(Hello, and welcome to a crime novel, freshly blogged bit by bit.  If you’re new, please click over to the Archives section on the left, for the July 16th post, where the story begins with:  They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1).  If you’re already reading along, thank you and the next installment awaits below.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxiii)
     TONY MARCUZZI TOOK THE SUBWAY Q- LINE up to 57th Street and 7th Avenue, then walked a block south to the Talmage Hotel. He had left the transmission job unfinished earlier that afternoon, following a go- round with the boss. Tony promised emphatically he’d have the job done by pickup time the next day. He said he had a personal emergency that needed immediate attention.
     A fire in my pants, he thought, hustling from Dominic’s Auto Repair on Canal Street near Baxter, shortcutting northeast to his apartment on Hester Street in what was left of Little Italy. He wanted the extra time it would take to ‘clean up’, as Vicky put it. He figured a minimum of half an hour to get the black grease out of his fingernails and cuticles.
     Tony enjoyed working on cars from the age of eleven, when his Old Man pronounced him ‘Pop’s Assistant’ for weekend maintenance on the Buick Le Sabre. At sixteen he got a part- time job at Dominic’s after school and Saturdays, putting in as many hours as Dominic Brusio could afford and his father would allow. Tony pestered his boss about learning every aspect of mechanics. Dominic enjoyed the kid’s enthusiasm, plus he was a little sponge. If Tony saw something done twice, he could perform the task. The more intricate the job, the faster his fingers manipulated, as if they had minds of their own. He could run diagnostics, strip engines and rebuild them. Dominic called him the ‘shop engineer’.
     The only break in his work routine was football season. Tony sprouted early, almost six- foot tall as a freshman in high school. The varsity Coach eyed him during a gym class; he saw a string bean on the basketball court, but envisioned a Tight End for the next three seasons. By the end of the class, the Coach had sold Tony on the glories of the gridiron, and within a week the youngster was introduced to the weight room.
     School days now began two hours earlier, pumping iron before classes. The Coach and a couple of team members taught and encouraged. Tony felt comradeship, which fueled his desire to please and be part of the group.
     After a month, he could feel strength mounting. He noticed less room in the sleeves of his shirt along with gaps in-between the buttons on the front due to the strain from his expanding chest and lattisimus dorsi, or ‘latts’, to anyone in the know; those muscles running down each side of his back, from the shoulder blades along the torso. These produced the “V” silhouette of his upper body, the wide wings steamlined into his thin hips.
     Not long after, while heading for the showers, he caught his naked image in a full- length mirror at the end of a row of lockers. His reflected twin no longer had the body Tony beheld in his mind’s eye. Naturally low in body fat, every pound gained was muscle, and the various groups were beginning to show definition. Bulging cables were growing throughout his arms and legs.
     Over the course of the school year Tony’s participation in the program escalated from enthusiastic, to fanatic, and finally addictive. The assistant coaches volunteered to keep the gym open for students when school year ended for summer recess. There would be no break in Tony’s training. He kept a regimented schedule of early workouts followed by his job at Dominic’s.
     The heat of August and football tryouts greeted Tony with open arms. The Head Coach was running the initial calisthenics with the entire group, newcomers and returning upper- classmen alike. They were spread across the practice field in ten columns and seven rows, one behind the next. Each player occupied a space with a five- yard radius, leaving plenty of room for the grass drills now in progress.
     The Head Coach barked out each exercise and weaved his way through the grid of players in no particular pattern. He asked the names from unfamiliar faces. He offered instruction to those performing a drill incorrectly. Occasionally, he made comments to the group regarding the upcoming season. Between these, he systematically blew his whistle to start and stop each activity under the broiling sun.
     He had reached the second to last row and turned around to watch the assembly from behind, took a few steps backward, scanned the athletes running in place.
     “Get those knees high, ladies,” came the orders like a drill sergeant. The Head Coach ran a disciplined program and fed off the authority he commanded; he viewed himself Vince Lombardi reincarnate.
     A long screeching trill came from his whistle and echoed off nearby school buildings as the dust clouds settled from the pounding of cleated feet, now standing at attention. The Head Coach swung around and halted mid- step. The whistle dropped from his mouth and rattled at the end of its lanyard. The whistle’s final echo dissipated, leaving an uncomfortable silence. The boys began to look around at each other, expecting another order but not daring to speak up.
     “Holy Mother,” the Head Coach whispered, startled by the sight. He closed his eyes tightly, wiped his face on a sleeve and looked again.
     Not yet a year had passed since that day in the gym, when he approached a gangling saucer- eyed kid with a proposition. Now that same youth stood before him in shorts and a tank- top, glistened in sweat; two inches taller, thirty- five pounds heavier. And Ripped!
     “Coach?!” one of the assistants yelled, to break the trance.
     “Twice around the field,” the Head Coach ordered and the players all took off on a jog, and became a thundering herd circling the coaching staff.
     “A kid like that blocking up front?” he said to an assistant, as he pointed toward Tony.
     “Definitely some potential there,” the assistant agreed, then added, “and if he can catch?” The assistant opened his eyes wide and gave a long whistle.

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