I listen to my ringtone play Theme From The Godfather. I consider letting it go to messages. Then, I think Big Carmen will walk through my door, locked or unlocked. What could he want? I know what he wants. I don’t want what he wants. I don’t want him in the house where he’ll twist my arm,
“Dis is Big Carmen,” The voice on the other end. Really? I’d never guess, duh!
I said, “How’s it going?”
“What chu talking bout? You talking bout this thing, or that thing, and the other thing. Maybe use mean nothing, see what I’m saying?”
Does the whole family talk this way? Who taught them to speak this way? Are they products of public education? I digress. I said, “I hear you.”
“I said, ‘do you see what I’m saying,’ which is quite different from ‘hear what I’m saying.’ I didn’t ask if use hear. I asks if use see. See what I’m saying?”
I’m a quick learner. I said, “I see what you’re saying?”
“Use talking about the first thing or the second thing or both things?”
I want to ask if this is a multiple-choice exam with free retakes. Instead, I say the first thing that comes to mind, which I immediately regret, “All of the above.”
There is silence. Did he hang up. No, I hear a voice in the background holler, ‘extra cheese, double anchovies.’ I wonder if Big Carmen is working and talking at the same time. He finally speaks, “I pause my thinking because use answer was deep, deeper than the deep dish pizza Struzzerio makes, which use hid under use sofa while I was at use house. Use should have offered me a piece. Even if I hate the Stuzzerios, I loves their deep dish. I make Lil Carlo go in disguise to get me one every now and then.”
“What kind of disguise does he wear when he orders one,” I asked.
“Is use phone got termites, if use know what I means?”
“I know what you mean and my phone doesn’t have termites or ants or roaches.”
“Use can never be too careful. This is why and that is why referring to how use answered my above question why I am going to brings you to the board of directors today for use interview for the position for which I am grooming use.”
I need to change the subject. I said, “What is Lil Carlo’s disguise?”
“See what I’m saying? Use is a detail man. Nobody is going to ask that question because it is one of those hidden questions. The answer is a stocking mask with eye holes just big enough for his thick black rimmed glasses. He looks like a freak when he wears it, let me tell use. If I didn’t knows it was him, he’d scared the crap out of me. But since I know’d it was him, I still haven’t gone. What do use thinks I should take for being plugged up?”
I’ve got to figure out how to escape from the alt ego world. While I’m stuck on the alt ego treadmill I’ll play the game. I said, “I see what you’re saying. Now, about being plugged up, have you thought of adding fiber to the pizza crust?”
“Dis is a joke, right? Use is pulling my legs, maybe both at the same time? Except for California, who ever heard of fiber? Know what I uses fiber for?”
I afraid to ask and afraid not to ask. The better choice, ask, “What?”
“Well, not me, but some people I happen to know who might now and then do a favor or two or three for me. In case anybody is trying to listen, everything I’m saying is on the up and up. They use it for health reasons.”
“That’s what fiber is for. It helps to keep you regular,” I said.
“What the hell use talking about, Ray. They uses it for the health of a third or fourth or fifth party after which the third, or fourth, or fifth party doesn’t have health problems never again. It’s like miracle medicine, which Doc Oz won’t use because he might consider it an edgy alternative medicine. Use reading between the lines and under the covers and in a darkened room, get my drifting?”
“I get your drifting. Thanks for calling. I enjoyed our chat. I got to run. Ciao,” I said.
“Not so fast. Is use mind slipping. I won’t say anything to the family, but don’t let it slip again because the family is forgiving up to a point. What I am telling use for your own good in use interview…”
“Interview? I didn’t apply for a job,” I’m working hard to control my bladder.
“This is a point in your favor, which does away with the other point, which was not in your favor. We saves on paper and personnel when we don’t accept applications. Use interview is in fifteen minutes.”
“But, but, my suit is in the cleaners. My shoes aren’t shined. I don’t have a starched shirt. I have had my sixth cup of coffee,” I said hoping something sticks.
“Taken care of. Tony and Fredo are outside your door. Tony has your Italian made silk suit, shoes, shirt, and tie. Fredo gots use venti coffee with four shots of espresso. He also gots gold cuff links he picked up last night from Hastings Jewelry. See you in fifteen minutes, Ciao.”
“Hey, Ray. Can use dress use self or use going to need help?” asks Tony, a five foot eleven fire hydrant with dark black hair, sunglasses, gold bracelet and chains.
“I can dress myself,” I said.
His twin, I assume Fredo, comes in with my coffee and cuff links. Fredo said, “We dress like this to fit the TV image. Nobody in their right mind dresses this way.”
An interview with the family?
Can I get into the witness protection business?
I hope the suit fits.