Rudolfo’s is an upscale restaurant in the middle of the city’s business district. Beautiful women, handsome men, all rich and famous, dine at Rudolfo’s. Each Thursday, at precisely 12:15, Wilson Van Worthington shows up. He has a reserved table in a corner where he meets with a liaison provided by an elite escort service. Wilson and his escort enjoy expensive wine and light appetizers before heading to his 21st floor condo.
Nick and Tony walk into Rudolfo’s at 12 p.m. Nick’s wearing a brown fedora and plastic black rimmed glasses with a plastic nose that do not go well with his old jeans, scuffed up Nike’s and a Patriot’s hoodie. Tony’s a carbon copy except for the worn New Balance shoes, and a Red Sox wind breaker. The Matre d rubs his temple with his right hand hoping to avert an aneurysm. He grabs hold of his cell and puts his finger on nine-one-one. He gives a throat clearing cough and says, “We don’t serve hamburgers and cheap beer.”
Nick answers, “You serve meatball subs or pizza?”
Tony taps Nick on the shoulder, “Ask him if they serve friend clam rolls with extra tartar sauce.”
Nick nods, then says, “One clam roll with extra tartar sauce and a pepperoni pizza to go after we finish up.”
“We don’t serve pepperoni pizza or clam rolls, they are so, how should I say it, uninspiring. They make my taste buds cringe.”
Nick says, “You saying you don’t like pepperoni pizza and clam rolls? If that was what you was saying what planet you been living on? Everybody I know likes pepperoni on their pizza. When they are not eating pizza or meatball subs, they might be jonesing for a clam roll like Tony is jonesing for a clam roll. Can you make us an expectation.”
“Do you mean exception?” says the matre d.
“Why would I mean that? Everybody with a half brain knows I am not talking about my ex since I got officially engaged,” says Nick.
“What are you talking about?” says the Matre d.
“You go first. What are you talking about?” says Nick.
The Matre d takes a red silk handkerchief out of his suit coat pocket and wipes his brow. “In the interest of all that is right in the world, we can make you a flatbread with arugula. You’ll have to wait out on the sidewalk for your order since you do not have the proper attire.”
Tony says, “What tire? My care passed introspection in April. I still got a quarter inch of tread.”
The matre d, now four shades of violet and one of magenta says, “I will make it simple, we have a strict dress code.”
Nike chimes in, “You telling me we gotta wear a dress if we want to eat here?”
The Matre d glares at Nick.
Nick says, “We don’t wanna eat here since you don’t serve real food. We wanna talk to Rudolfo.”
“Well, Rudolfo is busy. You can leave now,” says the matre d.
Nick says, “You tell Rudolfo, the Tuna says we gotta talk to him.”
The Matre d says, “Why didn’t you say so, I didn’t know you wanted seared blackened tuna to go. It goes without saying all the tables are taken and you can’t eat in.”
Nick crowds the podium. He says, “You tell Rudolfo the Tuna says he talks to us. Or, do you want me to holler it out?”
The matre d says, “Who is the Tuna? I’m calling the police.”
Tony says, “The Tuna is a personal friend of Rudolfo’s. If you wanna keep your job, you do what the Tuna wants or the Tuna is not gonna be happy. It’s not good when the Tuna is not happy. One time he was not happy with me and I couldn’t go to The Lucky Canary for three days. It almost killed me.”
“What are you talking about?” says the matre d.
Tony doesn’t know what he talking about but has a ready answer for this kind of question. “I was talking about this, that and the other thing, but mostly about other thing.”
“You two have to leave. I’m going to count to three and then I am going to call the police,” says the matre d.
A short, thin, silver haired man in an Italian, tailor made, three-thousand-dollar suit sidles up behind the maître d. “Something wrong, Gregory.”
“Oh, Rudolfo, these two are saying someone called a tunafish wants to talk to you and I am trying to get rid of them. Do you want me to call the police?” asks the Matre d.
Rudolfo glances at Nick and Tony, “It’s the Tuna and anytime you hear his name you say it with the deepest respect,” says Rudolfo. He turns to Nick and Tony, “Ah, you are boys from the neighborhood. The Tuna called me and said you will need some assistance, come into my office. I have everything you need.”
Tony grabs a handful of mints off the table next to the matre d, flips Gregory the bird, and follows Nick who’s following Rudolfo. Gregory clears his throat, adjusts his sleeves and jacket and smiles at the next customer. “Ah, Mr. Van Worthington, so sorry for the delay. We can’t help what drifts in from the street every now and then. Your table is all set for you.”