I Can’t Give Up Coffee

Lil Carlo is still playing with his gun. His false teeth sit in a plate on the table next to a plate with a half eaten Pop Tart. An open can of Coors sits next to the Pop Tart. It’s breakfast. La Flor and LC are still sleeping. I’m on my fourth cup of coffee. I haven’t tasted the first three. I’ve got to figure a way to stop La Flor’s headlong rush into the Witness Protection Program. Let’s see how it plays out.

Lil Carlo has one eye on his gun, the other on me. This does not make me feel comfortable. Lil Carlo shakes his gun at me, “Take a seat, Ray.”

I sit. He has the gun.

“Use may not likes what I gots to say, but I’m gonna says it no ways,” said Lil Carlo.

I’m not quite sure how to interpret what he is saying, but he has the gun. My mind plays three-hundred forty-five scenarios in two seconds. Not one plays out the way I want it to play out. “What?” I said.

“How many cups of java joe use drunk today?”

“I’m working on my fourth, why?”

All of a sudden I feel the sudden urge to laugh. The kind of uncontrollable belly laugh that arrives unexpectedly. You ever sit across from an old guy with his teeth on the table, holding a gun, and talking to you. His lips are curled around his gums. I didn’t think so. Take my word, it’s hysterical.

“What’s use smiling at?” said Lil Carlo.

I don’t like the tone in his voice. I reach out, anywhere for an answer, “I was thinking of O’Leary and his glazed donuts. He said he was on a diet.”

“Dats what use tinks. Da factoid is, glazed donuts is a metabolism booster. Check out the Mayonnaise Clinic if use don’t believes me. But don’t change the subject. How can use be counted on if use is drinking coffee likes it beer? See, coffee goes straight from da mouth to da kidneys to da toilet, there’s no stop in between. Use is going to go pee pee, wee wee, number 1, whiz or whatever use wants to call it every fifteen minutes.”

“I guess I can’t go with you guys tonight. I can’t give up coffee. I’m going to get another cup when we’re through,” I said believing I had a way out of the trap I’d found myself in.

“Me and my friend says use gives it up. We is shutting use off,” said Lil Carlo.

“Who’s your friend?” I asked.

“Dis,” said Lil Carlo pointing the gun at me.

“I’m giving up caffeine for the rest of the day. Thanks for the suggestion.”

“Dats better.”

La Flor and LC come out of the bedroom, both still in pajamas. LC with only the bottoms on. La Flor riding piggyback with her arms around his neck.

“Take me to the refrigerator. Easy big boy, not too fast,” said La Flor as if she’s riding a real horse.

LC trots to the fridge, he opens it. Turns his head slightly, “Use see anyting use wants, use names it beautiful, tough, and edgy make my day woman.”

“Take me to the breakfast bar, I want a fresh cup of coffee, bowl of fruit, and a veggie omelet with no cheese. Don’t forget my sourdough toast, toasted to a golden brown.”

“Can I suggests a side of salsa to goes wit da omelet. Chef Vigeli said it makes an omelet better.”

“You are so brilliant, kiss me,” said La Flor.

Five minutes later she’s at the breakfast bar. LC is at the stove whistling and working on an omelet. Me? I’m hiding in the bathroom with a cup of coffee. Please don’t tell Lil Carlo. It might upset his friend. I finish, stuff toilet paper in the cup, put it the trash. And, flush the toilet for the sound effect.

Lil Carlo’s cell phone chirps. He answers it. “Yah.”

“My teeth ift on da table.”



“What time?”

“What’s da plan?”

“It’s a good one. I’ll tell them.”

“One more ting, if use never tried Pop Tarts wit Coors, use is missing a treat.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Who’s Lil Carlo speaking to? What plans? Did La Flor’s omelet turn out perfect? Are we going out on a job tonight? I want more coffee. Come by tomorrow and find out.


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