Chapter Six: Tommy
“Who was she with, man? Did you get a look at the guy?” Dom talked around the cigarette clenched in his teeth as two-hand stacked cans into an empty box.
“Didn’t recognize him.”
“So he’s not a double timer from Holy Brother?”
“He’s a double timer from holy hell, if you ask me. And so is she.”
“Easy, Tom. You don’t know the whole story.” Pete never thought anybody knew the whole story. That’s how he dragged out a conversation,.
“What else does he need to know?” Dom said. “He was supposed to take her out and she went out with somebody else
It was just the three of us stacking boxes full of cans. Well, Dom and Pete were stacking and I was trying to work as fast as them. In the summer, when more people were buying and drinking beer and the breweries were wanting cans like crazy, that was when we had a full crew, mostly college kids, but lots of stackers. Christmas, too, was a big season. If people weren’t drinking beer then, they wanted cans of soda. But in October, nobody was having any company over. Everybody was just working like a dog to get to December. So, it was only Pete, Dom, and me. Plus all the hatred I had for Trish at that exact moment.
“Tommy was with somebody else tonight anyway. Some Villa girl.”
“Trish canceled with me first. Then I had to give this girl a ride.”
“So you had to go up and crash a Villa party, huh?” Dom said. “Surprised you made it out of there alive.”
“Did the frisk you when you got there in case you had a knife?”
“He looks like he’d be hiding a blade.”
“To them, you look like you’d be hiding a blade.”
Dom stopped stacking and put out his cigarette. “Yeah, I’m surprised they let a girl leave with you. You look like a nice greasy East Baltimore boy. I hope you didn’t touch anybody with your spaghetti fingers, Thomas Leo Romero.”
“Did you tell them you went to Holy Brother?” Pete asked.
“No, I didn’t tell them anything about me.”
“Not even your name?”
“I told them my name.”
“Oh, there you go,” Dom said. “Anybody gets knocked up tonight and they’ll go to Holy Brother to find Tommy Romero and his spaghetti fingers.”
“What’d you have to go get that girl for anyway?”
“Her mom was in an accident and I had to go get her and bring her to the hospital.”
“She couldn’t take a cab?”
“I don’t know. I guess she could. I mean, Big Gil called me up and asked her.”
“Oh, well. You can’t tell your dad no.”
“Her mom was all bust up and I could tell Maimie was really worried for her, but she was trying not to cry and all. She was nice about me giving her a ride.”
“Maimie? What kind of name is Maimie?.”
“Villa girls always have good manners,” Pete said.
“Villa girls. Listen to him,” Dom rolled his eyes. “You can’t even get close enough to ask a St. Theresa girl for a pencil. How do you know how a Villa girl acts?”
“My cousins go there.”
“You got rich cousins?”
They do all right.”
“They don’t let Mafia into the Villa.”
“Who said they were Mafia? Now you sound like the snobs.”
I picked up a pebble and threw it into the harbor. Most of the time, I liked Pete and Dom. Most nights we had such a good time. We watched the tugs bring boats in, we watched the freight creep down the middle of Boston Street. Best job a guy could have. But that’s what I always said. Best job. Best girl. Except now my best girl was cheating on me. I knew the guys were trying to take my mind off it by being stupid, but my mind wasn’t filling up with other thoughts. The only thing I could think about was that some other guy had his arm around Trish and she was letting him. My Trish who’d been going out with me for almost a year was at the movies with somebody else. What a crap night this had turned into.