Sunday, May 11, 2008

Split Ends

What defines a man? It's a question I've often asked myself. Is it his mannerisms or ways of talking? Is it the cut of his suit? Is it the knowledge he gains, or the power he exercises? Or is it more--like how he uses that power to act on the information he's given? When you look into the world of men like Frankie, or families like the Pascettis, you tend to want to see things in absolutes. But looking closer you see the smudges, where the black and white become shades of gray.

We may have thought we were one or two steps ahead of Frankie, but as it turned out he was running in completely different directions. Apparently there was information leading back to the restaurant where it all began, only under new management it would seem. And apparently there was a power shift that came earlier than we anticipated. Sadly, we were just a few pieces of evidence and an anonymous phone call short of catching it when it happened.

It was a model set up if ever there was one. Louis had planned out everything so far in advance I'm surprised even he knew what was going on. LaRousse's bomb was originally meant to take out Frankie too, but when out of his anger and our zeal he turned immediately on Anzio, Louis was happy to adjust. Poor Walt just never seemed to figure well into Louis' ambition, but he served enough of a role with his untimely demise to dig the very much alive Frankie into an even deeper hole.

Eventually that piece of evidence surfaced along with a convenient tip leading us to get everything we needed for ol' Big Eyes' relocation. He fit nicely into his jumpsuit, but the cuisine was a far cry from his usual comfort. Inmates like Anzio and Louis can be slippery though, and sometimes they get to check out sooner than they were booked for. And somebody else knew that...

I'd like to see the day where men like Frankie actually do change. A day and time when justice is achieved within the lines of the law, and vengeance takes a back seat.

But that's enough deep thinking for me. It's easier to talk like that while wearing a badge and uniform. Truth is, I'm not Frankie, and he's not me. Justice may sit more easily with most decent people. Here though, decency's got nothin' to do with it. Vengeance can taste so much better.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Respite, Revenge and Reconciliation

Frankie already had all the motivation he needed to go after Anzio. Our proposition to him was just the little extra impetus to put the final motions into place. For a while we were afraid he might forget about the deal and act without thinking; what we didn't count on was Frankie thinking too much.

We don't know what Anzio said to him exactly, but by the time we had arrived to pick up The Boss, Frankie was a no-show, and Anzio wasn't talking. Whatever sidetracked him must have had something to do with unfinished business--perhaps involving the incident at the restaurant. Wherever he is then, and whatever he's doing, he had just better not be so naive as to think he can just disappear. There's still plenty he has to answer for, not the least of which is the sudden and shady murder of Walter Pennington. While it's true that the former mayoral hopeful won't necessarily be missed, a crime is still a crime.

In spite of how things appear to be coming together on the outside, inside there's a lot of shifting going on. And if there's one thing we've learned from Frankie and the Pascetti family, it's that there's always room for the unexpected.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Guns and Roses

The idea behind leverage is being able to move bigger obstacles by lesser means. Large doors move upon the smallest of hinges, and ships are maneuvered by the slightest adjustment of a rudder. For Frankie, all it took was a girl.

When we found Josephina she was quite removed from her past life and had taken to a much more normal one. She'd even traded her cook's apron for a green thumb. Apparently she hadn't been killed as everyone had been led to believe and as Frankie was content to pretending. But he couldn't leave a well enough thing alone. We had traced packages and expenditures coming from Frankie to her new address, many of which were marked "return to sender."

Although having saved her life, Frankie destroyed what love they had shared--a love which now unrequited was replaced by a sense of guilt and a burden of responsibility. She was then, in the deepest sense, lost to him. But not forgotten.

Cornered and with nowhere to go, Frankie made a choice. Even after losing more than most could stand, he found something worth fighting for, even if nothing more than for survival. In the events that would follow, it would become harder to tell which Frankie was the real one, and which one was just pretend.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Frankie and the Fuzz

Ignoring things doesn't make them go away. Sometimes it just makes it worse. It was really no big surprise though that Frankie was less than enthusiastic to cooperate with us... initially.

Surprise didn't find Frankie that easily either. After explaining the means by which the police had been able to collect so much information on him, Frankie quickly narrowed down the possible moles within the family. And he wasn't too naive to consider looking in his own kitchen first. Needless to say, I don't imagine I'll be helping Frankie with preparing sauces any time soon.

