The Writers Voice
Favourite Literary Website
Givin' It To Rudy
One more word
out of Rudy Frick, just one, and Frankie was going
to give it
to him good. Frankie was just about fed up. Fed up
with his crummy job, and
up with the way his life was going too, but most of
all he was fed up with
No matter how hard Frankie worked, Rudy complained,
and when he did, spittle
formed in the corners of his mouth and he became
animated. He waved his arms
and shouted so everybody could hear. Like tonight
-- "I want'cha t'get ahead
them fries, y'hear me Frankie? The hoods need
scrubbin' and we can't shut
down 'ceptin we get ahead on them fries." He stuck
his head under the hood
pulled it out again quickly.
"Jesus! -- Y'see that crud up in there, dont'cha
.... bust into flames in an
L.A. minute." He turned to the two kitchen girls at
the fry pans. "Them
burgers .... get ahead on them burgers, get way
ahead, I'm turnin' the gas
off at 7
Frankie forgot the promise he made to himself as
soon as he made it and he
let Rudy get away, and in spite of himself he
picked up his pace and hurried
make more fries. He knew what would happen. By the
time somebody ate those
fries they would be soggy and limp as wet
newspaper, then they'd send them
and he'd get the blame. Same thing with the burgers
-- they'd be gray, mouse
gray, and the bun around them would have turned to
paste. By that time Rudy
would be gone, probably eating with that buck
toothed wife of his over at
Lillian's across the mall. He wouldn't get the
flack, oh no! Not Rudy!
and so would Cindy.
Jeez! How that tight blue skirt fit around Cindy's
behind! From where he worked
at the deep fat fryer he could see her working at
register three. She'd turn
around with her order .... fries always came last,
when she came to him
bat her eyes and say .... "Two large fries,
Frankie," she'd say. She always
said his name. She didn't do that when she ordered
the burgers or the
the fish. He knew she was soft on him .... and who
could blame her anyway,
He wouldn't be Frankie Jarvis forever. Oh no!
That's why he took this crummy
job at Macdonald's. Somebody was bound to see him
here in the Wondermall.
First turnoff west out of Culver City. He even had
his new name picked out,
anybody asked him what his name was, he was ready.
It was on the tip of his
"I'm Romeo LaBonte!" That's what he was going to
say! Then he was all set
with a phony story about his family in Sicily and
his father who was
cameraman to Federico Fellini. All he needed was a
couple of supporting
and then the blockbuster would come, just like it
always does. All it takes
that one hit, Frankie told himself, just that one.
Look at "Saturday Night
Fever" and "Midnight Cowboy." Won't it be great? He
could just see Rudy
his mouth hanging wide open; and Cindy Havens,
filing her nails in the
passenger seat beside him in his new Lamborghini.
He had potential .... the teacher at the drama
school told him that.
"You move well, Frank .... you have what we call
poise, just remember what I
told you about your hands. When you're not using
your hands, put them in
pockets or let them hang down at your sides, don't
fiddle with them."
The other thing was his voice, he still needed help
with his voice. It
carry well, and the teacher told him he didn't know
how to breathe. "Don't
try to read your line in one breath, Frank. People
breathe when they talk
by the time you come to the end of your line you're
out of breath."
He was working on those things. Every night in
front of the mirror he'd walk
around putting his hands in his pockets and taking
them out again. He hadn't
quite gotten the hang of letting them hang down
naturally, too often they
looked like he had just washed them and was looking
for a towel to dry them
Then the voice .... he'd read the newspaper in
front of the mirror --
(breath) reported a three percent increase in July
vehicle sales, (breath)
that was below May and June sales, (breath) its
truck sales rose nine
percent, (breath)." If he put his mind to it he
could do it, but if his
divided between his breath and his hands, he
couldn't do either.
His looks were his strong point. The eyebrows
straight and dark, almost
meeting in the middle over a slender aquiline nose.
The eyes, a dark blue,
mother's eyes .... and that mouth, that was his
mother's too. He had learned
to let the lips curl provocatively, slightly parted
and sneering, like Frank
Sinatra did so well. Damn it! If it wasn't for the
friggin' hands, (they
like his father's) he'd be at the top of the heap
in no time.
At the bubbling fry tank, the relentless dream of
Hollywood success kept
Frankie alive and helped to keep him sane. Without
his fantasies, Frankie
would have cracked up long ago. He was sure Romeo
LaBonte would bring him
and fortune -- and the pick of the broads as well.
"Fer Chrissakes, Frankie .... I warned ya din't I?
I warned ya! Lookit'cha,
you're no further ahead on them fries than y'was
before. I warned ya,
He made a slicing motion with his hand. "That's it,
y'through, don't come in
tomorra. Y'can pick up yer check on Saturday."
It wasn't so bad getting fired. Frankie was used to
getting fired. But to
bawled out and fired at the same time, all in front
of Cindy Havens. That
too much! He was going to have to 'let him have
it' right then and there
Instead he turned back to the fry tank and filled
more fry bags .... large
fries .... medium fries .... small fries. His eyes
were blinded with hate,
cheeks were red with shame and he was sure Cindy
had seen the whole thing.
was going to have to let him have it. Instead, he
took off his white hat,
turned around, and then ... he walked out the
employees entrance. It came to
a flash .... he knew exactly how he was going to
give it to Rudy Frick.
