Authors: S. W. Frank
Tags: #Drama, #American, #African American
The twins went to explore and Alfonzo decided to help his babe by going through the stack of gift cards. He slid on his butt
from the couch to the floor with one eye on the children and began opening the envelopes, skimming the messages, smirking at some of the corny shit people wrote. One card said;
‘Get it right this time you guys aren’t kids!’
‘Why fake a wedding just for the gifts. You have too much money to be pulling these wedding scams. This card is all you’re getting from my broke ass.’
Alfonzo laughed. Vincent headed toward the lamp. “Vinny, no hijo!”
The boy dropped to his butt and then crawled away very fast to fetch his truck. Angelina must have run out of steam because she returned from beneath a table to lie down on her papa’s leg. He brought her to his lap and the tiny chica went to sleep. “Whoa, what type of work do you do niña?”
The food smelled good. Alfonzo wanted to shout, “Hurry up and cook Anita, I’m hungry!” Of course, the demand never escaped his mouth. Rush Anita and she’d deliberately slow down. Patience worked best, Alberti taught a nephew, haste is youth’s infirmity, a lesson Alfonzo soon learned.
He put the cards on the open pile and reached for the next envelope. His smile disappeared. There wasn’t a return address or sender’s name, only a New York postmark. It was addressed in block letters to Selange Diaz. Instantly, he thought all kinds of shit, anthrax, cyanide, a spectrum of paranoid nonsense. He felt the envelope for lumps, anything unusual and then opened it. There was a letter which piqued his interest. Who the hell sent letters nowadays?
He began reading.
‘What’s up BK. Damn, I can see your face all mad and shit when you get this. You’re probably like what this heffa writing me for?’
Alfonzo considered closing the letter, it wasn’t meant for his eyes, yet, the abbreviations, CSI and DSS stuck out and he was compelled to read what Shanda had to say.
Girl, I wanted to talk so bad that day at the airport. You know, me not saying what I feel means there’s something wrong. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to chill with you girl but I got put in the middle of some CSI nonsense and I wasn’t about to rat on my girl or her man for nobody. My dad came by this morning with some federal agents and they wanted me to wear this recording device in a cheap ass watch. Girl, if you would’ve seen it, you’d know that wasn’t mine and bust my ass for even trying to go against our fashion sense.
But, for real. I was about to tell you to make sure Alfonzo watch his back. The feds are spying on him. They’re working with the DSS or something like that. Anyway, I saw feds at the airport and didn’t want to say anything and risk getting you in any trouble. I don’t know why my dad is so intent on messing up our friendship. He doesn’t like Alfonzo, he never hid how he feels, but this is ridiculous. I’m pregnant and I don’t need this stress in my life. I’m sorry to dip out on you. I love you, that’s why I’m going away. I can’t hurt you or that crazy ass man of yours. He gets on my nerve sometimes, but he treats you good and the dumbass actually saved my life. Please, get rid of this letter after you read it. Mission Impossible style…lol…they might go through your trash. They do that, for real.
We’ll see each other again. Too bad I didn’t get to see bighead.
Alfonzo folded the letter and shoved it in his pocket. The blood drained from his face when reading. His mouth was clamped together so tight he almost forgot to breathe. So, Shanda’s father was working with the feds. He should’ve killed him when Estefan reported he came to the house looking for his daughter and insulted his wife. He hadn’t done it, simply because the man’s daughter was missing and he felt sorry for the bastard. But, now he understood why Shanda took off. He sat erect, feeling his daughter’s drool seeping through his pants.
Selange appeared with a smile. Her hair, he noticed had grown longer. It’s strange; he could discern subtle changes in his woman whenever his body became hyper alert. He wondered if Shanda had spoken to Selange about the contents of this letter. If Shanda had, then Selange withholding the information had to be because Shanda begged her to. Alfonzo was aware of the feds snooping; the shock was Mr. Johnson’s hatred of him trumped the love for his daughter. Yes, Shanda’s confession was meant only for Selange.
The woman cohabitating with his brother, chose a side, however she wanted no harm to come to her father. Mr. Johnson’s involvement in any plot to get at his family elicited murderous thoughts which arced uncontrollably through his mind. His wife’s lovely face became the epicenter in which he focused for redirection. He managed a deceptive smile, his eyes following her every movement. She bent to retrieve Angelina from his lap and lay the child on the sofa and then scampered after Vincent who wandered to the kitchen where dangers lurked. Selange returned to the living room with Vincent safely attached to her bosom and slid beside him. Her eyes were joyful, gorgeous and bright. The darkness within his heart yearned for their light.
‘It’s coming babe, I feel it. My dreams are worsening and my gut is screaming. Hold me love, I’m freezing over, keep me from turning to ice.’
The sigh which escaped his mouth wasn’t sadness; it was more akin to fatigue. She must have heard his silent plea and rested her head against his arm. The heat of her flesh failed to permeate the epidermis of his skin. It stayed outside of his body. He put his arm around her and the warmth slowly seeped in.
Alfonzo was damn tired of killing, utterly exhausted. It didn’t matter if Selange knew or not, he planned to deal with Mr. Johnson for coming to his home and disrespecting his wife months ago. The letter hidden in his pocket only accelerated this decision. There were ways to deal with men like Mr. Johnson who begged for death. Shanda’s father was a despicable motherfucker!
