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Monday, January 30, 2012

New Year's Eve. Not So Dream Date...Part II


Continued from last week: 

  I responded, “Oh per l'amore di Pete che posso pensare di cose migliori di fare di prende a prestito il denaro da lei. Come deruba una banca.”
            Delores looked at me. And put her hands on her hips. “Well, you don’t have to be so nasty. Get yourself out of the window.”
            “Okay, if you want any more free samples from Henry, you’d better help me, because I’m stuck.”
            I was stuck. My hips were caught in the window. It was small, but I was just a bit too wide. I’m sure if I stayed there long enough I could wiggle through, but I needed to get this job done. My sisters looked at each and other and pulled me through, before all the blood could rush to my head. Then how would they explain to our parents, I died in a night club window, in the ladies room hanging upside down. Another strange Russo death. I could see the headlines now. “Woman found dead in window, as she tried to sneak into nightclub.”
            They tugged and I broke free. They didn’t catch me as I came through, and let me crash to the floor. I looked up at them, and said, “Okay, which one of you is going to lend me your skirt?”
            Just then my BFF, Gabby came in looking for Delores and Jeanine, and she was wearing my favorite little black dress, which by the way looked better on her then me. From the floor, I also noticed she was wearing my favorite Sam Edelman Novato black and white striped heels. They made her legs look fabulous.
            I looked up at her stunned face, “You look great. You’ve obviously changed.”
         “Oh, when you left, we went back up stairs and I borrowed this because I didn’t bring anything for clubbing.” She smiled. “You’re okay with it.”
            I snorted, “Oh, yeah.”
          It was alright. We did that all the time as roomies. We trusted each other, but she looked so damn good in my stuff, it almost made me hate her.
            She frowned, “What are you doing here? And what are you doing on the floor? I thought you were working.”
            “As it turns out the person we’re following came in here, and as you can see I’m not dressed to impress.” Then it struck me. “Gabby I need to borrow my borrowed dress from you.” I stood up, and smoothed my rumbled appearance, “It’s just for a short while and then you can borrow my dress back.”
            She looked puzzled. “Sure. Where’s your boss?”
            I pointed a thumb in the direction of the window, “He’s in the alley getting dirty.” 
            My sister Lucinda came in and stopped. She just stared at me as Gabby and I started to strip down throwing clothes at each other hurrying to change. 
            "Block the door." I said. No it was more like a order.
            "Why?" Lucinda asked. She was always one of those annoying children who asked 'why' a dozen times like a broken record, before some one hit her upside the head. Adulthood or loosing her virginity in a very public way in the back of Vito Greco old bright pink Gremlin, did nothing to change that habit. 
            Lucinda guarded the door by telling girls to wait just a minute unless they wanted to be fumigated by a very sick person, who stunk up the place. It worked for the five minutes it took for us to swapped out clothes. 
          Delores and Jeanine went and got Gabby a drink to keep her company while she hid out in the restroom. I went out on to the dance floor and tried to hide the mini video camera in my and hand, as I danced through the crowd to find our blond bombshell. It took almost an hour to find her. When I did she was dancing her heart out with some really good looking dude. I started to dance, with no one and bring the camera up and down in an effort to catch her. When a light flashed on this good looking guy, and I realized it was Fireman Frank. Shit. And he was dancing with the blond bombshell! He must have been in the city already when he called! Another missed opportunity.
            He turned and caught me with the camera looking right at him. He stopped and stared at me like he’d seen a ghost. The blond started to scream and point at me like I was some diseased crazy. I tried to turn around and dance my way off the floor when I found myself face to face with the very big chested bouncer. I looked up at him, and could only see angry eyes squeezing through his very round face.
  He grabbed my arm and said roughly, “Come with me.”
  Of course I argued, “WHY!?” I was turning into Lucinda. 
  “Because we don’t allow cameras.”
  “I didn’t know that.” Oh am I going to hell for that lie.  
