Nonna placed three saucers and cups on the table. She walked to the kitchen counter and lifted an old coffee percolator and carried it to the table.
“You boys need cream, or you men?” she said.
Zeke said, “No cream for me, Nonna.”
“That’s a my boy. What about you, Palitroni?” asked Nonna.
“If I have sugar, will I still be a man?” asked Mickey.
Nonna stared at him, “I never know a Palitroni who’s a real man. You just like the rest of your scum family. No sugar. Grow up,” said Nonna.
“Mickey’s okay, Nonna. His mother, Gina, was a Strollo. She left Tubby Palitroni when Mickey was four. Then she got an annulment because Tubby was involved with Mary Luizzi,” said Zeke.
Nonna whacked the side of her head and then blessed herself four times, “The Luizzi’s they worse than the Palitroni’s. I tell you Tubby’s a no good son of a you know who,” said Nonna.
Mickey said, “Who?”
Nonna looked at Zeke, “He’s a not too bright of a bulb, am I right?”
Zeke shrugged his shoulders. He knew Nonna was right, but didn’t want to hurt Mickey’s feelings. Zeke took a sip of his coffee, set it down, picked up a biscotti and dunked it into the coffee before taking a bite. When he finished chewing his biscotti, he said, “I love your biscotti. I can’t find good biscotti in stores, where do you get them?”
“My friend, Angelo Marcella, he got a friend who has a friend, who knows somebody. That’s how I get them. Now no more small talk. I got things to do. I can’t waste my time talking to two losers, now what you got for me to help you with?” asked Nonna while she took the plate of biscotti’s away.
Zeke said, “We got a problem. You know Tony Gallino?”
Nonna said nothing. She closed her eyes. For a moment, Mickey thought she died. He nudged Zeke and mouthed, “Is she dead?”
Before Zeke could say a thing, Nonna said, “I’m a not dead you jackass. You still got a lot a Palitroni in you. Now keepa you mouth shut while Zeke tells me about Tony Gallino.”
“It was this way, Nonna. Mickey and me were in Gus’s bar having a few beers because we had a tough day.”
“That’s a bullsheet. How can you have a tough day at ten in the morning? No more lies big or little.”
“How’s she knows this stuff?” whispered Mickey.
“What I tell you Palitroni, keep a you mouth shut. I gotta the inner eye. I know things nobody knows, even me,” said Nonna.
“Well were in Gus’s bar talking about this and that when Tony Gallino walks in. He says he’s looking for Mickey and me and he wants us to do him a favor. He says he has box at one of those postal stations in Brockton. He wants us to pick it up a package. I’m supposed to hold on to it until he tells me to bring it to him. He said not to open it or shake it. I’m supposed to hide it so nobody knows nothing about it. He already gave us a hundred and he’s going to give us another hundred when we bring the box to him. We figure if we do a good job, he’ll hire us, then we’re on easy street. Gus thinks we’re crazy for getting involved with Tony. We’re also on a first name basis. What should we do, Nonna. Do we give Tony his money back? Do we pick up the package?”
Nonna had her hands folded across her belly. The index and thumb fingers of her right hand were twisting a gold wedding band put on her finger by Rocco.
What will Nonna tell the boys? Will Tony Gallino like what Nonna tells the boys?