Lil Carlo sits in the passenger seat, he’s Big Carmen’s 70 year old hit man. The one with long nose and big ears. He sells beats to supplement his senior income. The two in the backseat, La Flor and LC, are passionately engaged. Me? I’m scared to death. I’m an accomplice before and after the fact. The Feds will be all over this case. LC used an explosive to bust open the door to Francine Peony’s mansion. I hope she’s in good hands, because she is going to need insurance. The night didn’t end when we left the scene of the crime. Keep reading to see what happened.
I hear La Flor talking to LC in the backseat as we pull into the driveway, “This kind of excitement turns me so on. We’ve got to do again. Can you get more explosives?”
Lil Carlo adjusts his hearing aid, “Mind repeating that?”
La Flor and LC ignore him, they’re back at it. It’s a family blog, I won’t go into details.
Ten minutes later we’re back, sitting in the living room.
“Want me to call you a handsome cab, Lil Carlo?” I said. Hey, I’m trying to make a joke and cut the tension.
“No tanks. Use got an extra bedroom? I’m gonna lay low until the heat blows over.”
“You moving in?” I said.
“Only temporarily until it ain’t temporary. Know what I mean?”
Unfortunately, I do.
“I’m starvin. I gots to eats to keep my energy tonight,” said LC.
“Ray, make LC a steak. All you did was stand around. You were no help,” said La Flor.
“I don’t eat steak. Remember I’m a vegetarian,” I said.
“You need help. I can find you a support group. I suppose you want to save the dolphins, the whales, stray dogs and cats, and guppies. You veggies are all alike,” said La Flor.
“What’s wrong with that? They’re veggie burgers in the freezer. Four frozen quinoa burritos. Left over Pad Thai with tofu, and 12 Quest power bars.”
“Make LC a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pronto. I don’t want him to go out on me,” said La Flor.
Before I can turn toward the kitchen, I hear the squealing of tires, the slamming of a car door, and fist banging on my front door.
“Open up, it’s the police.”
“Somebody let O’Leary in. Lil Carlo, take off your latex gloves,” I said.
Lil Carlo put his right hand up to his mouth to pull his latex glove off with his teeth. He gave a good pull. The glove is still affixed to his hand. His teeth, uppers and lowers, affixed to his glove. His upper and lower lips are curled around his toothless gums.
I’th gonna kilth tha denthis,” Lil Carlo muttered.
O’Leary’s first words from the doorway, “I’m starvin, Marvin. Use got any donuts?”
I’m partially prepared, “There are two boxes of Sara Lee frozen pastries in the freezer. LC, do you mind putting them in the microwave for O’Leary?”
“If I can share?” said LC.
“Why are coming by so late?” I asked. I hoped he didn’t give me an answer I didn’t want to hear.
“Did use hear the implosion? It couldn’t happened more than ten minutes after I left for Joey’s. The chief was all over me until I gave him my to go bag from Joey’s. One bite and he understood. That’s why I’m starvin, Marvin.”
“It happened at Francine’s mansion?” asked La Flor with a look and voice of innocence.
“Wrecked the house. Glad no one was home. You almost done microwaving them?” said O’Leary.
“I just found them. They was hiding under leftover rice cauliflower,” said LC.
“Never mind microwaving. I’ll eat mine frozen,” said O’Leary hitching up his belt under the overlay of his belly.
“What was the cause? Any ideas?” the sweet demure La Flor asked.
“Das why I stooped by (yes, he said stooped instead of stopped). Use guys hear anyting,” said O’Leary.
Before anyone could answer, he noticed Lil Carlo and the latex gloves he was wearing. “I don’t tinks we ever met? Why are use wearing latex gloves? You’re not latex sensitive, are you?”
Lil Carlo got his teeth back in before O’Leary saw him. Lil Carlo may be 70 years old with a dirty, worn old guy’s golfing cap, but he is quick as a whip. Lil Carlo said, “My name is Dr. Funguli. I just finished giving Ray his procto. Would you like one? No charge for the police.”
O’Leary blanched turning from his normal pink cherubic face to white as a winter’s snow. “No, no tanks, but tanks for the office.”
LC carrying Sara Lee from the kitchen to the living room said, “I never had one, and I ain’t gonna ever has one, if use know what I mean.”
LC hands a box labled, All Butter Pound Cake to O’Leary. “Dis is for starters. When use finishes, the second course is the whole Banana Crème pie.”
“Use is the best friend a cop can have,” O’Leary said almost teary eyed overcome with emotion.
La Flor butted in, “I’m a trained PI, O’Leary. I have two leads for you to check out. I’m pretty sure either one will pan out for you and you’ll get a commendation.”
Okay, La Flor’s running some kind of game. I can’t quite figure it out.”
“I heards of use reputation, beautiful, tough and edgy world-class PI,” said O’Leary with mouthful of pound cake. His cheeks puffed out like a squirrel carrying nuts. I wondered if O’Leary was storing food for later.
“First, O’Leary, Francine Peony is not what she appears to be,” said La Flor.
“Use means she’s not a woman, with that cleavage?” said O’Leary.
“It’s not as good as mine. And, you can tell she’s not real. I’m only going to say this once, Francine blew up her own mansion for the insurance,” said La Flor.
I want to scream, ‘You can’t say that,’ but I feel Lil Carlo’s gun pressed against my spine.
LC says, “May I, beautiful, tough, and edgy woman turned on by excitement.”
“Take it home you tough as a tiger, strong as an ox and handsome as Adonis hunk of male,” said La Flor. It sounded as if she were growling.
“Here’s da utter ting, did use notice a whiff of gas when we was speaking wit use about Joey’s donuts ?”
“No. Do you tink a gas line exploded?” said O’Leary.
“If the dame didn’t do it. The gas line did it,” those da only two or four choices use gots,” said LC.
O’Leary grabbed hold of the remains of his two boxes and said, “I gotta go. I’m gonna bust this case wide open.”
La Flor went up to O’Leary and grabbed him by his jacket lapels, “Grill her until she snaps. Don’t let up. She’ll crack. I’ve seen the type. Tough on the outside, mush on the inside. Slap her around if she gets fresh. She’ll wise up.”
“Tanks for the tips,” said O’Leary rushing out of the house.
“La Flor, that was wrong, so wrong,” I said.
“I know she’s bad, Ray. I’m convinced she’s guilty.”
“Reality check. It was us.”
“Minor details. LC carry me off,” said La Flor.
Me? I’m sitting at the living room table staring at Lil Carlo trying to get his latex gloves off. Want to see where this story is heading? Come by tomorrow.