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Posted by : Robert Child Friday


Chapter 1

LA TUNA FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, ANTHONY, TX, 1984 

In the blistering brown nothingness of far west Texas, the fortified gates of a federal
prison glint in the sun. A motorcade of six luxury rental cars idle a short distance down the
main drive at the curb. Guards with automatic rifles poised survey the scene from 20-foot
towers behind barbed wire. A mechanical latch on the main gate clicks, and the steel mesh
doors begin to separate.
A short, dark-haired man, 55, blue windbreaker, permanent smirk, Nicodemo Scarponi,
glides towards two menacing guards near the front gate with rifles cradled. The guards flank
45-year-old warden, Frank Handy. Handy, in standard issue brown suit, has seen them come
and go but few as colorful as Scarponi. Still, Handy’s stone face and eyes reveal no emotion
as he watches the released prisoner approach.
Scarponi’s grin widens.
“Be seeing ya, boss,” Scarponi says as he finishes a mocking salute.
“We’ll leave the light on for you Nick,” Handy dryly retorts.
Continuing to walk, Scarponi can’t stifle a sarcastic grunt as six young Italian men
wearing high-end designer running suits and coifed hairdos, known in Philadelphia as
“Nicky-dos”, emerge from the dusty motorcade. Scarponi waves to them and picks up his
pace to arrive at the curb. In an unspoken ritualistic pecking order, the men formally kiss
Scarponi on both cheeks, one by one. Scarponi finally steps back, opens his arms and tilts his
head to the side.
“Now, get me the f*** outta here.”
Instantly relaxed, the young mob soldiers pat “Little Nicky” on the back as they jump
in behind the wheels of their rented limos. Nick takes one last hard look at the place he’s
called home for the past three years and remembers his promise. That bastard is gonna pay.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, 2 WEEKS LATER

A click of a latch and a gate door opens to reveal a curvy USAir flight attendant trailed
by Scarponi, eyes glued to her ass. Nick, properly cleaned up in a Brioni suit and long dark
overcoat, leads his posse back home. First behind him is his nephew underboss pretty boy
and cold-blooded killer, 25-year-old Phil Leoni. Sal Vestra, womanizing capo thug with
feathered-back disco-era hair, follows him. Sal’s got used to running the show in Nick’s
absence. The remainder of the entourage is comprised of four other “made” mob soldiers
carrying luggage and garment bags.
Sun-guns flash on the waiting television cameras, flooding the gate area with harsh
yellow-green light. Reporters shout and elbow their way toward Philadelphia’s returning
mafia kingpin.
Scarponi, now rested and tan, waves to the crowd. The shrill voice of attractive blonde
reporter cuts through the din. It’s Cheryl Kennedy from Channel Ten.
“How’s it feel Nick, being back in Philly?”
Scarponi stops, smiles.
“Hey baby, it feels great.”
A bearded, crusading male reporter, loyal NPR listener, sticks a silver microphone
through the crowd of bodies. “Nick, Mark Stein, Channel Six. Can you comment on all the
recent violence downtown? Some are calling it a new mob war.”
The smile leaving Scarponi’s face, he scans the crowd and shouts to no one in
particular.
“Yo, I’ve been on vacation.”
A smattering of laugher erupts as reporters jot down the one-liner and Nick continues.
“I don’t know nothin’ about it.”
Stein prods. “So you’re saying this violence is going to continue, citizens gunned down
in the street in cold blood?”
Scarponi’s eyes narrow on the plaid-shirted reporter, and his voice rises.
“Hey, I said I got nothin’ to do with it. Didn’t you hear me right? Ain’t you got ears?”
In the hanging silence, Scarponi pushes past Stein and the other reporters swinging his
arms to clear a path and ending his news conference with the comment, “No more questions!”
Scarponi’s soldiers fall in behind the don, shoving the reporters back hard.
Stein shouts one last follow-up, needling for a reaction.
“Three years is a long time, Nick. Must have scores to settle?”
Scarponi slows but does not turn as he thinks, Only one.

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