The Carmelos Return
Rich worked a week from 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM. He arrived on a Monday of the second week about 10:30 AM and shortly, two short robust women busily moved around preparing Tommaso’s for the lunch crowd – the Carmelo girls returned.
Immediately Tommy began to ask questions in Spanish.
It seems there was a sudden death in the Carmelo family and they traveled to a small mountain town named Las Pumas. They sent a cousin to inform Tommy, but the cousin forgot to deliver the message. It was all a huge and apologetic misunderstanding taking 20 minutes of Spanish to assuage everything.
Tommy introduced the Carmelos to Rich. They presented themselves as polite, but immediately suspicious of him.
They forced their smiles and scurried off to work mumbling to each other is Spanish.
“I don’t think they like me,” Rich said.
“They are madder at me,” Tommy said. “They think I hired you to be their boss. I ain’t even their boss. They think because I hired you their wages will be cut. I’ll square it with ‘em.”
“What will that take, four or five hours?” Rich said. “It took long enough just to tell you their was a death in the family.”
“Back in the States that would have taken 30 seconds and I still would have believed them. They almost think in terms of minute for minute. The longer the infraction the longer the excuse and apology. In the long run it cuts down on those kinds of things. People who miss work knows they’ll have to come up with long story, tears, and maybe beg, who really wants to bother with all the rigamarole? Nobody, so save yourself all that and show up for work. I swear to god; their is this guy that comes in here, he cheated on his wife for three years and I swear to god and all the saints he apologized to her for three years to the minute.”
“I think they call that exacting retribution,” Rich said.
“Exactly,” Tommy said. “Say you’re sorry, get some roses, and tell her to get supper on the table. There’s nothin’ complicated about it.”
“I guess you won’t be needing me,” Rich said handing Tommy his apron.
“Do you mind staying on for a while?” Tommy said handing the apron back. “You can stay as long as you like. It will be like a vacation for me.”
“You won’t mind if I leave anytime I want?” Rich said.
“If I get up in the morning and pull open the windows, look out at the gulf and you’re boat ain’t there, I can assume you won’t be in. I’d like you around for a while just to know what it’s like being a real boss; you know mingle with customers and just watch.”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I’ll stay a while longer.”
“You’re going to have to learn how to take orders from the Carmelo girls in Spanish,” Tommy said.
“Peperoni, sausage, olives, onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheese; how many Spanish words do I need to learn?” Rich said. “And no is no.”
The Carmelo girls were two bursts of energy packed into a five foot nothing well padded frame. They did the work of twice their number with half the effort and Tommy was glad to have them.