Frankie had little to thank his father for. He was
a good soldier but a
father and an even worse husband, but he passed on
a rare inheritance. A
Smith & Wesson .38 rolled up in an oily piece of
flannel and a wooden box of
brass cartridges. Frankie found them in a blue
barracks bag in the attic the
week before he left Des Moines. He guessed his
father had stolen them from
National Guard armory and then forgot them. His
father forgot about a lot of
important things, but even if he didn't, he
wouldn't have told Frankie or
mother about the Smith & Wesson. His father always
had an ace in the hole.
He got to his room and pulled his old brown valise
down from the top shelf
the closet. There it was. Still wrapped in the
dirty flannel rag .... Jesus,
it felt good to hold in his hand! .... He aimed it
at the wall -- Pow! Pow!
That's the way you let the bastards have it! You
don't risk broken noses and
bruises -- you just let 'em have it. It was too big
for the pocket of his
uniform coat. He tucked it into the waist of his
white pants .... that was
uncomfortable. He'd have to change clothes, no
other way out of it. Yeah,
baggy old jeans .... there, it fit pretty good in the back pocket. Then the
loose jacket, unbuttoned over a clean white
T-shirt. He checked himself in
mirror. Not bad, not half bad at all, a lot like
those pictures of James
tried combing his hair with a puff in the front and
hanging over his
just a bit .... that was really good. Now! Ready?
Wait a minute - something
he forgot. What was it? He hadn't loaded the gun
yet, that's what! Be pretty
silly tracking Rudy down with an empty gun now,
wouldn't it? How slick the
cartridges slipped into the chambers .... like a
key in a lock .... like you
what into you know what.
All set now! He turned out the light in his room
and stepped out into the
hall. Where would he find Rudy at seven p.m.?
Lillian's Restaurant, that's
Across the mall from MacDonald's. He'd be eating
there with his wife. Too
good to eat burgers and fries. Oh, no! Not Rudy --
he had to have them fancy
lobsters or lamb chops.
He paused at the bus entrance to Wondermall and
looked up at the clock in
Princess Tower. Ten after seven. From this moment
on he would be Romeo
LaBonte .... walking with grace and assurance and
carrying his hands in a
unaffected manner. He felt head and shoulders
above the crowd, like a star
among the extras. He never fully experienced the
feeling of utter
that an accomplished actor enjoys as he steps on
stage, but he knew how it
feel. It is as though the play, the author, the
director and all the extras
revolve about him waiting to pick up their cue from
his slightest move.
Everything, everything depends on the star!
There was a moment of awkwardness as Romeo pushed
on the plate glass doors
Lillian's to open them forgetting that they opened
outwards. A few people
looked at his scruffy clothes with distress as if
so say, "What in the world
Lillian's coming to?"
"Do you have a reservation, sir?" the hostess
"No, I ain't."
"Well, let me see, will that be one, sir?"
asked with a touch of
"I'm lookin' f'somebody, (breath) a man wit a
The hostess glanced nervously at the cashier who
shifted in her seat and
touched the mall security button with her elbow.
"I see dem, dere over dere by da, watch'y'call --
ya salad bar." Damn! he
forgot to breathe again and he barely finished the
sentence. Somehow his
didn't seem as commanding as he wished it would.
"Oh, that's Mr. and Mrs. Frick. Why don't you wait
here sir I'll see if they
wish to see you."
"Don't bodder, I just wanna give him somethin'."
Romeo brushed past the
hostess and tried to walk with some semblance of
his former aplomb toward
Frick's table. As he neared them he reached under
his coat and pulled out
Smith & Wesson.
"Frankie! What the hell's the matter witchoo.
Watch'ya doing wit dat gun."
"You're gonna get it, Rudy. I'm gonna give it
....to .... ya!" Damn! forgot
to breathe again, the last two words were
Rudy's wife was only mildly concerned as she ate,
but Rudy stood up and
glared at Frankie, who showed his first signs of
"You nuts or somethin'? Put that gun down before
you hurt yourself!"
At that moment, Romeo LaBonte ran off and deserted
Frankie. He could feel
flush of embarrassment and mortification all over
"I said GIVE IT TO ME, FRANKIE!!!"
Meekly, as a child might return something he had
stolen, Frankie put the gun
on the white tablecloth.
"Y'should'na .... Rudy -- y'should'na treat me like
that in frunna Cindy. I
got feelin's Rudy, just like you do."
Rudy gave a short snort of a laugh, "You little
shit .... " He would have
said more but at that moment two mall security
officers burst in. They
Frankie from behind and roughly pushed him face
down on the tile floor. One
them cuffed his hands behind his back and the other
picked up the gun on the
"This the gun he came in with?"
"Yes, he threatened my wife and me with it."
The officer shook out the shells and looked into
the chamber. "Could'na done
much with it, the pin's filed off, would'na fired
anyways. You know him?"
"Yeah, he worked for me, name's Frankie somethin'.
Speakin' of fired, I
him just today."
"Well, one of them nuts I guess." He wrapped the
gun in Rudy's napkin and
turned to look at Frankie on the floor. "Good lookin' kid. On ya feet
He turned to the customers slowly gathering about
them. "O.K. folks ....
Critique this work
Click on the book to leave a comment about this work