The Code

 In Permanence of Wings, Today's Feed

Jimmy would have found this funny.  Jimmy.

These cops are so nervous, walking back and forth with inflated chests, crossing their arms, stopping to look down at me, to get in my face and ask their questions… all sad intimidation tactics.  Was it for Nucky?  Who sent me? What’d they think if they knew it was all for the kid.  Wonder if they’d would even believe it.  No one does anything out of loyalty or concern anymore.  No one does anything for free.

If it had been for Nucky I’d already be out of here.  Do they really not know that? They look more like peacocks than bulls.  They’re clean, though – too nervous to be anything but clean.  The dirty ones are always overly confident. They never realize that, cop or no cop, no one would care if they were found in a ditch somewhere… not even their wives. Wonder if they know their boss is on the payroll.  I almost feel sorry for them… day after day, fighting a losing battle. You wonder what kind of man wants this life… you end up dead if you don’t turn the other way or you wind up dirty if you do.  At least I look at my mangled face every night and know what I am.  I’m no good but it took no time after returning to realize I’ll survive just fine. We’re all going to hell. I still live by a code, though.  There are men that will kill their own brother, offer up their wives to other animals for some small fortune.  There are mothers that will prostitute their children… even their boys.  I’m no good… but there are animals in human suits on this earth and I’m not quite that yet.  I can still remember being born with a soul… the war just took it from me.

Now I don’t think twice about putting a bullet in someone’s head once I’ve decided I’m going to.  I don’t believe in hesitating.  Some men like to pretend they’re still thinking about and assessing whether they should;  others like to torment and get some twisted pleasure out of seeing a man beg for his life.  I don’t require either.  I have no need to tell myself I’m not so bad and I take no pleasure from this sort of perversion. I don’t need to know them – I don’t care to know them.  There`s no remorse, no regret. There`s no feeling like I lost some part of me. That guilt ended a long time ago… war does that to you. The more you kill the less you notice the hole in a forehead, the blood spread out on the floor or sprayed on the walls.  It may as well be paint.  These crooks were hollow long before the bullet made its way through their skulls.  These men… I don’t feel sorry. If you work for Rosetti, Nucky, Rothstein you’re no innocent.

I would have carried it with me for the rest of my life if any real harm had come to the boy.  If there is anything left that’s good in me it exists in little Jimmy.  Jimmy was my only friend and I made him a promise.  Leaving that kid with that sick woman… I didn`t even hesitate.  It may be the only thing that still matters to me, the only time I can still almost see remnants of a man with a whole face and a life, a future. It may have been my last righteous mission. Now he’s safe and hopefully he’ll have more than poor Jimmy every had. Jimmy didn’t stand a chance.

First they take my mask.  The whispers and glances are meant to intimidate but if I’m not scared of the dirty ones, I’m not scared of this.  That’s the advantage of having little regard for your own life.

They can’t hold me for long.  There were no witnesses but Gillian, and that sick broad has bigger problems now that the Feds got her. She won’t suffer enough for what she’s done and I wonder why I didn’t kill her. I don’t think she’s worthy of mercy after what she did to Jimmy… I should have put a bullet in her head.  Maybe I knew Jimmy would let her live, show her leniency.  Either way, she has no credibility.

I wonder if these guys got sick on themselves at the sight of the blood bath. I didn’t think it would be quite that easy but than again those Italians had been drinking and weren’t exactly expecting a one-man assault. They’re all the same.  The Italians and Jews and even the Irish.  Well, a man like Rothstein is a little more sensible, but it’s hard to respect someone who has someone else pull the trigger.  He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty but he’s worse. He gives an order instead of following it through.   They all look down on the blacks but they’re worse; at least Mr. White has a code.  A man needs a code.

Written by: Leni Sosa; Permanence of Wings

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