Open Up, It’s The Police

Lil Carlo sits in the passenger seat, he’s Big Carmen’s 70 year old hit man. The one with long nose and big ears. He sells beats to supplement his senior income. The two in the backseat, La Flor and LC, are passionately engaged. Me? I’m scared to death. I’m an accomplice before and after the fact. The Feds will be all over this case. LC used an explosive to bust open the door to Francine Peony’s mansion. I hope she’s in good hands, because she is going to need insurance. The night didn’t end when we left the scene of the crime. Keep reading to see what happened.

I hear La Flor talking to LC in the backseat as we pull into the driveway, “This kind of excitement turns me so on. We’ve got to do again. Can you get more explosives?”

Lil Carlo adjusts his hearing aid, “Mind repeating that?”

La Flor and LC ignore him, they’re back at it. It’s a family blog, I won’t go into details.

Ten minutes later we’re back, sitting in the living room.

“Want me to call you a handsome cab, Lil Carlo?” I said. Hey, I’m trying to make a joke and cut the tension.

“No tanks. Use got an extra bedroom? I’m gonna lay low until the heat blows over.”

“You moving in?” I said.

“Only temporarily until it ain’t temporary. Know what I mean?”

Unfortunately, I do.

“I’m starvin. I gots to eats to keep my energy tonight,” said LC.

“Ray, make LC a steak. All you did was stand around. You were no help,” said La Flor.

“I don’t eat steak. Remember I’m a vegetarian,” I said.

“You need help. I can find you a support group. I suppose you want to save the dolphins, the whales, stray dogs and cats, and guppies. You veggies are all alike,” said La Flor.

“What’s wrong with that? They’re veggie burgers in the freezer. Four frozen quinoa burritos. Left over Pad Thai with tofu, and 12 Quest power bars.”

“Make LC a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pronto. I don’t want him to go out on me,” said La Flor.

Before I can turn toward the kitchen, I hear the squealing of tires, the slamming of a car door, and fist banging on my front door.

“Open up, it’s the police.”

“Somebody let O’Leary in. Lil Carlo, take off your latex gloves,” I said.

Lil Carlo put his right hand up to his mouth to pull his latex glove off with his teeth. He gave a good pull. The glove is still affixed to his hand. His teeth, uppers and lowers, affixed to his glove. His upper and lower lips are curled around his toothless gums.

I’th gonna kilth tha denthis,” Lil Carlo muttered.

O’Leary’s first words from the doorway, “I’m starvin, Marvin. Use got any donuts?”

I’m partially prepared, “There are two boxes of Sara Lee frozen pastries in the freezer. LC, do you mind putting them in the microwave for O’Leary?”

“If I can share?” said LC.

“Why are coming by so late?” I asked. I hoped he didn’t give me an answer I didn’t want to hear.

“Did use hear the implosion? It couldn’t happened more than ten minutes after I left for Joey’s. The chief was all over me until I gave him my to go bag from Joey’s. One bite and he understood. That’s why I’m starvin, Marvin.”

“It happened at Francine’s mansion?” asked La Flor with a look and voice of innocence.

“Wrecked the house. Glad no one was home. You almost done microwaving them?” said O’Leary.

“I just found them. They was hiding under leftover rice cauliflower,” said LC.

“Never mind microwaving. I’ll eat mine frozen,” said O’Leary hitching up his belt under the overlay of his belly.

“What was the cause? Any ideas?” the sweet demure La Flor asked.

“Das why I stooped by (yes, he said stooped instead of stopped). Use guys hear anyting,” said O’Leary.

Before anyone could answer, he noticed Lil Carlo and the latex gloves he was wearing. “I don’t tinks we ever met? Why are use wearing latex gloves? You’re not latex sensitive, are you?”

Lil Carlo got his teeth back in before O’Leary saw him. Lil Carlo may be 70 years old with a dirty, worn old guy’s golfing cap, but he is quick as a whip. Lil Carlo said, “My name is Dr. Funguli. I just finished giving Ray his procto. Would you like one? No charge for the police.”

O’Leary blanched turning from his normal pink cherubic face to white as a winter’s snow. “No, no tanks, but tanks for the office.”

