Johnny Maravich had always been an average joe, not possessing any great talents or skills. However, when he did try his best at something, he’d often get above-average results. Johnny has always been in the profession of doing things for other people, both legal and not-so-legal things. If you needed to get rid of someone, you called Johnny. If you needed to “talk” to or “get ahold” of someone, you called Johnny. If you needed to persuade someone to do something for you, guess what? You called Johnny. Basically, Johnny was the guy who can do things for you, even get certain things of an indirect nature done. What did he do exactly? Well, what did you want? Someone’s head busted open, someone’s leg broken, the money some scumbag owes you? If that was if, then Johnny was your man. Now, if you wanted documents forged, numbers manipulated, money laundered, and things like that. . .well, Johnny just wasn’t that guy. However, he knew a guy who was that guy, and he’d connect you to him for a fee. A very expensive fee. You see, Johnny had a lot of resources, but, those resources were often hard to come by (and even harder to retain). So, to offset the expenses he had to endure for “obtaining” the resource, he charges a very expensive fee whenever someone request something out of Johnny’s field of expertise to be done. Needless to say, people were real careful what they asked Johnny to do for them.

            Now, that doesn’t mean Johnny’s the big man in town, not by any means. In fact, Johnny has to answer to some very powerful people. People you didn’t want to even get on the border of the bad side of. if you even so much as coughed at the inappropriate time when in one of their presences, let’s just say sleeping-with-the-fishes would be the lightest punishment for ya (if you catch the drift). Now, just recently, Johnny got into a little trouble with some guys while he was on the job. What was he doing? You know, whatever it was that Johnny got asked to do on a regular basis: shaking someone down, breaking a leg or two, retrieving some money owed, or even, putting someone on frost. Permanently. Now, Johnny didn’t usually put people on frost, and whenever he did, the price was steep. Reason why? Well, Johnny didn’t have the police and FBI in his pockets like the higher-ups did, so if he got caught acting outta pocket, he’d go to the slammer and do the sentence. See, in this business, you gotta have weight to maneuver or else you’re just an expendable. That’s what Johnny was. An expendable. Many joes out there that can do what Johnny does, only reason Johnny’s on demand is ‘cause Johnny wiped out the competition.

Remember those resources mentioned earlier? Yeah, those guys are the former competition. See, Johnny wasn’t a smooth-talker or ultra-seductive in his methods, he was more like a blunt instrument. A hammer, so to speak. Got straight to the point and those who didn’t like it, got the point one way or another (if you catch the drift).

Remember the trouble Johnny got into recently? Yeah, it was one of those things where you go to do something and a bunch of unexpected shit happens and now your ass is on the line. What happened exactly? No one knows. Except Johnny and the people that were there (well, those who’re still alive).

Anyway, it was one cold, winter day, maybe on a Sunday night, when Johnny pulled up to a bar called Last Call. Johnny drove an old station wagon, some shit made in the 1950’s or 60’s. It was black and dirty with black smoke coming out the exhaust when it drove through the streets. You know, antique shit. Anyway, Johnny pulled up right in front of the place and was in a cold sweat about something. He took off his hat and took out a rag and wiped his brow with it. Breathing like a broad who got her brains fucked out. Heart racing like an illegal street racer’s car closing in on the finish line. Johnny was shook. And Johnny never got shook. He put his hat back on and got out of the car and slammed the door. He adjusted his suit and fixed hie tie. He wore a black and white suit that made him look like security rather than a handyman. He looked at his gold Rolex and the time said eight o’clock. He took a deep breath, composed himself and went in looking like good ole Johnny.

The bar is kind of a classy place. Little tables with brown, mahogany, chairs in good condition surrounded them, the bar directly beside it. On the left there were other tables that gave it that diner feeling, with pictures of paintings by wannabe artists trying to sell their work for a quick buck. Some of it decent, some of it bad, and some of it what-the-fuck. A little further back is a little VIP area on an elevated platform, just before you go up the mini-staircase there were two other staircases that led to the restrooms. Men on the left, ladies on the right. Spotlights shined in various spots along the front and candlelights in the back. The VIP area had its own set of lights to give whoever paid the price that special treatment. You know, broads all over you, touching on your john and whatnot, bottle service, and even some coke (depending on who you were and how much you were willing to dish out).

