Freudian Slips: Smokey and the Bandit

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

March 08, 2006

Smokey and the Bandit

I have penned blog postings about my client Luigi before(see posts Most Accidents Happen Close to Home and Footing the Bill ). While Luigi remains deserving of print, pallets of aspirin continue to be shipped to his social worker to combat headaches. Before Luigi received Housing and Urban Development government funding to offset his rent, he dwelled where many of us would consider inhabitable. Luigi’s housing choices have run the gamut from boarding homes to homeless shelters. Only Luigi’s remarkable survivor skills have kept him alive. He survived one cruel winter by living in the rusted shell of an abandoned oil tanker that had been dumped in the deep woods. When his loitering was reported by a concerned citizen, Luigi was vanquished from the woods by the local police department and placed temporarily in a motel. That is how I got him on my caseload. When I arrived to meet him, a sinewy prostitute had just left his hole-in-the-wall motel room a few dollars richer. Luigi greeted me with a grin on his face. By appearance sake, first impressions were hard to come by.
About ten years ago, a friend of an acquaintance of an enemy of Luigi’s rented him the unfinished basement of a suburban home for a rock bottom price. No hots and a cot. Luigi felt like he would bring me on the scene to make home improvements. From the outside, the place looked like it had never seen a homemade apple pie. A single pull on the chain of a 60 watt light bulb in the basement formed the basis of a second opinion. It revealed a dank basement terribly cursed by the sound of dripping water. A sagging clothesline held laundry not from yesterday but yesteryear. Dust balls were not scarce.
“What da ya think?” asked Luigi.
“Humm…you are going to be hard pressed to coax a prostitute down here.”
“You remember everything, Joe.”
“Let’s get down to business.” I commented. “The way I see it we have two choices.” I transversed around the nooks and crannies of the basement. “I can complain to your landlord, the guy taking your money to bunk here. You risk him tossing you to the curb knowing your social worker is on his back. Or we can look at this basement as a roof over your head that is keeping you from hitting the streets. In the interim, we can do the best we can to make you more comfortable here.”
He torched a cigarette. “I want to live here, Joe.”
“Thanks for shedding light on the issue. Okay then. You make a visit to Catholic Charities. I will look around my house to see what I can donate to you.”
Before week’s end, I obtained an emergency voucher for $250.00 from work and from home I gathered some clothes, odds and ends, and a 19 inch color TV. The TV was the first set I ever bought and sentimentality kept me from getting rid of it sooner. I delivered the goods to Luigi, who showed appreciation with multiple handshakes and back slaps. I could tell from the expression on his face that he really liked the effort. He didn’t have to hit me.
About two months later, Luigi got evicted for disorderly conduct unbecoming of a domicile. On the day of his move out of the basement with frills, I picked up Luigi at his soon to be former home. He strangely didn’t want me to help him move things from inside the house and asked me to wait outside. Luigi appeared to be nervous about something as he carried his stuff out in green trash bags(see post A Hefty Move to Olfactory Purgatory). I thought there might be improprieties going on in the house but I couldn’t do a thing about it. After Luigi’s behavior resulting in his eviction, I wasn’t about to go to bat for him. It would have been like the spot calling the zebra black.
Luigi continued to act anxious. He filled the backseats of the vehicle to the gills. We maneuvered things around to make them best fit. Space was hard to come by(see post Bringing up the Rear)
I reassured him. “We can make additional trips if we have to.”
“No. That’s everything, Joe. Let’s get out of here.”
“Are you sure?”
Luigi lowered his head in a gesture that looked much like shame. It has always amazed me how non-verbal communication universally extends to all human beings regardless of handicap. Luigi’s mannerisms remain jittery. I tried to figure out what was suspect.
“That’s it, Joe. Can we just drive off?”
Then it occurred to me that we had a problem. “Wait a minute.” I cautioned. “You forgot your television.”
His confessional came with reluctance. “Joe, there is something I have been meaning to tell ya… Now is as good of a time as any. I sold your television for $5.00. I needed a pack of smokes in the worst way.”
My neck whipped around to face him. I vented. “But….but that was my first TV.”
“Who are you kidding?” Luigi fired back. “That was my first TV too.”

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12 Comments:

Blogger rfvgardens said...

Joe, there's something very special inside you, and everyone who knows you is proud they do.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous et said...

Joe, ever the softy!!!! A chip off the old block.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous marcus said...

Joe,
My first TV was 2inches by 2 inches and I used it for 6 years.
Na..Na Na na na......to both of you.
Marcus

5:14 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Marcus,
no wonder you squint and scratch on the eight ball in billiards.

5:31 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Great, great story ... one of your best!

And I laughed out loud at the "punch line".

8:15 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Pax,
Maybe you have some old furniture laying around for this guy? lol.

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Catherine Mary said...

Joe, What a great story! I hope your neck is feeling better.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Catherine Mary,
Thanks for visiting.

9:04 PM  
Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

I haven't commented in a loooong while so just wanted to say hi!

I love your stories, and I bet there'd be a good one from your family giving up TV for a month!

Best to ya!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Contrary,
I read much more than I comment on your blog too.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Antarro said...

Joe,
I'm forever giving things away to people who need them. Sometimes, they get things that have never been worn, used, or open.I get gifts and usually don't use them until the necessity arrises. This has led me to having one room in my house that resembles an outlet store. Leave a list or include something you can pass on in a blog entry. I'd be more than happy to get it to you; or Luigi.I better not see Flexible Flyer on the list though.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Antarro,
Luigi needs another Tv. lol

12:28 AM  

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