In spite of how substantial a catch as he might be, there were bigger fish we were after. We needed his collaboration to bring down the Boss himself. Otherwise we might as well just toss him back--a plucked weed's not really gone unless you get the roots along with it.

He was stubborn. Obstinate. Frustrating. Maybe it was a deeper allegiance for family than for self preservation. Or maybe it was just plain apathy. But every fortress has a weak point...

... and there are times when the things you think you can ignore have a way of resurfacing.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Smoke Signals

I don't believe there was a single person within five miles of the downtown French quarter who didn't hear the explosion, unless of course said persons were within the restaurant at the time of the detonation. Casualties haven't been counted yet, but preliminary reports estimate that relatively few would have been present that night. As a small consolation, surviving friends and families can at least rest knowing that their departed ones had a meal on the house.

The low number of occupants would suggest that this was an attack planned for a specific group of individuals. A bomb seems excessive, even for a man as big as Beaumont was, especially considering Frankie's typical MO. He may have been a little on edge as of late, but I've never seen him as suicidal. There's got to be some pieces to the bigger picture here that we're missing...

It wasn't exactly difficult to find him. He was a mess when the authorities pulled into the back alleys of the former bistro; scuffed up and slightly crispy around the edges, Frankie was in no position to resist detainment, which was good news for us. We caught a lucky break picking him up when we did, because knowing Frankie and the rest of the events that transpired that evening, this might have been just the beginning spark to a much larger bonfire.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just Desserts

Whether your glass is half full or half empty, there's a universal truth that everyone needs to accept, and that is that some people honestly deserve what's coming to 'em. The difficult part then comes in deciding, or rather realizing just who these people are. They might be your neighbor. They might be your boss. Or they might even be a pompous moneybag with a pathetic French accent. Mr. Beaumont fits well into that last category.

The little that's known about him is more than enough, and we've been tracing him along with other political friendlies in the ongoing mayoral race. The fact that Frankie was given a hit on him would lead to the conclusion that he's financing Walter Pennington's competition; but the specific directions our hit man received concerning Beaumont make this individual case a bit suspicious.

This assignment was apparently supposed to be different than Frankie's "usuals" in that Beaumont's surprise was to be in dessert form--a crème brûlée to be precise. I imagine that although the food in question was a change, Frankie likely employed the same ingredients that normally accomplish the job. Less mess.

Either way, I still feel strongly that we need to act fast. Should an opportunity present itself, we take it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thickening the Sauce

You can really tell a lot about a man by the contents of his cupboard. Frankie's reveals his ability to take a wide variety of ingredients and combine them into either a delectable dish or a deadly meal. Frequently the two are the same in every way, unless of course you consider the unfortunate after effects of the second...

One could only imagine the disastrous consequences should our cuisinier "accidentally" stray from a specific recipe. The safest bet would be to stay in his good graces; but if ignorance is preferred, just stay out of the kitchen.

In all actuality however, the Pascetti family is normally content to leave Frankie to himself with little to none in the way of nit-picking and scrutinizing. A happy cook is a happy customer, and the same could be said between a kingpin and his enforcer.

It's not always such a smooth exchange though. Anzio telling Frankie how to do his job is like sending a plate back to the chef. Granted, sometimes it is necessary, and the Boss has seemed very particular about the order of events these last few days.

With the temperature rising as of late, only time will tell how this will all play out. But I have a hunch that the time for our involvement may be approaching sooner than we thought...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Pascetti Candidate

The flashing neon sign reading "our business is with people" outside the Pascetti family restaurant refers to more than just food service. That is, after all, just one of the many courtesies they're pleased to provide.

Despite how fruitful the food industry can be, Anzio chooses to dabble in more advantageous pursuits. Walter Pennington, paltry politician and a self-described man of taste, is a frequent customer of Anzio's. His is an appetite more for popularity and prominence however, and less for fine bruschetta and canolis--a given, seeing as how his palette is as refined as sandpaper. As such, he has turned to his Pascetti consultants during his campaign for mayor.

My efforts in surveillance have yet to expose the exact arrangements the two parties have together. Needless to say, Frankie is unquestionably involved, whether he fully realizes it or not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Messy Little Dish Called Love

Frankie "The Hair" Pascetti is sensitive about two things, and two things alone. And like with a cat, you had better be prepared when you rub him the wrong way...

