Nonna’s eyes remained closed. She began speaking in Italian.
Mickey nudged Zeke, “What’s she saying, the folks never taught me Italian?”
Zeke said, “She’s talking to Rocco, her dead husband.”
“What she asking him?” asked Mickey.
“She’s asking him to tell her what Tony is up to. Be quiet, I think Rocco’s talking to her, she’s nodding her head,” said Zeke.
“Can I ask her to talk to my Nonna? If she can’t, what about Johnny Gilarani? He owes me ten bucks? He was going to pay me on payday and then he went and got hit by a car.”
Before Zeke could answer Mickey, Nonna opened her eyes, she blessed herself six times. Pushed herself off her chair with considerable effort and walked to a kitchen cupboard. She opened the cupboard door. Inside the cupboard were three shelves of votive candles in varying sizes. She moved several around and cursed in Italian. These were words both Zeke and Mickey knew and frequently used.
“Ah, I got chu, you son of a bits,” said Nonna. She took hold of the votive candle and carried it to the table. She set it on the table, struck a match and lit it.
The glass container of the votive candle had a picture of a vulture picking at the carcass of a squirrel.
Nonna chanted words in Italian over the votive candle. When she finished, she looked at Zeke and Mickey and said, “The rabbit sleeps on a rainy day.”
“What she talking about?” Mickey whispered in Zeke’s ear.
Zeke ignored Mickey, “What else can you tell us Nonna?”
“Don’t taste the sauce until it’s cooked,” said Nonna.
Nonna closed her eyes again, folded her hands, and spoke, “The cow that’s about the give birth, waits for the apple to fall.”
“I understand what you’re saying, Nonna. Can you be clearer so I can explain it to Mickey?” said Zeke.
Nonna raised her eyes toward the ceiling and began speaking. She was gesturing wildly with her hands. She cursed, and swung her hand as if she was slapping at a fly. Nonna took a deep breath and opened her eyes. She said, “I was talking to Rocco. I think he’s having an affair with Margarita. I was worried, if he died he’d go looking for her as soon as he crossed over. She always had her fingers in him. I’m a going scratch her eyes out when I get to heaven. Then I’m a going ask Saint Peter to toss her into hell. “
“What did Rocco tell you about Tony Gallino?” asked Zeke.
“I give it to you straight. He said you boys are up the creek and you don’t got no paddle and you don’t got no boat. He said, you boys got less chance than a turkey the week before Thanksgiving.”
“Can you help us?” pleaded Zeke.
“I don’t got no time to you help you now. I gotta work on a curse on Margarita. Come back in three weeks. I see if I fit you in between curses.”
Poor Zeke and Mickey, what will they do? Are they really up the creek without a paddle?