The door to The Lucky Canary swings open. Tina and Nick turn toward the door. Tony moves to the edge of his chair, stares at the door, sets his feet as if he were an Olympic sprinter getting ready to make a break for the rear exit. The suspense builds. Ten seconds later, Joey, half African-American, half Italian, all neighborhood, wearing dark aviator sunglasses, polished head, pants and shirt courtesy of the thrift store, and steel toe black working shoes steps into The Lucky Canary, glances around, nods to Tina, Nick, and Tony. He tosses the middle finger to Legos. Legos gives it back with both hands. Joey turns around and says, “It’s all clear.”
The Tuna shuffles past Joey over to the table in the corner. Tony stands up, pulls out the chair next to Tina for the Tuna.
Joey trails closer to the Tuna than the Tuna’s shadow. “Pulling out the Tuna’s chair is my job,” says Joey.
“No, it’s my job. I always pull the chair out for Tune,” says Tony.
“Tuna, tell Tony it’s my job to pull out your chair,” pleads Joey.
The Tuna sits down, Tony helps the Tuna slide closer to the table. Tony quickly takes the seat on the other side of Tuna.
“Tuna, tell Tony, I’m supposed to sit next to you,” says Joey.
Tuna glances at Tina, “Beautiful broad, you mind if I have a shot of your Jack Daniels?”
Tina slides her shot glass in front of Tuna and fills it. Tuna tosses it down. “One more.”
Tina glances at Legos, “We’ll need another bottle.”
Nick glances at Legos behind the bar, “When you bring Tinzi the Jack Daniels, how about a couple of bowls of salted nuts. I don’t like to drink on an empty stomach.”
“Do I look like meals on wheels?” says Legos.
“Bring the pickled eggs. If you got some Italian bread, bring that too,” says Tony.
“You want eggs and Italian bread, get a real job and maybe Stella won’t think she’s your sugar mama,” says Legos carrying the Jack Daniels to the table.
“You forgot the salted nuts,” says Nick.
“I didn’t forget them. They don’t come out until after you leave,” says Legos.
“That’s nice. Good thing you don’t treat all your regulars this way, you’d have no business,” says Nick.
Nick turns toward Tuna, “You hired Joey as your bodyguard? I didn’t know you was advertising for such a position. I won more fights in the pros than Joey. He got a good jab, but he don’t have no power in his hands. Sure, he can dance, but you need somebody who can take a punch even if he can’t dance.”
“How many times you get knocked out, Nick?” asks Legos from behind the bar.
“I don’t keep track of negative stuff. I never got knocked out in a fight I won. You can look that up,” says Nick.
“How many fights you win?” asks Legos.
“I lost count,” says Nick.
“I’m guessing your brain locks up at five,” says Legos.
“I quit fighting to save my brain,” answers Nick.
“You’re too smart for Legos, Nick,” says Tony fist bumping Nick.
Joeys says, “Sure, I got no power in my punches but I did more time in the joint than you and I knows all the tricks about dirty fighting.”
Nick says, “No offense intended, Joey. Tuna, I’m not saying fire Joey, all I’m saying is if you needs a second body guard who can watch your back when Joey is watching your front, I can do this.”
“I can live with this, Tuna,” says Joey.
Tuna stares at Nick and Joey, “What are you two talking about?”
Nick turns and stares at Joey. Joey stares at Nick and shrugs his shoulders. Nick’s brain hits a speed bump, he tries to remember what he was talking about. He knows it was several things but he’s not sure which one Tuna wants to talk about.
Tina recognizes Nick’s brain freeze. She says, “Nick, the Tuna was talking about the second thing, not the first or the third thing.”
Nick has the deer in the headlights look. His jaw hangs slightly open. His tongue tries to move but isn’t getting any go message from his brain. His brain is getting tired trying to figure out the second thing when it can’t find the first thing.
Tony touches Nick’s arm, “I think I can help, Nick.”
Nick turns his head toward Tony and nods.
Legos brings the Tuna his crystal wine glass and a bottle of The Lucky Canary’s finest red wine. He fills Tuna’s glass exactly one-quarter full and sets the bottle on the table. The Tuna taps Tina’s arm, “You interested in what Tone has to say?”
Tina’s playing with her smart phone. She looks away from her smart phone toward the Tuna, “What could he say that would interest me?”
The Tuna says, “You don’t leave any chicken on the bone, beautiful broad.”
Tony says, “First and foremost, and forthrightly . . .”
Tuna cuts Tony off, “What’s with the first and foremost and forthrightly crap?”
“I was watching a rerun of Law and Order and one of the lawyers objected and said it. I wrote it down and memorized it.”
“Watching Law and Order reruns, this how you spend your day?” asks Tuna.
“I never know when I’ll be back in court. Watching Law and Order is like going to school. I’ll be smarter than the judge or the cops,” says Tony.
“Why do I come here?” the Tuna asks rhetorically.
“Entertainment,” says Legos from behind the bar.