They sat at a round table in the back room of Forlini’s Restaurant. No one else was in the room and no one else was allowed in the room. The back room was usually reserved for private parties; baptisms, confirmations, birthdays, anniversaries and an occasional Bar Mitzvah, or two, even though Manishchewitz wasn’t on the menu.
Tonight, important business was to be discussed in this room and if a customer made the mistake of entering the room, or made a wrong turn to or from the bathroom, they would be quickly told to get out or else. And in the history of Forlini’s, no one had ever asked why.
On the table in front of them were several platters of cold and hot antipasto.
“Hey Junior, pass me the platter of proshoot and mozarell,” Tony B said.
“Want some cabacol too?” Junior said.
“Mannaggia, you want to get me fat, or something?” Tony B said.
Big Fat Fanny sat at the right hand of Tony B. “And what’s wrong with being fat?”
Tony B pinched her plump cheek. “There’s nothing wrong with being fat, sweetie. In fact, even though you’re a little hefty, you look beautiful. If you were skinny, like Skinny Benny, I wouldn’t even look at you twice.”
Junior handed his father the platter he requested. Tony B forked the Italian cold cuts onto his plate, until the platter was empty.
“Now you’re going to get fat,” Big Fat Fanny told Tony B. “And I don’t like fat men.”
Skinny Benny picked from a hot platter of fried calamari. “I eat like a pig, but I can never gain any weight.”
Big Fat Fanny dipped a large piece of buttered Italian bread into a plate of Italian meat sauce. “That because all those schifosas you go out with, work off all the calories on your bony body.” She shoveled the bread into her mouth, took a few bites, then swallowed. “ Your wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman like me.”
Skinny Benny forked some more fried calamari into his mouth. “Va fongool, they ain’t all skanks. Some of the broads I date look like movie stars.”
Big Fat Fanny dunked another piece of bread into the meat sauce. “Yeah, some of them look like King Kong, that’s for sure.” She devoured the bread in two bites. “What is it with you anyway? White girls don’t turn you on?”
Skinny Benny put down his fork. “Hey, I don’t date any Moolies.”
Tony B spoke with his mouth full of salami. “Maybe you don’t date them. But quite a few have been seen sneaking in and out of your apartment.”
Skinny Benny leaned forward. “Meengya, those are my cleaning ladies, for Christ’s sake. I have them come in once or twice a week. To do the laundry and things like that.”
Tony B almost choked on a piece of bread. “Cleaning ladies? What are you, kidding me? The only thing those ‘cleaning ladies’ clean are your fuckin’ pipes.”
Big Fat Fanny put down her bread and looked Tony B square in the eye. “Enough with the cursing. There’s and lady in the room.” She picked up the bread and dipped it in the meat sauce. “And before anyone gets cute, the lady is me.”
Tony B patted her chunky cheek. “Of y course you’re a lady. And I’ll try to stop the freakin’ cursing.”
Skinny Benny took a sip of red wine. “So maybe I throw the cleaning ladies an extra ten spot now and then. Those girls gotta earn a livin’ too, ya know.”
Tony B chewed, then swallowed a large chunk of provolone cheese. “Oofah. Let’s stop taking about this stuff while I’m eating. You’re giving me agita here.”
Big Fat Fanny shoved a large piece of provolone in her mouth. She chomped a bit, then swallowed. “Yes, let’s get down to business, before they bring out the main courses.”
Tony B wiped his mouth with the cloth napkin. He clanged his fork on a water glass to get everyone’s attention. “This place may be bugged. So we’re all going to write things down. Then destroy the papers.”
He took out a spiral notebook, fingered a pencil and wrote: “Charlie Crap is a stone fag. And he’s gotta go.”
He handed the notebook to Big Fat Fanny. She read the note, nodded her head, then handed the notebook to Junior.
Junior read it, nodded his head, then handed it to Skinny Benny.
Skinny Benny read the note, then yelled out, “Crappy’s not a stone fag. He’s got more broads than Jesus Christ.”
Tony B slammed his hand on the table. Glasses and dished shook. He said in a loud whisper, “Will you freakin’ be quiet!”
Skinny Benny turned the page of the notebook to a new sheet of paper. He scribbled something, then passed the notebook around until it got to Tony B.
Tony B read the note:“This is bullshit!”
Tony B, turned to a fresh sheet, wrote something, then flipped the notebook across the table at Skinny Benny.
Skinny Benny caught the notebook against his chest, then read the note: “I have proof. Someone we know caught him in the act.”
Skinny Benny turned to a fresh sheet of paper and wrote, “Bring that person to me.” He flung the notebook across the table to Tony B.
Tony B caught it in his right hand. He read the note, turned to a fresh sheet, then wrote: “I anticipated you saying that. Later on, I’ll take you to the witness. Then we gotta do what we gotta do.”
He flipped the notebook back across the table to Skinny Benny.
Skinny Benny caught the notebook, read the note, nodded and flipped the note book back to Tony B. “Whatever you say boss.”
Tony B caught the notebook and ripped out the pages that had been written on. He handed the pages to Big Fat Fanny, then whispered in her ear, “Get rid of these, will ya..”
Big Fat Fanny rolled the sheets of paper into a ball. She dipped the paper ball into the Italian meat sauce, then shoved the paper ball into her mouth. A few bites and a huge swallow, and the papers were gone for good.
“Now what are we having for dinner?” Big Fat Fanny said. “I’m starting to get hungry.”