran down the hallway. “Chief!” He was gasping by the time he found his boss. “Chief, check all-the squad cars, especially their trunks. Ask their drivers if the car was going a little slower after they left the Zecchino crime scene.”
The trunk of squad car 5 was broken. It opened with no resistance. Inside, was a gas mask and a burned out, magnetized laptop. “Get the dogs!” the chief barked. “I want this son of a bitch’s scent!”
Re: The Bagman
The Bagman Chapter 4- Secret Ingredients.
He was home again, back in his oddly pristine house. It wasn’t clean because he was a clean person himself; far from it. It was a safety thing. Messes left evidence. Evidence could get you caught. The things he messed around with needed cleaning up too. One sooty footprint, or spilled reagent might set up a chain of events that could not be undone once started.
As for why he himself was so often such a mess, that was harder to say: Maybe it was a small form of penance. Maybe it was because on some mystical level the contradiction of a filthy man living in a clean house had some sort of power. Maybe he just didn’t give a damn about himself anymore. No one, save the Bagman himself, knew.
He went to the basement. Down the creaky rotting staircase and the stairwell that smelled of rotten eggs. His feet crunched on whatever was left on the floor and tiny feet scittered away into the darkest corners of the poorly lit room. He hated the basement. But sometimes he had to go to it to collect supplies or ask for favors.
He reached into his pocket and took out a red piece of chalk, chalk soaked in virgin blood. On the nearest wall, he drew a large rectangle, big enough to walk through. Then he drew a drew a circle to make a door knob. He pocketed the chalk, and took out a small razor. He took his glove off his left hand cut the palm of hand. He reached a bloody hand out to the drawn on door knob.
“In nomine Primum Ceciderunt, et Filius Hominis, et Venturus Tantibus,” he bellowed, “Aprire hoc ostium!” He grabbed the chalk outline of the door and flung it open. What lay behind the door was not quite what he had expected.
Normally when you opened a door to hell, there was a wave of heat and a burst of flame before being greeted with an illusion of a swank boardroom, fancy office, or ritzy party. Instead, cool hair rushed into the basement, the sweet scent of baby powder filled his nostrils. The Bagman could see pinkish red indoor/outdoor carpeting and could see a crib in the far corner of the room, as well a changing table, baby swing, and a toy box. It looked like a nursery. Instead of the usual demon in the green three piece suit, a woman was waiting for him.
She was beautiful, though not sexy: Kind of like how you could look at a statue and think “Hey that’s a beautiful statue”, but you wouldn’t take that statue home to bed. Her hair was blonde- the kind of blonde you can only get out of a bottle- and it was pulled back in a tight ponytail. What was more odd, was that she was wearing scrubs with pictures of a safety pins and rattles on them, like she was a baby’s nurse or a daycare worker of some sort.
The Bagman heard the sound of a baby crying in the background as she crossed the threshold into his basement. Her eyes glowed red for a second before returning back to normal. “Bagman,” she said in greeting.
“Where’s Levi?”, he asked the demon, all business. Best to not show surprise or fear in front of these types.
“Levi’s busy putting the finishing touches on a project that has nothing to do with you,” the demon in the nursery scrubs answered flatly. “I’m here now, sweetie, you deal with me.” The Bagman nodded as he reached into his bag and started to bandage his hand up to stop the bleeding.
“You got what I need?” he rasped in his gravely voice, not taking his eyes off her for a second. The demon reached behind her back and produced a vial of clear liquid. She held it out to him.
“The tears of an innocent in Hell.” she proclaimed, showing him the vial. “There’s a lot of power in that contradiction. Do you have the payment?” The Bagman flipped open a pouch on the side and produced a vial of his own. It was milky white, and cold somehow.
“Chilled priest sperm,” he told her holding out the vial. “This do anything for ya?” The demon in the nursery scrubs licked her lips like she was hungry. She reached for the vial, but the Bagman yanked it away. “Mine first,” he told her.
She handed him her vial, and he hers. He slipped the vial of tears into his satchel, while she hid the vial of priest semen behind her back where it vanished for later use. “So,” the Bagman asked, his voice grating off the walls, “you my new supplier?”
“I can be, if that’s what you want, sweetie.” the blonde demon lady answered. “I certainly have enough supply.”
“How do innocents end up in Hell, anyways?” the Bagman wondered aloud.
“It’s tricky and a long story, but they have to be REALLY stupid.” she answered. The sound of the baby’s crying in the background grew louder. “Can I get you anything else, honey?” she asked politely, if condescendingly.
“A name,” he said flatly. “I need the name of my target.” The demon’s laughter bubbled to the surface as though he had just told an amusing- though not funny- joke.
“Awwww, poor baby!” she mocked. “You’re planning on casting a spell of THAT level and you don’t even know who you need to cast it on. That’s soooo sad!” the demon woman put on a pouty face. “Tell-ya-what. I’ll give you the name, so you can find him, IF you give him to me when you’re done.”
The Bagman rolled the offer around in his head for a minute. “No dice. I haven’t decided what I’m gonna do to him yet. I like keeping my options open. What else you got?”
“For a name?” she asked. “That’s it. But I’ll make you a side deal. Levi and I have a bet going on. If you somehow manage to kill an unbaptized adult who was born on February 29th, I’ll give you a year’s supply of innocent’s tears.”
“What’s the bet?” the Bagman asked as he wiped a piece of his stringy hair out of his eyes.
“To see where he goes when he dies.” she smiled coyly, clearly not going to speak anymore on the subject.
“You got yourself a deal, angel eyes.” he agreed. He eyes flashed red and she was in his face a split second later.
“Do NOT call me that!” her voice echoed unnaturally. He could feel the blistering heat coming up off of her. He didn’t blink. He didn’t smile either. Best not to show any emotion.
A demon who would let something as simple as that get under their skin was likely inexperienced. The Bagman was pretty sure he could take a new demon, but he had work to do and if she was Levi’s replacement for his business, it wouldn’t do to make an enemy of her, but it also wouldn’t do to let her think he could be pushed around so easily. Neutrality was best in this situation.
She turned around in a huff to walk back into whatever portion of Hell she came out of. “Hey,” he called after her. “Then what DO I call you?” She looked back over her shoulder, a wry smile on her lips.
“My name’s Lucy….now.” she told him.
The Bagman nodded, “Alright. Nice to meet you Nurse Lu-”
“Please,” Lucy interrupted, “all my little friends call me ‘Mama’.” She walked back into her nursery and the door slammed behind her, leaving only a wall in a dirty, disgusting basement.
Re: The Bagman
The Bagman Chapter 5: Johnny’s Story.
Johnny’s childhood officially ended when he was four. Johnny could never forget that night. His father and mother had taken him to a restaurant called Mama Maria’s Italian Eatery. They went here almost every week, and so it was like a second playground to little Johnny. Just a year away from Kindergarten, Johnny was still very much the baby of his family, and his father and mother (ESPECIALLY his mother) spoiled him rotten.
Even though he could walk, talk, count to a hundred, write his name and even read some simple books, he was still kept in diapers. It wasn’t even that he lacked the prerequisites of potty training. He could tell the difference between wet and dry, slept dry through the night, and could hold his bladder and bowels when needed. It’s just that when most little boys his age would run to the bathroom, he’d wet his diaper and run to his mommy. Johnny had even used the potty from time to time when he was bored. His opinion surmounted to: “Tried it…didn’t care for it one way or the other.”
His mommy had said she enjoyed the bonding moments of changing his diaper, and he loved the attention she’d heap on them during those special moments. “Just make sure he’s using the toilet while he’s in Kindergarten, and don’t start breast feeding him again,” his daddy said once on the matter.
His daddy didn’t seem to mind. If anything, his daddy was disinterested in the matter. Mommy did all the diaper changes, and it’s not like Daddy couldn’t afford the diapers. His Daddy could afford anything; money had literally no meaning in their lives. Daddy’s job was as a “leisure item, entertainment, and amenities provider”. Johnny didn’t know what that was, but it must have been the best job in the world.
Daddy explained it one time: He was constantly being asked for things, and presents that no one could get anywhere else, and it was Daddy’s job to get them for the people. Daddy was like Santa Clause, except his suit looked nicer. That was actually one of the things that they had in common. They both had a love of fine clothes.
