Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chapter 14

Although they kept in touch by phone nearly every night, Amadeo wasn't able to get back to the Di Marco home until the following Saturday, when his father allowed him to ride his bicycle with strict instructions to pull over and rest if he felt fatigue or pain, and after numerous promises to call home for a ride if he felt he couldn't make it back under his own power for any reason.

"I promise," Amadeo repeated for what felt like the hundredth time.

"You'd better, young man, you're not too old for me to take over my knee.  Understand?"

"Yes, sir," 'Deo had replied with an embarrassed grin.  "Besides, Milo and Angelo are going to be with me, so if anything happens, they'll be right there."

When he arrived at the farmhouse, Mrs. Di Marco opened the door with her usual beaming smile, invited him in, asked him to sit and offered him a drink in the same breath.

"Just water, please, ma'am," he said gratefully as he sat at the table.

Mr. Di Marco had been sitting at the table, sipping his coffee.  He smiled at the youngster.  "It's so good to see you awake and healthy, my boy.  I have to admit that when you first came to the door I didn't recognize you? We'd only seen you asleep and wrapped in bandages until then."  He didn't mention the swelling and bruising that had marred the boy's features, the memory was too painful, knowing that the boy had gotten them defending his son.

"You saw me in the hospital?"

"Of course sweetheart," Mrs. Di Marco said, placing the glass of water in front of Amadeo and tenderly running a thumb over his cheek where there was only a hint of a bruise left.  "How could we not visit the boy who did so much for our son?"

"Yes," Mr. Di Marco agreed, "the room was always full of people during the day? So the nurses would allow us to sit and talk to you and Angelo after visiting hours. We'd bring books and take turns reading to you, or read you stories from the newspaper."

"My husband would often tell you funny stories," Mrs. Di Marco said affectionately, "I could swear that sometimes I could see you smile a little.  It would give me hope that you would be well soon.  And Angelo?  He would watch you as though afraid that if he took his eyes off of you for even a second that you would disappear."

"We're very grateful to you, Amadeo, for having the courage to step in.  You may have saved his life."

"I didn't really do much, Mr. and Mrs. Di Marco," Amadeo said, embarrassed, "And from everything I've heard, he saved my life.  I owe him."

Mrs. Di Marco took Amadeo's hand in hers.  "Have you ever read Aesop's Fables, Amadeo?"

"Umm, when I was little, my mother would read them to me, but..." he hesitated, unsure of how they'd gotten from one topic to the other.  

"There is the story of the Lion and the Mouse, do you remember that?"

Amadeo thought a moment and then nodded.  

"You were like that lion caught in the net," Mrs. Di Marco said.  " 'Now you see that even a mouse can help a lion.' " she quoted.

"But Angelo isn't a mouse by any means.  He was the bravest guy there," Amadeo protested.

"No, sweetheart, he's not a mouse," she smiled gently, "The moral of the story was that no act of kindness is ever wasted."

Amadeo thought about that for a moment and nodded again in understanding.

She patted his hand and stood up.  "And speaking of Angelo, let me get him. One minute, honey," she said as she headed toward his bedroom.

Amadeo couldn't help but smile as he heard Mrs. Di Marco's voice as she sang to her youngest.

"Lazy Boy will you get up, will you get up, will you get up.  Lazy boy will you get up, you've slept through half the morning." She laughed as he mumbled something in response, and Amadeo could hear it as she gave her son a friendly swat.  She laughed again at his reply.  Moments later she was in the kitchen.

"Lazybones will be out in a minute.  I swear no matter how much sleep that boy gets he's always tired the next morning," she said with a smile.  "Ah, well, it is 
Saturday and perfect weather to lie in for a bit," she said, glancing at the clock on the wall above the table.   It was nine thirty and her other two sons had been up and out since eight o' clock.

Mr. Di Marco got up to pour himself more coffee.  He gestured with the pot, "Have a seat il mio fiore, I'll pour you a cup." (My flower) 

She took a seat with a grateful smile, and Mr. Di Marco kissed the top of her head as he pulled her cup toward her and filled it.  Giosua kissed her again after he poured her coffee, then refilled his own mug before replacing the pot on the stove top.

