"My father named me; Budrow Wilson Dexter Laurel and Hardy Har Har." Buddy smiled. "One word though. You have to say it as one word."
She almost smiled but instead her lip fish-hooked to one side and held.
"Pop was a schmuck," he added
Then she smiled.
"And you? Venice? Is that a nickname or...?" The question hung off the edge of Buddy's wide smile.
Venice made you and me with a loose index finger between her own slim chest and Haha's. "Schmuck spawn, both of us," she whispered.
Buddy liked her. She reminded him of a soft childhood moment that he couldn't fully touch.
"So they call me Nice, or Nitzia -
Angel, sometimes, if they're happy or drunk or both."
She'd been relocated. It had taken sacks of cash and the removal of two consecutive links in the chain of contact between Venice and her misdeeds. Buddy's job was to see how well the slip stuck. She didn't look like at all like what they claimed she was.
Nice didn't think happy, sad, angry, lonely.
She thought ok, not ok.
Mac's Place was hidden below street level in The Village. They served what they had and charged whatever Mac felt was reasonable. The food was better than good but most of the customers came to hide in the cavernous depths, hewn in blocks of smoked oak and granite.
"My mom had these giant throw-up kneecaps. That was her gig, what messed her up - what messed us all up - can you believe it?
People are dead because of mothers kneecaps! I think about that."
Buddy wanted to ask a question but Nice continued.
"I see them laying there, heads blown clear off, nearly clean off - worse than that - splinters and bloody grey mush."
Buddy's wide smile didn't flinch.
"One instant there's two guys arguing with me, the next instant -meat on the floor. No more guys, no more arguing. Just two vague piles of gristle."
"What are you ordering?" asked
End part 1