Johnny sat down at the bar and ordered a Scotch on the rocks and gave the guy a twenty. The bartender nodded and two minutes later came back with it. Johnny chugged it down in one go and asked for a glass of Jack Daniels. The bartender said “yes sir” and got the drink for him. When the bartender set the drink down, Johnny looked at it for a moment. He was gonna chug it but then thought better to save this one. For what? Who knows, but who cares? His money.

“Glad you could make it, Johnny.” A voice said from behind him as the man it belonged to sat beside him. “I see you started without me.”

“Nah,” Johnny said, “there’s your Jack.”

“How sweet.” The man took the glass and sipped it. “Oh yeah, that’s Jack alright. Just the way I like it.”

“So what’d ya call me for?” Johnny asked, getting straight to business. “Can’t be here long.”

“Why not?” The man asked. “You’re a man that overextends himself. What’s the trouble?”

“Nothing you need to be concerned with.” Johnny replied expressionlessly. “Now, why’d ya call me?”

“I called you, because I need someone taken care of.”

“Alright,” Johnny said, “who’s the target?”

The man put a hand on Johnny’s shoulder and shook it in a fatherly manner, “before I tell you the target. A short story.”

“Alright,” Johnny said with a look of slight nervousness, “make it quick though.”

“Sure,” the man said, “A couple months ago, I ordered someone to pick up a package for me. A very valuable package, worth at least twenty million. Now, everything was going smoothly, there were no problems with the transaction. The higher-ups ensured the police and FBI looked the other way and that there were no witnesses, the trucks got to their destinations, all the proper parties were in attendance, and it seemed like the exchange was going according to plan.

“When the party (who shall remain nameless but for simplicity’s sake let’s call them the Supervisors) presented their package, twenty million dollars cash, our people took the money, counted it and made sure it was all there. It was, not a penny short. Now, when I went to the truck and told the driver to open the back. There was a black, industrial case as expected. I opened the case and found a black briefcase inside, as expected. I was just about to take it to the Supervisors when, strangely enough, a feeling came over me. A feeling that something wasn’t right. That something was off, out of place. I looked at the briefcase and decided to place it on the ground and open it.

“Do you know what I found when I opened it?”

Johnny’s poker face had disappeared at this point as a cold, no, a frosty sweat broke from his temples. The insides of his guts froze as if suspended in time. The look in the man’s eyes was knowing, as if saying I-know-what-you-did-and-I-know-you-did-it. Johnny called the bartender and ordered Scotch neat.

“I found nothing.” The man said. “Nothing but a blue satin cushion with an empty slot where the diamond was supposed to be. Isn’t that something?”

“Sounds like someone fucked up.” Johnny tried to say with confidence.

“Yes, Johnny, someone fucked up indeed.”

“So, you want me to find the person and put him on frost?” Johnny asked.

“Oh, I believe finding the person would be very easy, Johnny.” The man said as he laid his hand on Johnny’s shoulder again. “In fact, I believe you know the person very well. As well as you know yourself.”

Johnny’s face was frozen stiff. He realized who the man was talking about and why he called him here. The man moved his hand from Johnny’s shoulder as Johnny drank the Scotch in one shot and walked out the bar. The man turned to the bartender and ordered two glasses of Jack.

When Johnny got to his car and tried to start the engine, a string of wire started to pull on his neck with incredible force. Johnny was being strangled. Put on Frost. Johnny tried to fight the one choking him but the more he fought, the tighter the wires got around his neck. Gagging and choking sounds filled the car as Johnny struggled helplessly to get free, and within two minutes Johnny was dead in his station wagon. His head falling forward and landing on the center of the steering wheel, the horn honking continuously. The guy who put Johnny on Frost got out of the car and dialed the police. He told them he was walking by when he saw someone faced down in his car and it appeared the person was just drunk. When he went to the driver’s side and tried to wake him up, he realized the guy was dead. The police said they’d be there with the paramedics in twenty minutes to pick up the body.

The guy went into the bar and sat next to the man drinking two Jacks.

“It’s done.” The guy who killed Johnny said.

“Good.” the man said. “Did you call it in.”

“Yhup, they bought everything.”

“Excellent.” the man said.

The two drank into the night. It was 10pm when the police and paramedics picked Johnny up and took him to the morgue.

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