It’s About To Get Bumpy

Farlo roared down the expressway at ninety miles an hour. He let go of the steering wheel, shifted in the seat and stuck his hands in his pockets.

“What are you doing, you’re going to get us killed. We’re going nearly a hundred miles an hour and you’re driving no hands.”

Tina, resting comfortably on the front seat, half picked up her head, turned it slightly toward the back seat, and then placed it between her front paws and closed her eyes.

“I’m looking for the keys to your cuffs, kid.” Farlo grabbed hold of the wheel with his left hand drove on to center shoulder barely averting a rear end collision with a 16-wheel oil truck. Joey screamed, “Sweet Mother of God, I promise I’ll start going to Mass if you protect me from this madman.”

Farlo pulled the black and white back into the passing lane. He turned his head slightly over his right shoulder, “See what your whining caused me to do?”

“I wasn’t whining.”

“You need Kleenex for your tears.”

“I wasn’t crying. I have an allergy. What happened?”

“You made me miss my exit. You better hang on, this is going to be tricky.”

“What are you going to do? Get us killed, maimed, burned over ninety percent of our body?”

“You are such a worry wart. Where’s your trust in your mentor. I taught this stunt fifteen years ago when I was teaching aggressive driving at Filo’s aggressive driving camp. The trick is to get going fast enough to roll over four times, cut your wheels to the left as you roll over for the fourth time, and push the accelerator to the floor as you come up. The timing has to be perfect or the fuel tank will explode.”

“How many times have you done this?” said Joey.

“Never. It was only theoretical. I know it can be done, I’m not sure anybody has ever done it. If we pull it off, Filo will be impressed.”

“What if we don’t pull it off?”

“Filo’s really good about funerals.”

“I’m too young to die.”

“Too late. On the count of four, put a death grip on the door handle,” said Farlo.

“There are no handles in the backseat of a police car,” hollered Joey.

“Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Tough, kid. It’s about to get bumpy.”

The black and white cut to the shoulder, Farlo brought the black and white to within inches of the cement restraining barrier.

“I can’t look, you can’t jump the cement barrier,” shouted Joey.

“Oh no? Watch this,” said Farlo increasing speed to one hundred fifteen miles an hour. The road took a slight turn to the left. Farlo turned the wheels slightly to left, the front wheel caught the lip of the cement barrier and the black and white was airborne. The rear right tire caught the cement barrier on the way down and flipped the black and white. It rolled over once, twice, three times when Farlo hit the accelerator. Within seconds they were racing down the highway in opposite direction from which they were originally heading.

“Go figure, it’s only three roll overs. Joey? Joey?”

“I’m on the floor. Did we die? I know this isn’t heaven. It must be hell. It’s the only place that will take you.”

“Suck it up, kid. You’re alive, right?”

“I don’t know.”

“Were a half mile from the Last Chance. You play it right, I’ll put a good word in for you with Filo when he evaluates you.”

“Who’s Filo?”

Who’s Filo? Will they rescue Harry J? How will Joey do on his evaluation?

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Three Weeks of Unwashed Laundry

Farlo sat at the clean kitchen table. Not exactly a kitchen table, it was a card table Joey picked out of a dumpster. Joey sat across from him. Tina lied on the floor next to Farlo’s feet.

“What’d you think? My house looks awesome,” said Joey beaming with pride.

“If I told you what I think, I’d hurt your feelings. So, I’ll sugar coat it because you are a baby in the world of grownups,” said Farlo.

“You’re negative. Can’t you say anything nice?” asked Joey.

“You want positive, I’ll give you positive. You took the trash off the floor. The carried the trash out to the trash can. You washed the dishes, dried them and put them away. Now, reality. The floor has more stains than a Chinese restaurant with a D rating from the board of health. You have three weeks of unwashed clothes in your closet. Don’t think I didn’t find them hiding behind four crates filled with empty beer cans. When was the last time you bought a toothbrush? Need I go on?”

“So? It’s my house and I’m happy with it. You know where the door is,” said Joey.

“Gig, poor attitude. You’re up to four gigs. One more and you’re grounded. Right now, you’re on level four correction,” said Farlo.

“What’s level four?” said Joey.

“I’m holding your cell phone for two weeks,” said Farlo matter-of-factly.

“I am not a child. You don’t give it to me, I’ll call the police,” said Joey.

“With what? I have your cell phone,” said Farlo.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Who sent you? What can I do to make you leave me alone?” said Joey.

