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Odd's Lot- a serial novelette (2)
Anthony Fiorelli SR., Pops to those who knew him, stood in front of the toilet patting his rear end and talking to himself.
"C'mon Fiorelli you been peeing standing up for over 70 years, what's with the stage fright all of a sudden?" The two minutes he stood there seemed like and hour before things progressed to their natural conclusion but Pop's was still unsatisfied as he flushed. "A lot of sound and fury over nothing. You're getting old Ton' when taking a leak is an event."
It was a nice house, cozy his wife used to say and more than enough for a retired bar owner living alone. Two bedrooms beside their room and a beautiful finished basement he did himself. He still called it their room even though he lost her over 30 years ago.One bedroom became an office and the other a spare room once the kids left. The spare room was packed with boxes now, it was supposed to be a sewing room but he never got around to it, then she was gone and now he was too old for home renovations. Making his way to the refrigerator to check the bar schedule hanging there on magnets he glanced at the cat clock with the swinging tail hanging in his kitchen. He always hated that clock but she had won it at bingo and treasured it so there it hung.
Five o'clock, Cheryl 's been running the joint since four since Odds is out today. I'll just nuke myself some dinner and head over there for a nightcap. Perfect.
He tried to stay away since turning Aces over to his kid. Pop's didn't want the boy to think the old man was looking over his shoulder. But on the rare day Odds took off Pop's liked to show up and putter. Maybe even get behind the bar for a few, knowing his son would chase him off but Cheryl or any of the boys seemed to like having him around. He suspected Odds liked having him there too but he wanted to let his boy make the place his own.
"It's your joint now, you can do anything you want. Hell, make it one of those karoke bars for all I care." Anthony Sr. told his son a little over a year ago purposely mispronouncing the sing along fad. "But you can't change the name your..." Odds cut him off, it was a well known story.
"I know Pops, I know. Grandma Rose picked the name Aces when they switched from the bakery. She was playing blackjack at the Mt. Carmel Feast, she and the dealer-"
Both men spoke the dealers name.
"Father Frank Diczensa" and Odd continued-
"both had twenty and not only did she make the Father give her a card after she had already stood pat but-"
"She drew an Ace!" Odds father interrupted. He never ceased to be amazed even decades later and loved telling this story. There are volumes of Fiorelli stories going back generations and Pops knows them all but this one about his mother- every time was the first time for him. "An ace of hearts! I was there or I wouldn't believe it myself. But that was my mother she could guilt an Eskimo into buying snow, Father Frank never had a chance."
His cell phone buzzed on the kitchen counter and even if he hadn't been lost in thought it still would've made him jump. He had Odds turn off the damn ringer because it nearly gave him a coronary every time it burst into song but even the vibrating hum always startled him. Anthony SR. didn't bother to look at the ID he couldn't read the small digits any way.
"Come è appeso, Mr Mayor." Even if the caller hadn't used a nickname that only a handful of people knew, Pop's would have recognized the voice though he hadn't heard it on over 20 years.
"Hanging a little lower,Vanni. What'ya want?" Pop's responded curtly using a similarly discarded nickname for Giovanni Abagnale.
"È il momento."
"Time for what big shot? You can stop with the Italian I ain't impressed. I'm not one of your puttana, I know where you're from."
"Just glorifying my roots, but you wouldn't know about that."
"I'm not the one living up on Gracie Hill looking down on the neighborhood. But we can see the lights from your gatehouse from the front door of my place so I guess you didn't move too far uptown."
"Always a wise ass eh Tony?"
"What do you want?"
"You know what I want."
"Answer is still the same you wasted a call." Pop's punched the end button on his phone. That son of a b- His phone vibrated again. " Listen stronzo, I told you twenty-five years ago-"
"Donna? What's the matter you alright?" The voice on the phone was no longer his daughters.
"She's fine, I can't make any promises for an hour from now. She doesn't work in the best of neighborhoods you know."
"Touch her and I'll tear your heart out Abagnale, you know I will." The call was already disconnected.
Pop's squinted to check the caller ID, Pickle. Odds had put that ID on his sisters number when he programmed his Dad's phone. He knew his father wouldn't know how to change it and it would make his sister crazy. Odds teased her with that name for years after she blew a third grade spelling bee on the word. Scrolling back on the phone showed the original call had come from her phone too. John Abagnale wanted to make sure his old friend took his call.
Pop's thought about calling his son just to hear his voice but Odds would know instantly something was up, better he found out after it was done. Cops? So what if you die in prison you're an old man now. But they'd take the bar for sure and Anthony was not going to be the Fiorelli that lost his family's place. No, only one thing to do. So he walked to his freezer moved some frozen peas and took out a Ziploc bag.
"Oh shit!" He cursed out loud. The damn bullets are all the way downstairs.