He Eats A Lot of Toad Food

“The ways I sees it, we can’t start an evolution till we gets donuts,” said O’Leary.

La Flor looked at me, “Write him out of the blog, Ray. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“Who’s getting electrocuted,” said Lil Carlo nudging Big Carmen.

“Last I heard, Sammy the Snitch got bumped off in the prison yard, so’s there’s no locution,” said Big Carmen.

“No, he’s meant to say election,” said LC.

“I thought we just had an election, like last week or something,” said La Flor.

“I prefers cannoli to donuts,” said Big Carmen. Then he added. “Cannoli and espresso make the world go round when use is stuck in a meeting.”

I’d had it. I’m going to intervene. “We’re here for an intervention. O’Leary you said you could lead it.”

O’Leary is pouting. “I need a donut. Use never have a meeting without a donut.”

“I begs to differs, O’Leary. When me and the family meet, we have wine, pasta, antipasto,  then two more courses. Everybody gets along better when the eat good stuff. You know what I mean?”

O’Leary nods, “I knows whats use mean, Big Carmen. But I’m an Irish cop. We got weaned on donuts.”

“I feels for use O’Leary. I’m gonna make a call. Use will gets use donuts in twenty minutes.” Big Carmen takes out his cell, “Vinnie, take Rocco and hit I mean pick up a few dozen assorted donuts for the O’Leary. Don’t forget to wear use ski mask and gloves.”

“Why are they wearing ski masks and gloves?” asked O’Leary.

“Donut shops are freezing cold, dats why they serve coffee with donuts,” said Big Carmen.

“Good point. Let’s begin. Who’s the person getting interviewed?” asked O’Leary.

La Flor, LC, Big Carmen, and Lil Carlo all looked at me. La Flor said, “Ray?”

Before I could answer, O’Leary said, “Good choice. I didn’t trust him the moment I come in dis blog. I can smell trouble a mile away.”

“It wasn’t trouble you smelled, I was stir frying tofu.”

“Toe food?” said Lil Carlo.

“He eats a lot toad food,” said LC.

“I rather starve,” said La Flor.

“I knows a guy who fries frogs, says there pretty good,” said Big Carmen.

“The frogs alive or dead when use fry them, Ray. If they’s alive I’m gonna book use on cruelty to frogs.”

“I don’t eat frogs.”

“What’s he do with them?” Lil Carlo asked Big Carmen.

I held up my hand, “Enough.”

O’Leary took out a pad and pen, “Use gonna make use confession.”

Lil Carlo said, “Use a cop and a priest?”

“My brother is a priest at St. Thomas. Me, I’m the cop.”

Lil Carlo nudges Big Carmen, “Remind me not to go to St. Thomas for confession after I sends a guy for a swim.”

“He’s talking about working out. Lil Carlo wants to be on the Olympic team,” said Big Carmen.

O’Leary came over and high fived Lil Carlo almost knocking the little guy over.

“La Flor who do you choose, Big Carmen or LC? We’ve got to end this.”

O’Leary said, “Can I get in on this?”

La Flor was about to speak when . . .

My door, a crack, thump, creek, and bang. A voice from the entry way, “Some tins wrong wit the door. It’s lying on the floor.

Vinnie and Rocco walked in carrying ten boxes of assorted donuts. O’Leary grabbed the stash from the two men and sat down. Vinnie walked over to Big Carmen, and handed him a wad of bills, “Dis was what was in the register.”

Big Carmen takes the wad of bills and offers it to O’Leary, “Dis is a little some tin for the cops Christmas party.”

O’Leary looked at his hands, each held a donut. He Lifted up his arm and motioned to his armpit. Big Carmen tucked the bills in O’Leary’s armpit. O’Leary pulled his arm down and pressed it tightly against his side. “Use is a saint, Big Carmen. Anybody says any ting bad about use at the station, they gots to answer to me.”

My crazy world, just got a little crazier. Oh, the other problem. Who’s La Flor going to choose?

La Flor stood up, walked over to Big Carmen, “If LC ever does me wrong, I’ve got you on speed dial, you big lug.” Then she kissed him on the lips to the applause of the everyone in the room, including LC.

La Flor, Big Carmen, and LC did a group hug. Lil Carlo had his hand in his coat pocket holding onto his gun. His eyes looking straight at me.



It’s The Police – Any Donuts Left?

“La Flor and LC we need to talk. Family discussion. I’ve got something that’s bothering me,” I said working on my fourth cup of coffee.

“Too much caffeine is gonna gives use the jitterbugs, Ray-mo. Maybe the runners,” said LC.

“I drink coffee when my anxiety cranks up,” I said in rapid speak. I need to buy an espresso machine, I’ll get my caffeine in one sip.

