Nick steps on a roach and squishes it, grinding it into the floor. “Hey, Legos, I wasted a close family member. The Board of Health should close you down.” Nick high fives Tony.
Legos has his back to Nick and Tony. He’s watching a TV replay of a near miss on a goal. He hollers, “If it’s a roach, it musta dropped off your jacket when you walked in. Next time you come in here, shake your jacket off on the sidewalk. I run a classy joint.”
Nick sits down. Tony sits opposite him. Nick says, “Legos is quick with the comebacks. I never seen nothing like it. Nobody, I mean nobody beats him on the comeback. It don’t matter what you say, he’s got a comeback. You think he learned that someplace?”
Tony looks over his shoulder, Legos is watching the soccer game. He pours a draft and is drinking it while he watches the game. Legos sips his beer and turns toward Nick and Tony, “Davio’s a bum, he missed a penalty shot a kid could make. Now, France is gonna win.”
Nick not sure what Legos is talking about, but wanting to get on Lego’s good side says, “I’d like to get Davio in the ring. I’d make a comeback just to do it.”
Legos says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”
Nick answers, “No. But I’m pretty sure I can take him out in two rounds.”
Legos mutters, “I got to get a life.”
Nick and Tony clink bottles. Nick says, “Salute.”
Tony says, “Cheers.”
“What’s with the cheers? That was a TV program back in the last century, am I right?” says Nick.
Tony twists his head slightly and thinks about it. Ten seconds is the longest Tony’s brain holds a single thought. He says, “You telling me every time I say cheers, all I’m doing is saying the name of an old TV show I never watched except two or three times on reruns when there wasn’t anything else to watch?”
Nick takes a swig of his beer, sets it down and says, “That’s about it.”
“Can we toast again so I do it right?” asks Tony.
Nick raises his bottle and says, “Salute.”
Tony raises his bottle and says, “Salute. The reason I didn’t say salute in the first place was I think it’s something they do in the military. Am I right?”
“That’s the way we been saying around here for longer than I can remember, maybe longer. This is because we live in a mostly Italian neighborhood except for a few Jews, Puerto Ricans, Blacks, and the Pakistani family. I’m happy we’re keeping the French and Irish out.”
“What’s wrong with the French and Irish?” asks Tony.
“Nothing is wrong with them, but do you want the neighborhood to become the United Nations?”
“You got a point. Can we let the Japanese in? I got a Toyota,” says Tony.
“Asians are okay. I like Chinese food every once in while, except they eat with sticks,” says Nick.
Legos stopped washing glasses and snaps, “They’re called chopsticks, fools.” Legos wishes he recorded their conversation. He could write a book or create a reality show for TV, except nobody would believe it’s real.
Nick ignores Legos and says, “Where’d you get the dough, Tony? You fence some stolen goods? I know you don’t got a job.”
“I got stuff I can fence, it’s in Pete V’s garage, but I’m keeping a low profile since I’m on parole. I meet with my parole office every Monday. She tells me to find work. What am I spose to do, look in the lost and found? I tell her I’m looking every day, but I don’t tell her I’m not looking too hard. It don’t matter, she gives me a job interview every week. I go to the interviews, so far nothing’s panned out. She tells me one day I’ll get a real job and I won’t have to break and enter no more.”
“Where you getting the dough?”
“My girlfriend JoAnne takes care of me,” says Tony.
“What does JoAnne do?” asks Nick.
“You know, she does a little of this and that,” answers Tony taking a long swig of beer.
“What does that mean, a little of this and that? It could mean a lot of things,” says Nick.
“This time she did a little more of this than that and that’s why she got two-hundred extra,” says Tony.
“What was the this that she was doing?” asks Nick thinking what he’s saying doesn’t make sense.
“You know, a little here, and little bit there. She likes to spread it around.”
“What’s she spreading around and where is she spreading it?” asks Nick.
“Here and there?” answers Tony. “This time I think she was more there than here.”
Nick nods his head like he knows what Tony is talking about. He figures this is about as much as he’s going to get from Tony.
Tony says, “JoAnne came in last night or should I say early this morning. She woke me up and told me I can take a hundred out of her wallet because she loves me.”
“How do you meet these women? She’s like the perfect woman. She works while you watch TV. She brings home money and gives it to you and you don’t have to pay it back. For reasons I don’t know, she loves you.”
“What can I say, Nick? I have animal magnets women can’t resist.”
“You got like sixty buck left, how you gonna spend the rest?” asks Nick.
“I was thinking of buying sixty scratch off tickets. I could be a big winner and then I’ll never have to work. I’m due.”
Legos pours himself another draft, he’s getting a free show and he’s not paying a cent to watch.