by Jerry Vilhotti
My oldest sister Tina - never forgetting Leny's first job sticking up a smoke shop in downtown Burywater and after hitting the guy in the head which made the gun fall apart in his hands ran all the way to Tina's to hide giving her the three hundred dollars most of which were bets the bookie was collecting and Leny nor the police ever saw that money again - wanted to be taken to see her favorite hijacking and future bank robbing brother who had given her a beating the day she told their mother who called her "A Helen of Troy to - "f--- off!" when her mother kept saying that the breakup of her marriage was what Tina had always wanted since she only married Al to get away from her accusing "The Troy" of trying to seduce her father!
Leny was doing his "killing time" at the reservation, though I never saw one our abused first Americans imprisoned there, called Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, with such luminaries as the union boss who would one day disappear under a stadium somewhere in New Jersey just before the three yard line and a future godfather of the five families in New York City born just four blocks away from where I was born and our brother Leny One N was learning to take other people's money, but since no one wanted to take her - afraid she was going to have one of her epileptic attacks due to her car accident of fifteen years before when running a stop sign in Miami on her way to see her childhood lover who had become a world champion five years after we left The Bronx and then get sent to prison after he retired for having sex with a sixteen year old girl who resembled a fifteen year old Tina that had looked like a woman in her twenties. Tina was considered the biggest knockout in two boroughs. The burden of taking her fell on me: the baby of the family, my wife and our two small children whom I instructed to watch her closely and see if their aunt's eye began to twitch to shout out that fact immediately so I could pull over ready to stick something in her mouth to prevent her from eating her tongue though boneless that could break bones with her hateful jealous ability to spew forth nasty words on anyone - especially me, who thought, had stolen her father's love from after becoming his favorite. I never wanted this and would tell him not to tell everyone this thought - seeing all my siblings' brown eyes turning green.
"Gimmie you bitch!" Tina said.
"Did you say Happy Easter?" Leny asked as a large portion of eggplant, sausages and mortadella churned about inside his half-opened mouth; visible to all who dared look.
"No, she's saying she wants one of the big heroes me, Papa, Mama and my wife smuggled in," I said.
"She's got her lunch!"
"Ah wanch youbs - som bitch!"
"She's going to get us arrested!" Tom, our brother a lithium popping psychoanalyst with offices in Manhattan and Fort Lee, the first movie capitol in America, whispered loudly.
"Please Tina - I don't want to get put into a cell!" Rhoda, Tom's fourth wife, shouted which made others in the visiting room begin to stare at us in terrible ways; thinking, I surmised, a lock down was going to happen on all heads.
I noticed our mother strangling her napkin as our father was trying to hit himself in the head with his closed fists but our five year old son was holding both his arms down tenderly.
"Ersatz?" Tina said holding her nose with fingers from her partially paralyzed right hand as we were also having a hard time identifying the prison food staring up at us.
After Leny graduated Lewisburg and was sent to Attica for what he owed New York for molesting their trucks and I was able to get a judge to send Leny to Tarrytown due to our father's old age, I told him if he ever went that dead end route again - I would not be a visitor nor would I drive anyone to see him. The future would have waiting since Leny thought he was robbing me and my father's small savings account that I had fought telling him if my brothers and sisters found that out they would go berserk but after he began crying saying he only meant to save me a long trip from the Litchfield Hills to Burywater and having to get money from his bank to pay for the ever increasing in price prescriptions, I acquiesced and when Leny called me as our father was dying in our modest home and asked what I was going to do with our father's "fuken" money I did a little white lie by making the thousand dollars become seventy thousand saying I was going to bury it with our father which at first got Leny to giggle and then the strange sounding laugh became a huge choking that lasted for almost a minute. I always wonder if this did not send Leny on his last job:
The editor of the Burywater Conservative "The best and only paper in town" thought he would show his talent, learning how to write for money at Ucant situated not far from a polluted river dissecting his great state that boasted of once having the largest plantation and the greatest number of slaves in all the thirteen colonies and in addition one of the oldest taliban-like universities in the country, by finishing it in a
" ... Sanque drove up. To the drive through window.
The drawer opened. Sanque put a bag in it.
He said according to Ms. Monthly the bank teller:
"I beg your-"
"The fuken money!"
"Sir I don't"
"In the fuken."
"Do You have an accowww-"
"Would the plate glass protect her"? she wondered.
She groped for the hard earned moneys of others; getting little interest.
"If you don't want!"
She poured many greenbacks in the greasy bag that her bank was charging nine percent interest to borrow.
"Your left eye to go to Hartford!"
She saw his big gun. His steely deathly dark eyes. His pepper-salt hair.
Sanque waved his gun menacingly. She added three more grand.
Give or take a grand though the insurance company would be told the amount was six.
Sanque known as Leny One N drove away laughing.
He thought it was a good thing to do.
Sanque's brother Johnny Sanque teaches at the high school across the street from the bank.
The guilty Sanque was caught three years later.
Sangue got four years. Donations welcomed by this reporter ...."
...What the mother would do for her favorite eleven year old son Leny One N, whom the doctor said was afflicted with rheumatic fever and could die at any moment unless she fed him the medication he was willing to sell her "for just a little" so preventing the holes in his heart from exploding, was to try and spread her sweater which was given to her by her mother - with holes the shapes of eyes - over all of him; attempting to cover the noise of the bedsprings that were echoing her and his father's vehement fornicating though she thought his movements and groaning were more animalistic than hers - knowing the many smiles of women he had fallen into since they had married in the old town of stairs an ocean away and threw her voice out saying: "What are you doing Leny?" Her words had gone through the cracks in the wall and penetrated the boys ear whom she wanted to be a more controlled man than his father. Her words were like the sounds of the eggs of birds he had killed to death on the sands of Orchard Beach due to her paying attention to his one year younger brother Tom - just because he had a brace on his shriveled leg to prevent more of the eating away that the initial polio had done upon the six month old leg - and so she did not project his name onto a sea breeze carried by waters of The Sound which made him lose one n from his name forever.
"Nothing Mama! Nothing!" he shouted back. He imagined she stroked his hand. He broke his penis in half - to copulate with the sheets ....
Needless to say, all this set the wrong tone making it become a very short visit when Leny did his get rid of us lie by saying he had an early appointment with his social worker; an Amish guy named Ziggy Freud.
The end of the visit accelerated even more when our father began hitting himself in the head as he told several flinching strangers near us how we had traveled three hundred miles just for a lunch; a lunch we couldn't even identify!
The trip home was made extra long as Tina attempted directions to get us out of Amish country and finally one friendly guy with a long beard and wide brimmed hat told us how to get onto Route Eighty which did head us back toward home - eight long long hours away.