I Can’t Give Up Coffee

Lil Carlo is still playing with his gun. His false teeth sit in a plate on the table next to a plate with a half eaten Pop Tart. An open can of Coors sits next to the Pop Tart. It’s breakfast. La Flor and LC are still sleeping. I’m on my fourth cup of coffee. I haven’t tasted the first three. I’ve got to figure a way to stop La Flor’s headlong rush into the Witness Protection Program. Let’s see how it plays out.

Lil Carlo has one eye on his gun, the other on me. This does not make me feel comfortable. Lil Carlo shakes his gun at me, “Take a seat, Ray.”

I sit. He has the gun.

“Use may not likes what I gots to say, but I’m gonna says it no ways,” said Lil Carlo.

I’m not quite sure how to interpret what he is saying, but he has the gun. My mind plays three-hundred forty-five scenarios in two seconds. Not one plays out the way I want it to play out. “What?” I said.

“How many cups of java joe use drunk today?”

“I’m working on my fourth, why?”

All of a sudden I feel the sudden urge to laugh. The kind of uncontrollable belly laugh that arrives unexpectedly. You ever sit across from an old guy with his teeth on the table, holding a gun, and talking to you. His lips are curled around his gums. I didn’t think so. Take my word, it’s hysterical.

“What’s use smiling at?” said Lil Carlo.

I don’t like the tone in his voice. I reach out, anywhere for an answer, “I was thinking of O’Leary and his glazed donuts. He said he was on a diet.”

“Dats what use tinks. Da factoid is, glazed donuts is a metabolism booster. Check out the Mayonnaise Clinic if use don’t believes me. But don’t change the subject. How can use be counted on if use is drinking coffee likes it beer? See, coffee goes straight from da mouth to da kidneys to da toilet, there’s no stop in between. Use is going to go pee pee, wee wee, number 1, whiz or whatever use wants to call it every fifteen minutes.”

“I guess I can’t go with you guys tonight. I can’t give up coffee. I’m going to get another cup when we’re through,” I said believing I had a way out of the trap I’d found myself in.

“Me and my friend says use gives it up. We is shutting use off,” said Lil Carlo.

“Who’s your friend?” I asked.

“Dis,” said Lil Carlo pointing the gun at me.

“I’m giving up caffeine for the rest of the day. Thanks for the suggestion.”

“Dats better.”

La Flor and LC come out of the bedroom, both still in pajamas. LC with only the bottoms on. La Flor riding piggyback with her arms around his neck.

“Take me to the refrigerator. Easy big boy, not too fast,” said La Flor as if she’s riding a real horse.

LC trots to the fridge, he opens it. Turns his head slightly, “Use see anyting use wants, use names it beautiful, tough, and edgy make my day woman.”

“Take me to the breakfast bar, I want a fresh cup of coffee, bowl of fruit, and a veggie omelet with no cheese. Don’t forget my sourdough toast, toasted to a golden brown.”

“Can I suggests a side of salsa to goes wit da omelet. Chef Vigeli said it makes an omelet better.”

“You are so brilliant, kiss me,” said La Flor.

Five minutes later she’s at the breakfast bar. LC is at the stove whistling and working on an omelet. Me? I’m hiding in the bathroom with a cup of coffee. Please don’t tell Lil Carlo. It might upset his friend. I finish, stuff toilet paper in the cup, put it the trash. And, flush the toilet for the sound effect.

Lil Carlo’s cell phone chirps. He answers it. “Yah.”

“My teeth ift on da table.”

“Okay.”

“Where?”

“What time?”

“What’s da plan?”

“It’s a good one. I’ll tell them.”

“One more ting, if use never tried Pop Tarts wit Coors, use is missing a treat.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Who’s Lil Carlo speaking to? What plans? Did La Flor’s omelet turn out perfect? Are we going out on a job tonight? I want more coffee. Come by tomorrow and find out.

 

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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.