Vincenzo Rossi landed on his back looking up at the ceiling. He wasn’t certain how he got there, but he was aware that he shouldn’t be there. He stood up. Bright lights bathed the room, and a man he had never seen before stood in front of him holding a book. There was nothing remarkable about the man; he was dressed in a dark gray business suit…but his face was radiant, his smile bright and genuine and the book he held glowed with a strange light of its own even in the bright light of the room.
“So, Vincenzo Rossi...we meet at last. It is a pleasure to meet you as it is all people!” said the apparition.
“So, wise guy, who are you?”
“Someone who has wanted to meet you for a long time, Vincenzo. You just made my day.”
“It’s my pleasure to interview you…an entry interview, maybe you could look at it like a job interview.”
“I have a job. I work for the boss, Don Guido! I’m loyal to Don Guido…I’m not leaving for another gang.
“I know you work for Don Guido, that you are loyal to him. How many people have you, shall we say, “whacked” for him?
“I don’t know. I lost count. Don Guido says “whack ‘em”…I whack ‘em no questions asked.
“Do you believe you’ll be called to answer for those killings?”
“The cops never caught me. Besides, Don Guido pays the cops not to see me, so who’s looking eh?
The man consults the book. “It says here that you’re a member of Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn.”
“Yeah, I was born in that church, christened there, took first Communion there.”
“You have a little pride going on there?”
“Well,” he shrugged, “You know, guy like me…it’s ironic you know!”
“What is? That you go to Confession every week for the past thirty years? Got a little guilt going on, in addition to pride? I wonder, did you confess all those murders?”
“Nah…my wife makes me go. I’d rather be at Harry’s shooting pool. The murders, they’re just what I do, they’re not me.”
“Did you even hear about the “Ten Commandments”…especially the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not murder”?
“Yeah, I heard about it! Don’t know if Don Guido ever heard about it…but he goes to church too and he has no problem with it.”
“So you think the church is a shield to cover your butt when your soul stands to be judged.
“Have you heard of the 23rd Psalm?”
“Is that the one that goes “For God so loved the world…?”
“Yes, that’s the one. Did you ever meet the Son of God?”
“How could I? He was wacked twenty centuries ago.”
“Yes, but He’s alive today, and His teachings are as valid today. Let’s start with the one that says “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, do you remember that one?”
“I think I’ve heard that…yeah, I have.”
“What part of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is served by killing them? Do you want to get whacked?”
“No, of course not!”
“Then, what is it that makes you whack other people?”
Vincenzo shrugged. “Don Guido says “whack”, I whack!”
“So, it’s loyalty to Don Guido, then?”
“Yeah, otherwise, Don Guido whacks me.”
The man closed the book. “Were you ever loyal to God, God’s Son or to yourself?”
“It’s all about loyalty to Don Guido. All the rest is smoke and mirrors.”
“So, you’ve always been loyal to Don Guido?”
“And, he’s always been loyal to you?”
“Then, why are we having this conversation?” The man placed the book under his arm and faded from sight. The brilliant light in the room faded with him. The sound of a massive iron gate slamming shut shook the room.
When Vincenzo could see in the normal light of the room, he looked down to see his prone body lying on the floor. He looked toward the door as Lucca, another one of Don Guido’s men slammed it on his way out. He shuddered. It was clear to him now that Don Guido had not been loyal to him. It was only a matter of time.
A blazing hot wind blew through the room sucking him out through the walls and into his future.
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