I tried to pull away, to escape. I slipped from his tight hold and ran in my Sam Edelman Novato heels towards the bathroom camera in hand. Do you know how hard it is to run in a tight short black dress in those shoes!? When I realized there was a big ruckus behind me. Fireman Frank had tried to keep the bouncer from following me. I tripped, over a waitress carrying a tray of drinks. Booze went everywhere including all over my favorite little black dress and down my legs into my way to expensive heels. Me, the waitress and booze were rolling around on the floor. As I scrambled to get up, I was apprehended by another bouncer, who definitely needs to go on a diet. He roughly pulled me up to stand on my feet. I slammed my pointed heel into his foot, he hollowed like a little boy, and I ran. Do you know how hard it is to run in heels!? I was certain I couldn’t keep it up long. I was yelling out for my sister’s names, giving them instructions to tell Gabby to meet me at home, when out of nowhere another bouncer stepped in front of me. This guy grabbed me around the waist and lifted me off the ground as he tried to wrestle the camera out of my hand.
            The Russo’s always stick together. Delores came up and threw a cosmo in the bouncers face, and down she went by way another bouncer. Lucinda was hitting the biggest bouncer. She had to jump up and down to continue to slap him in the head with her little clutch purse. The problem, her cell phone flew out and hit Fireman Frank in the eye, causing him to go to his knees. Soon we were surrounded and being dragged out of the club. The camera was confiscated, all the contents erased and the police were called because Lucinda caused an injury of a not so innocent bystander, Fireman Frank, and Delores' aim with the cosmo was pretty good. Jeanine just fought with everyone. She's quit the scrapper. The threat was to charge Lucinda with assault with a deadly cell phone and me with deadly Sam Edelman Novato heels, because apparently the bouncer was now limping.   
           It didn’t take long and we were on our way to the Manhattan Precinct, handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. Unfortunately it was my cousin Natalie Boyle, who cuffed me up. She's never forgiven for dying her red hair, bright pink one summer  in a attempt to make her blond, when we were thirteen. She was getting way to much pleasure out of cuffing me tightly.  I prayed my brother was working, because I was certain Natalie would have the biggest organism of her life, doing the paper work to see me sent up the river for the rest of my life, for crippling a bouncer’s toe.  
P.I Sean followed with Gabby riding on the back of his motorcycle in my original outfit. Fireman Frank was let go at the scene and told to go home and never come back, because he was a fireman, who now had a black swollen eye from Lucinda's cell phone, which slid away into the dark. She tried to get it back by crawling on her hands and knees in a her little purple sequined dress, but was dragged away by now a very pissed off big guy.  
At the precinct we were thrown in the drunk tank with all the other drunk women, who were puking up the night's celebration. The prostitutes kept asking where I got my dress and demanded to know who was my pimp daddy and what corner I patrolled. We all sang hip hop songs together, wished each other a Happy Fucking New Year and decided to braid each others hair. As the ball dropped in Time Square, I sat in a holding cell with my sisters who were whaling like professional mourners, covered in cosmo that caused my thighs to stick together. The cell got pretty crowded as the night wore on. One by one, I said my good-byes to my new friends as they were released. We promised to stay in touch. Especially the ladies of the night, they wanted to keep up on Henry's fashion advice, and be the best dressed hookers on the street. 
My brother, Mario finally showed up early in the morning, with Serpico in tow, with big bags under eyes, and smelling like he had a better time than we did. Mario decided we needed to spend the night in jail. They both just stood there staring at us. Me in my very short borrowed black dress that was mine, my hair a nappy sticky mess, and my sisters looking like they were part of the some Halloween party that required smudged blackened make-up. Jeanine with a big pink stain down the front of my shirt. Off to the side, Natalie had arrived smiling. With her hat off, I could see she had a botched hair cut, I assumed from my mom's salon. It's always about the hair with her. Farà esso mai finisce. 
No charges were filed, because of Mario, Pops, Serpico, numerous uncles and cousins. Natalie argued the point, deciding we all needed to go through the system, to teach us a lesson. Natalie was always big on lessons. Like the time she taught me to ride my bike down a steep hill while camping, only to slam into a tree, loose two front teeth and break my wrist. The lesson, don't listen to Natalie.
"I've got a lesson for you Natalie, stay away from the Russo's when it comes to your hair."  I reminded her as I left. I just had to flip my nappy sticky red hair over my shoulder as I stumbled out the door in Sam Edelman Novato heels, nearly falling and breaking something else.
