|Armed & Dangerous|
Charly Donovan is a mean son of a bitch — a loudmouthed, womanizing, drunken, Irish used–to–be gangster.
Ten years ago, Charly and his two brothers claimed leadership of the New York City underworld. But in a bitter retaliation, his eldest brother Harry was killed and Charly barely survived. Left for dead, Charly decided to stay that way.
Now, once a month, Charly makes the trip from New Jersey to the New York City bus terminal to pick up the $1000 in cash that keeps him drunk and dead. But this month the money is not there, and that means something has happened to Maggie — Harry’s wife and the only person who knows Charly is alive.
Now Charly needs to come back to life, find out who got Maggie and make them pay! But first…he needs a drink.
Armed & Dangerous
Picking Up The Pieces
In 1995, in Room 41 of the Luxor Hotel in New York City, Frendy ordered Spuds to kill Gumball, an informant whose lack of devotion, obedience, and discipline sorely pissed their boss, Frank Arcko. Shortly afterward, Frendy called Mitch Donovan, who ordered him to stash Gumball in the room and leave the rest to him. Later, Mitch called Doogie Acheson and told him that it was time for Eddy Donovan to meet his uncle, as he had an errant that he wanted him to run.
While on his way to his mother’s apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, Eddy Donovan, who had been upstate at a boarding school since he was five and was never allowed back home to New York, mused over the rumors that his mother suffered a nervous breakdown after his father, a Viet Nam veteran who others said loved him, died. As Eddy mused over how Mitch, his dad’s brother who he had never met, moved him back to NYC and footed his bills, while it turned out that his mother’s breakdown had been heroin, he pulled out a pen he got from Doogie, his mother’s nephew who turned out to be a hood. Upset that no one would tell him about his father, who sometimes street people and school yard punks whispered had been a major monster, Eddy stared at the pen, a strip tease pen that when turned upside down undressed the girl, which Doogie said had been his father’s and was the only thing he had that belonged to him.
Just then, Lana Heffner, a girl about Eddy’s age who dropped out of school and rumor had it hung out on the streets for money, asked him to let her see the pen. Even though Eddy thought that the pen was dumb, he gave it to Lana, who he would have shown anything to, and while she entertained herself with it he blushed and felt an erection in his pants. Suddenly, Slik Maloney, Lana’s pimp, snatched the pen and broke it, which enraged Eddy, who lost his temper and rushed toward Silk, who punched him in the face and left him on the ground. As Silk and Lana left, Eddy stared at the figurine from the pen in his hand and mused over how stupid he was.
Meanwhile, Doogie, who drove the last big red checker cab in NYC, cruised on 58th Street looking for Eddy. Entertaining himself by watching the reflection of his fare, Kandi Kane, an attractive woman who stripped for him, Doug found Eddy walking down the street. Eddy, who considered Doogie the only friend he had as everyone else saw him as the new geek in town, stuck his head inside the cab and Doogie told him to get a pizza delivery bag out of the back seat and deliver it to his uncle Mitch at the Luxor Hotel. Assured by Doogie that the desk at the hotel would not give him any trouble since they were on the payroll, Eddy hoisted the bag on his shoulder, and left. Barely able to lift the, Eddy heard something clanking inside it.
Arriving at the hotel, certain that he was finally going to meet his mysterious uncle Mitch, Eddy knocked on the door and uttered a password that assured a voice behind it that he was legit. As the door opened, Mitch stepped out of the room and hoisted Eddy with his catcher mitt hands to his eye level. As Mitch opened the bag and pulled out saws, cleavers, drop clothes, and garbage bags – tools he claimed he left behind and thanked Eddy for bringing to him –, Eddy knew that he was about to find that Mitch never forgot anything.
Sitting down on the radiator, Eddy, who thought the room looked like a slaughter house, listened as Mitch offered to answer any question he had because he wanted to know how brave he was before he revealed his own reasons for bringing his dead brother’s only son to Hell’s Kitchen. Though Eddy wondered what he was doing there and why there was blood on the wall, his first questions were to ask if his father and Mitch were a criminals. Telling Eddy that his father was the best of the lot, Mitch admired Eddy for asking if he was a criminal as well. Standing next to a closed bed, Mitch told Eddy that it be best if he did not open it until after he left, as if he stayed his life would change forever and he would become a part of his world, at which point there would be no turning back. Thinking of the life he had, Eddy looked at the stain on the wall, studied the tools of his uncle trade, and ultimately agreed to join his world.
Telling Eddy to never blame him for not warning him, Mitch pulled the bed down and revealed Gumball’s corpse, the sight of which made Eddy run into the bathroom to puke twice, first when he saw it and then when he saw his uncle cleave Gumball’s hand. When Eddy could finally watch his uncle work, he stood over the head of the bed and looked down at Gumball’s severed corpse, which no longer made him sick but scared him. As Mitch sawed through the body and blood splattered Eddy’s face, he told Eddy that Frank Arcko was the boss and Terry Lanyon was his rival, and that Gumball turned traitor. While helping Mitch pick up the pieces of Gumball’s severed corpse, Eddy realized that night that he found out that when the time came he could do what had to be done.
At Mitch’s behest, Eddy left to buy some pizza. and as he came out of the parlor, he ran into Lana and Slik. Staring at Lana in her dress looking sad and stoned, Eddy still dreamt about her. Refusing to allow Slik to pimp her to Eddy, who was her friend, Lana turned back, while Slik walked over to Eddy and snatched the pizza off his hands despite Eddy telling him that it was for his uncle Mitch. Eddy, who hated Slik but feared what his uncle would think of him more, watched as Lana whispered in Slik’s ear and figured out that she probably knew who Mitch Donovan was. Shooting Eddy a look to kill, Slik threw him back the pizza and left with Lana, leaving Eddy to surmise that he was scared of his uncle Mitch, which he liked a lot.
Late, as Eddy filled the garbage bags with Gumball’s disjointed body parts, Mitch told him that since Arcko could not have every dumbo like Gumball go over to Lanyon they were going to make a public example out of his anatomy. Once they filled the bags and loaded a hand truck that the front desk provided for them, Mitch told Eddy that they were ready to deliver the laundry. When they went straight out the lobby and Mitch stopped by the front desk to tell the clerk that the were done upstairs and the clerk joked that if they painted the room again to cover the blood the walls would fall off, Eddy learned that Arcko owned the hotel.
While following Mitch straight up 9th Avenue, Eddy kept looking for cops and noticed Lana and Slik standing in the shadows too busy fighting to notice them. Arriving at one of Terry Lanyon’s Laundromats, Mitch picked the lock and walked inside with Gumball’s remains while Eddy stayed outside to keep people out. While Eddy stood outside watching Slik bully Lana, inside Mitch stuck Gumball’s remains into the washing machines as a warning to Terry Lanyon, a man who Eddy had never met but had become his enemy. As they walked away and Mitch told Eddy to remember that sometimes it took doing terrible things to earn others respect, Eddy looked back at Lana and Slik and promised never to forget that.
The next morning, Eddy, who could not go home, needed to hang out at the Laundromat and see the results of Mitch’s handiwork. Standing outside the building watching people run outside screaming in terror at the sight of Gumball’s blood, Eddy recalled his uncle’s words.
Gliding through 11th Avenue toward one of Terry Lanyon’s Garage, Roller Girl, one of Frank Arcko’s hitters, killed Skin Dome, one of Lanyon’s guys, as a message from her boss.
Meanwhile, on 4th and 8th Avenue, Eddy ran into Doogie while on his way to school and offered to go with him instead if he had something for him to do. As Eddy told Doogie about what he experienced with Mitch, Doogie stopped him from saying anything else and told him that Mitch’s request for him was a rare privilege. Staring at the headlines of the newspaper in Doogie’s hand about the parts found in the Laundromat, Eddy said that if Mitch asked for him again to tell him that he was interested in whatever he had in mind.
