What Matters Most~ Chapter Thirteen

It took all morning to pour over records and receipts but after compiling all the data it was plain as day that Dave the wine guy had been robbing them blind for closer to a year rather than the meer months they thought. Danny seethed, “Almost makes me wish we were still in the business of kicking ass and taking names Tony.”

Tony understood where his cousin was coming from perfectly. Dave had hidden his deception well and would have probably gotten away with it even longer if he hadn’t gotten greedy. But this time Danny and he had built Infierno to last and the Santos name finally stood for something positive. And they liked it that way. It had taken too long to get them to this point and they weren’t going to risk that all for some thief. “I hear you Danny but we agreed just to let our lawyer handle it. It would be easier if Dave would just admit he did it but he still says he’s innocent.” He smiled wryly at his cousin, “Plus the Santos way usually ended up blowing up in our faces.”

Rafael looked up from the list of distributors they were looking through to replace the thieving Dave, “The Santos way? What is that like sleep with the fishes?”

Danny and Tony shared a look before they both bust out laughing. Tony shook his head, “Hardly. The whole sleep with the fishes thing is so typical mobster. We Santos’ we liked to go things with a bit more…style.”

Rafael sat back in the table and crossed his arms across his chest. “Do tell.”

“Well my grandmother had a hit put out on me then tried to turn Tony against me by offering him power. The hit men from the rival family shot me from outside my wife’s family home.” He gestured across the table to his cousin, “They shot Tony too as he played Rambo. I might have laughed but I was too busy bleeding on the linoleum.”

“Saved your ass didn’t it! Well, kind of.” Tony shrugged his shoulders, “I came to warn you though which is the important part of the story. But that Aubela was damn quick for an old lady.”

Danny looked at Rafael and fluttered his eyes, “What can I say? He can’t live without me.” The three men laughed at Danny’s joke before he continued, “But there were a few warehouse explosions, Tony’s first wife was killed by angel statue which was once again engendered by our Grandmother, and my own mother tried to kill me. But nope, no sleep with the fishes. Well she did try to kill Michelle at the docks. Does that count?”

“We liked being colorful.”

Rafael nodded, “I’ll say. Homicidal Grannies, Murderous Mother-in-Laws, Being Santosed seemed to more than your typical gangster fare.”

Danny smiled as lifted his eyebrow in question, “Santosed? Oh I have to tell Michelle that one! She’s going to love it.”

Tony reached across the table and grabbed the stack of papers Rafael had been going over, “That’s nice Primo. You can show her the non-lethal form of being ‘Santosed’ later. Right now we need to find a new wine guy or we’re going to be screwed.”

“I think the last one sounds pretty promising. Black Fox distributing based out of Bay City. Owned and operated by a Carlos Riviera. From the intel I’ve gathered he was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. in the late 90s. Settled in Florida working for small import and export companies before moving west and striking out on his own. In Florida he was one of many, here his company is in high demand among restaurants and bars.”

Tony whistled appreciatively, “Damn. You’ve done your homework.”

“You don’t pay me the big bucks for nothing.”

Tony handed over the paper to Danny who read over the information Rafael gathered and the rough estimate of figures written down, “You’re a numbers guy Rafael. What do these figures tell you? Long term at least?”

“You’d be saving each month there is no doubt. Of course a lot of that is because the company is close enough to be easily accessible and their prices are reasonable.”

“No harm in setting up a meeting. Tony how about you call and set a meeting up for next week. And since the girls are probably still out shopping how about I get us some Little Havana?”

Tony could feel his taste buds begin to salivate already. “Sounds like a plan to me. Rafael you in?”

The older man scoffed, “As if you had to ask.”

***

Bay City

In his newly furnished office Carlos Riviera sat with his legs crossed upon his desk. It was hand-crafted mahogany that practically shouted power and success. Just the image he liked to portray to the world. “I am sure I could make some time to come visit your establishment Mr. Santos. How does Wednesday at one o’clock sound okay?” He smiled while he waited for the other man to check his own calender. Being the large fish in this small pond had its perks, one of them was being in demand. Businesses didn’t call him unless they needed him and he could be choosy. But he wanted the Santos business. Badly. Everything he worked for in the past eleven years depended on this deal.

When Tony Santos came back on the line to confirm Carlos moved his feet to the floor and sat forward. He circled the date on his desk calendar. “Will see you then Mr. Santos. Hope this will be the start of a new business relationship.”

After hanging up the phone Carlos returned to his casual pose from before. “Can’t wait to meet you Tony Santos. Can’t wait to meet you.”

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