A table outside a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the city. The city that never sleeps, that breathes fire, that wallows in swaying power.
A heaping plate of hoppin john sat before Simon. A cool afternoon sprawled across them. “You cower at the prospect, Simon?!” Roger quipped.
Simon mustered a low, grumbling laugh. He wiped the corner of his mouth with the embroidered napkin and sighed. “Roger. I need to talk to you about something serious.”
“Go on, then,” Roger blustered.
“The dry cleaner’s. The count is short.”
“You have some sympathy for him, or what? Get Alfio and get it done.”
“I’m on top of it, I’ve got him over there with Mikey right now. Shit. I’m a captain–I delegate.”
“As you should,” Simon reassured mockingly. “Look at your fat ass–you ordered pasta and steak and finished em both before I finished my lobster and john.”
“The fuck,” Roger chuckled. “Ho! Take it easy, I’m sensitive about it haha.”
The docks. Mikey finds Alfio on his boat, the waves rocking it steadily, with a purpose. “You fuggin bum I knew I’d find ya here. C’mon, we gotta take care of you-know-who-zzad.”
“One moment,” he pled in broken English. He grabbed a rope and tied off the boat again. “Okay. We go.”
“Wait. One mo-ment. Motherfucker. Simon says he saw you with my goomar on Tuesday.”
“Get the fuck out here–of here! Mike, I would never do this you–know you know that. Don’t insult me.”
At Regina’s of all places? Not even a club, something fun? Unbelievable.
“I-a never been to Regina’s!”
“Re-lax. I’m just breakin ya balls. Let’s go.”
“You Americans have a funny sense of humor.” They climbed into the waxed Cadillac and sped off.
Alfio and Mike arrived at the dry cleaner’s three minutes earlier than Mike had guessed due to good traffic–God’s speed for the Devil’s work. The kid at the counter was a punk. Mike flexed and made him shrink and they pushed past him into the office. Behind the counter was Shazzad being felated by an Indian floozy. He looked up and frantically stammered “Oh no no no! I paid.”
Alfio grabbed him by the shirt collar and lifted him up, then kneed him in the testicles. Shazzad yelped, “Motherfucker!” and fell to the ground like a dusty sack of green potatoes. Mike picked him up and slammed him on the desk. Shazzad squirmed helplessly. He was about to punch Shazzad when he paused. He noticed a lego set on a bookcase. “What the fuck hahaha” Mike yucked. Alfio, grab some of those lego men. Alfio did so and tossed them one by one as they entered Shazzad’s nose and he bled significantly. “You’re too old to play with toys. You’re too old not to pay the vig.”
“Vig? What Vig? Shazzad coughed. “I’m Muslim”
“Well we ain’t. So fuck you!” Alfio chopped at Shazzad’s kneck as Mike reached into the safe behind the desk and pocket fistfuls of stacked bills. Alfio inquired half seriously, “What do we do with this…cocksucker?”
“Leave her. She’s ob-vi-ously suff-ered enough,” Mike explained laughing. They disappeared into the night, leaving the neon sign lit in their rear view mirror.