tagNovels and NovellasWilmington Woman's Club Ch. 24

Wilmington Woman's Club Ch. 24

byParis Waterman©

Chapter 24

The Ramirez Deal & Its Aftermath


The deal, as deals go was relatively simple. Ramirez was to supply the cocaine; Conrad would buy it, and bear responsibility for moving it to Genoa, Italy, where it would be combined with the heroin already on hand to manufacture the crack. Conrad had eight airline employees who would transport three-quarters of the finished product back to the states. That meant, Chicago, Washington, DC, Dallas and Denver. New York and Los Angeles were considered to risky, with the DEA having too many agents working those airports. The remainder would be distributed throughout Europe.

Conrad's cost for the initial shipment amounted to $845,000. Two trusted aides, Tony DiVito, and Sticks McGuire, were assigned to transport the money to Ramirez. The weight of the money, (mostly twenty dollar bills) required that two men make the trip.

The men were greeted warmly, wined and dined, even provided with whores for their evening's entertainment. However, at approximately four in the morning, two men burst into both their hotel rooms, threw the women out, and both Tony and Sticks were badly beaten. Tony survived the beating and was sent back to Conrad with neither the money or the cocaine. Sticks was bundled up and tossed into the river where the alligators feasted on his remains.

Although badly hurt, Tony knew he was a dead man for failing to deliver the coke. He was certain that Conrad would not believe him. The fact that he'd been beaten would mean nothing to Conrad and he knew it. So Tony went into hiding, calling an old flame, Ginnie Forman, who came and picked him up, taking him to her place although he was fairly certain no place was safe, he hoped to buy time thinking that somehow Conrad would come to understand what had happened and would not have him tortured and killed.

He did, however, call Conrad and explain what had happened; and that he would not be coming in because Conrad would kill him. However, Ramirez had already called Conrad complaining that the money had never shown up and demanded an explanation.

Conrad almost believed Tony. He had never trusted Ramirez, and had told Victor that after the deal went through he would have Ramirez killed. But Ramirez had sounded sincere, and $845,000 was a lot of money. Two men might have been tempted to take it and run. Conrad decided that in either event the two men had failed him, and had to die. He realized Tony was already hiding somewhere, but also understood that because he owed a shipment of cocaine to his partner in the Netherlands, Ramirez was his primary target. He knew he had better strike quickly before Ramirez fled to Florida where he was entrenched with the Cuban's and other drug lords thriving in the safety of Miami.

He dispatched two of the deadliest emissaries available to him, Chang Clobey, from the Horseshoe section of Jersey City where for years he had terrorized those miscreants who failed to pay their debts to the local loan sharks. The other was an out of town hit man known only as "The Tall Man," there were rumors, and only rumors, that he came from Detroit. But no one knew with any certainty where he came from, and fewer knew what he looked like. No one knew his name. Their assignment was to locate, and if possible, capture or kill Ramirez. Failing that, they were to locate him and let Conrad deal with him personally.

The Tall Man quickly found that Ramirez was in Miami, where he presumed he would be safe. It wasn't long before he found out where Ramirez lived, and how much protection he had.

But before heading to Miami, Conrad got word of Tony's whereabouts and sent Chang Clobey and the Tall Man after him.

Two days later, Chang Clobey forked a piece of apple pie into his mouth and savored the combination of sweet and bitter flavors before swallowing. He finished the last of his coffee, and was signaling the waitress for another, when the Tall Man walked into the diner. Chang waved him over to his booth and he sat down.

"So what the fuck's the deal," the Tall Man said, shooing the waitress away with his big hand. She left in a huff, forgetting to wiggle her rear end for the first time in months.

"We got a loose end. Mr. Kenney (Conrad's alias when spoken of in public.) wants this guy hit," Chang said.

"Okay, what guy?"

"Name's DiVito, Tony DiVito. He was supposed to pay for a shipment of "C" and didn't, or so Mr. Kenney says. It relates to the Florida thing. We just found out where he's been holed up hoping we'll go away."

"Shoulda known better," the Tall Man said, lighting a thin black cigar."

The waitress, still miffed over being so crudely dismissed, called out, "Hey you, no smoking in here, especially no cigars. Can't you read?" She pointed to the sign on the wall two booths removed from where the tall man sat.

His angry eyes froze her to the spot, and he stood looking even more menacing than he had when sitting. He moved quickly to the wall where the sign hung and tore it down and ripped it to pieces.