The whole situation would go away, but it would be the one and only time we were lectured. Mario also said he wouldn’t tell our mother, because it would kill her to know "ALL" her daughters spent the night in jail and were now criminals, but he would tell Pops so he could kill us. I knew mom would find out. Natalie would tell every Boyle from Chicago to New York, she just couldn't resist.   
We called a cab and had to get a hand out from Serpico because none of us any money. The four of us piled in looking like the hell we put ourselves through. When I arrived at Henry’s, Gabby greeted us at the door with big hugs, coffee and bagels. All I wanted to do was sleep. All I had when I arrived home was my little black dress, and Sam Edelman Novato heels, not even a jacket. I was freezing. Gabby fortunately had my cell phone, but the camera was gone. There went my bonus.  
I slept until afternoon. When I woke, my sisters had cleaned up and gone home to face the family. I was lucky I lived in Manhattan and could hide. P.I Sean showed up and to hear I lost the camera, but we had a witness in Fireman Frank, if he'd every talk to me again.  No bonus and possibly no pay, because his account was empty as mine.
BFF went home the next day. Mom found out from her brother, Natalie's dad and called and screamed at me that I've ruined the Russo and Boyle name and I was killing her. She's been claiming that for a long time, but has managed to survive me and my sisters this long. True to form Natalie couldn't keep her mouth shut. Now we're the jail birds of the clan, besides my cousin Timothy whose in prison in Illinois, but no one talks about him. Henry came home to hear the tale, and worried over my ruined clothes, but said he get the stain out of the shirt Jeanine borrowed.   
Oh, P.I Sean just called we've got another case.   
           

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Year's Eve..The not so Dream Date...Part 1



      This is the first New Year’s Eve I’m single in three years. Last year I was with sexually confused Adam, who promptly dumped me, shortly thereafter. So this New Year’s I’m excited to be unattached and ready to party without a care in the world. Let me rephrase that, I do have a care. My bank account is at the same digit as the temperature outside, which I’m working to forget to enjoy the evening.
     My sisters, Delores, Lucinda and Jeanine arrive at my cousin Henry’s apartment, where I now reside, due to a fire that burnt up my life. Okay, time to think positive. Henry has gone to Venice Italy with his new boyfriend to ring in the New Year. They invited me, but there are two reasons I couldn’t go. Number 1, I don’t have any money. Number 2, I still don’t have any money. So I’m home in Manhattan ready to spend the evening with my three loopy sisters, their two friends, Tina and Joyce, and my BFF, Gabby visiting from South Carolina. The plan, or at least mine and Gabby’s, Time Square, watch the ball, and then find a place to eat, because of the money thing. Sisters and their friends are going clubbing, because they believe they are independently wealthy. I think the real truth is they plan on meeting someone in the square who will foot their bill. Not willing to go down that road and BFF is living with her boyfriend. We opted for trying to squeeze into a crowded eatery.
     The evening starts off with take-out Chinese, drinks, Delores and Jeanine fighting over the fact they are both wearing the same bargain teal shirt. Finally, I talked Jeanine into wearing a sample designer shirt Henry gave me (he works in the fashion industry). It pained me do so, because I know I’ll never see it again. It was worth it to end the argument about to turn in to a cat fight that included sharp objects from the kitchen.
      We finally get out the door, and who should be waiting out front, but my new boss, P.I Sean. He grabs me, and says, “I need you to work tonight.”
      “Work!?” I spat.
      “Yes, work. We’ve got a big job to follow a woman. Her insurance company is trying to catch her cheating on her disability.”
P.I Sean looked over at six pairs of eyes ogling his very cute self. “It’s a big pay day if we catch her.”
     “I’m your assistant, not a P.I.” I rolled my eyes, “You couldn’t call me sooner?”
    “I wasn’t sure it was going to happen today, and when it did, I just came over here, because I need you to be my date. Or pretend to be my date.”
    I sighed, “its New Year’s Eve, per l'amore di Pete, lei l'idiota.” Good thing he doesn’t understand Italian. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
     “Really I need you.”