That same morning, Eddy arrived at Whittier High School and saw Roller Girl rolled by him, but he did not have time to focus on her as once inside he had to wrestle Willy Schleiger in the gym. After Willy defeated Eddy with a kick to the groin that his coach, Chuck Heinz, allowed him to perform, the Coach ordered Willy to hit the showers while he stayed behind with Eddy and ordered him to do 20 pushups. Looming over Eddy, who could not move due to the pain and knew that the Coach let Willy hit him, Heinz told him that he was going to make his life a living hell until he returned to his private school because people like his father and uncle killed his brother, a police officer. Angered, Heinz told Eddy to leave, and 10 minutes later in the shower, Eddy, who was in severe pain, wondered what he had done to deserve it.
The next morning, as the war between Arcko and Lanyon raged on, Roller Girl killed Big Joe Boswell, who ran protection for Arcko until Lanyon offered him more money. While Roller Girl reported to Arcko, who was pleased as usual, Lanyon, who was on the other end of the phone when Joe died, was less delighted. An hour later, Doogie, who was the one that gave Roller Girl her name, saw her on the street and followed her in his cab. Roller Girl liked playing tag with Doogie’s cab, but never allowed him to catch her as, no matter how hard he tried, there were places a checker cab just could not go. Leading Doogie to an alley, Roller Girl leapt over some trash cans that Doogie crashed his taxi on. As Doogie proclaimed his love for her, Roller Girl warned him that if he was getting serious he had to get more mobile and then left.
An hour later in Hell’s Kitchen, Eddy told his mother, Margaret Donovan, with whom he had lived with for two months, that he did not want to go back to school because they hated him and beat him up. As Margaret told Eddy that his father would have taught him to fight back, he said that they hated him too for being a killer. Scolding Eddy for saying that, Margaret told him that his father was a saint and a hero, and that she wished his uncle "Charly" were there because he needed a real man to talk to him and not a cheap hoodlum like Doogie. As Eddy mused that Charly was not around and that people said he was dead too, Margaret told him that Charly promised her that he would not die before her. When Eddy wondered why he could not just go back to boarding school, Margaret reached for a framed picture of Mitch, Charly, and his father, Harry, and said that his being there was not her doing, and told him to ask his uncle Mitch about it. Agreeing to return to school when Margaret began to rant about the Donovan brothers, Eddy left, aware that his mother lived in the past and broke down after his dad died in 1985. Aware that his mother drank because he could smell the booze on her, Eddy ignored that her problems went beyond that.
Later that morning, while Doogie was back stage at the Stopless Topless strip joint as the encounter with Roller Girl had induced a seminal overload that he was striving to relieve by having sex with one of the strippers, he received a call from Mitch, who told him to find Eddy and meet with him.
Meanwhile, Eddy got to school and ran into Lana, who was trying to score some weed on the streets. Too shy to say anything to her, Eddy left for gym, aware that Lana was major trouble but that he was in love. Inside, Coach Heinz rallied all the fat guys, dumb guys, weak guys and Eddy for a cleaning group for the playground.
At that same time, Mitch arrived at Joe Boswell’s office with his lock picks and suitcase full of plastique to clean up Roller Girl’s deed, but much to his surprise Boswell was still alive and armed with a gun. Uttering barely audible babble, Joe shot Mitch with the only bullet in his weapon and continued to press the trigger until Mitch lunged on him and cracked his skull on the floor.
At school, as Eddy picked up bottle caps and gum wrappers in the playground, he wondered why he bothered being there, when then Coach Heinz ordered him to pick up a pile of dog excrement off the ground. Fed up with the coach’s abuse, Eddy punched him, and in retaliation Heinz expelled him from school and threatened to press charges to send him to reform school. After flipping Heinz the bird, Eddy stood outside the school wishing that he smoked, when then Doogie drove up to him and told him that Mitch wanted to see them.
Doogie took Eddy to Joe Boswell’s office, where they found Mitch laying in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in his chest next to Joe’s corpse. Pointing at his suitcase, Mitch told Doogie to activate the bomb inside it, then Doogie and Eddy carried Mitch to the taxi and left just before the bomb exploded. Shortly, the boys arrived at a mob doctor’s office, and as they went inside a grateful Mitch told them that they could always go to him to help them fix any trouble they were in, so Eddy told him about Coach Heinz.
The next morning in Hackensack, as Coach Heinz prepared to leave for school, his prized possession, his BMW, exploded before he got inside it. Stepping out from behind a tree, Spuds and Frenzy threatened Heinz with a switchblade and talked to him about Eddy Donovan.
The next Friday, Eddy returned to school like his uncle Mitch told him and was surprised when Coach Heinz knelt before him to apologize in front of everyone for how he treated him and begged him to tell his friends that he did right. Wondering for a moment if the coach deserved what he got, Eddy told him that he would think about it and thought that sometimes life was good.
For Vengeance Sake
On January 17th 1996, Jimmy Bigner dragged Eddy Donovan into a secluded corner of the school grounds and showed him his dad’s police–issue gun. Acting foolishly, Jimmy twirled the gun in his hand and accidentally shot himself when he put it inside his jacket. As everyone who heard the shot came running outside to find out what happened, Eddy hid the blood on his face by blowing his nose and pried the gun off Jimmy’s hand and stuck it in his belt.
The next day, Eddy and Doogie visited Mitch at the mob doctor’s office where he was staying to see how his left lung was healing. After Doogie left the room so Mitch could speak with Eddy alone, Eddy told his uncle that he and Doogie were the only people he trusted, a statement that angered Mitch, who slapped him across the face and told him that they were all bastards he should never trust. Aware that he nearly died, Mitch told Eddy how his father was murdered.
Recalling a meeting of significance at Nolan’s bar in June of 85 with the Donovan brothers and Frank Arcko representing the West side, Mitch told Eddy how after he met his brothers and Frank half away across the Brooklyn bridge a sniper fired on them from above them. Mitch told Eddy that the sniper hit Charly, who went off the bridge, while a bloodied Harry asked him to look after their mother, who was long gone, before he collapsed and died. Mitch went on to tell Eddy that there was never a trace of Charly or the assassin, while, thankfully, Arcko had nary a scratch on him. Revealing that he had failed to find the parties responsible, Mitch told Eddy that it was left to him, which made Eddy realize that Mitch had brought him back to New York, introduced him to the mob, and gave him a home for the sake of vengeance.
Later, in Hell’s Kitchen, Eddy sat in his room staring at the gun and wondered when he would use it and on whom, when then a noise in the fire escape startled him and he almost fired the pistol. After putting the gun away, Eddy raised the shade over the window and saw Lana standing outside it begging him to let her inside because Slik, who was drunk, wanted to kill her. Noticing a bruise on Lana’s face the size of a baseball, Eddy, who still got hot looking at her, let her inside his room when he heard Slik yelling out for her. Certain that Slik did not know where he lived, Eddy held Lana in his arms and comforted her. Shortly, Slik walked past the building and left, vowing that Lana would be sorry. Though Lana wanted to spend the night, Eddy decided that they should hide in the all–night movies instead since his mom was somewhat crazy.
Meanwhile, at the All–Night Diner on 12th Avenue, Doogie was hanging out with other cabbies, when then Roller Girl skated up to him to plant a kiss on his face and warn him that he and Eddy were in trouble because she thought that Frank Arcko was going to kill them. As Roller Girl left, Doogie wondered what she had to do with Arcko.
