Where’s the Canary? by Nicole Stout
She knew what she had become, but had not felt worried until this point: a goomata, not simply a mistress, but a necessary part of life for a mobster. At 28, her life was just as she wanted it to be while she was growing up; she lived in a beautiful condo, drove a Cadillac, and spent her days alternating between hostessing at a local Italian restaurant owned by one of her boyfriend’s associates, and shopping at The Mall at Short Hills, never once worrying about seeing a bill, much less paying one. Her lifestyle was completely funded by her sometimes-present boyfriend.
Thinking of Anthony was what brought about her current awful feelings. While she looked around at her lavish surroundings, she cursed Tony out loud.
“How dare he? How could he?”
She paced so furtively that her long-haired cat, usually full of energy, had given up any hope of receiving attention and now watched her with lazy eyes from the leather couch. Adriana wasn’t sure what to do, and wasn’t even sure she could ask anybody.
What had Adriana so concerned was that she hadn’t heard a word from Anthony in three days; one or two days could be forgiven, it was the nature of having a boyfriend with a wife and family who was connected to the mafia. Three days was unheard of; her calls and texts to his private cell phone had gone unanswered, and he hadn’t even popped in the restaurant or stopped by her place, a habit he had taken up when they first met.
“That’s it Fido,” she said to the cat, now nodding its head sleepily. “I have to do something.”
What she decided to do was the one thing she promised herself she would never do again, not to mention that she had sworn an oath to Anthony as well.
“I’m off to see Mikey.”
As Adriana sat in traffic on Route 3, heading to Mikey’s office in Patterson, she reminisced about the relationship they once had, a silly fling in her mind, but something much more to Mikey, and certainly more to Anthony. She was young and foolish, renting a house for the summer on Long Beach Island. She and a few of her girlfriends (she couldn’t even remember who anymore) had headed out for a night of dancing and drinking in Seaside Heights, home to Jersey’s finest. The mere thought that she had ever entered the club Karma almost made her gag now. From across the room she spotted the buff and very handsome young man, who later came over with a Zima (a Zima, for God’s sake!) and introduced himself as Mikey.
The two struck up a “friends with benefits” relationship that continued through the summer. Adriana wasn’t looking for anything serious at the time, and was unaware that Mikey was. He tried his best to sweep her off her feet, planning nights out in Hoboken and romantic dinners in the city. While Adriana lived at home with her parents, Mikey lived in a gorgeous apartment in Englewood and when she questioned (as she often did) where he got all his money, as he never seemed to be at work, he shrugged her off without an answer. Finally, as the “benefits” aspect of the relationship fizzled and the two became actual friends, Mikey revealed that he was “connected.”
“Connected like how?” Adriana asked naively.
“Jesus, Adriana, you are from Jersey aren’t you? Connected like connected, like I have friends in high places who make things happen.”
“HAHA! Like the mafia? You’re involved with the Mafia?”
“Yeah, it that so hard to believe?”
“Kind of…you’re like a dopey version of…I don’t even know who to compare you to…but it’s someone really dopey.”
“Adriana, I’m not kidding. My father grew up with the DeCavalcantes, and he introduced me.”
“So what, do ya kill people, shake them down, run a strip club? What’s the deal?”
“Nah, none of that. I’m more on the legal side. That’s why I’m takin’ classes at Union County in Criminal Justice.”
Adriana thought back to that conversation and the many others that followed. Eventually, the “benefits” of their friendship subsided and they rode the crest of actual friendship: camaraderie, laughs over dinner, and a comfort she hadn’t found with a male since kindergarten. As she drove, she tried to construct something that would make sense, especially in the face of the arguments Mikey was bound to make.
She took a few deep breaths as she pulled up to the all- glass building that housed Mikey’s office; he now passed himself off as a somewhat respectable detective. Adriana laughed as she thought of all the “help” he had building his business, only after he had managed to be rejected by the Sheriff’s Department as well as several town police departments. She checked her makeup and hair in the mirror, took a few more deep breaths and vowed that she would approach the situation calmly and rationally.
“Where the fuck is he Mikey?” The sheer volume of Adriana’s voice was matched by the force with which she stormed through the office, leaving two stunned secretaries and three slammed doors in her wake. “So much for being calm” she thought.
“Ad, calm down. What’s going on?” Mikey questioned his clearly flustered friend.
“I know you know something. Where the hell is Tony? What’s going on?”
“Ad, I swear, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Sit down and tell me what’s going on.”
