Despite my concerns around what might be going on in the basement, I had to keep the daily business of the shop going. I rarely saw anyone come or go from the basement, but now and again I could hear the shrill ring of an old-fashioned black desk phone. Big poppa Corleone obviously spared no expense with the high tech phone system.
Every now and then Antoinne would wander in the back door and cut through the salon to go to the deli or to get pizza. If they were supposed to be discreet about what they were doing, then Antoinne was the wrong person to have in charge. He would lumber through the salon with his dirty green sweatpants hovering around his hairy ass crack and his two sizes too small football jersey riding up to expose his heavily carpeted mid-section. He'd always have an insanely large wad of money in his furry mit, peeling back the hundreds and twenties in search of a small bill to buy pizza. I would not have been surprised if I had heard that some local crazy had seen a Sasquatch running through the streets of town with a stack of monopoly money.
It had been about six weeks since Antoinne and company set up shop downstairs. It was around this time that I found out what was going on down there. Seems that Antoinne and his merry gang of phone callers were running an illegal sports book. How did I find this out? Louise confessed it to my mother and I as a "heads-up" in case anyone came poking around for information. We were instructed to play dumb, like we never heard of Antoinne or his "business".
The next morning when I returned to work, the basement was empty. Antoinne and company had cleared out under cover of the night. Someone had tipped them off that law enforcement was on to them and as quickly as they came in, they left.
Antoinne never paid a penny of rent to the salon during his time in the basement and the business continued to falter. We tried many things to save it from its demise, like renting chairs and hiring other hairdressers with followings and paying them commission. But ultimately, there was no getting past the limitations of the location. My mom ended up selling the salon to a woman who rented a chair from us and she made a go at it for another year or so before finally closing its doors in the late eighties.
Antoinne landed on his feet again when his daddy bought him a nightclub to run into the ground. It closed down in less than a year and his marriage to Louise closed down shortly after that. She reached out to my mom about five years after the salon closed to tell her about her divorce and what a deadbeat dad and all around piece of shit Antoinne was. I just rolled my eyes and walked away. Nobody needed to tell me that Sasquatch would turn his back on his mate and his litter. They're not known for their family values. They will however, give you five to one odds on Big Foot in the Third at Aqueduct.