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"THE STAIN" (A tale from New York City's "little Italy")

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Jacob Ben Avraham
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"THE STAIN" (A tale from New York City's "little Italy")

Postby Jacob Ben Avraham » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:31 pm

“THE STAIN” (A tale from New York City’s “Little Italy”)

by J. Ben Avraham

Hey, my name is Francesco Petronelli, I’m an Italian-American, and everyone calls me “Frankie”. Yeah, even Mamma and Pappa. I live in a nice, quiet place called “Little Italy”, or at least what’s left of it, here in New York City.
We live a couple of blocks from Mulberry Street, pretty close to Columbus Park. Little Italy used to be a lot bigger in the days of grandma and grandpa, at least when they were younger. Today, there are a lot of oriental businesses here and the Italian families have moved away. But hey, we’re still here! Yeah, buddy! And we aren’t going anywhere. We just like it here, and we don’t mind the culture mix. I am beginning to like the Chinese food as much as the Italian food.
For Mamma and Pappa, they were born here too, but the grandparents, well, they’re from a place called “Calabria” which is about a hop, skip, and a jump from Sicily. I mean, get in a motor boat and start up the engine, point it Westward and in about a half-hour, you’re in Sicily.
Now I’m pretty cool with mom and pop. They both helped me with my homework when I was in high-school. They even put up with three of my friends; “Big Al”, “Lou”, and “Tony Rizzo”. They used to come over to our place a lot, just to hang out. Sometimes they would get a bit loud and mom would make some delicious spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. With that and a deck of cards, they’d quiet down.
I was pretty serious in high-school and I kept my nose in the books, but Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo, well, they almost lived in detention, I mean skipping class, mouthing off to teachers and stuff like that.
Now I’m almost six feet tall, a little dark with black, curly hair. Sometimes people mistake me for Sicilian. One day I was walking down Mulberry Street and a couple stopped me and asked me something in Sicilian.
“No parlo Sciliano” I responded
“No Sciliano?” they asked.
“No, I’m Calabrese, I mean Calabrese from here”
So, when I got home, I decided to have some fun. When I walked through the door, I saw that the grandparents were relaxing in the living room and I said;
“Hey, Sciliano!” pointing to myself, grinning from ear to ear. I thought I was pretty funny saying that, at least that’s what I thought.
“NO, NO, Calabresi, Calabresi!!” they shouted, jumping up from the sofa. Then they started speaking Italian a mile a minute. Momma came in from the kitchen saying;
“Mama, Papa, qual e la cosa? Calmatevi!”
In other words, she was asking them what was the matter and for them to calm down a bit.
“Thanks a lot Frankie” mama told me crossly, “you got em wound up again!”
Then she took them into their bedroom and sat them down on their bed to relax. After a while, they slowed down their Italian and started talking about times in the “Old Country.” Well, that was the last time I did that.
Now pop was cool and thought it was kinda funny. He was in the easy chair smoking a Toscani cigar and he said;
“So? Frankie looks Sicilian, so what? Maybe we do have some Sicilian blood after all.”
I remember that story pop told me once about a great ancestor of ours who used to live Sicily. Well, as the story goes, he fell in love with the servant girl of a mafia chief’s aunt. The aunt didn’t think much of him hanging around the house and hiding out in the olive groves with her servant. Long story short, she told her nephew, Don Antolini…so…the two had to high-tail it out of there right-quick. They headed East, took a boat ride to Calabria, and, well, they lived there, hopefully ever after, at least that was pop’s version of the story.
When I graduated high-school, I got a job at “Sal’s Italian Deli.” Now, the origin of the name “Sal” is kinda interesting. It wasn’t always “Sal’s”, it used to be called “Salerno Deli.” Back during WWII, a guy named Giuseppe Castagnoli owned it. Now Giuseppe was from Salerno, about 200 miles North of Calabria the way the crow flies. Well, anyway, one day during a fierce wind storm, half the sign fell down leaving only the letters S-A-L, and D-E-L-I. Giuseppe never fixed the sign. Then he sold the place to his nephew Angelo. Well, customers started calling Angelo, “Sal”. He tried to tell them that he wasn’t “Sal” that there wasn’t any “Sal”, and that his named was “Angelo”
For a while, they called him “Angelo” but then, those customers moved away, and new ones came in and called him “Sal”, and referred to his place as “Sal’s Deli”. After a while, he just threw up his arms and said;
“I give up, guess my name is Sal now, as long as it brings in the customers, I guess it’s a good name too.”
