(The Legotti Family #3)
By Leopold Borstinski
Publisher: Sobriety Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2018
Owning a huge amount of money is useless if you can’t spend it. With the mob and the Feds on your tail, the last thing you need is family trouble. And there’s plenty of that in this gripping new installment in the life of the Lagotti clan.
When hiding in Canada doesn’t work, the only option is to run again and build a fortress of your own in the land of the free. To start in a new town means you must prove yourself all over again – no matter how much money you bring to the table. Building a drug peddling business takes time and there’s always the kids to worry about when you get home.
So when a drug deal goes south, Mary Lou must fight to save her children. How far will she have to go to keep her family alive with Latino heroin traffickers and the East Coast mob holding her babies captive?
Set three years after the First Bank of Baltimore robbery, this fresh tale is a perfect stand-alone story, which will be enjoyed by new and existing readers.
Mary Lou Lagotti drove at five miles an hour below the speed limit away from Burbank Airport. The first time since 1962 she felt alone, certain there was nobody on this planet who she could rely on for anything.
Always checking in the rearview mirror for signs of trouble, she headed to the Clements Fitzrovia Hotel. Occasionally, she’d glance down at her bloody skirt and glimpse the red ovals on her arms - the small globules of her husband’s blood which had splattered over her while he was shot twice as he knelt beside her.
Tears still dribbled down her cheeks as the shock and torment of those few moments juddered across her mind. No matter how much she concentrated on the road ahead, Mary Lou couldn’t shake off the image of Frank bleeding out in her arms. Of her shooting the Fed before he arrested her. Of her zigzag escape from the parking lot that brought her to within three blocks of her current location.
She drove the green saloon to the back of the hotel and grabbed the two holdalls she’d stashed in the front passenger footwell. Mary Lou looked around, saw no-one and bent down to open the lighter bag and move its contents to its heavier twin. Then she zipped it shut and dragged it out the vehicle. She fingered every cent of the one hundred and forty thousand dollars contained inside. Laundered money from the robbery at the Lansdowne branch of the First Bank of Baltimore. And she was the sole survivor of the entire gang now that her Frank was no more.
Into a side door, Mary Lou hoped to find a service elevator but somehow she headed straight for the main reception area. She spotted the bellboy, Tom who strode over to her.
“Jeez, miss. What happened?”
“No time to explain, but I need your help.”
“I’m not surprised. Housekeeping will be hard pushed to take those stains out.”
Mary Lou looked down at herself and realized how blood-drenched she appeared. Never mind.
“Has anyone else been asking about us since we left this morning?”
“I’ll come down in ten minutes and I want you to call a cab and have him wait at the side of the hotel. Got that?”
Mary Lou laid a clean Jackson on Tom who nodded, smiled and went off to find that taxi. Meantime, she hauled straight up the stairs to the second floor and then ran all the way to their room. She fumbled with the door key but after a lifetime the lock pinged open.
In front of the bathroom mirror, Mary Lou stripped out of her bloody clothes and stared at herself. Her legs and arms were splattered with too much blood. She used the shower attachment to wash away the red from her limbs but she still felt dirty inside. Unclean.
That unfathomable sense of disgust clung to her skin as she put on fresh underwear, a shirt, a pair of jeans and sunglasses. A walk around the suite enabled her to gather every ounce of possessions they’d scattered round the place since their arrival in LA. She stuffed all her clothes on top of the cash and shoved all Frank’s things into the empty holdall. Mary Lou checked her revolver and filled the chambers with slugs.
One final trip around and by the time she returned to the bed, she knew it was clear. Another image flashed in her head as she recalled Anthony flying through the air with the force of the bullet slamming through his body. His death meant nothing to her - he was one of the thugs Uncle Frankie hired to hunt them down, kill them and return the money. The Shylock had played fast and loose and was left with bupkis. Not even his life.
Mary Lou reckoned the hit she’d arranged on Uncle Frankie must have been executed by now. All that stood between her and some kind of future was the New York mob and the Feds. Her best hope was to leave the country soonest and wait for the heat to die down.
One last check of herself in the mirror, Mary Lou grabbed the holdall and left the room. Down the stairs and into the lobby where Tom hustled over to her.
“The cab is waiting like you asked.”
“Is there anything more I can do for you?”
“No, you’ve been great.”
She placed another Jackson in his palm.
“If anyone else comes wandering past asking questions...”
“... I know nothing.”
“You said it. You keep your mouth shut. Even if it’s the cops.”
“Especially if it’s the pigs.”
She gave him a peck on the cheek to seal the deal. There’s no way that sixteen-year-old boy would spill his guts even to a G-Man.
Without turning her head backwards, Mary Lou strode out the Clements and into the back of the cab. It was less than thirty minutes since Frank drew his last breath. She sank into the seat as the taxi dredged its way to the bus depot.
Mary Lou bought a ticket for the first vehicle leaving town. After only a quarter hour, she stepped onto a bus, shoved her bag onto the overhead shelf and slumped into the aisle seat so no-one could grab it without her taking direct action against them.
Ten hours later, she reached San Francisco where she laid overnight in a fleapit near the bus station. Her time in the city was uneventful but unpleasant. She picked her way past the hookers plying their trade as she entered the hotel.
The following morning, Mary Lou returned to the depot and purchased another ticket - with Vancouver as her destination. There was a two hour wait, so she trooped over to a diner to fill up on food. Her appetite was still shot to hell from the previous day’s violence but she ate anyway.
Thirty hours later and Claudia Starr stepped out into the Canadian sun. She showed her fake ID to cross the border so once the Feds identified her, they’d not be able to trace her departure from the land of the free.
As the mob used intel from the Hoover boys, Mary Lou figured the trail of carnage around the city of Angels would stop at the Clements Fitzrovia. Even if someone worked out she had made it to San Francisco, they wouldn’t be able to follow her any further.
As she walked on the foreign concrete sidewalk, Mary Lou removed her sunglasses and tried to breathe and act like a normal person. Only trouble was: she couldn’t remember how to do it.
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.
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