America's Playboy Ch. 03byBOSTONFICTIONWRITER©
"What else can it be?" Angelo looked at his Boss. "It's got to be that hypnosis shit, then. He controls their minds with it."
"The guy is eighty fuckin' years old. I mean, I could understand if the guy worked out like Jack LaLanne and was in really good shape, you know." He stopped pacing to ask his associates a question. "Is he still alive, by the way?"
"Jack LaLanne? Is he still alive?"
"Yeah, Boss, Jack LaLanne is still alive, I think or did he croak? I dunno," said Angelo scratching his head. "I don't see him no more on TV, except for his juice machine commercials, but the commercials were made years ago."
"Yeah, Boss, Jack LaLanne is still alive. Matter of fact, his wife Elaine LaLanne is still alive, too. She's in her late eighties or early nineties," said Mario. He's around 94. I think I read that he did nine hundred or nine thousand pushups to celebrate his ninetieth birthday. Then, he pulled a boat loaded with ninety people across the harbor."
"No fuckin' way," said Julio. "Imagine doin' shit like that at his age. That guy will never die. The guy must fuck for hours and hours." He waved his finger at Angelo who was about to guzzle his beer. "Look at you drinking beer so early in the morning. You should be takin' better care of yourself. It's that carrot juice shit that he drinks and all those vitamins he takes. There's something in all that shit that will make that guy live to a 120." He looked at Angelo. "When's the last time you took a fuckin' vitamin?"
"Vitamin? I'm taking one now," he said taking a sip of his beer. "Don't they fortify beer with vitamins, now," said Angelo reading the label.
"What about you, Boss?" Mario looked up to his boss. "Do you take vitamins?"
"I can't. They upset my stomach," he said looking at his Captains. "So, now, don't fuckin' laugh, I still take my vitamins, but I take those Flintstone vitamins. They don't bother my stomach like the other shit."
"Hey, they have the same things in the Flintstone vitamins that the Centrum vitamins have in them, only not as much, so I take two," said Julio to Angelo. "I read the label."
"No one lives to be that old, 120-years-old, Boss," said Vito.
"Jack will," said Julio. Ninety-four to Jack LaLanne is like fifty-four to the rest of us. He's in better shape than Arnold, the Terminator."
"He's here, Boss," said Angelo peering out the window.
"Who's here?" Russo looked at Angelo while Mario and Vito stood and looked out the window watching a guy approach their social club from across the street. Angelo went outside, threw the guy up against the wall, and patted him down.
"That's the guy, that's Anthony, the guy with the houses, the guy who owes you money and doesn't have it to pay," said Mario.
The three men walked outside with Boss Russo leading the way. Julio walked up to Anthony and shook hands with him.
"Listen, Anthony," said Julio talking through his chewed cigar and throwing his fat arm around his shoulders. "I know you don't have the dough to pay me what you owe, but I have a way that you can repay your debt to me and do me a favor at the same time," he said giving him a hard look before waving a fat finger in his face. "And I never forget those who do me favors, you know what I mean?"
Julio was always shadowed by his favorite associates, Capos Mario, Angelo, and Vito. Big Louie, Little Louie, Hungry Ritchie, Tough Tommy, Dirty Jimmy, Best Man Vinnie, Fast Frankie, Two Takes Tony, Jumping Johnny, Loco Rocco, Handsome Salvy, and Dangerous Domenic were just a cell phone call away should there be a problem.
When it rained one of them held an umbrella over Mr. Russo's bald head. When he neared a door, another opened it for him to squeeze his short, fat body through. When they rode in a car, one drove the car, the other rode shotgun, and the third stayed in back with the Boss. Except when his boys were out on a job, Julio was never without his trio of protectors and most trusted family members. Imported right from Sicily, when not with them, he was with his personal bodyguards Fabrizio and Leonardo and one was more violent than the other.
"Anything Julio, anything. Ow," said Anthony holding the back of his head after receiving a slap from Mario. "What was that for?"
"No one calls the boss by his first name, except for Mrs. Russo and his mutha," said Mario sticking a stiff finger in his face.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disrespect you, Mr. Russo."
"It's okay, Anthony. We're all friends here. No harm done and no disrespect taken. You just don't know no better. You're kind of backward in the ways of the old neighborhood," he said patting down the dirty blonde hair that Mario's slap disturbed.
"You ask me anything, Mr. Russo, and I'll do it," said Anthony further expressing his emotions with his hands, as do most Italians. "Who do you want me to—"
"Nah, nothin' like that. Calm down Tony," he said looking at him. "May I call you Tony? Anthony sounds too formal like something I'd call my little nephew when he was receiving his first Holy Communion or what I'd call Anthony to come home for supper when it was Prince Spaghetti night on Wednesday." He turned to his associates. "Do you remember that commercial? Anthony! Anthony! His mutha would yell out the window at him. What ever happened to that kid? He was famous."
