The Pope's Son

by Jerry Vilhotti

"Squid! There was no fuken squid! Remember Mama – you made a lot this morning!" ten year old Gianni, the father's favorite, said in American, knowing that swear words in that language had little shock value when heard by the older people thinking and speaking in the language of their birth; recalling his mother telling him that morning how she hated having to prepare all the smelly fish that was an invention of some pope being paid off by fishmongers to have it eaten on Fridays and holy days but even making it more prosperous for them by instituting the idea of eating seven fishes on the Eve of Christmas. Gianni did see with his own eyes her making a large platter.

"I confirm you the Pope's favorite brat!" Mamasu (her mother) said as she threw water at the boy; simultaneously doing two sacraments and then added a third by getting their eyes riveted to her mouth vehemently chewing a lump of white bread being captured by globs of spittle like churning waters - attempting to show how ridiculous it was to perpetuate superstitions. Then to add vinegar to her son-in-law's opened wound she added with a tongue, though boneless, that could break bones: "You should have been aware of Greeks bearing gifts!" She was referring to her son Deo's bringing of Bronx bread to a Connectandcut that had no idea of how to make good dark crusty bread as if water had not yet been invented in Burywater so to steam the oven making the bread grow a dark crusty crust.

The father (the Pope) turned to a sickly lighter shade of pale as he lifted his glass of wine with trembling hand to his twitching lips before saying: "For the love of God take it out and we can have it with coffee!"

His wife's shaking of her head with eyes closed tightly made him go into an anguished crying that had everyone at the table lower their eyes and head as if in prayer.

Recovering to get everyone's attention, the mother blurted out: "Tommy Tom Tom ate it this morning after he came in early this morning from his whoring around!" Then, she gripped the edge of the table with both hands as her two daughters and their husbands were pinching crumbs with trembling fingers from the surface of the table.