I Didn’t Ask For a Travel Brochure

Farlo, Tina, and Joey sat at a multi-tiled outside cafe table, behind a black wrought iron fence bordering Taco Heaven from passing pedestrian traffic. A skinny pole with the number 12 rose from the middle of the table and held an open umbrella. Farlo sipped from his iced tea. Tina, who wanted to sit at the table, was relegated to the cement under the table lapped water from a Styrofoam bowl. Joey stared at his corrugated cardboard box of kale, beets, spinach, edamame, cubes of butternut squash, and a small piece of broiled chicken. He sipped on a bottle of purified water at Taco Heaven.

Joey looked at Farlo, “I’m not eating this stuff. Who eats this stuff anyway?”

Farlo ignored him and flirted with a thirtyish tall woman, dressed in a business skirt and matching jacket who was talking on the phone. She winked at him and mouthed, “What’s your cell number?”

Joey said, “How’d you do that?”

The flirting scene was interrupted by a lanky, tattooed, male of Mexican descent who brought Farlo and Tina’s order to the table. He saw Farlo and said, “Hey man, what you doing here? I’m clean.”

Farlo looked up and said, “When did you get out, Pablo? Last I heard you were doing ten to twenty for armed robbery.”

“Man, the DA got it all wrong. I was using my finger which I had stuck in my coat. My public defender got my conviction tossed out after I spent six months in state.”

“I heard you had a gun in the back of your pants,” said Farlo.

“That’s beside the point. I wasn’t going to use it unless somebody who wasn’t supposed to show up showed up, you know what I mean. I know the legal intricacies of B & E. I’m thinking of becoming a lawyer if my public defender can get my record expunged.”

“You got a rap sheet longer than I-10, Pablo. Your P D has a lot a work,” said Farlo.

“That’s true, but most of it was before I was sixteen. Can I use you for a reference?” said Pablo.

Farlo took a long sip of his iced tea. He saw Pablo stare at Joey then at Joey’s corrugated box of veggies. “Don’t mind him, he’s in orientation. He’s still detoxing.”

“I feel sorry for you, man. Farlo’s a hard dude. I know.”

“Tell me about it,” said Joey.

“I don’t have time, I got other customers. Well, Farlo, you gonna be a reference?”

“I tell you what, I’ll be a great reference if you’ll give me great information on a little project I have in mind,” said Farlo.

“What’s the game?” asked Pablo.

“I want to break into the Patiently Insane Home on the west side,” said Farlo. His voice sounded like a freight train rumbling down the tracks.

“Man, that’s a tough place. They got security 24/7. They got guard dogs. They got cameras. The top of the wall around the place is covered with razor wire,” said Pablo.

“I didn’t ask you for a travel brochure. And, I’m not booking a vacation to Wichita. How do I get in?”

Pablo placed his right hand under his chin. He cupped his right elbow with his left hand. He tilted his head a bit to the left, and made believe he was thinking.

“Don’t try to bullshit me, Pablo. If you do, I’m going to grind your sorry ass into hamburger and feed it to the dogs,” snapped Farlo.

“Okay, okay I had to fake it a little in case somebody close by wants a favor. You know how negotiations go. Me and Taco broke in last month. Taco wanted the drugs. Me, I don’t do drugs, but I needed a wheel man. Me, I planned on going through the residents’ rooms and stealing the purses, wallets, jewelry and stuff.”

“I don’t want your autobiography. I want to get in, comprehende?

“Man, you are touchy. This guy with the salad a tough case? You want me to sic some of the gang on him?”

Joey looked up, “Hey, I’m eating my salad. I won’t complain anymore.”

Pablo bent low over the table. He motioned Farlo and Joey closer to him. He said, “Listen up. This is my plan. It works.”

Pablo explained the plan and left with Farlo’s promise of a great letter of recommendation.

Joey said, “I’m not going, we’ll get killed. Pablo’s nuts.”

Farlo said, “Pablo’s certifiable, we’ll probably get killed. We’re going tomorrow night.

What’s Pablo’s plan? Will they rescue Harry J? Who’s Filo?

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