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  Things We're Afraid to Say: Webs of Everyday Media     
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 12:00AM PDT)
From: Send an Instant Message "John French" <mosshead7@yahoo.com>  
Subject: Diamonds and Dogs
To: bigstory-weekend@foxnews.com
Diamonds and Dogs
“Pull over,” he barked, “I gotta crap.” I pulled over his Cadillac to the curb. It could be just about any street in any town within the city and when Uncle Joe told me to pull over because he had to crap - I did. And I’d find some little diner or bar/restaurant for him to crap in and I’d sit and have a Coca-Cola while he poured over the sports page in some rest room that I wouldn’t even feel comfortable pissing in let alone going #2.
Yet, again, just Uncle Joe’s demeanor in general was different than mine – different than my father’s. My father had completed two years of university, joined the U.S. Navy around WWII and then when he had successfully served his country took advantage of the G.I. Bill and a loop hole he had found for law school that went something like if you completed two years of college with high marks and served your country you would be eligible for law school. So, my father, always doing things in a certain distinct fashion completed college and law school in just four years.
Uncle Joe did not serve his country nor attend any college. Though he did graduate high school. Uncle Joe came out from under the men’s room sign at the back of the diner and walked by the counter where I sat and he had the usually greetings and goodbyes toward him, “Oh, Guiseppe, you ah’hell-of-ay-guy you! When you gonna settle down, huh?! How’s your brother? You tell’em I said hello, alright? Ciao. Ciao. You be good!” I left my Coke on the counter and followed Uncle Joe to the car. “Now, let’s go get this done, alright? I want to make it to the ball game on time for the 12:35 p.m. start.
I didn’t really know where we were going or why but Uncle Joe needed my help and I needed some extra cash as I didn’t go the route of law school and wasn’t going to take over the firm as everyone in the neighborhood and county, as a matter of fact, expected me to do. They all thought I’d take over and live in a huge house by myself and have lots of girlfriends and go bald. Well, I wasn’t bald or balding – I lived in a nice home that was always kept respectably but was on the average side of size and I was married to a great girl that I loved madly. She was okay with me not being a big time attorney like my father however it was a priority that I do my job of bringing home good money. That’s why I helped Uncle Joe on-the-side with odd things.
“This, is it – right here, JR! Try and park as close to those double yellow doors as you can get. We want to get this stuff on a dolly and put it in the car quickly and get the hell out of here. I wanna get to that ball game to meet the boys.” Sometimes I wasn’t certain what we were picking-up or dropping off. Everyone assumed because we were Italian and had money that we were in the Mafia. I just blew all that off. For what the heck was the Mafia anyway, anyhow? These were the people I knew and grew up with – that’s all. Besides everyone knew and loved my father – he had a far far reach that always blew me away. As my great grandmother, Rose, would say, “Your father is the best lawyer in the United States of America!” People always treated him with respect and, in turn, aside from the white trash that used to call me “rich boy” and try and get money from me or threaten to beat me up – (though there was always someone there to come out of the wood work to help – Thank God sometime) - In general, I was safe.
We loaded the dolly with five thick and heavy cardboard boxes that were all the same size and weight and look. The elevator was slow – One of those old time service elevators that had a double set of wooden gates you had to lift up to get out and pull down to go anywhere. I read the writing on the wall inbetween floors. It amused me.
Heading down to the ground floor my stomach had an uneasy feeling and my throat started to constrict a bit and get dry as my chest tightened.
Before we even got level with the ground I saw the black shoes and pants on three men. “Oh, Madonna, Mi,” this isn’t good I thought. I knew. It was useless to try and stop the old elevator and go back up as it seemed to stand still and slowly go in the way of what was to come. “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang Bang!” They shot uncle Joe five times. The men wore black jackets and masks. “Get the shit!,” one demanded of the others. “The kid’s alright – don’t worry about him! Just get the shit and let’s get the fuck out of here!”
And they did. They left me alone without even a word or scratch and were gone.  Uncle Joe lay against the elevator wall slumped over – awkwardly breathing. I felt like crap. I was calm though. I was calm like the summer day it was.
“JR, one favor,” he still managed to bark but with this time with compassion. Take my money belt and give to Bianca –tell her it’s for her and the kid. Don’t tell her anything else but I love her. And tell my wife that, bitch, that she can now have the diamonds and the dogs all to herself without any kind of fight. There’s no need to fight anymore. It’s hers.”
John French
June 29, 2006
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Poetry  By John Alan Conte`, Jr.
Copyright 2007
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