"He started a nightclub, Boss," said Angelo laughing. "He had an unfortunate accident when a fire broke out in the men's room. It was terrible, just terrible," he said laughing again with his cohorts Vito and Mario.
"Yeah, I remember that now," said Julio. "He was trying to muscle in on the competition, a couple of wise guys who were friends of ours owned the club next to his. It was a good thing he had insurance," he said sharing in their laughter.
"He moved to Miami after that," said Vito laughing.
"Yeah, sure, Tony is fine," said Anthony waiting his turn to speak before politely interrupting their back and forth conversation. Suddenly he had the image of himself running down the street screaming while on fire.
"Relax. Look at you. You're sweatin' bullets, said Julio. "There's no reason for you to be nervous. You're among friends. You've watched the Godfather movie one too many times," he said smiling at Anthony and then turning for a reaction from his peanut gallery of heavy hitters, literally and figuratively. Mario, Angelo, and Vito knew to laugh whenever Julio said something even remotely funny.
"Yeah, relax, kid," said Mario rubbing his shoulder. "No one is gonna hurt you, so long as you're with us."
"We're all just taking a nice stroll. Breathe in the fresh air. It's good for you," said Julio coughing before taking another puff of his chewed cigar. "Do you smell that? It's clean air that is bug free and that aren't really bugs but listening devices. We can talk freely out here without being listened to by the Feds. Fuckin' Feds are all over the fuckin' place."
The associates walked side by side filling the sidewalk as they went. Whenever they walked the streets of the old neighborhood, which was a rare occasion, as they always sped through in their fleet of luxury automobiles and SUV's, and whenever anyone saw Julio walking the sidewalk down from his social club, they either turned and walked the other way, crossed the street or ducked in a doorway until they passed by them.
"Godfather 1 & 2 are my favorites. I didn't like Godfather 3 as much," said Anthony with a nervous look hoping that Julio agreed with him.
"Yeah, me too. The only part I liked about Godfather 3 was when Pacino said, "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in," said Julio mimicking Pacino with his hands and his voice.
"That was good, Boss. You sounded just like Pacino," said Mario.
"That movie was too political and it made me angry when they showed the asshole Catholic Church Bishops and Cardinals for who they really are, greedy mutha-fuckers who care about no one and nothin' except for money," said Julio making the sign of the cross as he walked by a Catholic Church. "Only, they shouldn't have done that, 'cause we didn't have to have that thrown in our faces. We know they are like that. We all know the church is corrupt and only care about money. We all know that they don't give a rat's ass about the poor. Still, if only for the children, it's important we blindly look up to the priests and the nuns. There are some good ones out there and more importantly, they are symbols of our religion," he said waving his finger at Anthony. "And that movie, Godfather 3, made them all look bad. Francis Ford Coppola's mutha must be turning over in her grave."
"You're right about there being some good priests and nuns, boss," said Vito. "Sister Mary Francis and Father O'Brien are saints."
"Yeah, they don't get no better than that," said Angelo. "I still can't believe they were having sex all these years," he said moving his hand in front of his mouth simulating giving a blowjob. "Hey, maybe Father O'Brien hypnotized Sister Mary Francis. What d'ya think, Boss? Maybe that's how he got into her panties by controlling her mind. Wait, do Nuns wear panties or do they wear tights or something else under their habits?"
"Seriously? No shit! Father O'Brian was banging Sister Mary Francis," said Mario incredulously. "I didn't know that. I don't fuckin' believe it."
"You didn't know that? Everyone knew that," said Julio. "Sister Mary Francis is very pretty, even without no makeup. You can't blame Father O'Brien for hittin' that. I'd do her. She's got a rack under that habit. Besides, I always wanted to know what they wore beneath their Nun's habits. Yeah, definitely, like every other woman, they probably wear panties, but maybe it's those Nun's panties with the cross on them on something like that."
"No fuckin' shit. I still can't believe that Father O'Brien was bangin' Sister Mary Francis," said Mario shaking his head. "Well, anyways, yeah, that was the best part of the whole Godfather 3 movie when Pacino said that, Boss." Apparently the political nature of the film, as well as Julio's speech about religion was lost on him.
"Yeah, he was living your life, Boss," said Angelo echoing his friend's respect for his boss with a compliment.
"You coulda been him in that movie, Boss," said Vito.
"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."
In the next chapter Boss Russo makes Anthony an offer he can't refuse.
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To be continued...