His Witness

By: Vanessa Waltz


I brush past them, knowing that they’ll follow. Dread rises inside me like a storm, and I can’t cry in front of them, so it explodes out in a rage that I can never control. No matter the consequences, I say whatever the fuck I want to them because I can’t stand the Mafia. They’re the worst of the worst. Parasites. Thugs.

They follow me into the Employees Only room, into my office, which is actually quite large. There’s a big leather couch and a seat behind the black desk, which Vincent takes immediately. My guts roil when I see him there, just sitting there as if he fucking owns it.

I stare into his pitiless eyes and give him my lowest, deadliest voice. “Get out of my chair.”

A cruel grin darkens his face. He looks at me as though he can hardly believe I just told him what to do. “Make me.”

I take a step forward, prepared to take the chair and dump his ass on the floor, but the sound of laughter from the couch momentarily distracts me.

Tommy shakes his smiling face. “She has the biggest balls in New York. Vince, now you understand why I like this broad so much.”

Vincent’s smooth voice cuts in as he gives me a nasty smile. “Actually, I don’t.”

“I don’t care,” I say to both of them. “I wish all of you would just drop dead.”

“Oh!” Joe immediately gets in my face. “The fuck is the matter with you?”

Even though I’m a whole head shorter than him, I stand my ground. “Get out of my face!”

The one in my chair looks up lazily. “You really need to learn to shut your goddamn mouth, Melanie. That’s no way to speak to your partners.”

Yeah, my dad made them partners when his restaurant business went in the shitter. It’s been a nightmare ever since. They took over everything, redid the whole place into a club, and took care of the gangs selling crank. Of course now they have their own people selling drugs in the club. They rack up a huge tab every fucking time they come here, and never pay. Fucking nightmare. My dad tells me to stay out of it as much as I can.

I want nothing to do with it.

Vince opens a drawer and tapes a bag containing dozens of small baggies of pills to the back: molly, LSD and little gram bags of coke. He places it there and shoves the drawer closed. My eyes bore into his skull, which would make anyone else unnerved, but Vince is immune to my behavior.

“You got something you want to say, hon?” The tone in his voice hardens and he looks at me with an unyielding expression on his face. A prickle of fear stings my arm, giving me goose bumps.

“I told you. I didn’t want that shit in my office.”

“Do you need another lesson in who calls the shots around here?” He stands up abruptly and takes a few menacing steps toward me.

I stumble back, furious tears burning my eyes. “That’s right, hit a woman. Hit me, you piece of shit.”

Coward.

He raises his hand and I flinch, preparing for the blow, but he closes it. Vincent glowers at me for a few moments. His eyes slowly shift to Tommy, who still sits on the couch. “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this broad?”

Tommy smiles. “Let me handle her.”

Vincent gets a good laugh out of that. “Yeah, I’m not that sick.”

The glass twists in Tommy’s hand as he shoots Vince a glare.

Vincent crosses his arms. “How the fuck are our associates supposed to get the drugs? It’s not like there are a lot of safe places around here to hide it.”

My blood boils as Tommy helps himself to a bottle of vodka sitting on the coffee table. It’s my go-to drink when things get a little out of hand, which is often.

My eyes burning, I grab the thick wad of money from inside my jacket and pull it out. I slam it onto my desk while Vincent thumbs through the contents. Violent feelings churn inside me. I feel lost—out of control, ready to scream.

“This is a few thousand dollars short.”

Vincent’s horrible voice echoes behind me as I stare at the dark walls. Every time I step inside this place, my spirit dies a little. It’s slowly being chipped away.

“I took out money for the three-thousand-dollar tab you assholes are running. This place is a business and I can’t afford thousands of dollars in drinks.”

“Business is doing great. Why do you always give us such a hard fucking time?” Vince looks irritated, as if he legitimately can’t understand why I’d be upset.

“We’re just here to collect,” the other one says.

“I don’t want to see any of this shit. Do what you have to, but please leave me out of it. I don’t want to see where you hide the fucking stash, I don’t want to see fights in my office, and frankly, I don’t have to see all of you at once.”

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