Flo and Cooze
“Remember my over-the-hill neighbor Len? The one who said he was keeping me on neighborhood watch?” Samantha and I were catching up over a little mani-pedi-botox session.
“Let me guess—he moved to Jersey and joined the mob?”
“No,” Samantha frowned. “Why would you assume that?”
“Just the way things have been trending lately. So what happened with ol’ hip-replacement Len?”
“His twin brother lives next door to that mafia don you’ve been so curious about.”
“There are two of them?”
“Actually, three. They have a sister who is famous in the theatre; the brothers changed their names to avoid recognition. Len went with Schneider and moved to the meat-packing district. The other, Bruce, for some reason chose the last name Cusamano and moved to New Jersey.”
“Does he have the ponytail and the pierced ear too?”
“Ugh, no. He’s a doctor.”
Len had been an art collector Samantha went out with to validate herself when she thought she was going through menopause. He spent the whole dinner talking about the lumbar support in his new Cadillac El Dorado.
“His mood music was the sounds of smooth jazz on the radio,” Samantha recalled. She had slept with him anyway, resulting in Len lamenting that Flo had come to town all over his $2000 Pratesi sheets.
“Did you keep running into him in your building?”
“Yes, but he would just look squeamish and scurry away,” Samantha shrugged. “Good riddance.”
“So how do you know his brother knows the godfather?”
“I ran into the twin at a benefit and thought it was Len. I walked up to say hello and his wife got really upset. It took a while, but we got it all straightened out and had a good laugh. I even got them to donate to Javier House!”
“Impressive,” I nodded.
“So the wife is also a twin, and her sister wrote a stellar college recommendation for the neighbor’s daughter.”
“I think so—something like that,” Samantha nodded. “Anyway, the wife, Jeannie Cusamano, was extremely dismissive of her neighbors’ interior design, too much Murano glass.”
“I like Murano glass.”
“Well, it seems the neighbors don’t think too much of them, either. Called them Wonderbread, the type of Italians who eat Sunday gravy out of a jar.”
“The Cusamanos said they’ve been keeping a package the big man asked them to hold on to for years. They have no idea what’s in it.”
“Luca Brasi?” I quipped.
“I gotta tell you, honey, this isn’t your best work.” And just like that, Samantha called me on my bullshit.
I couldn’t help but wonder: would I get it together next week? Or had this whole little project run out of steam?
“I just thought you might want to know that the good doctor Cusamano recommended a psychotherapist for the big man. She could be a good source for some of these questions you have been asking everyone.” Samantha stood up. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get my botox.”