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Jerry Vilhotti

 

 

Johnny was lost in a dream, shrouded in the smell of ether as he had looked for the often mentioned baby his father had lost in a dream too saying the baby he loved so much was an old born baby since he was sculpted from old parents, while the doctor explored with sharp scalpel for the water that was beneath the surface of Johnny's knee and after the two hour operation that had the doctor taking out growth cells in his quest for more money; telling the boy's father that he had saved the boy from the dreaded word malignant cancer and the leg would manifest the doctors good deed five years later when it would become a bit crooked for lack of those very same growth cells and Johnny was returned to his ward full of young children, from the room with large overhead light, and there lying in the semi darkness was the boy full of bandages burned by friends who decided to "Burywater" him because he was just a "nigger" daring to come to their fine catholic school; they had never been taught by the nuns the meaning of the word Catholicism. The next day he and the boy, whom at first he thought was the slightly older boy he had met when they first arrived in Burywater three years before from The Bronx - the boy who looked like Joe Louis - and though they had been best friends for nearly a year; fighting side by side the refrain of "eenie, mineey, miney, moe" only a few blocks from the Saint Anthony school, that Johnny was forced to go to by his mother but he would never go to another telling his mother if she tried again he would change religions and then run away after he was strapped by the smiling priest for talking in class; the talking was his answering a boy who asked him for the catechism page, the boy who looked like Joe Louis and he would never see each other again after Johnny moved to the peel-less side of Burywater town. The boy full of bandages and he exchanged some words, many silences and a few comic books and then "Little Roy", the boy with eyes that were like wisps of smoke, died. When Johnny asked where Roy had gone to the nurse said: "He went to a better place." And when Johnny said he wanted to go there also, thinking she meant he went to another floor where toys were scattered about for the children to play with, she said with a Burywater sneer traveling all about her face: "He died". Those words made his dream occur again and then after many times of dreaming the dream it ended forever when in the last one, he began to dig deeply into the snow with his bare hands; pulling up a baby's hand and then taking chunks of snow and ice from his mouth - before holding him close to the warmth of his body but he would always be an old born baby. This he knew. END

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