Everyone at Dumb Realty was in an uproar (change of name). What audacity to sue them for my falling down the stairs. Never mind that they would not supply the heating oil in the winter, which was supposed to be included in the rent, or repair anything in the building. We were kids playing at being adults, and should just take whatever was handed out. Well we sued and that is when I found out that the building was owned by a high-ranking mafia made man.
In those days, honest police were not messed with and Jim was a young, honest, cop. They didn’t need the aggravation of trying to strong arm us. We were civilians.
We were invited to a bar on 18th Avenue and 86th Street to meet the owner of the building. He was a handsome, tall older man, about 50 years of age or there abouts, wearing the requisite back suit and a beautiful woman on his arm. He was charming as only those types can be. He smiled and bought us a drink all the while fondling the breast of his arm ornament, who was becoming more and more embarrassed in front of us. She kept trying to wiggle away from him. With that Carlo Lambagini says to her something in Italian. He looks back at us and repeated in English, I told her to be a good girl. That’s the moment when I won his heart – Or you’ll smack her in the face – I finished his translation. His eyes widened – you speak Italian – I smiled sweetly, of course doesn’t everyone. Better yet, Sicilian.
That’s when he told us the story about how he learned to play the tuba in reform school. Warming to his subject, he took his arm away from around the relieved eye candy and began to relate some of his adventures as a boy all the while getting drunker and drunker. Finally he blurted, I don’t care about the building, what is it to me? I will give you the building. That’s when his very sweaty lawyer came running over, Vincent, and the equally nervous, Dominick of Dumb Realty. No, no Carlo, please you don’t mean that. Vincent quietly whispered to us, you don’t know who this is. You’d better back off. Carlo was quite drunk and we didn’t get the building, but we did continue with the law suit.
To be continued.