Authors: Beth Mathison
Tags: #Fiction, #General Fiction, #General, #Mystery & Detective, #Humorous, #Family Life, #Short Stories (Single Author)
A Mobster’s Menu for Mother’s Day Brunch
By Beth Mathison
Copyright 2011 by Beth Mathison
Cover Copyright 2011 by Dara England and Untreed Reads Publishing
The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold, reproduced or transmitted by any means in any form or given away to other people without specific permission from the author and/or publisher. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Also by Beth Mathison and Untreed Reads Publishing
A Mobster’s Guide to Cranberry Sauce
A Mobster’s Recipe for Cupcakes
A Mobster’s Toast to St. Patrick’s Day
A Mobster’s Menu for Mother’s Day Brunch
By Beth Mathison
“Welcome to the grown-up table, dear,” Aunt Shirley said, patting Annalisa’s hand. “I know you’re fourteen already, and I should have moved you up from the kids’ table long ago.”
“It’s no problem,” Annalisa said. She was wearing a new spring dress, and had a single small daisy tucked behind her ear. “Now that Stephen’s twelve, he can police the kids’ table. I gave him a few pointers. I’m looking forward to more interesting conversations here at the adult table.”
Aunt Shirley and Annalisa looked at the children’s table in the corner of the room. Stephen was trying to stop Katie from inserting a black olive into her brother’s nose. One of the other kids was tearing his SpongeBob paper napkin into strips and eating the pieces.
Aunt Shirley sighed deeply. “Family,” she said. “You just have to love them even if they’re sticking olives up your nose.”
Charlie and Harry sat next to Annalisa, listening to their conversation. Both Harry and Charlie wore colorful Hawaiian shirts to honor Mother’s Day through floral fashion.
“Especially those giant olives with the garlic stuck inside,” Charlie said. “Those suckers really burn.”
Harry nodded vigorously. “The ones with the jalapenos, too. Yikes. Talk about opening your sinuses. The kids’ table is murder.”
The family was gathered at Pawelski’s Supper Club for Mother’s Day Brunch. Pawelski’s was a traditional surf and turf “supper club” located in the old section of the city, tucked between a sausage shop and a stationery store. Lights were dim, the front restaurant area was decorated in red imitation leather seats and white linen tablecloths, and the smell of kielbasa permeated the building.
A banquet room was added to the back, adorned with mini red Christmas lights, carpet of undetermined color and age, and one giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
The adults of the family were gathered around a large banquet table in the back room. The children’s smaller table was placed in a corner, kids swarming around it, uncontrolled. Two waiters, a man and a woman, wore black pants and crisp white shirts. They had small name tags on their shirts that read “Tony” and “Becky.” The pair hovered around the door to the kitchen, looking uneasy.
One of the kids tossed an olive towards the kitchen, hitting the waitress on top of her head. Becky grimaced, looking around for help. Aunt Shirley pointed her finger at the kid, and he put a handful of olives back on his plate.
“So, where’s your mom today?” Carla asked Annalisa. Carla was celebrating the Mother’s Day holiday with the family for the first time. Carla sat close to Jeremy, her hand on his sleeve.
“She’s at the shore, with the other kids’ moms,” Annalisa answered. “The younger moms have a tradition to skip town on Mother’s Day. We think they go to the shore to enjoy the water views.”
they go to the shore?” Carla asked. “You’re not sure?”
“It’s a secret,” Charlie said.
Harry nodded in agreement.
“The tradition is that they don’t tell us where they go,” Harry said. “It’s a freebie day for moms. It’s not like they’re doing any family business or anything. I’m sure they’re doing something entirely within a legal nature. They don’t have to be mob—”
“They always come back,” Annalisa interrupted, explaining to Carla. “Us kids count it as a gift. They always come back very happy. And the kids get to hang out with the old geezers.”
“Who are you calling an old geezer?” Betty asked loudly. Betty was eighty-five, dressed in old-country black, and had forgotten her hearing aids at home. Her black-framed spectacles slid down her nose with the weight of thick glass. “Just because I don’t go to the shore anymore doesn’t make me old. It’s just hard to walk in the sand with my orthopedic shoes. I’m definitely not old. Not like Mary Charlotte here.”
“I’m two months older than you are,” Mary Charlotte said. She was dressed in a fluorescent orange dress with lime green flowers printed on the fabric. A diaphanous floral hat was set high on her head.
“Alright, we’re both older than dirt,” Betty agreed. “I’ve got the arthritis pains to prove it. See this finger here?” She stuck out her right hand. “That finger’s all curved up due to the rheumatism.”
“That finger’s all curved up on account of hitting the buttons on the slot machine,” Mary Charlotte said.
“Oh, I really like those slot machines,” Charlie said. “I like the old-fashioned kind, where you have to carry around a bucket with all your coins. They’re not like those new-fangled ones with a credit card thing. I like to feel the weight of my winnings in my hand.”
“Isn’t that the truth,” Betty piped in. “These young people don’t know what they’re doing. Just look at them.”
Everyone looked at the kids’ table. The kids had tied Stephen to his chair with ribbons from the helium balloons. The balloons bobbed around Stephen’s face, and he was trying to move them away by blowing on them. Someone had painted circles and flowers on his face with chocolate.
“I think we’re doing OK,” Annalisa said. “No worse than any other generation, especially in our family. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people in the family getting in trouble.”
“Well, that’s the truth,” Charlie said. “When I was kid, we used to do all sorts of crazy stuff.”
“I wanted to be a nun,” Mary Charlotte said.
“You did?” Carla asked, taking in Mary Charlotte’s colorful outfit. Mary Charlotte’s hair was dyed a bright red, she had two circles of blush on her cheeks, and had orange eye shadow that matched her dress.