Amadeo passed the little jug of milk and the bowl of sugar to her.

Mr. Di Marco stepped over to the door leading to the living room and Angelo's room and shouted, "Vostra Maestà! Il tuo pubblico ti aspetta! Datti una mossa!" (Your Majesty! Your public awaits! Get a move on!)

Amadeo couldn't hear what Angelo said but Mr. Di Marco apparently heard it quite clearly because his expression changed from amused to stern.  "What was that?" he asked dangerously.

"Nothing, papa?  I'm coming," came Angelo's hasty reply.  Seconds later Angelo came into the kitchen, wide eyes on his father, hands covering his backside, sliding cautiously past the older man who still stood in the doorway with a glower.

Once he was safely past his father, who seemed content with nothing more than a stern glare aimed at his youngest, Angelo turned toward his mother and leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek and a smile.  "'Mornin, mom."  He turned to Amadeo with a shy smile.  "Hey, Dae.  Where's Milo?"

"G'mornin' Ange.  He had to do some chores before he could leave.  He'll be here soon," he replied, taking a good look at the young man in front of him.  

Angelo's hair was tousled, his jeans and t-shirt had been pulled on hastily, he was barefoot, his face still slightly puffy with sleep making him look younger than his actual sixteen years, and now that he wasn't worried about his father smacking him, his eyes were sleep heavy, long lashes shadowing already dark brown eyes making them appear black.  Amadeo found himself fleetingly wondering what it would be like to wake up and see those eyes first thing in the morning.  He dropped his own eyes to his glass of water and took a sip.

"Would you like me to make you something to eat, Angelo?" asked Mrs. Di Marco.

"Thanks, mama, I'll do it."  He smiled.  "Can I make anything for anyone else while I'm up?"

"If you make eggs put some on for 'Deo.  I'm sure once he smells them he'll be starving," said Mrs. Di Marco with a smile.

Mr. Di Marco sat down at the table to take a sip of his coffee and grimaced at the taste. He made an odd sound, which nearly made 'Deo laugh but which his family was well acquainted with.  Mrs. Di Marco pushed the milk and sugar toward her husband while Angelo picked up the coffee pot, went to the table, and topped off his father's mug with hot coffee before replacing it and taking out a pan, butter, and eggs to make his breakfast. 

At first, he hadn't liked the old, cast iron wood burning stove that had come with the house.  Keeping it full and lit was a pain in the rear end, but he loved the smell of the wood smoke, and once he'd gotten used to it, it hadn't been that hard to learn to cook on it.  He was a little sad that his parents were planning to replace it with a more modern one soon, but had to admit that it threw a lot of heat which was wonderful in the winter but which would make things unbearable in the summer.

Everyone sat at the table in comfortable silence as Angelo cracked the eggs into a bowl, tossed the shells and began to scramble them, adding a little milk.

"So what are you boys up to today?" Mr. Di Marco asked as he sipped the coffee appreciatively.

"We thought we'd steal a car and go for a joy ride," Angelo said deadpan as he poured the eggs into the hissing and sizzling butter.  He ignored his mother's and Amadeo's shocked expressions.

His father cocked an eyebrow at him.  "Let's try this again.  What are you boys up to today?"

Amadeo took a breath to answer but Angelo spoke up first.  "We thought we'd knock over the Midtown Bank and fly to Bora Bora with our ill-gotten gains." He replied seriously as he stirred the eggs and added a little bit of salt. "Or maybe Timbuktu," he said thoughtfully, "I mean, any place with a name like that has to be interesting, don't you think?"

"You're pushing it, ragazzino," Giosua warned, although he was finding himself struggling to stop himself from smiling.  He glanced at his wife and saw his dilemma mirrored there. "So, il mio angelo, what are you boys up to today?" 

Amadeo wasn't nearly as successful and simply put a hand over his mouth as he watched the interchange.  

Angelo stood at the stove, casually stirring the eggs so that they wouldn't burn. He looked at his father with wide, innocent eyes.  "Well, actually we thought it would be really fun to go to every police call box, yell 'Help!' and then run behind the bushes to see if anyone comes," he said earnestly. "it would be a public service project!" Angelo replied logically without moving, "See, we'd be timing them to see how long it took them to get there. Sort of like a fire drill at school?"

