That night—I still have nightmares. It happened so quickly, so effortlessly. Walking to our cars in the far parking lot one fall night, we were jumped from behind. Eric hit the pavement quickly with a gash on his head. Blood trickled down his ear and he was dazed. I looked up to see the attackers. One was a large Puerto Rican kid, over six feet tall, who had hit Eric on the head with a piece of pipe. Even in the chilly air, he was wearing only a black muscle t-shirt and jeans. An American flag bandana covered his head and a diamond stud decorated his left ear. A snake tattoo on his right arm completed the picture. His accomplice was an overweight black man of medium height with no distinguishing features. He wore a Yankees cap and a black leather jacket. His pants were riding low, and his boxers showed in the rear. I didn’t know what kind it was, but a gun of some sort was stuck in his waistband.
As they came at me, I just stood there, frozen. I wasn’t terrified like I thought I should be. My breathing was calm and easy, my eyes focused on the six-footer first.
I was angry.
I was sick and tired of the world being this way for me, and for others like me. It had finally become time to fight back. The attacker raised his club, but he was too slow. I kicked him in the knee and heard a loud pop just before he let out an ear-piercing scream and fell hard to the ground.
I grabbed for the club and gave his buddy some unexpected dental work before he could even reach for his piece. He dropped to his knees and then fell face first to the pavement unconscious.
I felt under Tubbo and removed his weapon. I’d never held a gun before. It molded to my hand like it had always belonged there. Suddenly—I felt like I should never be without it again. The feeling was overwhelming and calming at the same time.
Without thinking twice, I stepped behind my unconscious mugger and fired two shots into the back of his head. It was easy, no remorse at all. I couldn’t believe how simple it was. The Puerto Rican kid tried to get up and run on his shattered knee after he saw this, his eyes wild with fear. He didn’t get far. Two shots to the back of his head made it a very short trip.
What had I done?
My name is Jimmy Vincent; I “fix” things. Some people think I’m in the Mafia; I’m not. Some people think I’m a hit man; I’m not. Some people think I’m crazy.
I live in Jersey. I was brought up on a strict diet of sarcasm, bullies, and being a disappointment to my father.
I help people who can’t help themselves. I’ve turned my bullied past into a one-man private army of retribution for the silent majority, too afraid to speak.
A scumbag I helped put away eight years ago has come home to roost and to take me down for revenge. To complicate matters my baby sister, Carmen, unwittingly got involved by marrying (her fifth time) into the problem and not knowing her new husband was a Miami drug lord who she stole ten million dollars from. Oh, and she shot his brother. Double oh, she brought the money, and the gun to me. Did I mention she was blonde?
My dearest childhood friend Marci has been by my side since 7th grade. Until now, we’ve always remained just friends, but one small slip (translated: we hit the sheets) during the chaotic events following Carmen’s return changed the rules. Had I fallen in love with her while I wasn’t looking? If that was the case I’d have to stop almost getting her killed so often.
I have to save my sister, save me and possibly save a new relationship.
What the hell, it’s just another day in Jersey.
Targeted Age Group:: 30 – 65
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Janet Evanovich and her character. Stephanie Plum, were my biggest inspiration. I came up with the title, Jersey Justice, and the main character name, Jimmy Vincent, while driving cross country to our new home in AZ. The rest of the book just feel into place from there. I just wanted to write something exciting with lots of craziness and sarcasm.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
After reading some of the Stephanie Plum series the name “Jimmy Vincent” just came to me. After that, as I was writing, I would use combinations of friends and relatives names whose personalities fit the characters.
“So what are you two doing here anyway?” Mom asked as we entered the restaurant, “And why so early?”
“I had some business in Atlantic City last night, and we just decided to get an early start this morning,” was all I told her. She knew better than to ask about Carmen’s issue in Florida, so we just chatted about her club meetings and volunteer work while we ate. She mentioned she may want to move back up north. An hour later, we were back at the house dropping Mom off.
“Well, it was nice to see you two. Carmen, I expect I’ll be seeing you more often while you’re here,” Mom said as she kissed us both on the cheek.
Sheepishly, Carmen responded, “Yes, Mother, you’ll see me more often.”
Thinking quickly, I chimed in, “She can come stay with you after I, uh, help her out.”
Carmen looked at me with daggers in her eyes. “Good idea, dear. Carmen could use some looking after. You bring her back when you’re done, Jimmy.” Turning to Carmen, “I’ll have your room ready when you get here.” She smiled. Little did I know that it would never end up happening. Carmen swung open the passenger door without saying a word, and then slammed it shut with enough force to make Mom and I jump. “Well, somebody’s not happy!”
“When is she ever really happy?” I asked my mother. She nodded in agreement.
“Safe trip home, Jimmy.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’ll give you a call next week. I want to hear more about you wanting to move,” I said as I planted a kiss on her cheek and got in the Jeep.
“Hey, get that thing washed!” Mom yelled as I backed into the street. I laughed and agreed with a hand wave as we drove away.