Farlo looked down at Tina, patted her on the head, then he looked back up at Joey, “You look disgusting. You smell disgusting. You’re fifteen pounds overweight. You’re soft. I’m giving you a pass on your appearance today. Tomorrow morning you’ll stand inspection. Who am I? I’m your best friend, only you don’t know it. Why am I here? The boss said you’d be a tough case, but he thinks you’re worth it. He’s got a job for you to do. Me? I’m your mentor, best friend, life line, or drill instructor, I’m getting you ready. Who sent me? Filo. And, there’s nothing you can do to make me leave.”

“Who’s Filo?”

“I’ll tell you if you agree to a lobotomy. No answer? Get cleaned up. That’s means shave, shower, and put on clean clothes. We’re going out to dinner.

“I want delivery pizza,” said Joey.

“Pizza’s off the menu until further notice,” said Farlo.

“Does that include elephant ears, fried dough, and hotdogs?”

Farlo gave Joey a what do you think look.

Noooooooooo,” screamed Joey.

Tina growled.

Will Farlo straighten out Joey? Who is Filo? Come back tomorrow and see where this is going.

Has She Had Her Rabies Shot?

The front door opened, Joey jumped back and shouted, “Get her out of here. It will not work. It will not work. Leave and take her with you.”

“You’re overreacting, Joey,” said the old guy.

Tina, a large German shepherd trotted in, walked up to Joey, now frightened and braced against a wall, and sniffed him. She sat in front of him. Her eyes on Joey’s eyes.

“Make her go away. I don’t like dogs. Has she had her rabies shot?” Joey nervously asked.
Joey gently moved his left foot six inches to the left and his back slid six inches with the foot.

Tina growled. Joey brought his foot back.

The old guy walked up and stood beside Tina. He patted her on the head with his left hand. He patted Tina’s head, “Good girl. Don’t let him leave.” The old guy reached into one of his cargo pants’ pockets and pulled out a treat. He fed it to Tina who wagged her tail and greedily looked for another treat.

“How long do I have stand against the wall?” Joey asked.

The old guy ignored Joey’s comment. Instead, he said, “I need to make proper introductions. Tina, this is Joey. He’s lazy. He’s in a dead-end job. No woman will date him; and who can blame them? What’s worse, he doesn’t know what day it is?”

“I do to,” said Joey.

“Yah, what day is it?” asked the old guy.

“It’s, it’s, it’s not Saturday or Sunday, I don’t work weekends. I worked yesterday so it can’t be Monday.”

“You have a four in one chance,” said the old guy.

“This is stupid,” said Joey.

Tina growled.

“Sorry,” said Joey.

“Sorry what?” said the old guy.

Joey thought for a moment. “Sorry Tina?” said Joey.

“That’s better. What day is it?”

“Hey, it’s a trick question. Can I Google it?”

“I see you have a sense of humor, pathetic as it is,” said the old guy.

“I was serious,” said Joey. Then he added. “I really have to go to the bathroom.”

“Tina, he doesn’t know what day it is. Now he wants to go to the bathroom that probably smells worse than a Porta Potty that hasn’t been emptied in two weeks.”

“I was going to clean it over the weekend, whenever that happens.”

“Joey, life as you knew it is over. It’s a new day. Consider me your mentor. Consider Tina your guardian. Now my formal introductions, Joey, this is Tina, a trained killer. Once she accepts you, she’ll be your friend for life. As for me, call me Farlo.”

“I don’t need a mentor. I don’t need a guardian. Why are you here? Do you have a last name? Who are you? I really, really have to go,” said Joey squirming against the wall, his white face now turning a light shade of green.

“Farlo’s the name, straightening out losers is my game. You’re on the top of my list. You can go wee wee or tinkle, whatever. When you finish, start cleaning up. You don’t eat until the house passes inspection. Farlo lifted his can and knocked the bowl of cereal and beer out of Joey’s hand to the floor.

“Look what you did. You’re making a mess,” said Joey.

Who is Farlo and where did he come from? What’s his game and why did he choose Joey?

Changes Ahead For Scorpios

Joey Ginarco’s iPhone alarm went off. His room was still dark. He stuck his right hand out feeling around for his iPhone. He accidentally brushed it onto the floor. Joey cursed and turned toward the small table he picked up at garage sale for 75 cents and reached for the lamp. He knocked it over.

“Damn, damn, and triple damn,” Joey shouted.

