Tandy sat down on the couch in his living room, offering Ken a seat. “I will start at the beginning. I met Tobias French after Natalia broke up with him. He was still fuming, saying that she was nothing but a slut.
“My gut, though, was telling me that he was the reason she left him. His attitude was all wrong. How any woman could ever want anything to do with him is beyond me. Anyway, he began talking crazy.
“I should have parted company then, but he had this knack of threatening other members of one’s family.”
Ken nodded. “And I suppose he threatened your sister?”
Tandy nodded. “Yes. Threatened to rape her if I left. To keep her safe, I remained in his gang. A month after I joined, he planned out his rape of Natalia. I tried to talk him out of it, but he called me weak. A sissy. A pussy.
“When he finally set the whole thing in motion, I tried to step in. They tied my hands with wire, then beat the fuck out of me. I was forced to watch helplessly as they raped her. Luckily, the 47 appeared unexpectedly, or they would have killed her. In fact, they were planning to take turns. But the 47 put an end to that.”
Ken looked at him. “This 47. Who are they?”
Tandy smiled sadly. “They were a street gang led by Carlton Rex. There was always forty-seven members. No more, no less. They were considered outsiders. Nonexistent. All came from broken homes or were products of single parent families. Some lost their fathers in World War II, some in Korea. Others were just minorities.
“But all were good souls. Carl and his crew beat the fuck out of Toby’s first gang, ending it. This time, the 47 showed Toby no mercy. Carlton himself took Natty home, Velasquez took me to the hospital. You know the rest.”
Ken looked at Tandy. “So Standish was going to blackmail you for more info to use against Natalia?”
Tandy nodded. “That is my guess.”
Ken produced the other addresses and phone numbers. “Mind helping me with something?”
Tandy shook his head. “Not if it means helping Natty too. Just keep my name out of it. I don’t want her thinking that I want to hurt her in any way. I would never wish that on her. Like her, I have been trying to put that all behind me.” He looked at his wife. “I am sorry I never told you about this. I was too ashamed to. I hope you understand.”
Linda came over and knelt in front of him. “Baby, you did your best to help her. What happened to her was not your fault. I love you more now than ever. But from now on, we have no secrets. OK?”
He smiled at her sadly and nodded. “Understood, Love.” He felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He turned back to Ken. “What do you need help with?”
Ken laid out the other papers. “Can you tell me what these people had to do with that night?”
Tom Goldman had received Kendrick’s call. After a lengthy discussion, he agreed to help his old friend. Susie was supportive, though a bit more cautious.
“Just don’t get caught,” she had warned them.
Tom had agreed. Soon, he was waiting at the D”Amato’s Deli in the Italian district near Aksarben race track. It had been a few years since he’d seen his friend, and even then it had been to help him do something they could’ve both been shot for.
Ken walked in and he rose. “It’s good to see you. Now, tell me what this is about.”
Ken smiled sheepishly, then laid a small stack of addresses on the table. “Do you still have contacts in the Italian community?”
Tom nodded. “Yeah, why?”
Ken nodded at the stack. “Those are the names and addresses of some men who are potentially dangerous to a young woman I have been keeping an eye on.”
“You mean Michael Morrow’s daughter.” It was more of a statement than a question.
Ken nodded, perplexed. “Yes. How’d you know?”
Tom smiled. “I still have my spies.”
Ken smiled. “so you already know–”
Tom nodded. “That you killed Mark Standish? Yes. As well as what happened in ’56. And the strings you pulled around that same time.”
Ken gave Tom a stern look. “Shhhh! Don’t broadcast it!”
Tom chuckled. “Don’t worry, D’Amato and his patrons won’t say a word. Most don’t speak English so well, so have no clue what I just admitted. Those that do have skeletons of their own they wish to keep hidden.” He returned to the subject at hand. “so what do you want done about these–men?”
Ken looked hard at him. “Take them out. I don’t care how. Even if I have to owe the Mafia the rest of my life.”
It was Tom’s turn to give a hard look. “For God sake, Ken! What d-ya think I’m going to do? order a hit?”
Ken smiled. “I don’t care what you do. Just remember that, if these boys are allowed to live, not one will learn from any beating they might take. Hell. They didn’t learn from the one they got at the hands of the boys who saved Natalia’s life. If they had, they would have remained hidden and not resurfaced to destroy her.”
Tom smiled grimly. He’d not bargained on this. Nor had he taken into consideration that these boys were trying to do harm again. “then I will tell the boys to use discretion and their own…judgment.”
Kendrick slipped Tom a package. “From me to them.”
Tom looked at his friend. “Blood money?”
Ken shook his head. “Restitution. I will do penance later. Maybe say a few “Hail Marys” when I confess. But until then, I can only do restitution.”
Tom furled his brow thoughtfully. “Alright then. If you need me to, I can take over watching over Natalia as well. That is if you want to disappear again.”
Ken nodded. “Please do. I need a vacation.”
Tom looked at his friend. “then I will come and you can–”
Ken looked shocked. “I can’t. Do you know Charles Goodacres?”
Tom nodded. “Yes, but what does he have to do with Natty?”
Ken looked at him. “His son Trent is planning on marrying Natty. But that marriage may be in jeopardy because of what Standish did.”
Tom looked hesitantly at his friend. “What did that little fucker do?”
Ken looked away. “He hand-delivered Tobias’ last letter to Natalia to her with the purpose of destroying her. He may have accomplished his mission, too. Because when I saw her, she was in a terrible state.”
Anger rose in Tom’s eyes. “And the little pecker head?”
Ken looked back at his friend. You already know. I slit the punk’s throat.”