Now people ask me if I want to work at Sal’s forever. Well, not forever, maybe for a few more years. I was kinda thinking of joining the Army and go to OCS (Officer’s Candidate School) after a few years, but for now, Sal’s is OK.
I just walk about five blocks from our place to Sal’s. I always pass a pool room where Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo hang out who work some odd jobs here and there. I really hope that they make something out of their lives, but at least we all graduated high school together. Now at Sal’s, I do a little bit of everything, like unpack boxes, put stuff on the shelves, make some salads, slice meats and cheese for customers. I like Sal and Sal likes me, (or rather Angelo). I would say that he and me, well, we get along just fine. I do my job and help him out anyway I can. That is what life is all about, doing your job and helping others too.
Now I work together with a young Puerto Rican girl named Ana Ramos. She’s about five inches shorter than me, but let me tell you something, she can do any job a guy can do as far as work is concerned. She’ll open boxes with a swift pass of a box-cutter knife, stock the shelves with cans and bags of this and thats, empty the trash cans into the dumpsters, cut meats and chees-es just like me. She’s calm, but don’t cross her mind you, or else, she’ll speak her mind a bit loudly. Now you ask me, would I want to marry her? Well, maybe not, but who knows the future. Mom and pop I think have their minds set on some nice Italian girl where ever and who ever she might be.
Ana Ramos and me are just good friends and we work well together. I already told you that she can be a little fire-cracker if you cross her or say something ugly. I remember the time we left Sal’s together after work and as we were on our way home, a young blonde chick came up behind me with an un-lit cigarette in her hand and said;
“hey…you there…Papa Cheppetto…Mr. Spaghetti man…meatball guy…hey…Italiannnnooooo maaaan…got a light?”
Now I am not the kind of person that is going to start stuff over name calling, I mean, I’ve heard Italians called worse names, and well…this girl was just being a “wise-gal” making fun of us using Italian related names. Now, she could have just said,
“sir, excuse me, can you give me a light?”
But no, she had to go the extreme, but not to the max if you know what I mean. Well, I just turned around and said to her;
“I don’t smoke” and kept on going.
But Ana Ramos, she didn’t take too kindly to those words, even if they weren’t directed against her, they were directed to-wards me, her good friend and work companion. She stopped me and grabbed me by that arm saying;
“Hey Frankie, are you going to take that from that chic? Stand up for your people!”
And with that, she turned to that blonde chic and said;
“Hey blondie, I’ll light you up!” then she threw her fist like a hammer, right across that blonde girl’s chin. Knocked that blonde chic out, knocked her right into the middle of next week! Now there was another girl standing by, maybe she was a friend of Ms. Blondie. She just stood there with her mouth wide open. Ana turned to her and said;
“You better shut your mouth or a fly will get in!”
Then Ana grabbed me by the arm and said, “let’s go”. We continued walking and after a few minutes she turned to me and said;
“Ya know Frankie, ya gotta stand up for your people! Your people are my people too ya know, we’re all “Latinos” even though we speak different languages!”
The very next day everyone was talking about how a Puerto Rican chic knocked out a blonde chic right in the middle of Little Italy! When we got to work the next day, Sal pulled Ana over to the side to have a stern lecture about violence in the “barrio” but when he found out the details of “why the knock-out?” he congratulated her.
“Hey Frankie” Sal started, “Ana stood up for our people, did you see that?”
“Yes Sal” I answered, “I was right there, I saw the whole thing.”
“Oh yea, right, you were there, well…nice going Ana” Sal replied, patting her on the back. With that, we went to work stock-ing some shelves with some canned pesto. Now one thing about Sal, at the end of each day, he gives me any left-over pizza that doesn’t sell. It’s pretty good, good ol New York style pizza made fresh in the morning by Sal himself. If you’ve ever seen those pizza guys that stand in the windows of pizzerias that throw pizza dough up in the air, and then it comes down and it gets even bigger and flatter, then you’d know what Sal does every morning. Yes, he makes them with double mozzarella cheese and pep-peroni, some he makes with sausage and anchovies. He pops those pizzas in the oven and out they come, ready to eat.
