The first time is happenstance. You just happened-to be there. Second time is coincidence. Third time is your choice. After that, you are on the job with the other guys, you are watching and listening and learning a thing or two. You are learning a trade. So tells Tom to his young associate Jerry as they sit in the office of Kovachy Motors. But Billy Kovachy’s employees do a lot more than fix odometers to fool naive buyers of used cars?the trade Tom teaches Jerry is that of a mob hitman. Jerry’s first time was like his mentor Tom’s; he was just along for the ride. Now, Tom is teaching Jerry the ropes as we follow the duo around the nondescript movie theatres, restaurants and back lots of the midwest as they ply their trade. Jerry learns not to get too friendly with any of the people they meet on the job?because the third guy who joins them to dinner, or a movie, or a smoke in the parking lot more often than not ends up in the trunk of his car with a bullet in his head. Like Tom before him, Jerry learns that he has an aptitude for this kind of work, a steady hand and a cool demeanor. Tom is happy with his young partner despite the fact that he sometimes wishes that Jerry had a more even temper and a respect for details.
For instance, if Jerry had remembered to keep the receipt for the defective chainsaw he bought, they could already be back with their respective families watching the ball game on TV instead of listening to it on a lousy transistor radio in some freezing warehouse with their latest victim’s corpse as their only company… As time goes by and Jerry starts doing his own share of the actual hits when they’re out on a job, Tom starts to notice just how easy the killing has become for this kid. Somehow too easy. The older man is proven right when Jerry tells him of a frightening incident. When his baby son wouldn’t stop crying the night before, Jerry suddenly found himself screwing a silencer onto his piece and placing the gun against the child’s head, actually contemplating the unthinkable. A few jobs later, Jerry accidentally kills an innocent woman in a motel room, forcing himself and a very pissed off Tony to babysit a bloody corpse while waiting for the real McCoy to show up. But all this is just a preamble to Jerry’s real screw-up. Feeling untouchable and fuelled by Tom’s often overblown hit stories about Vic, Jerry decides to play cowboy and blows away one of the intended targets in the middle of a crowded Florida racetrack, without even using a silencer all against the most fundamental rules of the profession and Tom’s sternest warning. As Tom sees Jerry slipping away into a trigger-happy delirium, he also begins to notice that he himself is not getting any younger. He’s losing his taste for the job and looking forward to retirement somewhere nice with his wife Peg. But life is never that simple, especially his life. Jerry’s screw-ups have not gone unnoticed by Billy Kovachy, who wants problem taken care of. And who better to take care of Jerry than the man who’s been taking care of him all along: his own mentor Tom. In the world of Tom and Jerry, you can’t trust anyone, especially those you know best.