LC carrying Sara Lee from the kitchen to the living room said, “I never had one, and I ain’t gonna ever has one, if use know what I mean.”

LC hands a box labled, All Butter Pound Cake to O’Leary. “Dis is for starters. When use finishes, the second course is the whole Banana Crème pie.”

“Use is the best friend a cop can have,” O’Leary said almost teary eyed overcome with emotion.

La Flor butted in, “I’m a trained PI, O’Leary. I have two leads for you to check out. I’m pretty sure either one will pan out for you and you’ll get a commendation.”

Okay, La Flor’s running some kind of game. I can’t quite figure it out.”

“I heards of use reputation, beautiful, tough and edgy world-class PI,” said O’Leary with mouthful of pound cake. His cheeks puffed out like a squirrel carrying nuts. I wondered if O’Leary was storing food for later.

“First, O’Leary, Francine Peony is not what she appears to be,” said La Flor.

“Use means she’s not a woman, with that cleavage?” said O’Leary.

“It’s not as good as mine. And, you can tell she’s not real. I’m only going to say this once, Francine blew up her own mansion for the insurance,” said La Flor.

I want to scream, ‘You can’t say that,’ but I feel Lil Carlo’s gun pressed against my spine.

LC says, “May I, beautiful, tough, and edgy woman turned on by excitement.”

“Take it home you tough as a tiger, strong as an ox and handsome as Adonis hunk of male,” said La Flor. It sounded as if she were growling.

“Here’s da utter ting, did use notice a whiff of gas when we was speaking wit use about Joey’s donuts ?”

“No. Do you tink a gas line exploded?” said O’Leary.

“If the dame didn’t do it. The gas line did it,” those da only two or four choices use gots,” said LC.

O’Leary grabbed hold of the remains of his two boxes and said, “I gotta go. I’m gonna bust this case wide open.”

La Flor went up to O’Leary and grabbed him by his jacket lapels, “Grill her until she snaps. Don’t let up. She’ll crack. I’ve seen the type. Tough on the outside, mush on the inside. Slap her around if she gets fresh. She’ll wise up.”

“Tanks for the tips,” said O’Leary rushing out of the house.

“La Flor, that was wrong, so wrong,” I said.

“I know she’s bad, Ray. I’m convinced she’s guilty.”

“Reality check. It was us.”

“Minor details. LC carry me off,” said La Flor.

Me? I’m sitting at the living room table staring at Lil Carlo trying to get his latex gloves off. Want to see where this story is heading? Come by tomorrow.

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It’s Not Unusual

It’s two days since La Flor, LC, and I attended the famous writer, Francine Peony’s party. La Flor and LC went to case the house and report to Big Carmen. Me? I was listed on the invitation and hoped I’d meet her literary agent. Instead, I met Vinnie, one of Big Carmen’s enforcers, a senior citizen security guard, and I was insulted by Francine Peony. La Flor told me Big Carmen runs the most exciting organization in the city. I know she and LC are cooking up a scheme to break into Francine’s 12,000 square foot home soon. Let see what they’re up to.

I’m watching La Flor speaking excitedly to someone on her cell.

“Yes.”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

“It’s all set?”

“You are the master. If LC ever leaves me, I’m yours.”

La Flor shuts her cell down, gives LC a thumbs up then looks at me, “That was Big Carmen. The three of us are going in tonight. Peony is going to an invitation only wine tasting event, followed by dinner at the Skylark. I don’t understand why I didn’t get an invite. When we’re in her house, if I find my invite, she’s in big trouble.”

“Yah, she’s in big trouble and that starts with P,” said boy genius, LC.

“Close, LC. I’m not going,” I said.

“Ray, Ray, Ray. You are the slow learner. I have three words for you that might help you make a better decision,” said La Flor.

“They better be good, because I’m not going.”

“Use wants me to says them?” said LC.

“Let’s take turns. Keep an eye on him to see when he caves in,” said La Flor.

“Ray, first word. Vinnie.”

“Ray-mo, second word, Rocco.”

My pulse rate is elevated. My heart in knocking so loudly against my chest cavity, I may have a noise complaint filed against me with the HOA.”

