Prologue for ‘The Comeback’

This is the prologue to a new novel that I’m writing. It’s about a retired hitman who comes out of retirement to pay for his granddaughter’s wedding. Comments are welcome and appreciated.


When Dino was young he could fight.

It wasn’t pretty to watch but in its own way it was. He could fight and everybody knew it. He wasn’t an excessively large man, although nobody could ever call him small. But he was big enough to hurt people and that’s what he usually did. Before they hurt him.

Dino fought in dark alleyways, sometimes in the smoky back rooms of clubs, sometimes in theatres. Once he fought in a school playground that someone had managed to steal the keys to. And that’s when it brought it all back to him: how it all started.

Like all these things it began as a squabble, a long forgotten squabble. A minor altercation in the classroom much like any other. One boy did something that another took exception to and decided that words were not enough. And that’s when Dino discovered that he liked to win, that he liked the feeling he got when the other boy hit the floor. That he liked to hurt people. That it gave him a kick. Later on, when he compared the two, he would admit that he preferred this feeling to anything that a woman could ever offer him.

Dino fought a lot and then he hardly fought at all. At first everyone wanted to fight him and then nobody did. Because Dino would do everything to win. Dino fought with desperation and fury that could only have come straight from the soul. There were no half measures for Dino; he wanted to kill. And it was only through sheer luck that he never did.

Dino left school at fifteen with nothing on paper and tried his luck in the boxing ring. But Dino was no Fancy Dan. All he could do was hurt people. And when you couldn’t touch the other guy it was you who ended up getting hurt. Soon boxing was abandoned for real fighting. And this is where Dino found his true vocation.

For more than twenty years Dino Andretti fought on the cobbles. And by the time that he’d finished wiping the blood from his knuckles everybody knew his name. Dino could fight. But if you blinked there was a good chance that you’d miss it. Dino could fight and he didn’t need to know the name of the other man. He fought Englishmen, he fought Irishmen. Black, white and brown. It didn’t matter where they came from. He enjoyed shutting the mouths of the noisy Yanks when they came over to challenge him. His earnings bought him several houses.

You would never see a picture of Dino in the papers but he was famous. Everyone on the streets knew who he was because it was on the streets that he fought. Hundreds would come to see him fight: fortunes would be won and lost by the people who chanted his name. Dino fought fast: he wasted no energy. Dino fought with economy and always with that desire to kill. His fights were usually over before they had even begun.

And then Dino could fight no more. He’d sensed it happening for a long time and he could not stop it. The speed seemed to go and with it the brutality. That was when he turned to the gun and his second career began. And by the time that his third career came along and he started teaching people to hurt each other Dino had lost count of the number he’d killed.

But that was long ago…


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