COOL JOE, Chapter 31

COOL JOE, Chapter 31

A Story by Betty Hermelee

family saga



Chapter 31




It was a good meeting last night, but maybe too many choices for all of us to think about. I honestly believe that my idea is the best one. We work for Lopez, doing what he wants us to do; it may change from week to week, but who cares if we get the steady protection, which is very costly for us to get by ourselves. If we pick a specific job, it may turn out bad and frustrating in the sense of money, and who know how much take we’ll really get; a lot of it will go to Lopez. I think I should call Pete and Ted to try to convince them of my idea; the others will follow if I can get Pete on my side.


“Hello Pete, Danny here.”

“Oh, Hi Danny, what’s on your brainy mind these days? You’re usually the quiet one at meetings and such; I guess you’re more of a listener than a talker.”

“I don’t know about that Pete; I can blab like everyone else in the family, but I like to listen to others speak their opinions first, then I will talk. So, Pete I did listen to all of Lopez’ options last night, and as they were put before us, I am thinking that these side jobs may not really work for us; they sound too iffy and maybe not steady. We need a good relationship with Lopez, a steady one that will get us the protection we need. We work for him and he gives us the top bodyguards we need 24/7. Now, as far as paying off our loans, we can try to get some bonuses or raises from our bosses. But at least our families will be safe from Boss Johnnie, who, by now, realizes that two of his workers are missing. That being said, we may be in big trouble.”

“I get your point Danny and it is a good idea. My only worry is that Eddie keeps calling me  and Frankie about loans. If I didn’t have them, I think your idea is great because I know we need the protection really badly. I’m really mixed up now, don’t know which option is better.”

“Listen Pete, Since I don’t have kids to support, I can help you pay back some of your loans so that Eddie doesn’t bug you for a while. Would that help you out?”

“Gosh Danny, that’s too generous; I probably could never pay you back unless I can get a raise at work.”

“But Pete, I’m not asking you to pay me back, this is a gift; and I can help out Frankie too. I think the rest of us are okay. Look Pete, I’ve been single all my life, no kids to feed, clothe, put kids through school and I have a small place with my mortgage paid off. So, I’ve been able to save money and it’s cash in a safety deposit box at the bank near my house. Why don’t you figure out how much you need now to keep Eddie and the Boss quiet for a while; then we’lll play it by ear; does that sound reasonable?”

“More than reasonable, Danny, you are a living gem!”

“Not exactly Pete, I’m trying to do the best thing for our family and that is protection. Now, we have to discuss this with Lopez to see if he’ll agree to this deal, but if we work for him, I think he’ll go for it.”

“Who should talk to Lopez about this exchange plan and will he decide what work we will do?”

“Of course, he’ll decide, but look what we’re getting in return. I think you or Ted should talk to him. You guys know more about this than any of us.

“Okay Danny, I’ll talk to Ted and we’ll reach out to Lopez before the next meeting. Again, I can’t thank you enough for your generous offer to me and Frankie. Maybe if we pay off some of the loans, they’ll shut up for a while. In the meantime, we’ll be working for Lopez and getting protection.

“Okay Pete, let me know what happens, and in the meantime, I’ll call Frankie and let him know I can hep him out with his loan. Don’t tell the rest of the family yet, as I think they are okay for now, in terms of Boss Johnnie going after them.”

“Okay Danny, I’ll let you know what happens after you talk to Frankie; If I go along with it, he will and so will the rest of the family. Bye now.”


I hang up the phone and think to myself, what on earth am I doing? Giving money away as if it was candy. But I do have money and they don’t and I’m afraid they’ll get knocked off eventually with those gun shots and phone calls to pay off their loans. I have to do this to save my family.


Now I’m going to call Frankie to see if he’ll accept my offer and to convince him that work for Lopez in exchange for protection is the best option on the table.

“Hey Frankie, it’s Danny here, how are you?”

“Just fine old pal, what’s up?”

“Well, remember when I talked about working for Lopez in exchange for protection at our meeting last night? Instead of getting side jobs that may be a bit iffy, you would work for Lopez and get the protection 24/7 which is expensive. And, I will help you pay off some of your loans, so that the Boss’ calls and the gunshot warnings hopefully will stop. What do you think about that idea?”

