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Corona quarantine diary
Автор темы: Mervyn Henderson

Tom in London
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ah yes Oct 29, 2020

Ah yes - you've just reminded me of all those Italians who say "aereoporto" or "areoporto" instead of "aeroporto".

Horrible !

[Edited at 2020-10-29 14:18 GMT]


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Aero Oct 29, 2020

NOT that it's got anything to do with it, Tom - tenuous to say the least, considering what you said about aeroporto and the rest, and I should really know better because I received a stern though friendly and indeed encouraging warning today, from a person whose identity I'm not at liberty to disclose, to stop dilly-dallying on the forums (it wasn't you, just in case you were wondering) - but I might be expected to have a little, just a little leeway on my own thread, mightn't I, or maybe better... See more
NOT that it's got anything to do with it, Tom - tenuous to say the least, considering what you said about aeroporto and the rest, and I should really know better because I received a stern though friendly and indeed encouraging warning today, from a person whose identity I'm not at liberty to disclose, to stop dilly-dallying on the forums (it wasn't you, just in case you were wondering) - but I might be expected to have a little, just a little leeway on my own thread, mightn't I, or maybe better might I not - I'm getting to the nub of the issue now, it's just around Dilly-Dally Corner - but, since you're in the UK, do they still sell Aeros over there? The airy chocolate bars over there, I mean. Minty also available, I remember, but by now they might have moved on to a toffee version too.

There's a lot to be said for air, you know. I think it was Kay who mentioned the airiness of French croissants in relation to the price not long ago, and she was right, too.

I was stupid enough to mention Aero bars to the Basques once, and they just looked through me, one of those disdainful stares: "Chocolate interspersed with air?" was all they said, and they were about to go on about how grandma used to make her own chocolate down at the farmhouse, and how she was up in the morning even before she'd gone to bed to do so, and then she trapped out the mule to go down to the market and sell it to the punters, but I was already moving out of earshot by that stage.

[Edited at 2020-10-29 18:54 GMT]
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expressisverbis
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Oreoporto Oct 29, 2020

Speaking of chocolate, there was a time I heard someone saying this.
There are people who can turn a complex word into another one more complex.


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
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. Oct 30, 2020

Points to Mervyn who is clearly paying attention!

My ongoing rant regarding the superiority of French croissants first gained traction when a French food-processing firm was condemned in the media for increasing the price of a ready-made dish even though the ingredients weighed now less. There was some kind of cream involved IIRC. Instead of just slopping some cream on the top of the dessert as before, they whipped it up using a special device, making it lighter and airier and decid
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Points to Mervyn who is clearly paying attention!

My ongoing rant regarding the superiority of French croissants first gained traction when a French food-processing firm was condemned in the media for increasing the price of a ready-made dish even though the ingredients weighed now less. There was some kind of cream involved IIRC. Instead of just slopping some cream on the top of the dessert as before, they whipped it up using a special device, making it lighter and airier and decidedly more heavenly. Because they still served the dessert in the same little plastic cup, you ended up with less cream, although that cream took up the same amount of space. It was most disconcerting to find myself on the side of the processing firm, since I'm more of a cook-from-scratch. So to justify my stance, I found myself ranting about the Importance of Air in French Cuisine, and to my credit I managed a fair list of dishes in which air is of the utmost importance:
mousse au chocolat, crème Chantilly, croissants et autres viennoiseries, baguette, brioche, soufflé, fraisier/framboisier, meringue, Emmental (not Gruyère), champagne et autres vins mousseux, all fermented dishes...

Fun fact: for the cheese, amateurs will discern a slightly different taste in the cheese immediately adjacent to each hole compared to the more solid parts. Something to do with the particular gas released by bacteria during fermentation. Coupled with the strange not-quite-smoothness of each hole, this makes for an especially wonderful experience. As proof that I am not alone in thinking this, portions from the inner part of an Emmental wheel are usually considerably more expensive than from the outer part near the rind, because the inner part is where most of the holes are. Again, you're paying more for the presence of air.


[Edited at 2020-10-30 07:27 GMT]
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Chris S
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Cheesy Oct 30, 2020

Kay Denney wrote:
Emmental

Were this the frivolous thread rather than the deadly serious virus thread, I would be sorely tempted to point out here that Emmental has no more a place in a list of airy French foods than Champagne does in a list of fine Irish wines.

I thought everybody knew that Emmental comes from the German-speaking part of Yorkshire?