From the moment he was able to talk, he expressed a desire to dress just like Daddy, and Daddy couldn’t help himself but to indulge him. So little 4 year old Johnny Spettro had an entire closet full of tiny custom tailored Armani suits to match his father. His mother declared it as “adorable”, and would often remark that she was so happy that she had two handsome men to take care of her.
She had said the same thing the night they had went out to Mama Maria’s. As usual, it was a busy night for his father, and he was doing more talking than eating. People would come, ask Daddy for some kind of weird present like a “transvestite hooker”, (must be some kind of transformer that turned into a fishing pole), or a “couple bricks of cocaine”, (cocaine must be really good to build things with.) Coincidentally, Johnny was building a mansion out of blocks on the floor, underneath the dining table. He’d build things with his blocks, and occasionally pat Mommy’s leg to let her know he was still there and hadn’t run away.
Johnny saw a pair of black pants legs approach the table, and heard a voice. It belonged to a man, but he didn’t sound as old or as big as Daddy. “Mezzanote,” he heard Daddy say, “what brings you here tonight?”
“I come with a message from Don Coglione, he wants to buy you out.” The strange new voice said. “He wants you to retire.”
“Retire?” Daddy asked. “Why and with what? All my money is invested and tied up with Zecchino’s companies, same as Coglione’s.” The table shook a little as Johnny heard something being placed on it.
“We expect you to retire with this,” Johnny heard some clickety clack sounds. “As for why? New guy in town, Leone, says he can undercut you by fifty percent. We’re gonna take that deal for all it’s worth.”
“We?” Daddy said. “You’re counting yourself among the big boys, now? You’re just Coglione’s errand boy.”
“The times are changing, Don Spettro,” the man in black said. “You can either change with them or get out of the way. WE want you out of the way. Quietly and painlessly if possible.” Johnny saw Daddy tapping his foot, he only did that when he was starting to get really mad. “This is a more than fair compensation for the years of business we’ve done, enough for anyone to retire in comfort and live out there days with their families.” Daddy’s foot was a woodpecker now. “Speaking of which, where’s your little boy?” Daddy’s foot stopped. Daddy’s knees went straight as he stood up at the table.
“You take your money and your bullshit retirement offer and tell that jerk Coglione, this flash in the pan Leone, and that chicken shit Zecchino “This is NOT how we do business”!” There was a pause. “Now get outta here before I have your balls cut off and surgically transplanted to a hooker that knows how to use them!”
There was a long pause. “As you wish, Don Spettro,” the man in black said before his feet walked out the door. The tablecloth came up, and Johnny saw his mommy’s face, checking up on him. She looked worried for a second and then smiled before going back to her dinner. Johnny kept playing with blocks.
That’s when Johnny noticed the puppy. Mommy and Daddy were busy eating dinner and talking. Daddy still seemed really mad about the man in black and Mommy was trying to calm him down. The puppy though, it was right by the kitchen and it looked like it wanted to play. Johnny had always wanted one, but his Mommy had never allowed him to have one.
Johnny crawled out from under the table, and went after the puppy. The puppy playfully ran away back into the kitchen. His diaper slightly crinkling as he ran, Johnny chased the puppy. The kitchen was very busy and none of the grown-up cooks seem to notice him or pay him any mind. They had cooking to do while Johnny was busy looking for his puppy friend.
Johnny heard a bark from outside and noticed that the backdoor was wide open. He ran out into the alley way, looking for his barking little buddy. A hand reached out of no where and grabbed little Johnny from behind. A dirty, greasy hand covered his mouth so that he couldn’t scream. Johnny looked up.
Johnny would never forget that face. The man’s face was boney like a skeleton. His hair was greasy and stringy, and it looked like. His eyes had a wild look to him and his yellow-toothed smile was not at all reassuring. “Hey there little Spettro,” he said looking down at Johnny, “looks like you found my puppy.” the man said gesturing to the puppy that Johnny had been chasing.
The man took a gun out of his pocket and pointed it at the puppy. “Good dog”, he said before pulling the trigger. Johnny screamed as the puppy gave out a final involuntary yelp. The man motioned to himself. “Mad Dog.” he said and then winked at Johnny.
Two chef’s ran out the backdoor. They were rewarded with a bullet in the chest. “Aaaaany minute now,” the scary man said, still holding Johnny close to him.
“Johnny? Johnny? Johhhhnnny!” Johnny heard his mother screaming from inside the restaurant. Footsteps loudly echoed from inside.
“Finally!” the scary man growled as he aimed his gun at the door. First Daddy came out, his hand in his pocket reaching for something.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Daddy fell to the ground as bullets tore through his chest, splotches of red staining his suit. “Shoulda taken the buyout Spettro!” the scary man growled, still holding Johnny hostage. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Johnny heard his mother scream as she stepped out the door. Than a hail of bullets ripped through her body and she fell to the pavement like a puppet with its strings cut.
During this whole thing, the man was holding Johnny’s head still so he couldn’t look away. Johnny couldn’t bare to close his eyes. Instead he kept them wide awake as he watched his mommy and daddy die right in front of him.
A car pulled up and the window rolled down. Police sirens could be heard in the distance. “Giovanni! Let’s go!” The driver yelled, waving the scary man over to the car.
“Give me just a second!” the scary man called back. He pushed Johnny away and pointed the gun at Johnny’s face. Johnny was looking straight down the barrel of the gun. Click. “Oh wouldn’t you know!” Giovanni said looking at the gun in disbelief. Then he shrugged. “Oh well, have a nice life kid!” Giovanni laughed as he ran to the car and hopped into the passenger seat. The vehicle peeled off into the darkness. Johnny just stood there, crying, as a the police came a few minutes later and found him by the dead bodies of his parents.
That was the last time Johnny ever had an accident in his pants. The next day he used the potty like a big boy. That may have been the end of Johnny’s childhood, but just the beginning of his life. Maybe it was the fact that he had been a Mafia Don’s son and this was the system’s revenge; maybe it was just bad luck; maybe the child welfare system is just that fucked up in New York. Johnny didn’t know. All Johnny did know is that for the next 12 years he was shuffled away from home to home, each one seemingly worse than the last.
At his first foster home, he learned that he wasn’t special, that he wasn’t center of the freakin’ universe. There were over a dozen kids, each with their own story and their own needs. Each had come there before him and seemed to know how to survive in the foster care system.
At his second foster home, he learned what it was like to go hungry, his foster parents used the kids as a justification for more money on themselves. At his third foster home he learned what it was like where bathing and sleeping in a bed were privileges that could be revoked if you didn’t say the Lord’s prayer at night or if you were seen having impure thoughts. At his fourth foster home he learned to take a beating.
In the school system he was classified as “Emotionally disturbed.” Fuck right he was emotionally disturbed! Why wouldn’t he be? But in a school system that has middle class values and wants to raise a generation of productive and non-confrontational children, emotions were bad things to be controlled at all times…unless it was a brief burst of excitement for getting an A on a test. Johnny was a liability to test scores.
The constant hopping around also made Johnny’s education very self directed. He had always been a grade level or two behind grade level, despite his natural aptitudes. Just as a teacher was starting to connect to Johnny and start to catch him up, it would be time for Johnny to be shuffled on to another district. So Johnny learned only what he had time for, and he only had time for what he was interested in.
Johnny learned to read at a functional level, but never developed critical thinking or empathy for characters. In general he had trouble emotionally connecting with anyone. He was good at math. At science and art, he excelled. He liked knowing how things worked, and his art was an outlet for him. At history, especially the talks of War and guns…he blanked out. History was just full of dead guys that best be forgotten.
Naturally, Johnny got into fights at school. Among other lessons, Johnny had learned from an early age that physical force was a means to an end, a powerful one at that. Johnny was never very physically strong specimen, but he was wiry and knew how to fight dirty. He never scrapped by the unwritten playground rules. Johnny always went for the groin, the eyes, and the throat- kicking, gouging and biting all the way. His various foster parents had indirectly taught him to go for pain and damage. As he got older, he was expelled from more than one school.
At sixteen, Johnny ran away from his latest home, and out into the streets. From there, he entered the prison system for charges of grand theft larceny, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer. He was not tried as an adult.
