America's Playboy Ch. 04byBOSTONFICTIONWRITER©
"Have you noticed the respect that I receive from my associates, Anthony," said Julio with arms up, as if he was the Pope giving Mass to thousands from a balcony in Vatican City. "Have you noticed the respect that I receive from those who live in my neighborhood?"
Julio turned from one side of the street to the other and whenever he made eye contact with someone looking out a window or standing in a doorway, they slammed shut the window or ducked in the doorway. Love was not in the air when Julio Russo walked down the sidewalk and made his presence known in the neighborhood.
"To be honest with you, Mr. Russo, I think it's more fear than it is respect. Ow! Jesus," said Anthony rubbing the back of his head.
"You disrespect the Boss one more time and I'll break your fuckin' kneecap," said Mario. "D'ya hear me, asshole?"
"Sorry, Mr. Russo, yes, everyone likes you. Ow!" said Anthony reacting to the slap off the back of the head received from Vito. "What I meant to say is that everyone loves you."
"Anyways, how's your Dad?
"My Dad? You know my Dad?" Anthony looked at him incredulously. "My Dad is good, Mr. Russo. Why?"
"And your Ma? Is she good, too?"
"My Ma?" Anthony gave him a look before realizing what this line of questioning was about. "Yeah, okay, I get it. My parents are fine, Mr. Russo," said Anthony looking at him with questioning eyes. "I realize you know where I live, if that's what you're suggesting by asking after the health of my parents, Mr. Russo."
"Watch your mouth," said Vito taking a step forward until Julio waved him off. "I oughta give you a slap just because."
"You're a mason right?"
"Yeah, I'm a jack of all trades, carpenter, plumber, electrician, mason, and roofer. I do it all. I can build a house from the foundation to the roof."
"You specialize in those...what do you call them...Batman houses like the one that Bruce Wayne lives in when he's not living down in his bat cave," he said laughing and turning to look at his associates. "My favorite Batman movie was the first one, with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton, especially the part when the robber is on the roof with Batman and he goes, Who are you? And Batman says, I'm Batman. That was fuckin' unbelievable."
"Batman houses? Oh, you mean houses that are inspired by Gothic architecture?" Mario slapped him across the back of his head. "Ow! What was that for?"
"Don't correct the boss when he's tryin' to explain somethin' to you. Just shut the fuck up and listen. You're such a stupid fuck I should give you another slap just for good measure," said Mario taking a step closer to him.
"Yeah, I specialize in those Batman types of houses," said Anthony turning around and ducking while talking.
"Pardon my ignorance, Tony, but I know nothin' about architecture. I just know what I like when I see somethin' that I like, you know what I mean?"
"Most people are like that, Mr. Russo."
Anthony ducked and missed another slap.
"The Boss ain't like most people," said Mario.
"Anyways, I know a guy who knows a guy and I need for you to find something out for me before this guy who knows this guy croaks of old age. He's old, very old. He's the same age as my grandfather, Don Fillipo in Silicy, who's in not such good health lately," said Julio making the sign of the cross, again. He pulled the medallion of the Virgin Mary that hung from a gold chain around his neck and kissed it. Then, he replaced his appropriate look of concern for his grandfather's health to look at Anthony with a broad smile. "Have you ever been to the old country, Tony?"
"No, Mr. Russo, I'm not Sicilian. My family came here from northern Italy back in the thirties before the start of World War II."
"Well, that explains the blonde hair and the baby blues that you have like Frankie Sinatra did. A dozen years before he died, me and the boys saw Frankie in concert, you know. He gave a Hell of a show, a Hell of a show. Right boys? We even met him backstage, too. He was a great man. He was a man that made all Italians proud to be Italian. He was right up there with Christopher Columbus and Dean Martin, real name Dino Crocetti. Dino was Italian, too, you know."
"He gave a Hell of a show, Boss" said Mario.
"My wife had a great time, Boss. Thank you again for the tickets," said Angelo.
"Yeah, my wife loved it, too, Boss," said Vito.
"We had beautiful seats," said Julio looking at Anthony before blowing cigar smoke in his face. "Now that I think of it, I ain't never seen any Sicilians with blonde hair unless they are women or fags dying it," he said sharing a laugh with his boys. "So, anyways, this guy has information that I can make use of in my daily business, especially when dealing with the broads," he said finishing his statement with a vulgar gesture of holding his hands in front of his hips while humping air before turning around again to laugh with his boys.
"Okay, sure," said Anthony forcing out a chuckle. "I'll do whatever you ask of me, Mr. Russo. And according to what Angelo told me, the deal is that if I get you the information that you need, I'm clean with you and my loan is forgiven. Is that right?"
"Yeah, yeah, you get me what I want and we're all good and your five thousand dollar loan is forgiven, as if it never happened," he said shaking Anthony's hand. "Anyways, this old guy owns one of those Batman houses, I mean Gothic inspired homes in the architectural style of Batman," said Julio looking back at his boys.
