Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Your Number's Up

You might be at Bay Cities Italian Deli with a ticket in your hand that says eleven but they’re only up to seventy-nine even with eight countermen outnumbered four to one and it feels like you’ve been waiting here since last Thursday getting hungrier and hungrier smelling all that forbidden food like the genoa salami, mortadella, ham, prosciutto, hot pepper, provolone and God knows what else they pile up inside a Godmother sandwich which is an offer I can’t refuse even though it’s going to raise my bad cholesterol, lower my good one to say nothing of tooth decay and blood sugar but I’m too old to die young and there are times when such concerns must be put aside because the bread is so warm and crisp it must have been baked by a poet and I wouldn’t care if they just slobbered mustard and mayo between two halves of the submarine, besides it’s good to be here in the salivating throng where two years ago I met Sydney Pollack and chatted about his latest movie which leads me to think about what happened to him and hope that the Godmother wasn’t an accomplice, forensically speaking, (they just called number 98), even so, what’s it all about if not the smell, texture and taste on the tongue however brief and the lingering vision it conjures of your last trip to Italy at the outdoor café facing the piazza in Venice across from the Rialto bridge and you were sipping Cinzano or was it Compari, while a man at the next table rocked a baby in a carriage as he peeled an apple with his knife that could have saved a life or taken one in a back alley while you and your wife talked about the labyrinthine paths that brought you here…and just then the man behind the counter calls out number nine….and you start inching your way to the front of this congregation of the condemned and it's still light outside as the red machine pops out number thirty-seven for the newly arrived and nobody is leaving in this goldmine of an eatery leading you into blessed abundanza, body of Christ, Baruch... and Amen.