Instead, this suddenly kinder and gentler justice system forced him to go to therapy and as part of his parole, required him to attend even after he turned 18. His psychiatrist said, among other things, that one of the reasons he had so many issues was that he needed to find closure. No shit, he needed closure! His parents had been killed right in front of him. But he wasn’t going to be getting it. The people who had killed his parents had gotten away with it.
There had been no trial, no investigation. A policeman hadn’t even taken a statement from little Johnny or asked him what he had seen. Instead he was quietly shipped off to the houses of abuse and neglect known as foster care. The system was broken. The system didn’t work; that’s why the Families ruled this town to begin with.
Then a miracle happened. Somehow, someway, he received an envelope from an anonymous source. It contained a huge check made out to “cash”, and pictures of the heads of the Five and locations of where the heads of the Five Families frequented. Including a picture of the man who killed his parents. He looked older, but Johnny could never forget that stubbled grease ball face. "Giovanni Canecattivo " the picture said. “Use it well”, a piece of paper inside the envelope read.
Johnny didn’t know how the money had come to him, and didn’t care. The ball was in his court. He immediately cashed the check for the ridiculous sum of money. He spent it all almost instantly. Not on guns and explosives and weapons of revenge, but on fake ID’s, a new apartment under an assumed name, and buying some new friends that could keep secrets.
The rest of what he had was the result of thrifty living, careful planning, credit card scams and identity theft to pay for expenses. Johnny might not have questioned how he got the money or information, but if someone could just mail that to him, that meant they knew how to find him. So Johnny spent the better part of a year planning and taking himself off the grid. Nothing he owned or purchased was under his real name anymore, and he never bought anything that required a recurring payment plan…that he intended to pay anyways.
Now, at the age of 24, after years of abuse and redundant state mandated therapy, Johnny was making his move and it was coming off flawlessly. He had managed a stroke of brilliance by blowing up Mama Maria’s and Don Coglione who had ordered the hit. Blowing that place up provided some REAL closure.
Johnny wasn’t that bulky, so he had been able to scrunch into one of the Zecchino security guards trunks and let them take him to home base. Then he just smuggled some laughing gas into the vents in the dead of night and let the gas do its work to the security personnel.
A VERY drugged Zecchino had told Johnny the codes, and Johnny had made sure to transfer and conveniently “lose” the various funds of the Families and donate them to charities. Turns out an LSD and ecstasy cocktail in a room filled with laughing gas worked just about as well as truth serum. Johnny was tempted to give himself the money, but that could be too easily traced. Let the Families work out getting their money back from the Red Cross. Zecchino had enough valuables and money on his nightstand that could be pocketed to tide Johnny over for a while.
Then came Johnny’s move of hiding in the trunk of the police car and waiting till it was back in the city at a red light to bail out went off without a hitch. The dumb donut eaters had never even suspected. Hell, mob soldiers and thugs were used to driving around with bodies in the trunk, so they probably didn’t even notice the extra weight in the very back. What was the cops’ excuse?
Johnny made his way home after taking one of his practiced routes to avoid tracking. That included going into the subway to throw off any dogs or trackers. Taking several monotonous routes home, going to different lockers and changing clothes to throw off cameras, and finally going home .
Johnny walked into his apartment and locked the door behind him, all three locks. He breathed out, silently. He walked to his bedroom and began shedding clothes onto the floor, this was no time to be responsible. In fact, this was the exact opposite time.
Standing naked in his bedroom, Johnny reached into his top drawer and took out a disposable diaper. He held it in his hands and turned it over again and again, looking at it. It looked like a baby diaper, with childish cartoon designs on the front landing strips. He ordered it from a fetish site under an alias- some poor schmuck in Dallas was paying for his fetish.
He unfolded the diaper and laid it on his bed, a custom made adult crib that he had made based off of designs he had found on the internet. He grit his teeth and stared at the open diaper. He wanted it. He wanted this diaper on him and he wanted it bad. He needed it to feel good like a junkie needed a hit of heroin.
At the same time, he hesitated. He felt like less of a man; he felt like a freak. He felt guilty. He hated himself for wanting to wear diapers again, but he wanted it. This was this bitch psychiatrists fault.
On one of his last therapy sessions, his psychiatrist had suggested, in addition to changing his medication-again- that he might want to try “regression therapy”. Since he had suggested that since he had had such a traumatic childhood, the next step in healing him emotionally, would be for him to try and re-experience things from earlier in his childhood and reconnect with those good feelings, and that meant going back to diapers.
She promised him it would never get weird, and that if he felt too uncomfortable, it would stop. It never got weird: it never had the time to. His psychiatrist had to take an extended leave of absence after her son died at his own 18th birthday party. Poor kid had too much to drink and choked on his own vomit while all his little friends were trashing the house. So she went to bury her child and grieve, and Johnny used the opportunity to slip under the radar and never call again as he paid for his new apartment under a new identity.
Still, the idea had been put in Johnny’s head and one day he decided to try it out. It worked; too well in fact. With the crinkle of the plastic, and the feeling of the padding between his legs and the sounds of the tapes, memories of his early childhood came flooding back. Emotions of contentment and happiness came flooding back. For the first time since he could remember, Johnny had felt complete and safe…and it had all been while wearing a diaper.
The problem was, that was the only time when Johnny had felt relaxed and complete. When he wasn’t wearing a diaper, he was Johnny Spettro, orphan of a crime lord, former ward of the state breaking parole and constantly focused on killing the men who had ruined his life.
The only time when he was able to actually relax was when he was wearing a diaper and pretending to be a baby. He couldn’t sleep unless it was in his crib wearing a diaper. Hell, he couldn’t even relax enough to get an erection unless he was wearing one. Damn it, he was some kind of freak.
He’d never be with a woman again now that he had this fetish. Who in their right mind would want to play mommy to a guy who wanted to be a baby? Even his porn was starting to skew towards diapers. To Johnny’s utter relief and disgust, there were even such websites that featured women and men scantily clad wearing nothing but baby clothes and diapers. There were even story porn sites dedicated to fantasies of being treated like a baby- most of them forced.
Most of all, Johnny liked the POV movies that showed a woman taking care of a man as if he were a baby. The guy was holding the camera, so you never saw his face, and the actress playing “mommy” never used names. How Johnny wished he could be that lucky stiff. On the bright side, beating off in a diaper made Kleenex’s redundant and unnecessary.
Johnny finally lost the battle with himself. He needed sleep so that he could be ready for tonight, and that meant just ignoring his embarrassment and shame and going forward with the deed. He laid down in his crib and positioned himself on the diaper. As he leaned forward and pulled the front of the diaper up over his genitals, he closed his eyes and pretended he wasn’t diapering himself. He imagined that he was still a baby and that it was his mother smiling down on him as she taped up the sides of his new diaper before bedtime. It just wasn’t the same though. But it would have to do. Maybe after this whole crazy thing was over, Johnny could find a fetish dating site, and try and find an actual woman on there who would accept him and his damaged goods psyche. One step at a time though, eyes on the prize.
How embarrassing would it be to find out that the guy who had killed two crime lords in less than a week wore diapers to bed and slept in a crib? Johnny smiled at the thought that there might be people who’d be more embarrassed about his fetish than he was. Getting your ass killed by a punk that you should have killed years ago was one thing, getting your ass killed by a guy who beat off to adult diaper changes was a whole other story.
But Johnny wasn’t really in the mood for porn tonight. He just needed to feel safe, secure, and loved. So he rolled over into his crib. He made sure his gun was tucked safely inside his teddy bear just in case. He checked to see if the special padding under his home-made crib was there, pulled up the rails to the crib. Finally, secure in his privacy and in his preparations, he drifted off into a sleep filled with dreams of happier and more innocent times.
Re: The Bagman
Chapter 6- Interrogation.
Max Pigro sat in his dingy apartment, playing a movie on his brand new Playstation 3, watching on his new big screen T.V., while sitting on his brand new couch, surrounded by his brand new surround sound system. Max had recently experienced a windfall and had immediately rushed to spend it. He had just lost his job, his rent was past due, and his phone bill was delinquent, and he really needed to go grocery shopping- maybe eat something healthy for once- but Max had priorities. They were screwed up priorities, but they were priorities none the less.
He was just getting to the good part of his favorite movie- Bella Donna’s Fucking Girls Again…priorities remember - when he heard a loud knocking at his door. “Mr. Pigro, open up!” A voice called out from behind the door. “This is your landlady, Ms. Watson! Open up before I have to go get the key!”