By the end of the day, there are usually 4 or 5 slices of pizza left. Well, he gives them to me wrapped up in plastic and puts them in a paper bag. I usually share one or two slices with Ana. She likes Italian food just as much as I do, but I’ll have to say that pizza with Spaghetti and meatballs are my favorites, and of course, a glass of Chianti to wash it all down with.
Well, one day at the end of the day as Ana and I were leaving to go home, Sal called me over and sadly told me that he had sold all the pizza he had made, but not to worry, he’d “fix me up”. Then he wrapped up in paper wrapping some sausage and ground beef, and along with some Italian spices saying;
“Go home and make some spaghetti and meatballs, my treat!”
That was very nice of Sal. I didn’t get any pizza, but both mom and Sal taught me some trade secrets on making Italian meat balls. The recipes vary a bit from Sicily, Calabria, and Salerno, but they all taste great. Well, Ana went home and I went home. When I got to our apartment building, I found a note on the kitchen table from mom. They had gone walking in Columbus Park, her, pop, and the grandparents, and that they’d be home later. Well, now it would be up to me to make dinner. OK, that I’d do. I decided to make some Sicilian style meat balls with “salsa d’tomate Calabrese” the best of both worlds.
I began to prepare the stuff, chopping up the garlic and onions, then adding the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs with the Italian spices. When I threw in the ground beef mixed with an egg to the whole mixture, the phone rang. That phone call, you could say, changed my whole life. I wiped my hands off on a kitchen towel and answered the phone.
“Hello, is this Frankie Petronelli?” came a voice on the other end.
“Yes, this is Frankie, who is this?”
“This is Mr. “G”. Now I just stood there with the phone to my ear. Did I hear correctly? I mean really, I thought?
“Mr. G?’
“Yes Frankie, Mr. “G”. I know you heard correctly, there isn’t any static on the line. We’re coming through clear as crystal!”
“The real Mr. “G”? I asked, still dumbfounded.
“Yes Frankie” continued the voice, “I’m the real “G”. I mean, there are a lot of phonies out there that claim to be me, and people follow them, but I am the real “G”, I AM WHO I AM (1) Look, I go by a lot of names like Mr. “E”, Mr. “A”, Mr. “Y”, Mr. “J”, the list could go on and on, but in time, you’ll learn all of my names, that is if you accept my invitation since that is why I am calling you Frankie. Are you interested?”
Now, I still didn’t know how to respond. I mean, Mr. “G” makes the Pope look like a little kid. Mr. “G” well, he’s the max, when he calls you, he means business! He never fools around, no joke. I just stood there with the receiver stuck to my ear.
“Heeeelllooo? Frankieeee? Are you still there?” came the voice.
“Yes Mr. “G”, I’m still here” I said hurriedly, “but why would you want to call me?” I asked, a little confused and at the same time, surprised.
“Why not Frankie?”
“Well”, I responded, “I’m not really important, I’m just a simple Italian-American guy who works at a Deli.”
“You’re important to me Frankie” replied Mr. “G”, “I mean, I made you in my image, I have plans for you, big plans that is if you’re interested. However, if not, I’ll call someone else and let you go.”
“YES”, I shouted, “I’M INTERESTED!”
“Great Frankie”, but I’m not deaf, no need to shout.”
“OK”, I replied, calming down a bit, “So what can I do for you Mr. “G”, I asked.
“Well Frankie, there’s nothing you can do for me, it’s what I can do for you. The truth is, it’s been done already. It was done a long, long, time ago. All you have to do is accept what I did for you. What I am trying to say is that I am giving a family mem-bership party at my mansion and I want to invite you to join my family. So, what do you say to that?”
I stood there amazed, flabbergasted, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Mr. “G” wanted ME as a family member, really? I thought.
“Heeeelllooo? Fraaankkiee?”
“Me, a member of your family, for real?” I asked.
