About 6 o’clock that Saturday evening, July 9, I donned my baby blue sweat suit with the three black stripes down the sides. I arrived at the address Carlo had given me where the Brancatos lived. It was a blue and white raised ranch. I jogged around the middle-class neighborhood of newer homes for a while long enough to break a sweat
A Checker yellow taxi pulled up into the driveway. A big man nearly fell out of the backseat and stumbled across the grass lawn. Falling twice up the front steps, he banged on the door. “Open the door! I’m here!” He screamed.
I was hiding behind a big azalea bush when the door opened and Frank pushed his way inside and slammed the door. I scrambled up the concrete front steps to peer into the open window.
It was an otherwise beautiful, hot summer dusk, so Annette had left the drapes open too. The young attractive woman greeted her husband with a kiss for which she got slapped in the mouth. “I told you to have my drink ready.”
“But, Honey,” she pleaded. “ You promised you wouldn’t drink anymore after the last time…”
Frank pushed her back, stepped in for power and punched his wife in the face. Annette collapsed onto the carpet, and did not move, at first.
I tried the front door but the bolt had been locked so I sprinted around the back but that door was locked too. Back on the front steps I watched through the window.
A small voice called from the back of the house, “Mommy, I’m scared, can I come out now?”
At the sound of her distraught baby calling to her, Annette pulled herself slowly upto her knees. I was shouting at her through the open window to open the front door lock.
She struggled on wobbly legs to stand upright, and had started towards the front door, but was distracted.
Frank bellowed, “If you can’t keep that brat quiet, I will.”
He threw his drink on the rug, swept aside the newspaper he had been thumbing through, and stomped towards the sound of the tiny voice.
Suddenly, she heard her baby scream and that caused her to turn around with her back to the window.
We saw Frank Brancato enter the living room from the back hallway. In his left hand he was carrying their three year old hanging by his ankle upside down. His right hand gripped a doubled over belt. He was preparing to whip the baby with the belt when he heard my shouting.
His eyes were bulging out and his tongue darted like a snake.
A maniacal grin completed his insane demeanor.
At the sight of her child being mistreated so badly, Annette reacted as any mother would: she attacked. She was hanging onto Frank’s leg but he continued ahead. He was so big and powerful that he was dragging her body across the room.
Finally, he kicked her off his leg and Annette lay in a ball, near the door. When Frank turned his attention back to the hysterical child, Annette summoned all her remaining strength and pulled herself up and opened the lock.
I burst into the room, running straight at the crazed accountant. The drunken sadist didn’t notice I was there. Little Carlo was on the rug now and his father raised the doubled up strap high in the air. Before it was lowered I attacked him from behind.
I charged like a bull who saw red. Frank Brancato was the object of my hatred and revulsion. The adrenaline rush clouded my emotions into a red haze and I attacked. Low and hard.
I hit Frank like a linebacker sacks a quarterback. With all the power possessed by young muscles that sling around two concrete blocks in each hand all day long. Two hundred pounds of solid muscle from hard labor.
Frank collapsed back. His head slammed against the wall behind him. Still he managed to turn and face me. He raised his arms with fists clenched. His eyes bulged out of his head in a sadistic frenzy. His tongue darted out like a snake. Carlo was right. He was no small man.
I swung a big right aiming for his solar plexus to punish and disable him to end this madness. But it did not connect where I aimed. Frank must have been out on his feet, because he seemed to implode on himself and collapsed; just as I swung, he slid down the wall. The big punch hit him in the throat, and crushed his windpipe.
Frank gasped in vain for air that would never reach his lungs. He gurgled sputum, drooled saliva and wheezed in an attempt to fill his overtaxed lungs with air. As his body slithered down the wall, the big man’s face turned shades of red, blue and, finally, purple as he died right in front of me.
The little voice cried out, “Mommy is sleeping. Why is Mommy sleeping?”
I turned to see his tiny bruised form lying on top of Annette’s limp form. I scooped up the form of Little Carlo. He hung on for dear life, squeezing my neck with all his might. He buried his face into my shoulder.
My plans to punish this wife and child beater didn’t go as I thought. I would never have imagined that in the span of a few short minutes, that Annette would be lying unconscious on the ground, her husband dead and their baby traumatized and scared to death.
I picked up the telephone with my free hand and dialed Carlo at The Palazzo.
“Yes, Son. How did it go?”
“I need you here now, at Frank’s house,” I said.
“No,” I said
“We’ll be right there.”
In twenty minutes the black stretch limo backed in to the driveway of the blue and white raised ranch. The back of the huge vehicle pulled as close to the garage door as it could without the extruding tail lights making contact.
Carlo and Kong and Zilla entered the house from the back entrance door. Carlo sized up the situation quickly. He turned to me and said,
“Thank you for being here, Ben. You saved their lives. What you did here was right and just.”
“I didn’t mean to kill him. It was an accident,” I said.
My father looked me square in the eyes, and said. “Don’t worry, Son. This was the hand of God.”
Then, he barked orders to The Boys in Italian. Annette had come to and was groggy from the ordeal but she seemed all right. She was clutching Little Carlo tightly and he had wrapped himself around her and sobbed.
Carlo wrapped an arm around his niece and baby and helped them out through the garage and into the waiting limo. Kong easily carried the body of Frank Brancato into the trunk. Plenty of room in there: a three body trunk. The Boys hopped into the front, and they drove away slowly with the headlights off.
I took three deep breaths, walked to my Nova and went home to Anthony Baron’s home. I had my first karate lesson in the morning with Karen and Master Z.