- Sep 30, 2006
Hell's Kitchen- June 11, 1931
William Killian, "Billy" to his closest friends, entered the kitchen of his modest home to the smells of freshly brewed coffee and frying bacon. He crossed to where his wife, Patricia, was getting ready to crack eggs over a skillet and kissed her on the cheek before pouring himself a cup of coffee and taking a seat at the kitchen table. His wife had already set the morning paper on the table, and he picked it up and unfolded it to the front page. As he read the lead story, he sipped at his coffee and said, "The coffee tastes great today, Patty."
Without turning from the stove she replied, "Thanks. Anything interesting in the paper today?"
William took a long pull from his coffee mug before setting it down and answering, "Trouble down in Texas. Could be that another war is shaping up down there. Can you believe that?"
"Just terrible.", she muttered. "How do you want your eggs?"
"How do I always want my eggs?"
Patricia set about cooking and William got back to his paper. He had just finished reading the main article, war would come any day now if you believed what the reporter was saying, when his wife set a plate covered with two eggs over easy and a pile of bacon down in front of him. He popped some of the bacon into his mouth while he waited for Patricia to bring him some toast so that he could get to his favorite part- dunking the toast into the egg yolks. While he set about the task of simultaneously eating, drinking his coffee and reading the paper, Patricia returned to the stove and had soon set down two more plates, though these held scrambled eggs and not quite as much bacon as her husband's.
She disappeared for a moment and William heard her calling their two children to the table. The sound of running feet could immediately be heard and William smiled as his daughter, Anne, and son, Patrick, came barreling into the kitchen and took their seats at the table. Once her children had started eating, Patricia poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down across from her husband at the table. Only after she was sure that her family had eaten their fill would she fix a plate for herself.
The quiet family breakfast was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. Patricia started to rise from her seat, but William tossed his paper down and motioned for her to stay seated. "It's for me. I've got to go out for awhile, but I should be home for dinner."
William stood and picked up his sport coat from where it hung on the back of his chair. As he was pulling it on he heard his son ask,"Are we still going to the Yankee game tomorrow, Dad?"
William smiled and answered, "I promised didn't I?"
"Where are we sitting?"
"Where do you think? Front row behind the home dugout, just like always."
Patrick beamed a smile at him and went back to his breakfast. William rounded the table and kissed his wife on the cheek before walking out of the kitchen and toward the front door. He opened it to find two men in suits not quite as fine as his own waiting for him on his front step. The larger of the two nodded to him respectfully and said, "The car's out front."
William grabbed his favorite fedora from the rack by the door and stepped outside. As he moved down the walkway, one of the men walked several steps in front, his head constantly turning to the left and right. The other stayed behind William, but was surveying the area in much the same manner. When they reached the car, a heavily customized black Cadillac V16, the lead man opened the door and William climbed into the back seat. His companions climbed in after him and, after they were settled in, the driver turned and asked over his shoulder, "Where to?"
"The Morgue, for starters.", answered William. As the car pulled away from the curb, he looked through the window as watched as the neighborhood slowly came to life. He looked on as men and women emerged from their homes and began trudging off for another day of work and smiled. They were his people, and this was his neighborhood. And he was going to make damned sure that it stayed that way.