BACK TO BROOKLYN, Excerpt #2

CHAPTER TWELVE

He Said, She Said…No

The Caddy sat on the street all the next day because Vinny and Lisa were both terribly hungover, too impaired to drive after Vinny’s surprise party. God only knows how they made it home afterward.

Lisa’s father Augie grimaced when he heard the noise coming from under the hood of the big red Caddy as it rolled into the repair bay the following day. “Lisa, you threw a rod?” he asked with disappointment in his voice.

Lisa and Vinny hopped out of the car. “Me? I didn’t throw nothin’. It was Captain Lead Foot over here.” She smirked. “He thought he could go up against a Mercedes AMG.”

Augie frowned. “Vinny, for real? Before or after you got loaded at the party?”

“Before,” she snitched.

“Benedict Arnold. When did you become such a tattle-tale?”

“Face the music, Mario Andretti.”

“Ah, I didn’t push her so hard. Maybe the oil pressure was low or something.”

“Oil pressure, my ass,” she said. “Listen, Vinny, I change the oil every two thousand miles and check the oil pressure while I’m at it. It’s always around thirty-two PSI, which is well within tolerance for this motor.”

“She’s right,” Augie said. “Thirty-two is right on the money.” He felt under the hood for the release latch and popped the massive hood. “We may be lucky,” he said and pointed to the left valve cover, which had a prominent bump on the top surface. “The rod broke while the piston was on the way up. We’ll pull the valve cover and see what’s going on.”

“You’re a lucky fuck, Vinny,” she said. “If the rod broke while the piston was on the way down, it probably would’ve cracked the block and then we could’ve thrown the whole engine in the garbage.”

Vinny was gazing at the concrete floor as he pulled off his leather jacket. “Augie, you got a set of coveralls I could use?”

“No way!” Lisa said. “We’re just a few blocks from the house. You put on a suit and go to work. I’ll fix the valve train.”

As usual, she was elegantly attired in pumps and a skirt. Vinny’s eyebrows peeked. “Dressed like that?”
“No, ya dope. I’ll walk back with you and change into my coveralls.”
“You two go ahead,” Augie insisted. “I’ll remove the bolts and we’ll talk about the repair when you get back.” He kissed Lisa on the forehead. “Besides, you know how much I like having my little girl around the shop.”

“Thanks, Pops.” Lisa blushed and pushed Vinny toward the door.

Vinny unlocked the front door and pushed it open.
“So, what’s your plan for today?” Lisa asked.
“I’m gonna go see Judge Molloy’s friend to file my

application for that assigned attorney thing. Then I’m gonna call Angie and start working on her case.”

“What about taking some office space like we talked about? You know, so you got a place to talk to your clients.”

“Yeah. I’ll look into that too…if I got the time.”
He was starting for the staircase when the phone rang. The voice on the end of the line sounded foreign. “Hello. This is Detective Parikh.”

“What? Did you say, ‘Detective Prick?’”
“Yes.”
“Fuck you!” He slammed the phone onto the cradle. “The

nerve of that guy.”
“Who the hell was that?” Lisa asked.
“Some asshole wasting my time with a prank call. I can’t

believe the son of a bitch called just to break my balls.” The phone rang again. “Ah shit. Do you believe this guy?” He answered the call in a hostile voice. “Listen up, wiseass. This ain’t funny.”

The caller interrupted. “Is this Vincent Gambini?” “Yeah. Who wants to know?”
“Detective Parikh.”
“Detective Prick?”

“Yes.”
“Get a life and stop wasting my time, you sick bastard.” “

Mr. Gambini, this is Detective Nirmal Parikh of the New York City Police Department.”

“Normal prick? Yeah, well, Normal Prick, I’m a big prick and I’m gonna kick the ever-loving shit out of you if you don’t hang up and stop calling this number.”

“Hey!” Lisa said. “What’s with all the foul language? You don’t know who that is.”

He covered the receiver. “Friggin’ asshole. I’ll teach him not to screw around with a Gambini. Watch this.”

“Vinny, are you sure about this?” she asked. “Maybe you just oughta hang up.”

“A guy like this? Forget about it. He’ll never stop calling. Give a guy like this an inch and he’ll take a whole mile.” He uncovered the receiver. “Hey, Normal Prick, why don’t you hang up and call back when you grow up and become a full- size prick.”

“Mr. Gambini,” the caller asserted. “This is Detective Nirmal Parikh with the New York City Police Department. I’m calling on official police business.”

“Yeah, right. Who is this? Hey, is that you, Giacomo, you sick bastard? I know it’s you, you crazy son of a bitch. You still hung over from my party the other night?”

“No,” the caller insisted, “I already explained, sir, this is Detective Parikh.”

“Now listen, Prick, I’ve got lots of friends in high places and if I ever find out who this is, I’ll kick your teeth in.” He disconnected again. “There. I showed him.”

The phone rang again. Lisa stepped in front of him and answered the call. “Can I help you?” She listened for a few moments and then turned to Vinny with a look of abject horror on her face. “Oh my God. Yeah? I see.” She remained quiet while she listened to what the caller had to say. “Sure. Yeah. I understand. I’ll put him right on. Hold on.” She covered the receiver and turned to Vinny with a look of utter disbelief. “Yeah. You showed him all right. The man’s name isn’t Prick. It’s pronounced Par-eek. It’s an Indian name, ya dope.”

“How was I supposed to know with that thick accent of his? I couldn’t understand a fuckin’ word he said.”

She shook her head. “Forget all that. It’s important. He wants to talk to you about some woman named Theresa, Theresa Cototi.”

“Theresa Cototi? Who the hell is that?”

“Like I know.” She shoved the phone into his hand. “Would ya just talk to the man already?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” He put the phone to his ear and began to pace the room. “Uh…Detective…sorry about that.”

***

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