Author: Cynthia Taz
"... leave the Chinatown to the Triads. Ya?" Toni commented. Tara stood at the back of the room as her boss and other Mafia capos nodded in agreement. Toni had invited Joey, Snake and couple other capo-regimes for the short monthly meeting in Gentlemen's Club that once belonged to Salvatore Leone, a tradition that had been maintained for some years.
What surprised Tara though was that Toni had asked for her to join the meeting. Sure, Tara had done several jobs for Toni, but someone like her being asked by name from the head of Mafia? The undercover cop did not know what to make of it, especially under current situation - Tara’s life would be in even more danger if Joey though Tara was loyal to Toni. Still, Tara decided not to think of it at the moment, instead focusing on gaining trust from other gang members. "Any thing else?"
Joey pulled out the pile of photos Tara had given him earlier and threw them onto the coffee table. "Here. Our little pumpkin's all grown up, and the pigs don't even know who she is."
It didn't take long for others to recognize the face. "Isn't that Rosie's kid? I thought she had gone to Japan." Mickey, one of the Mafia capos, asked.
"Obviously, she's back." Toni turned to Tara. "You know who she is? Or Rosie?" Tara shook her head no. "Rosie, Ken Rosenberg, used to work with us until he got himself blown up." Toni explained. "That guy's piece of work, could defend an innocent man all the way to the death row. His kid though... nothing like pa. Tough, smart. Got herself work up in the Yakuza after her ma got wasted, thanks to little Jo."
Tara frowned, but said nothing.
Joey waved his hand in dismissal. "That kid ain't tough, just lucky."
"The same lucky kid who you managed not to kill, cleaned us up in Staunton Island, and tricked you into running around town with your pants down?"
"There were three bombs in the room!" Joey growled. "And I don't see how you manage her!"
"I never want to 'manage' her, neither did your old man. And if you weren't being such a shit head and went after a girl and a woman in the first place we wouldn't have to do the 'managing' now, do we?"
"Don't put this on my head!" The Leone growled louder before standing up and stormed away. The other members looked at each other, and shrugged.
Toni shook his head and dismissed the others. "Fucking shit head." People started clearing out of the room when Toni called after Tara. "Let's talk." Tara nodded. She waited for other people to leave before closing the door and turned back towards Toni. "You work for Jo for how long? Half year?"
"Almost a year, sir."
"Hey now, don't be a stranger. Call me Toni."
"Yes sir- Toni."
"Good. Listen. Jo's smart, but not real good with the people stuff, and certainly don't know a good help when he sees one. Poor Sal gonna jump from his grave if he sees how fuck up his son is." Toni sighed and leaned back at his chair, studying Tara carefully. "Your works' good. Most people just try to find an easy out. You're solid. I could do someone like you." He paused. "What little Jo's heading... be honest, it's gonna get him killed some day. And it would be a waste if you let him pull you down with him, huh?" Tara said nothing. "Well, I need you to do something for me. A message, actually." He pulled out a cigar and handed it to Tara. Tara shook her head no. "I want you to go see Rosie's kid. Tell her I want to meet her, a bit of catch up."
It did not take long for Tara to understand the message. "Meeting? With the Yakuza?"
"Yakuza can be quite an ally, if you play your cards right." Toni waved his hand in dismissal. "That kid managed to clean us up in the Staunton Island. I ain't give her no excuse to shit us because of the Colombians." He explained. "I trust you can do it?" Tara nodded. "Good." He fished out a car key from his pocket and handed it to Tara. "Go to the Kenji's Casio. You should be able to contact Rosie's kid there."
Tara nodded and left for the garage. Thousands thoughts went through her mind, and most of them involved herself dying in a horrible death. For all Tara knew, Toni could be trying to set up Joey via Tara by making her drove a car full of explosives to the Yakuza; or even worst, stuffing a body of some Yakuza member and used Tara as the 'delivery girl'. Even if Toni really only wanted to talk, Tara could have been shot to death before she reached the Casino, since gang members loved to open fire without so much a 'hello' if they spotted members from other crime organizations on their 'territory'. Overall, Tara was a dead meat.
Reaching the garage and spotting the black Sentinel that she was supposed to use, Tara couldn't help but shivered as she remembered one particular tale from Faith about spotting a car with an open trunk that had a bloody body in it, being traced by other two cars that were trying to run it down. Quickly checking the car to ensure there was no bomb, she opened the trunk, relieved to find no blood or gore in it. Silently laughing at her own paranoia, Tara stepped into the car, and stared at the name written on the piece of paper on the car dash.