DeMarco called Mahoney from New York the next day and said, "There's no doubt whatsoever that the guy who killed Dominic is going to be convicted of second-degree murder. The case is a slam dunk for the prosecutor."
DeMarco was dead wrong.
Manhattan—March 15, 2016
The night Dominic DiNunzio died
Toby Rosenthal couldn't remember killing Dominic DiNunzio. He remembered what happened before he killed him, and he knew what he did afterward, but the killing itself...
He'd been drinking all afternoon. Actually, he'd been drinking for the last three days, ever since Lauren dumped him. He'd also been snorting coke—he'd bought an 8 ball off a guy he knew—which was why he'd hardly slept in three days, too. He stopped by McGill's because it was close to Lauren's office and she often went there with some of the girls she worked with. Since she wouldn't answer her doorbell or her phone, he didn't know what else to do.
He ordered a scotch, slammed it down like a tequila shooter, then ordered another that he drank more slowly. He never saw Dominic DiNunzio lumber into the bar and take a seat. Fifteen minutes later Lauren hadn't shown up, and Toby was trying to decide if he should check out some of the other bars near her office, or go to her apartment and ring the bell again. He decided to wait a bit longer—and have one more scotch. He waved at the bartender, but the guy just stood there, looking at him, scowling. Finally, reluctantly, he walked over like he was doing Toby a fuckin' favor.
"Another Glenfi..." It was hard to say Glenfiddich sober, let alone drunk. "Another one, same thing."
"You don't think maybe you've had enough," the bartender said.
"Hey, what are you? My mother?"
As soon as the words left his mouth, Toby knew he shouldn't have said them. The bartender was a tall guy, skinny but with a paunch, like a martini olive in the middle of a swizzle stick. He was in his sixties, maybe seventies, but his hair was jet black. The hair had to be dyed, and it looked ridiculous with his seamed old face. But Toby could tell, the way the bartender's mouth was set, that he was going to eighty-six him from the bar.
Toby pulled a hundred off his money clip—money was the least of his worries—and slapped it on the bar. "That's for the drinks I've already had and the one more I'm gonna have. The rest is for you."
"Yes, sir, another Glen," the bartender said. He didn't say "Thank you"; it was like he thought he deserved a forty-buck tip.
Toby caught sight of his reflection in the mirror behind the bar and realized he looked like shit: unshaven, his eyes like glowing embers in his pale face, his hair all wet and matted down from the rain outside. The last thing he needed was Lauren seeing him like this. He could at least go comb his hair, splash some water on his face; he wished he had some Visine to squirt into his eyes. He stepped off the bar stool, stumbled, and almost fell—and noticed the bartender, who was now pouring his scotch, give him a look. Fuck him.
He walked back toward the restrooms, bumping into a table where two old ladies were sitting. One of the women lost half her drink and let out a little shriek. "Shit, sorry," he muttered.
The restrooms were down a long, narrow hallway, and he could feel himself lurching from side to side, like he was walking along the passageway of a rolling ship. Maybe he should just call it a day and go home. He pulled open the men's room door, and at the same time a guy came through the opening, and they collided.
The guy was a whale. Toby was only five foot seven, so most men were taller than he was—but this guy had to be at least six four and with a gut on him like a potbellied stove. He was wearing a tan trench coat and one of those flat skimmer hats, and his coat was dripping water as if he'd walked miles in the rain. Before Toby could apologize for bumping into him, the guy said, "Watch where the hell you're going."
"Hey! Who the fuck you think you're talking to?" Toby said, taking an aggressive step toward the man as he spoke. Not something he normally would have done with a guy this size, but he'd had a lot to drink and his life sucked and he wasn't in the mood for taking shit off anyone.
It should have ended right there: two New Yorkers trading fuck yous, two urban gorillas pounding their chests, then going harmlessly on their way. But it didn't end there.