He opened his eyes. He twisted his body a bit to the side and pushed with his feet. He was making progress. His head hung over the side of the bed. He reached down with his right arm and felt around for his iPhone. He felt the charging cord. Good. Joey grabbed hold of it with his hand. He reeled in the the charging cord the way a fisherman reels in a small mouth bass. He took hold of the iPhone with his left hand. The alarm was driving him nuts. With his right hand, he hit the snooze button. Then he turned on the iPhone’s flashlight and searched for his lamp. It was laying on a pile of his clothes. Right on top of his boxers. The boxers with baseballs, footballs, and basketballs all over them. Under his boxers were the same clothes he worn the day before and the day before that. He reached his right arm over the edge of the bed and reached for the lamp. It was just beyond his reach. He scooted another three inches forward. He stretched his arm out and his fingertips felt the base of the lamp. Joey pushed back with his right foot scooting him closer, and closer until …

“Damn, damn, and triple damn,” Joey shouted. He fell off the bed landing on his shoulder. It hurt like hell.

Joey held the lamp with no lamp shade. What’d he expect for 25 cents at the garage sale. He turned the lamp on. The lamp turned on, it didn’t short out. It was the first thing that went right for him this morning.  He stood the lamp on it’s base and reached for his t-shirt. The T-shirt with a huge hamburger with cheese dripping over the sides and the meat too great for the bun to contain. On the other side of his T-Shirt was emblazoned, Tommy’s Tough, But His Hamburgers Are Tender. He pulled the armpits up to his nose and sniff. It had an odor, but not overwhelming to Joey. It passed the sniff test. He clothes were clean enough to wear another day.

Joey rose from the floor, iPhone in hand, set the lamp on the table, and walked to the bathroom. He turned on the radio. The sultry voice of Amy Brown greeted him, “Hey Scorpios, today is your day. You’re going to meet someone who is going to change your life. Keep your eyes open.”

Joey’s first thought, “I hope it’s you Amy.”

Joey’s shoulder was still sore. Not sore enough to go to work at the warehouse, but it was sore enough to call in sick. He deserved a sick day after all. That’s what Joey did, he called in sick, said he had a fever of one oh two.

Joey showered, cleaned up, put on the clothes laying on the floor. He sat on the side of his bed and pulled one athletic white sock on his right foot, then he pulled the other sock on the left foot. He looked at his feet, The big toe on his left foot stuck out through a hole in his sock. He slipped on a pair of Nike’s dirty enough that the N for Nike was only partially visible. He left the shoes untied and walked into the kitchen. He walked over to the sink to get a glass of water. All of his glasses were dirty and in the sink embedded with four days’ worth of dirty dishes. He gave a thought to putting them all in the trash and buying paper plates. It was a big decision, he had to think about it. He opened the cabinet door to the left of the sink and pulled out a box of Frosted Flakes. Since there were no clean bowls, he reached into a drawer and looked for a spoon. There were no clean spoons. He walked over to the sink, moved plates, glasses, and pans around, and found the cereal bowl he used two days ago. He ran water in it and set it on the counter. He found a spoon, wiped it off on his shirt and carried the cereal, bowl and spoon to his table.

Joey sat down, poured Frosted Flakes into his bowl, then stopped. He needed milk. He needed coffee. Why does life have to be so complicated he thought. He pushed his chair back, stood and walked over to the fridge. He opened it, he saw two bottles of beer. An opened jar of dill pickles. A wedge of cheese with blue stuff growing on it. And a piece of pizza. He couldn’t remember when he put the pizza in the fridge. No milk. He grabbed a bottle of beer.

He’d get his coffee later at the coffee shop.

He walked back to the table, sat down, opened the beer and poured some onto his cereal and some into his mouth. He his chest and belched. Joey dug his spoon into his cereal and took his first bite. He liked the taste. He made a mental note to write to Kellogg’s and tell them to push beer with cereal for a new taste. He might make some money. Before he took his second bite, the doorbell rang. And rang. And rang. Whoever was ringing the doorbell wouldn’t stop ringing it.

Joey carried his bowl of beer and cereal and spoon to the front door. He opened it, and standing in front of him stood a small stalky, fireplug looking guy with a gray burr cut. His cube shaped head was topped by a short crew cut. Age spots sprinkled across the man’s face. To Joey the guy looked ready for the mortuary, at least 80, maybe older.  Joey looked at the guy’s faded black and silver muscle shirt, a tattoo of a clenched fist on his right bicep, a long nasty scar on his left bicep. The pockets on his cargo pants bulged.

The old man leaned a bit on a wooden cane held in his right hand. He stared at Joey through black plastic rimmed glasses. “Well?” he said.

“Well, what? I don’t have any money,” said Joey taking another bite of his beer and cereal.

“I’m renting a room in your house. I want to see it first,” said the old guy.

“I not renting a room, what are you talking about?” asked Joey.

The old guy dug into on of his cargo pants pockets, fished around, and pulled out and torn paper with newsprint. “Says here you do. Now move aside and we’ll talk about it,” the old said motion Joey with his cane.