“You mean you’re gonna help me pay off my loans and we work for Lopez and get protection for our families?”

“That’s exactly right Frankie. I have money saved, so I can give you cash to help pay off some of your loans. Then we’ll see what happens with Boss Johnnie and Eddie who keep shooting off gun fire and making threatening calls. Now, I don’t want you spouting your mouth about my help, because I’m only helping you and Pete right now; then I’ll see how much more I can spare. But I don’t want the rest of our family to know. I believe they are better off than you and Pete.

“I’m definitely in on this deal Danny; and you’re such a great and generous bro. Do you think Lopez will go for it?”

“I think he will, because it will be easy for him to keep track of his employees and in return for your work, you’ll get the protection. Pete or Ted will call Lopez before our next meeting to present this idea. He will say nothing about my gifts to you; that’s totally secretive to everybody. I will call Pete back to let him know you’re on; then Pete will call Lopez, then me.

You’ll also know as soon as possible, and then the rest of the family. So, for now Frankie, sit tight and we’ll call you. Bye now.”


I hang up and find that my hands are a bit clammy, maybe I’m a little nervous about the gifts. But I just checked on my stash and I have enough saved for Pete and Frankie who are more needy than the others. I’m still saving, so maybe I can help the rest too, at some time.


“Hey Pete, it’s me Danny; I just spoke to Frankie and he’s in on the deal. I told him everything and that he would get help from me.”

“That’s great news Danny, and now we have to get Lopez to agree to it. I’ll give Lopez a call around 5:00PM, when I think he’s least busy, okay with you?”

“Yup, it’s fine, then call me back; I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one because it’s the best idea. Bye for now, speak later.


I’m pacing the floor at my house, hoping things will work out; it’s only 3:00PM, so two more hours in which I can do more work for my boss, virtually. What I do, incase I forgot to tell you is accounting for various clients that my boss gives me. I’m very honest at work, no black money involved here. Maybe some in my personal life, but very little. So, I’m kind of scared about working for boss Jim Lopez. But the family is involved, so I guess I am too.



I get a call from Pete after 6:00PM; he tells me that Lopez agrees to our idea because he needs workers and in exchange will give us protection. He says that we have to put in many hours because protection 24/7 is very costly and he will assign us to various jobs according to need. So, we can’t really pick what we want, it’s his priority now, and he is our new Boss. Now, if Boss Johnnie tries any tricks on us, at least we’ll have our families protected.


After Pete calls, then Ted calls.

“Hi Ted, how are you doing?”

“Just great Danny; I just heard from Pete about our new deal; sounds good to me. I’m not really in debt with loans, so protection for my family is the most important thing. I make a pretty good living at the pawn shop and I’ve been able to make our loan payments and still save a little. I really hate to do these jobs that Lopez is suggesting, plenty risky, but we’re one big family and you do what you have to.”

“I’m glad you understand that it’s the best way for all of us; and Ted, if you ever get in trouble financially, I’ll help you out.”

“You’re such a great guy Danny; your idea is really well thought out. These jobs are very risky, but I think we can all handle it, and hopefully Boss Johnnie will stay quiet.”

“I doubt that Ted: I think he knows now that two of his men are missing, therefore the gunshots and Eddie’s annoying calls. He’ll be on some of our tails sooner than later, that’s why we need the protection.”

“Yea, I guess you’re right Danny; I just hope we can handle these jobs. By the way, have you spoken to Tommy or the others?”

“Not yet, first I want to talk to Pete about that to see if they’re in or out. Tommy seems to be a bit reserved about going in with us, I don’t know about the others yet, but they will be called.”


Now, I feel a little bit better knowing that Lopez is okay with the deal. I take a deep breath

And think about my wonderful family and how much I love them,


A minute after I take my deep breath, I get a call from Frankie; he says more gunshots around his house.


© 2021 Betty Hermelee

Author's Note

Betty Hermelee
A continuing saga; thank you for reading

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Added on July 21, 2021
Last Updated on July 21, 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..