"You sound just like that Donald Trump guy," said Vito.
"Oh, yeah? Ya think so? You know, come to think of it, now that the market is depressed and no one can sell their home, I've been thinking about investing more money in real estate, but not in California or New York, just around here," said Julio turning to address his boys. "There's some real nice property in Rhode Island and Jersey around Narragansett Bay that I'd like to buy. It's beautiful down there and I have some friends of mine who live around there, too," he said turning to look at Mario. Carmine and Francesco live down there."
"Oh, yeah, Boss? I didn't know they lived down there," said Mario. "I thought they still lived in Boston, the Back Bay somewhere or up on Beacon Hill."
"Nah, they bought places practically next to one another. It's like the fuckin' Kennedy compound in Hyannis, they're so close together. You should see the spread they have. Mamma Mia! Nice, real nice," he said whistling his appreciation while waving his hand up and down. "It's right on the water. They park their boat right there, walk down a long pier from their house, and they're on the boat and taking a nice ride. That's better than living on a fuckin' golf course when I don't even play golf." He laughed, "The last time I played golf, I got so frustrated that I broke my putter and flung the clubs in the water."
"I still can't believe you shot your caddy in the foot for giving you bad information," said Mario. "You shot his big toe off."
"Yeah, but Boss, you have a beautiful home and your wife plays golf," said Angelo.
"Ah, what're you gonna do? She's why I bought the place on the golf course. I'd rather be on the water, though," said Julio looking at Anthony. "Do you think you can advise me which homes are good investments to buy?"
"Sure, Mr. Russo, sure, I can inspect them for you before you make a decision to buy. I'm a licensed home inspector. I can do that for you."
"How much do you charge for your home inspection services," said Julio while taking a big inhalation of his cigar.
"I charge around $500," he said turning in time to see Mario raising his hand. "But for you, Mr. Russo, as a favor, I'd inspect the homes that interest you for nothing." Mario patted him on the back.
"Thank you, Tony. See, you're startin' to learn the ways of the old neighborhood. You're a quick learner. I like that about you."
"So, what do you want me to do, Mr. Russo?"
"What do I want you to do? Nothin' illegal and now that I know you know so much about the Gothic inspired homes, it's right up your alley," he said turning to Tony and making eye contact. "I've arranged for you to give your professional opinion on what repairs this Gothic styled house needs. You don't have to do nothin', work wise, that is, if you don't want to. I mean, that is, if you decide to stay down there longer and actually work on his house to make some extra dough, that's your business. That's up to you. I don't like to interfere in anyone's business. Do you know what I mean," he said filling Anthony's face with more cigar smoke. "Only, if you do stay down there and if you do make some considerable money, I'd expect a piece of the action, as say a finder's fee."
"Yeah, sure. Thank you, Mr. Russo."
"You only have to give the guy an estimate on the work that he needs, so that he knows you're legit and so that you can get him to trust you. Once you get in his good graces, you shmooze him a little bit and get me the information. Then our business is done and your debt is repaid. Capice?" He looked at Anthony. "Do you have a business card?"
"A business card? Yeah, I have a business card with a gothic inspired entrance way on it," he said reaching in his back pocket. "Hey, that fuckin' hurts," said Anthony when Vito grabbed and twisted his arm around behind his back.
"Don't worry, Vito. He's clean," said Angelo. "I frisked him back at the club before we started walking."
"Oh, sorry, Anthony," said Vito fluffing down his shirt. "I react sometimes before I think. It's instinctive. I didn't know what you were reaching for back there," said Vito. "Some guys keep a .22 in their back pocket."
"It's just my wallet," he said pulling out his wallet and showing Vito. He pulled out his business card and handed it to Julio.
"That's nice, perfect. This business card is class." He handed his business card to Mario. "Look at his business card. That's class. This will get him in the front door. Huh?"
"Yeah, Boss. That's a beautiful business card. It looks official."
"I figure by you being in the house, it will serve two purposes. Since you are there to give him an estimate on what it will cost him to fix his mansion, this guy will give you his trust. People always bond with their sub-contractor."
"It's just like the unions, Boss. We're all bruthas."
"Yeah, yeah, bruthas so long as they pay us. So anyways, by being in the house, you can also snoop around to get the information that I need."
"Sure, sure, absolutely, I can do that. I'm a licensed house inspector on the side, too. I'll crawl through every crawlspace to get whatever it is you need. Only what information do you need, Mr. Russo?"
In the next chapter Anthony finds out what he must do for Boss Russo.
Thank you for reading my story. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Please take a moment to vote, make a public comment, and/or give me feedback. Your support is why I write. Your feedback will motivate me to write a better story the next time.
If you haven't already, please take moment to add me and/or this story or any other of my stories to your list of favorites. Thanks, Freddie, Bostonfictionwriter.
To be continued...