Joey, even without perfect posture stood a bit over six feet. He looked down at the five feet five inch man, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kick you in the ass and toss you out in the street. Beat it.”

The old guy took a half step toward Joey and said, “You want this across your head?”

The old guy waved his wooden can at Joey. Joey instinctively stepped back. The old guy stepped into Joey’s living room.

Joey thought about it.  He could charge the old guy. Make him clean the house. He might be better than having a dog. Joey said, “Okay, but leave my beer alone.”

Who is this guy? What is going to say to Joey? Is it Joey’s lucky day?

 

Have You Had Your Flute Shot?

La Flor’s eating the omelet LC prepared for her. LC is working on leftover pizza heated in the microwave. Lil Carlo is having a difficult time chewing his Pop Tart with his uppers and lowers sitting on a plate on the table. Me? I wish a cable network would pick up this reality show and add to my cash flow. Instead, a knock on the door. At this hour? Who could it be? The answer comes quickly, too quickly. Ready on to find out.

“Open up, it’s da police. I mean da cops? I means do use have donuts?”

I walked to the front door. I didn’t bother to ask for ID. I know who it is. It’s O’Leary. The donut eating, crappy coffee chuggy, portly Irish defective. Oops, I mean detective.

“Hey, O’Leary, what’s up?” I said.

Before O’Leary can step foot in the door. I heard LC’s voice from the breakfast bar, “How they hanging O’Leary?”

I hollered back, “LC, it’s a family blog! Knock it off?”

“Get a life, Ray,” said a protective La Flor.

Those two are deep into each other. I didn’t see it coming. It was the Francine Peony  that fused their emotions and lit a five alarm fire.

O’Leary hollers to LC, “I’ll let use know after I has a jelly donuts. I’m going off my diet. Life’s too short not to enjoy da finer tings of life.”

A jelly donut is a finer thing of life? Go figure.

O’Leary and I walked to the kitchen, dining room area, which fused together in what used to be my cozy, just the right size open space home. I said, “What was so tough about the glazed donut diet?”

“Use don’t wants to know. But I will tells use anyhow.”

He’s right, I don’t want to know.

“Foist, use wouldn’t tink so, but the glaze on the glazed donuts increased my appeals to the opposite sex I was fighting them off wit both hands. At foist, I taught it was my poisonality (this is how O’Leary talks, no grammar police, por favor).”

“It wasn’t?” I said to move the conversation along. We reached the breakfast bar.

“I gots admit, I has a poisonality women that attracts women.”

He’s delusional.

Before O’Leary continued, he saw Lil Carlo, known to O’Leary as Dr. Funguli, “Good morning Doc. Use making a house call?”

Lil Carlo looks at O’Leary. He slipped his teeth in, and said, “It’s da flute season. I’m here to give flute shots. Use had yours?”

O’Leary said, “No tanks, I gots my flute shot wit a piccolo booster last month.”

Are they all nuts?

LC got off his bar stool went to the counter and brought over a tray of assorted donuts for O’Leary. LC said, “I gots use the finest donut buffet Joey can make.”

“O’Leary’s eyes glazed over, just like the donuts. Whatever his next thought was, it left him. He pulled two breakfast bar stools together and sat on them. Yes, he need two stools, one for each cheek. O’Leary took a strawberry powdered sugar donut in his right and a cream filled, powdered sugar donut in his left. He alternated bites.

Over at the table, Lil Carlo was playing with his gun. His teeth were back out.

La Flor quit eating her breakfast. A mild look of nausea on her face.

“What’s wrong, La Flor?” I whispered.

La Flor whispered back, “O’Leary is making me sick. Look at the strawberry jelly dripping out of his mouth. He rubbed his hair with the powdered sugar all over his hands, now he’s gray. We’ve got to do something.”

“What?” I asked.

“I don’t know. You’re the blog writer,” said La Flor.

At that moment door crashed against the wall, my reinforced hinges snapped off. I heard a large ka thump on the floor. It could mean only one thing …

“Hey, Ray. It’s me, Big Carmen.

“Daddy!” shouted LC

“The second most handsome man on the planet,” exclaimed La Flor.

“Boss,” said Lil Carlo.

“Doc, you works for Big Carmen?” said O’Leary.

Lil Carlo said, “I’m da official company physician.. Today I’m giving physics. Use wants one?”

“No tanks, Dr. Funguli,” said O’Leary stuffing another filled donut into his mouth.

“I’ve come wit exciting news,” said Big Carmen.

I can hardly wait to hear it. What bank are they going to knock over? What warehouse are they going to hit?

Everyone but O’Leary who was busy eating looked at Big Carmen, “Tomorrow, not tonight, we is all heading to Sicily for a family reunion and extended vacation,  while the heat blows over if use knows whats I mean.”

