“I’m way out of my element, here.” Sonny confessed, looking over at the man next to him. “You seem like you’ve made this dish before.”
“Oh, yeah, well… not this dish in particular. I’ve been cooking a lot of Latvian recipes at home for my son, Nikolaj.”
“A lot of Latvian recipes? Your son as much of a foodie as you?” Sonny looked the shorter man up and down, his stocky hands a testament to a life of hard work. He watched as he smiled; a sense of pride brewing up in the middle of his chest.
“We adopted him from Latvia, I can’t have children of my own, so… Latvia it was.” He chuckled and looked over as Sonny started to turn his bacon over. “I wouldn’t do that just yet!”
“No?” He bit his lip and turned the bacon back to the other side. “Sorry, I’m just used to cooking what my Mom and my Grandma taught me growing up. I’m trying to expand my horizons, if you know what I mean.” He looked over at his new friend’s pan. “I’m Sonny.”
“Charles Boyle.” He held his hand out.
“Nice to meet you, Charles.” He gripped his hand in a firm shake. “You come to this class often?” He could really use a seasoned novice to help him learn all of these new recipes.
“Only every week!” He laughed under his breath, letting go of Sonny’s hand. “Is this your first time taking a cooking class? Because I wouldn’t wear such a nice suit to your next class if I were you. Especially one that hugs you in All. The. Right. Places!” Charles looked Sonny up, down, and all around. “Who is your tailor?” Charles’ eyes looked like they were about to bulge out of his head.
“A family friend” he chuckled, trying to brush off the awkward looks.
“Oh, a ‘friend of the family’?” Charles winked and made quotation marks in the air with his fingers. “I understand, we’re just cooking here, I mean… I love Italian food, honestly I could eat cannolis everyday, but my figure would be terrible!”
“Relax, Charles, I’m not in the Mafia.” He turned his bacon over and smirked. It had been a few years since someone made a Godfather joke about him, at least to his face.
“Whoo, that is a relief.” Charles let out a deep breath.
“I’m actually a cop.” He reassured him.
“No way!” Charles yelled.
“Yes, way.” He smirked, pouring the bacon grease into a sieve.
“I’m a cop, too! I’m a detective with the ninety ninth precinct! Where are you at? Staten Island? Is that the accent I’m hearing? It’s Staten Island, I know it! I was born in Staten Island!” Charles poured his bacon grease into the container, his eyes widening with excitement.
“Yeah, I’m from Staten Island, but I work Manhattan SVU now.” He sat his pan back down, putting his bacon on the drying rack. How was this guy a cop… or even a detective?
“Sex crimes, huh? That has to be tough… Brooklyn’s Sex Crimes Unit used to be on the floor below us. They would throw the most amazing Christmas parties. You would have loved it! I made a cheese ball every year and I’d make homemade crackers in the shape of handcuffs and badges, and…”
“Brooklyn, huh?” He smiled as Charles had his hands open on opposite sides of his face.
“Yeah. It can get a little rough sometimes, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else.” He drops his hands and dumps his potatoes onto the pan.
“Yeah, I danced around a few different units here and there; homicide and other sex crimes units, but I’ve never really felt at home until I got assigned to Manhattan.” He picks up his cup of potatoes and places them on the pan.
“How long you been there, Sonny?” Charles turns towards him, actively listening.
“A few years… it’s been rough, but it’s been worth it.” He picks up the sifted-out bacon grease and pours it back into the pan.
“You lost someone?”
Maybe Charles was a better detective than he gave him credit for. Maybe he was the good cop in every situation, no matter what. Maybe he was so open and honest with everyone he met, that criminals and colleagues alike felt comfortable enough to divulge their darkest secrets. Maybe that was just what he needed.
“I barely knew him. And I see dead bodies all the time. Well, not ALL the time like you probably do, but you know, when it’s someone you know… they’re there one day, telling you what to do and then…”
“And then they’re not.” Charles put a greasy hand on Sonny’s shoulder. He pursed his lips into a sad smile and patted him on the back.
“That’s another reason I love cooking so much. We see such ugly things at work everyday… it’s nice to create something beautiful that brings joy to other people, you know?” He picks up his cup of onions and stirs them in with the potatoes.
“Yeah.” Sonny follows suit and mixes his ingredients in the pan. “Yeah, I know.”