Amberville : The End

“You stole from Salvatore.”
It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. Some would call it a death sentence. You didn’t steal from Salvatore. You didn’t steal from Salvatore’s men. Heck, you didn’t even try stealing from Salvatore’s cook’s Christmas stockings or his son’s lunch box. Salvatore wasn’t a man to mess around with. People who tried to screw with him tended to end up dead here in Amberville. I guess Nick didn’t know the rules out here. Well, experience makes you wise, I guess. It also makes you worm-food, Nick.

“What ? There wasn’t enough cash to buy that overgrown rat of yours golden dog chow ?”
“Pete was a Chihuahua and it wasn’t like that! Nick was going through a rough patch and had tried to curry favours with Salvatore. The don... rejected his help. It.. well..”
“Bruised Nicky’s ego? And he decided to get even with Salvatore? You’re kidding me right?“ I knew he was a douchebag , but boy.. he was obviously the poster boy for dumbasses too. He’d actually tried to rip off the Don over a silly let down.
“What were you thinking ? You actually went ahead with his madness ? You and I, we’ve lived here all our lives. You know what the Don is like.. what made you think you two could get away with it ? Why didn’t you warn him ?”
“I.. I was kinda... I wanted him to fail. So I’d be free.”
The implications of her words raced through all my senses; my knees threatened to expose my feelings, my heart a wildfire just lit, my mind felt like it was on an acid rush.

“You did it purposely ? You wanted him to fail ? You wanted Nick dead !!”
“You don’t what it was like. I was in hell. I needed a way out. I thought he loved me. But Nick didn’t want a wife. He wanted a trophy to show his friends. I was just a wife in an official capacity... there were so many others sharing his bed. Initially, when I wasn’t around, but later.. it didn’t matter. I had to keep the facade of the happy wife all this time or suffer at his hands. Or worse.. in his bed.”
My blood boiled over as she carried on. This part of Nick I had not known... not anticipated. I had never been the best guy for her- I’d always known that, but I’d always been true to her, always loved her till the end. This scum had tricked her and burned her innocence into the ground – turned her into social bait, offering her as a delectable side dish ; a deal clincher for his business schemes.

“So you set him up ? You goaded him into stealing from Salvatore, knowing full well that Salvatore would go after him. But how were you planning on escaping, Carla? You know he’ll come for you too.”
“I know. That’s why I came to you. I knew I could count on you. You were always the one for me. You always looked after me. I just never realised it till it was too late."
I looked into her eyes. This was real. This was happening right now. The girl I’d dreamed a thousand dreams with years ago was in front of me, a bag full of cash between us, asking me to start dreaming again. We just stared at each other. No words needed to be spoken.

She knew I held a torch for her... I had always been crazy about her. She knew when the shit hit the roof, I’d be there for her. She’d been counting on it. Besides, being a private eye gave me certain advantages. I had contacts with Salvatore’s men. I went to school with his right hand man Delgado. We still kept in touch. Meetings could be arranged, explanations given. I knew Salvatore. He was no Santa Claus, but he couldn’t stand disrespect to women. The Italian in him wouldn’t stand for it. If he knew the reasons for her actions, I’m sure she’d get a second chance. Perverse as it sounded, Salvatore had a strict set of moral values. He’d take the money back, but Carla would live once he saw the truth in her tears.

Her hands grazed the hair over my chest, reminding me that I was standing in just my pants. My fingers brushed away the hair covering her face. She turned to them. Kissed them tenderly. My breath caught, a silent greeting to this familiar lost lover back again in my arms, willing it to last forever. Our lips met, a taste so sweet I felt I would cry. All the memories came rushing back like a pleasant wave; the nights of passion and love making, the feel of her beside me on all those winter nights as she dreamed of our future together, my wandering fingers interrupting her .
Our future together. The time had come. The time was now.

Finally our lips broke free from each other, panting, my left arm hugging her close to me so that I could feel her right next to me. She smiled, her lips brushing my cheeks as they passed by, stopping beside my ears.
“Is that a gun I feel in your pocket or are you just glad to see me ?” she whispered in that tantalising voice.