At the all–night movies theater, Lana told Eddy that she wanted to get off drugs and away from Slik but that she needed to find another connection until she worked her way clean, when then the usher told them to leave because their conversation was disturbing the other patrons, even though the theater was empty. Soon as they walked outside, Eddy and Lana ran into Slik, who slapped Lana out of his way and beat Eddy with his brass knuckles. Forgetting about being a hero, Lana, and his dad, Eddy ran into the subway, but Slik followed him and knocked him down the stairs until he lost consciousness and kicked him onto the subway tracks. As the train came bearing down on Eddy while Slik watched from the platform, he managed to crawl out of the way and avoid getting hit. Hiding behind a pillar, Eddy watched as Lana left with Slik. Indifferent to Lana’s situation, Eddy no longer cared what happened to her, and all that he wanted was to get off the tracks and for someone to find him after he passed out, as well as to know why he had not brought the gun.
10 days later, Eddy went to see Mitch to ask him to take care of Slik, and though Mitch agreed to do it, he wanted Eddy to be sure that it was exactly what he wanted. Turning around, Eddy decided to take care of Slik himself, which made his uncle very proud.
Three weeks later, Margaret found Eddy in his room holding a box that unbeknownst to her contained the gun he got from Jimmy’s corpse, and warned him that he was going to be just like his father, a slave to vengeance, and get himself killed. Warning Eddy that she could not take it if he died, Margaret left the room, then Eddy opened the box and took the gun out. Holding the weapon in his hand, Eddy wondered if he was a killer and if he could pull the trigger.
Four nights later, Eddy tracked Slik down to an alley where he found him and Lana having one of their usual fights. After Lana reluctantly left to hustle herself for Slik, Eddy walked out from behind a fence holding a baseball bat as he had decided that he was not a killer. Ducking out of the way of one of Slik’s punches, Eddy hit him with the baseball bat and shattered his elbow, which enraged Slik, who pulled out a blade and threatened to kill him. Standing his ground, Eddy let Slik cut him, then he swung his bat and broke his knees. Eddy continued to pummel Slik, until Lana returned and crawled next to her pimp. Kneeling beside Slik, Lana told him that she turned a trick and had money for him so he could give her what she wanted. Turning toward Eddy, Lana begged him to stop hurting Slik, who gave her her medicine. Standing over Slik and Lana, Eddy watched as she frantically searched his coat for drugs, and as he understood that he owned her more than before, Eddy was grateful that he had not brought the gun and left.
A week later, Eddy delivered a valise to Frank Arcko at a deserted pier. As Eddy walked inside a warehouse, he saw Arcko torturing a man hanging from the roof and surmised that he was there solely for his benefit. When Eddy gave Frank the valise, Arcko opened it and revealed that it was filled with wads of cash which he said were all for Eddy in memory of his father. After he thanked Arcko and left, however, Eddy burned the money and said that Arcko did not own him and left. Watching from inside the warehouse, Arcko mused to himself that Eddy was a dangerous kid just like his father.
Two months after Eddy beat up Slik and crippled him, he ran into him and Lana, whose tooth a John broke, to take their payment of 20% of their earnings for protection so that he would not use the bat again. Stuck in a wheelchair for life with his jaw shut after Eddy broke it, Slik was unable to speak or walk, while, after nine months in New York City, Eddy walked cool, dressed in a leather jacket, greased his hair, and smoked unfiltered cigarettes, which turned him into everyone’s expectations of what a mobsters’ kid should look like. Watching Lana push Slik on his wheelchair and leave, Eddy mused that he no longer fantasized about her.
On the other side of the street, Lou Bedford, Frank Arcko’s right hand man, Spuds, and Frank Arcko, kept watch over a Cadillac parked beside Eddy that supposedly held a million dollars in dope for Arcko, who suspected that the vehicle was a trap. Certain that their location was secure, Lou told Spuds to call Frendy, who was downtown and had Roller Girl watching the street, which was perfectly normal up to a group of kids that mugged an old lady.
Lost in thoughts of revenge over how ten years earlier his dad died in a shoot out on the Brooklyn Bridge, Eddy imagined the bullets piercing his back, and how Frank Arcko pulled his gun while his uncle Charly fell off the bridge. While Eddy mused over how his father died in his uncle Mitch’s arms while Frank was unharmed, the mugger kids interrupted his reverie when they ran past him. Pleased that the kids no longer laughed at him since he was the guy who had shattered Slik’s knees, Eddy accepted their pay off so he would not hurt them when they recognized him, but then he gave his share back to the old lady who the kids had stole it from.
Keeping watch from inside Ray’s Pizza, Duane and Darryl, the two “Cornhusker Cops” from Nebraska who followed a tip and nailed the drug car on 1–80, witnessed the mugging and wanted to chase the kids, but Mel Purdy, the FBI agent in charge ordered them to stay put and limit themselves to just watch the arrest.
At O’Brien’s Bar, Doogie broke Clarence the owner’s thumb when he refused to pay the money that he owed Frank Arcko, then he left feeling sorry for what he had inadvertently done. While Doggie sat in his cab and skimmed from the wad of cash that Clarice, Clarence’s wife, gave him, inside the bar Clarence asked Clarice, who had dated Mitch Donovan in high school, to call him because he could not take the abuse anymore.
Just then, Doogie parked his cab next to the Cadillac, so Arcko sent Roller girl to get rid of him. Skating next to Doogie’s cab, Roller Girl told Doogie that her boss, Arcko, wanted him to leave because the cops might be watching, then she told him to give her a kiss to make it look like he was picking up a hooker and they left. Inside the pizzeria, the Cornhusker Cops, who bought Roller Girl’s ruse, wondered how long they were gonna stay there, and Purdy told them that until Frank Arcko made one move on that car.
Once they were far enough away, Roller Girl bid Doogie goodbye and rolled away, but he stopped her and confronted her over her constant teasing, then he unexpectedly proposed to her on the spot. Though she declined Doogie’s offer, Roller Girl brushed her tongue against Doogie’s and then rolled away.
That evening Clarice O’Brien visited Mitch Donovan in his apartment in the Bronx to tell him that Doogie was skimming her and her husband, charging twice or three times the agreed interest, and that he broke Clarence’s thumb. Telling Clarice to tell Clarence that his debt was paid in full, Mitch told her that her husband was a lucky man and that she did not have to worry about Doogie anymore.
Back at the stakeout, when Spuds called Arcko to tell him that he spotted cops muttering police calls into walkie talkies hidden inside paper bags, Arcko gave him a coded order to deal with them.
Arriving at Margaret’s apartment in time for supper, Eddy gave his mother a bouquet of flowers he bought for her, but she refused to accept it as she did not want anything from him that was bought with dirty money. Throwing the flowers on the floor, Eddy left the apartment, confused over his mother’s wish that he be like his father and be good, a hopeless contradiction given that his father was a criminal.
Meanwhile, while the cops got fed up with pizza and bored waiting for Arcko to move, in a nearby Italian restaurant Arcko told Lou that someone tipped the cops, which Lou surmised could have only been Doogie, who he figured believed Mitch would protect him and knew was skimming money like crazy.
Eddy wanted to get drunk, but no one would sell him any booze. Defeated, he walked out of a liquor parlor and ran into Mo, a kid that liked him. When Mo told Eddy that he was changing and the kids and teachers alike were scared of him, and then asked him what had happened to him, Eddy got mad and hit Mo in the chin and got. Eddy did not think that he hit Mo too hard, but he still hurt him as well as himself, so even though he apologized, Mo promised to leave and begged him not to hit him again. Apologetic, Eddy yelled out to Mo and told him that he just got mad and it was okay, but what happened was not okay for Mo, who left.
