Tony Gallino got up and began pacing around the small room. The pizza delivery thug and the driver thug stepped back and let Gallino pass. Once he passed, they stepped forward, one on each side of the boys. Gallino made the circle clockwise four times. Each time he made the circle, he stopped behind his desk, turned and starred at Zeke and Mickey. He shook his head and started pacing. After his fourth pass. He stopped, turned toward the boys, placed his two hands palm down on the metal desk.
“You know what I should do with you guys? Do you know what I’m think I should do?”
Zeke kept quiet. Mickey didn’t. He said, “I don’t what you want to do with us, Tony. But if I were in your shoes, I’d tell Gus to make sure we get a free beer every time we come into this place. It’s not like we never been here before. People see us and they feel comfortable. They think two stand up guys like this place. Know what I mean?”
Gallino lifted his head and looked at the two thugs. “You see what’s happening here?”
Neither thug moved. They had no clue what Gallino was thinking and they didn’t want to be wrong.
“I’ll tell you what’s happening here,” said Gallino.
This made the two thugs happy, if they listened they had a good chance at passing a pop quiz.
“This is what’s happening. These two idiots are not idiots. See what I’m saying?”
Both thugs nodded, even though they did not see what Gallino was saying.
Gallino continued, “They are playing me. I do not like it when somebody plays me and I don’t know they are playing me. Nobody dares to do that, but these two, the did it. They played me like an accordion, which I used to play as a kid. This is not common knowledge, so do not say anything.”
The two thugs nodded.
“Gallino continued, “They suckered me into believing they were so dumb they would do me this favor and not look in the package. I, like a fool, believed them. I remember the lesson, Mario Zito taught me. He said, “Antonio, don’t believe nobody, even yourself. Because sometimes yourself lies to you.” Now I know what he means.”
The two thugs nodded.
“So, this is what I am going to do. First, I am going to leave the room while my two thugs mess up your face. Then I’m gonna come back to make sure they did it right. Then I’m gonna leave the room while the two thugs break your legs. Then I’m gonna come back to make sure your legs are broken. Then I’m gonna …”
Gallino paused his sermon on medical malpractice procedures the two thugs were going to inflict on Zeke and Mickey to answer his cell phone and its special ring tone, the Sinatra classic, All The Way. Gallino answered his cell, “Yah, baby.”
Gallino rolled his eyes while he listened to the phone.
“That’s not true, baby. Listen, I got work to do. Can we talk later?”
“Don’t you bust my smart TV. You already did? You got my laptop and you’re gonna take it to cops? I thought your sister was you. She tricked me.”
“She’s pregnant? She, I mean you, told me you were on the pill.”
A knock on the metal door interrupted Gallino’s phone conversation for a moment.
The pizza delivery thug answered the door. He turned to Gallino and said, “It’s Gus. He says it’s important.”
Gallino nodded to the thug and motioned with his hand to let Gus in the room. Gus entered and said, “Sorry to disturb you Mr. Gallino, but there are three women out there saying they’re going to newspaper saying you made unwanted sexual advances toward them.”
“I do that all the time, what’s their beef?” said Gallino. He realized he hadn’t covered the cell phone. The female voice on the other side of the cell phone connection was letting go with a series of colorful words that might make a hard boiled homicide detective blush.
Zeke said, “If I may, I believe I know a way of your predicament.”
Gallino said “What?”
Zeke answered, “Nonna put a curse on you. The only way to get the curse off is to apologize to her and Mickey and me. I’ll put in a good word with Nonna if you’ll take us to her house.”
Gallino threw his cell against the wall. He picked up a bottle of wine and threw it at Gus, who deftly sidestepped the errant throw and watched the vino splatter against the wall and the shattered bottled lay a mosaic on the floor.
“Okay, but I don’t like it,” said Gallino.
Will Nonna take off the curse? What’s in the package? What’s going to become of Zeke and Mickey?