     Okay, no boy, man or boss has ever said that to me. “Do I get paid?”
     He smirked, “Hell ya, of course. It’s over time.”
     He better mean it or I’ll get Tony the Squid on him, or better yet, Nona.  I looked over at the girls and let out a big fat exasperated breath, “Okay. This better be worth it.” I shook a finger at him, “The only reason I’m going with you is because I so desperately need money.” I continued to shake my finger, “I know people.”
     P.I Sean laughed as he pulled me towards his motorcycle, “Oh, I bet you do.”
     I told Gabby I’d call when this was over, and handed her the key to Henry’s as Sean motioned for me to climb behind him. This time I had on flat boots. No fear of ruining another pair of shoes. We stopped in front of an apartment building just around the block. We stood in the darkened doorway of the building across the street. Soon a woman came out, all glamed up for the evening in stilettos, a very short dress, I caught a glimpse of as she buttoned up coat. She pulled from the collar, long golden locks of hair. Sean pulled out a video camera and stared to film as he told me to face him as if we were in an embrace.
     “Look like your trying to stay warm.”
     It wasn’t too far off the mark, I was freezing.   
   “What’s the problem she’s limping?” I’d probably limp in those shoes too. They were pretty incredibly high.  
    “She likes to dance.”
    “Well don’t we all,” I responded into his very muscular chest.
    The woman hailed a cab and we were off on the motorcycle again following through mid-town traffic.  Since Time Square was blocked off, it was crowded from the diverted traffic. The cab stopped in front of a restaurant, and the blond went inside, not limping anymore. Well, well.  
    Just then my phone rang. It was Firemen Frank. Sitting on the back of a motorcycle, freezing my ass off, behind my boss, my dream date calls me. Shit.
    “Hello,” I answer.
    “Happy New Year, Cari.” Frank said cheerfully.
    “Happy New Year right back at ya.”
    “Say Cari, I know it’s last minute, but ya know a few months ago, I mentioned we needed to talk.”
    “Oh, yea right after the earthquake. Not a good time.” And when was that in September.
   “No it wasn’t a good time, but say, if you’re not busy I’d like to meet up with you tonight.” He hesitated, “Ya know to celebrate New Year’s.”
    You have got to be kidding! He calls me, three hours before the ball drops when I’m sitting on the back of a motorcycle, following some blond woman who I hate because she’s beautiful, to earn some extra cash. So this is when he calls for a date? Dio mi punisce realmente stasera. Devo essere stato realmente cattivo in una vita passata.  Really you don’t want to know.
     Frank continues. “I ran into your brother at Dom’s deli, and he said you were free.”
    Okay, it’s bad enough he still eats at my cousin’s deli, and he believes what comes out of my only brother in Jersey, Serpico. And this is why he calls!?
    “Um,” was all I could say.
    “Then I called your mom.”
    Can this get any worse? He called my mom. Alcuni un colpo giusto me. 
    “Because your brother said you were over there visiting and didn’t have any plans.” He said “Or that you were going out with your sisters. Your mom said you guys were already in the city. But I can make it over there, pretty quickly.”
     And this makes me dateless and available, because? Okay it does, but that’s beside the point.
     “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t. I’m working.” I sighed into the phone, not sure if I should be disappointed or pissed.
    It sounded like a lie. I mean, one of those lies you tell when you don’t want to go out with someone or ever see them again, because they’re going to figure out you’re lying and will hate you for it.    
    “Working? Your mom said you're a secretary for a P.I agency.
    “No, I’m assistant and I’m assisting my boss tonight.” Now that sounded just as stupid, as if it was a lie.I rolled my eyes. My hole just got deeper.
     I laid my forehead on Sean’s back, wishing I was somewhere else like Venice. That would have sounded so much better, “No Frank I’m in Venice, ya know the one in Italy.”
    “Okay, okay, maybe another time.” Click.
    Frank thought I was lying. Right, then I hated P.I Sean.
    “Damn it.” I cursed.
    Sean looked his shoulder at me with those big blue eyes, and said, “Man problems.”
    “Is there any other kind?”
