The Unsafe Deposit Box

I had just paid the valet for bringing me my Karmann-Ghia at Scoma's restaurant and had gotten into the driver's seat when the passenger door opened. Someone I didn't know slid into the passenger seat and closed the door. This guy must've been six-foot four-inches tall at least and weighed in easily at 240 pounds or more.  He pulled his sport coat aside, flashing what looked like a semi-automatic pistol. He had a voice with a heavy accent, "Just drive, Mr. Greet," he said, all the while smiling as if he was happy to see me.  It was a bit unnerving, to say the least. 

I had all these thoughts running through my brain about socking him and bailing out in the busy intersection. Maybe run my car into either another car or a parking meter, etc. At the same time, interestingly enough, I wanted to find out what this 'joker' wanted. It had to be interesting, if not dangerous as hell. "We talk, Ok? Mr. Greet, I need talk… very important," said the behemoth, his huge head threatening to bust through the canvas top of my Karmann-Ghia. "Drive to Marina and find parking spot where we talk. Ok, Mr. Greet?" "Sure, uh...I didn't get your name there, buddy," I said. 

"Not buddy," he said, laughing. It was the most ridiculous l laugh I'd ever heard. It was a cross between a hyena and a Howler monkey. It was actually kind of scary. I thought, well, the sonofabitch does have a sense of humor, but I'm going try like hell to not give him any reason to laugh because - this situation was that nerve-racking scary. "You call me Marco," he said. "Ok, Marco, whatd'ya want to talk about?" "Rocco!" he said. "Who is Rocco?" I asked, trying to recall if I had ever had any dealings with a Rocco. "Anzini," he answered. "Don't know him," I said.  I found a parking spot at the Marina, which faced Alcatraz and Angel Island with the Golden Gate Bridge to our left. It was a gorgeous day in the city. The San Francisco Bay was filled with sailboats. I focused my attention on Marco, who seemed to be fascinated with the kite flyers behind us.   

The Marina Green is a large expanse of grass that borders the northern edge of San Francisco and sits on the bay. Besides the run-of-the-mill sightseers, picnickers, and tourists, some people into kite flying were usually plentiful there because of the strong winds that blew off the water. Looking toward Marco to get the conversation going, I couldn't help but notice the nasty scar on the right side of his face. It ran from the top of his forehead just below his hairline and down through his right eyebrow, then began again just beneath his right eyelid and down to his chin. I wondered how whatever caused that scar didn't get his eyeball too. He turned from the kite flyers to face me and noticed me staring at his scar. He ran a huge finger resembling a polish sausage slowly down the path of the scar and smiled. "I was keed," he said. "Who did it?" I asked. Then I immediately thought, 'What the fuck! Do I give a shit? This guy is threatening me with a fucking gun, and I'm gonna care about his booboo!' "It was keed from nuther gang," he informed me. I nodded. It was time to change the subject. 

"Ok, let's talk," I said. "You mentioned a Rocco, uh, Anzini?" "Yeah, Rocco arrested da'udder night for murder and cocaine," Marco replied. Ok, I thought…this guy Rocco… is this the guy Nikki called me about? "I think it was ten pounds of cocaine, there, Marco," I said. "Yeah, Ok, ten pounds, but we need to make deal, Mr. Greet." I had the strongest urge to correct his mispronouncing my name but told him instead, "Call me Sam. Did you wanna make a deal?" "Yes, Mr. uh…, Sam, I said, make deal." Ok, I thought, this is getting interesting. "Why, me? Why not the cops?" I asked. "We no dealing with cops. We know you friend with deestrik atturnee.” How the hell do they know that? I wondered. So, whoever this Rocco is, he's smart enough to do an end-run around the cops to use the power of the city's District Attorney - my old pal, Lee Campbell. "Ok, Ok, what is this deal?" I asked. 

To be continued…

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