Deception at the Copa

My name is Rico Bonacucci. And yes, that’s my real name.  I know, do you like my diamond? Those scumsucking nurses didn’t want to let me keep it on in here, but I told them what for.

I am not a man of many words, but I wanted to set the story straight before I die. That’s where you come in doll face. Write down everything I say.

It happened many years ago, when I used to have a club in New York called the Copacabana. It was a great club. Music, dancing, a mirrored ball, a great bar and showgirls…yeah real showgirls who showed their kiester and everything. Nothing dirty, mind you, just the backside. You see more on the beach these days.

But I digress…  I loved that club. That’s until they walked into it – Lola and Tony. Ah Lola, what a looker. She could put a smile on that American Gothic farmer guy with one shake of her yellow tail feather. She was something else. I usually never mix business with pleasure, mind you, but she turned my head around and around. Yeah, we went out, so what? I was really into her and it was mutual.

That’s until that rat punk Tony came into the picture. Che palle!  He was a lowlife scum from the gutter, but he looked good and the women seemed to like him. So, I gives him a chance behind the bar. I didn’t expect him to last long. He couldn’t even make a decent drink if all he had to do was pour it from the bottle into a glass. He’d even screw that up. But he kept the broads coming back and drinking. I made money, he made money, everybody’s happy.

I even looked the other way when he started getting’ chummy with Lola. They would laugh a little, yeah, I thought they were friends. So what? Figurati! I knew she was my woman and that’s that. Really, were affianced. I gave her a ring and everything. I would’ve done anything for that dame.

One day I overhead them talking. They didn’t see me because I was in the secret room behind the two-way bar mirror.  It was there since prohibition for gambling. We use it as an office now. I run a clean establishment. Anyways, I was counting the dough from my numbers racket and I heard them talking about cuts. Then he gave her some money and she kissed him. Yeah, the kiss hurt my feelings, but the money, that made me really mad.  No one steals from Rico Bonacucci.

So I put a tail on that pretty-boy Tony.  Can you believe he was working for the Russo gang? He was the grandkid of Russo himself. He got a job at the Copa to spy on me and report back to his Nonno so he could muscle in on my business. That scumsucking dirtbag.

Now, again, I run a clean and successful operation. No gang owns Rico Bonacucci. That’s why they wanted to take it over. And that little stronzoa, he was not only shorting the till, and kissing my woman, but he was paying Lola to tell him where I was, so they could take me out.  Well, they had another thing coming. I heard their whole plan. Basta! Enough.

That Friday night, Lola was doing her show and I was in the front row, as usual. She always comes and sits on my lap after the show to give me some sugar.  I always thought she wanted to mark her territory in front of the other girls. Cause, ya know, I’m a catch. Now usually I’m not packing. I’m a lover, not a fighter. But since they were planning to rub me out, I gotta be prepared. When she hugged me, she felt the gun, screamed and jumped up.

Then that stronzoa Tony comes sliding over the bar and points a gun at me. Well, yeah. I took him out. You don’t point a gun at a Bonacucci unless you got a date with St. Peter. Ya know what I mean? Fongool to both of them.

That was that. But when the cops showed up, Lola and the girls made up this story about how I was inappropriate with Lola and her boyfriend Tony tried to defend her and then I shot him in cold blood. They even hid his gun. I mean, please, I do not have to try with the ladies. I am a love magnet. But they were all out to get me.

So, here I am doing 30 in the cooler for nothin’.  Now I’m about to kick and I wanted my besmeared name cleansed. I am innocent.

Hah, but I got a little revenge. I hear Lola still sits at the Copa every night crying in her cocktail. And she got old, wrinkly and ugly. Hah! She’s got nothing. Niente!

I guess we all lost that night, though.  Him, his life; me, my freedom, and she lost her mind. Now I can meet St. Peter with a clear conscience. Arrivederci, toots, you make sure to have that printed tomorrow under my obituary.  A full page in the New York Times.

(c) Copyright, Suzanne Rudd Hamilton 2021

Author’s Note: This story was an exercise to retell a popular song. This is a different way to look at the Copacabana 70’s song.

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at

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