Judge Santiago Burdon

Kill Them With Kindness 

“Ah good it’s you. Come on in Carmine. I’m glad you’re here. There’s a situation I need to discuss with you. Sit down.” 

“What’s up Capo?” 

“You know Thomas McKenna, the President of First National Bank?”

“Yes sir, the fellow who was arrested by the FBI last week.” 

“That’s right, he’s out on bail. He might decide to make a deal with the Prosecutor and spill his guts. That could be an unfortunate turn of events for us.”

“I understand. Do you want me to make the problem go away?”

“Yes, he’s become a liability. It’s time we dissolve our business relationship.”

“Okay Boss. Who do you have in mind to do the job? Want me to call the guy from Detroit? He’s a no muss no fuss cleaner. Or maybe that cold-hearted broad from Los Angeles, she’s always stealth.”

“No, it has’ta look natural, like a heart attack or somethin’, so if there’s an autopsy they’ll find it was due to natural causes.”

“I know who can do the job, but he’s expensive. You know who I’m thinking about?”

“You’re thinking Petruchio? Petruchio ‘The Gentleman’?”

“Ya. He’s perfect for this job. no guns, no knives, no staged accident, no Jewish Lightning, no blood and guts bullshit. He ‘kills them with kindness’.”

“Exactly, that way there won’t be any investigation or questions.”

“And no suspects.”

“See if you can get a hold of him. Listen to me, don’t get into a conversation with him. Make it short and unfriendly. No small talk. You got it?”

“Okay got it boss.”

“Just thinking about that guy scares the hell out of me. I’ve never met him in person but I talked to him on the phone once, couple of years ago. You gotta be careful. If he starts making all kinds of compliments, you can’t be sure, there might be a contract out on you. And he could be ‘Killing you with kindness’.”

“I’ve been told his method is surefire and he never raises any suspicions.”

“That’s right. Listen, if he mentions how nice your house is, then starts in on how good you look. Or mentions that you look thinner like you’ve lost weight and asks if you’ve been workin’ out cause you look buff and bullshit like that, you’re a goner. Like I said, he ‘kills you with kindness’.”

“Now that you mention it, you do look good for your age Vicente.”

“Okay, enough. And don’t discuss this with anyone else. We can’t have this getting out. I know I can count on you. It’s the reason why I’ve given you the responsibility to take care of this. You’ve been a loyal and trustworthy member of the family Carmine. I’m very proud of the man you’ve become.”

“Thanks Capo. I’ve never told you this but you’ve been like a father to me. I want you to know there’s no one else in the entire world I respect more than you.”

“Okay, don’t you start. It ain’t gonna do any good. You know when I retire next month. I’m turning control of the family over to Arturo. My son will be the next Godfather.” 

“Of course Capo, an excellent choice. No one can ever question your decisions. You’re a wise and ingenious man. You’re made in the image of the great King Solomon. A more honorable and fair-minded man than you doesn’t exist.”

“Thanks for your compliments. No need to voice your appreciation.”

“It’s just important for you to know. I am and will forever be indebted to you for your kindness. You took me in when I had no one. I was alone after my parents were murdered. You took me in and gave me a home, welcomed me into your family. You treated me like I was your son. You have a heart of gold. I will never be able to repay you for your benevolence and unselfishly sharing your home.” 

“Carmine, please stop. Enough with the compliments. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were tryin to ‘kill me with kindness’.”

“I’m sorry Capo. I felt it was time to express my gratitude and declare my admiration for someone who exemplifies generosity. A man deserving of respect and to be regarded with esteem. You are a God among men. So much bigger than life size. A living legacy.”

“Carmine, something’s wrong, I’m not feeling so good right now…”

“What’s wrong Capo? Are you okay? It’s nothing you can’t overcome. You’re stronger than anything in the universe. A Superman. There’s nothing that can harm you. Even God is jealous, in awe of your magnificence.”

“I’m having chest pains. I think maybe you should call me an ambulance.”

“Are you sure?” 

“Yes! I’m not fucking around!”

“Right away il mío Re (My King). There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for such a great man. I am such a better person for having known you.”

“Carmine, what are you doing? I think I might be having a heart attack. With every compliment I feel chest pains. You’re literally ‘killing me with kindness’.”

“Whatever do you mean?” 

 “My heart, please, my heart. Did someone put a contract out on me? You’re Petruchio, aren’t you?”

“Once again you demonstrate your vast knowledge and extreme astute intelligence. Let me introduce myself. I’m Carmine Petruchio Martinelli, son to his father Giorgio Armani Martinelli and his mother Franchesca Rose Pedone Martinelli, brother to Marco and Elena Martinelli. All murdered in their home in their sleep. My uncle Martini told who the killers were before he too was killed. I took care of Tomaso and Riccardo, your accomplices a few years ago. You remember when they died unexpectedly and within a week of one another. Neither of them begged for their lives, they enjoyed the kindness I bestowed upon them right up until their deaths.” 

“I’ll give you anything you want. Please, I can’t take much more.”

“What I want, my dear man of distinction, is for you to bestow upon me your dying wish. You are the man who showed me that patience is a virtue. My teacher who taught me to reciprocate to those that you have wronged. Although you are the supreme master of vendetta è dolce (sweet revenge).” 

“Arturo, Arturo help come quick! Salvatore, someone! Somebody call an ambulance! Arturo!”

“Don’t strain that lovely operatic tenor voice of yours. Arturo has met with an untimely fate. He had a brain aneurysm this morning after being showered with praise and congratulations concerning his fortunate appointment as Godfather of the Cappelli family. Like the others, he fell victim to being ‘killed with kindness’. Everyone is at the hospital right now paying their respects. I was supposed to inform you but it simply slipped my mind. But being the gracious kind-hearted man you are, I’m certain you will exercise your merciful forgiveness for my faux pas.” 

“Why? Why did you kill my son? You two were like brothers. How could you be so heartless? He was my only son. Please, stop. Show me some mercy, you at least owe me that.”

“Ya, brothers like Cain and Abel I think. Owe you? In all these years you’ve never asked for reimbursement for your generosity and unselfish acts of benevolence.”

“After all I’ve done for you. I even made you a Captain in the family.”

“Once again you showed your incredible managerial skills, rewarding those that have shown loyalty.”

“Tell me why?”

“You think I didn’t know who was responsible for killing my parents? Who murdered my brother and sister? If I had been there at the time, I would have been a victim as well.”

“Please reconsider what you’re doing.”

“Reconsider? I don’t think so. I’ve dreamed about this day for years. Since I first came here at six years old I’ve had to live with the man who made me an orphan.”

“Carmine it was business. The order came down from the bosses in Chicago. There was nothing I could do. I’m going to pass out. Call an ambulance for Christ’s sake. I’m sorry. So sorry.”

“It’s too late for an ambulance. I have no doubt you are an emphatic and compassionate man. You’re definitely experiencing an incredible amount of remorse. Being the religious and God fearing man you are, you’ve asked God in prayer for forgiveness, yet still burdened with guilt. I know that you, more than anyone, will understand that those emotions are just not enough.”

“I’m dying, Carmine, you son of a bitch…”

“Just like you, showing such courage until the end. I’ve always admired your strength. You inspired in me the courage to seek my revenge. You encouraged me to be a man of my word. Now, for the final nail in your coffin. Your death will be double edged. Although I’m pleased by avenging my family’s murders, I will miss your presence, your fondness, your sensitivity and your guidance. Even though you are responsible for the death of my family, I am truly saddened by your own death. I am saddened because I love you. Capo? Capo, did you hear me?”

‘Killed with kindness’

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