Why I Hated The Guy From The FBI Ch. 02byProlonged_Debut10©
6. 'Family Problems'
Frank saw the large contingent of men, standing outside Tony's house, as he was on his way to take Antonia out for the day. He was ordered to stop by an armed man, who told him to cross the street, and be on his way. "It is going to be very hard for me to get Antonia, from over there." He laughed, "So you are the guinea pig?" "Yeah, Tony did not want to use any of the good guys for this detail." "Are you packing?" I turned sideways, and showed him the nine millimeter under my jacket. I turned back towards him and said, "I have another one, but you have to promise not to freak out, when I show it to you." "I have seen guns before, and they do not scare me." I bent my left elbow back to forty-five degrees, as if I was scratching my chin. When I brought my arm forward again, my P 32 pistol was pointed at his nose. "Holy shit, where the hell did that come from?" I rolled up my sleeve, and showed him the slide action mechanism that put the automatic into my hand, in less than a heartbeat. If an assailant not constantly alert, he would be dead, before he realized what had happened to him. He had never seen one of these, and thought it was cool. He led me through a line of people, who were milling around, and into the house. I told Tony to move his men to safer positions, instead of letting them stand around, like targets at a shooting gallery. He barked orders to one of his lieutenants, and his men moved as if their lives depended on it. I looked out of his windows, and I saw the situation, was a much better. I told Tony to remember this alignment, because his men changed, but this alignment was very good, defensively.
Tony was very thankful. He reached into his pocket, to give me some extra money. I told him that he was already paying me too much, and, anytime he wanted to pick my brain, about matters like this, to feel free to do so.
"Frank, you are the first person in my organization to turn down cash."
"Sir, I know who I work for, and I am happy to do it. They only work for a paycheck. If someone came along, and offered them a bribe, they would turn on you, like a rabid dog.
"Do you really believe it would be that easy, Frank?"
"Sir, they did it in Iraq, in Cambodia, in Saudi Arabia, and all over Africa, Central, and South America. If you are not careful, they will do it to you."
"Frank if you were more physically fit, I would keep you by my side night and day."
"Sir, I have known you most of my life. I would stand by you, until hell froze over. I am sorry I cannot do that for you. I have an appointment with one of the top orthopedic surgeons, at NYU, in two weeks. I am going to see what he says, about that shrapnel, by my spine. The VA doctors are great, and the work they do, on the men that come back, without limbs, is fantastic. I want to see what this guy says about my spine."
"I hope you get good news, Frank. I will be praying for you."
"Thank you, sir."
"I will be praying for you, also, you pain in the ass."
"Antonia, watch your mouth."
"What, I cannot say the word ass now? Everyone in the world has one."
"Antonia, I do not need your mouth running off, today. I have a lot of things going on, and I do not need you on my case."
"Yeah, dad, what is going on with all the troops outside?"
"Certain people are not happy about the bonding of Albert's and our families. They said we did not go through the proper channels, and get approval from the Commission. We are trying to settle this peacefully, and having our lawyers work on it."
"Tony, should I keep her home, tonight?"
"No, that is unnecessary. It was already decided that no family members would be harmed. This is business, not personal. A business decision will be made, and an accommodation will be reached, hopefully by tonight. So, where are you taking my daughter tonight?"
"I am hoping to bore her to death, with the new show, at the Guggenheim. If that does not work, I think the spiral ramping, or the sloping floors will get her so sick, I can bring her home early, and get rid of her."
"Frank, I am impressed. Not only did you say Guggenheim correctly, you even knew what the inside of the museum looked like. You must have seen a postcard, because no one, with your limited intelligence, could ever have been inside such a wonderful museum."
"Okay, smart ass, I will bet you I know more about that museum than you do. If you get two out of the five questions correct, you can hit me 5 times. If you do not I get to spank you, on your bottom, twice."
Tony roared with laughter, after seeing the look on Antonia's face. She had been challenged, and her pride would not let her back down. However, the thought of being spanked, by Frank, was insulting.
He watched his daughter, stand there, mulling over her options. "Antonia, make up your mind. We have other things to do today, besides watching you, stand there, looking like an idiot."
That was all it took. Now, her father had raised the stakes and called her an idiot. No one, especially not him, could demean her academic success.