   We sat there for however long it was, when the blond came out with a male companion and caught a cab to a club, when she exited the vehicle no more limping at all. Matter-of-fact- she did a little be-bop up to the doorman, past the line and was given entrance immediately. Okay, she liked to dance.
    “We’ve got to get inside,” Sean said.
    “How? Neither one of us are dressed for it. We couldn’t get past the front door.”
    Sean parked, and we walked up a very dark stinky alley and stopped at a very high window that was partially open.The music from the nightclub bounced out of the window, thudding down the alley.
    Sean smiled at me, “I’ll climb up there and see where it goes.”
   We pushed a dumpster under the window. No one told me P.I work included moving garbage around. Sean climbed on top and stood on a box to see in and ducked back down, and hissed, “It’s the ladies john.”
    Oh great I knew what that meant.
    He jumped down. “I’ll lift you up. You can fit through, and get inside sneak around take a video of her dancing, and exit through the kitchen.”
    “Where’s the kitchen?”
    “I don’t know, but you’ll find it. Then you find me out front.”
    “I want a raise and bonus for this.”
    “We’ll get enough money for this and you can have both.”
    I climbed up on the dumpster with Sean. He lifted me up, so I could grab the ledge, and place my feet on his shoulders. I had to wait a couple of minutes because girls kept visiting the room, and of course they had to talk, and touch up hair and make-up. Sean’s shoulders were giving out. He started to lose  his balance on the dumpster. When it was finally all clear, I was able to jump up and push my body through the open window. The force pushed Sean back and he fell off the dumpster, screaming like a girl, into some stinky frozen water. It was nasty. 
    Just as I wiggled in through the window, who should come be-bopping in but my sisters Jeanine and Delores fighting over the shirt I lent Jeanine that now had a big red stain on it from some colorful drink. They both stopped and stared at me half way through the window.
    “Don’t just stare at me, but help you idiots! And what happened to my shirt!?”  I yelled as they pulled me through the window.
    Delores said, “If you wanted to come here so badly I would have lent you the money so you wouldn’t have to sneak in.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's our last Year on earth and it didn't start out too good!


     Here we are in 2012, and this is supposed to be IT for us. It’s the end of the world, so do everything you ever wanted to do this year, because it’s over, Sopra, realmente sopra!
       This is how 2011 ended for me and it started with Christmas Eve. Keeping reading and you'll know why I have a picture of a ham. It plays a major roll in this sorted tale. 
     My mom has a huge Christmas Eve dinner. Every Russo including Boyles from her family, appear at our house for Christmas. First the drive-by dinners with so much food we could feed a poor country, then on to midnight mass. It was no different this year accept for one thing, in the past no one died.
     My parent’s house was packed to gills, with relative upon relative. Some stay, others stop in say hello, because not to, is a mortal sin. Everyone brings food. You can’t come without food, another mortal sin. If it’s not food, its booze, the second mortal sin. It has to be one or the other. My great-uncle Carmine Russo walks in the door, carrying several bottles of cheap wine. He’s already three sheets to the wind, his wife is there complaining about her aches and pains, loud enough so the neighbors can hear. Never ask the women even in passing how she is. You get a dissertation on ALL her aliments. All 106.5..Really she has a number for each one. The .5 is for a reoccurring rash.
     Carmine looks at my parent’s pathetic tree, which my mom bought that day, because on Christmas Eve, the trees go 70% off. It looked like a 70% tree, it resembled Charlie Brown’s tree. We’ve been going through this since we were kids, cheap trees all dressed up to try to fake out a expensive tree decorated in the gaudiest ornaments in Jersey. Including the half naked women joke ornaments mom received from her friends. She can’t throw away anything.
        I can hear it now, “What if they come over and don’t see their ornaments on the tree!?”   
      Its okay, mom, no one will miss them, including the friends who probably already forgot they gave them to her. No, wait, they’re all Italian with memories that rival elephants.
      Oh, but I digress, back to Uncle Carmine. He walks in the door, yelling out, Buon Natale, dove è i ravioli maledetti!? (really, you don’t want me to translate) and takes a look at the leaning Christmas tree with a croaked bright blue star, (a gift from Jewish neighbors) points at it, and says, “That’s the ugliest fucking tree I’ve ever seen.”
