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Going To The Mattresses
About the Author: Jack Bristow's work has most recently been published in The Saturday Evening Post and The Santa Fe New Mexican. Follow him @RealJackBristow.

The trouble is, I got indicted for selling smack. Actually, I wasn’t the one pushing. This kid, named Enrique Henderson, was selling the horse, and he was paying me protection money for it all the while. Now the boss, Mr. Spirochete, he really frowns on the selling of narcotics, you know? He had started an edict—you deal, you die. Two behind the ear, just like that.

In addition to Mr. Spirochete’s wrath, I was also facing a heavy prison sentence: Fifty years behind bars, if convicted.

The thing is, I’d have gladly done my time. I’d have gladly taken my lumps like a champion but I know the boss, the head honcho, Mr. Spirochete, would’ve had me whacked anyway—even if he had to have somebody behind bars do the deed to me.

I had no other choice that day; I turned state’s evidence. I gave Mr. Rockwell, my proposed FBI handler, a jingle. I told him yes, I would absolutely be interested in testifying against the old man, Mr. Spirochete. The most ruthless La Cosa Nostra boss in New York City.

“Great,” Mr. Rockwell tells me, via the telephone. “Come to our offices on Friday the sixth; we’ll discuss your new identity then, Mr. Graffingnare.”

Friday the 6th. That’s two weeks away. A long frigging time, when you’ve got a blood-thirsty mafia clan on your hide. So I decided to rent this here house, in upstate New York. I am renting it from this long-haired looking hippy peacenik, some stinking baby boomer communist.

The street I am living is nice and residential. You don’t hear a whole lot of noise. Even the dogs are quiet, on my block. But danger always lurks.

Every once in awhile, I walk over towards the window, to see who it is, walking past my house.

But one time, I was in the crapper, reading the National Geographic, learning some fantastic stuff about volcanoes, and aborigines, when I hear this knock on the frigging door: Loud and authoritative sounding. This scumbag knocker sounds like he means business. So I buckle my pants up and make a run for the door. All this time, I’m holding my 9 MM silenced Beretta, thinking all the while, This is it. That prick Mr. Spirochete has finally caught up to me, somehow. How the hell he did, I hadn’t the faintest idea. I had been checking for tails my whole ride upstate. I made sure nobody suspicious was following me.

Anyway, I look out the kitchen curtain, and I see these little girl scouts, cute as buttons, standing in front of my door.

“Hi, mister,” the upbeat girl scout standing closest to the store said to me. “Care to buy some cookies?”

Now at this time, I’m holding the gun behind my back. And what was I to do? Under ordinary circumstances, I’d love to oblige these two cute young girls. But I can’t just throw my gun on the floor, and reach for my wallet. So I smile at the girls and I say, “Thank you very much for the offer, but I can’t have any cookies. I’m a diabetic. Those cookies of yours might kill me.” And then I slam the door on these girls. And believe you me, dear reader, my heart is now beating two hundred frigging beats a minute. I’m really stinking nervous. Here I am, thinking I’m about to face it off against Mr. Spirochete’s men—guys like “Shotgun” Joey and Louie “The Killer.” I’d go into explaining how they got their nicknames, but I think you’re bright enough to put two and two together.

Anyway, my feathers rankled, I made my way for the couch. I sit down on the couch, and I start reading the newspaper.

What a terrible frigging place the world is becoming, I think, as I read about all the murders, sexual abuse, and crooked politicians in the Daily Eagle.

And as I’m reading the newspaper, I almost shit myself: There’s yet again another knock on my door. Accordingly, I make yet again another run for the front door. I look out the kitchen window, and I see these two guys holding bicycles standing in front of my door, dressed in conservative-looking business suits. That’s definitely not The Shotgun or Louie the Killer, I remember thinking, as I opened the door.

These two religious cuckoo birds were all smiles, after I had opened up.

“Hi, there,” one of them said. “A beautiful day today, isn’t it?”

The second one jumped in. He didn’t mince words. “I’m here to tell you about Joseph Smith, and his prophetic message, which is soon to be fulfilled.”

Well, shit. I didn’t feel like chewing the fat with these two wimpy-looking fellows. “Sorry,” I said, “But I’m already a baptized Catholic,” before slamming the door in both their faces.

This story appears in our JUN 2016 Issue
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Reader Discussion

Great voice!
By Micki Browning

Well, shit. I didn’t feel like chewing the fat with these two wimpy-looking fellows. Sorry even the Mormons are more believable than this guy.
By Harley Quin

News flash, "Harley": The term "Fellas" has been used liberally in underworld nonfiction books for years now. Listen to any transcript of street guys' voices and you'll see they talk this way. You have to remember this is a family magazine, so the author undoubtedly had to add a few euphemisms here and there--like "stinking"--which may have made the ex-mobster seem less authentic.
By Gino

I liked it. I thought it was amusing. I read for entertainment value.
By Susan Rickard

I enjoyed the story but, probably because I'm reading it on a desk top, the text was so wide across the screen I was pushed away rather than drawn in and had to argue with my eyes to get them to read
By Lisbeth Mizula

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