Previously on The Bruce: So the mystery of the envelope was solved; the mob was dispersed; Ahmed was back to polishing the same frigging glass; in short all was as it should be. But not for long. Barry came in looking for his weekly order of baksheesh.
And now: For those of you out there who don’t know what baksheesh is, here’s a brief explanation. It’s thought to be Persian in origin and means a tip or some such gratuity. It more recent years, it usually mean bribery and that’s what Barry was looking for. And he was looking right at Ahmed and that damned glass. Ahmed was doing his best not to notice Barry which in itself would be an incredible feat to pull off. Barry is, how can you say this diplomatically, (something I’m not really known for), unusual looking. If while under the influence of any number of mind-altering substances, Ovaltine included, one could describe him as the illegitimate love child of a seven foot tall Jeff Goldblum, Sally Struthers, and A-Rod. If not under that kind of influence, that description is still pretty accurate, but nothing would explain the red hair. Don’t ask, but it ain’t my family!
Barry wanted his money, now. Ahmed feigning concern over his falafel grill, was still trying to ignore Barry. With Barry’s shadow looming ever larger, Ahmed was losing his battle. Finally, he gave in, turned and promptly dropped the glass he had been so dutifully polishing for probably 6 years. Well, all good things must end and a new glass started, right? And as far as ending goes, Barry was looking to end Ahmed right then and there. What were we into now?
“Ahmed, you haven’t been behaving. Why haven’t you been returning my calls?”, Barry wanted to know as if he didn’t know already. Barry knew and Ahmed knew he knew and couldn’t stall him any longer. For too many years, Ahmed had been paying Barry off and while I knew it was happening, I didn’t really know why. That was about to change. Dumb-ass me, I never saw the connection. Yeah, Fog Calamari couldn’t figure out some marriages were arranged and others, well, they were ARRANGED if you catch my drift. Only this one involved my half (and half-wit) sister, Polly. Yeah, the same name as our mother. Polly, my Sterno-huffing mother, gave birth to my sister fathered by cheating on Pops with some Electrolux salesman. Yeah, it sucked and in more ways than one. During one of her huffed-up binges, she decided to name her new daughter Polly as if it was the cutest thing in the world. In the family, daughter Polly was called Po as if we were prescient about her life to come. Hell, all one had to do to suss that out was to look at her mother. I didn’t learn this until many years later after I’d been calling Ahmed “Uncle” for the whole time. Now it was time for Ahmed to say “Uncle.” Karma, man.
For a not small amount, Ahmed, who was later revealed as the Electrolux schmuck and father to Po, paid Barry to marry her. What Ahmed didn’t count on was Barry expecting a regular payroll check for his efforts. In Barry’s favor, he was kind to Po, but not particularly loving or faithful, but then neither was Po to him. Ah, love, right? Barry’s latest visit was due to Ahmed being more than a little late in his continuous dowry. Who knows how long Barry’s kindness would last without his stipend? This had to end now or sooner. If Barry “took care” of Ahmed, I’d never have a falafel again. I had to get involved.