While it's true that sugar substitutes leave behind a horribly offensive taste in the mouth--which is what makes them such easy culprits to detect in cooking--there are some things that are far more bitter when gone and last much, much longer. Like love.

Her name was Josephina De Luce. They met during a culinary convention a few years back, and soon found themselves sharing more than just their love of baked goods. But like an overly delicate soufflé, their bond would crumble under the desperate and dangerous conditions of Frankie's other life. His dreams of leaving the family business behind to open up a confectionery shop with his sweet Josephina were crushed when Anzio issued him an "order" against the rival De Luce family.

Some wonder if such a person in love could ever bring themselves to pull the trigger. But perhaps it was a different kind of love--love for family--that caused him to finish the job. Only Frankie knows, and probably all too well.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Strand of Hair -- A Look at the Life of Frankie

Every organization has to have an order to it. The task of the person in charge then is to keep anyone else from within the organization challenging the rules. In the Pascetti family, order exists with each player knowing his or her role. Business is often very personal, and to maintain control, Anzio is careful to make sure that only one person knows everything--himself.

Even for someone as integral to the system as Frankie, information comes in crumbs, not mouthfuls. The "who's" and the "what's" of the business are rarely divulged; his part is not to ask questions, just carry out orders--a task which he does quite well, in both the culinary and the criminal sense.

Following a delicious meal, the "Boss" has been known to assign jobs instead of providing tips. Directions can come just like that. Sometimes Frankie finds it hard to know when he's in one world or the other...

But maybe the two aren't so mutually exclusive. Death doesn't normally appear on the menu but still manages to be dished out from time to time. As Mr. Calvino is about to discover, there are far worse things than heartburn or indigestion after dinner. One man's loss is just another man's success.

However, success doesn't always translate into appreciation. And for Frankie, that can be a tough meatball to swallow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Lineup: Faces of the Pascetti Family

In addition to the aforementioned Frankie "The Hair" Pascetti, three other key figures play into our investigation. People like these aren't likely to pose for pictures, and so I had to sneak shots whenever the opportunities presented themselves.

The first photo shows the head of the family, Anzio Pascetti, though he's most commonly addressed as "Boss." Using his "Authentic Italian Family Restaurant" as a front for his business practices, Anzio has his fingers in every pot and cookie jar in town--and no, they're not clean... He runs a tight crew, with members either following out of respect or fear, or possibly both. His relationship with his nephew Frankie seems slim.

Next we have Louis "Big Eyes" McFeeney. As his last name reveals, Louis doesn't come from the same family dish. He married Anzio's favorite sister and has since worked his way into favor with the "Boss." As the unofficial second-in-command, Louis handles most of the actual dirty work; because most of his assignments come through Louis, Frankie has developed a bond with the transplanted Irishman. The nickname "Big Eyes" is rumored to have come from an early disagreement with Anzio involving a baseball bat from which he never quite fully recovered. It's best not to stare.

Last, and in many ways least is Walter Pennington. Not to be wholly considered part of the group, Pennington's business is politics. Anzio and Walt have some sort of arrangement together, the specifics of which are yet unknown. He has a personality rivaling that of an amoeba, and a head of hair I strongly suspect is just as much a lie as anything else that comes out of his mouth.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

File Description for Frankie "The Hair" Pascetti

Note from Agent 86:

As part of an ongoing investigation, I have been gathering top-secret information involving the infamous Pascetti family. Recently labeled as being one of the most mildly dangerous and corrupt mafia rings within the Tri-City area, the Pascetti's have a particular family member of interest--Frankie.

As the nephew to Boss Anzio Pascetti's second cousin, Frankie fronts as the family chef; in reality however, his skill with a gun is more deadly than his "secret sauce." Frequently employed to carry out the family's less-than-savory orders, Frankie gained his nickname "The Hair" by means of his calling card--many an unsuspecting victim has wound up face down in meatball marinara, with the only clue of their assassin being a single strand of hair discovered in their proverbial last meal.

For now my cover remains intact... Details surrounding the family and their multi-talented cook will be provided on a regular basis. Wish me luck.