Suddenly, Adriana wasn’t sure she had made the right choice in coming here. She knew her place, and she knew if Tony hadn’t called or come by, that was his prerogative. Jesus, what was she going to do next, call his wife, ring his damned doorbell? She doubted Mikey knew anything; he was on the outskirts of family business. Then again, he could be in on the whole thing, involved somehow or maybe even some sort of ringmaster trying to break her and Tony apart.
Suddenly, Adriana thought over her relationship with Tony. They had met two years ago, when she was Mikey’s guest at a family Christening. She already knew a few of the guys there, since Mikey often took her out and showed her off, especially when he was hoping the relationship would become more serious. She didn’t know any of the women, and she could almost feel them talking about her behind her back, glowering and glaring in true Jersey fashion. Suddenly, a strong hand gripped her shoulder and spun her around.
“Dance with me.”
All it took were those three words. Adriana was stunned by the brazen demeanor of this handsome stranger, and also by the fact that he wasn’t handsome in the conventional way. He was actually a bit on the short side, and certainly didn’t boast a six-pack like Mikey did. “In fact,” Adriana thought “the guy looks like he hasn’t stepped foot in a gym in his entire life.” This certainly wasn’t the type of guy Adriana would have looked at twice, much less given the pleasure of her company on the dance floor, where she liked to think she was a pretty hot number. However, there was something overtly sexy about the man, he seemed to exude some type of power and Adriana was drawn in.
“HAHA! Don’t you think I’m a little too young to be dancing with you? And don’t you have a wife around here somewhere?”
Adriana tried to play cool, but she could feel her heart pounding. For God’s sake, was she starting to sweat? She never, not in 24 years of her life, had this reaction to a man. He was only a man for God’s sake! And why did she spew out that crap about a wife? Was she secretly hoping he didn’t have one? Was she second-guessing herself? Jesus, what was going on?
“Don’t worry about my wife; she’s busy with her bitchy friends hidden in a corner gossiping about you. And don’t worry about age because I can definitely keep up with you.”
And he proved he could, in every area of life. He swept Adriana of her feet (literally) that day and in four years, nothing had changed. She was as crazy about Tony as she had been that day and she was not only pissed that she hadn’t heard from him, she was worried. She loved him, and while she understood his family’s code and that he would never leave his wife, a small part of her secretly wished he would. As ashamed as she was to admit it, that same small part often wished a deadly illness upon his wife, Delores. She dreamed of a wedding, a big fairytale affair, with all of her relatives and Tony’s family standing by; the most powerful men in Jersey dancing at her wedding, this was her private dream. It was also one she knew would never be realized, and so she took whatever she could get, even if it meant stolen lunch hours and usually keeping her feelings a secret from Tony.
“You want me to tell you what’s going on Mikey? I don’t know what’s going on. I haven’t seen or heard from Tony in three days! You know that’s not like him Mikey. Has he called you? Have you seen him? Have you heard anything?”
Adriana was aware that she sounded hysterical, but she really didn’t give a damn right now. All she wanted were answers. Though now that she thought about it, perhaps Mikey wasn’t the right person to ask. After all, hadn’t he tried to steer her away from Tony from the get-go? Right at the Christening, in fact, when he tried to cut in on the dance, and countless other times over the last four years. In fact, it suddenly seemed to Adriana that the majority of her and Mikey’s conversations over the past four years had been about Tony and why he wasn’t the right guy for her. She always blew the conversations off as Mikey just running his mouth, but now she thought maybe they had more serious undertones; maybe whatever had befallen Tony had been Mikey’s fault. Then again, maybe she was just watching too much Discovery I.D. before bed.
“I swear I haven’t heard from him, and nobody’s said anything at all, at least, not to me.”
“Well, something’s going on Mikey, this isn’t like him at all and you know it.”
“All right Ad, lemme get you some water or coffee. Sit back, take a breath, and when I get back, you tell me exactly what the hell is going on.”
When Mikey left the room, Adriana tried to call Tony again, but to no avail. The phone went straight to voicemail, just as it had for the past three days. She took a breath, pulled out her lip gloss, and tried to pull herself together, despite her hysterical state of mind. After all, she had a reputation to uphold, she was a strong Jersey girl with important ties to some of the most powerful people in the state, and that had to count for something, didn’t it? When Mikey got back, she would tell him what was going on, and he would help her figure out what to do.
Mikey returned with her coffee, light and sweet, just like he knew she liked it. He straightened out his Armani suit, closed his office door and took a seat behind his desk with his feet on it. He twirled a pen in his hand, a calm and casual demeanor about him.
