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"write this number down and phone me at seven tonight at sal's place, got it?"
johnny had been expecting the worst but this was worse than the worst. with trembling fingers he wrote the number down on the inside of a matchbook. the number was deptford 5 4876. the matchbook was for zeto's place on the west side. it was bright red with ZETO in big gold script.
"you got it?"
"sure alberto i got it."
now the end would begin/the night was burning with death johnny looked at the matchbook again the number for ZETO's was endwall 7 9423. he dialed it. a couple of chorus girls, or maybe they were hookers or homicide detectives or trained deadly assassins, passed by as he was talking. they looked at him and whispered and giggled to each other.
"zeto's" johnny recognized kobo's voice.
"hi, is mr zeto there, this is johnny"
"he's not here right now"
"tell him it's important, i have a story to tell him" even as he spoke the leaves were falling the gypsy was shuffling the cards/what do you know about the gypsy?
"mr zeto it's johnny remember me? remember the good times we had last year around the campfire when i told you all those stories?"
"well of course i remember you johnny it's great to hear from you again. kobo, hold all my calls while talk to my friend johnny."
" i got some more stories for you mr zeto if you want to hear them"
" i sure do johnny what do you have for me tonight?"
"well how about a story about barman the barbarian? you always liked those before. or a ghost story or a jesse james and sherlock holmes story?"
"let's stick with barman the barbarian - he's my favorite, i tell you what - i'll have kobo send a cab over for you - wait at the corner of 520th and east 319th. the sun was shining over the battlefield like a grinning monkey. the last rivulets of red and green blood were oozing out of the butchered corpses and groaning survivors. there had been no victor. two mighty empires - one millenia old, the other an upstart lasting only a few days/johnny looked at the matchbook