“Yes Frankie, for real, no joke, I never joke around that. I do have a sense of humor though, I made a donkey talk once.”
“really? What did it say?”
“Let’s just say that it complained to its master about some ill-treatment… now… your answer?”
“Yes, Mr. “G”, I finally said, “It would be a real honor to become a member of your family.”
“Great Frankie, glad to hear that, then you’ll be able to call me “Abba”. For now, listen carefully to what I am about to say, OK?”
“OK, Mr. “G”, go ahead, I’m listening.”
“All right, first of all, put away the meat ball mix and the spaghetti sauce. Stick them in the frig because I have some prepared at my place, especially for you Frankie. In my opinion, what’s cooking at my place is “out of this world”. I know you’ll love it!”
“How did you know I was preparing Spaghetti and meat balls Mr. “G?”
“Frankie, I know everything, I know what everyone is doing all the time, everywhere, now can I continue please?”
“Sure, I’m listening.”
“OK, now you need to come to my celebration dressed for the occasion. You need to be all in white, no stains, all white, from head to toe, all white, got it?”
“Sure Mr. “G”, I responded a bit surprised, “but I don’t have any white suits here in my closet.”
“Sure, you do Frankie, just look way in the back of your closet.”
“But Mr. “G”, I know what’s in my closet, and I don’t have any white suits.”
“You see Frankie,” sighed Mr. “G”, “that’s the problem with people, no one believes what I say. There is such a lack of faith these days, even before these days. I remember a son of mine named Thomas…well…that’s another story. Frankie, trust me, I just put a white suit in the back of your closet right now, go check for yourself and I’ll hang on.”
“OK, Mr. “G”, I’ll be right back.”
So, I rushed to my bedroom and opened the door of my clothing closet which had a poster of Calabria on it. I pushed aside my clothing and lo and behold, right in the back was a pure-white suit of clothes covered by a plastic bag on a wooden hanger. I took it out of the closet and lay it down on my bed. I took the plastic bag off and saw that it consisted of a white suit-jacket, a pair of white pants, a white shirt with a white-silk tie. On the tie was a gold tie-clasp. I thought I saw some white shoes and I rushed back inside the closet, Yes, there were also a pair of white shoes with white socks. I rushed back to the phone and contin-ued my conversation.
“Mr. “G”, there’s a white suit in my closet! I can hardly believe it!”
“Just like I said Frankie. You see, most people believe when they see, but blessed are those who believe without seeing. I even had that written down in a book. OK, now listen, put the suit on and remember, do NOT let it get STAINED! Go to the nearest subway entrance, the one three blocks from Mulberry Street in front of the small oriental supermarket. You know where that is right?”
“Right, I know where it is.”
“OK, go down and get a token and take the “A” train going South to Main Street Park. Get off there and go up and look for the bus that says “Flatbush”. Get on and be prepared for a long ride all the way to Rockaway Point Blvd. Get off there and change buses and get on the one that says “222nd Street “Beach”. Get off and you’ll see “Epstein’s Bait and Tackle” on the right. Go in and ask for Abraham Epstein, he’s one of my sons. He’ll point out my place which is right on the beach. Follow his direc-tions and stay on the beach path. Now, pay attention because this is very important, there’s a creepy looking guy named Mr. “S” dressed all in black, He hangs out along the beach path and stops people before they get to my place. He’s caused a lot of trouble ever since…well…since a long time ago. Don’t pay any attention to him. You’ll see my place, you can’t miss it, follow the path marked “to Judah Gate” and I’ll see you there.”
“OK, Mr. “G”, I’ve written everything down.” I was lucky that there was a pad of paper and pencil by the phone.
“One more thing Frankie” continued Mr. “G”, people will look at you kinda funny like, I mean, all dressed in white. Some will make fun of you. The world pokes fun of my family members. It’s always been like that, since we’re not very popular. We are like a few fish swimming against a huge school of fish going the opposite way. Quite a few of my children here were fishermen back then, that’s why I relate to the ocean and fish a lot.”
“OK, Mr. “G”, I understand and I’ll be there as soon as I can, bye.”
“Bye Frankie, I’ll see you soon.”