O’Leary’s ears perked up, “Use guys are so lucky. Dis hot spell is a killer. Makes sures use guys takes sunscreen.”

“I’ll sends use a postcard O’Leary from da boss of bosses,” said LC.

“Gives him my best, he must own a big pizza chain,” said O’Leary.

“Use could say dat,” said Big Carmen.

La Flor turned to LC, “Take me shopping my handsome stallion.”

The next day La Flor, LC, Big Carmen, Carmela, TT, and Lil Carlo all boarded a private jet and took off for Rome for a connection to Sicily. La Flor asked me to leave her alone for a few weeks – will do. A new and exciting story begins tomorrow.

 

 

Have Hemorrhoids – Need Treatment?

I hardly slept. La Flor and LC went off to bed excitedly talking about the next caper. O’Leary is tracking down the perps who demolished Francine Peony’s home. La Flor told O’Leary Francine did it for the insurance. The crazy part, I’ve never seen La Flor happier. She’s in love with LC. LC is in love with her. She loves Big Carmen, LC’s father and head of the mob. And, I have a 70 year old hit man, short, skinny, big beak, ears that can lift him off his feet if the wind gusts over 30 mph taking up residence in my house until the heat blows over. What’s wrong? Plenty. Let’s find out.

“Hey Ray, where’s breakfast?” demanded Lil Carlo.

Lil Carlo has his shirt off, he’s wearing a tank top t-shirt. I see a tattoo of a nude woman on his skinny left bicep. He’s got his unfastened shoulder holster draping over his shoulders. His gun isn’t in his holster, it’s in his hand.

“You want a bagel? Oatmeal?”

“You got Fruit Loops?”

“No.”

“How about Pop Tarts?”

“No.”

“What kinda joint is dis? Any respectable joint gots Pop Tarts. It’s got Fruit Loops. It’s got real butter. It’s got whipped cream. It’s got gelato. You got gelato?”

“No.”

“What’s wrong wit use? Use is gonna have to change use act, if use wanna stay on my good side, said Lil Carlo staring down the barrel of his gun.

“What’s your good side?” I asked.

“Dis side over here,” he said pointing to his left side with his gun.

“I’ll remember that. How do you stay so thin, eating that kind of food?”

“It’s my metabolism. I can eat anyting if use put marinara sauce and cheese on it but kale and Brussels sprouts.”

The lovers make their entrance, AKA La Flor and LC, “Where’s breakfast, Ray?” asked La Flor.

“I jus asked him da same question. He got no good answers for me, or for anybody else as far as that goes. I got to say, my trigger fingers gets itchy when my blood sugar gets low.”

I took a 20 out and handed it LC, make an emergency run for me, LC. Get Lil Carlo whatever he wants. Pick up something for La Flor and you.”

LC brushes my hand aside. “Keep the Jackson. My beautiful, tough, and edgy dynamo will gets food for use and the company we expects to drops by now and then,” said LC.

“That’s generous, LC,” I said with a sense of gratitude.

“Not to mention it. We’re not paying for it. We’ll appropriate it from the Logan’s chain warehouse.”

“You’re going to steal it?” I said, my sense of gratitude evaporated.

“No. Rocco works there to supplement his income. I’ll call him and tell him to have it ready to go,” said LC.

“Rocco’s stealing it,” I said.

“Wrongo, Ray. Sorry for using Spanish. Rocco is packaging it for redistribution and we’s the re-distributors. Chow (that’s how he said it instead of ciao).”

As La Flor and LC are walking out O’Leary is walking in. I hear him say, “Can use make it three dozen glazed, I’m on a diet?”

O’Leary walks into the living room. He stops when he sees Lil Carlo and his gun. “Dr. Funguli what are use doing with a gun?”

Lil Carlo appears confused for moment, then catches up. “Tanks for noticing. Dis is not a gun. It only looks like a gun. It’s the latest thing to put suppositories where they supposed to go. It’ll hold six suppositories at once. If da hemorrhoids are real bad, it’ll shoot all six up at once. You got hemorrhoids need treatment? I can help?

“No tanks, I still have cream in the medicine cabinet,” said O’Leary.

I break this conversation, “What’s up with the investigation of the explosion at Peony’s house?” I asked.

Before he can answer, La Flor and LC walk in. LC’s carrying four boxes. La Flor is holding his hand guiding him. She doesn’t do boxes or bags. LC sets the boxes down, “Here’s use Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts, Lil, I means Dr. Funguli. Here’s three boxes of glazed, O’Leary. Here’s a case of veggie burgers, Ray-mo. As for us, we gots our coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks. It’s nice how they donated them to us. The barista said we was the 73rd customer the day. So’s we the lucky ones.”