"Fuck you, and your sign," he said quietly, but everyone in the diner heard him. All eyes were on the cowering waitress. He bluffed a step in her direction, and she pissed herself, her smock slowly turning darker where the urine ran down her leg.

He sat down with Chang Clobey again. "So where's this cocksucker now?" he asked, and blew a lungful of cigar smoke in the air in front of him. But he was careful it was directed away from Clobey's face.

"Four doors down the street. Apartment's on the third floor. Thing is, sometimes he's got a broad with him, sometimes not."

"She there now?" The Tall Man inquired.

"No, I seen her leave around eleven-thirty."

"So who's watching the place now?"

"We are," Chang said stoically.

"The fuck!"

"Hey, don't get your balls in an uproar. I been watching for six hours, takes patience, this kinda work."

"Way you watch could get us the chair in this state," the Tall Man said sourly.

"I won't tell ya not to worry. Worrying is good, keeps ya on edge and that helps in a tight situation. But I gotta tell ya this here mope thinks he's safe. He thinks we're looking for him in Nevada, and that's why I'm calling him a mope."

The Tall Man ground his cigar out on Chang's plate and stood. "Now, just how the fuck you know that?"

"He told Junior Salvaggio two days ago. You know Junior?"

"The fuck he do that for, he's in hiding? No, I don't know Junior."

Chang shrugged, and said, "Go figure. Him and Junior go back a way's, but you're right, why tell anyone unless you want to leave a false trail."

The Tall Man seemed to relax a little.

"Makes sense, and anyway here he is, right down the street. Let's go get him and the package. You can report in afterward. Me, I'm gonna pay my respects to a certain blonde whore don't keep any set hours, you know?"

Chang laughed, "I know. I always get horny after a hit . . . but not tonight."

"Tonight?" The Tall Man laughed, it's after three. That's morning to me."

"Whatever," Chang said, putting his left arm into his coat sleeve. "Let's do it."

"Sounds good to me," the Tall Man said. Two minutes later they moved in tandem to the vestibule door. Clobey used a pick to open the entrance door, and they moved stealthily up two flights of stairs.

The two killers kicked the in door at exactly 3:15 in the morning. Tony DiVito had been sound asleep, but the sound woke him, and he was leaping from the bed for a gun to protect himself, when the Tall Man struck him across the face with a weighted sap. Almost unconscious before he fell to the floor, he looked up, saw the second blow as it came down, and then nothing but blackness.

Chang pulled the sawed off shotgun out from under his overcoat and whirled around the room, expecting to see an accomplice lurking in a corner.

In the bathroom, Ginnie Forman, a 20 year-old junkie, froze as the door caved in and instinctively knew what was coming. Frantically she sought a place to hide. Out of the corner of her eye she spied a clothes hamper overflowing with Tony's soiled clothing. Moving faster than she had in the two years that she'd been on drugs, she raised the hamper's lid, pulled several items out, dropped them on the floor, and climbed in; thanking her lucky stars that she was a petite size. Scrunched into a ball, she found herself on the bottom of the hamper, and quickly pulled clothing over her body, hoping that it was enough to cover her. She had a fleeting thought about the clothing strewn outside the hamper, and prayed that they wouldn't lead whoever it was to her.

The killers began a methodical search for the drugs they hoped were in the apartment. Chang was the one who entered the bathroom. He recoiled at the sight of the soiled clothing on the floor, and avoided it because he had a morbid fear of germs. He kept this to himself, fearing that such a phobia would be seen as a weakness by his peers, and might well result in his being forced out of the mob. He knew there was only one way out, and that was to die. So he had kept quiet about it for years without incident until now. He looked into the toilet, saw and smelled the urine that Ginnie had released from her bladder only minutes earlier. Fighting off vomiting from the combination of soiled clothes and the stench of urine, he flushed the toilet and raised the toilet tank top to peer within, seeing nothing out of the ordinary.

The Tall Man wandered in to help in the search, and miracle of miracles, assumed Chang had dumped the clothes from the hamper looking for the drugs. He ripped the shower curtain off its hooks, and using a screwdriver, removed each and every fixture in the room. They spent another ten minutes looking, and then returned to the bedroom and slapped Tony until he revived.

"Hey Chang, long time no see," Tony said, looking at Clobey out of the eye that wasn't already swollen shut.