“It’s not your turn, Ray. Remember, I went first and we worked it out. We still have to have an intervention. My advice, get in line if you’ve got a problem. I heard Dr. Phil say this on a tough love segment.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll wait my turn. Let’s settle down. Where’s Big Carmen? Is he okay with it?” I asked.

“Two things. All Big Carmen knows is that you want to see him. And second, I’m not ready to settle down. LC would you pour me a glass of the good white wine, not Ray’s cheap stuff that ruins whatever he cooks. Add a few crackers and cheese to help me listen better,” said La Flor scrolling through her likes on all the social media.

“I is at use beak and call beautiful, tough, and edgy star of my dreams,” said LC.

Exit LC for five minutes.

Not again. The front door bangs against my wall, it bangs again, I hear a voice say, “Dat’s not good.” Then another voice, “Maybe he won’t notice it, move the lamp over.”

The handyman is now number one on speed dial.

Enter Big Carmen and his trusted lieutenant, Lil Carlo. Big Carmen stops at the entrance to the living room, he covers his eyes, pulls out his Ray-bans that hang over the third button of his shirt. The first two buttons left undone to show of his virility.

“I needs my shades to stop me from going blind from the glow of use beauty, beautiful, tough, edgy and sexy woman who might do a bit better than LC.”

I think I’m starting to understand the problem.

LC whispers to me, “I wish I coulds speak like Big Carmen. He can charm the ink off paper. He can tame a wild ballerina (I think he meant to say hyena). He can make woman fall all over him like he was a Castanova (He meant Casanova).”

La Flor, for her part, is no help, “Oh Big Carmen, you handsome lug. You say the sweetest things.” Thankfully, she didn’t do the leap. Instead, they meet halfway and hug, kisses on the cheeks barely avoiding the lips.

LC spoke up, He didn’t want La Flor and Big Carmen to have a moment, if you know what I mean. See, I’m now talking like these guys. LC said, “Ray-mo, tell Big Carmen whys he here.”

“Me?” I said pointing to myself.

“Tell him whats use said about the prevention,”

Big Carmen lets go of La Flor. La Flor glides over to the sofa and pats the seat next to her. Both LC and Big Carmen make for it. They slam the brakes. A knock at the door, a voice, it’s O’Leary saying what O’Leary says when he knocks on doors, “It’s the police, any donuts left?”

Big Carmen grabs me by the shoulders, “Did use rat me out?”


“Why’s he here?”

“He’s LC’s friend.”

“He on the payroll, LC?” said Big Carmen.

“Do donuts count as being on payroll,” answered LC.

“No, but it’s a good start.Answer the door, Ray. We don’t want to keep the first responders waiting,” said Big Carmen.

La Flor helps out with the  sticky problem of where to sit when she slid to the middle of the sofa. LC went to her left. Big Carmen to her right. And La Flor right where she liked to be, in the middle of it all.

I walked O’Leary into the living room. His first words, “Hi Big Carmen I feel like I know you. The vice squad is always bringing up your name.”

“I hope what they has to say is good. Next time use sees them, tell them about my copper special, Free pizza on Saturday nights for cops in uniform.”

O’Leary looked crushed, “What about plainclothes cops?”

Big Carmen looked O’Leary up and down, “Yah, I feels sorry for use. Use clothes is plain enough. Use can have free pizza too. Now why we here.”

La Flor said, “Ray said, you were making a play for me and it’s making LC nervous because you’re so handsome, you’re blue eyes see right through me, and your muscles, oh your muscles, do you hit the gym every day?”

I thought LC was going to start crying.

Big Carmen looked at La Flor, then he looked at LC, then he looked at me, then he looked at O’Leary, “Use wearing a wire?”

“That’s only on TV. Nobody wears wires anymore. I like hanging out here. Ray wrote me in his blog.”

Big Carmen said, “Good to know who I gotta watch.” He jabbed an index finger toward me.  He took hold of La Flor’s hand, and said, “I only knows one way to say it …

O’Leary put his index and middle finger on his lower lip and blew. A wet, sloppy fizzing sound came out. “I can’t get the handle of the whistle. Not to worry folks, I took a workshop on family disputes. I only stayed until they were out of donuts, But maybe I learned something.”

Big Carmen said, “What kind of family, this family or the other family. Besides be quiet I got something to ask the beautiful, tough, and edgy every man’s heart throb.”

What is Big Carmen going to ask La Flor? Come back tomorrow to find out.

A Dozen Donuts For The Detective

I’m in the yard talking to a cardinal some six feet away from me enjoying the breakfast buffet at the bird feeder. This is a clear sign I’m careering down a slippery slope. I said formally, “Mr. Cardinal I’m considering changing my address to the House of Horrors, the Comedy Channel, Bizzaro World, Nightmare on Elm Street. What do you think?”