I don’t want to ask. I don’t want to know.

“Man, dees glazed are da bomb,” said O’Leary.

“It’s all in da glaze,” said Lil Carlo or Dr. Funguli.

“I stooped by to tells use, Peony cracked and signed a confession this morning,” said O’Leary.

“She did?” I said.

“Yah. It happened after her new lawyer, Joey “the mistrial” Bugali talked to her.

LC bumps me with his elbow, “He’s Big Carmen’s lawyer.”

O’Leary continued, “It’s not going to court. Mickey “The Calzone” Donati got her to agree not to ask for insurance and she promised to invite him to her next party.

“I knew she was guilty. I knew it. I knew it,” said La Flor.

“Use was right, beautiful, tough, and edgy kid,” said O’Leary trying unsuccessful to sound like a noir PI. Then he added, “I gots to run. Chow mein.” Did he mean ciao?

La Flor motions us all to the table, “I’m only going to say this softly, so listen up. It’s on for tonight. Be ready to go at 11.”

“Huh?”

What’s on for 11 tonight? She’s excited? LC’s excited. Lil Carlo is gnawing a Pop Tart with his false teeth. Come back tomorrow to find out.

My Parachute Refuses To Open

Tell me this is a nightmare, the coffee is on, breakfast is waiting for me. Not happening in this alt ego world of twists and turns where Stephen King resides. I’m in the driver’s seat in front of the mansion belonging to the famous writer, Francine Peony. In the back seat are La Flor and LC making out for five minutes. Anyway, she told me to set my timer for five minutes, that’s all the time she had for love when she’s on a job. She’s taking this Big Carmen thing too serious. We’re going to break into Francine’s house, La Flor and LC are going to grab everything that’s worth anything. I’m supposed to help carry the loot to the car. Let’s see how it goes down.

The timer goes off. “My heart’s a thumpin an bumpin. It’s a dipping and dazzling. It’s making me stutter an shudder,” said LC.

“It’s what I do to the male species. Now pull yourself together or I’ll turn off the love potion. After you open the door, LC, you have to disable the alarm. Ray, here’s your ski mask and latex gloves,” said La Flor handing me a MacDonald’s to go bag.

“I don’t want to do time. I don’t want a happy meal,” I said.

“You won’t. Save the happy meal for O’Leary. Remember, I’m the best lawyer money can buy,” said La Flor.

“What if O’Leary comes back?” I asked.

“Give him your happy meal. Are you listening?” said La Flor

Suddenly, an old man’s golfing cap that looks like a Goodwill reject pops up from behind the passenger side seat. All I can see is the hat. The voice says, “Don’t worries, I’ll takes him out.”

I said, “Lil Carlo?”

“Don’t speaks my name. Calls me the insurance man,” said Lil Carlo.

Can it get worse? Yes. This story is out of control and I’m sky diving and my parachute refuses to open.

Two minutes later, we’re at Francine’s front door.

“Use got a key, Ray-mo?” asked LC.

“For what?” I answered.

“Duh. For dis door.”

“Do I look like Francine Peony would give me a key to her home?” I snapped.

“Chill bro. I was asking a question. I didn’t know how close use and Francine are, know what I mean?”

“You were pretty chummy with her at her party. Maybe one thing led to another thing and dis and dat, and befores use knows it, use get to go past Go,” said LC.

“We didn’t play Monopoly,” I said.

LC ignored me, and went to work on the front door. “Ten seconds and I’ll has it opened. Stand back. I put a tiny explosive on the door lock. This technique I learned from the guy that’s plays the guy in the Burn movies.”

“Do you mean Matt Damon in the Bourne movies?”

“What I say? Use got a bad habit of not listening, correcto? I hopes use speaks Spanish. On the count of three use gonna hear a boom, diddy boom, diddy, diddy, boom, boom.”

“You selling beats on the side,” I said.

What happened next was more than a boom, diddy boom, diddy, diddy, boom, boom. I don’t create beats, but I’ll say it might make you forget Roll Em Pete by Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson.

“LC, you are the master,” said La Flor holding a small umbrella over head to shield her from the dust, smoke and following debris. ”

I stared at Francine’s front door, it wasn’t there. All the windows in the front of the house were blown out. The house was shuddering as if a 7.2 earthquake hit. The five chimneys were gone. So was the portico.

Lil Carlo stood next to me and tapped me on the arm with his gun, “Da kids got a knack for getting the door open. He gets too excited, maybe next time, he’ll cut back on the boom, diddy boom, diddy, diddy, boom, boom.”

