It’s Monday night and I’m handing on Sunset handing out fliers promoting my band’s upcoming benefit gig at the Whiskey for the Make A Wish Foundation. There’s a tragic seventeen year old girl by the name of Nina Pennington who, in addition to being my girlfriend, has a terminal case of boredom and we’re desperately trying to raise money to fulfill her dying wish, which is to have a boob job – something which actually might save her life.
The really sad thing is I’m partially to blame for Nina’s condition. She used to be a vibrant blond All American girl until I made the mistake of selling my autobiography, While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog to Hollywood who decided to sodomize my book into a movie called Behaving Badly. The onset of the disease was slow but deadly. The first symptom manifested itself immediately after the first draft was completed. Everyone who knew Nina Pennington noticed an acute depression set in as her life was transformed from that of a Quaalude-imbibing, morally casual Midwestern teen from the 1970’s to that of a vapid slacker chick from forty years later. By the second draft the illness had permutated and the slow inexorable slide into a wooden wetback Disney girl who goes out with Justin Bieber and listens to Josh Groban had begun.
It was terrible. Those around her were horrified. Script doctors were consulted. Her friends and family tried to send her to rehab where she could develop some color and life – but nothing worked. She was on a one way course to oblivion and all we could do is try a hail Mary play and try to reverse her decline by getting large new breasts and hoping that those and a pair of crotchless panties would make her interesting to someone.
For that we need to raise $30,000 to enlist the services of famous Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy to blow up her boobs and pray that maybe – just maybe –a set of 38DD’s would constitute a personality.
I’m handing out fliers and I have to say I’m kind of touched by the outpouring of sympathy for Nina. I’m gratified because most of the men I’ve approached with Nina’s story are sympathetic and willing to buy tickets. I’ve sold about fifty tickets at twenty dollars a pop and only need to sell another 1,450 tickets for a club that holds 300 people to make my goal, but I refuse to let math be my enemy. If the Fire Marshal attempts to shut down the gig Nina’s life will be on his conscience, not mine.
I’ve just taken in a $40 donation from a guy who said he’ll toss in another $100 if he can watch Nina get her new boobs installed when I feel a blunt object shoved into the small of my back, and someone’s hand materializes across my mouth to stop me from yelling for help.
“You’se better not make a peep, I’s got a gun and I’s a not scared to use it,” states a man with an Italian accent.
I nod, while making a mental note that if I am lucky enough to survive this I will need to empty out my suddenly soaking boots as my new companion shoves me into a dark alley where a short guy in a sharkskin suit emerges out of the shadows, “Is this the Ric Thibault fuckhead?” he punches me in the stomach.
I fall to my knees. “It’s all your fucking fault finocchio,” His companion kicks me in the balls
“What’s my fault? I don’t even know you” I ask writhing in pain.
“Cornuto,” he grabs me by my shirt and throws me against the wall. “You a wrote the fucking movie Behaving Badly, yes?”
“No I wrote the book, While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog that Hollywood and Roger Debris fucked into the movie. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“Cazzo, I a no believe you – it say on iMDB you’se the associate producer. You a lying to me frocio?” he takes out a gun and puts it to my head.
“It was a contractually mandated credit. I had nothing to do with the movie. The movie has nothing to do with my book. I hate the fucking movie,” I scream.
“You a swear on your mother?” he asks.
“My mother’s dead.”
“Okay, you a swear on your mother’s grave?”
“They cremated her.” The guy with the gun starts toward me so I quickly add, “but I’ll swear on whatever else you would like. I’m telling the truth!”
“Get on your feet,” he lifts me up by the shirt. “Now we’s gonna take you for a ride. You’se a got $4.50… where’s a your wallet?”
The other thug grabs my wallet out of my back pocket. “Gino, He’s a only got a bunch of twenties.”
“You don’t got no coins, no small change?” the one named Gino grabs me by my collar. “How we gonna take you for a ride when Metro Bus charges $1.50 per person and only accepts exact change?”
“I’ve got a thousand dollars in twenties if you let me go.” I whine.
“With a bunch of twenties we could call Uber and take him in a cab,” his partner states.
“Because of this testa di cazzo we don’t a have no money to have no smartphone to call no Uber. We don’t even have no money to buy bullets,” he says tossing what I thought was his weapon down the alley.
“You mean that’s not loaded?”
“No that’s not even a real gun. It’s a toy. Because of you and your fucking movie, we a no got no weapons.”
“What do you mean, because of me?”
“Because in your book you had Italian Mafia right?”
“Yes. I had Sal Veneruzzo and the Mafia. Did you read the book?”
“Yes, I read your book, it was really good. We were sure we were going to get parts in the movie – and then you a screwed us.”
“How did I screw you? I didn’t have anything to do with the script or the casting.”
“You a no cast the movie? Who cast the movie?’
“Hollywood and Roger Debris I guess, why?”
“Because in Behaving Badly they use Lithuanian mobsters. They replace us – honest hard working 100 percent Italian Mafiosos with third world gangsters. We don’t have any jobs – our unemployment insurance has run out – and we’re broke. I lost my house, I lost my car, I lost my wife, I lost my mistress, I lost my kids…”
“You also seem to have lost your accents,” I point out.
“What’s the use? The world’s gone to shit. First they cancel the Untouchables, then the Sopranos, now While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog or Behaving Badly. I don’t even have money for a cup of coffee, much less a venti cappuccino from Starbucks. What’s the fucking point of living?”
“How about I give you some money and you go get revenge on Hollywood and Roger Debris, the people who made the shitty movie? Maybe you could break their legs or something?” I magnanimously offer some charity to my would-be attackers with a Jesus-like gesture.
“Thank you. You’re a nice guy and I really appreciate it,” Gino replies. “But here’s the reality. The movie’s got no legs, so we can’t break their legs. It would set a bad precedent and create a union jurisdictional dispute.”
“The Mafia is unionized?”
“Damn right. We’re from the Hitmen and Dump the Horse’s Head in the Bed Local 256. We don’t break legs. Leg breaking and loansharking is Mafia Local 399. We’re fucked just like your book.”
We have one of those pregnant pauses while we stare at each other.
“I’m sorry I hit you,” Gino apologizes.
“And I’m sorry I kicked you in the balls,” his companion adds.
“No hard feelings?” Gino offers me his hand.
“Hey, if you’re not doing anything on Saturday I can get you passes to the Nina Pennington benefit concert.”
“Will Selena Gomez be there, or Justin Bieber?”
“Well thanks but we’ll take a pass on the tickets. The only reason we’d go is if our friends were going to be there.”
“You’re frienda with Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber?”
“How do you think they got to be stars without us. You don’t think people really like them do you? Ciao!” With that the two gangsters walk down the alley into the darkness.