Later that night, while Eddy looked for a store to buy cigarettes he ran into Doogie, who told him about the Cadillac and the stake out, and then asked him if he wanted to join him. Two hours later, after Eddy got drunk for the first time and told Doogie the story about how his father died as Mitch told it to him, Doogie said that life sucked and he had an image problem and had to redeem himself with Arcko and Roller Girl. Just then, the mugger kids from before came into the alley looking for Eddy, who they no longer considered a friend.
Upset with Eddy for giving their money back to the old lady, the kids refused to give him any more payoffs and called him names, but then Doogie scared them off and they ran away. Upset with Eddy for taking payoffs, Doogie slapped him across the face and the two of them had a brawl that Eddy considered a form of male bonding. Elsewhere, Arcko and Lou decided that it was too late to retrieve the drug money, but that they would wait to see if the rat, which Lou was certain would be Doogie, would show up.
Once the brawl between the cousins ended, Eddy got the idea that since the cops illegally parked the Cadillac in front of a funeral home that Arcko owned as part of their trap, which meant that neither one of them would report it, they should call the tow truck to create a diversion.
As a tow truck driver put a hook in the Cadillac to take it away, Purdy ordered his men to stop him without blowing their cover, but the driver refused and a brawl ensued. While trucks from all over NYC converged on the location and the brawl between them and the Feds, who revealed their cover, continued, Arcko and Purdy saw Eddy and Doogie get inside the first truck and drive off with the Cadillac in tow. Certain that Doogie would head for his garage in Brooklyn despite Lou’s belief that he was working for the Feds, Arcko took off, while Purdy failed to catch up to the truck on foot.
Amazed that their scheme worked, Eddy and Doogie arrived at the garage certain that they were heroes, but as they went in Arcko ordered Frendy and Spuds to drag them out of the truck. As Frendy and Spuds kneeled Eddy and Donovan down, Arcko told them that someone squealed to the cops and they stopped the car on its way to NYC from LA, then got the drugs out and set up a trap to get him. Looming over Doogie, Arcko asked if he was the one that tipped the authorities, but Doogie denied it. Upset, Lou accused Doogie of fingering the car to the Nebraska Highway Patrol and warned him that he was going to pay.
Facing Lou, Arcko told him that no one knew that the cops stopped the car in Nebraska, not even him, then, though Lou swore up and down that he did not tip the cops and he overheard Doogie mention Nebraska, Arcko ordered Roller Girl to shoot him in the knee because he wanted to take his time dealing with him.
While Frendy and Spuds hung Lou off a hook, and Doogie was shocked to discover that Roller Girl was Arcko’s hit person, Eddy asked Arcko if they could leave, but Frank revealed that he knew Doogie was skimming from him and said that it was payback time. Resolute, Doogie was certain that his uncle Mitch would object, but much to his surprise Mitch walked out from behind a wall and accused Doogie of becoming a greedy bullying cheat who needed to be taken down a peg. Upset with him for breaking Clarence’s thumb, Mitch ordered Doogie to hold out his hand so he could take it out in retaliation. Watching from the sidelines, Eddy noticed that Roller Girl clenched her teeth and looked away.
At the last moment, however, Mitch changed his mind and only took one of Doogie’s fingers, which Eddy viewed as a form of perverse generosity. Staring at Lou as he hung off the floor, Arcko ordered Mitch to take Eddy outside while he dealt with Lou before he bled to death. Once outside, Mitch stopped Eddy before he left with Doogie and gave him Doogie’s finger as a reminder of everything he had told him, then he told him to remember that when the troubles started they were going to need each other.
While Frendy and Spuds drove the boys to a hospital, Doogie leaned close to Eddy and told him that he had been thinking about when his father was killed and realized that Arcko was not the only one who survived. Upon thinking about Mitch’s story and Doogie’s assertion, Eddy realized that Doogie was referring to Mitch.
After stopping the riot and sending everyone home, Purdy and the “Cornhusker Cops” got plastered, then, two hours later and six packs later, he was satisfied that even though Arcko got away he would someday get him. As it started to rain and the three officers tried to walk off their drunkenness, they ran into Lana, who asked them if they wanted to party. Amazed at Lana’s age, the guys gave her money and told her to fix her tooth.
After Doogie told Frendy and Spuds to let Eddy out, he ran into the drunken Purdy and “Cornhusker Cops”, who let him know who they were when they tried to arrest him in jest. Tossing Doogie’s finger at the cops as a final insult from Doogie, Eddy ran away.
Sprinting through the rain, thinking over what Doogie had told him and knowing that he had it right, Eddy knew in his guts that Mitch Donovan had killed his father.
Kandi Kane – The Saturday Night Special
Standing on stage in her high heels garbed in a gangster suit and fedora, Kandi Kane regaled the crowd of a strip club with the story of her life, starting nonlinearly with when she threw Doogie Acheson out of her bed and told him to go find Roller Girl to get himself off. As she began her striptease, Kandi told her audience that after Doogie left she looked in a mirror to check the crows feet under her eyes and saw her 17 year old self, Kathy Kowalski from Highland Park, an abused, motherless, titless, pregnant girl that fled to New York to get an abortion, staring back at her. Holding a picture of Kathy on her hand, Kandi said that since Kathy could not survive on the New York streets she begged, borrowed, and stole so she could undergo extensive cosmetic surgery and become Kandi Kane, who possessed the power to turn guys on, power that Kathy never had.
Holding a picture of her younger self after the surgery to entice the men, Kandi told them about her first job in Hugh Gordon’s Up Front Revue when she was 17 years and a half. Initially, Kandi said, Hugh objected at the size of her small breasts, but Faith LaSalle, the brains behind Hugh and a former Burlesque Queen, undertook her training to finagle the amount of protection she had to pay Charly Donovan, a big, handsome husker with whom Kandi became romantically involved for six years, until he was shot in the Brooklyn Bridge. Removing her jacket to tease her gawking admirers, Kathy said that after Charly went into the East River and never came out she went into a bar on Hudson Street and almost never came out either.
Coyly hiding behind the jacket to tease, Kandi said that when the 80’s staggered into the 90’s while she drank, burlesque died and Faith’s training no longer applied, while Hugh had a stroke and Faith retired to Arizona. Spreading her legs for five years for a living, Kandi felt like a hooker, although the extra money never seemed to cover more than the booze. Recoiling for a moment in the middle of the stage, Kandi recalled the last time she had sex for money, and a john forced her to have unprotected sex and knocked her up, which lead her to have a second abortion and swear never to prostitute herself again, which meant she had to quit drinking.
Standing up, Kandi unveiled her breasts, and as she danced across the stage, her nipples covered in stars, she freely admitted that her breasts were fake and said that when she cleaned up her act she had to improve her marketable skills as by 92 what skills she had were sagging, so she went to see Frank Arcko for cash. Certain that with a new set of breasts and a few tucks she would be good for another decade, Kandi asked Frank for a loan, and promised she would save up and retire to Arizona with Faith. At first Frank suggested to Kandi that she let him set her up with a rich politician in need of reliable companionship, but she declined and he agreed to give her a low–interest loan in Charly’s memory that Doogie would collect on once a week once she was working again. Caressing herself with a smile on her face, Kandi said that when Doogie came to collect he claimed that he could convince Arcko to forgo any interest, so she tried to pretend that they had something going, but it turned out to be just one more way of hooking herself, which brought her narrative full circle.
Seductively pulling on her straps, Kandi said that on March of that year she was offered to tour from Nacogdoches through every tank town in the Southwest, an offer she accepted because it was old fashioned stripping that guaranteed her G string would stay on and save her life. One night after work, Kandi explained, she was strolling along at 1:30 am wondering if she really wanted to tour Texas, when then the door of a Porsche popped open and Lana Heffner jumped out while exchanging obscenities with Carlos, the driver. Partial to individuals with bad attitudes, Kandi helped Lana out, but quickly realized that she should not have gotten involved when Carlos came out of the car and chased them. Lana knew every vacant lot and smashed lock in Hell’s Kitchen, so after 10 minutes of broken field running they lost Carlos and hid in Kraft’s dinner, where Lana told Kandi that Slik, her pimp, hung out of sometimes. Realizing that Lana was desperate, and clearly a crack head that, worst of all, really believed in Slik, Kandi wondered what she was doing, and mused that if she had kept her first child she would have been Lana’s age, a sentiment she quickly dismissed as crap.
