Eddie felt his gut twist when his curiosity overcame him. He poked at the body, making sure the man was dead and nothing was going to grab him. Feeling somewhat relieved and somewhat silly, Eddie used his hand to pivot the face towards him. And when he did, he jumped back and covered his mouth with his hand, trying to somehow keep his stomach from climbing up his throat.
“Who is it?” Anthony called out from the floor. Lillian remained where she was, too scared to say anything.
Eddie felt the sweat on his brow, his mouth growing dry as he slowly removed his hand. “It’s my uncle.”
When Anthony heard the words, he slowly sat up on his elbows, the pain being replaced with cold tension. “That’s not possible,” he thought out loud, but was silenced when Eddie nodded his head.
Standing up as best as he could, Anthony shuffled over to Eddie and the body. When he saw the face, the chubby fat cheeks and the lifeless gray eyes, Anthony’s own pulse started twitching. Although he couldn’t stand straight very well, it didn’t stop Anthony from locking eyes with his friend. “Now we know why the hit man’s after ya. He’s already killed everyone else.”
“A hit man’s after you?” Lillian panted, her voice quivering as she watched Eddie, who couldn’t keep from looking back at his uncle.
“Makes ya just wanna cuddle with him, don’t it?” Anthony interrupted, taking out his silver cigarette case and pulling a cigarette from it. His hands shook as he tried to proceed.
“Are you really going to light one up in here?” Eddie finally spoke, his nerves forcing him to take control of something. He was too irritated and terrified, too overwhelmed to realize what he was demanding, but he had to somehow construct order out of chaos. Besides, he had enjoyed having at least one room in the speakeasy that wasn’t clouded over in some kind of smoke.
However, Eddie wasn’t met with a full-hearted apology, or even a recoiled action. Instead, he was met with an ugly glare. Anthony, with his blue eyes bulging and his lips pressed together in a grim line, could only respond by pointing to his crotch. He had taken one for his friend, and by God he was going to have his cigarette. Eddie took a deep breath, and moved past the issue.
“What do you mean a hit man’s after you?” Lillian shouted, beyond upset and pressing into hysterical.
“It doesn’t really matter at this point,” Eddie mumbled, crossing his arms and trying to take multiple deep breaths. How were they going to keep people from knowing? Where would they hide the bodies?
After finally getting a cigarette out, Anthony held it in the corner of his mouth. While fishing for a light, he said in a muffled tone, “Easy for you to say. We don’t know who else is on this prelude list. How many appetizers are they gonna take out before they hit the main course?”
“There’s no need to start becoming hysterical,” Eddie replied, lowering his eyes at Lillian, who shot him an equally disturbed look.
After Anthony lit his cigarette, he looked at his friend in disbelief. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. My-uncle’s-lying-dead-ten-inches-from-my-face. Apparently, me and Lil are the only ones spooked about all this.”
“Like I’m not?” Eddie broke. “Dead bodies are popping up in my speakeasy and you think I’m not spooked? My name was supposed to be on top of the list!”
“There are more?” Lillian asked breathlessly, feeling faint while the men ignored her.
“Then why aren’t you dead!” Anthony barked, yanking the cigarette from his mouth. “They killed your uncle, Eddie. The boss! Nobody ever gets close to a boss like that. Ever!” Anthony paused just long enough to take a long drag from his cigarette. Blowing the smoke out, he continued as if he’d never stopped. “There’s more to this than we know…”