COOL JOE Chapter 38

COOL JOE Chapter 38

A Story by Betty Hermelee

Family Saga



Chapter 38




On the cab ride home, I feel so elated that I’m actually going to see my beautiful wife.  I can picture her in my mind’s eye; her perfectly formed face, silky hair, graceful legs, and everything else. I wonder if they’ll leave us alone for 10 minutes so I can hug, kiss and feel her body next to mine. Wouldn’t that be great? I’m not asking for much you know. I am so appreciative of Danny’s help in getting me down there and also paying off my loan, not to mention getting Eddie off my back.


So, when I arrive home, I’m going to call my kids, just to see how they are doing. I miss them so much, but honestly, they’re doing fine without me. The one they miss the most is their mother, don’t blame them at all. But they seem to be okay with the story I made up about her. And, if the Boss will agree, maybe they can even get to talk to her; depends on his moodiness; he can be a real s**t head, we all know that. The house is ghostly -like, my voice echoes off the walls. I make myself some hot tea, put a shot of brandy in it to make sure I sleep well tonight.

Before I call the kids, Danny calls me.


“Hi Danny, you still up?”

“Of course, bro, I’m watching the 11 0’clock news, but I want to check on you to be sure you’re okay with tomorrow.”

“I’m so excited to see Viv, are you kidding?”

“I’m sure you are Pete. Maybe next visit we’ll be to pick her up and take her home, you think?”

“I doubt it, but we’ll try to negotiate for it.”

“What if he brings up the missing men?”

Then, we’ll have an alibi, Danny.”

“What alibi Pete?”

“Well, first we say that we know nothing about it, nothing!”


“He’ll want us to explain who did it.”

“Yea, Danny, and then we say we have no idea, play dumb.”

“Yea, but he’s going to want detailed information.”

“I know, and then we ask specifically what he wants? If he says something like I know the day they went missing, then we have our alibi straight out. We were all at work, and we can prove it. We shouldn’t say anything else. I hope he accepts our alibi. He’ll have to find someone else to blame.”

“Pete, do you think that garbage will be enough to get Viv out and leave us alone?”

“I’m not sure. He really has no evidence, he’s just shooting from the hip, as they say. I mean he can try to kill us, but that won’t bring back the missing, although it may satisfy his anger. The fact is, he’s unpredictable; that’s why we need the protection, at least at night when we’re home. Which means that we have to start working for Lopez on our off hours, at least I do. But I can’t do anything until Viv is back and can take care of the kids. And, you know, Danny, you may have enough dough so that you don’t need to work for Lopez. Me, Frankie and Ted definitely have to work, mostly for the protection, cause I think we’re the main targets of the Boss. You are more of an outlier, a negotiator, so I don’t think he’ll bother you. And, obviously he struck a chord with you, as you paid off the loans for us, and he knows it, and he allow me a visit with my wife.”

“I think what you’re saying is probably true Pete, but let’s see what happens tomorrow, and how the Boss conducts himself, what mood he’s in and on and on. We should both pray tonight. Let’s also keep our fingers crossed and I’ll pick you up by cab tomorrow at work, 2:30PM; have a good evening bro, lot’s going on.”

Okay Danny, see you tomorrow. Bye”

I’m calling my kids:

“Are these my little cutie pies?”

“Yes, dad, it’s both of us on the phone.”

“Do you miss us?”

“Like hell I miss both you so much, but I’ll be there to see you tomorrow night after work.”

“Will you bring us some presents?”

“What do you want that is reasonable?”

“Some pictures of mom, is that reasonable?”

“You’re making me cry kids, stop it! Okay you got a deal! How is Aunt Margaret treating you?”

“Aunt Margaret is funny, tells a lot of jokes, tucks us in at bedtime, and we like being with our cousins; and she lets us have ice cream for dessert every night. We miss mom a lot, but we’re happy she will get better staying in Colorado. “

“You’re absolutely correct guys, and she misses you too, believe me. Anything else you want to tell me? How about school?”

They both say, “It’s pretty good, we’re up to date with our homework.”

