The second course consisted of white fish and cod filets, both
covered with tomatoes, onions and garlic, strewn chunks of lightly burnt
crusted Italian bread, broccoli rape, roasted potatoes fully browned, shrimp
bathed in a red fiery hot sauce and lettuce with onions drenched in vinegar and
a bit of olive oil - the too much vinegar that should have been outnumbered two
to one by the olive oil - brought on the initial hits to the father's head by
his very own hand.
The first course of linguine with clams, a deep dish of bacalla
that was smothered beneath broccoli and lastly octopi copulating with sardines
swimming in a deep olive oil lake - had gone well.
After the completion of all the eating, the father began tapping
his forehead with a fork handle; blinking slightly after each hit as if
contemplating something missing.
He wanted everything to be perfect in honoring the feast of
seven fishes - even ignoring spilling by the little ones; not going into a mini
rage; biting the side of his hand.
Like a thunderbolt from Zeus - it hit him!
"Where was the seventh fish?" he said as he tried very hard not
to look at the visitor, "Mamasu", the word he semi invented to identify his
wife's mother which in the Appian way kind of dialect meant "her mother".
Mamasu had been deposited by the father's brother-in-law, whose
face he had changed during a ten minute fist fight when they were young men
after the four year younger Deo had told the guy with a reputation worse than
the Sultan of Swats The Bambino himself that he was not allowed to see his
sister, who said he had business in New Haven teaching a guy, who might have
been his half brother from the family his father had created years before
naming all his USA children after the ones he left behind in the Mezzogiorno,
on Wooster Avenue how to make real New York City pizza and would be back in a
That was said the day before Christ and Johnny, his favorite
child, were born - Christmas Eve!
"If it was up your ass you'd know it!" This was said by Mamasu
around seven in the evening of Christmas Eve.
* * *