The Cost of Doing Business

Aaron Meacham
2 min readJan 12, 2020
Photo: Jon Sullivan

Marzioni sat down at the table, nodding to greet the old man sipping coffee.

Don Campagna signaled the young waiter to bring a cup for his guest.

There was a time when the two men wouldn’t be caught dead in the same room together without a cadre of bodyguards, but that was a time when countless gangs warred for dominance. They had been young men then — ambitious, ruthless.

Marzioni shakily raised his cup, toasting Campagna, “You’ve always understood the value of hospitality.”

“We both know it costs little to show respect.” Campagna coughed. “In these times, we must save where we can.”

“You need money.”

“We both do. It’s not like the old days.”

“I remember when you torched the Sullivans’ warehouse. Took out their whole leadership and swallowed up their dock operations.”

Campagna smiled weakly.

“I hated you for that. Doubled your enterprise overnight. Made it hard to stay competitive.”

“We both made strong plays then. But costs have risen, and we need to consider how to — ” Campagna gave out a sustained, hacking cough. The young waiter moved nearer, but Campagna waved him away. “There isn’t enough business to divide up between us.”

Marzioni set his cup down with a clink that hung in the air for a few seconds. As blood trickled from his mouth, he sputtered, “Never expected betrayal from you.”

But Campagna was already dead.

Jimmy Sullivan took off his waiter’s uniform. He had just resurrected his grandfather’s enterprise, and there was work to do.



Aaron Meacham

My name anagrams to “a man becomes.” I love movies and Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t understand how anagrams work.