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COOL JOE, Chapter 17

COOL JOE, Chapter 17

A Story by Betty Hermelee

Family Saga


COOL JOE, Chapter 17





Oh my God, I just got a call from Pete, didn’t get every detail, and I am sick to my stomach about Sylvia and Simone. I’m almost sure it was the Boss bugging and threatening her, poor thing; what choice does she have? She has to run; those dummies don’t fool around, you know. And, another thing that pisses me off is that the other family members may be in trouble, that is if she really rats on Johnnie by going to the police, that could be trouble; but I understand her reasons for all of this. After all, she lost her wonderful husband in the most awful way, and put us all on a freaking goose chase to find out he was killed. I’m thinking that we better have alibis in case the police or worse, the FBI, get in touch with any of us. Oh God, I can’t believe this, my family would be devastated.


And, on top of all this, Anna is bugging me for more child support. I’m giving her as much as I can afford, but she wants more. I’m thinking that I’m not gonna deal with another loan shark, she’ll have to make do. The kids are adjusting to their new life pretty well. I see them most weekends and once or twice for a nice Italian dinner out. Don’t get me wrong, Anna is talking to me, just in the wrong way. If she’d be a little more understanding of my situation, that would be great. Anyways, me and the kids are doing just fine.


I’ll be right back; the phone is ringing and its’ probably Pete.,


“Oh Pete, I was just talking about you and the fiasco with Sylvia and Simone. What? You’d like me to come over later to talk? Let’s see, it’s Tuesday, okay cause I don’t have the kids tonight. What time? Okay 8:00PM, sounds good, I’ll be there.”


I’m getting ready to go to Pete’s house, and the phone rings again.

“Hello? oh it’s Margaret, how are you my dear sis?”

“Not So good, Frankie; I just spoke with Pete, so I know most of what’s going on with Sylvia and Simone. I’m so scared for them, but also for us, cause we’re part of the family and the Mob may come after us.”

“That’s definitely a possibility, but we can handle it, so don’t worry.”

“What do you mean a possibility, that’s awful’, says Margaret.

“Listen sis, I know these guys, they play games, get you all riled up and do nothing; on the other hand, they can be vicious. So, just cool it until I can give you more information, okay? Hey listen, sweetheart, I know you’re afraid, we all are, but we have to remain calm. I’ll keep you posted; I promise.”

“Well, I’m still shaking, but I’ll have a glass of wine, think of poor Sylvia and try to calm down”, says Margaret.

“Okay love, get some sleep too. Goodbye” I hang up and try to take a deep breath, thinking of what Pete may tell me when I get there.


I arrive at Pete’s place and strangely enough, Vivian is there to greet me.

“Come on in Frankie, what would you like to drink?”

“Same old thing, Bourbon and soda will be fine. By the way I’ve missed you at the last couple of family pow-wows, where you been?”

“Trying to stay out of the foray and stick to my artwork; I have a show coming up.”

“Really? That’s wonderful Viv; I know you have talent, but a show? Wow!” I don’t really like her work, but would never say anything.


Pete walks into the living room with a glass of red wine. He’s looks a little tired, probably been on the phone for hours.

“Hey bro, how are you?”

“I could be better, but I’m hanging in”, says Pete.

“Well, let’s make a toast to us and the safe return of Sylvia and Simone.”

Me and Pete sit on the couch with glasses in hand. He really looks awful, bags under his eyes, looks like he aged in a week.


“Okay Frankie, I think it’s better if we talk face to face. I’ll try to fill you in as much as I can. And, by the way, I’m expecting a call from Sylvia and I wanted you to be her to listen in and then we’ll talk some more. In the meantime, I told Vivian, of course, and called all the sibs, they’re scared to death that they could be pulled into this mess.

“Of course, I understand very well.”

“So, I guess you’re pretty much up to date as to Sylvia’s predicament, and, even if you aren’t, I’ll talk. You know that there was a dead body at Sylvia’s place, and she takes off even before the  dead body cause she gets threatening calls from the Boss, and, she has every right to run. She calls me twice from a phone booth, doesn’t tell where she is, probably instructions from the Boss, who knows. At any rate, she says she going to call me after she speaks to the police, but that was last night and never heard from her.

“It’s possible that the police station is understaffed and she and Simone stay overnight at a motel nearby, who knows?”

“Yeah, I guess that’s the reason, but we should be hearing from her very soon”, says Pete.

