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Authors: S. W. Frank

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Anthologies

Aftermath (3 page)

BOOK: Aftermath
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Alfonzo replied, “
Supongo que depende del hombre con ella, ¿no?”

Bruno’s eyes sparkled in amusement.
Alfonzo
possessed
Luzo
’s
wit.
H
e was
right;
the burden did
depend
up
on the man
wearing it
. “Si, I
suppose
it does
giovane Luzo
.
Mi
sc
us
i
,
I must
visit
my daughter.”

Alfonzo watched
Bruno
retreat.
DeMarco
was Bianca Luca’s father?
None of his cousins thought to mention it
. He
questioned Giuseppe
concerning the lapse
, “You knew
that
’s
her father
?”

“Of course
, they are well-known in Sicily, but I forget, you are American.”

Nico interjected
to bring Alfonzo up to speed on the cast of siblings
, “Those are her brothers, Corrado, Marcello, Franco and the one peering into the coffin is
Enrico
.”


Yes,
Enrico
and Marcello live in Spain. They manage their papa’s business there.
When I was ten I
gave Marcello a black-eye when he disrespected Amelda.” Giuseppe snarled.

“I’m surprised that’s all you did, and what’s up with the damn
O
’s?” Alfonzo asked.


I don’t know Alfonz-O,” Giuseppe teased.

Some of the tension dissolved and
Alfonzo chuckled
.

The men were leaving and the smile faded from Bianca’s face. It was a pretty smile, Nico noticed.

Do not get any ideas Nico, I
am watching you.” Giuseppe commented nonchalant
ly.


Cool
it Geo, that’s inappropriate
,

Alfonzo c
hastised
.

“Is it? I am letting our cousin know we
are watching
him.”


Geo, you’re sick.” Nico
grumbled
.


The three of us
have a
pact
as of today.
No fooling with each other’s women and that includes widows, cugino.
The
micio
remains the property of
the deceased.
” Giuseppe
remarked.

“What’s
micio
?”

Giuseppe smirked at Alfonzo’s question, “Something
we love to
eat
, cugino.

“It means
pussy
boss,” Alfonzo’s Capo Lou said
quietly
. He was
unamused by
Giuseppe’s
crass behavior
and eyed him coldly as he stood guard behind his boss’ seat
.

Alfonzo’s patience waned. “
Geo, goddamn,
come on
chill!

Giuseppe shrugged
away
Alfonzo’s
irritable
outburst,
“I
am
chill
ed
,
stranzo
lunatico
!
Nico if you cross the line again,
we will have a rematch
.”

Nico snuck an amusing glance at the man on his right and scoffed, “
I look forward to it
. Be
at your best, because next time you
’ll need you
r jaw wired shut!

Alfonzo’s frustration
showed
when h
is
head flopped
back.
Geez, he really missed Domingo. These two were
working
his nerves
!

 

 

 

THE FUNERAL
OF ALBERTI LUCA

 

 

 

The rain stayed away despite the forecasts of a major
downpour
and c
lear skies prevailed. Alberti Luca
, supported by the Giacanti clan
undoubtedly
sent a warning to
the
heaven
s
and exclaimed,
“Not today you don’t, not at
my
damn funeral,
capisce
?”

This is what Alfonzo
surmised
as he rolled his neck to loosen the
knots of
tension
clamping hold to his
muscle
s. Stress wasn’t good for the body
, health 101, of course he knew that
.
What he
needed
was
a
quiet
vacation
.
He considered grabbing
his family, boarding the
plane
and
aim
ing
for a re
mote
piece of paradise
. Maybe,
Bora-Bora
and call it a day
!

But, he couldn’t. There were obligations. Today
was Alberti’s farewell
service
. He was burying yet another uncle and it began to have a sobering effect. You’d think after
time
he’d
feel numb or the pain might have dissipated. See, that’s the misconception about a hardened man, everybody
thinks he
doesn’t feel shit –but that’s far from the truth.
Every emotional bull
et caused damage, except with surgical precision he cleaned and sutured
the wounds
–tightly closed
.

