"Shimmering Away"
by Jerry Vilhotti

Five year old Johnny noticed a door of the little cabinet was ajar, making visible a bottle of strega, imported from the province of Benevento (which was once called Malavento until the Romans did strategy thinking that if they changed its name all the evil eyes and witches would go away to the Eastern part of the empire and all the people who threw stones at them would become welcoming) that was three-fourths full.

While songs like "Tangerine", "Amapola", "I'll Be Seeing You", "Green Eyes", "Serenade in the Night", "Love Is the Greatest Thing", "I'll Get By"and "It Had to Be You" played in the background from The Make Believe Ballroom Time, he began sipping the good tasting stuff that was ninety-proof. When he got off the kitchen chair to try and begin a walk, his legs were no longer fully with him as he staggered into the parlor where the radio, as tall as he, was shimmering and fifteen-year-old Alice was just an amazing blur, swaying her head to her favorite radio program while working on women gloves with five fingers that her mother had left her to work on.

"Johnny, you all right!" he heard her say from a great distance away.

He lay on the couch and pointed to the empty bottle that was now standing on its head, fully drained.

"You're going to die! For Christ's Sake, what the hell were you doing?" Alice said, after having saved the blond curly haired brother from her older sister Tina of the Troy and her younger brothers Leny One N and Tommy Tom Tom many times, who had tried to make him go away; afraid he was going to steal their parent's love away from them while eating food that was just enough for them only during the latter years of the dying of hunger Great Depression days brought on by leaders whose gods were greed, power and indifference that had been their only Christmas present that day before Christ was born.

Only for the fact she liked him a lot, becoming the doll she did not get that Christmas, was the reason she told her mother and father immediately as they came in as to what had happened.

The father brought him quickly to the Saint Poe Fordham Hospital and that's where the bad things - like Poe's demons - were taken away from his stomach and he did not die that very day. He did not die--though he felt as if he had.


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