Frankie Tomatoes Goes To Confession tells the story of a mob boss on the run, not just from people who want to kill him, but from himself. On the way he learns that sometimes the worst among us can bring out the best in all of us.
The following is copyright 2010, Peter J. Fusco:
Pulling into the rest stop, hackles up, Frankie thought a moment about the wisdom of parking anywhere but in the “No Parking” slot directly in front of the building. Wheeling the long, black Caddy into the space, he maneuvered it into position, threw it into Park, turned the key, pulled it free, opened the door, got out, adjusted his pants, and headed inside without noticing the Buick Park Avenue pulling in a few seconds behind.
“You can’t kill him here,” the driver, a skinny, languid man with a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip said.
His passenger, a very short, very, very fat bald guy with a goatee sighed. “Hey, guess what LaPorta? I can kill him anywhere I want, only, I don’t prefer to kill him here.”
Rocco LaPorta snickered through the smoke. “You don’t ‘prefer?’ What’s that, professor talk? You don’t ‘prefer,’” he repeated caustically.
“Shut the fuck up. Just cuz you assholes don’t read nothing but tip sheets don’t mean I gotta be the same way.”
Rocco rubbed his chin. “The mook is right,” he thought. “Okay, okay, but if you don’t get him here, where are you gonna get him?”
The fat man twisted in his seat. “I don’t know, I gotta think.”
“Well, we know he’s not going to the City,” Rocco mused.
“Yeah, you’re right. They’d find him in two seconds and shoot his ass before we get our chance.”
“And our money,” Rocco added.
The two men sat in silence for an inordinate amount of time, an uncomfortable amount for a fat guy like Benny Pedone. He didn’t like silence. It made him think people were talking to themselves about him, saying things like, “What a fat fuck!” Or something like that. He broke the interlude. “Rocco, how’d you get this job?”
Rocco blew smoke out his nose. “They interviewed me, same as you,” he said as if he’d gone for a position with IBM.
“Yeah, that was pretty good.”
Rocco laughed, but not one of those universal chuckles, it had a direction, a cutting edge to it.
Benny, with a fat man’s defensiveness, the result of being the butt of incessant mockery and ridicule, drew the inevitable conclusion. “What the fuck’s so funny?”
Rocco once heard something about the better part of discretion, but he couldn’t remember what it was or exactly what it meant, nor did he care that it might have something to do with sparing fat ass’ feelings. Benny asked, so Rocco would oblige. “You know when Nicky Bananas was having guys in for the Old Man, asking them if they could do the job? Remember he had all that food out?”
Benny smiled broadly at the memory like a man remembering his first woman. “Yeah, a buffet. Good stuff. The sausage, peppers and onions were the best. And the greens…they said they were ‘Utica style,’ really good. Love that bread. Did you have any of that bread? Nice crust. And those greens, I think they put hot pepper on ‘em and, and pepperoni…”
“Alright already, Martha fuckin Stewart.
“Yeah? And who’re you? Oprah fuckin Winfried?”
Rocco took a drag on the cigarette. “That’s not her name, you idiot.”
“Yes it is.”
Rocco gritted his teeth. “No, it’s not, you dumb fuck.”
“Who you callin ‘dumb’?”
Rocco had enough. “Hey, you wanna know something else?”
“Just before Bananas got you in the room, him and me was talking about you.”
“Oh yeah, so what?”
“We was watching you eat. We was gonna throw water on your fork, you was goin at it so fast. So, so Nicky’s watchin you, see? And then he turns to me and says, ‘Tell you what Rocco, if that fat fuck can shoot as good as he eats, Frankie Tomatoes is a dead man.’”