Imaginary Jobs

It’s early.
Herb the Smooth, dressed like a musician, in black, black, black, with shiny black shoes, his greasy hair slicked back. Smooth is standing in front of the house where he’s been hiding out, he’s off to the side, behind a fence, waiting for his next ride. He’s got eyes in the back of his head.
He’s watching a crow in the road working over some road kill. The crow jumps around the road kill, picks at it, and it moves, and the crow jumps back.
Smooth is daydreaming imaginary jobs.
He’s got the fake Rolex in his palm, they’re distracted, he makes the switch, enjoying every minute he’s operating.
The doors are open, everybody’s looking the other way, the safe’s open, the cash bag’s on the counter.
He’s walking by, the keys are in the Porsche, the woman’s already across the street, then through the doors of the bank.
He’d seen the headline: Two Men Disappear off Santa Cruz Boat! Lazy Larry and Vito.
He calls Uncle Joe.
Joe: “You haven’t been I.D.!”
It was easier to lie to him over the phone. He couldn’t see their eyes. He wonders whether they have a piano where he’s going.

Uncle Joe is lucky in sunny Sicily. At an afternoon party, they celebrate their secrets. He talks with the Uncle, Francisco, the younger son. They say nothing.
It’s finished. Generations of animosity, now resolved? Money and property change hands. Joe is unnerved by their calm, these people. So pleasant. All smiles and soft words.
Joe? He’s cool. He eats a pear.
At one point, all the adults, at a pause in the proceedings, a lull, all but Joe, sigh.

Joe sighs after his plane lands in San Jose, California.
A couple of days later, his daughter Mona is over. She comes out back in the yard, in Santa Clara, he’s behind the Egyptian museum, he’s out with his roses. He figures he’s lucky because he likes plants. Mona says, coming up behind him, affectionately rubbing his back: “Larry and Vito have turned up. It’s in the papers. They say they were kidnapped by aliens. I wonder what happened to Herbie?”

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