"What can I hit you with, Frank? My hand will not even ruffle your shirt."
"Pick something, little princess, make sure it does not hurt your dainty little fingers."
Antonia fumed. She looked around the room for something that could cause him a great deal of pain, and she saw it. Her father's golf clubs were in the corner. She went there and grabbed her father's driver.
"No, not that one, that one is my favorite club. Pick any other club."
Antonia picked the next longest club in his bag and waved it at his face. "This is for your ass, Frank. Now, I am going upstairs to get my computer. I have to make sure that the answers to the questions you give me are correct, and you are not lying to me."
"The one thing I never do Antonia, is lie. If you tell one lie, soon you will have to tell another one to cover that one up. It becomes a vicious cycle. It is much easier to tell the truth the first time, regardless of how hard it is, than to keep track of all the lies you have to tell."
"You never lied to your parents?"
"Sure I did. However, my mother and father knew by the third one, that I was lying, and my father has a belt that I learned to hate. The more I hated it, the fewer lies I told. Finally, I stopped telling lies completely. I have not seen that belt in ten years. If you are interested, I can go to my house and get it for you."
"No thank you, Frank. I believe I will pass. I will be right back with my computer."
She was backing in less than a minute and sat down on the couch, by her father.
"Are you ready to start, Antonia?"
"Quit stalling Frank let's get started."
"I am going to give you a throwaway question, because if you do not know the answer to this one, you will not know the answer to any of the questions, I am going to ask you."
"What is the matter Frank, you cannot think of your first question?"
"Hang on to your panties, little princess, here they come. " Who designed the Guggenheim Museum?"
"Frank Lloyd Wright."
"Very good, Antonia, I am very proud of you. One more question answered correctly, and you can hit me five times with that club."
"Get on with it Frank. You are shaking in your boots already."
"In what year did construction start on the Guggenheim Museum, in New York?"
Antonia's face immediately went blank.
Frank saw it, and smiled.
"You do not have to be so smug, Frank."
"Would you like to hazard a guess?"
"They started in Nineteen seventy-two."
"That is incorrect. 1953 and it was completed in 1954."
"In what city is the parent museum of the Guggenheim, New York?"
Antonia had the same look on her face, and Frank grinned, again.
"Dammit Frank, stop it."
"Do you want to guess or do you want me to tell you?"
"Just tell me, because I have no idea."
"Bilboa, Spain. It is called, 'The Bilboa Miracle.'"
"You now have two wrong answers and one in the correct answer, Antonia. We will go on to the fourth question." Frank was smiling broadly.
"Frank, you are pissing me off, again."
Rose commented from the kitchen, "There seems like no end to that problem, Antonia."
"Mom, keep out of this. Dad is grinning at me. Frank is grinning at me. Now, I can see you grinning at me, through a wall. Is anyone going to be on my side, today?"
"Who was the one that made the bet, Toni?"
"Mom, stop it, please."
"Go ahead, Frank, put her out of her misery."
"Thank you, Rose."
"What, type of design did Frank Lloyd Wright call the Guggenheim Museum?"
"Frank, you are not being fair."
"Sir, are the questions I am asking Antonia, about the Guggenheim Museum?"
"Yes they are, Frank. Every question you have asked has pertained to the museum."
"I do not know, Frank. What did he call it?"
"He called it, 'a Spiral Helix.'"
"Antonia this is your fifth and final question. If you get this one correct, you get to hit me five times, with that golf club. However, if you get it wrong, I get to spank you twice. Are you ready for your final question?"
"No, but go ahead anyhow."
"How long is the main gallery of the Guggenheim Museum?"
"Frank that is not a fair question. No one would know that answer."
"You are incorrect, Antonia. That answer is on every postcard showing the main gallery. An unfair question would have been how many cubic feet of air is circulated through the building per hour. The answer to that question is two point five million cubic feet of air. I decided not to ask you that question, because I thought that would be unfair."
Antonia looked at him, incredulously. Where did he get all this knowledge? He was not a nerd, he was a dork, or so she thought.
"Are you going to try to answer my question, Antonia?"
"Can I run upstairs and look at my postcard?"
"You can, right after I spank you."