Yeah, that sounded like Ms. Watson, alright. The old bat was always on him about money. It’s not like she didn’t have an entire apartment building filled with regularly paying customers. Why couldn’t she just leave him alone and let him pay on his own time? It was the middle of the night for Chrissakes!
He ambled over to the door and peeked through the peephole. Sure enough it was Ms. Watson, pounding on his door with an afghan draped around her shoulders and her coke-bottle glasses hiding her eyes. She must be really mad if she was calling him “Mr. Pigro”. Normally it was just “Max”, between the two of them. Max looked closely through the peephole. There didn’t seem to be any big burly guys around him, and it looked like she didn’t have anything in her hands; so no eviction notice. Maybe Max could sweet talk the spinster and get some piece and quiet for the night.
“Miss Watsoooooon-” Max’s speech ground to a stop as soon as he opened the door. Ms. Watson wasn’t there. Instead, a black gloved hand shot out of the darkness and grabbed onto Max’s throat. Max was knocked back and manhandled back inside his apartment. The door closed, seemingly of his own accord. Max raised up on his tip-toes to prevent from strangling.
In the light of his crappy apartment, Max could see his assailant better. Attached to the black glove was a fat man wearing a dirty black trench coat and matching fedora. He had a palpable air of menace and disgust about him. His oily grey hair framed his puffy face, and Max felt as if those sunken in grey eyes were burrowing directly into his soul.
“You dumb prick”, the Bagman rasped. “You dumb prick.” He raised his slimy head up and looked around the room. “You pull a stunt like you did and you don’t immediately skip town?”
A panic stricken Max began to flail and struggle for air. “What are you talking about?” he wheezed, the Bagman not quite cutting off his air supply. Max stumbled onto the dirty floor of his apartment and landed on his back as the Bagman roughly shoved him down. He tried to scramble away, but found a boot planted firmly on his chest, pinning him there.
“Mama Maria’s Italian Eatery blew up a few nights ago.” the Bagman said, shoving his boot down into Max’s chest. “Police reports say that a shit load of propane was snuck into the back kitchen.” Max started trembling. “What it also says,” the Bagman continued, “was that you’re one of the few surviving employees. Turns out you called in sick that night. What happened? Were you busy buying all your new stuff?”
“You a cop?” Max asked.
“What do you think?” was the only answer he got. Max slowly shook his head no. He should have skipped town, he should have skipped down, he should have skipped town. But it was too late now. The man in black reached into a side pocket on a satchel he was carrying. He pulled out, of all things, a bag of marbles.
The Bagman reached into the ziplock container and took out a single round, polished stone. He held it to his lips, kissed it, and then spoke. “Max Pigro.” The marble started to glow an unearthly green.
“A sinner’s stone,” the Bagman said by way of explanation. “My own little invention. Based off an old Voodoo ritual with a little bit of Japanese Oni Magic weaved in. Real potent stuff. I say your name and-” he took his foot off Max’s chest and placed a marble in its place. “it fills up with your sins and starts weighing you down.” Max had less than a second to gasp for a proper breath of air before the marble started crushing his chest. It was as if the weight.
“Looking around,” the Bagman observed, “I’d say you got pretty good amounts of sloth, envy, greed, aaaand…,” he looked at the T.V, “lust. Ooooh, Bella Donna’s Fucking Girls again…good choice; you’ve got some good priorities in terms of smut.” Max kicked futilely on the floor as the stone continued to pin him to the floor. He thought he heard the floorboards creek underneath him. They were starting to break! If he didn’t get out of this, he could literally fall through the floor!
“So let’s make this simple,” the gravely voice echoed throughout the room. “Where’d you get the money for all this stuff?”
“Some guy gave it to me!” Max groaned.
“No shit,” the Bagman replied, “what was his name?”
“He was some gangly, wiry guy. Mid twenties, tops!” Max answered, his panic building as the pressure refused to let up.
“I didn’t ask you what he looked like, I asked for his name!” the Bagman bellowed.
“He didn’t give me a name,” Max squirmed, then he felt his chest hurt even more. The stone was getting heavier! Max screamed out in pain.
“Lying’s a sin, Max,” the man in the trench coat hissed. “Keep adding more sins to the stone and you won’t have a rib cage left.”
“Okay, okay!” Max shouted, thought it barely came out above a whisper.
“He gave me some money in return for me not showing up for work that day and me giving him my uniform. That’s all I had to do. When I asked him his name he told me that he was just a ghost…no no no no no…a…a…a specter! But I could call him Johnny!”
“Johnny?” the fat man rubbed his chin. “A specter?” Then his eyes lit up. “And you said he was maybe in his mid twenties?” Max nodded. What might have been a laugh escaped the Bagman’s throat. Really though, it sounded more like a dry wheeze. “I’ll give the kid this, he’s got a flair for the dramatic.”
“So you’ll let me go?” Max asked.
“Sure, kid,” the Bagman smiled. “Sure. But first…” The Bagman reached down and unbuttoned Max’s pants. He pulled off yanked off Max’s shoes and pulled down Max’s pants and underwear. What the hell was going on? Was he about to get raped? Max tried to shout out-to protest, to scream, to plead- but it was getting harder and harder to breathe.
The Bagman opened the main compartment of his satchel, and produced something square and white out of it. It crinkled like plastic and Max could make out a yellow line going down the middle. The Bagman unfolded it, and Max noticed the three little tapes on either side. An adult diaper?
“It’s a Depends,” the Bagman explained as he slid it under Max’s butt. “It ain’t the greatest, but it’ll do the job.” The Bagman pulled the adult undergarment up between Max’s legs and quickly and sloppily fastened the tapes on. “You might get a leak, but you won’t care soon enough.”
The Bagman went into a side compartment of his bag, and withdrew a white plastic canister. Baby powder? “I know what you’re thinking,” the Bagman said, “this typically goes on before the diaper, well this ain’t your typical baby powder. It’s baby teeth soaked in demon spit and then ground into a fine dust. Has a real interesting effect, wanna see?”
He shook a little powder into his hand, leaned over and blew it directly into Max’s face. The marble was taken off of Max’s chest, and involuntarily he took a deep breath. He sneezed a little bit as the powder went up his nose. Suddenly Max felt a little weird. An emptiness was filling him, creating a void.
The first thing of Max to go was his short term memory. Where was he, and how did he get here? Who was the scary fat man standing over him? Then went his knowledge. Out the door went his reading, writing, math, science, history, and even his trivia and useless information he had picked up over the years. Then went his language, his toilet training, his walking and even his crawling. The yellow line wetness indicator vanished as Max peed into his diaper, unknowingly
The Bagman smiled at his work, the mental part of the transformation complete. Now for the physical part. He raised up his hands over his victim and placed them on Max’s forehead. He intoned the words, “Adolescentia dissipasset, corpus abiit, mentem ut sequi ex iam in”. Max’s body wasted away. He became bonier, frailer. His hair turned grey and thinned out. Age spots formed on his skin while he drooled away and babbled.
The Bagman stood up and admired his handiwork. Guns were always so sloppy, and loud. Plus there was no poetry in it. Now, left with the mind of a baby and the body of an old man; no one else would be able to get any information out of Max Pigro. If he was lucky, someone would come by and check on him before he starved to death, then he’d spend the rest of his remaining years in a nursing home or hospital; the deterioration of his mind written off to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Just to give the kid a sporting chance, he left a note on the apartment door. It read “Grandpa, I’m sorry -Max.”
“So, Johnny Spettro, huh?” the Bagman mused. He finally had a name. The prodigal son was at last returning home and it was time for the Bagman to clean up the mess that Giovanni left behind all those years ago. He smiled. “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…you’ve been a bad boy.”
Next Chapter: They Meet.
Re: The Bagman
Chapter 7: They Meet.
“Wow,” Johnny heard from his slumber , “just wow.” The voice was gravely and growled a little bit. A rank smell wafted into Johnny’s nose just before he opened his eyes. “This is definitely a new one for me,” the voice mused as Johnny’s vision shifted into focus. “I mean, I’m not one for souvenirs or evidence, but I wish I had a camera right now.”
