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Episode One "The Tip In"

“Tommy, so good to see you, but I am the only one here so early. Bread and drinks are all that is available. Your regular table?” 

“Fine, Tony, fine. Great to see you too. Of course. Its fine. I am expecting some people, and we need some place quiet.” 

“Sure, sure. Business, or pleasure, huh? Huh?” given with a wink and a smile. 

“Business is pleasure, Tony,” Tommy said as he slid into the booth. “Business is pleasure.” 

As Tony took his leave and headed to the kitchen, Tommy saw his guests had arrived. As always, they were impeccably on time and impeccably dressed: lessons Tommy had learned well. The two men headed straight away to the table, the older man clearly in charge. Tommy stood to greet them. 

“Joey, as always, it’s an honor.” Tommy said as the two men embraced respectfully. 

“The honor is all mine. I heard your team is on a winning streak?” 

“You’ve been following sports? When did this start?” 

“Truthfully, Rico here told me on the way over — go wait at the bar Rico — so, what is it that you wanted to meet me about?"

“Tony, bring us a bottle of the private label red you have.” Tommy politely instructed the maitre’d as he and Joey seated themselves close together and waited with caution until their conversation could be truly private. “I’m going to come straight to the point, Joey, I want the team.” 

“What you mean you want the team? You mean you yourself, without us, or you without Frank? Yea, I know what’s been going on. You think you’re big and smart now? Well let me tell you something, Mister General Manager, you ain’t dirt unless I say you are. And you, as dirt, can’t grow anything until I say seeds go into you. Capisce? And I say Frank is still — and will remain — the owner of the team.” Joey said as he stabbed at the bread, gnawing it off in chunks, spilling crumbs over his shiny blue Armani. 

“No, Joey, I want the team, so I’m sorry.” 

“What the fuck are you sorry for?” 

“That this is what I have to do to get it.” And as he said this Rico walked over and shot Joey six times in the chest and once to the head. Joey was dead, but Tommy felt like he had just been born. 

“Just calm down, everything is going to be just fine.” Tommy said to Tony as he came scurrying from the kitchen. “Here is a drivers license. This is the man that killed my guest. This is twenty thousand dollars to remember this fact. Here is thirty thousand, and I never was here, right Tony?” 

“Right. This is the man that killed your guest, and this is thirty thousand cause you didn’t see anything. I don’t like this, Mr. Berlini.” Tony said, not able to keep his eyes from the hole in Joey’s head. 

“That’s okay, Tony, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to cooperate, give the money to me and then you can tell the cops the truth. Go ahead, call them. It’s okay-just give me the money.” 

After a few twitches Tony moved his arms and gave the money to Tommy, and thereafter he was dead too. 

“Pick up your shells and get the hell out of here.” Tommy ordered Rico as he trod out the back door and into a waiting car. 

“Did you have any problem out here?” Tommy asked the driver. 

“No, Mr. Berlini, I sat out here all by myself, and I didn’t see nobody the whole time. Nobody saw me neither.” 

“Good. Here is an extra twenty thousand for you. Unfortunately we had to go to Plan B.”

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