As soon as I hung up the phone, I went to the kitchen and put the meatballs and sauce in the frig. Then I went to my bed-room and put on that sparkling white suit. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was almost blinded by the white glare. I checked the suit pocket and I found some money with a note on the bills that read; “bus fare”. The suit fit perfectly, even the shoes were a perfect size 10 W. I guess Mr. “G” knew what he was doing, he even knew my clothing size, well, like he said, he knows every-thing about everybody.
I left a note for Mom and Pop, “going to a celebration” then left for the subway entrance a few blocks from Mulberry Street. Now, as soon as I hit the street, people were giving me that “look”. I got on the subway and sat down. Some passengers started making comments. One old lady looked at me smiling and said;
“Hey, where are YOU going SUGAR?”
A blonde girl who looked like the one Ana Ramos knocked out sat down next to me and said;
“Hey SNOWBALL, you’re BLINDING ME!” looking me up and down.
I just ignored them both. I didn’t want to start anything over words. Mr. “G” told me that would happen on the way. But then, a young couple who were sitting across from me said;
“Looks like you’re going to “Abba’s” party. We went there quite a few years ago.”
“Yes”, I answered, “I’m on my way right now.”
“Well”, they replied, “just be careful of Mr. “S”, He can’t be trusted and everything he says is a lie, don’t believe anything he says.”
“Thanks for warning me”, I said, “I’ll keep my wits about me.”
I finally got to Main Street Park. I paid my fare and boarded the “Flatbush” bus and sat down, people were looking at me and laughing a bit. Even the bus driver looked at me and shook his head smiling.
“A “G” man, eh?”
“Yes sir” I replied quietly. This was getting a bit on my nerves now, but I was almost there.
The trip was long, some passengers exchanged a few comments about my suit, but I pretended not to hear them. The bus fi-nally got to Rockaway Point Blvd. I got off and waited for the “222nd Street” bus. It came within a few minutes. I got on and paid the fare and when I got to 222nd Street, I saw “Epstein’s Bait and Tackle” right where Mr. “G” told me it would be. I went in and there was Abraham Epstein, behind the counter.
“Shalom my friend”, he said with a broad smile, “On your way to Abba’s place, right?”
“Yes”, I answered with a smile, “He invited me.”
“He invited me more than 20 years ago,” continued Mr. Epstein, “and I’ve been directing people to his place ever since.
So then, he took me outside and we headed on a path towards the beach. Then he pointed to a long, long path that seemed to have no end, but, I could just make out an image of a huge mansion in the distance, it had a golden glow to it.
“That’s Abba’s mansion” he pointed, “just stay on the path, and don’t get distracted by “S”. and with that, he turned and went back to his bait and tackle shop, leaving me on the beach path.
So, I walked along the beach path. I hadn’t visited many beaches in my life, only Coney Island a few times. This beach seemed so serene, so peaceful with the waves splashing against the beach with a rhythmic sound of peace and tranquility. As I got nearer to Abba’s mansion, I saw just to the left of me and small table with a tarp over it. Under the tarp was a figure dressed entirely in black. I couldn’t make out his face because he had a hoody partially covering it. The thought then hit me, this must be Mr. “S”, the guy that “G” warned me about.
As I passed by, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that this guy had his eyes glued on me. He reminded me a little of Dracu-la, you know, from the movies. I was just passing him when he called out to me, not shouting but with a normal voice.
“Hey, Frankie, come over here for a sec!”
I stopped momentarily to respond to him; “Don’t have time, I have a meeting with Mr. “G” at his mansion. I’ve been invit-ed…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I know” he interrupted, sounding a bit annoyed. “but I know you’re a bit hungry, right?”
Now how did he know that I thought? and I was looking forward to those Sicilian meat balls with Calabrese sauce and some spaghetti.
“I’m hungry but Mr. “G” has something already prepared at his place.” I answered, trying to get on my way again.
“Yes, yes, I know that Mr. “G” is always entertaining guests, new family members and such, but I just wanted you to try some one of my specialties, Italian meat balls with some spicy Calabrese sauce.” Then he reached under the table and brought out a silver platter with a dish of meatballs. In the middle of the dish was a small bowl with some spicy tomato sauce. On the side of the platter there was a napkin with a pile of plastic swords.
