Excerpt from Redesigning the Mob

     The security alarm went off and Nina bolted from the bed. In seconds, the alarm stopped its piercing cadence and she heard whispering. She reached for her robe in the darkness, but couldn’t find it. Dressed in nothing but a cut-off top and bikini panties, she tiptoed into her bathroom and felt for the lock on the sliding glass door. Normally, an alarm would resonate when she pushed back the lock and opened the door, but tonight all was quiet. Someone must have cut the wires. 

Her breath came is short gasps as she pulled the slick metal silently along the groove, closing the burglars inside. She ran to a large tree and climbed as high as she could go. The limbs scratched her arms and legs and bugs swarmed. She prayed there were no snakes. 

A few inside lights came on and she could see Vito and what appeared to be a Latino man outside the Florida room door.

“Open the damn door!” Vito yelled. The door slid open. “What the hell happened,

Shank? Why’d the fuckin’ alarm go off?” 

“Moe missed one of the wires.”

Several more lights came on.

“I thought you said you were professionals. Did you search the house?” 

Another man stepped outside. He held his gun out in front of him. “I checked. Nobody’s home.” 

“Aim that Saturday night special someplace else.” Vito pushed Moe’s arm away. The gun now pointed at the one Vito called Shank. 

“Put that cheap piece of crap away,” Shank said. “Ain’t nobody here.” 

“Wait by the boat,” Vito instructed Shank. “And Moe, you watch the front.” Vito pulled something from his pocket. “Put these rubber gloves on,” he said to the Latino, “and look in the kitchen. She keeps a lot of stuff in drawers.”

Nina watched as the men dispersed to their positions. Vito and the skinny Latino pulled on a pair of bright yellow gloves and tromped inside the house.

All was quiet. Nina figured the only reason Vito would come here was to kill her. She couldn’t imagine why they were searching the house. Vito knew she had sold her rings. 

A minute later, Vito and the Latino ran out of the house. 

“Gonzalez, go out front and get Moe,” Vito said. “Shank, get back here. She’s hiding in the house. We gotta find her.” 

Nina climbed higher in the tree. The small limbs bent under her weight. All the men were inside now, and every light in the house was on. Two of the men came outside and searched the bushes. She was grateful that the outside lights were dim. 

 “Those sirens are getting closer,” Shank said. “They might be headed this way.” 

She prayed the sirens belonged to police cars that were coming to help her.

Vito burst from the house. “I can’t find her. If she didn’t catch the plane, she must have gone out somewhere tonight.” He spat on the ground. “Barozzini’s in town, she’s probably with him.” 

“There’s a car in the garage, and two more in the driveway,” Moe said. 

“Nothing in the drawers,” Gonzalez said as he came outside. 

The four of them left the lights on and hurried to the dock. Nina strained to see the boat, and almost fell out of the tree. 

“Who’s got the keys?” Vito’s shoes pounded the hard packed path as he ran back toward the house. 

Nina’s hands were shaking, and she felt like she was losing her grip. 

“Vito,” a hoarse voice filtered through the night. “I found the keys.” 

Blue lights shimmered between the trees as patrol cars screamed along the quiet road. 

Vito huffed his way back to the boat. The motor cranked, but nothing happened. 

“Get out of the way!” Vito’s voice echoed through the night.

The engine started, and the motor roared. The bow of the boat lifted high in the air, and in seconds was out of sight.