\ 08:48 "Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling Alley" | unlimitedi.net
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08:48 "Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling Alley"

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Carmine was crouching in the alleyway between the bowling alley and the dry-cleaners next door.  He hid behind a dumpster full fo something that smelled worse than anything he could remember recently.  He had briefly thought he would hide IN the dumpster until he had smelled it and then changed his mind.

He knew that the NWB used this bowling alley as a "clubhouse" where they'd sit and drink and plan what mischief they'd get up to.  He knew this because he'd  bowled here with Magda few times.  He liked to go bowling.  NWB wasn't like the gangs up in Harlem that would mug you or the gangs over in Brooklyn that would shoot you. They were more like that gangs in Chinatown that stole and sold drugs and bullied people they didn't like.

Until yesterday, he'd thought that NWB liked Carmine okay and they had left Magda alone but they usually didn't like the black people or the Latinos that lived around here.  Those people didn't come bowling here at all.  But carmine knew that if he didn't do something that he'd die for real this time.  And if he had to kill someone then the guys who had ruined his Momma's puppies would be the ones.

The bowling alley didn't open 'til 9:00 and carmine hoped that Ivan who ran the place would let him in early.  He knew Ivan pretty good and sometimes if it was slow Ivan would let Carmine and Magda keep using a lane more than the time they'd paid for.

This wasn't a favor like that, but Carmine hoped he'd do it.  a few minutes later Ivan came and started unlocking the door.  Carmine slipped around the corner and said, "Hi, Ivan."

"Oхуел!*" he said jumping, "Carmine, you out of mind? Why you sneaking around corner this early?"

"I'm sorry, Ivan, I wanted to get in here first thing."

Ivan narrowed his gaze on Carmine, "Why you so eager be in here first, boy?  You in trouble?"

"Kinda," Carmine had to admit, "But if I get in here good and early then I can hide for a while."  Carmine didn't like to lie, but Mr. B. had said that it sometimes made things go smoother, and he was sure right about that.

"Why you have bag?" Ivan asked him, "What is 'Romano Investments'?"

Carmine looked at the bag.  He couldn't say he was running away so he lied, "It's clothes for work.  I do some cleaning up at Mr. B's building."

"I see," Ivan said, "So what you got planned if you need to hide here?"

"Um," Carmine hadn't thought this through, "It's a surprise?"

Ivan cocked his head strangely but unlocked the door and waved Carmine in.  "You start coffee while I set up till," Carmine said pointing to the dining counter, "Kristen and Gerlinda will come at 10:00 but is better if coffee is ready at 10:00"

Carmine looked at the dining counter.  There was a soda fountain and pizza ovens and a cabinet where the pretzels were kept warm.  Everything was turned off.  He nodded, he didn't know how to use the machines to make coffee, but he'd try.  He had an hour to get it done.

Ivan had to come and help him get the coffee made, but once he had been shown, Carmine was able to make three pots before Ivan told him that was enough.  While he was making coffee, Carmine spotted the big knives and the large flat pizza paddle that they used to pull the pizza out of the oven.  He figured that he could use those against those NWB boys.

Beyond that he had no plan and so he sat on the stool and spun back and forth until Ivan shouted at him to sit still because he couldn't think.  After that he just filled all the napkin holders and checked the ketchup and mustard bottles until he spotted the first of the NWB boys to come in.

Ivan didn't even look at them.  The two of them breezed in casually and went straight into the bar. They didn't even look at Carmine.  There wasn't anyone in the bar, but Carmine could see them in there pulling bottles of beer out from behind the bar and not even paying for them.  Carmine went into the bar.  His guts were in knots and he wanted to scream at them with the outrage and fear he had felt last night as he walked thought Momma's house looking at the damage they had done.

But he didn't say anything as he walked past the tall one seated at the bar.  The other one was behind the bar opening cabinets. "Hey, boyo!" the one behind the bar said to Carmine, "Where you keep the nuts, hey?  I h'aint had breakfast yet."

Carmine shrugged and walked around the bar and helped him look.  He opened one of the cabinets and spotted a box that said 'Nuts' on it which he pulled out.  When the guy reached down to dig through the box, Carmine pulled out the knife he'd had in his hand and stabbed him right in the back.

