Meanwhile . . . Down the Street at Lena’s
Bogey carries two beers to the corner booth in Lena’s. He sets the beers on the table and winks at Stella.
Stella says, “You got a twitch in your right eye.”
Bogey likes what he is seeing, and gives Stella his best pick up line, “Bogey wants to know if you ever seen a real man?”
Stella starts laughing, “Is this a pickup line? Or, are you practicing a standup comedy routine?”
Bogey says, “Bogey hears you carry a heavy rep as a bad broad. Bogey also hears you like bad boys. If you’re looking for bad, Bogey’s a very bad boy.”
“You don’t look like no bad boy to me. You look like you’re an accountant or you manag a Donut King franchise,” says Stella pouring herself another shot of Jim Beam.
Bogey says, “You got the words, sister, but Bogey’s got the music. You can bluff the low lifes in this neighborhood, but you can’t bluff Bogey.”
Stella glances at Bogey, “Why are you talking in third person? Anybody ever teach you how to talk if you want to have an intelligent conversation?”
Bogey says, “Mind if Bogey slides in across from you? I’m as tough as they come, I chew nails and spit bullets. I’m the great white shark in a tweed coat and chino pants.”
Lena and Al start laughing.
Stella says, “I don’t got all day. What’s in it for me if I give you the low down on the Dollar Store bandits?”
Bogey sucks his beer gut in and slides in the booth. “I didn’t wait for the invite, because I don’t want anybody else to hear what we are talking about. There’s a ten grand reward leading to capture and conviction of the Dollar Store bandits. If you give me good info, there’s a fifty dollar bill in it for you.”
Stella knocks back another shot of Jim Beam, “You trying to treat me like some cheap, hooked on drugs, need a fix, hooker?”
Bogey looks at Stella, “Bogey don’t discriminate against hookers.”
Stella starts laughing, “The only thing you might catch by yourself going after the Dollar Store bandits is the flu or an STD.”
“Won’t happen, bad broad, Bogey got the seasonal flu shot. Bogey is one, maybe two, three steps ahead of you. Bogey will split the reward, eighty percent for me, twenty percent for you,” says Bogey.
Stella says, “I think I’ll call Crime Stoppers and get it all for myself. How’s that sound?”
“It sounds like you are in over your head and you are about to drown,” says Bogey.
Lena nods to Al, “How much longer do you think these negotiations are going to go on? They’re making me lose my concentration on picking winning Powerball numbers.”
Al says, “I’ve got twenty bucks, Stella doesn’t know nothing. Another fifty, Bogey doesn’t know what hit him when she’s through with him.”
Lena glances at Al, “I was born on the weekend, but not last weekend. No way I’ll take that bet.”
Bogey says, “You won’t call Crime Stoppers because you’re not sure if you got anything. If you had something, you would have already called Crime Stoppers.”
“I got something and I’m not giving it to you until you cut me in fifty-fifty,” says Stella taking an emery board out of her handbag and starting to file her nails.
“You’re one cool broad. Is it true about the rumors you and Nunzio was an item?” says Bogey.
“Who wants to know?” says Stella.
“Bogey wants to know,” says Bogey.
More laughing from Lena and Al.
Stella knocks down another shot of Jim Beam. “You gonna try to mess around me, your little old heart will explode. What I can give Bogey, Bogey can’t handle it. Bogey will have a heart attack.”
“Bogey says Bogey’s been with the best and Bogey always passes the test,” says Bogey.
“Let’s cut the dilly dallying, shilly shallying, playing the dipsi doo if you know what I mean,” says Stella.
“Bogey knows what you mean. Bogey wants to know who’s the Tuna?” says Bogey.
“You never heard of the Tuna? You call yourself a PI? If you don’t know who the Tuna is you are playing in the middle of the Turnpike at rush hour,” says Stella.
“You talking the large sub they sell at Subway?” asks Bogey. “I’m more partial to the Philly Cheesesteak sub than I am for a Tuna sub.”
“Subway? A subway in this neighborhood is something that runs underground and gets you anyplace you want to go in the city. I ain’t seen a Sub shop ever in the subway. I seen lots of other things, but a sub shop is not one of them.”
Bogey takes a long pull from his beer bottle, “Just not the same as the cheap beer. Bogey’s got a bad feeling the bad broad is running in circles and she knows nothing about no how and no way when it comes to the Dollar Store bandits. Bogey is going to exit unless the bad broad spill the goods and spills them now.”
Stella glances at Bogey, “Looks like you wanna play hardball. I wanna see how much zip you got on your fastball.”
“Bogey coulda pitched for the Sox. They was gonna sign Bogey out of high school but Bogey chose a professional route instead,” says Bogey.
“What was the professional route you chose out of high school? The way you talk, you didn’t go to Harvard. You take online courses or something?” asks Stella.
Bogey reaches into the inner pocket in his tweed coat and pulls out an oversized brown leather wallet. He opens it and reaches into one of twenty-seven places to store cards, papers, you name it and pulls out a multi-folded white paper. He carefully unfolds it and holds it up so Stella can read it. Bogey says, “This is Bogey’s graduation certificate from the PI Institute of America. Bogey graduated with honors.”
Stella says, “Where is this place located?”
“Online,” says Bogey.
“How long did it take you to earn your certificate?” asks Stella.
“Bogey’s very smart. Bogey set a record at passing all the courses. Bogey made it through in six weeks,” says Bogey.
“How much you pay for this piece of paper?” asks Stella.
“Bogey got a student loan. Bogeys still owe twenty-thousand dollars,” says Bogey. “Bogey’s gonna bust the Dollar Store bandits and get his own TV show. Bad broad, you play your cards right, Bogey will write you in the script as my secretary and part-time lover.”
Stella says, “If I help you get the Dollar Store bandits, can I be a PI too and I’ll still be your part-time lover as long as I can have a few other part time lovers on the side.”
Lena taps Al’s arm and says, “Al, Lena wants to know how Bogey got a PI license.”
Lena and Al start laughing.