The kids from upstairs
ran down the flight of stairs
egging each other on
while they ran to Mr. Emilio’s apartment.
They halted at this door, and knocked.
Ole Buddy Gump came to the door
barking at them through the wood.
The kids grew silent
listening for Mr. Emilio’s voice.
They knocked again as Mario announced their presence.
“Mr. Emilio, it’s us. Can we come in?”
“Sure.” was the reply through the door.
Mario cautiously turned the door knob
disengaging the door jam from the frame
and launching the door forward.
He could see Mr. Emilio sitting in his worn lazy boy,
his pipe in hand ,
smoking what he called ‘tobacco caca loca’
and Buddy Gump, his eyes fixed at the door, sitting next to him.
The kids could not wait much longer,
with the door unlocked and open the kids bolted in.
Buddy Gump got excited and stood up;
however, before he could go met the kids,
which were coming towards him,
Mr. Emilio placed his hand on the dog’s rear.
Buddy sat back down.
All the kids knew that Buddy Gump was known to bite,
or nip as Mr. Emilio would say.;
nevertheless, that did not deter them from gathering around Mr. Emilio
and sitting at his feet.
Emilio gazed at all of them and remarked.
“My, My, what have we here?
Looks like a story half-circle.”
Emilio elevated his head
shifting his gaze toward the kitchen and his wife, Domina,
who was standing at the Frig holding its door open
and staring inside.
“Honey, can you bring something to drink for theses kids?”
“There’s nothing in here to drink.”
“Yes there is, There’s a pitcher of Tea.”
“That’s been there for days.”
“I made it last night, after you went to bed.”
“Oh” Domina pulls the pitcher out and removes a glass from the sink,
washes it, pours herself some tea. and starts to put it back into the Frig.
“Domina, can you bring that in here with some glasses?”
“Emilio, I’m busy, and all the glasses are dirty.”
“There are some plastic cups above the Frig.”
“It’s gonna cost ya.”
“I pick the movie.”
The Kids laugh “Mr. Emilio, tell us a story about Wolf.”
Emilio turned his eyes back to the kids squatted about him.
“Wolf, huh?” He smiled. “You know, I haven’t seen Ole Wolf in awhile.”
“Pleeeeeeease!!” they scream in unison.
“Well, well. Let me think here.”
He took a smoke off his pipe…………………
“Emilio” came Domina’s voice from the kitchen.
“OK” Emilio punches the pipe into the crevice of the chair.
“There was a day,” he began.
“a beautiful day.
it wasn’t too hot,
nor was it too cold,
and the sun was out shining brightly.
It was one of those days,
that made every other day before
seem just a step to this day.
“Ole wolf was out in the alley,
running about, playing,
make believing, as his mother once told him, when he was yawl’s age.
Wolf was having too much fun to think about having to go to work.
Which he did have to do that day;
considering the fact, Wolf had bills to pay.
For awhile though, he could make believe he didn’t.”
Just then Buddy Gump stepped into the middle of the half-circle
dumping the ash tray;
then sheepishly glancing up at Emilio and wagging his tail.
Emilio laughed, as he cleaned up the ashes on the floor
with his handy Dust Buster he kept beside his chair,
just for this kind of situations. “And Buddy Gump spills the ashtray, saying ‘I dumped the ashtray, pet me.'”
The kids laughed,
and at the some moment
Domina strolls in with the pitcher of tea and the plastic cups,
hands them to Emilio, torts “seven-ten” and walks to the bedroom.
Emilio hands the cups to Mario,
who disperses them among the other kids,
and then Emilio pours the tea and inquires.
“Now, where was I?”
Little Jennifer was the first to answer.
“Mr. Emilio, you were telling us about Wolf,
and how he was make believing he was a kid.”
Wolf was make believing,
but not that he was a kid.
Nnnooo, he was make believing he was in the Jungle,
that he was an Inca warrior
stalking his spirit through the vines which ran along the many trellises with their plump red fruits,
He picked one,
biting down upon its flesh
he recognized the distinguished taste of a tomato.
He came out of make Believe,
concluding that it was probably time for him to work
and that he needed to see what time it was.
“He wondered while he strolled into the building
if it was already time to go to work.
He hoped not, he wanted to and play some more.
“Now you see wolf was a brizare character,
he liked to think that he was practicing his math
as he read the time.
so each clock about his apartment had a different time.
The one in the den was fifteen minutes fast,
while the one ion the kitchen was only ten minutes fast,
as for the one in the bedroom, that was tricky,
it was 23 minutes fast.
After his subtraction,
he had to then add his estimated time it would take him to get to work.
By the time Wolf finished his math,
he concluded that the product of his equation
meant that he was going to be late.
And this made him think,
‘If I am already going to be late,
I might as well sit down on the sofa in the den
and talk to Steve for a few minutes.’
“Well by the time wolf got to work,
he was 23 minutes late.
His clock in his bedroom told him that after some math.
Now Mr. Chef wasn’t too pleased about Wolf coming in late.
He had diner for a hundred or so people to think about,
and he didn’t need the worry of whether or not Wolf
would be in to do his part.
Mr. Chef told wolf as much and that was retaliation.
Wolf then asked, ‘Well Chef, what do you want me to do.’
“Mr. Chef thought for awhile, wondering what.
Wolf realized Mr. Chef didn’t know what the punishment was going to be. and remarked ‘I’ll go home.’
‘Didn’t think so,’ wolf replied. ‘Listen chef, I know I did wrong,
but it’s not like I was thirty minutes late.’
“‘you were seven minutes short of it.
and by the time you put on your chef’s coat, and hat it will be.’
“‘It’s not like I was an hour late, or two.
Hell, Chef, I could have just called in sick,
or just come in and picked up my check and not come in at all.’
“Mr. Chef just shock his head. ‘Wolf what am I going to do with you.’
“Wolf knew he couldn’t get out of this.
He had played make believe that he didn’t have to work
way too many times,
and on the account of that
he had been late way too many times.
nevertheless, he too had been thinking while Chef had been thinking
and remarked under his breath just loud enough for Chef to hear.
‘Please don’t throw me in the Dish Pit.’
“Chef pulled up from his thinking
glanced over at the dish pit and then returned to his thinking.
Wolf still mumbling about not wanting to go wash pots,
walked off to the locker room,
and put on his chef’s jacket, and his black chef’s hat,
which laid down flat upon his head.
“You see, in the kitchen, the higher your hat was,
the higher your rank in the kitchen.
Wolf had worked in the kitchen most his life,
and by the Chef’s standards, his hat should have been higher and whiter,
nevertheless, wolf preferred the thought
that he knew nothing at all.
“Well wolf walked out of the locker room,
tying his Apron on,
wondering what the verdict of the Chef would be.
“Chef was talking to Sue Chef,
and when he saw Wolf come out,
he proceeded toward Wolf.
‘Well Wolf Sue and I have decided you get to go to the dish pit tonight.’
“Ole Wolf ambled over towards the Dish Pit
trying hard to hold back the grin which was forming upon his face.
When he got into the pit he started laughing
and dancing about.
‘Mr. Chef, I was born and raised in the DishPit.
This is my home.
Ole wolf laughed and laughed,
chatted with the Mexicans as they washed dishes,
got wine and food from the waitrons,
while he and the Mexicans made believed that they were sailors
on a ship during the times of the Ancient Sea Kings,
before the time of the Olmacs,
sailing through a storm.
He knew he would make it out alive,
that at the end of the night he would go home
sit on his sofa and talk to Ole steve.”