Geno’s Place, a limited series
Part Three. Geno.
Our story so far. Geno, owner of Geno’s Place, an Italian restaurant in Bay St. John, has rekindled an old flame with Charlene. Complications now ensue.
That Charlene, I’m telling you. She was one woman with the guts to drive a hard bargain better than any man I ever knew.
“Let’s just put it in writing,” she said that night while we were sitting at the bar drinking and getting ourselves all worked up. Figure this one! Like, here I am, a normal man with normal needs at two o’clock in the A.M. and this woman wants a contract?
So naturally I said “Aw, Jeez, Charlene, what the fuck you mean? Can’t we talk about this tomorrow, honeybabes?”
To which she says back “Let’s go over it again, Geno, just so everything is all clear. Okay?”
Feature this! She didn’t even wait for me to answer and saying “We’re going to be partners, right? Partners in getting this restaurant sold? Partners in getting you divorced from Helen? Partners in moving to Apalachicola?
What could I do, folks? I nodded, yes, yes, yes, yes, and unbuckled my belt. And for emphasis, I said “Aw, Charlene, hunnybabes, I love you so much.”
“Good,” she said. “I love you, too.” But instead of helping me off with my pants, she stuck out her hand like, well, she wanted to shake hands, for Crissakes.
“What th’ fuck, Charlene?” says me.
“That’s right, Geno. The fuck. No contract, no fuck.”
So you see, she had me and I knew it. There wasn’t a thing I could do but take a deep breath and calm down. And be damned if we didn’t have us a rousing good laugh when I gave her the old good-buddy-let’s-seal-the-deal handshake.
I gave her the hardest grip I could. And you know what? She really put the crunch on Geno’s fingers. That woman, I’m saying.
So to continue, two days later, Freddie Croaker, my lawyer, had the partnership papers drawn up making her a half-owner of Geno’s Place. For obvious reasons, I told Freddie that we had to keep it secret from Helen. Freddie was cool with this, us being old, um, lodge buddies you might say and so forth.
Charlene meanwhile, eager she was to keep an eye on her assets, quit her job with Antsworthy’s phone company and waltzed into my office to announce that she’d be around Geno’s Place a lot.
“Oh?” says I.
“Yep. I’m head waitress as of this moment.”
What could I say? Weren’t any use in reasoning with Charlene, so we celebrated on the sofa in my office. Or, I should say, our office.
Text by R Young
Photo from the files of AAA Coastal Bonding and Private Investigations.