He seems very nervous; his eye is twitching and his hand is anything but steady. He has too much pressure on him; the others have to step up a little and take some of that off; it’s not fair to put the burden on Pete.

“So, you think she’s finished with the police by now?”

The phone rings. Pete almost stumbles over a small statue of Jesus, as he runs to pick up the phone.

“Hello, (crackle), he waits seconds, then he hears a voice on the other end.

“Hello Sylvia, can you hear me?”

“Yes, I can hear you pretty well.”

“Did you speak with the police? What did they say? Where are you now?”

“Take it easy, Pete,

 We’re staying in a motel; we got to this place too late to speak to the police and they were swamped, and I’m really worn out and so is Simone; you want to say hi to her?”

“I’d love to”, says Pete with a toothy smile.

“Hi Uncle Pete; we’re managing, though I’m so scared of everything, the police, my mom, my other family; I feel like this is a bad dream.” We could hear her weeping in the background.

“Can I speak to mom again?”

“Sure, Uncle Pete, bye.” She hands the phone to Sylvia.

“So, what do the police say to you the next day?” asks Pete

“They talk to me for about an hour, two investigators and me and Simone in the room. I tell them everything, the threatening calls, the dead body (as I know from the gang), and the fact that I had to run to save my life and Simone’s. I can’t tell if they believe me or not. But they did say that they are getting the FBI involved because they know this crime family and their behaviors. The detectives at the police station asked me all kinds of question about my past life, what my dead husband did for a living and then about my family.

“What did you tell them about your family?”

“I told them we have a big family and that we are all very close.”

“Is that all Sylvia?”

“Pete, as I said before, there are certain things they told me not to tell anyone, even you!”

“Why is that? We’re family and concerned about you and Simone. Are they treating you with respect?”

“Yes, kind of, I mean they are very straight forward and hardly smile, but they don’t beat us; we’re okay, I guess. The next thing will probably be interviews with the FBI, cause that’s what we were told. I’m running out of money, so I have to get off the phone in a minute. Any more questions?”

“Can you talk to me about your location? I mean it’s like you’re a complete stranger whose been told to say nothing, not your whereabouts, when you’ll be home, nothing.”

I’m really sorry Pete, but again, if I break my promise, I’ll be dead and so will Simone. So, hang tight for now my dear brother-in-law and I’ll keep you as posted as I am able to. After I speak with the FBI, I will call you, okay, we’re both keeping our cool as much as possible. I have to go, bye.”

And she slams down the phone.

“What do you think, Pete?

“I think it looks bad, Frankie.”

“Well, maybe we can negotiate with the Boss.”

“Frankie, you must be mad, though I would like to give him a piece of my mind. He’s playing games with Sylvia.”

“What games Pete?”

“We may never see her again.”








© 2021 Betty Hermelee

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That lot would be enough to melt anyone's head, so kudos to Pete and the rest of the family for holding it together this long.
And the possibilities of what will be said to the cops, f I etc are intriguing. Will they all be wearing matching onesie with arrows on at the end of the tale, or will they even make the final chapter... Hope the boss gets roasted on a spit, but that's just this readers opinion. 😊

Posted 9 Hours Ago

Betty Hermelee

4 Hours Ago

My loyal reader! Pete is definitely an in-charge person, but wait, there are others.....thanks alway.. read more
The ball is passed to Frankie in this chapter. I like this technique; it lets you see the same events through many different eyes and interpretations. Frankie is just barely in the loop, trying to deal with both his marital situation and the family crisis. Pete calls and invites him over to discuss things. While he is there, Sylvia calls from the motel where she and Simone are staying. They have talked to the police, but there is a lot she can't tell Pete, to his frustration. She can't give her location, only tells Pete she will be talking to the FBI and then hangs up. Pete and Frankie are left with their helplessness. As in all the other chapters, the suspense here is managed tightly. We do not lose interest.

Posted 1 Week Ago

Betty Hermelee

1 Week Ago

your loyalty remains!!! Thanks John. I always appreciate you comments!!! Best, B

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2 Reviews
Added on April 23, 2021
Last Updated on April 23, 2021


Betty Hermelee
Betty Hermelee

Black Mountain, NC

My love of poetry resulted from my love of art. As a painter I am able to express myself on a canvas. As a poet my words come from my heart, my moods, sometimes sad, mostly upbeat. I like to use vivid.. more..