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He wasn’t a bigot, he just doubted his own judgment when he decided it was a good idea to work for a Sicilian-American family.

That’s all.

He liked their manners, their personable, you’re-family-now mentality, but even Al Capone was friendly, personable, and a “nice guy” to a lot of folks. Paid for their hospital bills after his goons beat the crap out of them. A real nice guy.

Corey grabbed his phone and turned off the alarm, squinted at the screen, considered the time, and set the alarm again. Just a few more minutes of self-loathing and terror to start the day. Why did he take this job? Why? WHY?

He rolled out of bed and went to the kitchen to contemplate the content of his moral fiber over orange juice and a low-fiber toaster pastry.

Would he tell the police if he saw anything illegal?

Did he have time to look up a tutorial on how to save his life if he witnessed a crime?

He looked at the time on the microwave. Nope.

He ran his hands through his hair as he walked to the bathroom where he set his phone on the counter, prepared his tooth paste and tooth brush, then, tooth brush hanging from his mouth, picked up the phone for a quick search.

Si prega di non uccidermi,” he attempted through the tooth paste and brush.

Please, don’t kill me.

It wouldn’t hurt to be prepared. Perhaps his crappy Italian would strike their hearts with sympathy, or maybe their sense of humor, and maybe, just maybe, they really wouldn’t uccidermi, so-to-speak.

Maybe, just maybe, Sicilian was a language of its own? Crap. He hadn’t thought of that.

During the ride to work he half-listened, half-watched videos on self defense from a knife attack, a hold up, rape, how to detect poison in your food, how to…

He cursed under his breath. He’d arrived.

The restaurant didn’t open for another hour, but Mr. Ichino wanted him there early to get accustomed to the place before the action started. When Corey came for his interview, Mr. Ichino happened to be outside for a smoke and greeted him by name, conducting his interview and hiring agreement outside. Except for a glimpse through the glare of the sun and his own reflection in the windows, Corey didn’t have the opportunity to see the inside of the place, yet. He imagined that the inside had to look like a restaurant and was, indeed, a restaurant, but the unknown of the matter made him nervous.

He roughed his hair up, blew a great puff of air from his mouth, and mustered all of his open-minded, politically correct capabilities to say aloud, “They could be a nice Sicilian-American family from Jersey.”

He swallowed hard and glanced at the red, white, and green banner hanging over the main entrance with the name “Ichino’s” printed on it. The eerie Sicilian flag flew alongside of the door, a red and yellow background with a disembodied, eyeless, Medusa head served on a bed of wheat, resting on a platter of bare legs.

His palms were tacky as he turned in to the back parking lot.

“Ichino’s,” he whispered. “Well, why don’t you scratch it already? But wash your hands before you make my food.” He laughed at his attempt at humor, sobered, and cursed once more.

There was nothing to it but to do it…

Per their instructions, Corey entered the ristorante through the back door. The restaurant was not open ‘til the lunch hour, so while the door was unlocked for him, the quiet, gray kitchen, the smell of grease, and a faint odor of basil and garlic alone greeted him.

“Hello?”

The utility sink dripped. He took a few steps in that direction, and the voice that hired him drifted past the cook’s window. The explosion of a well-seasoned, contagious laugh bloomed through the bland stillness of the kitchen. Corey made his way to the front with boldness now. It was a friendly laugh, after all.

From behind the counter it appeared there weren’t any signed autographs from Al Pacino, or even a photo of Scarface with his Little Friend.

He stepped out from behind the counter and turned toward the laughter, thinking about how Al Pacino was all right and all, but in this circumstance he was relieved not to have any photos of ol’ Al—Oooohhhh, there it was.

Hanging on the wall, just beyond Mr. Ichino and his family, hung a gigantic black velvet painting of Al Capone.

He kind of missed Al Pacino now.

Si prego… Uh…Crap… Uccidermi?

****

Thanks for reading the first part of Please, Don’t Kill Me. I plan on a few more installments of this short story, but I would like your help. What is your opinion on how things should go? Should Corey fumble with the Ichino family and inadvertently offend them right off the bat, or should he quickly endear himself to them? Let me know in the comments, please! 🙂

Thanks to my friend, Corey, for his contribution of name and inspiration!

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