Frankie Barber has watched his livelihood slowly drain away. His only client now is the gangster Johnny Fingers and his crew. Heartsick over Johnny's girlfriend, Gia, Frankie waits for the opportunity to free himself from the mob's clutches, get the girl and start earning money again. An innocent conversation and a ferry ride set the stage for murder and Frankie's liberation, but things don't always work out as planned...
Kirsten gives an overview of the book:
Queens, New York, 1963
“You are upset now, Miss Gia. Come, the boat is here, we can look at the water. Don’t you want to see the water?” Frankie steered Gia towards the ferry, his hand firm on hers, hooked over his arm.
Gia shrugged, “It’s not like I got anything better to do. Get me some cigs, will ya Frankie?”
Frankie nodded, leading Gia down the creaking walkway onto the boat. The putrid smell of algae, rotting kelp and waterlogged garbage rose in waves from the dank water. Gia covered her nose and moaned. Frankie left Gia sitting on the open upper deck and went below to purchase tickets and cigarettes from the concessionaire. He bought a bar of milk chocolate, a packet of saltines and two cups of coffee as thick and dark as molasses. His hands trembled against the paper cups, the ferry lurched and coffee splashed over his fingers, burning his skin. Frankie stumbled up the steps, his stomach tightening in his belly. He had Sully’s car, Miss Gia, Johnny’s baby.
Time slowed, pulsing in his ears, the stairwell closed in around him and beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. All the disparate elements of his life were coalescing, circling each other faster and faster, revolving magnetized around an answering abyss. All the arrows pointed in the same direction, down a grim mortuary avenue stained with blood and clotted with waving black locks of hair. Black and white tiles splashed with blood, Johnny’s mouth gaping, slack as a dead fish. The stairwell widened, fresh salt air sang down the passage and Frankie inhaled deeply, remembering himself.
I used to cut hair at a discount chop shop just north of the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Slogging homeward past the drag queen bars, covered in other people's hair and completely disgusted by it, I vowed to write a story about the sorry life of a shearer. All I had was the title, which I stashed in a mental pocket until the story solidified several years later during a creative writing class. Alas, poor Frankie, ya tried, ya tried.
KIRSTEN IMANI KASAI writes dark fantasy, sci-fi, horror and erotica. Kasai’s exploration of duality is influenced by her diverse, multi-ethnic background. Currently, she is an editor, writing coach, speaker, and discussion panelist and moderator....
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