On the other side of town, Amato was winding down the day and getting himself ready for dinner. Since his divorce he had to learn to live like a bachelor and it really didn’t appeal to him. He had a service that prepared his meals for him after nearly burning down his kitchen when trying to fry an egg. He also had a cleaning service come in and clean his apartment after breaking his thumb while trying to scrap the ash from the stove after the the egg debacle. It was getting expensive being alone, not to mention humiliating. Amato always prided himself on being independent but he wasn’t cut out for this life. He was missing companionship of the female kind. Online dating didn’t suit him because he knew from his work that you’re just one serial killer away from making the nightly news. Besides, he was sick of disappointment and dating was the express lane to Regretsville. He would either be disappointed by finding out his date lived with 100 cats or she would be disappointed by his unhealthy obsession with his work. Amato had to face reality, he was no catch. He was approaching his 40’s and the grey streaks were already starting to appear in his dark brown hair. His left knee now cracked every time he bent it and he was even prescribed a pair of reading glasses. It was safe to say he was getting a little long in the tooth.
As he began heating up his vegan eggplant parmesan, there was a knock at the door. Knowing exactly who it was, he made no attempt at hurrying to answer. Setting the oven’s thermostat to 350°, he gently put the eggplant dish in the oven. After closing the oven door, he heard a second knock. Hearing the frustration of his guest as they began pounding on the door, Amato smiled. Taking his time to the door, he threw a kitchen towel over his shoulder and yelled, “Hang on!”
When he opened the door, it was none other than Special Agent Cohen, looking worn out and angry. “Oh hi, Agent Cohen, what brings you to this part of town?” Amato inquired. Glaring up at him, Cohen growled, “When I call, you answer the fucking phone. Got that, you piece of shit!”
“Whoooa! Wait a minute here, you didn’t come all this way to insult me, did you?”
“Fuck you Amato!” he said with his finger pointed in his face. “I ain’t got time for your stupid games.”
Laying down the law Amato warned, “Apparently you’re under the impression that we’re at work. If you want to bark orders and berate your fellow piss ants you might want to return to the office. But if you wanna stay for some eggplant parmesan, you’re welcome.” Pretending as if he didn’t understand the severity of the situation, Amato smiled then added, “It’s vegan.”
“You’re a disgrace.” Cohen bellowed.
Admitting to defeat Amato threw his hands up in the air, “Well, I tried to make nice,” he declared as he began closing the door on Special Agent Cohen.
“The fellas were right, that Fenetti chick got you all pussy whipped.”
Not falling for it, Amato kept his temper and closed the door. Walking away, he refused to deal with Cohen in this state, even if it meant losing his job. So he went back to preparing dinner while Cohen began making his plan to end Amato’s career. Cohen was going to be damn sure he got whatever he needed for his investigation even if he had to pull it out of Amato’s gullet. As he retreated to the elevator, Cohen began making phone calls.
On the outside it seemed like Amato just poked a bear with a small stick when in fact, he was politicking. Not content to be a solider in Cohen’s army, he would not play second fiddle to anyone on the force anymore. He nearly lost his life the last time. One might say he had control issues now when it came to his work. Turning on the Mets game in the living room, he listened from the kitchen as he got the veggies out crisper. Carefully, Amato began chopping up his salad while he waited for Cohen to make the next move.
By the time Cohen made it back to headquarters, he made a b-line to Agent Nicholson’s office. Storming in without so much as knocking, Cohen demanded, “I want his file.” Confused, Nicholson asked, “What the hell ya talking about?”
“Amato, I want John Amato’s personnel file,” he said nearly out of breath.
“What the hell for?”
“Just send me his God damn file,” Cohen said through gritted teeth.
“You know that you gotta send a request through the proper channels.”
“Not you too?” Cohen said bewildered.
“We have rules Cohen, I can’t just go showing personnel files to any ol’ body.” Nicholson said rather annoyed by his request.
“Damn it, I got a job to do!” Cohen yelled.
“So do we.” Nicholson retorted, “Fill out the paperwork and send it my way.”
Disgusted, Cohen barged out of the office. Knowing this was serious, Nicholson made a phone call to a mutual acquaintance of both he and Amato’s in order to warn him about what was going down. He didn’t want to get directly in the middle of this, Amato just wasn’t worth it. At least not to him, he had no skin in this game. However Nicholson knew that Cohen was vindictive and had ruined several careers, and he thought it would be shame if Cohen struck again. He knew that snake wouldn’t rest until he had Amato’s head hanging on his office wall. Unfortunately, Nicholson couldn’t take him down by himself, but he could send a message indirectly, and whatever happened, was up to fate. If Amato was as good as people said, he would be able to handle Cohen if not, there would be a new opening in the office.