The Penn Station East Coast sub shop on Remont road ten miles outside the city was not your
typical sandwich shop. Sure it was more like the disappearing Quiznos for hot subs though not
toasted, but nothing like Sub-way because of it’s lack of, meat, vegetables, breads, and assortment
of sauces. You could order a regular cold cut style sandwich they called the Dagwood, but if you
wanted a Philly cheese steak, Chicken Parmesan, Teriyaki Chicken or a Chicken Philly, then
this was the place. The meat as cooked on a hot griddle like a Japanese steak house though you
couldn’t see them prepare it; thanks to a great wall of china. Pone preferred Quizno’s toasted
Chicken Carbonara with bacon to enhanced the flavor, but again Quiznos seemed headed for
extinction since it’s commercials were not longer seen on TV. He only went to Sub-way for the
Turkey breast and peanut butter cookies. Jersey Mike, Sub-station II, Blimpie and Firehouse subs
didn’t appeal to him. Sub shops were an alternative to the high-calorie burger joints. Pone was
tired of the marquee burger displays showing fresh veggies, cheese, juicy beef between a bun
and once you got it … well it looked nothing like advertised.
Pone stood at the counter and ordered two Teriyaki chicken subs with-out the Teriyaki
turning the sandwich into a chicken Philly. The sauce Teriyaki sauce was too strong and the
chicken was seasoned good enough to provide flavor. Besides that flavor, he preferred the
Penn Station because they dealt more in hot subs than cold, they were under the radar and
had hardly any customers. How they stayed open was a mystery. Pone got a glance of themselves
man making the sandwiches, he was bald and had sweat balls the size of quarters on his head.
Pone looked around the place and decided this would be the last time he’d come here for a
sandwich. He joined Sonny at one of the booth in a dark secluded corner.
“Ordered two Chicken Philly,” said Pone.
“What … no Teriyaki?” asked Sonny.
Pone snorted. “Don’t you worry you’ll get plenty of flavor and then some,” Pone thought about the
cook with the quarter size sweat balls dripping from his head. “Did you a favor considering your
stomach. The Teriyaki not sweet like that Bridgeford beef jerky.”
Sonny waved Pone off. “Should’ve gone to a burger joint.”
“You don’t need red meat. How you think I keep my girlish figure?”
“Dodgin’ bullets,” said Sonny.
Pone laughed. He liked the old man, and he knew Sonny was a tell it like it is straight shooter.
He didn’t want you to say sir, more than twice. (He’d say I ain’t a knight and that ain’t what my
folks named me.) There was a TV station that showed only classic dramas and comedies from
the 1960′s on up to the early part of the 2000′s. Pone watched the network because to him it was
a history of a much simpler time. One show he liked in particular was Sanford and Son. Sonny could
have almost been a clone to the character Fred Sanford played by the late entertainer Redd Foxx.
“Any sauce gonna be on it?” asked Sonny.
Pone shook his head. “Caramelized onion, Swiss cheese, salt, and pepper.”
Sonny smiled. “Mouth watering already.”
“Who do you know in town willing to do a car bombing job?”
Sonny shrugged and rubbed his thick cotton head of hair. “Talkin’ ’bout them kids, right?”
“That’s somethin’ I ain’t never done is kill kids. Couldn’t pay me enough for that shit.
Blown up snitches, cars, and building for insurance frauds, but no kids.
“Going to ask you a dumb question.”
Before Pone could ask, the sandwiches were ready. Pone came back to the table with two-foot
longs and large soft drinks.
Sonny was about seventy years old. He had all his teeth; he tore into the sandwich took a
sip of soda, closed his eyes, and sighed like he had died and gone to heaven. Pone didn’t touch his
sandwich and drink. He couldn’t get those quarter sized sweat balls he saw on the cook out of
“Damn good sandwich,” said Sonny.
If you only knew, thought Pone. “You know anybody who’d be cold enough to take out
a couple of kids?”
Sonny swallowed hard. “Depends on who don’t want a day job. Any low life who wants to make
a fast buck, he got to know what he doing or he might blow his own ass up.”
“Come on, Sonny,”
“Most of the guys I know are pushin’ up daisies. They got a taste of their own medicine, old age;
you name it. Don’t know nothin’ about the young bloods. What you need to do is find out who
knew those kids were dating.”
“A needle in a haystack.”
“You can put that haystack in two piles.”
“Prohibition and hip-hop.”
Sonny smiled and winked. “You got it college boy.”
“Already got Brown and Rudenbaugh considering it might be an inside job.”
Sonny moved his tongue around his teeth. “Playing with a double edged sword.”
“Yeah, almost got cut twice.”
Sonny took another sip of his drink. “Now that’s some shit, wants you to solve this mess
and wants you dead too, damn.”
Pone shove his sandwich toward Sonny. He knew Sonny didn’t do much cooking.
“They’ll wrap it for you.”
“All right, this is a pretty good sandwich.”
“Got too much on my mind to eat.”
“You and the other two fool the only friends I got. I want y’all to see me in the ground and
not the other way around.”
“We your kids now?”
“Maybe you, the other two too damn ugly.”
Pone bit his bottom lip to control his laughter. “Guess I better keep my head on a swivel.”
Sonny washed down his last bite, and Pone gave him his drink as well.
“This lunch was for my benefit?” asked Sonny.
“I wanted to pick your brain on this,”
“Who ever did this ain’t gonna be staying in the city.”
Pone leaned back folding his arms. “I think we both can agree that this is an inside out job.”
Inside out job meant somebody knew the families, but hired outside help to do the job.
Sonny nodded. “Somebody pulling the strings.”
“Find the puppeteer and there won’t be a gang war.”
“If you had to, which would you rather be, a puppet or a dummy?”
“Something about being a dummy don’t sit well with me.”
“I’m with you on that and besides I don’t want nobody’s hand
up my ass.”