Inside the dinner, Lana told Kandi that Slik traded her services to Carlos, a drug dealer, as down payment, but that if she had done what he wanted she would have never been the same again. Certain that Carlos would kill her, Lana knew that she needed Slik to protect her. Sliding down to remove her pants, Kandi said that she figured that after paying the tab at the dinner and wishing Lana luck in finding Slik she could go home, but when they came out they saw the Porsche bearing down on them and had to take their shoes off to run away when Carlos started shooting. As Lana started screaming for Slik, Kandi wanted to thump her one, but she suspected that she was used to being thumped.
Dodging Carlos between cars while he kept shooting and not hitting, Kandi thought that he was herding them along. Running into an alley, Kandi and Lana ran into Slik. Caressing her breasts to titillate further, Kandi described Slik as the meanest sonovabitch she had seen who despite riding around on a motorized wheelchair could apparently walk if he had to, and said that she guessed he had been in touch with Carlos because he was truly enraged. Standing on two crutches, Slik tossed one at Lana and hit her across the face for failing to get him the drugs he needed to withstand the pain he was in after Eddy Donovan broke his knee. Enraged, Slik pummeled Lana with the crutches, until Kandi stabbed him on the forehead with her Stiletto heel to stop him. Grabbing Lana’s arm, Kandi urged her to run, but Lana turned back toward Slik, and would have stayed with him if Carlos had not caught up to them and started shooting. Caught in the vendetta, Kandi decided they were getting out even if she had to drag Lana, who she knew she should have left but could not. Climbing a fire escape to the roof of a building, Kandi overheard Carlos and Slik agreeing to team up to find her at her place of work, which made her decide to accept the tour offer and leave for Nacogdoches.
As Kandi teasingly removed her stockings, she said that she was trying to pack and leave before Carlos and Slik found out her address, and that she wanted Lana to go along with her, both of which were dumb ideas. While packing Kandi’s costumes, the two women got into an argument when Lana refused to leave Slik, who supplied her with crack, so Kandi yelled at her to convince her that Slik was gonna kill her. Upset, Lana left and slammed the door behind her, but shortly the two of them left the club together and hailed a taxi to take them to the Port authority, but just then Lana saw Carlo’s Porsche two blocks away.
While the girls jumped into the taxi and the cab sped away, Carlos opened fire on them resolute in killing them. Reaching into her purse, Kandi pulled out a gun and told the cab driver to ram the Porsche head on like in a game of chicken. A coward to the end, Carlos blinked first and drove out of the way of the taxi, which continued on its way to the Port Authority while the Porsche crashed.
Reaching into her G string, Kandi pulled out the gun she was carrying in the cab and told her eager admirers that once they reached the Port Authority Lana ran into Slik and Carlos, who demanded that she sleep with Carlos to pay him for the drugs that he had already given Slik, or else they would kill her. With four minutes to go until the bus left, Kandi returned from the bathroom and trained her gun on Carlos, then ordered him to drop his piece while Lana urged her to kill him. Showing his cowardice once again, Carlos hid his piece and backed off, then he watched as Lana and Kandi got inside the bus and left. Upset, Carlos shot Slik and left him laying on the ground, damming Lana to Hell while he walked away. Aiming her gun at the audience, Kandi squirted them with a shot of water, revealing the piece to be a fake.
Wrapping up her tale of how she came to be playing Texas, Lana stood in a spotlight wearing nothing but her G string and said that she and Lana got off the bus in Jersey and bought a $200 dollar convertible out of fear that Carlos might follow them. On their way to Nacogdoches, during which the car broke down nine times, Lana came off the crack and expressed a desire to become a stripper like Kandi, who told her that she had to waitress or do something for money to get her broken tooth fixed first.
Evoking an image of Lana on stage holding a cowboy hat with her bare breasts, Kandi said that in the meantime she spent most of her time back stage working up an act and trying to stay clean, and that unlike her she did not need silicone, which she thought would make her act stand out.
On the first Tuesday of June 1996, Charly Donovan, Eddy Donovan’s presumably dead uncle, arrived at the NYC port authority bus terminal from New Jersey, where he hid to drink himself into a stupor after Harry died, to retrieve a thousand dollars that Harry’s widow, Margaret Donovan, left for him every month in locker 313. To Charly’s dismay, for the first time since 1985 the money was not there, and it was not until he locked, unlocked, and looked inside the locker for a second time that he thought that something happened to Maggie.
In need of a drink, Charly was aware of where he could get it, so he checked his clothes to make sure that they were clean so he would not stand out to the cops and decided to brave the streets of Manhattan to find out what went wrong. Charly knew that it was crazy to investigate since everyone but Maggie thought that he drowned, but he was sick of hiding out. Charly headed straight to his sacred gin mill, the Terminal Bar across from the bus terminal, which much to his surprise was not open anymore, as its windows and doors were covered with boards, padlocks, and a health notice from 1988.
Saddened, and in desperate need of a drink, Charly went uptown to Rudy’s, and once there, he sat on the bar and asked the barkeep, who luckily for him was a new employee that did not recognize him, for a double shot of Gargle with a draft. After downing the shot and recovering his vision, Charly spotted a cute girl at the end of the bar that a kid was hitting on. Though he knew that the woman could handle herself, Charly wanted an excuse to introduce himself, so he walked over to her and called her Edith to pretend that he knew her. When the kid did not believe he knew her, Charly intimidated him with a glance and scared him away.
Sitting next to the girl, whose name he learned was Suzi, Charly ordered a J&B for her and a shot of Rotgut for him, which left him broke. When Charly ran out of money, Suzi bought the next two rounds, and as they talked over them he told her that he wanted to take her home, but that he had no ticket to Jersey and no money to stay in New York. Confessing that she was looking to leave her boyfriend but that she had no place to go and was broke, Suzi played footsy with Charly and told him that she liked him. Just then, however, Bear, Suzi’s boyfriend, arrived, and Suzi urged Charly to get lost.
Addressing Charly and Suzi with profanities, Bear demanded to know what they were talking about, so Charly told him that he asked Suzi to sleep with him. Enraged, Bear kicked Charly and punched him out of the bar, but then, once they were outside, Charly grabbed Bear’s ankle and bit him as hard as he cut until he went down and he knocked him out. After kicking Bear in the head, Suzi retrieved a fat roll of money from his pant’s pocket and she and Charly ran away just as the sound of sirens filled the air. Once they were out of sight in an alley, Suzi offered Charly half of their lot, 250 dollars, but he told her to keep 400 for a hotel and told her to stick the money in her bra. Surprisingly, Suzi was not wearing one, so the money fell through her cleavage into the ground, so Charly helped her pick it up, and while they did she invited him to get another drink so he would tell her who he was, and despite knowing that it be dangerous for her, Charly accepted.
Charly took Suzi to McHale’s, an old hangout also called the Gaiety that he knew was dangerous to be at since he was known there once, but he did not care. After the fourth shot, Charly told Suzi everything, except the truth, and when she asked him to tell her his story he told her that he was a cop that started hitting the bottle and accidentally shot the police commissioner. Staring into his glass, Charly reminisced over the truth.