“All right Ad, what’s going on? This isn’t like you at all.”
Adriana took a deep breath and a sip of coffee. She tried to collect her thoughts so she was making sense, as opposed to prattling on like an idiot.
“Today’s Wednesday Mikey. I haven’t heard from Tony in three days. He called me Sunday night and I haven’t heard from him since. Never mind him calling, but he hasn’t come by my place and he hasn’t stopped by Fiore’s for lunch or dinner, and he knew I was working the past three days.”
“And that’s weird?”
“Yeah Mikey, it’s friggin’ weird. Tony calls me every day, usually four or five times, he always answers my calls or texts by the time Conan is on. He knows my schedule like he knows his own, and there’s no way he’s going to let three days go by without talking to or seeing me.”
Adriana was aware that she was starting to sound hysterical again, but she really didn’t care anymore. All she cared about was Tony and where he was. All right, that wasn’t all she cared about, there was the tiny matter of the safe deposit box, but Tony was her main concern.
“Well, if you were my girlfriend, there is no way I’d go a day without seeing you, but of course, I’m not. I’m also not married with kids. Maybe he took some time off from his double life and decided to become a family man.”
“Oh, up yours, Mikey! You know for a fact that Tony is the farthest thing from a faithfully married man. I’m not his first goomata, but I’m sure as shit gonna be his last. If you’re not gonna help me figure this out, then I’m out and I’ll do it myself. And don’t think you or any of your buddies are gonna stop me.”
Adriana feared she may have gone too far, as there was no point in alienating Mikey, especially since he was “in” in a way she never could be. She was just worried, about Tony and the damn box. Yes, she had to admit it, at least to herself, the box was a concern, but one she could deal with later. After all, there was no point in revealing everything to Mikey, all he had to do was help her find Tony.
“Jesus! Friggin relax. Of course I’ll help you. I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on. I swear I haven’t heard anything and I sure as shit haven’t seen anything. Don’t go getting all pissy with me; you’re the one who stormed in her like a friggin tornado spewing questions I just can’t answer.”
“I know Mikey, I know. I’m not sure what to do and I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who can help me. You have to, you have to help me. You’re the only one who will tell me the things I need to know and not treat me like a stupid goomata. I’m more than that to Tony, I know I am. I can’t go asking any of the other guys, they’ll just blow me off or tell me to take my ass home and wait like a good girl. That’s not me Mikey, you know it isn’t.”
Adriana stared at Mikey, desperate for him to tell her something. She knew, especially after four years, that Tony didn’t just decide to take his family on a vacation and leave her behind with only a hostessing job (and a part-time one at that) to support herself. He just wouldn’t. Plus, Tony knew she wouldn’t stand for that, she was a strong woman and she deserved his best, at least the best he could give considering his present situation. Jesus, he told her about the box, didn’t he? That had to mean something.
She still wasn’t sure that approaching Mikey had been the best decision. After all, he had tried to stop the relationship from progressing throughout the years. Besides the attempted cut-in at the Christening (thwarted quickly by several of Tony’s friends), Mikey had tried unsuccessfully throughout the years to break the two up. His tactics ranged from drunken rants about how Adriana deserved so much more to making up stories about Tony with other women to flat-out telling Adriana to leave Tony and run away with him. The mafia code of keeping your hands off the girlfriend of another family member seemed to go right over Mikey’s head. When it came to Adriana, he just didn’t care. These thoughts led Adriana to believe that perhaps she had made a bad choice in coming to him with this.
“All right Ad, the guys are getting together at Fiore’s tonight for a meeting. Meet me around the corner, we’ll figure out how to get in there and maybe we’ll hear something.”
“Thanks Mikey, you’re a real friend. Call me when you get there and I’ll come meet you outside.”
Adriana jumped behind the wheel of her car, feeling somewhat better about her current situation. She felt like she really understood people, and she was sure if Mikey had anything to do with Tony being gone, she would have some inclination. She knew he wasn’t thrilled with the situation, partly because he wanted Adriana for himself and also because he felt she deserved better. As his friend, she supposed she shouldn’t complain about him wanting good things for her, but his desire for her was a little annoying, even after all these years.
What else annoyed Adriana at this point was the fact that the damn cat had a vet appointment. Naturally, she had a checking account set up by Tony, and paying the bill wouldn’t be an issue, at least, not yet. Of course, she had to drive forty minutes out of her way to find a vet that would see an Elf cat, so rare that it hadn’t been recognized by cat associations. Of course, when she told Tony she wanted a cat, he had to buy the best, the, an unrecognizable breed that could only be checked out by a vet who had three patients. Of course, even in his absence, Tony left his mark upon her.
