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A Twist of the Knife by Stephen Solomita {Excerpt}

A Twist of the Knife by Stephen Solomita {Excerpt}

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Published by MysteriousPress
On the streets of downtown Manhattan, there is no better disguise than the vacant stare and limp slouch of the junkie. Masquerading as an addict, Johnny Katanos goes undetected as he slithers up the fire escape towards the biggest heroin operation in the city of New York. He disables the alarms, distracts the guards, kills the Dobermans, and is waiting with a grenade when Ronald Jefferson Chadwick, drug kingpin, returns with a suitcase full of cash. A few minutes later, the money is gone, Chadwick is dead, and the factory has been reduced to a fireball. Though the New York Police Department rarely investigates a dealer’s death, a Russian-made grenade appearing downtown is cause for fear. The case falls to Stanley Moodrow, a beefy detective who knows that in an investigation like this, there’s no time to go by the book.
On the streets of downtown Manhattan, there is no better disguise than the vacant stare and limp slouch of the junkie. Masquerading as an addict, Johnny Katanos goes undetected as he slithers up the fire escape towards the biggest heroin operation in the city of New York. He disables the alarms, distracts the guards, kills the Dobermans, and is waiting with a grenade when Ronald Jefferson Chadwick, drug kingpin, returns with a suitcase full of cash. A few minutes later, the money is gone, Chadwick is dead, and the factory has been reduced to a fireball. Though the New York Police Department rarely investigates a dealer’s death, a Russian-made grenade appearing downtown is cause for fear. The case falls to Stanley Moodrow, a beefy detective who knows that in an investigation like this, there’s no time to go by the book.

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Published by: MysteriousPress on Jan 25, 2013
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09/29/2013

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 A TWIST OF THE KNIFE 
By Stephen Solomita
WHEN THE RAIN BEGAN
to fall, Attorney Street emptied almost as fast as the Half-MoonSocial Club on the night Carlos Perez tossed a seven-foot diamondback rattlesnakethrough the front window. The rain ricocheted from the windows and walls and quicklyrose at the intersection of Attorney and Rivington, backing over the curb and down intothe basement apartment at 1672 Attorney. Bigelow Jackson, current occupant of thatapartment, noticed a dark stain growing magically from the front door of his living roomand dashed outside to clear the drain. For a moment the water ran freely and Big Jacksonthrew up his arms in acknowledgment of his victory, but then, responding to somedeeper, inaccessible clog, the water began to rise again, quickly covering Jackson’sshoes. Condemned to fight a holding action with towels and sheets, he turned to goinside, just noticing a man standing by the alleyway which ran between his building and1684 Attorney. The man stood in a half-crouch, bent forward, hands hanging limply byhis sides. His head rolled to the left, almost resting on his shoulder. To Bigelow Jackson,he represented the most common of all the exotic phenomena existing on the Lower EastSide of Manhattan, the stoned-out heroin addict so deep in his somnambulistic world, hedid not even notice the rain which emptied the neighborhood.“Fucking junkie,” Bigelow screamed. He was so angry at the idea of the lake on hiscarpet, he seriously considered tearing the junkie to pieces, but it was raining very hardand his rug was getting wetter and wetter even as he stood there, so he contented himself with hurling one of several small flowerpots at the motionless figure. The pot bouncedoff the man’s shoulder and broke into pieces on the sidewalk. “Now you get yourself gone, motherfucker,” Bigelow Jackson bellowed. “I mean don’t let me find your ass herewhen I come back.” He slammed the door triumphantly.
 
 Johnny Katanos, streetnamed Zorba the Freak, beamed inwardly, though heremained as still and lifeless as a statue. This was his craft, he thought. This was what healone could do. Facing away from the enraged Bigelow Jackson, he’d had no warningwhen the flowerpot crashed into him, yet he hadn’t moved a muscle, not even a twitch of the shoulders. That was his conception of how the waiting should be done—absolute patience in the pursuit of his goal.Patience made the waiting easier, but the difficulty would emerge later when he hadto come to life, to perform some action quickly and accurately. Muscles stiffened as thewaiting time increased and any movement, no matter how carefully rehearsed internally,was likely to be jerky and unpredictable. The trick was in the breathing and Johnny, bentforward in a seeming trance, took each breath deeply, counting, forcing the rhythm sothat he had to concentrate, so that his muscles would not cramp when he needed themmost. Carefully, he divided his attention, alternately contracting and releasing themuscles of his upper arms. Four repetitions and then to the forearms and then back to thefeet.The windows overlooking Attorney Street are rarely empty. To the elderly, oftenwithout TVs or even telephones, the windows are at once entertainment andcommunication. An occasional “Hello” or “How are you?” produces a pleased smile asneighbors check up on each other. These old people watch everything on the street,silently cursing youthful predators, often in Yiddish. They are the last white people livingon Attorney Street and they never leave their apartments after dark. Even so, the localstreet demons pick one of them off every week or two, rob and sometimes beat them aswell, often for an imaginary treasure stashed in a mattress or beneath a dresser. RosaWertz, eighty-two, hidden behind a dark green windowshade, witnessed BigelowJackson’s assault on the junkie and she continued to watch after Bigelow returned to theflood in his living room. She saw the junkie move slowly forward, stagger slightly, thenturn and retreat into the alleyway, but as his route went directly away from her door, shesimply returned to her radio, though later she would insist on telling her story to Officer 

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