The cardinal looks at me, bends his head down and picks up a sunflower seed. He gives me a whatever look. Then I hear a voice . . .

“Ray-mo it’s my turn.”

Ah, the nasal accent from one, LC. I bid goodbye to the cardinal, slowly walk across the grass hoping LC changes his mind. Open the patio door, and sitting at table are LC, La Flor, and O’Leary. O’Leary? I thought I wrote him out of the blog yesterday!

“You carrying?” the first words out of O’Leary’s mouth.

Is he nuts? I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

La Flor speaks, “Good morning grumpy. Let’s turn those corners up, give us a little teeny, tiny smile.” She stops for a moment, then adds, “How does it feel? That’s your line when LC or me are not in the best mood, which by the way is never.”

“Use wants a bagel wit locks (yes, he said locks instead of lox). And, we gots six varieties of cream cheese. And, for the detective I gots a dozen assorted donuts because he’s what you calls, a stereotype. No offense meant, O’Leary.”

“None taken, LC. What’s wrong wit an Irish cop who loves donuts? I tell yah, nothing,” O’Leary bites in a jelly donut. The reddish goo slipping on to the table. O’Leary uses his forefinger to wipe it up and consume it.

I have to admit the bagels look like real New York bagels, foolishly I ask LC, “Where did you get them?”

LC looks at La Flor. La Flor looks at O’Leary who is holding his strawberry filled jelly donut in his right hand and has a glazed donut in his left hand. “I Calls it the assembly line method,” said O’Leary. He added, “Sometimes a first or second responder has to eat when he or she can eat, hear what I’m saying?”

The three of us, “We hear you (ok, LC said use).

“Where’d you get the food, I asked again?”

LC looks at O’Leary, “Ray-mo shoulda been a cop the way he don’t let go of none of his questions.” Then he turns to me, “I got em at a good place and they was on special because I was the foist one in the store. Punctuation has its reward (he meant to say punctuality).

La Flor got up walk around the table and came up behind O’Leary, “O’Leary, can I test your hearing? I’m considering becoming an audiologist after I try rodeo, NASCAR, a logger, or steeplejack.”

O’Leary’s mouth was stuffed with the jelly donut, the glaze next in line for takeoff, nodded his head. La Flor put her hands over O’Leary’s ears, then nodded to LC.

LC looked at me, “I gots the bagels from Stein and Goldmans Bagels on 4th and the donuts from the Donut Factor on 5th since they was in the same neighborhood. They cost me nothing because I got them on the early bird special.”

“Did you B & E to get them, LC?” I asked.

“Me?” said LC pointing a finger at his chest. Then he said, “If I says what I tinks use wants me to say I may be discriminating against me (ok, incriminating for those who are not sure of LC speak).”

La Flor removed her hands, “Did you hear anything O’Leary?”

O’Leary polised off the glaze. “Nope. Is my hearing okay?”

“Perfect,” said La Flor.

O’Leary picked up his cell, took a call, turned to the three of us, “I got to beat it, crime is breaking out in a big way in my precinct. We had two overnight burglaries, one at Stein and Goldman’s and the other at the Donut Factory.”

O’Leary took a last sip of coffee, grabbed a donut in one hand a bagel in the other, “If use guys hear anyting, text me.”

“We got use back,” said LC.

“La Flor your covering up,” I said.

“Of course, Ray. I’m not going to walk around the house nude. Give me some credit.”

See what I mean? How do I communicate? I give it another try, “Okay, LC. What’s your problem.”

“Actually, Ray-mo, it’s not me whose got the problem.”

“I thought you said it was very important,” I said.

“It is. And, I been talking to the beautiful, tough, and edgy brilliant woman who tells me it’s time for an invention.”

“An invention?” I asked.

La Flor butted in, “Intervention, Ray.”

“Who’s the target of the intervention?” I asked. I don’t feel good about this one.

My fears are confirmed when LC said, “Big Carmen.”


He’s The Perfect Accessory

I’m acting like a child. I am embarrassed. I am hiding in the closet. It’s the only place where I can find peace and quiet. There are no windows, but I have photos of the Grand Canyon, Padre Island, and the Rocky Mountain National Park scotched taped to the back of the door. Next to me is my Keurig Coffee Maker. My cup of coffee, fresh, hot, and all mine, until . . .

“Ray, I know you’re in there,” said La Flor*.

“No, I’m not,” I said in a falsetto voice and realized the mistake I made by saying, ‘No, I’m not.’ Hopefully, she won’t pick up on it.