“Yep,” Mary Charlotte answered. “Was in training and everything at the nunnery.”
“They kicked her out,” Harry said. He made the sign of the cross.
Mary Charlotte nodded. “Didn’t quite see eye to eye regarding that celibacy law. Mother Superior Mary Elizabeth and I had some words about
rule. And the Thou Shalt Not Steal commandment. How’s a young lady supposed to make a living if she can’t sell surplus items on the side? It’s not even stealing, really. It’s more like re-appropriating lost items. Things legitimately fall off of trucks, you know. I was doing a heck of a trade in rosaries.”
“Older people always think the young are foolish,” Annalisa said with confidence. She turned to Betty. “Didn’t you think that your parents and grandparents were old-fashioned?”
“Oh, my,” Betty exclaimed. “They were terrible, I’m telling you the God honest truth. Couldn’t hang on to a new idea to save their souls. Good thing we’re not like that.”
“Hmmmm…” Annalisa said.
The waiters began bringing in large trays of food from the kitchen.
“Oooh, something besides olives and leftover Easter bunny chocolates!” Betty exclaimed. “I thought the salt and sugar were going to suck the life out of me there for a moment. Have to be careful about diabetes and high blood pressure at my age. Cholesterol and intestinal problems too. ” She peered at a tray piled high with small round pastries, then prodded one with her fork. “What the heck are these things?”
“These are ham and cheese puffs encased in a delicate pastry shell,” Charlie said proudly.
“What happened to the traditional ham?” Mary Charlotte asked.
“We’re going a different route this year,” Harry said.
“Yeah, like the boxes that fell off Route 32 yesterday,” Charlie said.
Aunt Shirley looked at the large bowl in front of her. It was piled high with cocktail wieners. There were trays of mini quiches the size of quarters, bite-sized cheesecake squares, and cheeseburger sliders piled into a pyramid.
“What’s the deal with all the miniature food?” Betty asked. “I feel like a giant eating all this tiny food.”
“Well, the olives were from the Cincinnati shipment,” Harry said. “The mini quiches were from Denver, the cocktail wieners from Seattle, and the mini sliders from Washington, DC. The surplus Easter bunnies and decorations came from Dubuque, and the SpongeBob tablecloths and napkins are from Orlando.” He turned to Aunt Shirley and lowered his voice. “A lot fell off trucks this week.”
“Isn’t that nice,” Aunt Shirley said. “We have a wonderful representation of the entire nation. And in miniature to boot. I think it’s charming.”
Aunt Shirley spooned a small pile of cocktail wieners on her plate then turned to Jeremy. “So, I hear your mom is enjoying her little vacation in St. Barts.”
“She’s having a marvelous time,” Jeremy said. “She called this morning, feeling guilty that she was away during Mother’s Day. I told her to have a wonderful day.”
“You’re such a good son,” Aunt Shirley said. “All right, before we eat I have some announcements to make.”
Aunt Shirley tapped her water glass lightly with her spoon, clearing her throat.
“Does that mean somebody has to kiss?” Harry asked. “I think somebody has to kiss.”
“That’s for a
,” Charlie said, giving him a disgusted look. “The only person you’re required to kiss on Mother’s Day is your mother.”
“This is new,” Mary Charlotte said. “We usually don’t have announcements before we eat. Is it like a prayer? Should we have our hands folded?”
“Hand folding is not necessary,” Aunt Shirley replied. “Unless you really want to fold your hands. Then, by all means, go ahead.”
Charlie respectfully folded his hands.
Conversation went on loudly, and Aunt Shirley gave Uncle Tommy a look. Uncle Tommy, barely fitting his muscular body in the banquet chair, tapped his spoon gently on his glass. “Excuse me,” he said.
Both tables instantly fell silent, and everyone looked at Aunt Shirley.
“I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone for coming today,” Aunt Shirley said. “We all know how important family is. Although the entire family couldn’t be here today, it’s always good to see so many of you. We’re kind of an eclectic group this Mother’s Day. Jeremy’s mother is enjoying her time in St. Barts thanks to Vito Spimoni.”
Jeremy leaned close to Carla. “Since my dad died, Vito’s always looked after my mom. Sent her an all-expense paid vacation to the islands.”
“I didn’t know running numbers had such a good benefits plan,” Carla said quietly.
Aunt Shirley cleared her throat. “We’ve got a group of children here so their mothers can take a break at the shore. Or…wherever they went. So although we have no true mother-and-child combinations here, we still have the spirit of motherhood with us.”
“Especially with Mary Charlotte, who was almost a saint,” Harry said, folding his hands in reverence and bowing his head. “We could almost call her Mother Mary Charlotte.”
“I was in training to be a nun, not a saint,” Mary Charlotte reminded him. “Can you be in training for a saint? I’m not sure what the commandment is on that one.”
Aunt Shirley ignored them and continued. “Thank you, Uncle Frank, for coordinating the room, and Harry and Charlie for providing the food and decorations.”
“Here, here,” Uncle Frank said, lifting his glass. “To mothers everywhere.” Everyone drank, then conversation continued at a dull roar. Someone had untied Stephen, and he quieted the kids down by showing them all how to stick spoons on their noses.
“What’s this?” Betty asked, holding up another puff pastry. Her voice carried across the entire table. “I don’t know what this is.”
“It’s an hors d’oeuvre,” Harry responded loudly. “It’s miniature French food.”
“I know what hors d’oeuvres are, you dolt,” Betty said. “I spent a year in France while my Stanley had to leave the country due to legality issues. I’m asking specifically what’s in this thing, since I’m allergic to bell peppers and I’d hate to have to call 9-1-1 after I eat it and keel over. You know when you’re old you have to think of all these health issues.”
“They’re cheesy potatoes contained in a light puff pastry,” Charlie said. “We got a lot of those boxes.”