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Summer Jobs. By Martin Green.


Mrs. Mazzoli and I had just gotten into her bed when we heard the door open downstairs, then a voice calling, “Maria, where are you?”

“It’s my husband,” said Mrs. Mazzoli..

“I thought he was away for the weekend,” I said.

“Well, he’s back. Quick, get under the bed. If he finds you he’ll kill you.”

In a second I was under the bed. Luckily, I’d had time to put my pants back on.

Heavy footsteps came up the stairs. “There you are. In bed at three in the afternoon?”

“I was taking a nap.”

“A nap? You’re tired from doing what? The house downstairs is a mess. You should have been cleaning up.”

“That’s the maid’s job.”

Mr. Mazzoli was right. His wife wasn’t a good housekeeper. I saw a lot of dust balls under the bed. Too many. I sneezed.

“What’s that?” An upside-down face appeared under the bed, an angry face.

I slid out from under the bed and stood up. Me. Mazzoli bore an uncanny resemblance to Tony of the “Sopranos” TV show. He was big and burly and now he was scowling just like Tony when discovering someone had ratted on him.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Fred, the delivery boy.” I’d just graduated high school. My friend Jack worked at this expensive market, delivering things to upscale houses around town.. He’d gotten me my job, telling me there were a lot of hot housewives out there. Mrs. Mazzoli was one of them, but I hadn’t counted on a meeting with Mr. Mazzoli.

“This is my husband, Ambrose,” Maria said to me, as if we’d just bumped into one another at some social function.

“Glad to meet you, sir,” I said.

“Glad to, wait a minute, you were in my wife’s bedroom. I’m going to kill you,” said Tony, uh, Ambrose.

“Don’t be silly,” said Maria. “We weren’t doing anything.”

“Then why was he hiding under the bed?”

“Because I know how jealous you get, without any good reason. I didn’t want you to hurt him.”

“What was he doing up here?”

“I thought I saw a spider in the bathroom and he came up to kill it. You know how I hate spiders.”

Mr. Mazzoli looked unconvinced. “That’s some story,” he said.

“It’s true. If you were here more often, I wouldn’t have had to depend on some delivery boy to protect me. Half the time you’re away and I’m left all alone.”

“I have business to take care of.”

I wondered what business that was. Had he whacked somebody sooner than expected and that’s why he was back early?

“It’s always business, business. What about me? I count, too, you know.”

“Yeah, I know, baby. I’m sorry.”

Sorry? I was amazed at how she’d turned the tables on him. He’d almost found his wife with me, the delivery boy, in her bed, and here he was, telling her he was sorry. Women were incredible.

“Well, now that you’re back you can take me out to dinner tonight. I’ve been stuck in the house all by myself all week.”

“Okay, to that ritzy joint, the one you like.”

Here I decided to interrupt the love fest. “Uh, I’ll be going now, Mr. And Mrs. Mizzoli.” Before they could say anything I ran down the stairs, out of the house and into my van. I’d escaped.

When I got back to the store I told them I was quitting. The next week my friend Jack told me he was quitting, too, to go out to Idaho to get a job in the Forestry Service. I went with him. In the forest there’d be no more women to worry about, just snakes and bears. That’s what I wanted.



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