East Side 1967
Carlo leaned against his Huffman Fuel truck, smoking an L & M and watching the Little Leaguers’ practice, thinking about his own ball playing days. Minor league. Farm team for the Yanks.
PeeWee Harold pulled up in his dented Chevy. “Man,” PeeWee said in his squeaky voice. “A God damn blue uniform. Holy Christ! Old Lady make you get a job hey?”
Carlo grunted. He hated the Huffman Fuel uniform, the smell of oil that never seemed to wash away in a hot shower. Funny, his kid loved that smell. The girl. She’d crinkle her nose at him and say stuff like Poppy smells good, smells like oil burners. She loved his truck too, the stupid Huffman Fuel truck with the number B-53 on the side. The boy was older and didn’t seem too interested. Soon the girl would lose interest too. She was getting older. Eight? Maybe nine. He wasn’t sure.
“So’s the Big Guy says to me, he says, ‘PeeWee, we can’t be carryin your buddy, there, you know, much longer.’ An I told him, I says, ‘Hey you know Carlo’s good for it. He’s good for it.’ “
“Yeah.” Carlo finished his cigarette and pulled out some money. “Here’s twenny. Twenny a week. That’s all I can do for now.”
PeeWee shook his head. “The Big Guy see, he ain’t gonna like that. He’s kinda like God, see, so when he’s mad, there’s thunder, you know, and lightnin.”
Carlo climbed into the truck and started it up. Pee Wee leaned in the window, still talking.
“Your mother owns that three decker youse all live in, I’m sayin, you know. An your wife’s gotta job at Leavitt’s department store, downtown. You got two kids, not like you got ten kids or somethin. Twenny a week’s not gonna cut it.”
“Tell em we’ll work somethin out. I gotta go back to work.” Carlo drove off in the blue truck wearing his blue uniform, wishing he was someone else. A big shot in Vegas maybe, like Sinatra. Tony Bennett. Dean Martin. Something like that.
© Copyright 2016 by Sara Jacobelli
Photo Credit: “Baseball Glove” Pixabay Free Images. https://pixabay.com/en/baseball-glove-ball-sports-catch-858367