"Last chance, ragazzino. What are you boys up to today?"

"We thought we'd go to every convenience store and ask what year it is?  Then when they tell us we'd yell, 'It worked!' and then run out."

Giosua pointed at his son and crooked his finger in a 'come here' gesture as he pushed his chair away from the table.

Angelo gave a quick shake of his head in response.

Amadeo worried at first that his friend was really in trouble and was about to excuse himself until he saw the glitter of amusement in the eyes of all of the Di Marco's.  Mrs. Di Marco smiled and placed a reassuring hand on Amadeo's shoulder, squeezing slightly.

His father made the come here gesture again, pointed to his son, and then at the floor in front of him.

Angelo slowly walked over to his father and stopped just at arm’s length.  His mother quietly went to the stove to keep an eye on the eggs.

Once more, Giosua pointed at the floor directly in front of him.  Angelo took a half step closer.  The man stood, reached to grab his son's wrist and pulled the boy toward him and over his lap and landed a playful swat.  "This, Amadeo, is how you deal with a brat," he said, looking up at the other boy with a look of mock severity before focusing on his son again and giving his bottom another swat.

"Let's try this again, young man, where are you going today?"

"Crrrrrraaaaaazy..." sang Angelo, who grimaced when his father smacked his rump again.

"Where are you going?" he asked pleasantly.

"Bang! Zoom!  To the moon, Alice!" Angelo responded.

Giosua and Julia glanced at each other with matching grins. Their friends sometimes compared them to the Kramdens as a joke, as two people more unlike the television couple couldn't be found.  Giosua would quote Ralph just before wrapping his arms around his wife and giving her a sound kiss.  He winked at his wife before proceeding to land a series of spanks to his son's backside.

Angelo's face was only visible in profile to Amadeo.  He could see his friend wincing a little, but he didn't seem to be in any real pain.  

Amadeo knew it wasn't a real spanking but he felt strange sitting there watching, so he focused his attention on his glass and took another sip.  He was grateful when Mrs. Di Marco placed a fork and a plate of hot, fresh eggs in front of him, followed by another glass full of cold milk.  Now that he smelled them, he had to admit he was hungry.

"All right now, monello," Giosua said, landing another smack to the boy's jean clad rump, "let's try this again. What are you boys up to today?" he asked, emphasizing every other word with a swat.  "Don't make me get the thumb screws."

"OK! OK! I give!  I'll confess!" Angelo said with a laugh, trying to lever himself up.  

At that, his father merely tightened his grip on his son, who kicked and wriggled in an attempt to get himself free.

"Come on dad, let me go!"

"Oh no, I've got your number kiddo, I let you go, you run.  You just stay put until I get my answer."

Angelo went limp, as though his heroic efforts had worn him out.  "We didn't have any definite plans.  We were just going to sort of hang out, maybe go to the park or... ummm... catch a movie?  That is, if I can have a couple of bucks?" he asked sheepishly, propping himself up on his elbows and glancing back over his shoulder at his father.

"A couple of dollars?! Are you going to watch the movie or buy it?" Mr. Di Marco asked, surprised.  "What do you need that much money for?"

"Well, the movie, and maybe soda and popcorn... and I thought if it's ok we could go to Grammarcy's and get a burger and stuff afterward?" he asked hopefully.

"Kids these days! Spoiled!" his father replied, emphasizing the first and last words with a hearty smack.

"I'm not spoiled, I'm fresh," Angelo replied with an impudent grin which turned into another grimace as his father gave him a final wallop.  

"Go eat your eggs before they get cold! Bambino marcio!" (rotten child)  he muttered, finally releasing his son who went to the place his mother had set, between his father and Amadeo, rubbing his backside melodramatically.

"Oh!  The torture!  The torment!  The agony!  The horrible, excruciating pain!  I think you broke me!  I'm scarred for life!" Angelo wailed tragically as he sat, contorting his body impressively in a paroxysm of pain.

Giosua looked at his youngest as though he'd never seen him before, then picked up his mug and handed it to the boy, who looked perplexed.

"Well, I figure a performance like that deserves some sort of award, don't you?"