Johnny’s eyes came into focus. A fat smelly guy dressed in black was standing over his crib. Someone was standing over his crib! Johnny grabbed his teddy bear with one hand and grabbed the railing with the other. He leaped over the railing while swinging his legs straight for the intruder’s head. The fat man in the black trench coat narrowly dodged, backing up a step.
Johnny ripped his gun out of the teddy bear and aimed it at the fat man. The fat man immediately lifted his hands in the air. “Whoa! Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” The man yelled as he took a step behind a tick line of red and white powder. The man lowered his black gloved hands and let out a sigh. “Okay,” he smiled, “NOW you can shoot.”
The ugly son of a bitch didn’t even have to say please. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Johnny’s jaw practically dropped to the floor as the intruder’s laughter filled the room. The bullets had imbedded themselves in the air itself, right at the line of dust. Johnny quickly looked around and found that a three foot area around his crib had been encircled with red and white dust.
On instinct more than reason, Johnny charged-the man had stepped over the line easily enough. THUD! Johnny felt like he had just run into a glass wall. He backed up a step, dizzy. The fat man in the trench coat smiled, menacingly. “Yeah…now you get it.” the man hissed.
“The fuck is going on?!” Johnny yelled. He hadn’t prepared for this. This was twilight zone material, not reality!
The fat smelly man gestured towards the circle of dust surrounding Johnny and his crib. “Brick dust mixed with salt,” the man’s voice grated on Johnny’s ears. “Guaranteed to contain anything that could harm me, physically, or spiritually.” Johnny just continued to shake his head in disbelief.
“Man, I love magic.” the man grinned, showing his yellow teeth. He reached into his back and took out some strange candles. He set them on the floor and lit them. From the candles a thin purple smoke, like incense wafted into the air. “I let myself in using a cuckoo bird’s feather under your door.” the man rattled out. “Hope ya don’t mind.”
Johnny then proceeded to let loose a string of curses that would have made a Taiwanese Sailor in a whore house blush. He may have even invented some new euphemisms including but not limited to “twat waffle”, “eunuch sucker”, and “human-centipede-lovin-wishes-he-could-be-the-middle-piece-baboon-molestor”.
When Johnny was done, and nearly out of breath, the toad of a man held his hands at about eye level, pressed his pointer fingers to his thumbs and then flicked the air. Before Johnny knew what was happening he was on the floor, writing in pain as he bled from both arms and legs. The bullets he had shot- the one’s that were just hanging in midair- had reversed direction and come straight for Johnny before he could react.".
“That’s all very nice, Johnny Spettro, but now it’s the Bagman’s turn to talk,” Johnny heard the intruder say. The Bagman! That was a name even Johnny recognized. The Bagman was the Mafia’s greatest in house hit man. What had Johnny gotten himself into?!
The Bagman saw the look of recognition on Johnny’s face. “Yeah…you know.” the Bagman said menacingly. This was his house now. “I gotta say Johnny, I’m impressed,” the Bagman nodded in mock approval. "You managed to off two of the biggest goombas in New York; AND if you hadn’t decided to go all superhero and hint your name to the waiter you paid off at Mama Maria’s, you’d probably
“Please!” Johnny begged, “You can’t do this. I’m not even in the Mafia. Everybody knows the Bagman only kills mobsters!”
“People don’t know shit about me,” the Bagman spat, “and I like to keep it that way. Besides, you’re the son of a Mafia Don. That’s close enough.”
Johnny was desperate. It couldn’t end this way, it just couldn’t. “Please,” Johnny pleaded, “I don’t care if I die, but at least let me finish what I started. Please!”
The Bagman laughed. “And who would pay me, if I did, huh? My reputation’s already gonna take enough of a hit as it is, letting you kill one of my clients after I was on the job.”
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” Johnny roared, his face turning red from anger. “THEY TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME! MY MOM, MY DAD, EVERYTHING!” The Bagman took a chair out from Johnny’s computer desk and sat facing Johnny, still on the floor and bleeding.
“Kid,” the Bagman began, “shut up, and LISTEN. My turn to talk, remember?” Johnny just laid there. It’s not like he had much of a choice.
“Yeah, you got dicked over by the Families, but that’s how it goes. The strong prey upon the weak; it’s the way the world works. It sucks, but that’s how it goes. They killed your parents when you were just a baby. I sympathize, I do.”
“FUCK YOU,” Johnny spat. The Bagman shot Johnny a warning look.
“Easy there kid, I’m giving you a lot of rope right now. Don’t hang yourself. The thing of it is, I do understand. Once upon a time, I was a gambler. Not a good one, but I was one. So eventually, I get in real deep with the sharks on the west coast out in Vegas. Too deep. Before I could do anything about it, my wife was dead, and my house was burned down and CONVENIENTLY, my insurance file got lost. So yeah…I know a little bit about what you’ve gone through.”
“I’m not…magic.” Johnny said glumly.
“Neither was I, kid.” the Bagman shook his head. “Neither was I. I was about to kill myself one day, when I got a lucky break.” Johnny looked up at the Bagman, hoping this was a hint that the Bagman would show mercy. "Then this guy comes up to me, wearing a green pinstripe suit and snake skin shoes; I don’t know if he’s some ritzy hotel manager or a pimp or both. He tells me he’s the devil…well A DEVIL anyways….and that he’s got an offer for me. Tells me his name is Levi, Levi Athan, and that for the price of my soul he’ll give me the power to control other people’s lives.
“Now personally,” the Bagman continued, “I can’t believe it, I don’t believe it. Everybody knows that the Devil is just one guy, and that if he was gonna dress in anything, it’d be red. And he definitely wouldn’t make a schmuck like me a deal. I was prolly goin’ to hell anyways, so what’s he need with my soul? Thing is, I literally had nothing to lose, so I figured, ‘Why not?’ and shook the mooks hand.” The Bagman paused for a beat. “And then it happened.”
"My head starts filling up with all this stuff I had never known before: Black Magic, Voodoo, Oni Magic, Curses, Spells, Illusions, Wicca, Necromancy, and even some spells that are only known in the Pit. When I agreed for the power to control people’s lives, I figured I was gonna magically win the lottery and have enough money so that I could buy and sell everybody in Las Vegas three times over.
“But that ain’t what I agreed to. I agreed to the power to control other people’s lives. I can literally manipulate the life force inside of people and make them younger or older in mind and body, plus a couple other neat tricks. Eh…not what I wanted exactly, but I’ve made due.”
“So you work for the same type of people that ruined your life?” Johnny asked, confused about the moral of this story, if there was supposed to be one.
“By being an in house hit man?” the Bagman asked, “can you think of a better way to take the guilty down by having more guilty people pay you to do it?”
“Doesn’t get anything accomplished. You just end up killing little fish.” Johnny was beginning to feel woozy from the blood loss.
"Yeah, I realized that too. Then I came up with a better plan. The first couple of hits I did, I just aged them to death and kept going till the bodies were dust. My contractors were happy because there was no mess and no body. Then, I figured that some of these guys were just mooks who didn’t know any better and got marked.
“So I went the opposite way. I de-aged them till they were babies; so that maybe they’d get another chance.” The Bagman opened the main pocket of his satchel and opened it Johnny saw that it was filled with bottles, diapers, and baby wipes. “What everybody knows is that I’m the Bagman cuz I always carry around my bag of tricks. What nobody knows is that for the most part, it’s a diaper bag for after I regress the targets! What a gas, huh?”
“So you turn them into babies and raise them yourself?” Johnny managed to ask.
“Raise them myself?” the Bagman asked before suppressing a laugh. “That’s a good one! No. I sell them to independent adoption agencies, there are plenty of rich people who can’t have kids who would just love to have their own little 8 month old tyke, no strings attached. I make even more money on the side, and when I’m done, the kid doesn’t remember anything either. Mob’s satisfied, rich parents are satisfied, new baby is happy, everybody wins!”
The Bagman stood up. “So here’s what’s gonna happen, Johnny. I’m going to turn you back into a baby, then give you over to some adoption agency; then I tell Leone, Canecattivo, and Mezzanotte You get a nice new life, and a couple more years in diapers- which I see you’ve got a thing for.” he motioned over to Johnny’s wet diaper. Wet diaper? When and how the hell had that happened? Was it the blood loss?
