Ricky the Roach thought he spotted a Crown Vic turn onto 37th street so he ducked into the alley and prayed for good luck. He dipped low and scrunched himself up against the brick wall as far as he could, tried to be invisible. When the dark blue car cruised past the mouth of the alleyway he breathed a sigh of relief, waited a couple of minutes for Buzzsaw to get down the street and out of sight and stepped back onto the pavement. He turned quickly to retrace his steps and collided with the big man himself.

“Oh, hey Buzz. What’s happening man?” nervously, he pushed his oily hair back, off his forehead, only to have it fall immediately back. He pushed it back again and looked pleadingly at the man everyone called Buzzsaw, whom he suddenly realized he was standing too close to.

He took a step back and continued, “I was gonna come see you this afternoon man.”

“Were you now Roach?”

“Yeah man, fer shure. I’m gonna stop by and make a payment. I still owe you money right?” he let loose a forced laugh.

“Yeah you do, Ricky, a lot of money. You got it all? Cause I’m getting’ tired of fucking with you. You and your stories are beginning to annoy me.”

“No, I don’t have it all Buzz, but I got some, and I wanna give ya what I can ya know? I’m good for it and besides that; Mama wanted me to ask you to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. She says she’d like to see ya.”

Buzzsaw smiled a big smile, he had tiny teeth that looked to Ricky as if they had been filed to points. He shuddered.

“How is Mama, Roach?”

“She’s good, man. She’s good. Asks about you all the time.”

Buzz was nodding his head, “Thanksgiving, huh? That sounds agreeable. I’ve always liked Mama’s cooking. Tell her that I’ll be happy to come for Thanksgiving. Is Gina going to be there?”

“Oh; fer shure, man fer shure.”

Buzzsaw seemed to relax and stepped aside, “I’ll see you then Roach,” he said. “But, first I want to see you this afternoon at 3 o’clock sharp. Bring all you got. I’m doing you a favour here. Try to cover the vig.”

The Town Car pulled up to the curb and Buzzsaw got in the back seat. Two of his boys came out of the alley and got in with him. Ricky hadn’t even seen Tony and Al. He pushed his hair back again and touched his St. Christopher medal.


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