A criminal who was the son of criminals, the brother of criminals, and a friend of criminals, Charly recalled the Five Kings of the West Side; himself, Frank Arcko, Terry Lanyon, and his two brothers, Harry and Mitch. Harry – the brain and beauty, the golden boy, chosen son, and anointed one –, Mitch – the son of Ireland that was smarter than paint, big as a house, and could break one’s neck with one hand –, and Charly had been doing dirty work for the Italians when Mitch and Harry decided that they were taking over. Meeting with the don on one of the old piers, Mitch and Harry opened fire on him and his men to signal Charly, Frank, and Terry to shoot them from inside a cargo net hanging over them. Soon, the Mafia was dancing for them while blood splattered the wind like confetti.
After six weeks with no reprisals, Charly and the others smelled a win, so Mitch arranged a truce and they went to meet the Italians in Brooklyn. On a gorgeous summer night, they strolled across the bridge and saw Mitch on the other side, when just then a hail of bullets rained down on them and killed Harry and wounded Charly, who went over the bridge. As he fell into the river, Charly wondered who had set them up, if it was the Italians or Terry, who never showed up, one of the hundreds of guys they had robbed or cheated, or Mitch. Struggling toward the light, Charly drank the air and fought to live long enough for one more double shot of Bushmill’s black and, as an afterthought, avenge his brothers. Unfortunately, the latter never happened and Charly’s emergency disappearance scheme kicked in after the tabloids reported his death, then he spent the next decade filling the hours, days, and years of his boring fake death with booze.
Startling away, Charly reached for a phone and called Margaret to find out what happened to her. Telling Charly that she was glad to hear his voice, Margaret asked him if he was okay, but he told her that he was drunk and could hardly stand up. Unbeknownst to Charly, Terry Lanyon was holding Margaret at gun point while Spuds was keeping Eddy tied up on a couch. Before passing out, Charly told Maggie to meet him at the Terminal Bar an hour later. As he fell to the floor, Charly heard a familiar voice that was not Maggie’s on the other end of the line, but he dismissed it as a dream.
Five minutes later, while Suzi carried Charly out of the bar to take him to a hotel, he saw Bear and his friends come out of a car and rush toward him. Drunk as he was, Charly knew that it be okay as he remembered that he knew Kung Fu and that he always carried a gun whenever he returned to New York City. Despite being too plastered, Charly opened fire on Bear and his friends, who ran away so fast that they forgot their car. Recalling his appointment at the Terminal Bar, Charly told Suzi to keep all the money, except for 20 dollars, and leave to get a hotel room, but she insisted that he keep it. Assuring Suzi that if the next hour worked out he would have all the dough he needed, Charly told her that if it did not then the 20 would do. As Suzi walked away and urged Charly to go find her at the Carter Hotel, he mused over the phone call he made to Maggie and finally recognized the voice that he heard on the phone.
20 minutes later, Charly arrived at the Terminal Bar with 20 dollars worth of cheap vodka. After puking for five minutes, Charly pried the boards off the alley door and went inside the bar, the sight and smell of which reminded him of his brothers, who he saw standing next to the bar looking like they did 10 years before. Aware that he was hallucinating, Charly did not care and kept drinking, then as he soaked some rags with vodka, he heard Harry ask him if he was sleeping with his wife Margaret. After telling Harry that he was, Charly stuck the rags in the bottles and tried to ignore as Harry yelled obscenities at him. Just as Charly lit the rags and his brothers vanished, Terry’s men arrived to take him to see his boss. Refusing to meet Lanyon any way other than in his terms, Charly tosses the Molotov cocktails at the men.
Reaching for his gun, Charly could not aim it at the last surviving member of Lanyon’s gang as his hand was shaking too much. Luckily for him, the man did not shoot him and instead talked him into giving up, which made him realize that Lanyon wanted him alive. After knocking the man out with a swift kick to the face, Charly turned around when he heard the same voice as on the phone.
Facing Terry Lanyon, who had his arm around Margaret, who looked drugged, and a gun aimed at her head, Charly coldly said hello to her while Terry urged him to drop his piece and leave with them before the bar burned down. Asking Charly to shoot Terry, Margaret told him that he wanted to have them as leverage against Mitch, which made Charly realize that Terry was trying to take over the mob.
Tightening his grip around Margaret to use her as a shield, Terry taunted Charly’s stupor and told him that he could not shoot him, but Charly, whose daze was more severe than Terry figured, aimed his gun at him and vowed to kill him.
Standing amid the Terminal Bar that he set ablaze with Terry Lanyon’s creeps inside, Charly Donovan mused over how eight months earlier the axe fell in the mob war between Lanyon and Frank Arcko while he shackling aimed his gun at Lanyon. Recalling how Lanyon’s IRA contacts killed Arcko’s mother, father, and sister in retaliation for Arcko’s murder of his uncle, Charly felt caught in the crossfire of their conflict.
Holding his gun with both hands, Charly insisted to Lanyon that Margaret had done nothing to hurt him, but Lanyon pushed his gun against Margaret’s cheek and ordered Charly to drop his gun because he wanted him alive. Plastered, and unable to keep from shacking or slurring his words, Charly warned Lanyon that if he killed Maggie he would kill him. Meanwhile, one of Lanyon’s men that Charly set ablaze ran screaming out of the bar into the street and lunged himself on the hood of Pearce Gargan’s car. An associate of Lanyon, Gargan rushed into the bar to find out what had happened to Lanyon.
Back inside the bar, AS Charly salivated for one more drink Lanyon assured him that he did not want to kill him or Margaret as alive he could use them against Arcko and his brother Mitch. When Lanyon turned his gun away from Margaret and toward Charly, Charly lowered his piece and waited for his arm to stop shaking, then he swung it forward again in one smooth arc and without aiming pointed it like a finger and squeezed. Though he missed, Charly’s shot nailed Lanyon on the ear and he let go of Margaret, who urged Charly to kill Lanyon. While Charly fell down and opened fire on Lanyon, Gargan burst inside and shot Margaret to distract him while he and Lanyon escaped. His gun empty, Charly grabbed one from a dead creep but his only thought was to get Maggie out while Gargan dragged his boss out.
When Charly and Margaret came out of the bar, he saw Lanyon’s boys outside their car frantically scrapping fried hood off the windshield and blasted them, but he kept missing and they ran away. Somehow, Charly shot open the car’s trunk without hitting Eddy, who was inside, and helped him out. Shortly, Charly sat behind the wheel of the car and drove off with Margaret and Eddy beside him. Though he kept crashing into other cars on the road, Charly kept going, until Dyer Avenue, when he untied Eddy and had him drive. As Lanyon and Gargan watched Charly sped away, the Terminal Bar collapsed and took its whiskey dreams up in smoke. As the car headed through the tunnel, Charly got the DTs and saw an apparition of his brother Harry, his version of pink elephants, who told him that he looked like he needed a drink.
Five days later, in an abandoned junkyard that Charly used as a hideout in New Jersey and where he spent his time boozing since 85, Charly showed Eddy how to shoot to keep from drinking and avoid his withdrawal and Harry’s ghost. Seated on a bench next to them, Margaret was in a stupor from the dope that Doogie, their NYC contact, brought to them. Aware that Frank Arcko delivered Maggie’s stash wholesale to her, Charly figured Arcko as even a worse snake than Lanyon.
After shooting a bottle, Eddy demanded that Charly tell him about his dad, who Maggie claimed was a brave and handsome hero, assertions that he dismissed as dopehead delusions. When Eddy demanded to know who hooked his mother on drugs, Charly told him that he and his father were not exactly friends, then, when Eddy asked why, Charly shot the remaining bottles in anger because he did not want to say that he was sleeping with Maggie back then. As the sound of the exploding bottles awoke Margaret, Doogie came into the yard with more of her dope and told Charly that Arcko heard he was back and wished he had stayed dead, while Lanyon was screaming over his missing ear. Unbeknownst to Doogie, Frendy and Spuds had followed him.