"Kosta!" the other guy cried out and drew a stubby revolver from under his jacket," Mamu ti nabije!" he said and fired the gun at Carmine.

Carmine felt the bullet rip through him and it hurt a lot.  But he didn't die.  He didn't even bleed much.  The guy under the counter had fallen and was trying to reach the knife while rolling on the floor.  Carmine ran around the bar and the other guy fired twice more at Carmine but missed both shots.  When Carmine reached him he was moving fast enough to body-slam him onto the floor. 

Ivan burst into the bar with an AK-47 rifle.  " Chto za huy!  Carmine!  Vat the Fuck?"

"I'm sorry, Ivan, Carmine said and pulled the gun from the guy he had pinned.  He then placed the revolver on his face and pulled the trigger.  The sound was loud, but not as loud as the three shots that came from the AK.  Carmine was knocked down from the impact.  Then he got back up.  Ivan began to shake, he clearly hadn't meant to shoot but this was too much for him so he dropped the gun and ran out of the bar.

Carmine picked up the machine-gun and looked at it.  It was simple to use.  Lever, safety, trigger.  He understood it instantly.  He slung it over his shoulder and started to leave just as three more of the New West Berlin gang entered.   They were drawing weapons but they hadn't even managed to get them clear before Carmine had the machine gun barking.  He struggled to control the weapon but it fired rapidly enough to compensate for his wild aim.

In a moment it stopped.  The clip was empty and all three members of the gang were on the ground.  Carmine dropped the rifle and grabbed a smaller machine gun from one of the men.  It was square and compact and again made simple.  Carmine pulled back the lever marked "Pull to fire" and flipped the switch marked safety before he walked out into the street.  

A tricked-out Mustang was parked in the lot across the street and Carmine spotted Drago, the leader of NWB, pointing a very large chromed hand-gun at him.  It made a sound like thunder and Carmine felt the slug slam into him like a train.  He staggered and another bullet slammed into him.  He staggered back again until his back was against the frame of the door, the glass having shattered by the bullets passing through him.

But he didn't go down.  He lifted the Mac-10 and sprayed bullets across the street.  Glass shattered, another person dropped to the grown and Drago ducked behind the door of his car.  Holes appeared in the hood and door of the bright red Mustang. And almost before Carmine knew it, the gun was empty.

This was nothing like in the movies, he thought, those guys seemed to fire for a LOT longer than these guns.

He looked around for another gun and didn't see any handy.  But no return fire came.  He could hear sirens in the distance so he ran.  He ran towards home because he didn't know where else to go.

Drago cowered behind his car.  He could feel the wetness in his pants and it shamed him.  He had hit that fat guy at least three times right in the chest and he didn't die.  When the machine gun had sprayed the car and he saw Zoran go down he was sure he'd die.  He had wet himself when he heard the bullet blow past his ear through the door. 

He got up and ran into the Bowling alley.  He looked at the dead bodies of Ladislas, Jefta and Savo in the lobby.  As he stood there in disbelief he heard the police pulling up out front.  He looked up and saw Ivan peering out from behind a counter.  Drago held the gun up and Ivan pointed to behind the counter where the cash register stood open.  Drago nodded and tossed the gun into the deep drawer which did not have a cash-tray yet in it and closed it.

Policemen poured in with guns drawn and shouting orders.  Drago patiently answered all of their questions withholding only the truth about his gun and the identity of the shooter.  When they were done and the ambulances had carried away their friends. Drago asked Ivan, "Who was he?"

"Carmine, don't know his last name.  Comes in here couple of times a month and bowls with teenaged girlfriend.  Kinda retarded, I think."

"This wasn't the work of a retard, Ivan."

"I know, but it was him.  I spoke to him this morning.  He couldn't even make coffee."

Drago pulled the gun out of the register. "I will see that he pays in blood.  Where can I find 'Carmine'?"

Ivan couldn't help until he remembered the duffel that Carmine's had brought -- the bag that had the Romano Investments logo on it.

* Are you crazy!

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