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Luxury! Oct 30, 2020

Chris S wrote:

Kay Denney wrote:
Emmental


I thought everybody knew that Emmental comes from the German-speaking part of Yorkshire?




Whenever we wanted cheese, we used to lick a block of chalk. And don't get me started on double cream.

I'm here all week.


Mervyn Henderson
Chris S
Tom in London
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Air Oct 30, 2020

Some class comments there!!! This air stuff reminds me a totally fictitious episode which didn't happen years and years ago, when I ran into The Man in the Pub. Nowadays I'm much more careful where I go and where I sit and whom I enter into conversation with, but at the time it seemed that The Man in the Pub always sat down next to me, and he always wanted to spout his own hot air for free about the State of the Country and a long etc.

Well, for free - it always came at a cost to m
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Some class comments there!!! This air stuff reminds me a totally fictitious episode which didn't happen years and years ago, when I ran into The Man in the Pub. Nowadays I'm much more careful where I go and where I sit and whom I enter into conversation with, but at the time it seemed that The Man in the Pub always sat down next to me, and he always wanted to spout his own hot air for free about the State of the Country and a long etc.

Well, for free - it always came at a cost to my poor earhole, but on this occasion I got mighty tired of being talked at, rather than to, meaning that his mouth was much too close to mine, and he didn't smell too good either, so I politely asked him to leave me alone, whereupon he said grumpily while breaking wind in the most horrendous way, "I was just airing my views, that's all." "More like airing your booze," I retorted, and that's when the trouble started.

I won't go into details about the unpleasant scene that ensued at The Jolly Farmer, but when the police were called and PC Plod was taking my statement, I told him I hadn't started the violence. "I don't believe in it," I told him. "All I used were words. As everyone knows, the pen is mightier than the sword." "So there was a sword involved?" he asked. "This is more serious than I thought. I didn't see any sword. Come to think of it, nobody's said anything about a pen either. Did you take a pen to him, sir?"

...

Well, I would go on, but I've got a job to do here before I take the day off to wrap up Home Alone, or at least continue it. More hot air there, too.
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Chris S
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For you Tom Oct 30, 2020

Tom in London wrote:

Ah yes - you've just reminded me of all those Italians who say "aereoporto" or "areoporto" instead of "aeroporto".

Horrible !

[Edited at 2020-10-29 14:18 GMT]


From Accademia della Crusca

https://accademiadellacrusca.it/it/consulenza/aereo-ma-aeroporto-perché/76#:~:text=È%20più%20giusto%20scrivere%20aereoporto,in%20aeronautica,%20aerosol,%20aerostato.


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Those curfew blues Oct 30, 2020

"France on terrorist alert" is, of course, the upper heading in the rag today in the wake of the terrible events up there in Nice.

But let's remember this is a provincial paper (I don't mean that in a bad way), and down below - in slightly larger letters - it's "Very tough days ahead - let's be responsible", a quote from a joint statement by eight of Bizkaia province's mayors calling for calm.

I'm not sure whether this came out before or after the disturbances in Bilba
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"France on terrorist alert" is, of course, the upper heading in the rag today in the wake of the terrible events up there in Nice.

But let's remember this is a provincial paper (I don't mean that in a bad way), and down below - in slightly larger letters - it's "Very tough days ahead - let's be responsible", a quote from a joint statement by eight of Bizkaia province's mayors calling for calm.

I'm not sure whether this came out before or after the disturbances in Bilbao last night, though. Anti-curfew protesters overturned street rubbish containers and set them alight in many parts of the centre. I was looking at the names of the streets, which all seemed to be around here, but my street seems to have been left out. Not that I'm complaining. I've seen containers overturned on this street before and set on fire, albeit for other reasons, and it's not a pretty sight. Scuffles with the police down the road in Plaza Indautxu, and several arrests made.

Plus ... today I was out and about, and saw an oldish man sitting on the pavement with a cap out in front of him. They usually have a little sign saying "I need help", "I have three children", "Please give me some money for food", but this man's sign was Tragic with a capital T. Just three words. "No tengo nada". On my way back I felt I had to give something to someone who says he has nothing. You've got to feel wretched and desperate to have a sign out in front of you saying that. Not that I'm a saint, or blowing a trumpet for myself or anyone or anything, and maybe it's not the way to go. Sometimes I give and sometimes I don't but I tell you, because you know I'm a cynic, I'd sooner give it directly to him than to some organisation with a lot of hands potentially dipping into cookie jars.

