a storella by Jerry Vilhotti
([email]vilhotti [at] peoplepc [dot] com[/email])

“Why Biagi? Where do you go?” his wife said totally confused by his behavior since his father died.

He couldn’t say. In his mind as vivid as the color of her blue eyes, he could see himself again crossing the German school yard, where no longer a kindergarten existed, shooting from the hip and behind the wall of his aim staggered a “nazi” clutching at his throat as if a raw clam were crawling up through his mouth.

“B”, as his close friends called him, took up his jacket as if it were a rifle and left. He was all ready late for his date which was his seventh in just two weeks. He had a lot of catching up to do since his long walk from Northern Africa to Germany.

“Biagi could I …” his father began to say but stopped seeing his son’s eyes like the black steel of a gun barrel looking through him unlike his own eyes that were puffed up and blotched with red from his constant crying over his wife’s death whom he had often told smilingly: “Just going out for some strange piece of ass!” …. He tried again only this time looking down, “Would it be OK If I came to live with your family. I’ll sleep in the cellar. Your dear mother’s ghost haunts me in the old house.”

B looked at this old man nearing retirement – this viscous man who had tied him and his younger brother to pipes deep underneath their South Bronx tenement after beating them with a strap – and then let them remain bound in the dark cellar occupied by rats walking in the night.

His father’s bald head glistened just like the church dome in the small Italian town they had captured. He looked at him with deep contempt; recalling after a compassionate neighbor had called the cops their beatings did not stop as the cops winking and whispering told the beater that to keep shit off the streets were making their jobs easier and making all the “big sirs” happy the streets were clean.

He looked into his father’s beady eyes that would get smaller and smaller the more he drank and said: “Only our dog sleeps in the cellar!” ….

B drove carefully through the Burywater slum in a town where many crosses stood atop churches like middle fingers jabbing the sky with all its discrimination and hate for foreigners and all the other “different people” wondering what had all his fighting been about and then he castigated himself for having said those biting words to his father. Couldn’t a simple no have been enough? he thought and then he spoke aloud to the windshield words he should have used instead : “Papa, we can’t have you stay with us. There’s just enough room for my wife and our two kids.” Then taking a turn by “Deadmanslake” seeing the dark waters made him remember all the hours of darkness in a cellar and he shouted: “No! No, I’m worried you’ll try to get my American-Polish wife again – like you tried when I was over there fighting for the big lady chained in the harbor! Remember Papa how you and Mama got that citation from the president telling all about my bravery and two wounds and the two purple hearts I earned for a country that taught me to be a good citizen and just enough to hold a gun? Remember how Mama would go every day to the Red Cross trying to find out where I was for three months and they told her for a small donation they would try to find out from the president who took over for FDR why I was missing and instead that guy was planning on sending more sacrificial lambs to some place called Korea in the near future and instead of going with Mama you sneaked of to go see Dora and asked her if you could drink up all her body juices. She threw up as she was throwing you out of our place. Do You remember?” ….

B gripped the steering wheel tighter as he could see himself ripping the cross from the young German girl’s neck and then spitting in her face – that could have been his father’s face.

Biagi stopped the car; opened the door nonchalantly; making it obvious he was looking at the woman’s gorgeous legs. She jumped in; folded herself into the seat as she gave him a pretty smile. He kissed her face that could have been his wife’s ….

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