Meet me in Atlantic City
I didn’t know who had hired me until a gangster stuck a gun in my face and said Savini wanted to see me.
Savini was the last of the old time Godfathers, holed up in a crumbling dive wearing the dark around him like a cloak.
He wanted me to find Limp, a small-time hoodlum I had hooked up with in my days as a spy.
“Cancer’s got me and I need to make my peace before I go,” Savini said.
Limp being Limp had rubbed Savini the wrong way and dropped out of sight in order not to drop dead.
I agreed to ask around.
Atlantic City had changed since the late 1970s when I spent time here, though the wrecking ball still sliced its way through poor people’s lives as relentless corporate casinos laid siege to the old city.
Only a handful of the old institutions still thrived.
Not a lot of people wanted to talk.
Though a gold dealer told me someone was looking to make Limp dead.
Fifty bucks and some bullshit wrangled more details out of a Boardwalk dancer who said Limp had become a folk hero to the street people, and they helped keep him hid.
Dancer directed me to Chair Guy who ran as soon as he saw me, and told me to get lost once I caught up.
“Savini’s the guy who wants Limp dead,” Chair guy said. “And you got his boys on your heals looking to use you to kill him.”
I hadn’t noticed the thug until then, and cornered one later telling him I didn’t need any help.
But I knew things wouldn’t end there, and dredged up memories of Limp in order to find him first.
Limp always loved Vegas and blamed the bureaucrats for making Atlantic City so lame.
He loved pomp. So I went to the one place in Atlantic City that had it – Trump’s Taj.
After losing a few more fifties to the greedy underpaid staff, one agreed to meet me later near the Coliseum.
In the dark the Casino clerk said Limp would meet me the next day at a remote section of the beach, then spooked when someone coughed.
I had the uncomfortable feeling I was being stalked.
Limp was peeved at seeing me, saying I had ruined his plans.
He had hoped to lay low until Savini’s cancer killed him, then go to Vegas to start up his career again.
“I can’t go to Vegas now, Savini knows too many people there,” he said.
Then I heard the click of a gun’s safety and shouted “Run.”
Gun shots sounded.
I thought I heard Limp cry.
But in the scuffle we lost each other.
Meanwhile, I managed to find a phone to call Savini.
“Limp gave me the slip,” I said. “I think he went to Vegas.”
“Find him, I’ll pay you double,” Savini said.
But I wondered how long I needed to stall before the cancer kicked in.