Zeke shrugged his shoulders, gazed into his beer for an answer. His mind as empty as his bank account. Mickey didn’t like silence, it made him feel edgy. He twisted on his stool and turned toward Gus, “Hey Gus, I got a question for you?
Gus who was now washing the same mugs and shot glasses for the third time, turned his head toward Mickey, “What?”
“Does Tony’s offer for free drinks keep going until he says it stops? Like, can we come in tomorrow for free beers or the day after? Is it good on holidays like when the Patriots win?”
Mickey’s thought process shook Zeke out of his trance. He twisted his head and looked at Mickey and Gus. He wasn’t sure what Gus was going to say.
Gus placed the mug in hands on a tray. He picked up a towel and wiped his hands. He took a step toward Mickey, “You guys are in over your heads. When you walk out the door, the free ride is over unless Mr. Gallino personally tells me to keep you on the free ride. Capice?”
“Don’t have to get hot, we done nothing to you,” said Mickey.
“I’m telling you where I stand and what I think. Finish your beers and take off. I don’t want to be caught in the middle of nothing. Come back when it’s all over,” said Gus.
“What if we want to come in for a pizza?” said Mickey.
“Okay, I got a big heart. You can still come in anytime you want. But you can’t talk about the stuff you’re doing with Mr. Gallino. That’s just between him and you.”
Zeke waved, “Appreciate it Gus. This is like a second home to us.”
“It’s like my first home,” said Mickey thinking he was sucking up to Gus.
Gus shook his head, then he turned, went into the back room and returned with a large bag of mixed salted nuts and a large jar of pickled eggs. He began to fill dishes with the nuts and placed the jar of pickled eggs in the center of the bar. Next to the pickled eggs, he placed a pair of tongs.
Mickey was reaching for the tongs to snag a pickled egg when Zeke grabbed hold of his forearm and pulled it away.
“Whatcha do that for? Pickled eggs are a health food,” complained Mickey.
“I know what we gotta do to figure out this situation?” said Zeke.
Zeke had Mickey’s attention.
“We’re going go see Nonna,” said Zeke.
“You’re lucky, your nonna is still alive, mine died ten years ago. I miss her. Life’s not the same without her. She made the best meatballs and spaghetti,” said Mickey draining his beer.
Gus, keeping an eye on the boys, went back on his word, filled another mug of a dark draft and slid it down the bar. Mickey has missed one in ten years. His record is still intact.
“Nonna’s ninety-two and she’s got the inner eye. She can see into the future. Remember how she told Gino his daughter was going to knocked up?” said Zeke.
“She called that one. Didn’t she call the Patriots winning over Atlanta? I put ten bucks on the Pats on her word. I think she’s the one put a hex on Atlanta,” said Mickey.
“That she did. She told me before the game, she was going to put a hex on Atlanta. She didn’t like the uniform colors. She still tells the family what to do. Nobody crosses her. Finish your beer, we gotta talk to her,” said Zeke.
“You think she’s home?” said Mickey.
“She’s either home, in confession, but today’s not Saturday so she’s not there, or she could be at Sylvia’s house. Since she and Sylvia live across from each other, we gonna catch her.”
What’s Nonna going to tell the boys? What is Tony Gallino up to? Will the boys find a way out of their jam?