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I wake up from what seems like just a bad dream, wide-eyed and not a clue as to where I am. My head hurts, like someone hit me with a brick, throbbing every second. I try to reach and touch the source, shortly realizing that my hands are bound behind me. In fact, I can’t see anything but black. I hear an engine start to whir around me. I start to panic and try to figure out the situation I’m in but deep down, I already know.
The year is 1890 and I’m living in the city with streets “paved with gold”, Brooklyn, NY. I just turned 19, last month in September, celebrating solo at my favorite pub. I moved here by myself from Virginia a couple years back and started working a canning factory. It wasn’t what I dreamed of doing when I arrived but I got closer to my desire when I got acquainted with the up and coming mob. We specialized in arms dealing all along the east coast. When the time was right, I carried out my plan that I had in store since that night in Virginia.
Back in the car, I feel my body starting to move, hearing tires grab brick. I know better than to say anything if I don’t want to say anything if I don’t want to end up knocked out again. I smell smoke travel right in front of my face, the smell of a cigar, like the one I was given by the mob boss. I begin to hear water splashing up against rock and the tires start to roll on gravel this time. We are coming to a slow.
We come to a stop where I can feel a cool breeze now. I hear doors open and close when someone finally grabs me. I get dragged out and dropped on my back. I wince a little before I start to get carried away by the crooks of my elbows. As we move away from the vehicle, I can hear the sound of water get louder, almost to a full echo around me. I get dropped to my knees and someone takes the black hood off. We are under a bridge, maybe the Brooklyn bridge but I’m not sure. The moon’s bright and making it’s light dance across the pitch black water. Two big bald men are standing next to me on either side while another person in standing in front of me.
It’s too dark to see his face but his body is built like a tomato dressed in black. He lights a cigar, illuminating his face. It’s Tony, the boss’s son.
“Ezekiel.” He says as he takes a puff, “Things aren’t looking too good for you.”
I sit there in silence, knowing that anything I say won’t help me.
“What did you do with the money?” He gets up in my face with a mean mug, blowing smoke through his nose like a raging bull. I stay silent. What’s done is done.
After he realizes that I’m not going to talk, he sighs and snaps at the two henchmen and points at me, obviously some known language to them. The first one lands in my gut, knocking the wind out of me. He grabs my shoulders and props me up to face the other brute. The next hit sends my chin past my shoulder, knocking me down. I can taste iron in my mouth and I spit up blood even though I’m half awake when the last punch lands straight on my nose. I’m in so much pain that I begin to numb as I lie there. I get picked up and brought over to what looks like a dock, my vision is blurry at this point. I get dropped at the edge of the dock while the other man weaves a chain through a cinder block. He lashes the chain around my ankles with the block at the end.
Tony gets in my face again and says,”Last chance, where is the money?”
I look him in the eye with my half drunken stare and spit blood into his face. He flinches, wipes it off and kicks me off the edge. I sink into the black abyss, the water quickly wrapping around me as the block drags me down. My body has gone limp and I don’t put effort to struggle. Instead, I think of home. I think of my mom and dad when I was younger, and how much they loved me. How they died in a crossfire between two gangs, making me orphaned. That’s the reason reason I came to Brooklyn, so I could derail some of the mob by giving the money to a local orphanage, to support the unfortunate like me. I smile at the thought, letting more water in. I hit the bottom, floating above the block, the chain between us. This is what I wanted, I think to myself. I close my eyes and take my last breath and let my head hang high.