"yeah, well you tell lefty that me 'n him need to sit down and have a little...talk."
a moment of calm before the movie-like "JUST TELL HIM!" and the crash of the receiver as the phone was slammed into its cradle.
i knew it. merv* was a mobster. you know what i'm talkin about. a mafioso, if you will. a crook, a goon, a wiseguy, a gunman, a hooligan...you get the picture.
i had arrived back early from my lunch break to the fine jewelry store where i worked, just in time to overhear the preceding conversation taking place in the boss's office.
everything made sense then. merv was a short greek guy with a low raspy voice and a gold chain around his neck. i knew next to nothing about the mafia, but i decided that even the fact that he needed to have a little...talk with a guy named lefty meant that he was maybe, probably, in fact, for sure, a "member of the family".
so i bragged to all my friends that i worked for the godfather.
we made up scenarios in which lefty was a shady character who one day would come into the store while i was working and steal all merv's diamonds as payback, and leave a horse's head in the showcase window, and shoot me in the head because i was a witness. it made going to work a little less painful, knowing that intrigue, suspense, thievery, and my untimely death awaited me at every turn.
that never happened though.
but i'll tell you what DID happen.
my gramma came for lunch one day. and we were talking and she mentioned her sweet older cousin, lefty. and wondered how he was doing. and she mentioned merv, lefty's neighbor, who sometimes popped in to chat from time to time ("and isn't that sweet of him!"). and all my exciting theories were blown right out of the proverbial water. not only was lefty not in the mob, he was my gramma's cousin, a sweet old man who lived by my boss. he was a "member of the family", alright. my family.
going to work became boring again. except for the part in the morning when i had to turn off the alarm and get the diamonds out of the giant safe, and pretended like i was a jewel thief. funs.
but it's a small world after all.
because a year and a half later, about a week before lefty's death, i was in a restaurant in the city with my fiance and i turned to the booth beside me and, wonder of wonders, my high school piano teacher was there and so i went over to say hi, and wouldn't you know who she was having lunch with?
yep. i finally got to meet the infamous lefty.
and, sure, he wasn't in the mafia, but he was pretty cool anyways.
to this day, i remain suspicious of merv.