"Shouldn't have done it Tony," Chang said, not unkindly. Now you gotta pay up. So make it easy for everybody and give us the package. What do you say?"

Tony didn't know the Tall Man so addressed himself to Clobey. "You know I don't have it. I told Conrad the Spic ripped us off and killed Sticks. Ain't found him yet, eh? Reason I took off is... ah, you know why I took off. And I know what you're gonna do to me. Fuck the both of you!" Tony spat out.

Both men noted the bruises on Tony's face, and the Tall Man tore his shirt off and saw the bandages taped to his broken ribs.

"He's been worked over," the Tall Man told Clobey.

Clobey nodded. He'd known Tony for a number of years and figured him for telling the truth. Ramirez wasn't to be trusted, and Conrad had him figured for ripping him off, but the unwritten law was to kill the messenger.

He sighed and said, "He ain't gonna talk, "I know him a long time. You know he's a made man?"

"Didn't know that."

"Yeah, long time now. But he didn't make a career out of it like some of us."

"Right, he decided to bite the hand that feeds him. Let's go to work on him."

"Naw, he's probably telling the truth," Clobey said quietly.

"Orders is orders," the Tall Man said. Let's get to work."

The two men were good at their work, and tortured Tony, burning him with a cigar, breaking his fingers and thumbs, even beat the soles of his feet with a truncheon. Eventually his screams bothered them in that it was just possible someone might hear them, and call the police.

It was Chang who first lost his patience, and produced a serrated knife normally used for filleting fish. Waving it threateningly under Tony's nose, he said, "I'm tired of fooling with you, you fucking cocksucker."

He looked at the taller man and said, "If he really did it let him take it to the grave with him, who cares?"

The Tall Man said, "Hey, we were told to get him. If we recovered the shit, fine, if not do him and leave a message so others will think twice before they try it."

Chang nodded in agreement, then used the knife to rip open Tony's pants, then pulled out his flaccid cock, and sliced it from his body.

Tony screamed and fainted; but the Tall Man was already holding a gloved hand over his mouth anticipating the scream. Ginnie heard it, and trembling with fear, finished emptying her bladder.

"Poor Tony," she thought, and then began praying for her own salvation.

The tall man removed his hand, and Chang forced Tony's cock into his mouth then slit his throat. Only Chang's phobia prevented him from slicing deep enough to sever the jugular in Tony's neck. There was plenty of blood though, and both men were satisfied that Tony would bleed out in minutes. They took a last look around to ensure they were leaving nothing personal behind and left, fitting the broken door back into the doorframe in order to conceal the corpse as long as possible.

Ginnie heard them going down the stairs, but waited another ten minutes before climbing out of the hamper, and running into the bedroom. It took most of her willpower not to scream on seeing Tony's dick in his mouth and the blood pouring from his throat wound. But her early training as a nurse's aid helped her deal with the problem. Using a towel as a compress, she managed to slow the bleeding significantly. Then she made a phone call to a former lover, Dr. Jim Albertson, a surgeon in the trauma ward at a nearby hospital.

"Remember, Jim," she said tearfully after briefing him, "they'll be looking for any report of a guy with his throat cut. I'll bring him in, but you gotta help me hide him somehow, or they might kill us all."

Dr. Albertson didn't like the possibility that the mob might be looking him up, and wanted nothing more than to forget the call ever reached his ears. But his years of training overrode his fear, and then his instincts kicked in. He knew Ginnie would deliver the patient, and made the necessary preparations to receive him.

At about the same time he hung up the phone, a derelict on a nearby gurney died, and the doctor was inspired. He took the dead man's paperwork and put it in his pocket. When Tony arrived, the doctor gave him the derelict's papers, and allowed Tony to assume his identity. The derelict was then treated as one Tony DiVito and later buried in Potter's Field.

The doctor had little difficulty in repairing the wound to Tony's neck, but the decapitation of his penis presented a more troubling dilemma. He did what he could, but couldn't salvage his manhood. For the rest of his life, Tony would have a high-pitched voice; a voice that anyone who'd ever known him wouldn't recognize in a million years.

****

Conrad compiled a team of four men, the Tall Man, Chang Clobey, Sammy Pardo, Fists Spinelli, and himself as the fifth man. They flew to Tampa, reasoning that Ramirez might have someone watching the Miami airport.

They took a suite at the Crowne Plaza, just off US 275, to use as their headquarters, rented two cars, a Lincoln Towncar and a Ford Explorer, and sent the Tall Man and Sammy Pardo to Miami to determine just how they might attack Ramirez with minimal losses.