“Ray, third word, Tony.”

10 hours later.

I look at my cell, it’s nine-forty-five. We’re on the street where she lives. That line reminds me of a song (apologies to My Fair Lady). My car is parked against the curb, we’re sitting and waiting. Another car pulls up a hundred yards ahead on the opposite side of the street. The driver turns the lights off. The car looks familiar. I’m trying to place it.

La Flor and LC stop kissing for the moment. La Flor tapped me on the shoulder, “Ray, pull up to that car, put my window down and let me do the talking. Just smile. Is that asking too much?”

“Who’s in the car? I asked.

“O’Leary. He told LC he was on stakeout tonight. LC, genius that he is, asked him where. O’Leary told him. If I find the snitch, they’re off my Christmas list. I bet it was the mystery blog writer. She sticks her nose into everything.”

“It’s big enough,” said LC.

“Why do you want to talk to O’Leary? He’s a cop?” I asked.

“Ray, Ray, Ray have a little faith in me,” said La Flor. Sorry Bon Jovi, the song came to mind.

That’s my trouble, I have too little faith in her.

I pull up next to a beat up 15 year old Saturn. They don’t make them anymore.

La Flor’s window is down, “Hi O’Leary, we’ve been looking all over for you.”

“I’m on a secret steak out (that’s how he said it). Nobody knows except the twenty or so people I  told. Man, this is tough duty. I’m starvin, Marvin.”

“Use talking about Marvin Brightwater, the basketball player,” asked LC.

“No. I was talking bout Marvin Schlopes, he owns Donut Heaven on the other side of time. He’s closed now. I could go for a dozen glazed. They’re no calories, they’re so light.”

“Well, O’Leary, I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Which do you want first?” said La Flor.

“I don’t think I can take much more bad news. Netflix went up on the subscription. I ran out of body soap, so I was using shampoo for body soap, and when it was time to wash my hair I didn’t have any shampoo left. I got stuck on the toilet and realized I forgot to put a new roll on. I accidentally put the ice cream in the fridge instead of the freezer.”

I couldn’t take anymore. “Please, La Flor, tell O’Leary the good news.”

“Joey’s donut Shop is open late tonight. He’s got a special going for an hour and a half. Any policeman who shows up gets all the free donuts they can eat.”

“It’s not unusual (Sorry Tom Jones) for the chains. How come Joey’s staying open?” asked O’Leary.

“My cousins, Vinnie, Rocco, and Tony suggest to Joey to toss a benefit for the cops. They’re peoples after all,” said LC.

“Use guys wanna watch the house for me?” O’Leary pleaded.

“Love to, but we’re on mission to help someone get down off her lofty perch.”

“Is she under suicide watch? I saw an NCIS film once about that,” ask O’Leary.

La Flor turned to me. I shrugged.

LC said, “Let me handle it.”

‘The beautiful, tough, and edgy wonder woman is a trained shrinkologist.”

“Good luck guys. It’s quiet around here. I’m heading to Joey’s.”

O’Leary turned on the lights, the siren. peeled rubber, and was off to Joeys.

La Flor said, “We’re going in and that means you too, Ray.”

“Huh?”

I’m caught in a trap, I can’t look back, … sorry Elvis, the song came to mind. Come on by tomorrow to catch the action.

You Can’t Keep Straddling The Fence

Why did I create La Flor? I’d like to uncreate her, but I can’t. She won’t let me. Okay, I get it. She’s beautiful, tough, and edgy. But she’s walking a fine line. On one hand, she’s La Flor. On the other, she likes bad boys. She head over heels over LC and waiting in the wings is Big Carmen, LC’s father, and head of the mob. She’s been a PI, lawyer, doctor, model, matchmaker, what’s next? Her matchmaker episode almost got me arrested for withholding evidence from O’Leary, the Irish cop. What was the evidence? A cream filled donut O’Leary wanted. I hear La Flor coming out her bedroom, let’s see what she’s up to today.

“Hi Ray, writing another boring blog?” said La Flor staring at her iPhone X as she walked by.

“No, my blogs are insightful, inspirational, and lots of fun,” I said.