“Fido, I’m home.”
Adriana called out to the cat, the very cat that was infringing upon her afternoon. While she looked in all the regular hiding spots, the bathroom, under and behind the couch, and in the bedroom, she pondered the mysterious safe deposit box and tried to remember how she had become aware of its existence. She remembered Tony mentioning it one afternoon, how she would always be taken care of, and she would always have information that was worth money.
“Oh yeah, now you’re playing sugar daddy for me? What do I have to do to earn this prize?”
“Nothing, Adriana. There is nothing you have to do. I want you to know that you mean so very much to me. Enough that I have made sure that you will have enough money to live your life the way you want, at least for a few years.” Tony chuckled.
“How much money are you talking about, lover?”
“Enough, Adriana. There’s enough cash. There are also stocks, bonds, CDs, and some very valuable information that not many people possess. If used correctly, that could certainly provide additional income for you, if need should arise.”
“Jeez Tony, the only thing missing is a bar of gold!” Adriana tried to make a joke, a nervous habit. Tony knew it too.
“Stop, babe. Nothing is going to happen, and I’ll always be around to take care of you. This is just an insurance policy for you.”
But obviously, something had happened. She couldn’t find Tony, couldn’t talk to him, and most infuriatingly, she had no idea where the key to this mysterious box might be. That was another concern popping into her head: Did someone know that she knew about this box? Did someone think she had the key? Was she in danger? She didn’t think Tony would do that intentionally, but all it would take in this world of danger and deceit would be the inkling of the thought that she knew more than she did. If Tony had mentioned that box to someone else, he could have put her in harm’s way: the last thing he claimed he wanted to do. And, where was that damned cat?
After combing the house for Fido, she was more dumbfounded than ever. The cat wasn’t under any beds, not in the shower, where he often liked to nap, and not on top of the fridge. She was stupefied however, when she walked back through the living room and saw Fido right on the couch, exactly where she had left him this morning. She growled audibly; was she now so involved within her own head that she completely ignored the cat sitting on the couch? Why hadn’t he moved? The cat was usually prancing around the house, so jumpy and loud that Tony often asked her to lock the cat away when he came over.
“I guess we don’t have to worry about that now, Fido, do we?” If she couldn’t talk to Tony, she might as well talk to her cat.
They drove to the vet in silence, unheard of for Fido, who usually wailed the whole time he was in anyone’s car. Adriana couldn’t worry about Fido now, though something was clearly wrong. She had gotten a call from Mikey, who told her to meet him around the corner from Fiore’s at 6 p.m. Adriana wondered how the family could possibly have a meeting during the dinner rush, but she quickly remembered the private room at the back of the restaurant. No wonder she was always told to keep customers waiting rather than seat them there.
“Pieces are coming together, Fido” she said with certainty, though there was no reply.
The vet’s office was quiet, but this was to be expected since there were only three patients on his client list. Of course, Tony had found the vet for her, so who knew what the hell was really going on? After the preliminary check-in, the two went through the usual rigmarole of niceties. Adriana revealed to Dr. DeRose that Fido had been behaving strangely, not eating as much, and was generally lethargic (more so than usual for an Elf cat, or any cat for that matter). The doctor seemed to feel that Fido was going through a phase, that all would return to normal (after all, cats, especially rare breeds were of a certain nature) and that if things didn’t return to normal in a few days, she should call and return with Fido for a more detailed check-up.
“Jesus Fido, couldn’t you have anything really wrong with you? At least that would justify the trip.”
Adriana was annoyed by the trip, the vet, and most of all, with Tony for this whole situation. She was rushing to get home, especially since it was already four thirty, and she would need to find something appropriate for a stakeout. She didn’t know exactly what that would entail, but she imagined something black and sporty (in case she needed to take off running). She certainly never envisioned this situation when she twirled across the dance floor with the man who was at once the love of her life and the thorn in her side.
Adriana parked in the underground garage, took Fido in her arms, entered her apartment and deposited the cat on the couch. She headed to the bedroom to get dressed; passing pictures of her and Tony on the beach in Aruba, skiing in Aspen, and hamming it up with Mickey Mouse in Disney World. Memories, her memories, created with a man who disappeared like a thief in the night. She was determined to find out what happened to him, come hell or high water. She knew she was putting herself and possibly Mikey, in a dangerous situation. Other goomatas would probably let this go, but she couldn’t. She loved Tony, and what’s more, she had no idea how to get to the box.
