Frankie and Annette
Frankie and Annette – a fictional rom-com tale with a lil love from New Jersey
He loves me and he doesn’t even know my name.
My good-for-nothing husband certainly saw to that. It was him who got us stuck in Witness Protection, then got himself killed anyway. God rest his soul. He took away my life. Now I can’t go back to it cause the people he pissed off want me dead.
I was the only member of my family not to get involved with The Family. Well, at least the business side.
I had to leave it all behind when we got taken into Witness Protection, that and my shitzu-poo Chimichanga. My mother in law, may she rot in hell—not that she’s dead yet—took my sweet Chimichanga.
I was in misery, now living alone in Los Angeles—where the government moved me after my husband was killed—when I met Albert.
The first part of me that Albert got intimately acquainted with was my foot. I kicked him in the head and knocked out a tooth.
I’d always loved going to Pier A Park in Hoboken on the weekends in the summer, so I decided to hit up Zuma beach, one of LA’s more famous beaches. Albert’s buddies had buried him in the sand up to his neck, and I failed to see his blonde haired head sticking out of the sand. One minute I’m walking along shielding my eyes from the sun that’s glaring off the ocean waves, the next I’m swallowing sand.
Instead of being ticked, he invited me to hang out with him and his cop buddies and their families. As the sun started to go down he asked me to join him down on the rocks. Watching the sunset, the only move he made was to hold my hand. It was the most peace I’d felt since going into Witness Protection. Since ever truthfully.
He is the sweetest man, and the total opposite of my good-for-nothing (may he RIP) husband. Where my husband was a lying criminal, Albert is an honorable police officer. He’s a blonde, chiseled surfer guy type to my husband’s dark, hairy Italian-ness. On our first date my husband took me to a place that served me chicken so rubbery it could have doubled as a condom. On Albert’s and my first date, he took me to a place so fancy that they set the food on fire right there at the table!
The biggest difference between them is that Albert is the quiet type. He doesn’t talk about his feelings or much at all really. Instead he’s a doer. He brings me flowers, he shows up on time, he follows through. Unlike my husband who was all apologies for flirting with that slutty waitress at the Pancake Factory and all flowery talk about what he would do that he never did. The man couldn’t even shut up in bed. I mean a little bedroom talk is all good, but I don’t need a play by play.
Albert also hates liars. His ex-wife lied to him about everything: her age, her debt, her boobs. She even told him her crabs came from a pair of pants she bought on eBay, when really they came from his best friend and partner Peter.
Well, ex best friend.
What was Albert going to say when he found out I wasn’t Annie Gordon from Seattle but was really Annette Funicello Pelagatti Gamberini from Hoboken? (Annette was my mother’s favorite Mouseketeer)
I had to tell him the truth before we made love. It would’ve been wrong not to.
So I excused myself for a moment to freshen up after things on the couch got hotter and sweatier than a hairy man’s tighty-whities during a Jersey Shore summer.
As I fixed my smudged lipstick and stared myself down in the mirror I reminded myself of something my mother always told me: “Nettie, us Jersey girls gotta make our hair so big to hold our hearts in. Because our bodies are so full of sass there ain’t no room.”
Then I fluffed up my do, went back out and told him the truth.
I hadn’t heard from Albert in three days.
My housemate Beyonce said that any guy who ‘ghosts’ you ain’t worth it. I rented out a room in my house to Beyonce Blumenfeld, a nice young lady going to the local university. She used to be the president of her sorority house but was ousted by some skank who staged a coup by telling everyone that Beyonce got her makeup generic at Walmart.
Apparently saving money was ‘basic’ or something.
So anyway Beyonce needed a new place to live and came across my room rental ad. Despite a [REDACTED] year age difference, we bonded over being named after smart, strong famous women. Like Cher and Dionne in Clueless.
No matter what Beyonce said, I felt horrible for lying to him. When I’d told Albert the truth about me, I’d totally humiliated myself. I started blubbering like an idiot and sobbing non-stop over the loss of my beloved Chimichanga. He said we should call it a night, drove me home, walked me to the door and gave me a chaste peck on the cheek before leaving.