Angelo and Amadeo exchanged grins.  Angelo stood up and held the cup reverently.  "I'd like to thank all the little people who made this award possible, especially my mother for giving birth to me, and my father for..."

Giosua reached over to give his son another playful smack.  "That'll be quite enough young man! I'll give you little people," he said with a grin, "and since you're up anyway, go get those peanut butter cookies mama made yesterday!"

Angelo, ever the dutiful son, did as he was asked and brought the tin of cookies to the table, opened it, snatched a cookie from the top, replaced the lid and put the tin on his lap as he sat back down in front of his plate of now cold eggs.  He looked at his father and deliberately took a large bite from the cookie, rolling his eyes and making sounds of pleasure.

To Amadeo's surpise and amusement, Mr. Di Marco touched his index and middle fingers to his thumb and shook the 'fist' at his son.  Then, in what surely had to be a parody of a thick New York accent said, "'Ey! Wadda ya doin'?  Make wit' da cookies!"

Angelo mirrored the gesture and replied in the same accent, "Oh! Ya said get 'em!  Ya nevuh said nuttin' 'bout givin' em to ya!"

"Oh, that's it!" his father said with a feral grin, pushing back his chair and making a production of rolling up his sleeves. "You're gonna git it now ya little smart alek!"

Angelo let out a little shriek of terror and ran behind his mother.  "Ma!  He's gonna get me!  Save me!"

"Oh no you don't," his mother replied with a stern expression that was only slightly marred by the lifting of the corners of her mouth.  "You got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out."

Giosua stood and slowly advanced on his son who just as slowly backed into the alcove.  An instant before he was about to take hold of his son, there came a knock at the door.

"Someone at the door, dad.  Don't you think you should answer it?"  Angelo said innocently.

"You're safe for now, monello, but don't worry, I know where you sleep," his father growled menacingly, before turning to the door and opening it, his scowl turning to a pleasant smile in a blink.

"Hello there, young man.  You must be Milo?  Come in please," Giosua said shaking the boy's hand while drawing him into the kitchen.  "The boys are just finishing a little late morning snack, can I get you anything?"

Milo, looking a little overwhelmed, managed a smile and a polite, "No sir, thank you."  He looked at Angelo, who was casually leaning against the sink in the alcove and welcomed him with a welcoming smile and wave, and then at Amadeo who seemed very amused by something but who merely raised a hand in greeting.

"Well, you did get more money than you asked for," said Milo bracingly as they rode their bikes through town.

Angelo looked at his friend with a petulant expression.  "Yeah, but now I have to go get my hair cut too.  I'da rather done extra chores to earn the money!"

"I didn't want to say anything, but you are getting kinda shaggy there," Amadeo said, ruffling his friend's hair.

Angelo batted his friend's hand away in irritation.  "I always look like I'm headed to boot camp when I get my hair cut."  

"Well, want to go to the movies before or after the barber?" asked Amadeo.

"Leave it til last."  Angelo groused, "I always get hair clippings down the back of my neck and it itches like crazy.  If I have to sit through a movie like that I'll go insane."

"Yeah, that makes sense," agreed Milo, "I mean if we go to Grammarcy's we don't want hair getting into the food every time he moves."

"All right then, pull over here." Amadeo said, pointing to the news stand.  He picked up the newspaper and flipped a dime to the owner who caught it in one smooth move.

He turned to the movies page and looked at what was available.  Several movie theaters had opened up recently, each trying to attract the most customers by offering the best deals and movies.

Amadeo pointed to one movie which was playing at the closest theater.  "Man's Favorite Sport"?" he suggested.

"Ugh, chick flick," Milo said.

Angelo leaned over and scanned the choices.  "Band of Outsiders?"

Milo read the blurb beneath the movie title and times, "Too grim," he responded.

"Children of the Damned?" Milo suggested.

"Looks sufficiently creepy." Angelo said.  "That's a possibility."

"Let's look a little more then decide," Amadeo said.

"Hey look!" Angelo said excitedly, "There's a movie that looks good, with Peter Sellers. Doctor Strangelove?"

"Sellers?" replied Milo, just as excitedly, "Yeah, the guy's a riot!"

