wide screens, raw green

After emigrating to the United States, Paolo Neal had thought it appropriate to baptize his son with the Anglicized version of his own first name, and found himself so pleased with the result that he would also give the moniker to his subsequent children. The three boys would all take their mothers’ surnames: LaDeen, LaZahn, and Isadora, but the youngest would attempt to distinguish himself from his brothers by using only his first initial. Paolo today called them all together to discuss the matter of their inheritance, a subject which had grown in importance since his health took a recent turn for the worse. His caretaker Rosa met the boys at the great heavy door and embraced them with tears welling up in her eyes. She was overcome with emotion not only at the relief at their reunion, but with guilt over not having been allowed to disclose the details of their father’s worsening condition until this late hour.
The secrecy was only one item on a list of eccentric requests Paolo had made of Rosa with accelerating urgency as his health deteriorated. At his demand, she had moved his bed into an antechamber, giving him a space small enough that he felt he could still exercise some control over his surroundings, though even this was less true every day. The three boys, men now, shuffled into the room, each resisting the impulse to create more space at his crowded bedside with their elbows as Paolo spoke. Everyone was uncomfortable.
“Splendid,” the old man said as he exhaled a prodigious bong rip up in the direction of a housefly that had been bumping maddeningly against the light, sending the bug spiraling to the floor. P knelt down to inspect it, and in doing so noted the pinprick of the fixture’s reflected light quivering on the fly’s hard green abdomen. It was still alive, but utterly uninterested in much more movement than that required by breathing. P used a business card to collect the fly and placed it into his jacket pocket.
Paolo continued, “As you boys know, Rosa’s son, he is very sick.” They nodded. “The costs of his care will break Rosa, and with his four sisters and no father to care for them…”
The middle son interrupted, “Papa, say no more. I speak for us all when I say that our inheritance has been the fine upbringing you gave us, which allowed us all to become quite successful, each in his own right,” he said, and the others nodded again in agreement, for it was true.
The eldest finally spoke. “He’s right, Papa. Our inheritance is each other.”
Paolo gazed at his sons again, beaming with pride.
“Gather close in,” he said. “though I may no longer have a fortune to give you, there is no dollar amount that can be placed on this last knowledge I have yet to impart. Use it wisely.”
They huddled around him.
“You know that Crosby, Stills & Nash song ‘Marrakesh Express’? It’s about eating pussy.”


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February 2012
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