In the Land of Oz
On this visit to see our unsuccessful hijacking brother Leny One N in the land of Oz very close to the land of Amish country at the Lewisburg Reservation with such in house residents like anx-labor leader who one day would be buried under a football stadium in the Garden State or so it was suggested by media pundits and pollsters who read their corporate scripts afraid of losing their jobs so perpetuated mind control and a future godfather who was born about four blocks away from us in our old East Bronx neighborhood though its streets were called Belmont home to the Belltones while ours was called Fordham Road across the way from a college that once was known as Saint John.
"Tell the truth, not for nothing, get my drift, and you understand -
but don't I look like George Raft - if you look real close?"
My brother Tommy Tom Tom, his fourth wife Rhoda - "Give a man everything and he will give you back
double", my sister Alice in Wonderland and her "hero"
husband, called Ginky, who claimed to have shot down a million kamikaze planes during his
service - in I think was our navy - and many voters believed this big lie so
desperate in need of heroes; electing him alderman seven times in a
town called Burywater and only for the fact he would have to do some time in
Allenwood, with the likes of guys from Nixon's mob guys, who would set the foundation for a future "leader" who would call himself the Decider, making a mockery of the euphemistic word democracy that was used so often it became a truth in the land of wiz; following the political manta of "What's in it for me?"
"If you look like him then Mike Moore looks like Paul Newman," I said
with the enthusiasm of a six year old.
Everyone but my father, I was his favorite, my wife and our young
children gave me the dirtiest of dirty looks not wanting Leny, our mother's
favorite child, to become unhappy.
I just smiled; still believing that if everyone had stopped babying Leny
and refusing to give him moneys when he'd threaten he find what he needed in
the streets, Leny might have straightened himself out to become a million
dollar pizza man like our brother-cousin Carrado had and called himself a docta
when attending functions of the rich giving money to politicians for little favors which
other countries called bribery but we called "freedom of speech" - though I always
thought a thousand dollar bill spoke louder than a dollar one; instead, of graduating
from five penal institutions and all ready was in position with tuition at the
ready for the fifth one that was waiting for him a few years in the future when he would
rob a bank that held mine and my father's meager savings.
We attempted to eat the almost identifying prison food as Leny greedily
devoured the large hero sandwiches our mother made which were smuggled in by my
father, my wife Linda Ann, my mother and I while our children stood by nervously
counting their fingers over and over. It seemed, coincidentally, that all the
others of the family would come in just after we were sitting at the table saying traffic
was a nightmare and they were forced to drive one mile an hour behind wagons
pulled by horses by guys who looked like Abe Lincoln.
After lunch, Leny still seething that we had not visited in two months,
gave his "get rid of them line" by saying had he an important sit down to do
with his case worker Ziggy Freud.
I for one, who was the only one willing to take my parents, was more than happy
to get out of the claustrophobic place with its
clanging doors shattering the deep silence as Alice said - not able to
resist a line from a thirty-nine movie she had seen a dozen times -: "Tomorrow
is another day!"
"Sure. Sure," Leny said trying to act like the tough Jewish kid, Jules Garfinkle,
who became John Garfield after principal Petrie helped Jules get rid of his stammer
by enrolling him in the theater class at the high school situated just off Fordham Road,
who had been shipped to our neighborhood by loved ones who were trying to straighten
him out away from the tough streets of East New York. Johnny G. went to the
same public school our oldest sister Tina of the Troy did.
"And don't forget stay at the
motel that keeps its lights on for all the weary travelers." Leny was doing a joke.
We were tired; feeling like ancient mariners in tumultueous waters. END 2-28-08