Rocky watched Travis pull the pliers from his pocket and place them next to the other implements of torture on the table in front of him. Travis picked each tool up and caressed it as if it were a long lost lover. Rocky knew Travis loved his tools more than most men loved their wives. After all, they had never failed him and didn’t talk back.
He also knew that letting the victim watch as he complied the tools he was going to use to break the guy was a turn on for Travis. Rocky knew all this, the head games Travis played and everything, but that didn’t make it any easier now that he was on the receiving end of the act.
He still couldn’t believe he’d gotten himself into this mess. He’d worked for the Torino family for twenty years. In all that time, he’d never made a mistake until last week. And what a mistake it was, he thought as he watched Travis walk closer, rubbing a hammer slowly across his lips.
When Travis reached Rocky’s side, he savagely ripped the duct tape off Rocky’s mouth. Rocky knew it was coming so braced himself for the pain. He refused to give the man anymore satisfaction than he had to.
“I never thought I’d see the day,” Travis said while he traced the hammerhead along Rocky’s thigh.
Rocky knew when Travis reached his knee he was in trouble. Travis always started with the knees. He believed it made a person more open to talking when he broke a bigger bone, especially one such as the kneecap. He didn’t believe in starting with fingers. Rocky guessed he had enough experience in torture to know what worked and what didn’t. He always got the results Tony Torino wanted.
Rocky was tired of waiting. He knew what was coming. He also knew he would probably break in the end. He’d never seen anyone withstand the things Travis did to him or her. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try. There was too much at stake if he talked.
He thought his one hope was in provoking the man, which wasn’t an easy feat. The only thing Rocky had going for him was that he knew Travis, which meant he knew the man’s weaknesses. He only hoped he could make Travis mad enough.
Rocky didn’t plan to leave the building alive.
And if he could die before revealing anything, he would die a happy man. He didn’t want the Torino’s coming down on his friends and the only way to keep that from happening was if he never revealed who those friends were, especially the ones that were on the force.
Rocky wondered who would come to his funeral. He hoped to hell that his friends were smart enough to stay away so nobody started looking too closely at them. He knew the information he’d passed to them over the years had been invaluable, but it wasn’t worth their lives. If he had the chance, he’d tell them so, but that wasn’t going to happen. They were smart people. He would just have to hope smart enough.
Travis was still playing around with the hammer on Rocky’s leg, dragging out the suspense.
Rocky looked Travis in the eye and spat in his face. He knew the man had a fear of germs. That’s why he wore that ridiculous getup every time he tortured someone.
Travis roared back and started wiping at his face. Rocky knew he’d be buying a new getup tomorrow. One that had a face shield. He didn’t understand why Travis had never thought of it before.
When he finished wiping his face, Travis rushed forward and hit Rocky on the knee with the hammer as hard as he could. No matter how he tried, Rocky couldn’t stop the scream that escaped.
Travis stood back with a sick smile on his face. He waited until the pain had lessened enough that Rocky was breathing normally again before walking forward. This time he was holding the pliers.
“Who were you passing information to?” he asked Rocky.
“Your brother,” Rocky replied and smiled.
Travis pulled Rocky’s front teeth out with the pliers. He screamed obscenities at Rocky the whole time. Swearing at him for talking ill of the dead, and telling him he’d soon be seeing Marky, his brother, and could apologize in person. Rocky was sure he was correct.
They went back and forth for an hour with Rocky growing weaker by the moment, and Travis getting more outraged. No matter what he did to Rocky, Travis couldn’t get him to give up a name
“Come on, Rocky, just tell me who you talked to and I’ll let you go,” he told Rocky right after he broke his left pinky toe with a rubber mallet. “You can go to the hospital and get fixed up.”
Rocky wiped snot from his nose with his hunched shoulder, smiled a toothless grin, and said, “Quit stalling, Travis,” which he knew would drive the man crazy because he prided himself on getting information quickly.
The last thing Rocky saw was Travis turning red and raising the mallet.