🐤 The Lucky Canary ~ Stella Wants to Live on the Edge



Meanwhile, back at Lena’s . . .

Lena watches Nunzio in the mirror behind the bar. Al, the bartender, puts his hand under the bar on a sawed-off shotgun and aims at the one-hundred ninety pounds of muscle zip filed into a five-foot six-inch frame. Nunzio’s neck isn’t visible, his shoulders rise to meet his large head. Nunzio’s slicked back jet black hair has enough gel to hold a metal beam in place. A heavy black grunge gives Nunzio a look that would make a cartel boss renounce his life and enter a monastery.

Nunzio stops, slowly surveys Lena’s barroom. Sees Lena, he says, “Four, twenty, sixteen, and any other three numbers are good for Powerball.”

Lena half turns, half spins on her stool, “You might be Nunzio, but I win Powerball, I’m not sharing. You wanna find somebody who wants to share, go to Grove Street, they like to share needles.”

Nunzio breaks into a laugh, “The word on the street is you are a tough broad. Anybody say what you said to me I give them a third eye in the forehead. If you was younger and better looking, we might hook up.”

Lena tosses Nunzio the middle finger and goes back to her Powerball pick six sheets. Al whispers, “You are one tough mama.”

Lena says, “I been dealing with guys like Nunzio since I was six. Gimme me a beer, Al.”

Nunzio turns toward the rear booth, sees Stella and Lenny in a lip lock a metal worker with a blow torch can’t separate. Nunzio turns toward the booth and as casual as a lion stalking a helpless antelope and glides toward the booth.

Al whispers, “This ain’t gonna end good. Want me to dial the cops?”

Leno looks up from her Powerball sheets, “I hope something happens. People read about it, they’ll want to come in to see where it happened.”

“You’re always a step ahead, Lena,” says Al.

Nunzio stands at the booth, “Break it up. I wanna talk to you, bad broad.”

Stella and Lenny break the kiss. Lenny slides as far away from Nunzio as he can in the narrow confines of the booth. Stella picks up her cell phone, opens it, clicks on the camera icon, uses the camera as a mirror. She fools with her hair ignoring Nunzio.”

Nunzio says, “I hear you’re the broad with a heart as black as coal and a conscience as cold as an iceberg.”

Stella sets her cell on the table. She runs her eyes slowly up and down the five-foot six block of granite, “Who’s asking?”

“Nunzio is asking,” says Nunzio.

“I didn’t go to college but I know third person when I hear it,” says Stella.

Nunzio glances over his shoulder, “There’s nobody here with me. You’re acting like you got ice water in your veins.”

“I’d prefer having Jim Beam in my veins. Whatcha want, Nunzio?” says Stella reaching into her handbag and pulling out an emery board.

“Who’s the punk?” asks Nunzio.

“Nunzio, it’s me, Lenny. I tried to hire you to whack Tony, but we don’t need you no more. We got a plan,” says Lenny.

“I’m not so good with names. I’m also not so good with faces. Somebody is always asking me to whack somebody. Why would you say this out loud so the old broad with an attitude at the bar and bartender can hear you?”

Al hollers, “We didn’t hear nothing.”

“Okay,” says Nunzio. Nunzio stares at Stella.

“What are you looking at?” snaps Stella.

“What does it look like I’m looking at? You stupid or something?” says Nunzio.

“I know what you’re looking at. My eyes are up here. That is why I asked you what are you looking at,” says Stella working on her right thumb nail with the emery board.

“Good point. I hear you like to hook up with bad boys?” says Nunzio.

“What are you, a priest or something? Who I hook up with is my business,” says Stella.

Nunzio slides into the booth across from Stella and Lenny. He reaches inside his sports coat. Lenny tries to slide under the table. Nunzio glances at Lenny, “Fool, if I was to hit you, you wouldn’t see it coming. Sit up.”

Lenny says, “I dropped my cell phone.”

“What a wuss. Why are you hooking up with this guy? He looks like he is on steroids. You know what they say about guys who take roids for a long time, they lose their equipment.”