Feeling the shakes coming, Charly went inside to sleep through them, then, as he fell asleep, he had a dream in which he saw himself running away from Maggie back in 1980 while she screamed inaudibly at him and Harry’s ghost asked him what he was running from and what she was saying. Awakening drowning in sweat, Charly saw Margaret standing over him with her coat open begging him to make her feel good like he always did. Pretending that he needed a drink to have sex with her, Charly sent Margaret to find his stash, and while she went for the bottle, he went out the window. While Charly ran away certain that if he slept with Maggie Harry’s ghost would see them from inside his skull, Eddy and Doogie discovered that he left and went to find him, while Margaret sat on her bench with the bottle in her hands.
After hitching a ride to New Brunswick, Charly found a bar and drank double shots and eight Buds that made him see Harry’s ghost again. Tired of seeing his dead brother, Charly asked him how he could get rid of him, and Harry said that he wanted him to find out who killed him before they were supposed to meet the Mafia and he was going to head up the Mob, a job that went to Arcko, which pissed him off. Screaming that he was a figment of his guilt that wanted to know who killed him, Harry asked Charly if it was Frank, Terry, Mitch, the Mafia, or even him, an accusation that upset Charly, who tossed a bottle aside and broke a toy Lionel train that was running on the wall. While the owner and his patrons tossed him outside, Charly wondered if he could have hired a hit on Harry and forgot about it, then, while sitting on the street, he scrounged up enough bus fare from his wallet to go see Mitch, unaware that Frendy and Spuds were following him on a 4x4.
Arriving at Mitch’s apartment at 3 am, Charly was somewhat sober, so grabbed a bottle of Chablis from the fridge, unaware that the 4x4 was outside the building. Suddenly, Mitch, who though that Charly was one of Arcko’s or Lanyon’s thugs, grabbed him from behind and tossed him aside, then knocked him into a corner before he could say a word. Looming over Charly, Mitch held a flashlight against his face and was shocked to see his supposedly dead brother lying before him.
The Brotherhood of Cain
While dropped dripped from Charly’s face where Mitch punched him, he sarcastically told him that he had to find out the truth of who wounded him and killed Harry ten years earlier, then, while listing his suspects – Arcko, Lanyon, and the Mafia – he told Mitch that it could just as easily have been him. Smelling the booze oozing from Charly, Mitch said that he was not going to kill him for accusing him, but then he hit him over the head with the flashlight and welcomed him back while throwing derogatory remarks at him. Outside, Frendy called Lanyon on the phone and asked him if he wanted him and Spuds to go inside the apartment.
Looming over Charly with the flashlight in his hand, Mitch screamed at Charly to ask him his question, so Charly asked him if he killed Harry and Mitch said he did not, even though there were times he wanted to. While Mitch went to get Charly a drink, Charly mused that Mitch had either told him the truth or nothing and wondered why he was hiding out in the dark in his own apartment. Just as Mitch returned with a bottle for Charly, and Charly asked him whom he was expecting, a hail of bullets came through the window from the fire escape. Taking cover, Mitch told Charly that whoever was shooting them could be the Mafia, Arcko, or Lanyon, who were having a civil war over the West Side. Just then, the bullets shot out the only light in the room from a luminous clock. While Mitch was certain that the shooters would scram before the cops arrived, Charly bet him that they would see if they were dead first.
Shortly, the shooters came inside the apartment through the window and found Charly lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the room, when suddenly Mitch came out of the kitchen and shot them with his sawed off pump. Opening his eyes, Charly faced Tony, one of the shooters that were going to kill him, and blew his face off. When the last shooter lurched for the fire escape, Charly ran after him to take him alive to find out whom he worked for, and though Mitch yelled at him to stop, he followed him down the fire escape into an alley.
Hearing a voice call out his name, Charly turned around and saw Frank Arcko standing under a blinking neon sign. Surrounded by 10 of Arcko’s boys, Charly dropped his gun and asked Arcko what he ever did to him, when then Arcko hit him across the face with a pipe and said that he was going to kill him and his brothers. While Arcko hit Charly, Charly asked him if he killed Harry, a question that angered Arcko, who kicked Charly in the groin and yelled out that he was sending him and Mitch straight to hell. Bored of hitting Charly with a pipe, Arcko asked Frendy for a gun, when then Mitch opened fire on them from the park across the street with an Uzi. While a firefight ensued, Charly tried to crawl to the park before he passed out, but one of Arcko’s boys fell on him and knocked him out.
While he fell into a black cesspool, Charly mused that Arcko and Lanyon spewed the same lines of rhetoric, when then he saw Harry’s face poking out of the sludge and demanding to know who killed him. Feeling like he was drowning in a river of whiskey, Charly fought to wake up just to spite Harry. Awakening with a dead mobster sprawled all over him, Charly pushed him off and crawled to the park when he heard sirens in the distance. Two hours later, Charly called Doogie and told him to get Eddy and Maggie to a new place.
Requiring help getting sober from someone who would give him a cup of coffee when he begged for booze, and a place to crash, Charly went to see Suzi, the only person he trusted that he figured had not had time to peg him for a loser. For what Suzi would tell Charly was a week, he dried out, which was not easy for either of them, and despite Harry’s taunts that he would not make it since his belly hungered for the booze, Charly refused to drink anymore.
After 10 days or so, Charly decided it was safe to go out, and Suzi, who had not been drinking either and wanted some other kind of satisfaction from him that night, asked him to return to her in one piece. Scared at the idea of making love without booze, Charly knew that he had to pass temptation on the way to the post authority, so he did not take any money with him, just the locker key that he carried in his shoe for ten years. At the port authority, Charly found a note that Doogie left him in the locker that said that he had moved the family to a motel in Weehawken. Unbeknownst to Charly, Lanyon’s weasel saw him.
That night, Suzi and Charly tried making love for the first time, but it was too soon after the booze for him to do anything. With one touch of Suzi’s flesh, Charly went into the recurrent hallucination where he ran away from Margaret, who always yelled something that made him leave, but this time he understood her telling him to do something because it was what he was good at. Lying in bed, Charly imagined Maggie standing naked before him, the toil of the years and track marks evident on her, and felt convinced that her madness was his doing. Awakening from his daze, Charly told Suzi that in 85 his brother Harry got himself killed and was now like a rat gnawing its way through his skull, and that even though he was a treacherous, sadistic, wife–beating boil on mankind, he was still his brother and he had to find out who shot him and kill them back.
Later that night, Charly used a stethoscope he bought at an all–night pharmacy to listen in on Frank Arcko at his apartment. Making sure not to move so he would not trigger the alarms, Charly pressed the stethoscope lightly against the glass while musing that Arcko’s war with Lanyon smelled to him like an excuse for killing the Donovans. Four hours later, Arcko returned home with Lanyon, who Charly overheard say that he wanted to kill him when he first pulled his resurrection act but Arcko stopped him so he could use him to trap Mitch. Hearing Lanyon say that his weasel followed him back to he Port Authority, and that his guys were waiting to kill him, Mitch, and the rest of the Donovan family, Charly rushed back to the Carter Hotel and Suzi. As images of the women who had suffered from knowing him flipped through his mind, Charly ran to find a cab.
Less than 10 minutes later, Charly rushed up the stairs to Suzi’s room, unaware that the front desk clerk had alerted Lanyon’s men of his arrival. Switching to the elevator, Charly came out a floor above Suzi’s and watched from a vantage point as Lanyon’s men killed the taxi driver as he came running up the stairs demanding his fare, then he slipped behind the slaughter and went in the room.
