Spelk

Oh, come on, you know Spelk. The transmission guy. Looks like a carrot.

Right. The skinny part of the carrot pointing down. So you know who I’m talking about. That’s why nobody took him seriously at first. Best mechanic in town though.

That’s right, he’s Scottish. So what? This is what happened. Spelk is sitting in the chair next to Albin Piekarski at Omni Cut and mentions he buried fifty grand in cash for safe keeping, that he doesn’t trust banks. Tells Piekarski this.

Exactly. You don’t tell Albin fucking Piekarski shit let alone that you buried money. And Spelk knows Piekarski. Spelk worked on Peikarski’s Vette.

How? Angela was cutting Spelk’s hair is how. So I heard the shit first.

You know something. Fuck off. But yeah, as a matter fact it did make me feel special. For fucking once I heard something first. Ange said Piekarski looked at Spelk in the mirror and said, “Oh, yeah.” Just like that. “Oh Yeah,” as if he wasn’t impressed. I don’t even know if she even told the cops that.

One week later, Piekarski’s body washes up under Boswell Marina’s gas pump, head looking like a pomegranate turned inside out. And not just strangled but strangled with fucking concertina. Sandy Kole was working EMS and said Peikarski’s head looked like somebody used a nut cracker.

Yeah, you dick, it would have to be a pretty big fucking nutcracker. Stop busting my chops. What? Well exactly, everybody was thinking that. More likely Spelk to have washed up than Piekarski. But carrot top is a suspect because everybody fucking heard what he said at Omni Cut.

Who do you think? Angela. Angie’s got a big fucking mouth. She’s my sister, right?

Tommy brings Spelk in but lets him go the next morning. Nobody believes Spelk did it. Albin fucking Piekarski? Fucking war criminal. We all know he slit that Halsey kids’ throat. Evil asshole.

That’s right, carrot top is Scottish. You already said that. He’s got that accent. Says to me, ‘Yer bum’s oot the windae,’ instead of, ‘You’re full of shit.’ Cracks me up. So ok. Spelk waltzes into Omni Cut a week later wanting a shave. Bernice gets him. Bernice is about to put on the Barbasol when Spelk says he fucked Piekarski up good. Tells her he got the whole thing on surveillance tape.

Exactly my thought: Fuck me. Spelk recorded it, from the time Piekarski knocks on his door, sticks a gun in his face to the point Spelk is slamming Piekarski’s head in that same door then wrapping his neck with fucking bob wire. Even has him dragging Piekarski’s dead ass across his front lawn down to the lake. Tells Bernice there was no buried money. He just said that. Tells her Piekarski never paid him for replacing his transmission. That was the whole goddamn issue. Piekarski stiffed Spelk.

Well, I didn’t know that Scottish people were cheap. Now I do ok? So fuck off and listen. Tommy brings Spelk back in and carrot top has his bail hearing, right? Half the town is there. We’re all glad what he did.

Spelk had to borrow a jacket and a pair of pants from Reggie. No, I’d say even smaller. Reggie is about half Spelk’s size so Spelk is looking like fucking Alfalfa. And he obviously couldn’t give a fuck. Spelk stood up when the judge comes in and says, ‘Guilty, yer majesty.’ Judge didn’t even ask people to be seated yet. He has to bang his gavel, so many people are cracking up.

“Piekarski wiz a fuckin scrote, yer Majesty. D’ye think ahm buttoned up the back, yer Majesty?”

The judge is looking at Spelk. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.

“No boggin eejit stiffs meh on work well doon thane stakes a goon in m’geggy, fookin; walloper.”

Judge sets bail at twenty grand. We all pitch in. Spelk is out the same day.

No. He’s pleading self-defense.

I know, right, self-defense with his barb wire noose. I still hope he gets the fuck off. Spelk, man. Fucking Scottish. But Piekarski had it coming. That’s what everybody thinks.


On the Hood

When I came around the corner, Salvatore had been leaning over the hood of Auntie Elena’s Pontiac, pounding Chewy. She painted her ride teak that year. Uncle Dom did it in his body shop, if I recall. There was blood spattering the teak and it looked good, I mean really good: Dark red over the teak, bright red in places where he was spurting arterial. Man, that looks good, was the very first thought that popped in my head. I’m serious. They say I’ve always had a bit of the ar-teest in me.

Anyway, that was the first time I laid eyes on Chewy, when he was getting pounded. I didn’t even know that was his nickname. I had just come around the corner with an ice-cold Dr. Pepper in my hand from Tirelli’s shop and had no idea what was going on, just that my brother was pounding somebody, I mean pounding the fuck out of him.

What the fuck Sal. He twisted, still holding the guy, and said, Yeah, I’m punching now.

I can see that, I said. It was already ugly. By the time I got over there, I made about thirty, forty stiches over Chewy’s left eye, at least, maybe six or seven across the lip, right down the middle. I was almost exactly right.

He dissed Rose, Salvatore said, and so I said, what, and leaned the Pepper against Loretto’s washing machine (which he never fixed after making the big production of hauling it outside, the big master mechanic). When I joined in, me and Sal were like an old railroad gang, when they pounded spikes to a cadence, first one sledge then the next: Bing-bong-bing-bong kind of thing. All Sal had to say was he dissed our sister Rosalia and that was it. Nobody disses Rose. We’ve always been protective.

And after about a minute of railroad gang, Rosalia comes running out the side door screaming like she’d been set on fire. I mean doused in gasoline set on fire. It was scary looking so we stopped. She saw Chewy out the upstairs window and us and almost punched her way down through the floorboards like a transformer. She goes running up to Chewy who was laying across the windshield like a raw hamburger patty by then; the grey eighty percent beef on-sale kind at Krogers.

Chewy oh Chewy, she’s howling and I mean banshee howling so we both looked at each other, knowing our sister and knowing we were probably missing some information.

Turned out Rosalia was in love with Chewy. His real name was Bill: William. Chewy dissed her on purpose so we wouldn’t find out he was in love with her; that we wouldn’t find out he knew her at all. It was his idea to cover it up since he wasn’t from Southside and him being a mick. He was right to play it that way though. Because if we found out Chewy was in love with Rose and Rose was in love with him, he would have ended up on the hood of Auntie’s Pontiac anyway and gotten it worse. We don’t like the folks over in the Channel. Stupid as fuck, but it’s always been that way.

We stuck Chewy in the back seat of the Pontiac that day, his own blood on the hood making it look spectacular; but maybe that was just my memory blowing it out of proportion as it was a special day. We took him to Elmhurst General, a premier shithole but the closest place. We all waited, as families wait, because it turned out Chewy became family. Rose and him had their sixth last week, another girl. That’s four pink bows in a row after the first two blockheads. Chewy still can’t close the one eye and has to carry the little vial of gel in his shirt pocket to moisten the eyeball. We love him like a brother and call him Biagio at the dinner table.