Giuseppe fumbled with the miniature fedora, adjusting it just so on his son’s bulbous head. He found the sight funny. “You look like Uncle Alberti.”
The infant blew a raspberry which caused his proud papa to do the same as he reached for the tiny pants. Giuseppe wiped his wet mouth with his arm and held up the trousers, twisting it around and around. Where was the clothing label which separated the back from the front? “How do we do this?” he asked the bambino. “Ah papa has no idea where to put your ass.”
The annoying elastic bands were for people with burgeoning waistlines, not for infants with baby fat. He would ask Amelda to design clothing for her nephew. The annoying wench did have talent as a designer.
He exhaled and abandoned the search. Any side would do.
The baby kicked his legs when Giuseppe tried to don the pants. “I understand. I like to be naked, too but in public we have to clothe our private parts bambino. It is a stupid law we must follow.”
Usually, he avoided holding children, they were fragile creatures and the risk of hurting them was very real when you have large hands accustomed to pummeling people. What if he dropped the infant, what then?
“Ah, cazzo!” He grumbled when the infant squirmed and kicked again. Giuseppe finally wrestled the miniature pants on and stepped back to examine the baby with an exasperated breath. “You want to fight and kick papa, eh?”
Maybe, he should have put the pants on before the hat and jacket. A dressing which took Shanda five minutes had taken Giuseppe much longer.
“Today is my birthday Carlo. We celebrate together, eh?” he said in a hushed tone to avoid waking the mother. Prior to his son coming to stay, he often slept late due to his unorthodox life-style. But since the birth of his son, he found himself up at early hours, checking on the boy like an anxious woman. After the
weeks of hospitalization and talk of complications associated with preemies, he worried for the baby’s health. But, the child had grown and steadily gained weight. The doctors said he was healthy and his lungs were strong. The women were always fussing over the bambino and Shanda was worse.
He peered at the baby’s mother, whose butt pointed in his direction and called to him like candy. Days ago she exercised her feminine power which he took as a challenge. Soon, the sexual urge to mate would become torturous and she’d seek him out and abandon the foolishness. Yes, he could envision the woman sucking his dick and then taking it in between her lovely thighs to…
He did not complete his thought and spat. “Ah, cazzo!” He grabbed the duffle bag to leave before he took what he wanted right there in front of his son.
Outside a chauffeured vehicle idled. Giuseppe was greeted with a, “Buongiorno,” from the man posted near the front once he stepped out the door.
“Buongiorno,” he answered and hurried to the automobile. He had business to attend to at the office and then he and Carlo would spend a day together. The women had the boy in their clutches far too long. The air and sun were good for building healthy lungs. Besides, he did not want his son to become a simpering woman, crying and bitching at nonsense. Matteo allowed Amelda to smother their child and look at the outcome. The baby cried over the smallest things.
He strapped in with the boy and held him firmly. The infant was handsome, like his papa with sprouting black hairs hidden beneath the cap.
“Drive carefully,” Giuseppe warned as the driver pulled out of the gate. The baby rested without a care, unaware his father watched with pride and tenderness. The boy was four months today. He kept track of every milestone, hung on to every spit bubble of a smile and wiggle of the chubby toes. Next weekend, the child would have his official baptismal. The priest had asked many questions. Will the child be brought up in the Catholic faith, does the custodial parent have an objection to the baptism, and did the parents plan to wed? And when Giuseppe laughed at the latter, Shanda became upset. He found it hilarious in these times, such requirements still existed. The pastor would not dare delay the baptism because they lived outside the Sacrament of Marriage. The priest was a man of the cloth and the unmarried status of the parents wasn’t a scandal in today’s world. The good of the salvation of the innocent child was at stake and baptism would not be denied. Of course, the baptism would not take place at the public Sunday Mass to call attention to the antiquated thoughts of some. However, if Giuseppe wanted to upset the pious order, he could order the priest to perform the ceremony any day he wanted. He was not ashamed of his son or the mother. Nor, would he apologize to a man wearing a dress for his living arrangements. The Giacanti tradition in the end will be upheld.
Today, he and his son would do fun things. Today he surpassed thirty-six and climbing. Strength and energy remained, in fact, he felt extremely young. Except when he glanced at his four month old son, that’s when he realized something. “Compared to you. I am very old.”
He sent Shanda a text message in the event she awakened and found the child missing:
Buongiorno. Carlo is with me. I will have him home before notte.
Shanda’s eyes opened a little before noon. She’d overslept. A three a.m. feeding can do it every time and the doctor did warn she’d have bouts of extreme fatigue after the hemorrhaging. “Take the multivitamins and iron supplements regularly,” was his order, “and when you come back we’ll test your blood again.”
Well, doctors are full of talk. They need to shut the fuck-up and just fix patients and earn their keep like everybody else.
She rolled over. The crib was empty. Her first thought was Giuseppe stole the baby. She jumped out of bed, grabbed her robe and searched the house. In a panic she raced from room to room and even peered outside. The crazy man took their child. Giuseppe was pissing her off. This arrangement was not working. A man like Giuseppe is accustomed to doing what he wants. Isn’t it only natural to communicate to the mother when you take a baby out of the house?
“Oh my fucking goodness, he’s driving me crazy!” Shanda seethed as she hurried upstairs and rummaged through her purse for her cell to call the baby stealer. “Where’s Carlo?” she asked the moment he answered.
“He is here.”