Part of the Jewish Godmother Series
Hola, this is your dear friend, Jose’. When we last met I was telling you about the Mona Lisa Horowitz incident. The Jewish Godmother was enraged that The Italian Godfather overstepped his boundaries by intervening in her business in Brooklyn. She was determined to let him know that she was not going to put up with such disrespect! So we got onto I-278 East and headed to Don Bustamonte’s headquarters, Via Roma Pizzeria on Arthur Avenue. They were known to have the best pizza in The Bronx. The whole time we were driving the Jewish Godmother was wringing her hands in the back of the Lincoln and muttering every insult against Italian Americans she could think of. She was so upset she kept “klapping” me in the back of my head as she criticized my driving. The anticipation of eating a slice of Via Roma pizza was the only thing that kept me from losing my sanity.
When we arrived, the aroma of pizza wafted out to the sidewalk as we approached the front door. Once inside, we heard Frank Sinatra’s song, ‘Fly me to the moon’ playing. The walls were covered with autographed photos of famous Italian Americans like Joe DiMaggio, Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone. There were also photos of Rome and of the Pope of course. Each table was covered with a red and white checkered cloth and had a candle and a bottle of Chianti on top of it.
Don Bubbieberger whispered as best as she could, “Jose, I don’t think we’re in Brooklyn anymore.” She then sauntered up to the pizza chef in the front and banged her fist on the counter, “I demand to see Don Bustamonte.” Upon hearing her, the chef was so shocked that he dropped his freshly made pie as he was pulling it from the brick oven; for NO ONE mentions the Godfather’s name in the front of the pizzeria. He answered, “Fuggedaboutit lady, this is a reputable establishment, we don’t talk about those things, you either order a pizza or Va via!” The Godmother started channeling Robert De Niro in taxi driver as she said, “You talkin to me? You talkin’ to me?” The chef answered, “Yeah I’m talkin to you, who are you anyway, where are you from?” The Godmother losing her patience, picked up a jar of hot pepper sauce, and flung it into his face. “I’m Don Bubbieberger from Brooklyn that’s who!” As the pizza chef doubled over in pain and grabbed his eyes, I followed The Godmother as she marched towards the back of the pizzeria. Instinctively she knew where a Don would be doing his business. Even if she didn’t know, our clue was the smell of garlic and Armani cologne that was coming through the door that was marked ‘private.’ She began pounding on the door which caused the walls to shake. As I watched the framed picture of the Pope rattling on the wall next to me, I felt a sense of foreboding. ‘Oy Dios mio’ I said under my breath. I braced myself for what would happen next.
Just then, the door opened and a very large beefy man stood in the threshold. He took one look at the Godmother, and said, “Hey, lady, the restroom is down the hall, can’t you read the sign, it says private!” Suddenly, we heard a booming voice from the back, “Who dares to disturb me during my favorite show, Let’s Make a Deal?“
“Let’s make a deal?” The Godmother said as she pushed her way past the stunned bodyguard. “I’ll tell you what the deal is you Bocce ball playing shnook!” She said to The Godfather, who was sitting at a small table. I noticed his table also had the red and white checkered tablecloth as well as a very large loaf of Italian bread. There was a glass of red wine on the table and an ashtray shaped like a gondola which held a very expensive lit montecristo cigar. Behind us was a flat screen TV playing a rerun episode of Let’s Make a Deal. He then stood up very slowly. My friends, I must tell you, the most impressive thing in the room was Don Bustamonte himself. He was not a very tall man, but the way he held himself made him seem larger than life! As the Godfather looked at The Godmother, he narrowed his eyes and said, “Nobody has spoken this way to me other than my dearest Mamma, may she rest in peace.” The Godmother responded, “I’ll make you REST in PIECES!” She snatched the lit cigar and she started to drive it towards his head!
He gently held her arm, took the cigar from her and said, “Such a bella faccia, what could possibly get you so worked up? I hate to see you so troubled. What can The Godfather do for you?” He started to twist the ring on his pinkie. The Godmother, quite frazzled, said, “Does the name Mona Lisa Horowitz ring a bell? You know the Jewish Italian girl with the cats?” He nodded and answered, “Oh yes, Sophia’s daughter. Sure, no big deal, you don’t have to thank me, I took care of it. You want something to eat? I have some lovely proscuitto to share.” The Godmother grabbed the loaf of bread and threatened to hit The Godfather with it, “I’m not hungry for proscuitto, I’m hungry for vengeance!” I noticed that it was at that moment that the Godfather’s eyes softened and he was struck by what the Italians refer to as Fulmine, the thunderbolt. He was obviously falling in love. “I’ve never met anyone like you, I’m completely captivated by your controlling nature. You’re a woman who knows what she wants and will do anything to get it! I admire those qualities because I have them as well. Who are you?” She replied, “I am Don Bubbieberger and I run all of Brooklyn and Mona Lisa Horowitz is mine!” He answered, “Fine, you can have her, as long as I can have you!” My friends, I couldn’t believe it, but the Godfather took the Godmother’s hand, started kissing it and the loaf of Italian bread fell to the ground. My mouth hung open, for no one would have predicted this outcome!
And so the plot thickens. Is there romance in the air? You will know next time we meet. Until then, this is Jose Flores de Las Gutierrez Perez de Fernandez de Leon de Jesus.
Yiddish and Italian glossary:
Va via: go away
Schnook: a pitifully meek person
Bella facia: beautiful face