Jerry Vilhotti: A Heaping Curse
Fiction » September 2000

Disgruntled that her son Deo, whom she named after the great Mozart, decided not to retrieve her from the wilds of Connecticut until after Labor Day, a promise broken, that made her go into tirades of how she had labored carrying six of them inside her - including her second born who died in her arms - and for three days as the train weaved its way toward the coffee plantation beside strewn brazil wood, where they had contracted to work for three years, she held the six month old as if he were still alive for fear the authorities would send them back across the sea to their land of rocks that only promised hunger.

Her words like needles attempting to stitch together shreds of fabric scattered about in a tumultuous past continued against those holding her prisoner in a land of surface niceties that she thought really covered evil deeds of the past done upon the underdog for she truly missed all the noises of Montreal coming into her bedroom at all hours and no matter how many "have a nice day" she heard from constipated people, like Mrs. Schlep the next door neighbor who hated everyone including herself even more, would not make her forget the betrayal thrown down upon her head.

She visited the sins of "the greatest country in the world" on her eight year old grandson Johnny and heaped even more onto the little Sanque - all the weight of his father's past sins too.

Often the boy hid from her threats that he would die killed at her hands by climbing high up to the top of the willow tree his father had planted for him and from that perch like a wounded eagle he would see his mother's mother do her havoc on his father's garden - by peeing on all the not for long flourishing plants growing so proudly reaching for the sky as Johnny could hear his father's mighty shouting sobs at the discovery of half dying plants of corn, tomatoes, zucchini and Savoy cabbages; cursing the "great discoverer" who found a land that would allow just about anyone in saying: "You're going to die soon eighty-two year old lady! The devil not God is going to take you to Dante's hell!"

From deep among all the wilting plants, Johnny could hear his grandmother's comeback: " Not before - son of a whore who couldn't keep his fly closed - all your little beauties go before me!"

A large sound of pouring water could be heard throughout every day of the three weeks she remained with them until Deo finally remembered to get her as the father with eyes closed tightly could see a Niagara Falls drenching his prized garden and in the sound of water cascading upon all the plants that could not run away he imagined another scoundrel of all scoundrels - Christopher Columbus - trapped inside his ship; trying to scramble out of his sinking boat hundreds of miles before a discovery of a "new world" could happen but Johnny's father would not allow him to escape; instead, he kept the destroyer of innocent people trapped inside the image of swirling waters and mounds of debris until he stopped hearing water falling ....

I graduated from the only college that won the NIT and NCCA basketball tournament in the same year but more importantly than that - a Jonas Salk who helped rid some of the world of polio with his vaccine and who also was given the opportunity to contribute to Mankind graduated from the same NYC school. I've been fortunate to have had stories published in The Dream International, Antigonish Review and many other literary magazines. I live in the Litchfield Hills, in a simpler place in time, with a beautiful wife who treats me well (often I wonder why) and we both helped in bringing three sort of nice kids in this world who have gone off with three partners, as good, I hope as the one I found long ago and far away - just like the song ! Jerry V.

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