It's a wonderful world.



[Edited at 2020-10-30 13:20 GMT]
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Winding down to the weekend (wot, no smart-alec title?) Oct 30, 2020

I know I go on about this, but I took the rest of the day off. Even refused a job. Sorry, loads of urgent work, I said, lying through my teeth. For the minute, 11K to do in 10 days seems like a good plan to me, so I'm relaxing. This kind of diary stuff helps me relax, but lately only when I don't have tiresome though money-earning blaargh before, after and during it.

I'm convinced there is a kind of latent second-wave unease creeping into a lot of people subconsciously, though. It's
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I know I go on about this, but I took the rest of the day off. Even refused a job. Sorry, loads of urgent work, I said, lying through my teeth. For the minute, 11K to do in 10 days seems like a good plan to me, so I'm relaxing. This kind of diary stuff helps me relax, but lately only when I don't have tiresome though money-earning blaargh before, after and during it.

I'm convinced there is a kind of latent second-wave unease creeping into a lot of people subconsciously, though. It's just that there's never any good news anywhere anymore. Last night I was watching what's usually a rather amusing chat show (El Hormiguero, if you're over here), and amusing was what I wanted. After a very funny interview with a former singer/actress now 70 years old (María Jiménez - they all become singer-actresses in the end ...), and obviously on some sort of medication by the way she moved and looked and acted, but still very sharp in her repartee, four more or less well-known funnies came on, and suddenly it all developed into a Corona debate, amid laughter with some of the things they said, but I couldn't watch Corona again after the Corona News.

Yes, I know what you're thinking, this from the OP of the Corona quarantine diary, but I don't like what I'm seeing. I do try to keep upbeat, but I just see that it's been day after day for so long now, it seems like 7+ years rather than 7+ months. Do you, like me, keep seeing people on TV and in the press shaking hands, kissing muah-muah, rubbing up to each other with no masks in sight, and think "What, how can they DO that ...? oh right, this is pre-spring 2020 stuff ..."?

And, on that very subject ... I mentioned the container-burning here last night. People are angry. But it might be because of a certain gala dinner a few days ago, organised by a Spanish newspaper. People went wild when footage was released of at least three government ministers, various opposition spokespersons and other well-known personalities, 80 of them - 80! - with no masks, no distancing and, you can be pretty sure, none of them paying a cent for anything, all sitting around at their tables in some hotel (restaurant? not sure). These are our leaders and the ones who want to replace them as our leaders?, thought The People, no matter what side of the political fence they were on, and The People were right. Some of the party people (in both senses) apologised later, some tried to justify the measures taken, but more of them said nothing at all.

On a more positive note, and yes, I do go on about it too, I'm determined to get Home Alone Part VI (was it?) out at the weekend. I've got to start getting rid of Donald before he gets rid of me. Maybe meantime other people will get rid of him next week! I might need a Part VII for that, but it's still up in the air.

By the way, Tom, you never answered me about the Aero bars. Or I think you didn't.

Have a good weekend, everyone!!

[Edited at 2020-10-30 16:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-10-30 16:46 GMT]
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Home Alone VI (Ménage à Trois - but not as you know it ...) Oct 31, 2020

“Say, Henderson, what the hell got into you back then?” said Trump when I emerged from the JFK wavies.

“Sorry, sorry, Don, it’s just something I can’t control. It’s …”

I broke off as a shadow appeared behind him and … my God, if it wasn’t FLOTUS in person, personally, and up close and personal too. Very up close and personal. In a sheer dress. Very sheer. Dresses don’t come much sheerer. I rubbed my eyes.

“Donald, love. I’ve been l
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“Say, Henderson, what the hell got into you back then?” said Trump when I emerged from the JFK wavies.

“Sorry, sorry, Don, it’s just something I can’t control. It’s …”

I broke off as a shadow appeared behind him and … my God, if it wasn’t FLOTUS in person, personally, and up close and personal too. Very up close and personal. In a sheer dress. Very sheer. Dresses don’t come much sheerer. I rubbed my eyes.

“Donald, love. I’ve been looking …”, and then she saw me on screen. “Oh, hello,” she smiled, as she put her hands on the back of Trump’s chair, leaned in, and gave him a loud smacker on the cheek.

“Hello, good evening, good afternoon, Mrs President Sir, Mrs First Lady Sir, Ma’am, Mrs Trump Sir, Mrs …” I babbled.