“Relax kid, everybody wets when they inhale the incense the first time,” the Bagman gestured to the burning candles which had been giving off a purple smoke this entire time. “Just normally, they’re not wearing diapers…yet.” The Bagman reached into his pocket and took out a small vial of clear liquid.
“The tears of an innocent shed in Hell,” the Bagman rasped. “Used only for the most potent of spells.” The Bagman took the vial and dropped a little onto each candle. The flame on each candle was doused instantly and from the wicks, a thick black fog emerged and started to slither like a snake towards Johnny. “Breathe deep kid.”
Johnny, of course, tried to do the opposite and hold his breath. He was in such pain though, that even that much was too tall of an order. The smoke raced straight for his nostrils and barreled into his lungs. Johnny couldn’t even cough as the putrid stuff entwined with his very being. Suddenly the pain in Johnny’s arms and legs numbed, and then went away all together. Johnny could breathe. Johnny could stand. Johnny could think straight.
Johnny stood up, trapped in the circle of brick dust and salt, somehow creating some kind of magic force field. His diaper sagged a little around him and was a little looser than before. He looked and noticed his muscles weren’t as developed. He still had some hair on his chest, but it wasn’t quite as thick. A peek inside the waistband of his diaper confirmed that he still had pubic hair.
“I’d say you’re at least 16 right now, maybe 17, if that’s what you’re wondering.” the Bagman informed Johnny.
“Fun fact”, the Bagman went on, “This is actually a variation on an old Aztec healing spell, responsible for the Fountain of Youth legend. They’d heal their greatest wounds by making the body younger.”
The Bagman swelled a little as he spoke. “But with my version, the safety is off. You’re gonna keep getting younger till you’re about oh I dunno, 8 months old, give or take a month. Injury just speeds the process up. So if you wanna do me a favor and shoot yourself in the foot a couple of times and do us both a favor,” the Bagman pointed to Johnny’s gun, “I’d greatly appreciate it.”
“You mean…?” Johnny asked, hoping against hope that the Bagman would
“That which does not kill you, makes you younger!” The Bagman proclaimed, laughing (at least it might have been a laugh) at his own joke.
Then inspiration- wild, manic, insane lunatic fringe inspiration- hit Johnny. Johnny hopped back into his crib. “Getting acclimated?” the Bagman asked. Then Johnny started jumping up and down in the crib. It was pretty sturdy, but it wasn’t a professional job. Soon Johnny could hear the crib creaking, and moaning under his weight. Johnny started doing belly flops onto the mattress.
“The hell?” the Bagman exclaimed, more curious than anything. Finally, with a satisfying crunch, the legs of the crib crackled under Johnny’s weight and Johnny felt the mattress hit the floor as his makeshift crib collapsed to pieces around him. Johnny picked his gun up and pointed it at the Bagman. Smiling idiotically.
“Oh no. Please do not shoot me. Whatever shall I do,” the Bagman droned on in mock panic. “This spell doesn’t usually make you stupid; but I usually don’t use it on people with a baby fetish either.” He shrugged, waiting for Johnny to fire.
“Hey Bagman!” Johnny challenged, “I’m not stupid. Just crazy. I was planning a special treat for Canecattivo’s car, but I couldn’t figure out where to hide it. You know where I hid it?” Johnny waited for a guess and got none. “Inside my mattress. Wanna guess what it was?” He pointed the gun at the mattress. “C-4!”
BLAM! BLAM! BOOOOOOOOOM!
The Bagman shielded his eyes from the brightness. Sonofabitch! Who the hell stuffed their mattress with explosives? When the smoke cleared, there was a sizeable hole right in the middle of the floor where Johnny had once been.
A child’s frantic screams could be heard. Johnny stood up among the rubble he had just created, his skin sizzling as it repaired itself and his bones knit themselves back together. He stepped out of his charred adult diaper which was now to big for him. He searched the rubble and quickly found his gun.
He looked around the room and saw that he was in a bedroom, a girls room based on the light pink painting and pre-teen heartthrob posters that decorated it… A black girl of about 13 cowered in the corner. “No time to explain!” Johnny yelled, his voice now much higher than he had heard in years. “I need your clothes.” The young girl looked confused till she saw the naked boy had a gun in his hand. She reached down, eyes filled with tears, and started to pull up her shirt.
“NOT THE CLOTHES YOU’RE WEARING!” Johnny shouted, “THE ONES IN YOUR CLOSET! YOUR CLOSET!” Johnny tore open a closet door and yanked some things off of hangers, not bothering to look. Something caught Johnny’s resting on the dresser. A cell phone. “This’ll do too, thank you.” Johnny’s now almost hairless arms snatched the cell phone.
“Sorry Baggy, but I got a vendetta to finish!” Johnny Spettro, now about 12, called up through the hole he had made. With that Johnny tore off and out onto the streets; haphazardly dressing himself as he went. The girl would undoubtedly have some explaining to her parents to do about why a naked white boy ran through their apartment.
The Bagman picked himself off of the floor. The kid couldn’t go through the containment circle, but he could go under it. Stupid…stupid, stupid, rookie mistakes! But how was he supposed to know that the kid hid explosives in his bed?! Who does that?! And besides, so many of his curses and rituals required the subject to know what would happen to take effect. He had just gotten used to monogloging once he had somebody in his grasp. It was sort of to balance the mysterious routine he developed with his clients.
Who the hell was this kid and who the hell did he think he was messing with? Despite himself, the Bagman smiled. He hadn’t had this much of a challenge in years!
Next Chapter: The Chase.
Re: The Bagman
Really good, really original. I virtually could not anticipate even one plot twist. There is a really grim noir feel to the whole thing.
Re: The Bagman
Thanks. I started writing this right after Dante and I purposefully tried to change my writing style. College or cribs is actually easier to write because it’s a more natural style to me. Not giving up on this one, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted, but the next chapter is overdo. I’ll post within a week…if I feel like it.
I’m glad the noir feel came through. I read a lot of Hellblazer for the magic and Spirit for the noir and this is what I came up with.
Re: The Bagman
The Bagman Chapter 8: The Chase
Johnny booked it through the streets almost buck-ass naked. He pulled a hot pink Old Navy knock-off shirt over his head, his now nearly pre-pubescent junk flopping in the wind as he didn’t stop. Unsurprisingly, most people didn’t even turn their heads. This was New York after all.
Awkwardly, he stuffed the gun and cellphone into the pockets of the denim girls shorts as he ran and then hop-ran on one foot and then the other as he stuffed himself into it them. If anything they were a little wide in the hips and small in the crotch. A cursory glance revealed that Johnny was cross-dressing more than he had hoped. A denim flap over the front legs hung neatly like an apron. From the back, it looked like Johnny was wearing shorts. From the front, it looked like he was wearing a skirt. Johnny Spettro was wearing a skort.
Great, of all the kids’ rooms to store C-4 over and then need to rob as a black sorcerer employed by the mob de-aged him…it had to be a girly-girl. Couldn’t Johnny at least have crashed into a tomboy’s room? It was something of a landmark in Johnny’s life at this point that these words came to him without a trace of a smile, ridiculous as they were.
What to do, what to do? Johnny glanced behind his shoulder. Hidden in the crowd, a shadow penetrated the living mass of people, one with a fedora and trench coat. Oblivious the huddled masses walked on towards Johnny, on their way to work. The thing that was darkness slithered towards him, shooting out like a cobra as it struck. Maybe it was Johnny’s imagination playing tricks on him, maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe not. Johnny couldn’t take that chance.
Johnny yelped as he jumped from the sidewalk to the relative safety of oncoming traffic. Horns blared and breaks squealed as the twelve-year-old in drag bolted between cars. His feet were quickly becoming raw and red on the hot gravel and pavement. He hadn’t had the time or thought to steal some shoes. Fuckin’ high heels would be better than this! No wait…scratch that.
Johnny “oomphed” into the hood of a car when he wasn’t looking. Curses in several different languages assaulted his ears. His eyes made it worse though. Across the street, directly in front of him, head down, and lips curled into a sneer, was the Bagman. How could that be? Johnny looked behind him. It was difficult to make out, but Johnny could swear he saw that bastard’s shadow up against the wall of a corner store. Yet directly in front of him, was the necromancer in flesh and blood. Both shadow and man did a polite little “Hello” wave. The monster’s shoulders bobbed up in down in a little chuckle.