“I got plenty of equipment I use to workout with at home. You wanna borrow it?” says Lenny.

Nunzio ignores Lenny and looks at Stella, “The roids are rotting out his brain.”

Stella says, “I ain’t seen you blink since you come over here.”

“I don’t blink. It keeps guys on edge and turns the broads on. I can see it’s already having an affect on you,” says Nunzio.

Stella’s thinking, Nunzio is certifiable. Maybe I can use him to pop Tony and Lenny, then I got to find somebody to pop Nunzio.

“You can do a lot better, bad broad,” says Nunzio. He opens a fresh deck of cards and lays four playing cars on the table, face down.

“What are you doing, playing solitaire?” says Stella.

“I don’t play games. What’s it look like I’m doing?” says Nunzio.

Stella’s not sure if Nunzio is playing with a full deck. She says, “It looks like you’re laying your cards on the table.”

“I take for a bad broad and a bright broad. That’s a dangerous combo. I like it. I’m laying my cards on the table,” says Nunzio. Nunzio flips over the first card, “It’s a two.” He stares at Lenny, “You know what two means?”

Lenny’s brain struggles for the answer he thinks Nunzio wants to hear. He settles on the only thought comes into his mind, “It’s less than seven.”

Stella and Nunzio glare at Lenny. Nunzio says, “The number is a two. This means if I count to five, which is as high as I ever count, and you are still at this table, your life expectancy come to an end.”

Lenny drops down under the table and crawls out from under. He stands up, “Stella, you coming to my place when you and Nunzio are through doing what you are doing?”

Stella glances at Lenny, “Don’t hold your breath.”

Lenny says, “I’ll call you tomorrow. I don’t mind sharing. Can I have the keys to my car?”

Nunzio turns over another card. It’s a three. “Lenny, you know what the three means?”

Lenny shakes his head.

Nunzio says, “You got three seconds to get out of Lena’s before I put a bullet in your kneecap.”

“Don’t shoot, I’m going. I can’t let anything happen to my legs. I got perfect definition for the contest,” says Lenny heading for the door.

Stella reaches over and places her hand on Nunzio’s forearm. “Is this the arm you was going to use to shoot Lenny in the leg?”

Nunzio nods.

“You are so bad, you make Hannibal Lector look like a good guy. You gonna take me home or do I take you home? It don’t matter,” says Stella.

“First things first, bad and bright broad,” says Nunzio. He flips over the remaining two cards, a king and queen. “You know what these mean?”

“What?” asks Stella.

“I been waiting to meet a woman as bad and bright as me. I tried Tinder. I tried Match. I tried Craig’s List. I tried them all. I met some bad ones, but they’re all girl scouts compared to you. You are a double crossing, two-faced broad, who’s treacherous, devious, and as my saintly mom would say if she was alive, you are plain nasty. You’re everything I want in a broad. For me, it is love at first sight. I’m gonna guess you’re like me and don’t have time to build a relationship. I’m gonna spit it right out, “Let’s hook up and see where it takes us. I give you fair warning, the last broad who double or triple crossed me is swimming with the fishes.”

Stella dives across the table, her arms wrapping around Nunzio’s oversized head, “I do. I do. I always wanted to live on the edge and the edgier the better. This is as good as it gets. Can I watch you whack people?”

“Easy bad broad, you get your first look when I knock off Tony. Then, I’m gonna knock of Lenny. I don’t like left overs. You got any other ex’s I can knock over?”

Stella’s thinking Nunzio will wipe out half the neighborhood if she starts naming all the guys she’s been with. Stella says, “No, I was a virgin when I met Tony.”

Nunzio nods, “What time does Tony get home from The Lucky Canary?”

Stella says, “Another two hours, we got time if you know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean but I want to get a haircut first. It’s something I do before I whack somebody. It’s a good luck thing. I only go to Sal the barber. I got an appointment in an hour. Let’s get out of this dive and go Filipetti’s Wine Shoppe to celebrate. You got the wheels.”

Stella says, “This is the best day of my life.”



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