Sunday, August 07, 2016


Courier One: “How shall the vessel be christened?”
Master Stoddard: “With mighty Neptune’s benediction, she shall be known as JEFON II.

  Her launch was most likely from the shores of Lac des Cloches in an early stratum summer. The craft would navigate the waters with aplomb, cruising by the free-floating Quai des Anguilles.
  The JEFON II would avoid the concrete dam at the North End, lest it be pulled over the edge.
  The ship also avoided the Baie du Lenapes at Kenvil — a filthy body of water downstream from Shakamaxon, filled with iceberg hazards and urban detritus.
  Most memorably, the JEFON II would sail the blue seas at Medeira Selváge, with the famed Reges Tower in sight. Other ships would pass by in admiration, such as the “Pop-Eye” sightseeing boats, the Swandale ferries, and the P.V.S. Ayrshire Urie.
  So what happened to this fine ship?
  It is not certain, but it is thought that the JEFON II escaped its moorings at Crique de Yanick sometime after the move to the East Bank after Stratum V.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Backyard Pantomime

One summer Stratum I afternoon, Mum gave young Malinconico a handful of loose change.
 “That should be enough for admission to Backyard Pantomime, right?”
 “I guess.”

 Malinconico made his way under the balmy sun to the Giannone Estate, who was hosting the event. The paltry coinage gained him entrance as he made his way to the backyard.
 Kids from all over the neighbourhood were milling about, including the Cozzolinos, the Nuvetis and the gang from St. Jude’s. Backyard Pantomime was about to begin.
 Two fellows faced each other in the clearing. They began making dance-like gestures reminiscent of retarded Tai Chi. But young Malinconico was distracted by a table off to the side of the yard.
 Atop the table were sweets, treats, refreshments and prizes — all available for a price!
 Alas, young Malinconico realised he was out of cash. The frustration levels grew to that rivaling the Vertol Waiting Room.
 Tears began to burn his cheeks. The image of those stupid Tai Chi dudes became a blur.
 In his consternation, Malinconico stormed off the estate grounds.

 “Hey! Malinconico!”
 He turned, squinting. It was one of the Cozzolino brothers.
 “Whattya want?”
 “Hey, look what I got! Hey, whatsa matter?”
 “Nuthin.’ Whattya got?”
 Cozzolino revealed a small ceramic object.
 “It’s the Idol of the Monkey God. I got it for fifteen cents.”
 “What’s his deal?”
 “He’s good luck. Look at his eyes. See? He’s smiling at you!”
 Malinconico looked with interest at the tchotchke. Cheap thing.
 “Yeah, I guess,” he replied.
 But he was impressed with the optimism Cozzolino infused into the simple curio.
 And the implied benediction was taken to heart.
 Malinconico made his way home as the late afternoon sun dried his tear-streaked face.