“You do beats?” I asked.

“Only to supplement my income as a hit man.”

In the distance sirens.

La Flor walked over to me, “Suggestion.”

“What?”

“Let’s get out of here.”

Where is this story going? I’m going email Matt Damon, maybe he’ll know. Come by tomorrow to see if we make out without being arrested.

Zoom In On Her Necklace

What am I doing wearing a tux? I’ll tell you what, I am at the high brow writer, Francine Peony’s, high brow party. How did I get stuck at this party? Big Carmen twisted a couple of arms, who knows, maybe broke a couple of kneecaps, to get invitations for La Flor, LC, and me. La Flor and LC are here to case Peony’s home. Me? I’m sampling the hors d’oeuvres. I’m hoping I’ll get discovered by Francine’s literary agent. I’m watching LC use his iPhone 8 to take photos of La Flor. What he’s actually doing is taking photo’s of the art work, sculptures, and anything else of value. Let’s see how this seen plays out.

In one hand, I have a champagne glass filled with sparkling water. In the other hand a dainty, expensive china plate holding three hors d’oeuvres, each pierced to the heart with a toothpick. I sidle up to LC and La Flor. “I know what you’re doing. It’s so obvious. You’ll never get away with it.”

“With what, Ray?” said La Flor her eyes fixed on Francine’s diamond studded necklace. “Quick, LC take my photo, but zoom in on her necklace.”

“Okay if I gets her cleavage? She’s good, but not in use league my beautiful, tough, and edgy star of the night,” said LC.

“Not a problem as long as you remember who’s best,” said La Flor.

I didn’t know La Flor wanted to compete in the cleavage Olympics. Learn something new every day.

LC nudged me, then whispered, “For a rich broad, she’s cheap on da food. I don’t like whore devours. When we gonna eat?”

“This is what you eat. You’re supposed to mingle. Talk people up. Make connections. That kind of thing,” I said.

“Where’s da keg?” ask LC.

“It’s all wine tonight,” I said. Then added, “Look at La Flor, she is nursing her glass.”

“Wine’s fine, but beers better, know what I mean? If I could gets to where they is keeping the pusses (he meant to say purses), I could make out like a bandito. My Spanish is getting better, Ray-mo. Of course, I am only speaking meta frog act ly.”

I need this like I need a hole in the head. I cite my dad on that one. It was one of his favorite sayings.

LC nudged me again, “I’m starvin. I’m gonna pass out if I don’t have some real food.”

La Flor overhead LC’s comment, “Not to worry my man of steel. I texted Big Carmen, he’s sending Vinnie over with a large pepperoni and sausage pizza. Since we’re family, it’s on the house.”

“I gots the best dad and the best beautiful, tough, and edgy woman in da world,” said LC embracing La Flor. The two of them locked into a kiss down that I think might take the jaws of life to break apart.

Francine Peony walked over to me during the heat of the kiss and said with an icy air, “Who are those two? Are they friends of yours? BTW, who are you? Do I know you?”

Her attitude made me do something unusual under the circumstance, I said, “They’re friends of mine. You’re not against love, are you?”

“This is disgusting,” she said.

“Is this why you haven’t been able to write a romance novel?” I can’t believe I’m defending LC and La Flor. What are friends for if you can’t count on them.

From the entrance hall, “Getta outta my way punk! I gots a pizza for LC.”

I recognized Vinnie’s baritone voice.

“Security, security,” hollered the doorman.

The hired security man, was a roly poly balding greeter at Walmart by day, security by night. It’s hell to make ends meet for retirees.

The security guard looked at Vinnie. Vinnie opened his hoodie and showed his gun. The security guard didn’t make it to 70 by being stupid. He said, “The pie from Carmen’s Pizzeria?”

Vinnie said, “Yah, what about it?”

The guard said, “Can I get a piece?”

LC came over, took the pizza from Vinnie. They fist bumped. LC opened the pizza box and gave the guard a slice.

In the background, a voice said, “Oh, Francine what a clever idea to have pizza brought in to your party. The crowd cheered. LC lost his pizza. La Flor Texted Big Carmen, twenty pizzas were on their way fifteen minutes later.

At 11:30 Francine Peony was all over LC and La Flor, “You made this my best party ever. How can I ever thank you?”

La Flor smiled and said, “We’ll think of a way.”

What does this mean, ‘We’ll think of a way?’ I am really, really getting worried. La Flor likes being mobbed up. Come by tomorrow to find out where this story is leading.