“Awww, now this just ain’t fair!” Johnny whined. Now what? He was fucked if he went forward and fucked if he went back. Then Johnny remembered about that fat Buddha guy he had half listened to about in some therapy session or another, and chose the middle path between two extremes. Well sort of. Johnny flung open the door of the nearest cab and slid in.
“I am very sorry little girl,” a thick Indian accent from behind the steering wheel droned. “I am off duty and it is the policy of the yellow cab company that all children must be accompanied by an adult. If you would like a less supervised form of transportation, may I recommend the subway?”
Girl? Johnny’s blood boiled for a second before looking down at himself. Awww screw it, not the point. Johnny reached into the pocket of his skort and pointed it at the cabbie’s head.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I am supervised. Meet my chaperone, Mr. Glock.” The cab driver’s eyes widened in terror and recognition.
“Please…” the man whimpered. “You don’t want to be doing this. I have a family, and no money. Everyone pays with credit-”
“I don’t want your money, or your life. I just want a ride outta here.” Johnny hissed, his voice barely a whisper. Johnny had learned from a long list of convenience store robberies that shouting got you nowhere, and you were better off if you kept things calm, quiet, and appeared fully in control.
“My dad used ta be a cabby”, Johnny lied, “before sand niggers like you took his job. Now get going, and if you so much as make one wrong move to try to signal a cop, flag somebody down, or call the depot, you’re gonna get to find out first hand if you really do reincarnate. Now get driving and hold on a second…” Johnny dug the phone out of his other pocket. He punched in three numbers and waited.
“Hello, 9-1-1? There’s been an explosion on Avenue D. I heard someone shout that it might be The Bagman. Just ask Detective Ditko, he’ll know what it means. There are first responders already on their way? Great. Thanks.” Johnny slammed the phone shut and tossed it out the window.
“Where to?” the driver nervously asked. Johnny smiled deviously. “St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and step on it as if your life depended on it.”
The Bagman watched Johnny slide into the cab. He saw Johnny put the gun to the driver’s head. He wasn’t much of a lip reader but it didn’t take much of one to figure out what Johnny was doing. He cocked an eyebrow as Johnny opened a cell phone, spoke and tossed it out the window as the cab peeled off.
“Now what do you suppose that was about?” the Bagman asked himself. The distinctive wailing of police sirens gave him an idea. Not bad. Not bad at all. Playing the kamikaze card to throw him off his game. Neither of them wanted to get the police involved. Maybe this kid had a few brains to go with his guts after all.
It didn’t matter. He had Johnny’s name now. He could find Johnny literally anywhere. He waved his shadow over to him from across the street, and with a simple tip of his hat and muttering a few words, both man and shadow blended into the crowd.
Next Chatper: Rematch
Re: The Bagman
The Bagman: Chapter 9- Rematch
Night. Central Park. Three days. Three fucking days Johnny Spettro, now age twelve, had waited. Three long, long days and nights. In Central Park. Day and night. No sleep. Maybe he was eleven now, hard to say. Couldn’t even tell what time it was. No watch.
The fiend that did this to him, that regressed him, said that that which didn’t kill him would make him younger. That he’d regress more and more with every injury. Maybe sleep deprivation was an injury. Maybe starvation was. Maybe his clothes were just a little loser because he hadn’t had anything decent to eat in days. Johnny didn’t know. Johnny didn’t care.
He cared about being safe and taking minimal risks. He took no unnecessary risks. That’s why Central Park. During the day it was filled with tourists, the kind of people who wanted to see the Sunny Side of New York; the kind of people who would take notice of a little boy kicking and screaming. During the night, it was filled with bored, corrupt cops, bums, and lowlifes; the kind of people that would rape a little kid for shits and giggles, murder him and throw his body in a ditch. Giovanni Canecattivo’s kind of people. Every time Johnny blinked, he saw Canecattivo, his greasy, sweaty hands, pointing the gun in Johnny’s face. Still, when everyone was a threat, there was no safe place for the real enemy to blend in.
Shelter, he felt, was a false comfort, and walls could be used to pin him in, trap him. Luck had gotten him out before, but it would not do so again, Johnny instinctively knew. The Bagman would find him regardless. Everyone knew the Bagman always finished his tasks. He wasn’t human, Johnny felt. Not really. Not anymore.
Johnny hadn’t bothered to get out of the pink t-shirt and skort he had stolen. Too much effort and energy would have been wasted in stealing new gender appropriate clothes. Sadly, from the right angle, or the right light, or far enough away twelve year old, spindly Johnny could pass for an undeveloped twelve year old girl. The clock was ticking, Johnny felt, so dignity took a back seat to vengeance. It didn’t matter that Johnny looked and felt ridiculous anymore, he wasn’t getting out of this unscarred anyways so bring on the bullshit.
Besides, Johnny mused to himself, what he really wanted to be wearing right then was possibly even more embarrassing than girl’s clothes. Johnny didn’t consider himself a “sissy” in the ab/dl sense, but he’d kill to be in a diaper right now, girly clothes or not.
The gun that he kept in his pocket had so far prevented him from being raped, though not from being propositioned. Even 3 day old stink and the warning that he was a boy wasn’t enough to unarouse some sickos. Johnny held the gun in his hands, pondering. How easy would it be then: To shoot himself in the foot, or the chest, or the head? He wouldn’t die, Johnny knew. He’d already survived a mattress full of C-4 and the only thing he’d lost was a couple of years. How easy would it be to just de-age himself back into a baby? He could start over, become a baby and let the Bagman erase his memories. Live happily ever after. Or heck, he could possibly even luck out, become a baby, and keep his memories. Best of both worlds, right?
But as tricky as it had been for a young man to kill the heads of the Five Families; and as difficult as it would be for a prepubescent boy to do the same; it would be impossible for an infant to pull the job off. Being able to run, let alone walk, was almost a prerequisite to finishing the job. So no. Not now. Not yet.
Johnny began to mutter to himself. It was a mantra of sorts. Something that he made up on the spot the first night in Central Park. Something to keep himself awake. Couldn’t sleep, that’s how the Bagman found him last time. So he just talked to himself. Over and over again.
“I am Johnny Spettro,” he intoned as he rocked back and forth on the dew soaked grass. “I am the ghost of my father made flesh. I have burned the Jerk, and killed the Coin. I will slay the Lion, and bring darkness to Midnight. Then,” he took a deep breath, “I will put down the Mad Dog. I will finish my vendetta and avenge my family.”
It might have been delirium, but Johnny had begun to see things. Hallucinations maybe. Premonitions perhaps. Prophecy…Johnny didn’t dwell. But where his mind would dismiss things, his eyes wouldn’t let go so easily. He saw flashes of a war outside the gates of Heaven. A fallen Angel twisting her purpose to torment an innocent in Hell. He saw a slick snake in a green suit, smiling seductively offering a crying, lonely toad a bag of evil tricks. Johnny saw a man, a boy really, not much older than Johnny used to be, torn between two worlds and in the thrall of two glittering eyes. He saw the snake again, making promises and twisting words to an old crow that had lost its will to sing. He saw a strange shop where fate was bought and sold at the cost of freedom. And finally he saw a teenage girl in pink training pants, running headlong into the Inferno, a host of Angels on her heels.
And through all of it, he saw diapers. Diapers, diapers, diapers. He just couldn’t get his fetish off of his mind and it was infecting every thought he had, so great was his desire for relief. But nowhere in this madness, did Johnny see himself. He was outside of it all. All of it. Destiny held no promises for him, death would not take him, he refused dream, desire and despair held no allure to him, and even delirium would not give him anything that he could use; not even small comfort. He was truly alone. Only destruction in some form awaited him. All Johnny could do now is wait and be the cheese in his own mouse-trap.
“I am Johnny Spettro,” he began again to ward off sleep. “I am the ghost of my father made flesh. I have burned the Jerk, and killed the Coin. I will slay the Lion, and bring darkness to Midnight. Then, I will put down the Mad Dog. I will finish my vendetta…” Johnny heard footsteps and held his breath.
They were slow and steady. They had a wet thwopping sound to them. THWOP. THWOP. THWOP. Like wet flip flops on the boardwalk after a day at the beach, or perhaps what toad hears as its own feet hit the mud.