Rushing inside the room, Charly found Gargan lying on top of Suzi on the bed, then, since he was sober enough to know there was someone else behind the door, he shot them point blank in the eyes. As Charly turned his attention back to Suzi, he saw Gargan aiming a gun at her face and heard him say that Lanyon told him to enjoy himself until he returned because that was how much he hated him. Unlike the stand off at the Terminal Bar, Charly had time to aim his gun, except that he was afraid to hit Suzi. Ultimately, however, he missed his shot and Gargan killed her.
Dreaming of booze while staring at Suzi’s body, Charly mused over how screwing up people’s lives had always come as easy to him as downing double shots of Bushmills. Turning to face Gargan, who was standing on the other side of the bed with his gun aimed at him, Charly shot him between the eyes and killed him, then, realizing that Suzi was still breathing, he left to find help for her.
Certain he would have to get through a hallway filled with hit men, Charly rushed outside and was surprised to find the hallway littered with the hood’s corpses, who the cabbie killed with his own gun. Walking passed the cabbie, who was standing in the middle of the hall with his gun in his hand ranting obscenities while blood gushed out from a bullet wound on his head, Charly went down to the lobby and forced the clerk to call 911 at gun point. Hidden long enough to watch the ambulance come, Charly could not see Suzi as a crowd gathered around the hotel, but he did not hold out much hope. Supposing that he could have stayed in the room and held Suzi’s hand, Charly knew that the cops would have then swarmed over him, and he had a war to fight.
Sometime later, at the Turnpike motel in Weehawken, Charly told Doogie and Eddy that he had been hiding in New Jersey since the ambush that killed his brother Harry a decade earlier until he returned to NYC six weeks ago. Explaining that Margaret knew he was not dead but not where he was, Charly did not tell them about their ragging affair. Revealing his discovery that Lanyon and Arcko were partners, Charly told Doogie and Eddy that they wanted them all dead since they figured that the Donovans were the only ones who could stop them. Determined to turn their fear into reality, Charly told Doogie to contact Mitch and tell him to meet him at Teacher’s bar that night then he went to talk with Margaret.
Finding Margaret sitting by the pool playing air piano, a delusion brought on by the drugs, Charly told her about his hallucination, in which he sees himself running away from her while they are yelling at each other and how he did not knew what they are saying. Repeating the only words from his hallucination that he could make out – Maggie telling him something like “do it, Charly, it is what you are good at” –, Charly asked Maggie if anything like that happened, but she just said that back then she fell hard for him and learned to cheat on Harry, then kissed him. Pushing Maggie away, Charly told her to forget he said anything, while, behind them, Eddy looked at them through the window of the room.
That night at Teacher’s bar, Charly stared at a shot of whiskey like when he did when the urge to drink overwhelmed him. Aware that to avoid booze he had to meet it head on, Charly let temptation overwhelm him and fought it off. When Mitch arrived, Charly told him that Lanyon and Arcko had teamed up and asked him what happened between him and Arcko. Explaining that after Harry died he did not choose to lead, Mitch told Charly that he let Arcko run things, but made it known when he did not like it, which stopped him from gaining a great deal of money and power, then, when Eddy grew into a leader and he came back, he thought they were stealing his kingdom. Tired of hiding, Charly told Mitch to arrange a meeting between Arcko and Lanyon so they could take them out. Certain that Arcko and Lanyon would be willing to meet to try to take out the Donovans, Mitch told Charly that the next day Edward and them would have a council of war and left.
Later that night, Charly walked to the Brooklyn Bridge, the place it all went to hell in 85, and mused how somewhere on that bridge the phony gang war between Lanyon and Arcko that has its beginning with Harry’s murder would fold on it self, but he still felt like there was something missing. When Charly got close to where Harry died, his hands started to shake, when then the delirium version of Harry appeared demanding to know who killed him. Reminding Charly that he only existed inside his brain and that if he did not care who killed him he would not be there, Harry guided him through his hallucination and Charly finally heard Maggie asked him to kill Harry and his refusing to do it because he was his brother. Just then, the explosion of a kid’s cherry bomb awoke Charly from his daze and he return to the hotel, certain that he remembered everything.
The next day, Mitch, Eddy, and Charly met in the hotel, and while they went over Mitch’s small arsenal, Eddy said that he needed to know that neither Charly nor Mitch killed his father, and they assured him that they were not responsible. Just then, Margaret walked out of the bathroom wearing nothing to cover herself and asked Charly if he was taking Eddy away because he hated her. After asking the others to leave, Charly told Margaret that he remembered everything. Unsure of what he could say, Charly knew that knowing the truth was not going to make a bit of difference, and though Margaret was confused and believed that it was still 1985, he saw a distant memory flicker in her eye and then go out. Leaving Margaret on the floor in tears, fearing that he was not coming back and leaving her with Harry, Charly joined the others, certain that Maggie had stepped over the edge and would never come back.
That night, while the city celebrated the Fourth of July, which gave the Donovans the perfect cover for a war as half the population and all the cops would be by the East river, Charly called their meeting in the West Side warehouse district. Theoretically, Charly mused, it was Arcko and Lanyon meeting him and Mitch, but he knew they would bring an army and expect them to do likewise, except that they did not have one.
Coming up from behind Charly with a gun in hand, Arcko asked him where Mitch was, so Charly, aware that they would not start in until they were both in their sights, told him that he would be along directly and asked him where Lanyon was. In response to the query, Lanyon stepped out from the other side of the warehouse holding a weapon. Thinking over how what happened to Suzi Lanyon’s doing and that he wanted to see him bleed, Charly lit his cigarette to signal Eddy, who fired a flare gun that lit up the sky and illuminated Arcko and Lanyon’s 15 men crew that was hiding in the darkness long enough for Mitch to shoot them from on high.
Shortly, Charly followed suit and opened fire on Lanyon, Arcko, and his men to herd them into an alleyway. Blinded by the flare, the thugs failed to see Doogie come down the road in a Hertz special until they saw him bail out of it before the car ran them over and exploded.
Taking cover behind the corner into the alley, Mitch sang an Irish song while he and Charly opened fire on the thugs, then they strolled into the alley looking for Arcko and Lanyon. Watching from the roof, Eddy yelled at his uncles that he saw Lanyon and Arcko, when then one of them shot him and he dove for cover. Diving for cover as well, Charly told Mitch to split up so they could take them, so Mitch followed Arcko down the alleys, backlit by the East side fireworks. Finding Doogie cowering behind the trashcans, Mitch failed to see Arcko, who shot him right through the chest. Meanwhile, Charly spotted Lanyon climbing a fire escape and shot him in the leg to keep him from escaping then he stood over him and kicked him in the face.
While Mitch kicked Arcko in the groin and grabbed him by the neck, Eddy overheard as Lanyon confessed to Charly that Margaret hired him to kill Harry. Simultaneously, as Mitch snapped Arcko’s neck, Eddy shot Lanyon in the eye and then convinced Charly that everything Lanyon said about his mother was a lie. After tossing Doogie over his shoulder, Charly, who was thankful that Harry’s ghost would never bother him again, lead the others back into the city amid the glow and thunder of the fireworks in the sky.
A month later at Teacher’s bar, Charly, who still wrestled with the urge to drink, mused over how Margaret went missing and they eventually found her body floating in the water. Every time Charly sat staring down at a double whiskey, he thought of what Maggie said back in 85, what they both tried to forget with whiskey and drugs. Recalling Maggie’s damning him for refusing to kill Harry, Charly finally remembered her threat to hire someone using Harry’s own money to kill him, as memory that had driven Margaret into final madness and off the bridge. Figuring that Margaret must have hated how Eddy looked at her, Charly thought that her death might have been for the best. Just then, Suzi walked into the bar with her arm on a sling and Charly left with her, leaving a full shot of whiskey on the bar behind him.