It wasn’t original, but it was funny, under the circumstances.

The first bullet hit her just below the belly button, shredding her guts. She groaned. I held her tight and pressed the trigger again. The next two shots shook her like a rag doll. I released her, watching her slump down. I sat down beside her, watching her breath go shallow. The cacophony of the evening traffic would no doubt have muffled the gunshots. Besides, out here in Amberville, nobody reported gunshots. People tended to be hard of hearing where familiar sounds were concerned.

I’d like to say she spoke some words of betrayal and moral justice before she died.
But the truth is, Carla just died. Her eyes went glassy, just as her husband’s had when I’d surprised him a couple of hours ago at his home. I sat there awhile, watching her still body bleed over the carpet. Damn. I’d really liked that carpet.

I dialled in the number given to me. The man picked up on the second ring.
“Well ?” Delgado’s voice replied.
“You having a cold ? Your voice sounds like crap, Gad.”
“It’s this weather. Gets me every year. Damn sinuses ache like the devil. Never mind me. How did it go ?”
“Like clockwork. Tell Salvatore they’re both dead. The Pembertons have met with an unfortunate accident , walking in on a robber at their apartment.”
He guffawed at that, the laugh broken by bad wheezes. “You’re the works, you know that ? I gotta tell you. I didn’t think you had it in you to kill the broad, what with all your history an’ all. But you got it in you, man. You’re the real deal. I’ll make sure to put in a good word for you with Salvatore.”
“Thanks, Gad.”
“Hey, did you find the loot they took off the big guy ?”
“Sadly, no. I searched their place inside out, but I couldn’t find it. Knowing that bastard Nick, he’s probably transferred it to a dozen bank accounts all over the country by now.”
“Darn true, man. These days, anything’s possible. Damn internet. Makes everything so complicated. Never mind, though. It was just small change for the Don. It was just the principle of the matter, you know.”
“I know, Gad. I know. Can’t have people messing with the Don.”
“Darn tootin’ right, we can’t. Anyway, you did good tonight man. Now get rid of the bodies and go get yourself some sleep. You earned it. You want me to send you a broad to your place ?”
“I told you earlier , Gad, I don’t fancy your sister. She and I are just good friends.”
“You bastard” he said, but his voice was cracking between laughs and wheezes.
“Get something for that cold, will you?” I advised him. “You sound like shit.”
“I will, man. I will. You take care now. And hey, give my regards to your momma for me.”
“Will do, Gads. Bye.”
“Bye, pal.”

I undressed and headed for the shower. The déjà-vu hit me as the first drops of water caress my skin. It’s an essential elixir after a hard day's work, a balm for all the pain, the regrets, the sorrow that was my life. It’s a sensual goddess teasing me, touching me where I needed to be touched, telling me what I needed to hear...washing away my sins. I thought of the bag of money in the living room. There’d be plenty of time to hide it. First, I had to get rid of Nick and Carla’s bodies where nobody would find them. I knew a couple of places. These things come in handy in my line of work.
Oh, yeah. And I needed a new carpet.

Damn.

I’d really liked that carpet.

THE END

Author’s note : To anyone wondering, this theme of a town with altered morals is inspired by Frank Miller’s brilliant version of the same in Sin City. Personally, I loved the way all his characters and stories were related to each other by just a brief moment of intersection, mostly over a beer... and a pole dancer called Nancy. How every character was flawed... and thus human. How you never knew what to expect as you turned the page.
In this town called Amberville, which in the end is only as fictional as you imagine it to be, that’s what I was trying to recreate.


Hopefully, I’ve succeeded too.

Share:

24 comments

  1. Great Story!!!
    U had me on the edge of the seat....Never expected such an ending....

    ReplyDelete
  2. damnation.. blame me for reading too many thrillers lately... guessed there wud be an O'Henry Porter in the end.. but this was unexpected... too good Doc...

    hard to believe u are but a doc...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Damn!