Dressed in black, Adriana headed to Fiore’s on foot. She felt prepared, as so many of the crime busters she had read about undertook surveillance this way. The restaurant was a neighborhood staple; family (in both senses of the word) owned and operated for over forty years. Adriana had gotten the job through Tony’s affiliation with Joey Fiore, another member of the family. Joey was a great boss; he knew how important Tony was in the family, and therefore, how important it was to keep Adriana happy. Her schedule was made by her, every week. She gave herself as few or as many hours as she wanted, took vacations when she felt like it, and made three times more than the other hostesses, one was a ninety year old neighbor who had seen the building constructed and the other was Joey’s thirteen year old niece, who was working her way up to waitress. While she knew Joey liked her, Adriana also knew that she would be in more trouble than simply being out of work if she was caught spying with Mikey.
Even this knowledge didn’t stop her, and Adriana walked with renewed purpose to Fiore’s. She met Mikey outside on the corner, and they two discussed their plan of action.
“Listen Ad, you know this place better than I do. What’s the best way for us to get close to the room at the back without being seen?”
Adriana thought for a moment and replied, “Through the side kitchen door. There’s a storage closet on the left side of the back room door. We just have to get in that closet without being seen.”
Armed with this knowledge, the unlikely pair set off to gain information. Adriana wasn’t sure she would hear anything useful and wasn’t sure how much she trusted Mikey, but she had little choice at this point; she had to track down her boyfriend. Getting into the kitchen through the side door was a no-brainer, as Wednesday nights were staffed by only one chef, who was half blind and deaf to boot. As the family members removed their coats and handed them to Joey to be put in the front closet, Adriana and Mikey saw their opportunity and ran with it. They silently slunk around the doorway after Joey finished, and made their way into the closet, close enough that Adriana could smell the shoe polish on Mikey’s uber-expensive shoes.
The conversation of the family sounded like the same Adriana had heard at a million dinners and parties. The men spoke briefly about what they should order, arguing between an appetizer of calamari or scungilli. The decision was made (scungilli) and the conversation moved on. The men discussed their business ventures, who owed them money and what they would do about it, and what they might undertake next. Adriana was on the verge of napping when she heard someone utter Tony’s name and felt Mikey jab her in the side, motioning towards the door as though she were as deaf as the chef, and while she couldn’t tell who was saying what, she was certain they were discussing Tony.
“Where the hell is that sonofabitch?”
“He called me Sunday during dinner, I told him to call me back, but he never did.”
“His wife won’t stop calling me.”
“Somebody needs to get on that.”
“Where’s the box?”
The mention of the box certainly got Adriana’s attention. It was just as she feared, someone else knew about the box, someone with a lot more power than she had.
“What box? What’s in the effin’ box?”
“No idea, sir. I just know that somewhere there’s a box and something is in it.”
“What’s in it? What the hell are you talking about? Why didn’t anybody feel this was important to mention when this bastard went missing?”
That voice Adriana knew. That was certainly Charlie Beans, the head of the family. If he used the word “missing” Adriana believed that the family didn’t have anything to do with Tony’s disappearance. It wasn’t a guarantee, but she was going to trust her gut once again. Adriana felt a bit better. Clearly, nobody knew the details of the box the way she did. However, the sheer fact that someone else knew about it made her very, very nervous.
The meal ended, and the family members headed to the front of the restaurant to get their coats and hats. Adriana and Mikey waited until the room was silent and crept from the closet and out of the kitchen door. They looked at each other and giggled out of sheer relief when they got outside and under the light of the moon. They weren’t yet sure what happened to Tony, but they were both pretty sure the family didn’t have anything to do with it. Adriana was also sure that they knew about the box, but less of its contents than she did. Unfortunately, it seemed as though nobody knew where to find this box. As she began to head home, with Mikey walking her like a gentleman, Adriana heard a voice call out to her.
“Goodnight Adriana. Good night Mikey. You two kids have a good night.”
Adriana began to shake with fear. That voice belonged to Charlie Beans and the two of them were directly behind the restaurant dressed in black, looking like two idiots playing detective. While Mikey was a detective, Adriana couldn’t claim the same, and her worries began to increase.
“What’s wrong, Ad? You’re not worried about Charlie are you? So what? We were out for a walk together. There’s nothing strange about that.”
“Are you kidding, Mikey? We happen to be right by the restaurant at exactly the same time all these guys are leaving? We’re dressed like two extras from the Men in Black movies and there’s nothing strange about that? We’re screwed.”