     My mom yells at him to stop being rude. He gives her a look like he’s seeing God, his eyes roll back in his head, he falls like a tree in the forest, straight forward, hits the dining room table, (he’s a big guy) lifts the end of the table, which acts like a catapult, food flies in every direction. The ham shoots towards me, I duck and it hits my brother, affectionately called Serpico, because that’s who he looks like, smack in the forehead. It had a bone, so it pretty much knocked him senseless. The ham ricocheted off his head and crashed through the front window and landed between Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus in the nativity scene on the front porch, but not before taking out poor unsuspecting Joseph. Old Joe bounced off the porch and hit Delores' new boyfriend walking up the steps and knocked out of his hands a cake he brought from his family to ours. Run, dude and don't look back.
    Everyone is climbing over each other to reach Uncle Carmine, and well, it appears he’s dead. No doesn’t appear, he is dead. There is at least two dozen cops and firemen in the house, they all rush to him and try to revive Carmine, leaving Serpico lying flat out unconscious on the floor. We could all see he was breathing, so that made it okay. My brother Mario tripped over Serpico to reach his hysterical wife. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the newbie’s last Christmas with us.  
      I look for Nona, who’s pretty small, thinking she might get trampled, and there she is holding her ravioli dish. She managed to grab it before Carmine bit the dust. It’s her favorite Christmas dish. It only comes out on the holidays. She did look a bit stricken. Carmine was her last brother-in-law.
    The ambulance comes, and takes Carmine away. As the paramedics come in, they see Serpico just coming to from the assault from the ham, and take him away, with dead Uncle Carmine. He’ll never forgive us for that one. He had to ride in the same ambulance.
     So, there we are on Christmas Eve. Oh, but it doesn’t end there.
    Carmine’s wife continuing to complain about life, her aches and pains, throwing in an occasional moan for Carmine, is on a budget for the funeral. We all pitch in. So what does she buy? A baby blue casket, with yellow silk lining, it looked like discarded old Cadillac. I think it was return or used.
    There lied Uncle Carmine in his best suit, (it was bit snug), draped in rosaries. The man was an atheist. I feared we’d all be struck by lightning as we left the funeral home. The only priest willing to touch this funeral was at least 100yrs old, and retired. We had to pay him off to get him to do it. . He kept stumbling around, and nearly dumped Uncle Carmine and the casket over. That would be the perfect end to the perfect Russo Christmas, end of the year and funeral. 
     Serpico was at the funeral with a big knot on his forehead, black eyes and neck brace, the result of the ham. He looked like he’d rather face down a bad guy in a dark alley with a gun. I can hear it now at the precinct, “Hey Russo, what happened to you? Fall out of bed?”
     “No, you jerk. I was assaulted by a ham, thrown by my dead uncle. What’s a matter with you? Haven’t ever been assaulted by a hambone?” 
       Can't wait to see what the end of the world will bring in 2012. Can't be worse than this, oh but it can because the Russo's will try to find away to stop it from happening. 
      Vederla sul retro,
                   Cari 
p.s
Stay tuned I haven't talked about New Year's eve... 

I decided to add something to this post, about Carmine. He was my Granddad Russo's brother, and was at my granddad's side when he died in the line of duty as NYPD, when my father was only 16yrs old. He was a young man at the time trying to help out a grieving widow, (Nona) who was left with four teenage boys to raise alone. He was there for my dad and uncles always. Without hesitation, without argument. Carmine is the reason my dad and uncles are NYPD as are two of my brothers, and numerous cousins. For me and my siblings, he was loud, blustery all the time, but was there for our sports and graduations. He never missed anything, including for his own kids. What I didn't mention in that yellow lined, baby blue casket, was his badge and service metals, along with his dress blues that he long since couldn't fit into. So they were folded neatly at his side. He was a proud man we all loved, even when he was at his worse. We'll miss you Carmine...Enjoy heaven, even though you didn't believe in it and try to keep your voice down. The thunder won't be the same for me anymore, because I'm sure if I listen between the bangs hard enough I'll hear Carmine sharing a drink with a few old buddies who passed before him, including my granddad sharing their war stories from the streets of New York City.