Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Same Circus, Different Town"

I cannot and will not eat with him at a restaurant, so I go over to his house every Saturday for lunch.

“How are you?” he asks me through the newspaper. Even if he wasn’t reading it, he wouldn’t pay any attention to me. I’m a huge disappointment to him, I didn’t go into the family business nor did I show a predilection for settling matters with violence the way he and the three generations of our family did before me.

“Same shit, different day…Papa.”


“Same circus, different town.”


“Papa? How much goat, would a Croat boat, if a Croat could float some goats?”

“Yeah, you’re right champ. I would’ve done the same thing.”

I’d feign something about his mistress giving me a yet-to-be-discovered STD, but then he would actually have to pay attention to me and neither one of us want that. I’ll talk and he won’t listen, then he’ll babble on about his dealings and I won’t listen because I never, ever, want to know where the bodies are buried.

If the Feds ever did subpoena me I would just tell them the truth: I’ve always ignored him in the same way that a man that’s been married for fifty years, tunes his wife out.

“What are we having?”

“Pork in red gravy on top of penne. I‘ve just got to boil the water.”

I hate it when he snaps the paper like that. It’s not “gravy,” but “sauce.” It’s “sugo” in Italian but that word can translate as either “sauce” or as “gravy.” When I was ten and had dinner at the Irish kid’s next door, he said I was retarded because I called it “gravy.” “Gravy is brown, white or tan, you moron!”

I don’t know why he puts me through this every week, yet here we are. We are cat and dog, lion and hyena, Israel and Palestine, Giuliani and Gotti.

Vincent “The Chin” Gigante faked his loss of sanity, Papa never had any sanity to lose. I’ve always known this and I suspect that his associates have finally have figured this out, too. So that’s why I won’t eat with him in a restaurant, or sit with him in a barbershop or in traffic.

If he ever did listen to me, he would have found out that I’ve made twice the money that he ever has in one-tenth of the time, without having to hurt, maim or kill anyone. As the pen is mightier than the sword, a computer and a ledger will always get you more money than any gun ever will.

Maybe that’s something for him to consider, when all the red gravy has poured out of him on his way to being another obituary.

Note: Yes it's true, sugo can translate into either "sauce" or "gravy." Vice-versa? Sauce can be "sugo" or "salsa" in Italian.


Paul Brazill said...

This is fab. Funny and tense. families and how to survive them,eh?

Cormac Brown said...

Paulie Decibels,

Thanks and, exactly.