 

She’s A Snob’s Snob

I feel like I’m walking in quicksand. I’m sinking deeper and deeper into La Flor’s world. Yesterday, La Flor told me her resume matched up perfectly with a job opening working for Big Carmen in his “other” business. You know about his “other” business. She invited me to work for Big Carmen. I passed, again. I hired a plumber to unclog my toilet after O’Leary stopped by to use it. I didn’t realize donuts had that much fiber. My front door is back on its hinges. I hope LC remembers to use the nob instead of his shoulder the next time he opens it. I’m going to talk La Flor out of working for Big Carmen. Let’s see how it goes.

La Flor and LC were out late last night, they’re sleeping in this morning. The house is quiet, until I hear, “LC, please get me a cup of coffee. I can smell it. Ray must have made it for me.”

Huh?

LC walked out of the bedroom in his pajama bottoms, hairy chest, disheveled hear, rubbing his eyes. It’s not his best look. He sees me, “Ray-mo is dis what they calls da break of day?”

I ignored his question. I already have La Flor’s coffee in her favorite mug, the one with her image on the side, “It’s over there, LC. Do you have a hangover?”

LC pretended as he didn’t hear me. He walked over to the coffee maker and grabbed hold of La Flor’s coffee cup, “Do use tinks, my beautiful, tough, and edgy woman will notice if I takes a sippy?”

“What do you think, LC? I’m not helping you if you do,” I said.

“Geez, can I has a sippy of yours?” said LC.

LC took my cup and walked back to the bedroom. A moment later LC reappeared, “Ray-mo, use got any bagels left? I got to toast one, spread cream cheese on it, cut it into fourths, and brings it with a nappy to my beautiful, tough, and edgy woman.”

“Yes, there are two bagels left, I was saving one for …”

“Me? Tanks. I won’t forgets dis,” said LC.

Dear reader, do you think this is a one time occurrence? I think not. It happens at least five times a week. LC is getting in shape running back and forth from the bedroom waiting on La Flor. He doesn’t seem to mind. A hour later, La Flor makes her entrance. I’ll rephrase that, the queen makes her entrance. Not a hair out of place, makeup perfectly applied, clothes and attitude – casual chic.

“La Flor, we need to talk. You can’t work for Big Carmen,” I said.

“Ray, Ray, Ray. You are the epitome of  jealousy. You cringe when others are successful. You envy brilliant minds like Big Carmen’s and mine. You become so insecure when our shadows fall upon you.”

So much for a dialogue this morning.

“You’ve accepted the job? Do you know what this means? Are you ready to face the consequences?”

“Those are the wrong questions, Ray. You should ask, “Can I throw a party for you for being so successful? That would be good for starters.”

“Let’s have a civil discussion, La Flor. What will you be doing?” I asked.

“It’s under negotiations. One possibility is to be wheelman?”

“Wheelman? Do you know what a wheelman is?”

“Ray, I was born on the weekend, I’m not sure which one. Can you help me here. Another possibility is connoisseur of acquired property, especially jewelry. And, there’s a third option, it’s my fav,” said La Flor.

“Which is?” I asked.

“Teaming with LC so the Feds and local police don’t get too interested.”

“Did use call me, beautiful, tough, and edgy one? What does use need? I am at use beck and call. I am use dog and pony show. I am use gopher. What use wants, considers it done.”

“I see your teamwork is already paying off,” I said.

“Listen, Ray. I’m only going to say this to you. I want you to go with LC and me tonight. We’re going to case Francine Peony’s mansion.”

“Francine Peony, the famous writer? She’s always on the talk shows. Your going rob her place?”

“No. Big Carmen acquired an invitation to her party so the three of us can go. You can help us take notes of her jewelry, paintings, and other expensive items and report to Big Carmen.”

“You can’t do that,” I said.

“Francine is the snob’s snob. A little humility will be good for her. Now don’t say a word.”

Before I can speak, “Open up, it’s the police.”

“LC, let O’Leary in,” I said.

O’Leary comes in carrying a cup of to go coffee and a bag from MacDonald’s. “I’m on break. I don’t like to eat alone, so’s I taught I’d stop by.”

“Is that a happy meal?” I said.

O’Leary nods. “I skip the donuts today to keep my weight down. I like to keep my snacks light so’s I can keep trim and fit.”

I can’t see his belt. His belly is smothering it.

“Before I sits down. I’m going to turn around. Tell me if use can see my wire.”

“You’re wired,” I said.

“You betcha.”

“Who you after?” I asked, worried it was someone in the house.

“I’m not quite sure, but when I find them, I’ll know.” O’Leary turned around.

I said, “This is not police department issue. You going rogue?”

“How did you know?” asked O’Leary.

“You’re wearing the wire on the outside of your coat.”

Oh my. What’s going to happen at Francine Peon’s party? Come by tomorrow to find out.

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.