The Toast ~#ttc #shortstory #themagicshop

5

This was going to be a good night for Frank Marcone.   He had invited his two best friends out on to his yacht named  the “VENUS” for a nighttime cruise. They had planned to head  out to a very  familiar spot for them out in the ocean.  A spot that Frank and his friends, Nicholas “Niceguy” Parconi and Angelo Schielzo, had been to once before. Tonight would bring these three men back to this old location to do a little relaxing and to toast champagne to their late comrade,  Ritchie DiNoto.   The four men had all been close associates in various sordid business ventures for many years.  Then one day Ritchie decided he wanted out of all things connected to his friends. Something had spooked him into no longer wanting the life that he was deeply involved with.   He grew tired of waking up every night in a pool of guilty sweat and simply wanted to retire to a safer existence.   Frank misinterpreted that for Ritchie possibly going straight to the feds.  Last year, on this same date in August the three other associates decided to grant Ritchie his wish.  The four of them would go out on this same ship at night to “retire” Ritchie.  All three men actually loved him as a brother, but business was business. The pretense that was given was for them to discuss pending business over beers and lobster’s tails out on the open water.  Halfway through the night and when they arrived at the appropriate spot,  Frank got up from his seat and stepped up behind Richie.  He pulled back Ritchie’s head and sliced his throat open with a twelve-inch serrated deboning knife.  Angelo and Nicholas stepped forward towards a now shocked Ritchie and proceeded to stab him multiple times in the chest and arms. Frank let them have their fun before jamming his knife into the back of Ritchie right between the shoulder blades. He plunged it in deep, fully planning on leaving it there for all eternity.  They then wrapped up the now lifeless body of  their former friend in a plastic tarp,  attached roped cinder blocks to his legs and tossed him over the side of the ship to sink deep into the darkness of  the ocean.

Frank being one for sentimentality decided to celebrate that night from a year ago and his dear friend’s legacy by going out on the event’s one year anniversary. Of course, he had to have the Angelo and Nicholas join him  in this blessed event. The boat now rocked here on the calm waters as the three men stood on the deck laughing and reminiscing about questionable practices.   It was a warm night out there with no other boats around for miles to spoil the intimacy of the event.

“Gentlemen, it’s time to pay our respects.” Frank said out to the open air,  exhaling a puff of smoke from a freshly lit cigar.

“Yea, lets finally toast this son of a bitch!” Angelo belted out loud over a belch reeking of beer.

Frank hands out two glass champagne glasses to both Angelo and Nicholas. He continues to suck on his cigar as he pulls out a bottle of champagne out of a cooler next to his leg.   Angelo and Nicholas stood around the cooler puffing on cigarettes anxiously  awaiting for their taste as Frank uncorked the bottle.  Some seagulls flew overhead cawing their presence to the world out into the silence of the night. Each glass was now filled right to the top of it’s rim.

“Let us raise our glasses, join them together as one for our dearly, departed friend”. Frank says this as he extends his arm up into the air, gesturing to his remaining two friends to join him. The three men stand there, touching each other’s glasses together in joy.

“Heres to Ritchie, our life long buddy!” Frank bellows out cheerfully.

Angelo and Nicholas repeat the chant, louder with more optimism.

“HERES TO RITCHIE!”

A fourth glass of champagne clanks their glasses as it is reached out from the darkness from a shadow.

“Here’s to……me.” A voice quietly spoke from a mouth that sounded wet and soggy.

Frank, Angelo and Nicholas simultaneously dropped their glasses on the ship’s deck. They turned their heads and surprisingly recognized their deceased friend Ritchie. He was once known for deep blue eyes that melted the ladies when he stared at them.  Those eyes were now gone, eaten away and replaced with hollow rotted sockets. Water filled with algae drizzled from the stab wounds inflected on him. His lips had  receded back on his now  rotted face, revealing a mouth of  black teeth.

Frozen from pure fear, Ritchie’s three former associates just stood there.

“Hey Frank” Ritchie croaks as he raises his wrinkled hand to reveal the same twelve-inch knife that was left sticking out of his back a year before.

“Lets finish my toast.  SALUTE!”

Frank Marcone’s scream didn’t last very long after Ritchie pushed the knife all the way through Frank’s neck.

Turns out, it wasnt a good night at all for Frank or for his friends.

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This short was inspired by the Three Things Challenge Prompts: Venus, ocean, frozen

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