“Oh no,” she cooed. “Melania will be fine. In fact, call me Mel. And you are …?”

“Mervyn, Ma’am, Mrs, Melania, Mel, Mrs, er … Mervyn.”

She looked at her husband. “Donald. Don’t be rude, honey. Aren’t you going to introduce us properly?”

It was then I noticed that Trump was fiddling with his hands, real nervous, eyes moving up, down, sideways:

“Sure, hon. A guy called Henderson. He’s giving me a hand with a few election tips. Consultancy. And, er … a few other things too.” He looked at the nails on one hand, and then on the other. But it was the change in his voice I noticed most. Remember when you were a kid at school, and you’d been caught running down the corridor, and the teacher bawled you out with “Why are you running, boy? - Do you think it’s clever, boy? - Get off to class this minute, and WALK, boy,” and you just stood there, answering all that, saying “Don’t know, sir - No, sir - Yes, sir, sorry, sir” in that tiny, tiny, barely audible little voice as you stared wretchedly down at the floor?

Well, that was the tiny little voice I was hearing now from the most powerful man on the planet.

He went on: “He’s Irish, Mel, from Bilbao, in the Basque Country, in Spain, down Mexico way, and ...”

FLOTUS frowned. “Bilbao? Mexico? Donald, dearest. Bilbao’s nowhere near Mexico. It’s in the Basque Country, of course, but as for being in Spain, there’s some debate as to whether or not that’s the case. The Basque Country is a territory nestling in the western Pyrenees, straddling two sovereign states, Spain and France, a situation that many years ago produced a rather odd arithmetical slogan by Basque nationalists, “3 + 4 = 1”, a reference to 3 provinces in one country and 4 provinces in the other, making up one indivisible whole. The language many Basques speak – though not all of them – is Europe’s oldest, and research has shown that …”

Still in that tiny little voice, the Don jumped in: “Well, that’s basically what I just said, hon. That’s what I meant. Don’t twist my words, dear. You know I get enough of that from the TV people here already, and ...”

I had been looking at Mel and him in the Oval Office for a minute or so now, and then it dawned on me. They were in the Oval Office. Carpe diem, I thought. To my left I started looking around for a link to that song, “How You Like Me Now”:

“Don, Don,” I said. “We’ve kind of been caught on the hop here, so I’m going to speed things up and send you that, er, that, thing, you know … the Clooney Nespresso Moment thing? You have a device to, er, execute it on when you receive, right? And you’ve still got your notes there, too, I suppose? I’m going to e-mail it to you right now. So what’s the e-mail?”

His eyes had lit up. He looked over at his wife. “Yeah, yeah, send it. The e-mail is makeamericagreatagain@themanincharge.com

How typical, I thought. Meanwhile, Mel was stroking his hair:

“Oh dear, Mr Henderson”, she sighed. “My Donald. He’s really just a big softie when he’s with me, but when he’s out and about with all the press, Biden, Pelosi and the rest, the things he has to put up with from them, and he gets so riled, so violent … like a mobster, even. Like … what was his name? … oh yes, Al Capone. That was it. Like Al Capone.”

My eyes closed. “Oh no”, I said ...

Mel peered into the screen. “Is anything the matter, Mr Henderson? You’ve gone all pale.”

I just had time, but I had to act fast. “Don,” I said, I’ve sent you The Heavy. Do it. Do it now. Execute the Nespresso Criterion. Execute. This conversation has to terminate.”

Mel looked from me to him and from him to me, confused. He was looking feverishly at another computer, clicking stuff. “What’s going on? All I said was “like Al Capone” …”

“Yes,” I groaned. “Like Alphonse Gabriel Capone. Like Al Capone. Like Scarface …”



Hey, you can less it with the Scarface stuff. Never liked that name. Nobody ever said that to my scarred face, pal. And it wasn’t my fault I got cut, neither. Just because of a woman, too. A broad gets me sliced, how do you like that? But it made me wake up, too, I gotta say. A lot of people don’t know Al Capone was originally a regular guy, just a nice kid running errands for Johnny Torrio, but he realized real soon he had to man the hell up, otherwise they were gonna stomp all over him. Folks will tell you I’m a cold-hearted killer, but that’s not strictly true. Oh, I’m a killer for sure, but I like to think I’m more of a warm-hearted killer. I try to throw in a little balance here and there, because wading through all the blood in a life of violent crime is difficult enough, so it’s good not to lose the human touch, a friendly word, a smile, a joke, a chuckle or two for people as you go about your business with them. Even you have to kill them, or whack them, as we say in the trade.