“I know it’s you. I can smell my coffee,” said La Flor

“How do you know? Your coffee?” I’ve truly lost it. I’m hiding from an alt ego and her boyfriend. I’m using a falsetto voice as a disguise. And, now, I’m debating whether I’m in here or not. Where’s Dr. Phil when you need him. That’s right, according to La Flor, he’s an alt ego.

“Either come out, Ray or LC will break down the door and drag you out. It’s for your own good,” said La Flor.

“My own good is to stay inside here until you two, too, or to go out for chicken wings,” I said.

“Do you have a stuttering problem? Asked La Flor.


“It sounded like you stuttered when you said to, two, or too,” said La Flor.

“You’re not going to let me alone until I come out, am I correct?” a moment of silence. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t want Little Carmen to kick down the door. I said, “What?”

“I nodded my head, Ray. What are you waiting for?” said La Flor.

I can’t answer. There is no logical response to seeing a head nod while behind the door. If I had a white flag, I’d wave it. I opened the door, coffee in hand, and stepped out.

La Flor reached for the cup, took it from me, and sipped, “This is good. I needed a good cup of coffee. Thanks, Ray.”

Will I ever get to drink a cup of coffee? I wonder what the Vegas odds are on that one.

Little Carmen, who occasionally can read my mind and little else, said, “About 75 to 1.”

La Flor looked at him, “Is it football season already?”

“No, beautiful, tough, and edgy sometimes a thought comes into my head.”“I like it better when you’re thoughtless.”

“I like it better when you’re thoughtless.” said La Flor.

“Me two,” said Little Carmen (it’s really not that hard to use too instead of two. Why can’t he get it?).

“We need too talk, Ray,” said La Flor (Okay, La Flor is using too instead of to – did they both miss it in alt ego grade school?).

“You’re always saying we need to talk,” I replied.

“No, I’m not. Sometimes I’m saying where are we going tonight. Sometimes I’m saying LC I need a glass of wine.”

Little Carmen interrupted La Flor before she could give another example, “I’m on it. White vino, which rhymes with dino, beautiful, tough, and edgy woman who needs to speak to Ray about whatever.”

“Yes, LC, not in a Styrofoam cup this time,” said La Flor.

“That’s the way Big Carmen serves it,” said LC.

I want to go back into the closet. No, I want to climb on the roof and signal passing planes to send help.

“I don’t care if he serves it in a Starbucks venti cup, I want it in a fancy wine glass.”

“Use gonna get more if I goes and gets a Starbucks venti cup,” said Little Carmen. The expression on his face looked like he was pleased with himself.

If she sends Little Carmen to Starbucks as she did yesterday, I wondered if the paramedics will bring him back.

La Flor turned to me and said, “Ray, it’s time for an intervention.”

I said, “Please don’t watch Dr. Phil or talk to the alt ego who plays Dr. Phil.”

Then Little Carmen joined the conversation, “I can helps you, beautiful, tough, and edgy wonderful woman. I am very goods at interventions. I intervented a square pizza cutter.”

“You intervented a square pizza cutter? How does it work?” I asked.

“Use uses it for square pizza. The round pizza cutter is for the round pizza. Nobody thoughts of that before me. That’s not alls I intervented, Ray-mo,” said Little Carmen.

“Why? Ray. Why?” said La Flor.

“I’m asking myself the same question,” I said.

Little Carmen is warming up for what, I don’t have a clue. Certainly, Seinfeld isn’t coming on next. He said, “I intervented a menu use can reads upside down.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Use asks the customer if they wants the regular menu or the upside down menu. If they asks for the upside down menu, I gives them the regular menu and tells them it’s upside down.”

“Little Carmen, good idea about the Starbucks venti cups. Can you get two of them?” I asked.

“I’ll have to buy coffee first, then dump it out. Is that okay?”

As soon as he left, I turned to La Flor, “Why don’t you hold an auction for him with the alt ego girls?”

She glared at me, “And let go two-hundred five pounds of male hunkiness go? Never.”

“I don’t think you love him,” I said.

“I’m not talking love. I’m talking accessory,” La Flor responded.

“Accessory?” I asked.

“He goes perfect with whatever I’m wearing,” said La Flor smiling. She’s staring out the window watching Little Carmen jog to Starbucks.

“Ray, Ray, I just had a horrible thought,” she shrieked.

“Take it easy. I’m here for you,” I said. I immediately regretted using that line and hoped she wasn’t listening to me.

“I know you’re here. It’s LC. You sent him alone, without a guardian to Starbucks. He’s probably fighting the women off. He’ll come back disfigured. He’s doing this all for me.”

“You’re the lucky one.”

“I won’t be if they maim him. I can see it now, he’ll be outside Carmen’s Pizzeria selling slices with his left hand because they cut off his right hand for a souvenir.”

“You’re not making sense, La Flor.”

“I always make sense. Go save him.”

“Can I call the paras?”