"Dad, do something, please."
"When you make a bet, you have to be prepared to pay both the principal and the interest, if you lose. You have lost. Your payment is due. I think I will leave the two of you, alone, so Frank may enjoy the moments he is inflicting his punishment upon you."
"Thank you, Tony."
"Again, I have no idea what the answer is, so I will guess that it is six hundred feet."
"I am sorry, Antonia, but you are incorrect again. The answer is four hundred and thirty feet. You may now open your computer and check to see if I am lying."
"No Frank, I know you are not lying. I can tell by the look on your face. Where did you learn all this stuff? Why do you know all this information, about one building?"
"My grandfather helped build it."
Laughter came from the kitchen.
"Mom, stop it. Frank you are a bastard."
"I am no such thing. You are the one who talked about the Guggenheim. You were the one that said I knew nothing about museums. You assumed that my knowledge was less than yours, which it probably is. However, you picked the one museum in Manhattan that I happen to know more about, than any normal person should. My grandfather used to sit me on his knee, and tell me all this stuff, until I was bored out of my mind. However, as you saw, I remembered a lot of what he told me, and now I have the privilege of placing my hand of cross your naked bottom."
"No you do not. I never agreed to let you hit me on my naked bottom."
"Yes you did. At the party for Vincent and Donna, you said, "One day, I will be a bad girl, and I will see what you do about. Today, you were a 'very bad girl.' You placed a bet. That is illegal in the state of New York, except at authorized off-track betting sites. I can make a citizen's arrest, and take you to the police, for that infraction, or you can go quietly and accept your punishment, like a good little girl."
"Frank you are absolutely incorrigible. You twist everything a person says, to your own advantage."
"What is it going to be little princess. Are you going to wimp out on your bet, or are you going to attempt to grow up."
"Mom, help me!"
"Grow up, Antonia."
"You have been listening to this whole thing, and hoping I would lose?"
"This is the most interesting conversation that has occurred in this house, since the one we had at two o'clock in the morning."
"You are not being helpful, mom."
"Grow up, Antonia, or I will find a way to grant Vincent's wish."
"What did Vincent ask for, Rose?"
"He wanted me to find a way..."
"Mom, stop it. He does not have to all know everything that goes on in this house. He is only the hired help."
"Is that the way you think of him, Antonia, just as the hired help. In that case, Tony fire him, because he is just too combative, for our daughter."
Tony walked into the room, after hearing what Rose demanded and told Frank that he was fired.
Frank walked over to him, and shook his hand. He told him that it was a pleasure working for him. If there was anything he ever needed, he knew where he lived.
As he opened the door to leave, Antonia pleaded for him to stop. "Dad, I do not want him to go."
"He is only the hired help, Antonia. I will hire someone else to take his place."
"Dad, please do not fire him. He looks out for me. He does not take my shit. He keeps me from going off the wall. He even helped Vincent and Donna, when we were in the restaurant. He put himself in a position that no one could have gotten to us, without going through him. I hate what he does to me, because of who I am. Even Vincent said, 'What man in his right mind, would put up with me?' He does not put up with me, and that is why we fight all the time. I would rather have him protect me, then anyone else in the world. Even though he is a pain in my ass, I know he will never leave me alone."
"You will go away to college soon, what am I supposed to do then?"
"I want you to send him with me. I will not know anyone there, which means I will not trust anyone. As long as Frank is around, I will not have to worry all the time."
"I am sorry, Antonia, I just cannot do that. I just got back from a war zone and have not seen my parents in over two years. I cannot just pack up and leave them for four more years. That would be unfair to them, and to me. I appreciate the offer, but I love my parents and I want to stay close to them."
Antonia ran out of the room crying. Frank looked at Tony, and shrugged his shoulders and said, "It would have been wonderful, but Tony I just cannot do it. My dad and mom are not as young as they used to be. I want to be close to them."
"Frank, you are great young man, and a great son. Please keep taking care of my daughter, until I can make other arrangements for her."
"Anything you say, sir. I am here for you."
"I do not understand why they did not use you for the Marine poster. With your good looks, your positive attitude towards life, and the Marine Corps, you would have been perfect."