“Great, I’m proud of both of you, keep up the good work and always be polite, right?”

“Yes, we are dad; we love you.”

“Love you both too, see you tomorrow eve. Bye”


I get off the phone and tears start coming down my cheeks. This whole ordeal is so horrible for the kids, for me, and mostly for Viv. If I could, I would start my life all over, be a clean guy, not involved with crime in any way; it would be so much better, uncluttered and happy. But, rather I’m in deep doo and can’t seem to get away from my own shadow. I was really born into this life cause my dad wasn’t exactly “clean”. So, it passed down to us and we can’t seem to get out, no matter what we do or don’t do. It’s like a vicious cycle, round and round in the underworld. I have a beautiful family, all torn apart now; that should never happen to anyone, even a crook like me. Maybe I should talk to the priest, not confess, but just for counseling purposes, maybe that will help me understand my situation better. I wonder if he’s still there, or keeps regular hours. Nay. I’ll skip that and put on some soft music, get me some brandy and think about tomorrow. The phone rings.

“Hey there Frankie.”

“Hi Pete, just calling to find out if I’m going with you tomorrow to see the Boss?”

“I’m afraid not, bro, it’s too risky because the Boss hates you, as he does me, so I’m taking Danny with me, cause he’s not on the Boss’ s**t list, got it bro?”

“Yea, I got it Pete; well let me wish you all the luck, fingers crossed, things work out with the Boss and Viv. Will you keep me posted?”

“Of course, pal, you’ll know one way or the other. Now I have to rest up for tomorrow. Thanks for calling.”


So, I continue to think about tomorrow as I sip my brandy. My mind swirls around in different directions, I can’t help it, it won’t settle down. I take another sip and another and now I’m starting to feel a bit sleepy, so I turn off the music and walk upstairs to my bedroom. I’ll get into my pajamas, and maybe read a magazine called “True Crime”, no that’s ridiculous, what am I thinking! I should just close my eyes and count sheep. While I’m counting sheep the phone rings.


“Pete, it’s me Ted. Did I wake you? You sound groggy.”

“Well, Ted, actually I am counting sheep, trying to fall asleep, not much luck though.”

“Sorry, bro, just wanted to wish you luck tomorrow. The kids are doing great here, all of them. They love being together, and they don’t talk much about you and Viv.”

“That’s not great Ted, that means they don’t’ miss me?”

“Nay, I’m just kidding, Pete, they miss you and Viv a lot. I suspect you handled the Viv situation okay with the kids?”

“Yea, I lied pretty well, but they’re only kids, so they don’t have to know the ugly truth, right?”

“Absolutely Pete, you did the right thing. All’s well here, so don’t worry. I just want to wish you luck with s**t Boss tomorrow, and let me know what going on.”

“I sure will Ted, and thanks for everything that you and the whole family is doing to help me and Viv.”

“It’s our duty and our pleasure to help. We’re family and we’re close, we have a strong bond that can never be broken, no mater what. Speak soon pal.”


I can’t count any more sheep, so I think I’ll go to the church, light a candle for Viv and if the priest is there fine, and if he isn’t, I’ll sit there and pray. I can walk to the church in about 10 minutes.


When I get there, it’s eerily quiet, I can almost hear my own breathing. It’s dark, except for all the lit candles. I walk slowly to the front pews to gaze at Jesus on the cross and the Virgin Mary.

I kneel down and start to pray, when someone gently taps me on the shoulder from behind. I look around and to my surprise, I see the priest. I’m thinking to myself what on earth is he doing up this late. This is really weird. Maybe he knows about my problems and my visit tomorrow. He speaks softly to me and leads me to his chamber. I follow not knowing what will transpire.

He tells me to pray with him and then he puts his hands on mine and says some more prayers.

Then he walks out and I’m alone.


On my walk home, I feel refreshed, not tired, but by now it’s 1:00AM. I have to go home and count sheep or I’ll be in no shape to face the Boss.














© 2021 Betty Hermelee

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on October 21, 2021
Last Updated on October 21, 2021


Betty Hermelee
Betty Hermelee

Black Mountain, NC

My love of poetry results 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..