"Only problem is it's playing next town over," Amadeo pointed out.

"We could take the bus there.  It won't take that long," Milo said matter of factly. "We could go, catch the movie and get back in plenty of time."

"Not a good idea, Mi.  If one of us got hurt or we got stranded we'd be in deep."

"Come on, 'Deo, stop being such a goody two shoes," Milo accused.

"No, Mi," replied Amadeo firmly, "We stay in town or we can just cancel the whole thing."

"Hey, despite your name, you are not God, so cool it!" Milo argued with a frown. 

"I'm not trying to be God, Mi, I'm being rational."

"Dae," said Angelo in a coaxing voice, "It takes forever for these movies to reach us out here in the sticks, I mean, Strangelove came out in January and here it is the end of May and we're only just getting it.  Plus we don't have any idea how long it's been in the theater so for all we know today is the last showing and we'll never get to see it!"

"Tell ya what," 'Deo said reasonably, "First let's stop at the bus station and find out the schedules.  Then let's call our folks.  If we get the thumbs up we'll go. If they say no, we stay put and do what we'd originally planned.  And..." he said, forestalling any further argument, "if we ask real nice there's a good chance that one of our folks would be willing to take us to see the Sellers movie next weekend.  Deal?"

Milo made a sound of disgust.  "Well, I'm out.  Pop makes me work my butt off for every cent he gives me.  I'd be worn to shreds if I asked him for movie money two weekends in a row.  If I did get to go I'd be so tired I'd sleep through the whole thing."

"Well, it's supposed to be a day for the three of us, so if you can't go, we can't go," replied Angelo.  "Besides, that other movie really looked good," he glanced at the paper and then at his watch, "And it starts in about twenty minutes. We'd just have time to get there, get our drinks and all and find seats."

"Fine," Milo huffed reluctantly, giving his best friend a sour look, “Let's get a move on then."

The boys were smiling and laughing as they talked animatedly about the movie over burgers, fries and cherry Cokes.

"... and a brick wall?  I mean, even Superman has to come up against lead before he's stymied!" said Milo.

"Well, these were kids, after all," replied Angelo.  "Creepy little alien kids, but still kids."

"Speaking of creepy..." Milo said, wrinkling his nose as Angelo first dipped his fries into the blob of mayonnaise and then into the blob of ketchup he'd poured onto the edge of his plate.

"Eh, don't knock it til ya try it."  Angelo replied with a shrug.  "I at least tried grits before deciding they weren't for me."

Amadeo cocked an eyebrow at his best friend before taking a couple of his fries and copying Angelo's actions. 

Milo watched his friend's face closely for his reaction.

Amadeo chewed slowly, analyzing the flavor.  Both eyebrows went up in surprise.  "It's really not that bad, Mi.  Give it a try."

Milo, nose still wrinkled, did as he'd been told and brought the fries to his mouth as though he'd been asked to kiss a snake instead of eat French fries.  Moments later his eyebrows also rose in surprise.  "Yeah, that's good!  Kinda... takes the edge off the ketchup, you know?"

Angelo, with an evil grin that made the other boys a little nervous, got up and went to the counter.  He leaned over toward the waitress and whispered something in her ear.  Not long after they could hear the sound of the milkshake machine going.

He returned with a tall glass filled with a chocolate shake and placed it on the table.  Picking up a small stack of his fries he proceeded to dunk them into the shake and eat them with a taunting smile on his face.

"Oh no! Absolutely not!  That's just nasty, Ange!" Milo protested, scooting his chair back and away from Angelo, sure that the other boy's prank would backfire on him and he'd lose his lunch.

The girl behind the counter watched the scene before her with a mixture of disgust, fascination and amusement. A look which was replicated on the faces of many of the kids sitting at nearby tables who'd been alerted by Milo's outburst.

Amadeo simply picked up a stack of his fries and dipped them into the shake before eating them.  "Hmmm," he said, "Interesting blend of textures. Salty and sweet at the same time."

"Ugh," Milo complained, looking sick, "I've lost my appetite."

"In that case, can I have your fries?" Angelo asked.

"Only as long as I don't have to see you eating them like that."