"Sir, the guy they used for the Marine Corp advertising campaign was gay. They washed him out of the service six months after the campaign started."
Tony laughed so hard his sides hurt. He told Frank and next time he was going to tell a joke, he had better warn him, otherwise he might have a heart attack.
Frank said he was not joking, and gave him the corporal's name. Tony started laughing, all over again.
7. The Honeymooners
It had been a whirlwind two weeks, for Donna and Vincent. In the early morning, Donna started having morning sickness. By midday, they were both out sightseeing and eating everything that was not nailed down, and in the evening, their bedroom athletics worked off every calorie they had ingested, during the day. What Donna did not know about sex, prior to getting married, she learned quickly, and enjoyed it even more? Vincent was an excellent teacher and was delighted with the learning curve of his pupil. Actually, he was delighted with every curve his pupil had.
Vincent realized that his sister's advice had been true. Donna doted on him every moment of the day. She gave of herself freely, and without restriction. He was a very lucky man because, as his father told him, "He got the right girl pregnant."
They had gone from Rome to Venice, and then on to Milan. From there they departed back to the United States, with an extra suitcase of presents, for everyone, at home. They had given no thought as to where they would live, when they got back.
There were conversations going on, between Tony Caruso, Albert, DiAngiolla, and two other very powerful men, in New York. John Campi was the President of the Plumbers Union. Michael Montalbano owned John and the union. No building in New York or New Jersey had pipes or plumbing fittings in it, unless Mister Montalbano gave his approval and his approval was extremely expensive. The 'Donald' may act like a peacock to the media and at public events, however, if he wanted pipes for his buildings, and the correct fittings for his bathrooms, he has to kiss Mr. Montalbano's ass first.
A roving meeting was set for these four men to meet. They would be in the back of an armored-car, using noise-canceling equipment, to defeat ease dropping by the police or federal agencies. There would be numerous cars following and leading them. Anyone attempting to trail or monitor the vehicles route would be slowed down or otherwise diverted, to keep a safe distance, from the truck. The route they truck would take was set up by computer, and was randomized.
The meeting lasted less than one hour. The terms of the settlement were agreed upon, between the aggrieved parties, and an apology was given for not going through the Commission, prior to the combining of the two 'families.' A side issue, of somewhat lesser importance, was agreed to, also, which left Albert and Anthony smiling.
John Campi called a meeting, of the Board of Directors of the Plumbers Union, and advised them of a new policy that was being put into effect. "All members of this union, with more than thirty years of service, who had sons or daughters, returning from military service, would be allowed to retire with full pension, and medical benefits, if their child had been maimed or injured while in action, or if their child wanted to join the plumbers union, in their stead. The union would pay for all training for the new member, and no dues would be required, until the trainee began working."
He then advised the Board of Directors that their vote on this new policy was unanimous, and it would be announced, in the newspaper, and other media outlets, in the morning.
The members of the Board looked at John, and knew the implication of his words. If anyone was asked, by a member of the press, about the deliberations for this new policy, everyone in this room was 'for it' one hundred percent. "We believe in our troops and we back them with our actions."
When the word got down to the 'rank and file' members of the union, there were smiles and handshakes all around. They were the first in the country to acknowledge the sacrifices of the men and women who served this nation, in battle. The retirees would make room for the new bloods. They would gladly train, these warrior heroes, in the art and science of plumbing. This news made them proud to be Americans.
Several men in one Plumber's Union local fell into this category, including Phil Gennaro. They were all called to a meeting at the Union Headquarters. Each of them was given a packet of information to fill out, and to return within seven days.
During this time, Anthony Caruso walked down to Phil's house and asked to speak with him. Phil invited him in, and Gloria asked if he would like a cup of espresso. Tony said 'Yes,' and asked her to join the conversation.
Phil, Gloria, I want to buy your house. I want you let me finish, before you say "No." I want to give it to Vincent and Donna as a wedding present. I do not know if Frank told you that Donna is pregnant, and both Rose and I would like to have our grandchild close to us. Antonia is going to be going to school in Milan. She begged me to let Frank go with her, so he could continue to guard her. She knows no one there. She has become quite attached to Frank, because of their time together here. She does not want to be alone, at least for the first year, while she is acclimating herself, to her new surroundings.