    You are truly wicked! :) Loved every slice of it ...

    I want Amberville 2 ... :D

    Keep Writing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. rest assured kartik, the theme for amberville 2 is very much at the back of my mind

    ReplyDelete
  5. excellent!!
    I love the twists u give at d end..
    good work doc.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. ap, illeen.. thanks.

    Rat, yes.. ppl wonder if I'm a doctor all the time.. especially those who've seen me work

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well Doc..ever thought of publishing your work? magazines or newspapers?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Meira, definitely the thought crosses my mind. But i have no idea how to go on about it. I'm all open for suggestions as to where to send my stories

    ReplyDelete
  9. You know Rosh... Its boring to post the same kinda comment over and over again in all your articles and stories...

    once again.. this was fantastic..

    story reminded me of certain wild things in my life too..

    Some times I think like there is not a single story in this world that is completely fictional... think about it, it has deep meanings...

    ReplyDelete
  10. and again.. i hope you are okay with me calling you rosh or Roshan instead of Roshanji, Doctorji, Roshan Chetta, Saare etc

    I know you are a lot elder than me, and more over you are a doctor... still i like calling you this way man... remember I am a lifetime fan of you !

    You have no idea, how many people, places and blogs I have promoted you.. :) seriously

    ReplyDelete
  11. there is an interesting blog for you... i will bet a fortune (though i dont have 1) that you will like it

    www.coffeeandstories.blogspot.com
    A guy called dream vendor writes stories there.. check out

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. True Quakeboy, there isn't much left in the name of originality anymore.. All the ideas have been done one way or the others.. It's all in the presentation, i guess. And please, stick to Rosh or somethin, none of that formal stuff. I can't stand it. And hang on... You've been promoting my blog. Then i guess i should be callin you Quakeboyji for sending me the business !
    Will definitely check out the other blog.

    ReplyDelete
  15. hey , this is good... nothin more to add.. am expectin more from u as i read along.. i know there is a special stlye in u waiting to pounce out, by the way wats ur mail id? i cant get it from here . says some error..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anu, thanks for the encouragement.. I've updated my profile.. you can access my email directly from there

    ReplyDelete
  17. Mister Doctor! Are you serious you've spun this?!? damn what r you doing in Godforsaken Katraj? GO get a house in Alibaug and start writing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I agree on that.. it is Godforsaken Katraj alright !!! And would i be embarassing myself if i confess i have no idea where Alibaug is ?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Mr Dr, considering your profession, you are excused. Also it seems you havent seen enough hindi movies -
    "alibag waale farmhouse mein murder!?!" or

    "aap soniya ko humaare alubag wale farmhouse kyun nahi bhej dete?" or

    "woh alibag gaya tha apne doston ke saath aur use zalim samander ne nigal liya!"

    :D :D

    Alibag is a beautiful coastal town, South of Bombay. Beautiful silver beaches and they'll knock you out in monsoons. you must go sometime. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. ah.. now alibag sounds somewhat familiar.. you should have spoken in Filmi terms :)

    as for going there, hah !! 800 days in Pune and I still havent seen Koregaon Park... farest i've been is E-square and Camp !!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. is there no option to resign or something? :D :D and seriously! I had no idea Katraj has so many sick people in its vicinity dude! What else would keep all you doctors so busy?

    i hate to break the news but you have totally wasted 800 days of ur life.. (unless you did some serious samaj seva at the clinic/hosipital!)

    ReplyDelete
  22. sniff.. don't add insult to injury.. I know I've wasted my life here.. what can I say ? Just waitin to get out

    ReplyDelete
  23. heyy i just discovered today that u have another blog! with the same template as mine! with stories!! how koool!! :D

    ok now that im done gushing...awesum story! im prob a sucker for happy endings coz i never expected that ending...but it was good!! lovely writing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. thanx sunshine.. means a lot. this was one story I enjoyed writing myself.. been awhile !

    ReplyDelete

So...what did you think ?