A low whistle pierced the darkness. At first it seemed tuneless, but as it forced its way into Johnny’s ears, he could make out a melody. “Hall of the Mountain King,” rang out through the night in a low haunting whistle.
The smell hit him next. The smell of someone who did not bathe or bother to wash their clothes. It was a rank smell, one that masked Johnny’s ripening scent completely by comparison. But this wasn’t just the smell of poor hygiene. This was the smell of death, of someone who had no more use for love, or life.
A match flared in the darkness, briefly illuminating the stringy-haired, pot-bellied silhouette of what could only be a demon in human flesh. Johnny’s eyes squinted involuntarily, the match temporarily blinding him. The toad of a man took a long big puff off of his cigar as he closed the distance between them.
“Finish the prayer,” the Bagman croaked. “Go on. I’ll let ya finish.” He took a long puff and blew a smoke ring.
“It’s not a prayer,” Johnny muttered, not bothering to stand up off the grass, “it’s a promise.”
“Whatever,” The Bagman rasped. “Some promises are meant to be broken.”
“You’re here to murder me,” Johnny said. Fact. Not question. The Bagman’s chapped puffy lips curled and his dead grey eyes narrowed slightly in incredulity.
“Quit being so dramatic kid. I’m not gonna murder ya.”
“You’re going to erase my life, my past, and everything about me that made me me,” Johnny snapped. “It might as well be murder. I’ll cease to exist as I am now!” Johnny balled his hands up into a fist, suddenly welling up with righteous indignation.
“If I was gonna kill you kid,” the monster growled, “you’d be dead. Just be glad I’m such a softie in my old age.”
“You look like you were born old,” Johnny spat, his voice making it sound more like a schoolyard diss than any form of witty repartee.
“Next your gonna tell me I gots cooties,” the Bagman gave a wet, phlegmy laugh. “Oh well, I guess that’s appropriate for your age. Any last words while you still have teeth and the memories to talk? Maybe you wanna make a request about which brand of diapers you use?” He gave a mocking wink to the boy, “Huggies or Pampers? Sorry, I don’t do that store brand shit.”
“Fuck you!” Johnny spit as he leveled his gun at the Bagman’s head. In the blink of an eye, he was behind Johnny, with one hand around Johnny’s throat and the other around Johnny’s arm. How in the name of Heaven could anyone so fat be so unbelievably fast? Johnny’s free hand instinctively went for his throat, while the Bagman squeezed the arm holding the gun- hard.
Johnny’s grip loosened involuntarily as the Bagman got a better grip on his wrist, squeezing the joints and pressure points. Shakily, and unwillingly, Johnny dropped the gun.
“Gun, nice try kid.” The old toad hissed. “Guns are loud. Loud noises attract cops out here in public. Cops create complications that I can’t afford right now. I like your style.” Johnny could hear himself wheezing as he tried to breathe through the bagman’s vice grip on his throat.
“But guns are for men, kid.” The Bagman growled, anger and condescension blending into a venom that laced every syllable. “Same thing with explosives. But you’re not man, kid. Your bedroom proved that. You’re just a little brat pretending to be big and playtime’s over.” The Bagman’s hand let go of Johnny’s wrist and vanished behind his peripheral vision. Johnny was still struggling futilely to break the death grip that the monster had on his throat. He tried to scream, he tried to shout…but more than anything, he just wanted to breathe. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t concentrate. His plan was falling apart right in front of him.
“So you wanna be a man, huh short stuff?” The Bagman spat into Johnny’s ear. The Bagman’s gloved hand came back into view, the dim moonlight glinted off a straight-razor as it came into Johnny’s peripheral. “THEN HOW ABOUT A SHAVE?!”
Johnny’s eyes bulged out with terror. The razor bit into his cheek and blood started running down the side of his face. A wet meaty sound rang out in Johnny’s ears as a piece of his cheek was removed. Johnny was still gasping for breath, unable to scream as the Bagman held him from behind by the throat.
Tears from the pain began to blur Johnny’s vision. Before the first tear could leave though, a slash across the forehead made his vision turn crimson. His eyes stung as blood gushed out of his forehead and poured over his face. This was going so wrong. He was dying. Dying. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t breathe.
GASP! Johnny inhaled, deeply as the bagman let his throat go. His lungs burned as they let in oxygen and his head throbbed. Relief was short lived, though. Before he had managed to suck in two breaths, Johnny felt his scalp being yanked back. Looking back and upside-down, he looked his assailant in the eyes. Pure malevolence stared back at him.
Johnny felt a slice across his throat, and lost his breath again. He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t even scream let along gurgle for help. Johnny was drowning. Drowning in his own blood. He felt each heartbeat as more and more of his life spilled out of him. His clothes were drenched in the sticky ichor of his life’s blood.
Clumsily, Johnny reached into his blood drenched pockets and fumbled around with clumsy, dying fingers. Finally, finally, Johnny found the vial. He broke the seal and popped the lid using both hands and prayed the Bagman didn’t notice what he was doing.
“You a Heath Ledger fan, by any chance, kid?” Johnny heard as the bloodied razor was slipped into his mouth.
Johnny tossed the open vial of clear liquid right into his assailant’s manic eyes. The Bagman dropped his razor as he screamed in agony. His scream sounded more like an animal than a man, and less natural than any animal Johnny had ever heard. Johnny closed his eyes and rolled into the fetal position as his pulse slowed. His ears picked up a distinct sizzling sound, like eggs in a frying pan.
Johnny felt a distinct numbing sensation and the world seemed to grow a little bigger around him as the pain went away and the spell that had been cast on him went into effect. His skin mended and knitted itself, leaving no trace or scar to indicate that flesh had been cut. New blood filled his desiccated veins and rushed to bring oxygen to his dying brain as his lungs worked painfully to draw fresh air in. His stolen clothes became more of a smock, and the skort slipped easily off his legs. The shirt now covered his nether regions, if only barely.
Slowly, very slowly, Johnny stood. The Bagman for his part was moaning and wailing in agony as smoke steamed off his face. The sounds coming from him resembled something from the exorcist.
“Holy…water…” Johnny panted, his voice now even higher than before, “you…sumbitch. Courtesy…of St. Patrick’s…Cathedral….” Johnny took a long sucking breath “….gift shop.” A mixture of relief and hysteria gave a chuckling quality to Johnny’s voice. “Guessed it would….hurt you…selling your…soul and all…” A satisfied smirk came to Johnny’s still panting face. He wiped the blood off his face and neck. “Looks like…I guessed right.”
Then Johnny saw his real opportunity. THE BAG. The old monster had dropped it as he was attempting to claw his eyes out. Breathlessly, Johnny dashed for the satchel. Adrenaline shooting through him and pure will giving his legs speed, he narrowly avoided the clumsy oafish grasping of his downed enemy. With one hand, Johnny snatched up the bag and hoisted it onto his shoulder, never breaking stride as his little feet carried him dashing out of central park. Ooof…the thing was heavier than it looked. Either that, or Johnny was now younger than he had hoped.
Hours later, after a fire hydrant bath; Johnny checked into a seedy motel/tenement building. The sun had not yet risen but the sky was already starting to change color.
“The fuck?” the so-called manager said when Johnny had rang the bell.
“Gimme a room for the day,” Johnny squeaked. “Here’s a hundred bucks for the day, and a hundred more when I leave if you don’t call the cops.” The Manager simply regarded him, checked the hundred dollar bill to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit, and handed little Johnny a key. Besides, diapers and magic tricks, the Bagman’s signature bag was also apparently well stocked with cash.
Johnny let out a long sigh and collapsed on the squeaky spring mattress. Before passing out, Johnny ripped off the soiled and stained girls t-shirt and rummaged around in the leather diaper bag. He pulled out the biggest size toddler diaper he could find and squeezed into it. He fit. Barely, but he fit. He needed this. He deserved this.
Johnny, now age eight and a half, nine tops, slept peacefully that day; not fearing retribution. After all, what was the Bagman without his bag? Just a man, and Johnny Spettro killed men.
Re: The Bagman
Okay… Now this is getting interesting…
Re: The Bagman
this could easily be a mainstream story. with out any edits. good job cant wait for more
Re: The Bagman
I’m really enjoying this story. The pacing, the plot are well done, as is the character development and the way you write the characters themselves.