There was nothing to be said or done. The situation was what it was, and the only way to figure out exactly how much the family knew would be to wait it out. Mikey offered to stay on the couch, and Adriana gladly took him up on the offer. She knew many women who would refuse, but she wasn’t one of them. The two walked in to find Fido still sitting on the couch.
“Hey Ad, what’s up with Fido?”
“No idea Mikey, I should probably call the vet again tomorrow. The damn cat hasn’t made a peep since Monday morning. You hungry? How about some eggplant?”
The night passed fitfully for Adriana: still no word from Tony, but at least she and Mikey were still alive. The two had coffee, and Mikey headed back to his office, promising to catch up with Adriana later or if he received any new information. Adriana cleaned up some tissues that Fido had nibbled on, along with papers and socks. Apparently, the only thing Fido didn’t want to eat was cat food. She put in another call to Dr. DeRose and headed out to his office with a once-again silent Fido.
After the required niceties (weren’t these passé by now?), Dr. DeRose decided to take some x-rays, especially since Fido hadn’t been meowing, crying, or eating. The non-use of the litter box was also a concern, so Adriana signed consent forms and immediately thought of calling Tony. When she remembered that he wouldn’t answer, she opted to call Mikey instead. As much as she complained about Fido and his eccentricities, she really did love the cat and all it had come to represent. Mikey agreed to drive the forty minutes to offer his support, though he really wasn’t an animal person and didn’t get it.
Mikey and Adriana sat in the waiting room while Dr. DeRose read the x-rays. He emerged a short time later, with the pictures in one hand and a small envelope in the other.
“Well Adriana, we’re all finished here, at least for today.”
“Where’s Fido? Is he ok? How were the x-rays?” Adriana once again found herself just shy of hysterical.
“Fido’s in the back resting. The x-ray showed a small blockage in the esophagus, which wasn’t significant enough to constrict breathing, but made eating nearly impossible.”
Adriana closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Are you telling me my cat swallowed something? That’s the big problem? My cat swallowed something that led to surgery?”
“Yes,” Dr. DeRose replied. He dropped the x-rays on the table and emptied the contents of the envelope into his hand.
“Does this look familiar?” He asked the duo, holding up a small key.
“You have to be effing kidding me…my cat swallowed the key?” Adriana screamed, at once relieved that half the mystery had been solved but also irritated that Tony still hadn’t been found.
“Yup, it seems your cat may have a taste for Bank of America safe deposit boxes” Dr. DeRose replied.
“How do you know it’s Bank of America?” Adriana asked in amazement.
“It’s imprinted on a tiny tag attached to the top.” Dr. DeRose looked as confused as Adriana was feeling.
“Thanks Doc. We have to be going.” Adriana began pulling Mikey out of the office, a death grip on the key she had grabbed from the vet’s hand.
“Wait, wait! Fido needs to be picked up tomorrow.”
“Sure Doc, sure thing!”
Adriana and Mikey made their way to Bank of America. At the front desk, Adriana was asked to show her identification, and upon approval, was taken to a back room. She had pictured walls and walls of boxes, but was told by the branch manager that that was not the case for “special clients.” After placing the box in front of Adriana, the manager left her alone to open the box, facing a very uncertain future by herself.
As she opened the box and saw all the cash, all the paperwork and the vast fortune in front of her, Adriana realized none of it meant anything without Tony. He was all she wanted, and as she thought over the past four years, tears began to run down her face. She was ready to place the top on the box when a slip of bright pink paper caught her eye. She had just placed the new notepad next to the phone on Saturday, when Tony came by after work. She quickly picked up the paper and read:
“Hey Baby. I am heading out of town for a few days. I need to regroup and talk to a lawyer down in the Keys. I think it’s about time to worry about my own happiness and what I want. I’m going to ask Delores for a divorce so we can move forward with our life together. I didn’t want to wake you, so I decided to leave the safe-deposit key on the dining room table, but I guess you figured that out. I’ll be back Thursday morning, and I can’t wait to see you! Love, Tony”
Adriana shook her head in disbelief, it was like a dream come true. Everything was going to be fine, though she might kill Fido with her bare hands. She took notice of a small arrow on the bottom of the paper, an indicator to turn it over. She did and read:
“P.S. The effin’ cat is jumping all over the place. You have to think about doing something with this sonofabitch!”
Adriana laughed out loud, grabbed the note, and headed out to tell Mikey what had happened, the smile from a dream fulfilled never leaving her face.