Angelo's response was to pick up another stack of fries and dip them into the shake before slowly bringing them to his mouth, eyes on Milo, savoring his expression nearly as much as the fries.

Some of the other customers got up and left without finishing their lunches.

The girl behind the counter approached them and leaned down to whisper to them.  "My boss says you're scaring away customers.  He said stop that or leave."

Amadeo looked at his watch.  "Ange, don't forget you still have to go to the barber and get your hair cut.  He closes in about an hour."

"You know, that's never made sense to me?  You'd figure Saturday would be his busiest day and he'd stay open longer," Angelo said, stalling for time.

Amadeo gave his friend a look that plainly told the other boy to cut the crud and get off his butt.

Angelo sighed in defeat.  "OK, OK, let's go."  With a cheeky wave to the restaurant manager, he led his other friends out of the restaurant.

They arrived at the barber shop, which despite it being Saturday was quite empty.  "Ah, nice to see you boys.  Which one of you is in need of my services?" He glanced at Amadeo who's hair still hadn't grown out completely and said, "Nope."   He looked at Milo, "Did you last week so that leaves... you my friend! May I ask your name, young sir?  Haven't seen you before."

"Angelo, sir.  Angelo Di Marco."

"And I'm George, your friendly neighborhood barber, at your service," he said with a courtly bow, which showed quite clearly the bald spot on top of his head. "So then Mr. Di Marco, now which hair would you like cut?"

Angelo was taken aback at first at the man's humor, and then grinned.  "My father wants me to get my summer cut."

"Summer cut?  Well, didn't you explain to him that it's not summer yet?  Can't do a summer cut if it's not summer," George said sagely.  "No, no, can't be done.  Come back the first day of summer.  Your dad'll understand, I'm sure."

Angelo laughed.  "He said he won't let me back in the house unless I get my hair cut, so, how about we settle on a pre summer cut?"

"Oh!  Well, that's an entirely different matter!  Why'n't y' say so in the first place?  Have a seat here my friend and we'll take care of you faster'n Clark Kent changes clothes."

Angelo sat in the chair, preparing to have his hair cut and suffer itchy cuttings down his neck when George wrapped a towel around his neck.  He then covered that with something that looked like an apron and tied that as well.

"All right then, young sir, how would you like it today?"

"Ummm, Old Mr. Jeffries used to just take the clippers and mow it down," Angelo said.

"Hmm, every good gardener knows not to mow the lawn too short.  Let me see what I can do, and you tell me if you like it, hmmm?"

Angelo looked at Amadeo and Milo who shrugged.  "Yes sir, you're the professional."

"All right now, Mr. Di Marco, no looking until I give you the word.  Promise?"

"Promise," Angelo agreed.

George quickly and efficiently began to comb and cut Angelo's hair.  Amadeo and Milo took seats and began to read the comic books which were on a small table for waiting customers.  Occasionally they'd look up to see how their friend was doing.  Amadeo could swear that Angelo's hair was reproducing on its way to the floor, because before he knew it an amazing pile of hair was gathered there.

When he finished, George took a tiny amount of pomade on his hands, rubbed them to spread it around and then slid his hands through Angelo's hair, picking and preening carefully before making a sound of approval.  He took some talcum powder and a soft brush and removed the tiny clippings from Angelo's neck before removing the 'apron' and towel and turning the chair so that the two other boys could see the results.

"Well, boys, whadda ya think?"

Amadeo looked at his friend, wide eyed and speechless.  Milo could only stare and say, "Holy cow."

Angelo looked concerned.  "Is it that bad?  Let me see!"

George turned the chair toward the large mirror on the wall.

Angelo could only look at himself.  Or, was that him?  It couldn't be.  His dark hair wasn't all but shaved the way Mr. Jeffries had always cut it.  It was shorter along the sides and only slightly longer on the top.  The pomade had brought out the natural wave and curl, which Angelo had always hated, complaining that it made him look like a girl, but this style was far from girly.  His features were both brought into stark relief and yet softer.  His eyes seemed somehow larger and darker than they ever had.

"Whoa, Ange..."  Milo tried again.  "Lookin' good," he finally managed, trying to sound nonchalant.

Amadeo looked at Angelo, seemingly unable to take his eyes off of his friend. "You look... wonderful," he finally said.

