"That you, David?"
"Iím thirty-three, you donít recognize my voice yet?"
"Donít be smart. I just thought maybe it was Nicky."
"Why Ė where is he?"
"How should I know? Iím only his mother. Ask one of his so-called friends. Bunch of hoodlums if you ask me."
"Ma, nobody says Ďhoodlumí anymore. Not since West Side Story."
"Doesnít matter what you call them, theyíre still good for nothing. And I never liked that movie. Since when do hoodlums dance? Youíre a policeman, do you meet many dancing criminals?"
"Well, there was this one guy last month . . . Anyway, I liked the dancing in West Side Story."
"You always liked the dancing Ė did you know I wanted to sign you up for tap lessons with your cousin Linda when you were six, but your father thought it was too sissy. Put his foot down. You remember how he got?"
"Not really, no."
"Well, take my word for it, he got loud. Once he made up his mind about something, that was the end of that. Anyway, fat lot of good tap lessons did Linda Ė sheís got the grace of a hippo. The waistline too."
"I still like dancing. I like it so much Iím starting as a dance instructor next week."
"Thank God, you came to your senses. Iíll finally sleep good tonight Ė first time in what, seven years? Wait until I tell Betty next door. Sheís always saying how Ė "
"Ma, Iím still a cop. Iím only going undercover as a dance teacher."
"We think this dance school is blackmailing students, so Iím going undercover as Monsieur Pierre Ė "
"No, itís not. We have pretty good evidence, just nothing we can take to court."
"No, I mean the Monsieur Pierre act. Dance teachers arenít French. Theyíre Latin. Your Aunt Joan and Uncle Sam took tango lessons last winter in Boca Raton. She said the teacher was from Brazil. Or was it Argentina? I always get those two mixed up. Rio de Janeiro is in Argentina, right? "
"Ma . . ."
"Anyway, the teacherís name was Ramon. Very attractive too, according to your Aunt Joan. Your uncle was jealous. Claimed Ramonís moustache was about as real as his accent."
"Fine. Iíll be Ramon. Happy?"
"Of course Iím happy. Whoís going to shoot at a dance teacher?"
"You worry too much."
"Iím your mother. Itís my God given right to worry. Besides, what else should I do?"
"Bake cookies. Knit scarves. Christmas is coming."
"What, you lived with your Aunt Rose so long, you celebrate Christmas now? Fine, Iíll make you a scarf, but Iím calling it a Hanukkah present. Iíll even make one for that partner of yours. How is he? Still handsome?"
"Heís fine. Weíre both fine."
"You always say that."
"Ma . . ."
"I know, I know. Itís none of my business."
"I should go. Gotta practice my tango."
"Me too. Go, I mean. Iím going over to Barb and Sidís later to play pinochle. I only hope Sid keeps his hands to himself. Did I tell you last time I was over there, he followed me to the ladiesí room? I didnít say anything to Barb, it would break her heart. If it wasnít for her pineapple upside-down cake, Iíd stay home tonight and watch The Rockford Files. That James Garner is so handsome Ė "
"Good night, dear. And David?"
"Be careful when you dip. Your Uncle Sam put out his back for a week trying to impress Aunt Joan."
"No one dips like Ramon, Ma."
"My son, the comedian. Just remember what I said."
"I will. Bye, Ma."