You meet a lot of different people from all walks of life in this game. Different nationalities, too. The Irish, now, the Irish are a cinch – you just give them a case of the laughing juice, and they do whatever you want. The Chinese, now they’re different, they’re dangerous. You never know what they’re thinking. And you sure as hell never know what they’re saying, because who the hell can make out all that Chinkie stuff? The Polacks, also. All those guys. All people from rough, tough countries who came here for a better life. You don’t see no bankers, doctors and lawyers coming over here looking for the American dream. My own parents, too, Gabriele and Teresina, they came over here. He was a barber, and she was a dressmaker in the Old Country.

But you have to watch yourself with them as well, your own kind, the Italians. Take Carlo, for instance. Now Carlo was a kind of wise-ass from one of the families. Thought he was smarter and more in with the families than he was, and a bit of a joker too, like me. Like I said, I appreciate a joke, except it’s always a better idea to let me do the jokes. Which is what Carlo found out, only sooner than he’d thought, but too late for him also. You might have noticed I’m talking about Carlo in the past tense. Sure, because that’s what Carlo is, past tense, not around no more. Let me tell you what happened to Carlo. I’ve got time. I sure got the time. I got plenty time. I got a barrowload of time …

So one day I was standing with the guys beside my new Caddy. I’d just bought it, and it looked swell, I’m telling you. So then Carlo comes by all smarmy and smiley in a sharp suit and hat, and says, “Hey, Al, this your car? This new?” And I say, “Sure, my brand new Caddy, I just picked it up, you like it or what, Carlo?” So he looks at it all kinda sly, like, and he says “Sure I like it, Al. I had one just like this, same color and all. “You had one?” I says, real surprised. And then this punk just smiles and says, “Yeah, I had one, Al. Just for a while. Then my dad got a job.”

And that was his big mistake, because not long after that Carlo found himself tied to a chair in a deserted warehouse. He wasn’t looking quite so smarmy no more. That sharp suit was kinda torn and bloody too, and not much of a smile either. His face sure didn’t look too good, because the guys had been with him for an hour or so before I arrived. To soften him up a bit for me, see. So I takes a chair too, and I sits down in front of him, real close, but the wrong way round in the chair, with my arms on the back of it, the way we do. Scares the crap out of them when you do that, I’ll say it does:

“Al, Al,” he sobs, “please don’t whack me, please. It was just a joke, just a bit of a laugh.”

“Carlo, Carlo,” I says, all shocked and put out, like. “I know, I know. I like a joke just like the next guy, no, really, I like all that, you know, jokes, riddles, funny stuff like that. Hey, tell you what we’ll do, Carlo: I’ll give you three riddles, and if you can figure them all out, you just apologize for your disrespect, because you know you have to do that, and then off you go, we’ll forget all about it.”

He looked up, still crying, but there was a bit of hope there now.

“Sure, sure, I apologize, Al, I’m so, so sorry. Really? You’ll let me go if I can guess the riddles?”

I spread my arms and threw my head back, the way we Italians do. “Listen to this guy! Sure, Carlo. Listen, have I ever lied to you? You’ll walk away, and it’ll be like it had never happened. So, here’s the first riddle. You ready? OK, here goes: Why do dogs lick between their legs, Carlo?”

He just looked at me. “Why do they … lick between their legs? Why …? I don’t know … because … because” – and then it came to him – “because they can?”

I laughed. The guys laughed. Even Carlo laughed a little. Hey, when the capo laughs, everyone laughs. Even it ain’t funny. Just in case …

“Sure, Carlo, that’s why. Because they can. Hey, we all would if we could, right?” More laughter. “So, here’s the second one, Carlo: Why was the beach wet?”

“Wet, wet, why was it wet? Because … because …” – and then his face lit up, all pleased with himself – “because the seaweed?”

Well, we was all holding our sides by now, we were laughing so much. Carlo couldn’t because his hands were tied, of course, but he was nodding his head, and even giggling a bit too.

“Sure, because the seaweed! The sea weed! Hey, Carlo, you’re real good at this. I reckon you’ve done this before, am I right? So, Carlo, here’s the last riddle, and you’re home and dry. Dry. Unlike that beach.” Jeez, everybody was splitting themselves, but not because I’m such a witty guy, of course, I’m not dumb. “Here it is, Carlo … what has four eyes, but can’t see?”