Angelo turned to look into the mirror again.

"Now, you don't need the pomade necessarily," said George, "It only helps keep the hair in place better.  You can use plain water and let it dry naturally, ok? Can't stand these kids who use an entire danged can of pomade a day," he continued, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

"Thank you, sir," Angelo said, getting up, slightly dazed.  He reached into his pocket and took out a five.  "Here, for the cut, and keep the change?"

"Oh no no no no no!" George protested, "That's way too much for a tip no matter how much you like it, my boy."  He went to the register, broke the five and gave Angelo back a dollar and thirty cents.  "Now you come back to see me again before school starts, unless you start to look shaggy again, then you come in for a trim, all right my boy?"

Angelo smiled, "Yes sir.  Thank you sir."

The three boys left the barber shop with wide grins, and began to walk back to Angelo's house.  Amadeo found himself becoming a little jealous as several people on the street did very obvious double takes on Angelo.  He fought the feeling down.  Angelo wasn't his... at least, not yet.  Perhaps not ever if he'd read the other boy wrong.  He tried not to think about that.

Later that night Johnny and Angelo sat on the couch, watching an episode of Rawhide.  Their parents and brother had gone to bed early since there was weeding and pruning do be done in the gardens the next day and they wanted to get an early start.

"Hey, kiddo, we need to get up early too?  Let's hit the hay."

"Johnny..." Angelo said thoughtfully, “I've been wondering something.  'Deo asked why we sometimes phrase statements as questions?" he rolled his eyes at his own slip.  "I was wondering, why do we do that?"

"What'dja tell him?"

"Just that it was just the way we talk.  I never really notice it till someone points it out but it's been on my mind since then."

"Well, I'm not really sure?  I mean, lots of folks in the old neighborhood spoke like that... not everyone mind you, but a lot.  The way I always interpreted it was that... well... it's kinda like asking the person who's listening to you, 'You understand?' or 'You with me so far?' cuz sometimes you'll be talking to someone and they just give you this blank look, you know?  So you're kinda giving em the chance to say 'Hold up a minute, I lost you.'  Got me?"

Angelo smiled, "Yeah, I gotcha."

Johnny got up and turned off the television.  "Good night little brother," he said fondly.

"'Night big brother," Angelo said as he walked into his room.  He shucked his jeans and t shirt and slid under his blanket.  Content for the first time in months, he quickly fell asleep.


Dr. Strangelove,              Release date: January 29 1964
Man's Favorite Sport,       Release date: January 29 1964
Band of Outsiders,           Release date: March 15 1964
Children of the Damned   Release date: January 29 1964

Crazy by Patsy Cline (Written by Willie Nelson), 1961

Quote from The Honeymooners, 1951-55

No Copyright infringement intended

TV Shows 1960s
    Lassie                       1954 - 1973
    Perry Mason              1957 - 1966.
    77 Sunset Strip         1958 - 1964.
    The Twilight Zone      1959 - 1964. (Original Series )
    Rawhide                   1959 - 1966
    Bonanza                   1959 - 1973
    Route 66                  1960 - 1964.
    Mr Ed                       1961 - 1966.
    The Virginian            1962 - 1971
    Steptoe and Son       1962 - 1965.  
    The Fugitive             1963 - 1967
    Doctor Who              1963 - 1989
    Flipper                     1964 - 1967.
    Gilligan's Island        1964 - 1967
    The Man From Uncle 1964 - 1968
    Peyton Place             1964 - 1969.
    Bewitched                1964 - 1972.

Technology 1964

    BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), an easy to learn high level programming language is introduced.
    IBM announces the System/360.
    The worlds first high speed rail network opens in Japan
    First Ford Mustang is manufactured
    Sony introduces the first VCR Home Video Recorder History of Video Recorders
    The first driver less train runs on London Underground
    China explodes its first Nuclear bomb

All information by Wikipedia


  1. I had meant to read the entire story but had to stop here to tell you that I thought this chapter was hilarious! Was there a full moon that night or something?
    Great story so far. I love it. Can't wait to read more.

  2. Thank you, Michael! I'm so happy you liked this chapter. There are more on the way. :)