Carmen was on my ass before I put my waving hand back on the steering wheel. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? I don’t want to stay with Mom! Just because we’ve gotten closer doesn’t mean I want to move home with Mommy! Jesus, Jimmy, I-…”
My cell phone jingled in my pocket, interrupting Carm’s tantrum. We hadn’t even hit the stop sign at the end of Mom’s street yet. It was 7:32; my guess was it was Marci. Looking at my phone, my suspicion was confirmed by the caller ID.
“Any word, Marci?” I inquired.
“Nothing, Jimmy. She’s still a no show.”
“Damn, I was afraid you’d say that.” Where the hell could she be? “Okay, I’m on my way back now, just getting onto the Parkway. Be there in about ninety minutes. Hang tight.”
As I hung up, my sister’s torrent picked up without missing a beat, “I have no intention of going to stay with Mom. You better fix this, Jimmy,” she bellowed at me with hands waving.
“You told me less than two hours ago that you and Mom were close now,” I said, very frustrated and confused.
“Not close enough to live with her, you moron! You still have no clues to women yet, do ya, Jimmy?”
Well, I certainly knew I had no idea what made women tick, but Carmen Vincent was not like any normal women I even came close to knowing, anyway.
“Where do you get off comparing yourself to other women?” I said, knowing it was probably a bad idea.
As expected, that remark drew more crossfire in my direction. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she screamed so loudly that the old couple in the powder blue Caddie next to us looked up.
As she opened her yap to roar again, a black Escapade pulled along the left side of us with tinted windows. Instead of hearing the predicated continuation of my sister’s wrath, I was puzzled when she screamed and pointed out my window toward the SUV. The puzzle was quickly solved when I observed a person in a black ski mask pointing an AK-47 assault rifle with a banana clip in my general direction. Human nature, in cases like this, usually makes people stomp on the accelerator. For some reason people think going faster is better, and that is what the chaser is expecting. Seems to make sense to me that you want to do what the chaser is not expecting.
I braked hard and fishtailed, causing the old couple in the boat-like Cadillac to swerve onto the grassy median and wedge between two pine trees. That was painful; classic cars are works of art, damn it. Regaining control, I pulled behind the SUV, dialed 911, and memorized the license plate.
“911 Emergency, please state the nature of your emergency,” a deep male voice spoke calmly in my left ear.
I tried to keep my composure while Carmen screamed in my right ear and the SUV swerved back and forth jockeying for position.
Speaking faster than I intended, “I’m just north of Exit 58. A black Escapade pulled up next to us and pointed an AK-47 at me. I’m behind him now, the plate is Jersey, KA… Shit!”
Brake lights glared at me getting larger quickly as the SUV screeched to a dead stop. I dropped the phone. Hurling the wheel to the right, I clipped the back bumper, and we rotated 180 degrees and slid past the shooters. We were now facing each other when the emergency operator yelled from the floor. Reaching for the phone, I spied the SUV lurch forward. Dropping the phone again, I jammed the gearshift into reverse and floored it.
“Carmen, pick up the fucking phone, and get us some help!” I commanded.
“Hello? Hello!” she screamed frantically into the cell phone.
“What is happening, ma’am?” asked a now agitated 911 operator.
“We’re being chased by two guys with a machine gun. That’s what’s fucking happening, you moron!”
“Yes, ma’am. Where are you now?”
Looking over her shoulder for a landmark, “We’re just coming up to Exit 63,” she said with unexpected calmness.
“Okay, good. There’s a State Trooper barracks a half mile off of that exit. Take the exit, and turn left at the stop sign onto County Road 72,” he instructed. “I’ll have troopers on the way.”
Turning to me, she parroted the instructions. The Escapade was gaining. I could only go so fast backwards.
“Hold on,” I told Carmen.
Eyes wide, “Why?” she asked.
I hooked the wheel to the right and jammed on the brake. We circled halfway around, I released the brake, threw it into forward, and put the pedal to the metal. Facing north again and in the left lane, the black SUV was keeping up but was no longer gaining.
Carmen stopped shrieking and excitedly pointed to the right, “Jimmy, the exit!”
There was an Atlantic City Tour bus in the right lane making a straight line to the exit impossible. I couldn’t see around it, and braking to get behind it wasn’t an option. Pressing the accelerator to the floor, I decided to pass the bus. The speed limit was 65 mph, and the bus was exceeding that. Climbing through the 70s, I was able to navigate into the right lane doing just over 80. We had just passed the exit when I jerked the wheel to the right and headed over the grassy island that separated the parkway and exit.
Carmen was unexpectedly quiet this whole time. White faced, she stared straight ahead, not noticing the incline we had started to climb. Bo and Luke Duke ran through my mind as my Jeep was about to become the General Lee. We crested the four-foot high slope at just over 80 miles per hour, sailing inches over the troopers who were dispatched to our rescue. Landing in the middle of the intersection, we hit the ground hard and bounced several times before skidding into an azalea bush in front of the Post Office. Both air bags had deployed and now were deflated in our laps. Several cars had stopped, and a local police cruiser was now on the scene along with the State Troopers we almost catapulted into. A siren screamed in the distance.
Carmen’s hollering assaulted all ears before they even reached the car. “Jimmy! You almost killed us! What the hell do you think you were doing? I have no intention on dying looking like this! How could yo-…”
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