It was twilight. The Boss had asked me to step outside with him. Into the cool of the evening. Something spooky was about to happen. I could feel it. I had done everything the Big Guy had asked for. I would hold nothing back. Some years later, even my own son, for God’s sake. I still regret that. My wife never forgave me. I tried to explain to her that our boy would be in the business too, just like his old man. But by the time we got back from the job she was gone. Checked out. There was a rumor she took her own life, or that she kicked from the shock of knowing what the job was I took little Izzy on. I’ll never know. How I loved her. I still have Izzy, sickly little boychik he turned out to be. I call out her name some nights. But back to that weird evening, outside on the lawn with the Boss. He wasn’t much for words. I kind of had to read the tea leaves, always looking for a sign on His face of what He was really thinking. He gave hints, made mysterious gestures. But that night beat all. I’m telling you. He’d already had me pull up stakes and leave my previous gig. Pop had a good business, but I got all my people to go in on the deal. You see, I always work by persuasion, more flies with honey, etcetera etcetera. I had already taken some flak from a local bigshot. Seems he had eyes for my gal. The Boss got a message to him one night and the guy laid off after that. So there I was, standing out on the high desert with the Boss, feeling a weird mix of gratitude and cold fear. Funny thing is I didn’t feel any resentment. In spite of all the fast moves and the risk, I had put all my chips on the Boss. I was waiting for His next move.
He just stood there and sighed and looked out at the long shadows that crossed the property, the glow of the sun just below the horizon. It was beautiful, but something was making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Then He told me. We were all going to work for some real heavy on the other side of the border. It really wasn’t what I had in mind, but the Boss knew I was in. Then came the real shocker. More than likely we’d have to work for peanuts and put up with all kinds of abuse for a pretty long time. Said we’d get used to being strangers. What the? But I said nothing. The Boss got real quiet. He told me when the time was ripe He’d bring us back to this same spot, suitcases filled with gold. I could see He was dead serious. He said when we got back He’d help us rub out all the other mobs and we’d stake out the whole territory for ourselves. He almost smiled. I kinda relaxed a bit, God knows what reason. Then He said we were going to seal the deal. What came next was pure Harry Houdini.
Somehow the Boss got the barbecue going without my seeing how. Only then did I notice, as my eyes got used to the dim light, that the Boss had hacked a bunch of critters in half and lined up the halves in two straight rows. Man it was gruesome. I kept having this feeling that at any moment the parts would leap up and recombine themselves into some kind of horrible monster. But I was in no mind to pass judgment right then. I had to shoo away a couple of buzzards that thought they’d found a free buffet. He made like he wanted to stroll with me between those two rows of half carcasses. I gotta say it gave me the creeps. Nearly passed out, to tell the truth. Maybe that was the idea. It sure was unforgettable, etched in my memory like it happened yesterday. That’s when He swore on anything that meant anything to me that He’d make good on his promise. It was like some kind of seance. Maybe he slipped me a Mickey Finn. I dunno. I turned and the barbecue and a burning torch were moving down the aisle between the parts, coming right at us. I swear there were either little guys moving the stuff or some kind of rope and pulley set up. Search me. With the Boss anything was possible. He always had a flair for the dramatic. Too dark to see how he did it. By the time it was all over I was exhausted from the sheer emotional whiplash of the whole experience. He nodded goodbye. I went home and slept like I was dead.