Alfonzo fixed his cuff. Alberti was a
stylish
old G and he
wanted to make him proud
, so he came clad in his finest in order to ‘
r
epresent
.

  There wouldn’t be the urban libations and pouring
of malt liquor onto the earth for this
classy gentleman
. He w
as wine and cigars
and
sophisticated
.
That cheap malt brew was for g
ang-bangers
like A
l
ejandro and
Pe
p
é
.
Their funerals were held at storefront churches filled with du-rag wearing hombres in jeans and boots who didn’t bother to wear suits.

Today, he was Italian
in appearance
,
Boricua
to the core
and
merged with
roots stretching far
to the heart of
Africa.
He was a Giacanti.

In
tribute to Alberti’s good taste in clothes, Alfonzo
wore
Italian
designers
for the somber occasion.
A
black A
rmani suit, sky blue
formal
shirt
, black
silk
tie
with turquoise pinstripes and
Baldaccino hand-stitched leather shoes
completed the e
nsemble
.
Representative
unity to his family, yet to the on-lookers he had the
movie star appeal.

Sad
eyes scann
ed the crowd when the limo came to a halt and he checked his watch. Forty minutes elapsed since
they’d departed
Bianca’s home, but somehow it felt shorter
. He’d been preoccupied, thinking about the future, thinking about a lot of things.

He straightened his
diamond tie clip
. It and the matching cuff-links
were
birthday
present
s
from
Selange
four
years ago
and a
prized
sentimental
possession
. Concealed from
inquisitive eyes
was an inscription which
read:
A&S
4EVER
.
He wanted a long future with his woman and wondered if a short
existence
is
where this criminal life led.

“Ready, boss?” Lou enquired scooting toward the door.

Alfonzo nodded and Lou stepped out, visually checked for any dangers and when he was satisfied, he held wide the door. “We’re good.”

Alfonzo
emerged from the confines of the tinted limo and was instantly surrounded by bodyguards.
He inhaled. Mingled in the air was the scent of tobacco and freshly baked bread.
It was sensory
stimulation
of life
and he was
very appreciative
of it.

Uniformed
police cordoned off
the immediate area
with
their
marked cars and presence. Among them
stood
suited men
;
soldiers from
many
families
. They
provided the real protection from unseen threats.
In truth, the cops were the figures of power, but they had no authority over these
guys
.

There
were subtle nods of respect from policemen as
Alfonzo walked by.
In
the past he avoided law enforcement like the plague, but he’d come a long way from
New York’s
inner city and his
former
aversion to cops. Yeah,
he
wasn’t the same youngster uncertain of the course.
Nah, he
walk
ed
w
ith
determinate
strides along the
path
carved partially by destiny and the other by his hands. Alberti taught him this lesson. “It’s better to live with love than
die
without it.”

B
ecause of his uncle he had the most important thing a man could have, love in a volatile world.
T
hat’s really what it’s about when
he
peel
ed
away
life’s layers
. It isn’t about all the other unimportant
garbage. He had to sculpt his life to include love and
happ
iness and separate it from
adversity
. On his deathbed –man
he’d have a smile knowing he loved hard, what greater joy could there be for a
fucked-up
dude
?

The size of the
curious
onlookers
did
n’t
go unnoticed by Alfonzo as he walked past the Baroque statues
gracing the entry to
the ancient church
.
An esteemed send-off for
his beloved uncle
.

The
massive antique doors were
held open when he approached
and a
nother nod of acknowledgment which he returned mechanically.
He’d finally contacted Troy
and was told the
plane was
on the ground
and h
is family was
en route
to the church
.
H
is lip curled at the edge as he thought about it. He already
knew th
e second the plane landed. There were men posted at the
private airstrip
.
What he wanted to know
from the pilot
was the nature of the delay. Troy explained
Selange
r
equested
they
diver
t after take-off
to New York
to
retrieve other
family members
and he could not refuse
. Alfonzo
grimaced;
she hadn’t breathed a word to him last night
during their phone conversation
and
he
wondered if this was a last-minute plan?

BOOK: Aftermath
4.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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