12. Servi drank the wine with difficulty. His head was reeling. Tony was sitting opposite him, telling tales of past deflowering. Servi laughed and even slapped the table. He hoped that LaOmbra’s bladder would finally brim. But the big man kept drinking. Finally, Tony pronounced “Gotta take a piss,” and solemnly rose from the table, as if a great threshold had been breached. Servi checked his pockets for the two things that would make the scenario work: the bottle of powder, and the packet of Tony LaOmbra’s letters to Maria. Servi looked about. Carlo the waiter was inside watching a football match, his back turned to Servi. Servi opened the bottle into Tony’s full glass and stirred it with a trembling finger. When the big man returned he immediately took a swig of the wine.
“Ahh,” LaOmbra twisted his face. “Dis stuff tastes like piss.” But to Servi’s satisfaction, he drank down to the dregs. LaOmbra looked at the clock on the cathedral tower. “Jesus H. Chirst, is dat da time? Shit, I’m gonna be late for my, ahh, date!” and he laughed, and Servi joined, performing his best semblance of a chuckle. Standing up, LaOmbra swayed a bit.
“Jesus,” he said, “I musta drank more of dis shit dan I thought.
Dear Aaron, his mother wrote, we just received a letter from you. Thank God. But the date is so old. Can’t the Italians send a letter on time? All the good Italians came here to America. We get future letters and then a letter with a date that is two months old…