“Pay up o’ there’s gonna be-a trouble”
You know the scene. In fact you’re right there; on a rainy afternoon; front row seat; with popcorn bucket, Kia Ora and a straw.
On the big screen two Wiseguys, footsoldiers of the Lambrini family enter the Deli.
Tony the store keeper, serving kind Mrs Romazo, glances over as the bell above the door rings. The mob guys offer him a sideways smile. His face turns limp and pale.
The chatty elderly Italian lady in the black dress and coat suddenly turns silent and hurriedly stuffs her cheese and salami into her bag.
Giving Tony a nervous, “Grazia”, Mrs Romazo shuffles quickly out the door.
The owner regains a brave smile. He’s supposed to act pleased to see them. He’s not expected to show he’s scared. He knows that; they know that. Camaraderie is what they expect.
After some light conversation and strained laughs, he hands over an envelope.
Wiseguy One lifts up the envelope and balances it in his palm.
“Feels a little light this month, Tony”, he says menacingly.
Tony’s mouth goes dry. He bites his lip nervously.
“You know how business is now guys, since they opened the Fresh n’ Low on Third. I’ve got a special order to Gino’s restaurant this week, big party. I’ll make it good next month”.
You know how the rest of the scene goes.
There’s always a nice Wiseguy and a psycho Wiseguy; right? Psycho wise guy is just itching to take out his mother-in-law’s nagging on the first person looks at him wrong.
Psycho Wiseguy eyes Tony, then the cheese grater on the opposite side of the counter.
If the nice Wiseguy is in charge, Anthony gets a reprieve. If not; well, as you know and as Psycho guy is thinking: cheese graters are sharp tools, and accidents in a Deli, as an occupational hazard do sometimes happen.
Not that kind of Protection Racket
Ok; I apologise. Put the cheese grater away, please. I get carried away at the movies; what can I say?
When I asked if you run your own Protection Racket, I didn’t mean to accuse you of a Mafia scam. Though there are similarities with what I do mean.
Let me explain.