He stopped laughing real quick at that one.

“Four eyes … but … can’t see? Er, er, er, yes, er … oh yeah, I’ve got it, I’ve got it … four needles?”

Well, you should have seen the smile on my face at that one. “Eyes of a needle, needle eyes, oh yeah, I get you. Not bad, not bad, Carlo. But no cigar. You see, I said “What has”, not “What have”. Singular, you see. Not plural. So no, not four needles.”

He was breathing real hard now, so I gave him the answer:

“Mississippi, Carlos, the great American State of Mississippi. Mississippi has four Is, but it can’t see nuttin’. Do you get it now?”

He gasped a little. “Oh yes, yes, I get it”.

“Sure you get it, Carlo. Sure you do. You get it right now …”

Bang!

You see? I enjoy a joke. You gotta laugh or you’ll cry, right? But Carlo had to go because he had no what we call “rispetto”. Sometimes the offences are worse, though. Everyone knows that snitches are the lowest of the low. One day they brought in this punk to me who’d been talking to the Feds. Lefty, his name was. He’d done a few runs for us now and again:

“Please, Al, there was nothing I could do. They said they’d tell you I’d talked to them anyway. They said I’d go to jail, my wife would lose her job, and my daughter might have a nasty accident on her way home from school. I had no choice, please.”

I put my hand on his arm. “Lefty, kid, I know that. You were between a rock and a hard place, right?” He nodded real fast up and down. “You think I’m gonna whack you for talking to the Feds? For snitching? Hey, Lefty. What do you take me for, son? I wouldn’t whack you for snitching. No, no. Not me. Me, I might whack you just because it’s Monday. Say, Vito, what day is it today?”

“It’s Monday, boss.”

“So it is. Sure it is.” …

Bang!

Sometimes I get confused, though - the week after that I’m sitting back at the same warehouse with another guy, but this guy had done something only slightly down from snitching. He’d been creaming off some of the takings, and that’s stealing from me. Boy, was Freddo shivering. This was the Windy City all right, but he wasn’t trembling from the cold, and he was pleading for his life like all the others. My own family, too, my own brother’s boy. That’s what really hurt me:

“I didn’t do it, I swear, Uncle Al. On my mother’s grave, I swear I didn’t. Don’t kill me, Al, please.”

I was so annoyed with my nephew because he was holding out on me, even now. I grabbed his lapels, and I kissed him real hard on the forehead. “I know you did it, Freddo, I know it was you! You broke my heart, Freddo, you broke my heart!” I screamed at him. Yeah, I know it sounds weird. It’s one of those touchy-feely Italian things. You gotta admit it’s dramatic, though. Wouldn’t surprise me if some director schmuck used that line in a movie some day.

“Why, Freddo, why?” I went on. “You know the kind of man I am. The kind of man who might whack you just because it’s Monday.”

He stopped bawling, and looked up. “But … but … today’s Tuesday, Al.”

I looked at him. “It is? Say, Vito, what day is it today?”

“It’s Tuesday, boss.”

“So it is. Sure it is. Well, better late than never, Freddo …” …

Bang!

But sometimes I would let them away with it. Hey, don’t raise your eyebrows like that. Sure I did. You can’t be so cruel all the time. No, it’s true. Why, one day I have this asshole who’s been selling stuff on my patch without my say-so, at the office with all my guys around him, and he’s breaking my balls with all his yelling:

“I know you, Mr Capone, I know you’d whack me just because it’s Sunday, but I want to tell you …”

“Sunday? Sunday today? Say, Vito, what day is it today?” I asked.

“It’s Sunday today, boss.”

“So it is. Sure it is. So how can you say that? Me, whack someone on a Sunday? Me, of all people? On Sunday, the day of the Lord, a day of rest? Haven’t you read the Bible? Didn’t you go to Sunday School? Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work. And for me, whacking constitutes work. I won’t whack you just because it’s Sunday. I would never whack anyone just because it’s Sunday. Goes against the law of God. Hey, Luigi, get over here. This is Luigi. Meet Luigi. Luigi’s an atheist, and he don’t give two hoots about the law of God. Luigi, now Luigi here, he might whack you just because it’s Sunday … Luigi?”

Bang!

