Wednesday, November 24, 2010

dead last

Hold it up closer to the light. You can see the Maggie, the engraver got that right, but turn it to the dark side. That's what I always called it - the dark side. He got my name wrong. P-H-L-E. That's why I keep the sonovabitch up here in the attic. Your grandmother teased me all the time with that. Spelling it on birthday cakes; calling me 'Philly.' That was a long time ago. And a long ways from up here.

1928, yep, hell of a year. A gold cup for coming in dead last. That shows you how carefree life was in the days before The Crash. Easy money floating down off trees. A cop on the corner would gladly give you an escort to a speakeasy, tapping out the secret code on a hidden door with his nightstick. Saw a guy one evening behind the door looked like Al Capone. Phissssh, gone like that when we walked in. But cops, they'd walk out into an intersection during a rainstorm, halting little beady-eyed Fords you could stop if you braced yourself just right, giving you the right-of-way to get where booze flowed like old faithful. Whiskey from Heaven.

Geez, a cup for coming in last for a stupid dance. Engraved right there on the spot by a guy who did it for a living. Carried a miniature kit of precision tools inside his heavy overcoat. Probably kept a surgical knife in there too in case Capone wanted to collect pinky fingers from non-paying clients. Yeah, I'd say he downed a few too many to misspell my name like that. Geez.

Yes, that's your grandmother, it's delicate and it should be framed. Funny hat, blueberries, so lifelike it confused magpies. They'll eat anything, you know. Like looking in a mirror ain't it sweety? Ah, yes, she kept her hair short too. She was suppose to die last. Sure, sure, you can have the sonovabitch cup, honey. No, I'm not crying.

5 Comments:

Blogger Templeton's fury said...

i love this...very entertaining.

11/24/2010 11:44 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

This was delicious! Each and every word, I was transported to a time and place my grandparents knew ...... thank you!

11/25/2010 11:33 AM  
Blogger thingy said...

Beautiful.

11/28/2010 10:17 AM  
Blogger willow said...

Love the ambiguity of dead last, Phle.

11/29/2010 8:39 AM  
Blogger phil said...

Thank you. :)

11/30/2010 12:07 AM  

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