Just By Chance – Chapter 1

Vincent Molini pushed open the glass doors of the Catch-22 and entered the popular Boca Raton nightspot. It was halfway through happy hour and the place was packed. The shiver that flashed down his spine told him he was taking a risk…a big risk. But, it was too late to back out now.

Molini’s eyes swept over the patrons bellied up to the bar. He found the man he was looking for standing at the far end with his back to the wall glancing at the bar’s entrance between sips of single malt scotch. Dominick “Fats” Gallo, all two hundred and eighty pounds of him, was dressed in a white short-sleeved shirt and white slacks. Three chunky gold rings on each hand and a couple of heavy gold chains around his neck completed the wardrobe.

They made eye contact, and Molini headed in Gallo’s direction, holding the briefcase tightly at his side. As he walked through the twenty-to-fifty-something crowd, Molini looked around to see who might have accompanied Gallo. Molini knew that Gallo never traveled alone, particularly when money was involved. He spotted two bodyguards sitting at a table just behind the rotund mobster.

“How you doin?” Molini said, nodding.

“I’m good,” Gallo said, putting his glass down and returning the nod. “You want a drink?”

“Whatever you’re having,” Molini said, putting the briefcase between the brass foot rail and the bar.

Gallo flagged the bartender and ordered a round. He drained his glass and tapped the briefcase with his foot. “That a full boat?”

“Yeah. Five large,” Molini said, “like we agreed.”

“You’re making a good investment.”

“It better be.”

“What the fuck?” Gallo said, annoyed. “You’re gonna double your money in three weeks. That’s better than you do now.”

“We’ll see,” Molini said. “Nobody can know about this.” He stared at Gallo.

“Hey, I know how Frank feels about certain investments,” Gallo said, smiling.

Gallo was referring to Molini’s boss, Frank Famulari, who preferred that his money be invested within his own New York family, and who was adamant that his people stay away from the drug trade.

“I’m not fuckin’ around here,” Molini said. “If Frank finds out about this…”

“Trust me,” Gallo said, slapping Molini on the shoulder. “C’mon, let’s have a drink.”

Molini was nervous, but he had already committed. Gallo was expanding his cocaine operation and was offering to double Molini’s investment in a matter of weeks. But, if Gallo crossed him, Molini would have a hard time explaining how he lost the money.

A’ salut, to our health,” Gallo said, clinking Molini’s glass.

Cent’ anni, may we live to a hundred.”

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