My fault or not, this ‘ghosting’ business was bull doodie. If Albert couldn’t trust me, fine. But he was gonna have to say it to my face. Just call me a ghostbuster cause I ain’t afraid of no ghosting.
So I got dolled up and was going to go knock on his door and give him a good look at what he was throwing away.
When I got to Albert’s he wasn’t there.
But his ex-wife was. She answered the door wearing nothing but his police uniform shirt and a pair of handcuffs hanging off one wrist.
My heart felt like it exploded.
“Uh…Is Albert here?” I asked dumbly.
She narrowed her eyes at me and leaned sexily against the doorframe. “He’s in the shower.”
I took that as my cue to leave. Until my eye caught on the name tag pinned to the shirt:
Albert’s best friend’s name.
I hadn’t known Albert that long, but I knew he wouldn’t be into anything that kinky.
“Hey listen,” I said all sweet and dejected like. “I know things are obviously over between us, but I have to talk to Albert…I just need to say a few things.”
She turned around all nervously. “Uh…he…doesn’t want to see you.”
“Oh, okay, I understand,” I said, slumping my shoulders and turning as if to slink away.
It worked. She relaxed and lessened her grip on the door. So I whirled around and kicked it open with my knock-off Louboutin boots.
She fell back on the floor exposing more than I’d ever want to see.
A man I assumed to be Peter was standing there wearing nothing but a spiky dog collar, his flag hanging at half mast.
“What kind of sicko breaks into their ex-husband’s house to have sex?” I hollered.
“We didn’t break in, we used the hide-a-key,” said Peter.
“You sure you’re smart enough to be a cop, dude?” I asked.
“Hey, who you think you’re calling ‘sicko’ when you look like a two-dollar hooker?” demanded the ex-wife.
“Oh, you just opened a can of Hoboken, bitch.”
“You think Jersey Shore is scary? You ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen Hoboken,” I said to the nice meth head lady sitting next to me in the community lockup cell.
“Oh I believe it sh-weetie,” she said, whistling her ’s’ because she was missing her front teeth. “My roommate at MIT wa-sh from Hoboken and she was everybody’sh go to backup in a bar fight.”
“Anne Gordon?” called the officer. “You’ve been bailed out.”
“Okay honey,” I said to my new friend. “I’m going to come back for you when you get out, I work with addicts and I can help you out.”
“Sh-ure as sugar,” she said to me with a wink.
Waiting for me in the lobby was Albert.
We walked outside in silence and stopped by his SUV in the parking lot.
“I’ll pay you back for the bail money,” I said.
“That’s not necessary,” he assured me.
“What are you sorry for?” he asked, surprised.
“For…for everything. For breaking that baseball bat lamp you love when I kicked the crap out of your ex-wife and…for lying to you.”
“What did you lie about?” he asked.
“Uh…who I am.”
“Oh. Well, Annie, I understand about that.”
“What do you mean? I thought you hated liars! You ghosted me for three days because you hate being lied to!”
“What’s ghosting? Anyway, I didn’t talk to you for three days because I didn’t realize what I left to do would take as long as it did.”
“What did you go to do?” I asked.
He opened the back of the SUV and pulled out something furry.
“Chimichanga!” I screamed.
He’d gone all the way to Hoboken and told my mother-in-law, may she rot in hell, that he was a US Marshall and that Chimichanga was now part of the investigation into her son’s criminal activities.
He’d thought it would only take him one day, but he found out safely transporting an animal by air was a bit more complicated than expected. He’d thought it would be too much to explain on the phone and anyway, he wanted to surprise me.
“And actually…I lied to you,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked, worriedly.
“Well, you don’t know my real name either. Albert is my middle name. I’m named after my dad and to avoid confusion, my family has always called me by my middle name.”
I smiled. “So what’s your real name?”
“Frank. But my mom always calls me Frankie.”
“So we’re Frankie and Annette.”
He smiled. “We’re Frankie and Annette. And we met at a Beach Party.”
“I always preferred Beach Blanket Bingo. Why don’t we go back to your place and play?”