Flash: Balance Sheet

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

“I’m going to kill him; I’m going to kill them all.”

“Really?” Watching her youngest storm up the wooden steps onto her porch, Daphne Gigante rocked her chair forward to set down her needles on top of her knitting basket. The half-done mint green scarf matched the purple one around Albert’s neck. “Calm down.”

“They disrespected me.” Albert muttered while he paced along the boards. “Ain’t nobody disrespect me.”

“So you are going to kill them all?” Daphne shook her head, considering whether to move the conversation indoors. She glanced up and down the street, placing each vehicle and person into friend or foe status. Everything within three blocks was recognizable. Cops really hated surveillance during the winter; the cars got cold when they couldn’t run the engine for heat without giving themselves away.

“Yep.”

She snorted at that simple statement as he stopped moving, legs spread and fists on his hips facing her and the front door instead of watching the street. “Yeah, that is going to learn them all some lessons.” She adjusted the afghan on her lap, tucking the edges back under. The blanket had moved when she had laid the knitting down.

“Fuck yeah.” Albert sneered in triumph, his black eyes sparkling.

“No it ain’t.” Daphne spat. “Sit yourself down right now son.” She waved at the short stool on her right, not the second rocking chair on her left.

The five foot ten inch nineteen year old glared at his mother before he resumed pacing between the small seating area and the white painted railing.

A Smith and Wesson semi-auto pistol jumped in Daphne’s hands, the light of the laser sight dancing across Albert’s center of mass. “I said sit. Don’t you go speak about respect and disrespect me.” Her voice was a calmly lethal as the weapon.

Albert quickly hunched down on the child stool, struggling with his long legs until they ended up crossed in front of him, half keeping him from toppling off the chair.

“Now you ready to listen or do I need to pound you some sense into your thick skull.” She pantomimed striking his head with the grip.

“I’m listening mom.”

Daphne slipped the gun under the blanket, wiggling a bit because the metal weapon had taken some of the ambient air temperature while out. “Right. You don’t go killing randomly.”

Albert surged up, growling, “It ain’t random.”

“I’m talking here.” The gun reappeared, and this time the red dot aimed at his jean’s zipper.

Albert sat right back down, scooting the stool for a better angle to watch his mother’s face.

Giving him an evil eye, Daphne waited until he stopped moving before tucking the gun away again. “You don’t go killing randomly, you hear me?”

After a couple seconds of silence, Daphne cuffed her son lightly on the ear. “Answer me when I am talking to you boy.”

Albert swallowed before asking, “Now?”, the sneer and gangster confidence long gone.

“When else, smart mouth?” Daphne reached for her knitting, confident in her ability to control the situation now the teen anger had been removed. “Do you hear what I am saying?”

“Don’t kill randomly.”

After arranging everything to restart, she gripped the needles in her left and gently stroked her son’s cheek with her right. “Good. This is why you’re my favorite, aside from being the only one not in prison.”

Clicking needles filled the void in conversation for a moment.

“You kill precisely. Got that?” Daphne said conversationally as she started the next row after glancing up and down the street again.

“Kill precisely.”

“You kill too much and people start expecting it.”

Albert nodded.

“You kill too much and it cheapens the killing.”

His thick eyebrows met. “Are you talking economics?” Watching her watch the street, Albert tried to read something in the bland face of the woman who executed her own husband at the order of the mob boss, ten years before she took the fucker out and fixed the gang to her own extracting standards while he was in high school.

“Yeah, supply and demand shit.” She paused in her knitting to stare into his eyes. “Listen up boy, you kill all the time, and you flood the market. Killing becomes like fast food, cheap and quick and you don’t want that. When you kill you want it to mean something. A gift, only a very nasty gift. Got that?”

“Umm.” Albert tried to break eye contact. He didn’t want her to think he was challenging her. But he couldn’t, until she dropped her gaze to her knitting, then he blinked several times.

“Beat up people all you want. Scare them.” Her calm, mother-knows-best voice continued. “But only kill them when you absolutely got to.”

“Because killing gots to mean something.” Albert hoped he had the right answer.

“That’s my boy.” She paused in her knitting to stroke his cheek again. “Now go get some of your buds and hospitalize those blancwoggs.”

Hopping up, Albert nodded at his mother and strode to the front steps.

The clicking needles stopped when he reached the bottom stairs and turned toward the O’Dare house. “Don’t get caught sweetie.”

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