Ramirez was holed up, if that is the right expression for the estate he was staying at on Fisher Island, a spit of unincorporated land in Miami-Dade County with some 218 households, and approximately 467 persons, according to the recent census report obtained by the Tall Man, who undoubtedly knew how to find persons in hiding.

"They're ain't but one way in and one way out," the Tall Man said to the group as they sat having drinks in the hotel suite. "It's about three miles from Miami, No bridges, just a ferry, or private boat to reach it. And the people living there are among the richest in the country. That means there is a certain risk of heavy, and I mean heavy heat from going in and killing some people, maybe a lot of people if he has guests, or some assholes get in the way."

"I don't care how many people we have to kill," Gentner yelled.

"Me neither," the Tall Man laconically replied, "but getting off the fucking island without getting caught ought to count for something, you think?"

"We'll get off," Conrad mumbled, obviously disgruntled by the Tall Man's statement of the problem confronting them.

"So, we need a boat," Pardo said. Chang Clobey nodded his agreement.

"Not just a boat," the Tall Man said softly. "We need one of them, whatchacallit's a Cigarette boat."

"Like the ones on Miami Vice?" Fists Spinelli said, showing interest for the first time.

"Yeah, like that," the Tall Man said.

"Shouldn't cost too fuckin' much," Conrad said sullenly. He tended to get that way when things didn't go his way.

"It's not the cost," the Tall Man offered. "It's the kinda trail that boat's gonna leave. They got cameras in the marinas. We don't want our pictures all over the place. Someone's sure to make one of us."

"So what do we do?" Conrad asked, realizing at last that this task was more of a problem than he'd thought it would be.

"I'm not sure," the Tall Man said. "But what I'm thinking is we steal our boat from somewhere's else. Not Miami, per se. Maybe some place south of Miami. I don't know... Key West, maybe, if that's not too far away."

Sammy Pardo said, "Fuel could pose a problem you steal it too far away. And then what's the escape route?"

"Good questions, Sammy," the Tall Man said. "Could be we pick one up north of Miami, we use less fuel that way."

"And," Clobey said, "If we use the same route getting out of there, we'll throw any pursuit off."

"How do you figure that?" Pardo asked as the Tall Man nodded at his question.

"I, um... I'm not sure," Clobey said glumly.

"Then shut your fuckin' mouth!" Gentner barked.

"No, it's good he suggested this," the Tall man said. Everyone was looking at him. They knew he was good, came highly recommended, but he was going against Conrad, and not many did and lived to tell about it.

""Why?" Conrad asked the sneer in his voice apparent to everyone.

The Tall Man turned to face Gentner. "It's an open forum, is what it is. We don't know the best way of approaching the problem. He might have something better next time. The way you yelled at him, will keep him from speaking up when he might have something good to offer."

Sammy Pardo spoke up. "Maybe we should scout out both areas, see what's there for us... like the boat we need... maybe an escape route will show up."

"Yeah, that makes sense," Conrad said. "But it will take a couple more days."

Sammy Pardo, more confident now, said, "We got time. There is no rush, we wanna do the job right. Am I right?"

"I think," the Tall Man said, with everyone listening carefully to him, "we should split into two, maybe three groups."

"How we gonna get three groups? Conrad asked.

"I'll scout Ramirez's place; find a way in and a way out. Say you and Fists check the area north of Miami for a boat and possible escape routes. Chang and Sammy can do the same south of Miami. We take a day, a day and a half. Chang you go over the mall across the street and buy a half dozen cell phones with 200 minutes on each, we'll all carry one and talk back and forth."

"So somebody finds a good situation they tell the others and we meet back here?" Fists said.

So they split into groups and both units found Cigarette boats, but it was agreed that the ones Conrad and Fists found only three or four blocks from Joe's Stone Crabs in Miami Beach, was so close to Fisher Island that it wasn't worth using them, as they could be easily spotted and that a normal fishing boat would suffice as the distance was so short between the mainland and the island.

A phone call was made to bring Vic down to serve as captain of the vessel, the group having decided they needed five members in the actual assault.

The Tall Man spent the time until Vic arrived scouting the marina and found a boat whose owners were not in Florida, but in Europe, but kept their boat ready to go at a moment's notice. It was the perfect vessel for them and he went aboard, made certain it was fueled and ready to go.

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