Man With a Belly * Stephen King

John Bracken sat on the park bench and waited to make his hit. The bench was one of the many on the outskirts of James Memorial Park, which borders the south side of Hammond Street. In the daytime the park is overrun by kids, mother wheeling prams, and old men with bags of crumbs for the pigeons. At night it belongs to the junkies and muggers. Respectable citizens, women in particular, avoided Hammond Street after dark. But Norma Correzente was not most women


The story opens with John Bracken, a hitman, in the James Memorial Park of an unnamed town; he is waiting for Norma Correzente, who is due to walk home from a casino through the park at 11:00 PM. Bracken has been paid $50,000 by Norma’s husband, the 78 year-old Mafia Don Vittorio “Vito the Wop” Correzente, to rape her as punishment for her compulsive gambling. Correzente considers that ordering this deed will show him to be “a man with a belly”.

“It’s my wife. I want you to rape her. Bracken waited.

“I want you to hurt her.” He smiled. One gold tooth glittered mellowly in the indirect lighting.

The plot thickens when the hitman is offered a counter-offer once the deed is done. Have sex with Norma until she’s pregnant so her husband can leave her alone to gamble in peace. After a few months, the hitman receives a call from the don who is on his deathbed. His wife died falling down the steps but the baby she was carrying survived. But the baby had blue eyes. Both Norma and the Don had brown / black eyes.

The don is asking the hitman whether he’s the father and the hitman refuses and leaves. I suppose he wanted to spare his feelings since he’d be dead either way but still :/ odd book.

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