Chapter 2 – Doing It Our Way

Chapter 2

Grace stood on the front porch of her brick, ranch style home with her right hand across the top of her eyes blocking out the sun’s rays. She looked toward Ellen and Dan’s home. Matt was ten minutes late. Grace held her iPhone in her hand. Five more minutes, she thought. That’s all the time she’d give Matt. She had to give him some leeway, but still, she gave him a deadline.
Grace’s grip tightened on her iPhone. She typed in her passcode and went to her speed dial. She looked at Ellen’s number. She looked toward their house and smiled. She saw Matt turn out of Ellen’s driveway on his skateboard. He turned up the street toward home and waved.
Ellen waved back. She felt a huge sense of relief through her body. Will I ever stop worrying about him, she thought. No, she answered herself. She tracked Matt and his skateboard the same way an air traffic controller tracks air traffic in and out of a high volume airport.
Sixty seconds later, Matt coasted his skateboard into the driveway, kicked the backend of it, causing it to flip up. Matt caught it his hand. He carried his skateboard with his right hand, cut across the lawn, and climbed the steps.
“Hi, mom. Sorry, I’m late,” said Matt walking past Grace.
“Wait a minute, Matt. Don’t I get a hug or a kiss?” Said Grace.
“I have to run to the bathroom, Mom. I’ll see you in a couple of minutes,” said Matt, opening the door.
“Matthew Zinkowitz come back here, right now,” said Grace. She knew when Matt was telling the truth and when he was hiding something.
Matt called from the hallway, “Do I have to?”
“Yes,” said Grace adding a firmness to her tone.
Grace stood arms akimbo watching Matt walk toward her. Her heart started racing, “Matt, what happened to you? Come here, right now. Let me see your eye.”
Matt walked up to his mother, “Mom it’s nothing. Don’t make a big deal about it.”
“Who hit you? How did this happen?” Said Grace sounding like cop interrogating a suspect.
Matt looked down at his Nike’s, “It happened, that’s all. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m okay.”
Grace put her hands on Matt’s shoulders and began to slowly inspect Matt’s face, his shirt, his arms, and hands. “Turn your hands over, I want to see your knuckles.
Matt turned his hands over. “Your hands are bruised. You were in a fight. Who were you fighting with, Matthew.”
Matt didn’t like it when he heard Matthew. It meant only one thing to him and it wasn’t good. He said, “I don’t want to talk about it, Mom.”
“Oh, you are going to talk about it. I want to know who you were fighting with. Why you were fighting. And, why you broke my rule and didn’t walk away when trouble is starting?”
Matt kept staring at his Nike’s.
Grace’s iPhone rang. “Don’t you leave. You stay right here.” Grace reached into the back pocket on her jeans and looked at caller ID. It was Ellen.
“Hello, Ellen,” said Grace.
Grace listened. She nodded her head. Occasionally turned her head toward Matt and shook her head disapprovingly. She ended the conversation, “Thank you, Ellen. Matt and will talk about this tonight.”
Grace slipped her iPhone into her rear jean’s pocket and turned and faced Matt, “You fought with Tommy?”
“Mom, please let it go. It will all work out. Everything will be okay,” said Matt, kicking at a non existing rock on the floor.
“How can I forget about the bruise under your eye? How can Ellen forget about Tim getting a tooth knocked out of his mouth and his bloody nose? She’s rushing him to the dentist to try to save the tooth.”
Matt looked up and gave his mom a sheepish smile, “I caught him a couple of good ones.”
“Matthew! Matthew what have I told you about fighting?”
“I know, Mom. Can I get cleaned up. I promise to tell you the whole story at lunch. Okay?”
Grace shook her head, she thought, he’s not yet in his teens. What will I do then? Then she said, “Okay, get cleaned up. We’ll talk about it at lunch. No texting or talking to anyone between now and then, do I have your word?”
Matt shrugged, “Yes, Mom. What if someone texts or calls me?”
“I was only kidding, Mom. Thanks for waiting,” said Matt. He turned and headed toward his room.
Grace’s iPhone rang. She pulled it out of her rear jean’s pocket. She was relieved to see it wasn’t Ellen. It was her friend Jane.
“Hi, Jane,” said Grace.
“Ellen and Dan are not going? Are you going to cancel? It’s okay with me,” said Grace.
Grace bit on her lower lip as she listened, occasionally nodding. She said, “I know I promised. Okay, but this is the last time. I have your word. See you next Saturday.”


This Is A Blind Date?

I think La Flor has found her niche in life, disrupting the lives of others. She’s really good at it. I think it is a gift. It’s not a gift I want or would regift. LC is her ally. He grovels. He jumps when she wants him to jump. And, he’s being groomed to be head of the DiMarco family when Big Carmen takes leave. La Flor encourages LC’s work for the family, she thinks LC is a saint. I’ll let you be the judge. Then we have O’Leary, the donut eating, bad coffee drinking, Irish cop. Today’s episode begins with La Flor and LC sitting on one side of the dining room table. O’Leary and Carmela sitting opposite, and I am at the table’s end or head, whatever.

“Tanks for invite to dinner. I love pizza almost as much as I loves donuts,” said O’Leary pushing one piece of pizza into his mouth and reaching for another.

La Flor look at Carmela who was staring at O’Leary’s conveyer belt in action. La Flor said, “O’Leary’s been voted the most eligible bachelor at the police department. He scored high on all the biggies.”

Carmela turned to La Flor and said, “What biggies?”

“He’s a rising star. They’ve already tapped him to be chief. He’ll probably be mayor, a senator, maybe President with the right woman, which could be you,” said La Flor.

O’Leary wiped some sauce, a piece of pepperoni, a bit of cheese off his face with his sleeve. He looked at it and said, “I’m going have to send this shirt to the cleaners. You got a paper towel.”

I said, “That rolled up cloth with the tips of a fork, knife and spoon, that’s your napkin.”

“It is? I never seen anyting so fancy. Use knows some very high brow tricks. Pretty clever, right Farmella?”


Carmela turned to O’Leary, “It’s Carmela.”

“Who’s Farmella? I taught (that’s how he says thought) Ray said use name was Farmella.”

Why me? Why do I always get blamed?

O’Leary continued, “Use is the most beautiful member of the udder (instead of other) species I have ever had a blind date.”

Carmela, startled, looked at La Flor, “This is a blind date? I thought you said it was a quiet dinner with friends? What will TT say if he finds out?”

O’Leary ignored the comment and reached for a cream filled donut.

La Flor knows how change songs in the middle of the song she’s singing. She said, “Well are you friend with LC, Ray, and me?”


“Now you have a new friend, O’Leary.”

“But what about the blind date part?” said Carmela.

La Flor leaned toward Carmela, “Just between we girls (why she said this, I don’t know because LC and I were listening. I couldn’t tell about O’Leary, he was on his third course) he’s a better catch than TT. Just look at him. TT couldn’t keep up with him. And, you should hear what the woman at police headquarters say about him.”

“What?” asked Carmela.

“I’ll just say, because this is a family blog, you can’t put out his flame, if you know what I mean. I hear TT’s flame doesn’t burn that long. You can do so much better.”

“What do you mean. Flame? Burn? I don’t understand?”

“You poor thing. I’ve got so much to teach you and so little time. You are so innocent. A newbie. A glimpse of spring in a world that is rushing past you. Listen to me, I’m your mentor. TT is gone for a week, take O’Leary for a test drive. What have you got to lose?”

A test drive? Is La Flor nuts?

I’ve got to figure a way out of this conundrum. I’m going to grab a bag chips, some salsa, and see what’s on Netflix to clear my mind.