Legos, the burly, baldheaded, bartender and forty percent owner of The Lucky Canary glances at the wall clock, one-thirty. His eyes drift to the empty table in the far corner of The Lucky Canary. It’s empty. Legos shrugs his shoulders and wonders what’s up with Nick Donato and Tony Abatti. They’re regulars and he can set his watch by them. They walk through the door one minute after The Lucky Canary opens for business. They are as regular as an old man gorging himself on prunes.
Legos first thought is he’s been too rough on the guys and they’re going to Lena’s at the other end of the street. It doesn’t figure since The Lucky Canary has the sole rights in the city to the cheap beer label. His next thought, Nick and Tony got arrested after a botched break in and are in lockup hoping the Tuna will bail them out. Legos considers it a possibility. Legos thought express slams to a halt when the door opens.
Nick walks in followed by Tony. Nick raises two fingers toward Legos and heads toward the corner table. Tony, wearing pressed jeans, a clean white button shirt tucked inside his jeans, and a scowl, walks in behind Nick. Tony’s hands are stuck in his pressed jeans pockets. Nick takes his seat at the table with his back to the wall. Tony sits next to Nick.
Legos carries over two cheap beers and a bowl of salted peanuts. “What’s with Tony? He making his first communion?” Legos asks Nick.
Tony looks up at Legos, “Legos, you don’t wanna know. It’s worse than getting a TSD and having to get a shot of pen a silly.”
Legos says, “It’s worse than an STD? You mean, penicillin.”
Tony says, “What’s an STD? Is it worse than a TSD? I never heard of that kind of pen, something new? Does it write upside down?”
Legos says, “An STD is bad, that’s all I’ll say.”
Legos ignores Tony and says to Nick, “What’s wrong with Tony? He looked happy enough with Lorraine.”
Nick nods. “He was with Lorraine for a week, but Lorraine moved to Vegas with her other boyfriend and this is what caused Tony’s problems. Tony’s life is in the toilet. It don’t get much worse unless you get busted by the cops for something you did.”
Legos says, “That is bad. The beers are on the house today, boys. I take it Tony had to move back in with his mom.”
Tony glances at Legos, “How’d you figure it? I thought only Nick knows my life is lower than the stuff a whale does and that’s at the bottom of the ocean.”
“It’s easy,” says Legos, “First, you look better than you usually do. No grunge, your jeans are pressed. Nobody in the neighborhood wears pressed jeans. You’re wearing a white button shirt and it’s tucked in. I figure you’re going to a wake but nobody in the neighborhood died recently, you don’t have a job, except when you work with the Tuna, that leaves one option, you’re living with your mama.”
“Man, it sucks, Legos. The shirt is giving me beehives.”
Legos says, “You mean hives.”
“What’s that? Is it a new disease? The first thing my mom tells me is she got new rules if I want to live room and board free in my old bedroom. The old rules was the best rules. I told her I’m a grown man I don’t need no rules. She tells me I’m still her little boy and if I don’t cept her rules I can’t live in her apartment. Life’s not fair, Legos. It’s just not fair. What have I ever done to anybody to make this happen to me? I thought I had good Kramer,” moans Tony taking a sip of his beer and munching on a handful of salted peanuts.
Legos says, “You mean karma.”
“Who’s he?” asks Tony.
Nick puts his beer down and says, “I got this, Tony. I know it’s hard for you to talk about all the bad stuff you’re going through.”
Tony clinks his beer can with Nick, “Thanks, buddy. It’s worse than getting your fingernails pulled out like what happened to that guy in the movie.”
“That was no movie. That happened to Beano Cirelli when he didn’t pay the vig he owed Mikey Fecco. He was lucky he only got one nail pulled out.”
“I forgot. My heads all messed up when I don’t wear my favorite sweatshirt,” says Tony.
Nick says, “Think of it this way, Legos. Tony’s thirty-eight years old. He don’t got a girl. The Tuna is very careful on the work he chooses, so Tony don’t have a steady cash flow. He’s living at home with his mom. She makes him pray the rosary every night after dinner with her. She’s saving his soul, which is a good thing.”
Tony interrupts, “She’s praying I become a priest so I can say mass for her every day after she dies.”
Legos says, “They got a term for guys like you, you’re an adult child living with your mommy.”
Nick says, “That’s not the worse, Legos. You gotta hear the rest.”