You always got to adapt real quick to circumstances. I’ve been adapting to circumstances real quick my whole life. We had this bum who someone heard calling me a fat greasy wop dickhead. When I arrived, the guys at the warehouse had gone that extra mile for the boss man. All those insults, you know. They had given Frankie a good going-over, and then they’d put him upside down, with his legs spread-eagled by ropes up to the ceiling, and his arms spread-eagled too by ropes to the walls, and his head just inches off the cement floor.

“You disrespectful toad, Frankie. You’re worthless. I might whack you just because it’s Tuesday.”

Vito spoke up. “It’s Monday today, boss.”

“Monday? Monday today? So it is. Sure it is. Hey, you stay here, Frankie, OK? Don’t go anywhere. Don’t you move a muscle. Carry on, boys. I’ll be back tomorrow.” …

Like I said before, you have to deal with all kinds of nationalities. One day we heard a German outfit was setting up in the South End, and wanted to reach out to us, asking about distributing our dope. I decided it was better to talk to the boss man, rather than organizing a totally unnecessary blood bath. Blood baths are bad for business, see.

“Listen up, boys, and listen good,” I told my men just before he arrived. “We don’t wanna upset this Kraut, so nobody mention the First World War, OK?”

“Boss?” young Gino piped up. “First World War? There ain’t been no Second World War, boss.”

Again, I had to smile. “Gino, Gino, Gino, Gino.” Yes, I said his name four times, I pulled his lapels together, flicked a coupla specks of dust off his suit, and squeezed his cheek gently, you know the way we Italians do. Then I opened up my hands together, palms up, like I was reading a prayer book or something. We do that kind of thing too:

“Not yet there ain’t been no second war, Gino. Not yet. You have no faith in politicians, kid. They might take some time to come up with a problem to get around a solution, but they’ll manage it in the end, believe me. So, nobody mention the war, first, second, third, or whatever. Keep your mouths shut, OK?”

He was a well-dressed guy, I’ll say that for him. Stiff, too, but extra polite. Real Prussian, you know. Even clicked his heels when he met us and shook my hand. But I sure didn’t want to miss anything if he said it in Kraut, so I had told Johnny to stay close behind me and translate anything he might let slip. Johnny’s mom was German, so he spoke the lingo real good.

“Hallo, my name is Fritz Müller, leader of zee Wurst Gang, and vee a new system for dope distribution haff.”

Say, what is it with these people? The guy comes over here, and he can’t even be bothered to learn the language. Why don’t he speak it proper like what we does?

“The Wurst Gang? Mister, you need some PR for your gang’s name. Especially if you’re going to be teaming up with the Best Gang.”

All my guys laughed. You know the drill. Fritz wasn’t laughing, though:

“No, Wurst. Wurst ees German sausage. And zee name of zees sausage ist Erbswurst. Pea soup, but in sausage. Roll.”

“Sausage roll? With pea soup? What the hell?”

“Nein, nein. A roll as sausage, and peas in soup. For us zee drugs to hide. Anyone can valk along zee street vith drugs in zee sausage, and zee polizei nozzing suspect. In Germany everyone pea sausage uses. Zey valk vith sausage under zer arms. Especially zee children. Yes, children all zer childhood in Germany valk vith sausage, to school and back. Ja, vee can use die Kinder too, as mules. Police never bozzer vith zee kids.”

“So, what you’re telling me is that you want to hide our drugs in sausage rolls and pea soup, and even have kids doing this for us? That’s not just crazy, it’s immoral. How can you hide things in sausage rolls and pea soup? And you can’t use kids, for crying out loud. What kind of an outfit are you running anyway?”

Fritz wasn’t happy. He kinda glared at me, and said:

“Arschloch. Ich könnt’ dich plattmachen, nur weil heute Mittwoch ist.”

Johnny whispered in my ear from behind. His voice was trembling a bit, because what he had had to tell me you should never say to a Don. Let’s just say the last four words he translated in that whisper to me were “… just because it’s Wednesday.”

I turned to Johnny. He was looking down at the floor. I put my hands on his shoulders and I patted both cheeks a coupla times, and then patted him on the shoulder, the way we Italians do. “It’s OK, Johnny, you did good. You was just doing your job, is all. Don’t worry. Good boy.”

I turned around, took a deep breath and smiled at Fritz: “Well, well, maybe I was wrong about you, Herr Müller. We seem to be like-minded folk in the end. Yes, we sure think the same way. Say, Vito, what day is it today?”

