Zeke stood in front of Nonna’s door. Mickey stood behind him. Zeke rapped his knuckles on the wooden entrance door. There was no answer. He rapped his knuckles again.
This time, from the other side of the door, “Nobody’s home, can’t you see that. Now go away.”
“It’s me, Nonna,” said Zeke.
“I don’t know no me. Nonna she’s a not here. She gone away for a trip to someplace you don’t know with her boyfriend, but don’t tell Rocco.”
“It’s Zeke, Nonna. I gotta talk to you about the package. Please open,” pleaded Zeke.
“Maybe I open the door if you didn’t bring that dumb as a lump of pizza dough Palitroni with you.”
From behind Zeke, “I’m Zeke’s friend, my name is Al Capone.”
“You stick you kisser in front of this tiny hole, I can tell if you are Al Capone or you somebody wants to steal his good name,” said Nonna.
Zeke shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and stepped out of the to let Mickey pass and stick his kisser in front of the tiny hole.
Twenty seconds later, “You a no good Palitroni. You trying to steal Al Capone’s name. You know how I can tell? I tell you how I can tell, all you Palitroni’s got a nose longer than Pinocchio.”
“I’m going to go to court to have my name changed, Nonna. Please let Zeke in. I promise to be good.”
“You better go get a nose job, it do you better than a different name. Okay I let you boys in, but only for a few minutes. Mario Zito gonna come over and have some wine with me. Who knows what might happen if I keep his glass full, know what I mean?” said Nonna.
Nonna opened the door. She was still in her black dress. Her hair was still up in a bun. She still held a cleaver in her right hand, “Zeke take this fool Palitroni and go sit at the kitchen table. I give you good wine, him, I give dandelion wine from last spring. It tastes like hell, but a Palitroni never know the difference, you watch.”
From behind Zeke, “I like dandelion wine.”
“What I tell you, no taste, no class, no brains. Have a seat. Keep an eye on Palitroni, make sure he don’t steal my rosary,” said Nonna.
Five minutes later Nonna came back with a bottle of red wine and a bottle of homemade dandelion wine. “This first one is for Zeke. This crap is for you. When you done with it, you can have it. I don’t want to get infected.”
“Thanks, Nonna,” said Mickey.
“Now, I’m gonna go get the package and we gonna talk about it,” said Nonna.
“Do you think she opened it?” asked Mickey.
“Nonna? Never, she’s too honest to do something like that. You drinking the dandelion wine straight out of the bottle?” asked Zeke.
“I’m thirsty,” said Mickey. Then he added, “This stuff is good. I got to tell Gus about it.”
A moment later, Nonna returned carrying an unwrapped package. She sat down with the package on her lap. On the table in front of her was a glass of red wine, and her cleaver. “You boys made one move to take this package I gonna cut you fingers off and maybe I don’t stop there if you know what I mean.”
“You opened it, Nonna. We’re all dead,” said Zeke.
“Whatchu talking about? I’m not a dead. You’re not a dead. I’m hoping Palitroni drops over dead the way he’s a drinking the dandelion wine.”
“But you opened it. Tony Gallino said not to open it or he would be very angry,” said Zeke.
Nonna waved her arm, it was her left arm. The arm holding her glass of red wine, a bit of the wine landing on Mickey’s face. “That’s all you get, Palitroni. As for Tony Gallino, the hell with him. I puta curse on him tonight gonna make him wish he never threatened one of my grandchildren. You tell his girlfriends, he gonna be no use to them until he apologizes to you. He don’t have to apologize to Palitroni.”
Mickey looked up, “Do you have any more dandelion wine?”
“What I tell you, Zeke. Never mind. I look in the box and I like what I see in the box. Tony not gonna get what’s inside the box.”
“What’s inside the box?” asked Zeke.
Nonna started laughing, “You not gonna believe what’s inside the package.”
“Is it money? Drugs? Diamonds?” asked Zeke.
Nonna opened the package and started laughing.
What’s inside the package? Will Nonna’s curse work? Will the boys get out of this jam?