Another Place and Time

Jerry Vilhotti

© Copyright 2009 by Jerry Vilhotti


Photo of a street in Harlem.

 That late summer night when Johnny was returning from his last class in world literature from a college in mid-Manhattan, which was once an armory were the "Fighting Sixty-ninth" came out of led by Jimmy, "Hell's Kitchen" where Johnny had interned as a social worker playing pool with guys who would become The Westies killing as easily as made mob guys some of whom came from the East Bronx where Johnny was born coming in on a crash landing the day before Christ was born, Cagney who at first was afraid of dying but then proceeded to win the first world war all by himself, discussing writers like Conrad, Joyce, Hardy, Pirandello ....

Johnny had all ready earned a degree at Harlem college where Jonas Salk, Eddie G. Robinson and a future Secretary of State "Black American" guy who would never become an American Black had graduated from and the Rot training in Lewis Stadium guy would go along with the killing of innocent children, forgetting he had grown up in the South Bronx helped along by Jewish market owners who truly believed in giving a bright Shwarts kid a chance in life but he chose to join those harboring inner weapons of mass destruction deep inside themselves to gain a world domination.

Johnny could have been killed in East New York by three Black guys who thought he had sideswiped them; never realizing he had avoided a crash by going around the driver - onto the sidewalk and just avoiding a pole - who was signaling one way and then going another and only for the fact that Johnny had learned to fight by the age of four in The East Bronx and tossed in against bigger and older kids from "aroun the cawna" by his older so-called brother Leny One N who resented the little blond curly-haired kid becoming their father's favorite - able to win large amounts of moneys from watching people getting five to one odds;  among whom was a guy named Julius Garfinkle who had been sent up to The Bronx from Brooklyn by loving relatives who were trying to save "the little bum" from sitting in an electric chair up the river in Sing Sing and was helped by a principal named Angelo Petri to lose his stammer to finally become the actor John, "Everybody Dies", Garfield and a Tami Mauriello was another watcher from Arthur Avenue who would fight the great Joe Louis in The House That Ruth Built and even staggered the man who became a "good niggero" after defeating the "Nazi" Schmeling; giving half the nation that wasn't rooting for the Furrier a belief they also could beat the mighty German war machine and then he became a "nigger" again after the IRS hounded him down for moneys he owed the government - a government that could make its own money like Lincoln did and not have to borrow from banks paying  huge interest rates to them in its Barnum world of suckers -  that his handlers had stolen who could not believe the smiling good looking Johnny could fight so well while using Leny's trick of fighting southpaw and learn he did with the impressions of Leny's red blotched hand-prints all over his face until he memorized the skill of jabbing with his right hand and instead of a left hook would follow the straight hard jab with a mighty right cross which brought down many of his opponents and Johnny did fight all frightened up inside; never getting accustomed to all the blood.

Finally Johnny told Leny and his other brother Tommy Tom Tom who were calling him to another fight - he would no longer be their "Patsy".  No more. No more would he fight to feed greed but this very night he fought: sending the biggest guy of the three reeling backwards under the street lights - and not in one of the many dark alleys where people lay dead for days as cops were afraid to go into such places - where Johnny chose to stop at the intersection where four gas stations were situated throwing great heaps of lights out to attract "addicted motorists" looking for a gas fix after negotiating fifteen green traffic lights by going a steady thirty miles an hour in his brand new convertible Spring-time yellow Mustang, and Johnny turned to the little man who had urged a bad beating on the "honk" and said: "You would have been the one to stab me in the back if we were in an alley."

The little guy nodded wearing the same hateful face that people wore while lynching Blacks where apartheid began ....

For a long time, Johnny would have a recurring dream: walking in a very deep darkness on a street while pushing a gurney full of innocent people, who had been sacrificed in the pseudo notion of making a better safer world for everyone that had the elite hiding in "Cheeeny" bunkers while blood was making rivers above their ducking cowering heads, toward intersections; watching for traffic lights to see if they remained green but instead of turning to red would fade into a blackness and yet he always managed to get over to the other side and just then an African-American man began walking to his side - whom he could see out of the corner of his eye - and just as suddenly on his left side appeared an African-American cop walking along a bank slightly above the sidewalk; coming toward him were two young American-Black boys smiling happily; similar to the youngsters he was teaching near Bedford-Stuyvesant; telling them education and the ability to think was a possible door to getting out of their rat infested slums; behind them walking slowly with an angry face was another man as Johnny continued to push forward crossing every intersection whose light would go from a green to a darkness and when Johnny looked to his left lying in the burnt brown grass was the severed head of an African-American ....   Johnny always awoke at this point of the dream and would remember how he arrived at their apartment and his wife asked him how his day went and he said :"Good! Real good."   Then he went into their fourteen month old son's room and Jon was awake trying to capture the little dangling figures hovering above his head and Johnny placed his finger into his son's palm and just after the baby squeezed it tightly was when Johnny allowed himself to cry softly.

Lorena and the last born Elaina made up the rest of what would be their family of love.

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