“It’s Wednesday, boss.”

“So it is. Sure it is. Hey, Fritz, I’m sorry my German’s not too hot. I only know a few words. I would say auf Wiedersehen, but I’m afraid auf Wiedersehen’s not going to happen …”

Bang!

Yep, those were the days. A few whacks a day keep the wise guys away, that was my motto. But that was a long, long time ago, you move forward a few years, and there I was, waiting for the judge to pass sentence. I noticed he was humming a little tune as he got ready. Hey, I knew that tune from somewhere. Yes, I sure did. It was a number by that Mexican broad María Grever, wasn’t it? Couldn’t remember the name of the song, though. What was it called? …

“The defendant will rise”, rasped the judge. Me, I just sat there smirking, until the big cop beside me whispered in my ear: “Stand that big frigging flabby ass of yours up for the man, you dirty, verminous sonofabitch, or when we get downstairs again I’ll shove my hand right up it so far I can rip out your stinking black heart.”

Kind of like an offer I couldn’t refuse, as we say in the trade. I stood up:

“It is my solemn duty to send you to prison for a term of 11 years, Mr Capone. Do you have anything to say?”

“Sure I do,” I laughed in his face. “You’re going to send me to prison for 11 years just for tax evasion? After all the guys I’ve iced? Can’t you think up nuttin’ else? I got my reputation to think about, Mr Judge, your Honorship, Sir.”

“Oh no, Mr Capone,” he said, smiling nastily. I’m not sending you to prison for all your vile murderous activities. No. And funnily enough, I’m not sending you to prison for tax evasion either. You see, Mr Capone, I’m the kind of judge who might send you to prison just because it’s Friday. Say, bailiff, what day is it today?”

“It’s Friday, your Honor.”

He smiled again. “So it is. Sure it is.” …

Bang! went that judge’s gavel. And bang went my life on the outside, too.

“Take this obnoxious piece of horse manure down, officer, out of my sight and off to Atlanta,” he added as he got up to leave. He wasn’t just humming that song now, he was singing it quietly to himself. Oh, yes. Then I got it. I remembered what the Grever woman’s song was called:

“What a diff’rence a day made”.



Acknowledgements (in chronological order in the text, and by coincidence also in alphabetical order):

Chris S – the seaweed / sea weed joke.

Matthias Brombach for the German translation of “I might whack you just because it’s Wednesday”.

[Edited at 2020-10-31 10:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-10-31 12:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-10-31 18:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-01 06:38 GMT]
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Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Великобритания
шведский => английский
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Bravo, Mervs Oct 31, 2020

No wonder you were struggling to find time for the blaaaargh.

And now I’m running late frying up donuts for the trick-or-treaters.


P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
 

P.L.F.Persio  Identity Verified
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Merveilleux Mervyn Oct 31, 2020

If that ain't genius, I don't know what it is.

expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Испания
Local time: 00:07
испанский => английский
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Автор темы
Pasta Oct 31, 2020

Thanks a lot, Chris and P.L.F.! Much appreciated. Indeed, I had been under a lot of work pressure meanwhile, and just had to let it all go until the weekend.

By sheer coincidence (or was it, I wonder? …), my tomato sauce with De Cecco spaghetti was on the menu today. I was, as always, under strict instructions for the sauce. Today I decided to heed them, though. If my lovely Basques want it like that, then I’ll do it, I thought. Sure I will. I might do it just because it’s Sa
... See more
Thanks a lot, Chris and P.L.F.! Much appreciated. Indeed, I had been under a lot of work pressure meanwhile, and just had to let it all go until the weekend.

By sheer coincidence (or was it, I wonder? …), my tomato sauce with De Cecco spaghetti was on the menu today. I was, as always, under strict instructions for the sauce. Today I decided to heed them, though. If my lovely Basques want it like that, then I’ll do it, I thought. Sure I will. I might do it just because it’s Saturday.

...

Meanwhile, I’m told that chickpeas and beef will be test-driven this weekend at a certain location in Canada. Will it be a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down? I can say no more ...
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expressisverbis
P.L.F.Persio
 

expressisverbis
Португалия
Local time: 23:07
Член ProZ.com c 2015
английский => португальский
+ ...
Like we say here: "You broke all the dishes" Oct 31, 2020

meaning you are amazing and you can exceed our expectations.
¡Bravo!


P.L.F.Persio
 
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