Sounds of children playing on the street came up to Johnny's room; flowing in through his screen. The joyful sounds had awakened him. He would get up soon but he was in no rush thinking this summer day was a Saturday. He turned onto his side nearly going back off but the eerie silence permeating the whole house was making this impossible and he began to reason: if his mother were home, he would be hearing all kinds of kitchen sounds like coffee percolating, bacon sizzling and these commingling aromas would be wafting up the stairs and into his nose along with words being exchanged by his mother and her mother - a woman who had the reputation of being so ornery that even flies feared landing on her nose. Most likely the words would have been hurled with a boneless tongue that could nevertheless break bones ...
"So why do you pee in the garden? We do have a toilet in the house!" Those would have been his mother's words.
"And what big prick planted the garden?" Those words would have been shouted by his grandmother.
"You know old lady in her eighties - that I did!"
"I mean woman - who got pregnant in a field of rocks by a man who was to poor to own a zipper and who I told you not to marry - who helped you a lot!"
Then his mother would have retaliated by feigning ignorance with some camouflaged words like: "So what's that got to do with the price of broccoli rape?"
"You asked why I piss in the garden - so now you know!"
This fine sunshiny morning had no such words were being thrown out.
"Ma?" Johnny called out hoping his mother was going to answer. There was no reply. He jumped out of bed to lock his door. He cursed these summer days that after July ran on almost without distinction. He knew this for sure: it was nearing the end of summer and "Mamasu" would be going back to Montreal - if Uncle Deo picked her up as he promised.
"Ma, what time is it?" Johnny tried again; throwing out strategy.
"Come out and see!"
That wasn't his mother's voice though it it tried very hard to sound like it!
"Ma, is the latte and café ready?"
"You want I should bring it to you?"
Now he knew it was Mamasu playing her changing voice game - for his mother never served anyone in bed. A thing she would have thought a weakness; a fly landing.
"No, I'm not feeling good Ma. I'm going to stay in bed all day", he said feeling sorry for himself that he wouldn't be able to go play four baseball games in the corn field with his friends.
"I hope you don't die!"
"Hey Mamasu, is my mother around?" he said showing her he wasn't the fool she thought all Sanques were.
When a growl began creeping up the stairs, he realized he had made the mistake of all mistakes by calling her by the word his father had invented which meant contemptuously "her mother!".
"Son of a Sanque! Come out and die - before you grow up to be a whore monger like your father!"
Her words were as sharp as a thousand needles penetrating his brain.
"That's OK Nonna. I'll just rest, Nonna."
"Water then? A glass of water before I end it all!"
With that threat he knew he was in for it. Desperately, with trembling voice, he said: "No thanks, Nonna. Thanks anyway. I love you!"
"Suit yourself - son of a whore! Rope? Where does the hard-on of hard-ons keep it?"
He could see himself dangling from the ceiling with his tongue protruding out of his mouth and then the sound of running water made him begin gasping for air.
"Wire? I'm sure that bastard with seven faces has some wire around!"
Now even more vividly he could see himself twirling slowly around hanging and bleeding from the neck after being garroted!
He broke down yelling: "Nonna! Nonna! Nonna, I didn't mean to laugh when you got caught peeing in the garden. I swear to God! I swear to God!"
"It's time to go son of a whore!"
He closed his eyes tightly and waited for her to begin shouldering his flimsy door to splinters and then begin walking into his room through all the debris carrying a rope, wire and a large basin, big enough for his head, full of water ...
Sounds of children playing in the street startled him to wakefulness ...
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!