“Why are you defensive, Ray? Don’t answer it, because you don’t know the answer, but La Flor does,” said La Flor switching into third person as easily as switching into the passing lane on a divided highway.

“Okay, why am I defensive?” I asked.

“Oh my, Ray’s asking for advice? Here’s the deal, you can’t keep straddling the fence. You’ve got to stop walking on the balance beam. You’re so close to edge you’re about to fall in oblivion. One step the wrong way and the alligators will have you for a snack.”

“Enough with the metaphors, La Flor. What tightrope am I walking? How far out on the edge am I? Am I walking on thin ice?”

Sorry, readers. It’s the only way one can communicate around here and have any chance of being understood. The odds are still 100 to 1 against me.

“LC and I think you’d be a perfect fit in the organization,” said La Flor.

“The organization? What are you talking about?”

“Big Carmen’s charitable organization where he gets donations from the rich and gives part of them to the poor. He’s thinking of expanding, ” said La Flor.

“No thanks.”

“Big Carmen told me he needs someone who is beautiful, tough, and edgy to work full time in his unadvertised business. My resume is perfect.”

“You haven’t agreed, have you?” I asked.

Before La Flor can answer, an explosion from the front part of the house. “Geez, Ray-mo, use needs better hinges. I busted use door trying to open it,” Hollered LC from the entry way.

I hollered back, “Did you try the nob or use your shoulder again?”

From the front foyer, “I taught da nob was for decoration.”

“Easy mistake,” said La Flor.

LC slid into the living room on his knees holding a brief case and offering it to La Flor as some sort of gift or sacrifice. I’m not sure which.

La Flor placed the briefcase down. She patted LC on his head, then said, “Before I open it, I don’t want to be disappointed. I going to do the checklist. Did you get their cell phones?”

“Checks.”

“Did you get all the swag bags?”

“Check a doddle.”

“Did you take all their diet pills, caffeine laced tablets, and baggies of cocaine.”

“Eyes over it like pepperoni on pizza, which by the way is the special tonight at Carmen’s Pizzeria for only six ninety-two for pickup. Delivery, you got to add two dollars.”

“Perfect. Let’s sit down and open it. I want you toss the diet pills, caffeine tablets, and cocaine. I’ll keep the swag bags and cell phones.”

“Hold on,” I said.

“Ignore him, LC. He’s going to go into one of his preachy moods again.”

“I’ll tunes my brain to FM 101.3. They play my favs,” said LC.

“FYI, Ray. LC and I don’t believe in putting drugs in your body. Most of models are anorexic, so we’re doing a big fav for them,” said La Flor.

On the street. A siren. The screeching of brakes. A car door slamming. A knock on the front door, “Open up it’s the police.”

LC hollered, “That use, O’Leary?”

“Yah. I gotta go. Can I use the toilet?”

La Flor hollered, “Yes, but use the one in Ray’s room.”

Ten minutes later, O’Leary saunters into the living room, “Use gonna need a plunger a little later, Ray. I advise staying away for an hour or so.”

La Flor went to the kitchen. She came back a minute later, “I stopped Ray from eating all the donuts this morning. I hoped you’d come by. Here’s a bag of six of your favs.”

“Tanks. I need some help. Somebody stole all the swag bags and purses from the Elite Model’s show. We found the purses next to the dumpster, but they didn’t have nothing in them. Any word on the street?”

La Flor doesn’t miss a beat, “I don’t want to send you in the wrong direction, but I saw something on, was it Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? Instagram? Oh, one them.”

“Gives it to me, I bust this case, I might a promo,” said O’Leary. His voice muffled by a donut that filled up eighty percent of his oral cavity.

“I hear it was Tonya La Twerp. I mean Tonya Come Lately. I mean Tonya Too Little. I mean Tonya Trouble with two capital Ts.”

“Use telling me this was a gang effort? I’m counting four perps.”

“Das is correcto,” said LC.

“I don’t know Spanish. Can use say it in English?” said O’Leary.

This is how it went as O’Leary ate one donut after another. He left when I crossed my heart promising there were no more donuts in the house. O’Leary said he was out to take the gang of four Tonya’s off the street for good.

Come back tomorrow to see how it plays out.