“I know you’re going to “G” s party, but just try one of these delicious meatballs, you won’t regret it, I promise” he said, plac-ing the silver platter on top of the table.
I knew I shouldn’t have stopped, but my hunger got the best of me, and those meatballs and sauce were really tempting. I mean, I could smell the garlic and the parmesan cheese together with the other Italian spices. “OK”, I said, “I’ll try just one.”
So I went to the table and that creepy guy pushed the silver platter towards me. I took one of the plastic swords and speared one of the meatballs, then dipping it in the sauce. But just when I brought it to my mouth, the meatball slipped off the plastic sword and hit my sparkling white shirt. I watched in horror as the meatball slid down the front of my shirt and hit the sandy ground, leaving a horrible tomato sauce stain on my shirt. Then, Mr. “S” just burst out laughing. He laughed so hard that he had to hold his sides.
“Look what you made me do, just look!” I shouted, pointing to my now stained shirt and tie.
“What I MADE YOU do Frankie?” sneered Mr. “S”. Why Frankie, I didn’t MAKE you DO anything. You didn’t HAVE TO take the meatball. You could have said NO, but…you didn’t. Let’s admit it, you couldn’t resist my offer.”
Sorry to say but Mr. “S” was right, it was my fault. I could have said NO, but I didn’t. I should have listened to Mr. “G”. I noticed that “S” was still laughing and shaking his head, then he turned to me again and said,
“Here Frankie”, handing me a napkin, “Wipe your shirt with this, it’ll come off, I promise!” then he shoved a little dish with water in my direction.
Well, I thought, maybe it would come off, so I dipped the napkin in the water and started rubbing the stain on my shirt, but it just got worse, in fact, it spread even more.
“Oh no Frankie”, laughed “S”, “Seems like that didn’t work either…in fact…it’s worse”, and he just continued to laugh, pointing his finger at my shirt.
I didn’t know quite what to say, or do. I just looked at my shirt with horror. Mr. “G” told me specifically not to stop and talk with “S”, but that’s exactly what I did, all because of something to eat.
“OK Frankie” continued Mr. “S”, “here’s another white napkin, just tuck it under your chin and let it cover your shirt. That way, the stain’s covered. That’ll be OK with “G”.
With that, he handed me a large white napkin and I tucked it under my chin and spread it across the front of my shirt. Then I took off running the rest of the distance to Mr. “G” s mansion. I heard “S” shouting to me his last words;
“Have a nice time at “G” s place Frankie” and I heard him still laughing.
I finally got away from the sound of his hideous laughter and I saw up ahead a sign that pointed to the right; “Judah Gate” I really felt bad, but maybe, he’d understand. I mean, it wasn’t ALL my shirt, just in front, and I did have this covering. Well, I followed the sign and found myself walking on a long road that seemed to glow with the color gold. Ahead, I saw a huge gate made of what seemed to be Mother-of-Pearl.
When I got to the gate, I saw two giant beings standing guard at the gate, they were also wearing apparel of pure, dazzling white. Their eyes bore down upon me, they were looking at my shirt as if they already knew that it was stained. They looked at each other and just shook their heads. They moved aside and pointed to a long corridor that ended at a pair of double-doors.
As soon as I approached the doors, they automatically opened. I stepped into another long corridor. I saw another set of double doors at the end of this corridor. I heard a lot of laughter and conversation coming from whatever was beyond those set of doors.
I also noticed that to the side of me there was a winding staircase going up, and just in front, there was a closet, kind of wide if you ask me. To the side of the closet was an ornate arm-chair. All of a sudden, the double-doors opened and I finally saw, well, who else could it be but; “Mr. G”.
He was glowing with a brilliant white haze, his hair was white like wool, and he had on an all-white linen garment, tied with a belt of gold. The glow around him was so bright that I could not look directly at him. Then he called my name from the doors;
“Frankie, you made it, welcome to my home!”
Then he made his way to where I was standing. I was a little nervous, yet my eyes adjusted to his figure as he approached me.
I saw that his feet were like burnished bronze, and his face reflected love and compassion. He stopped a few feet from me and opened his arms.
“Frankie, I love you, I have been expecting you!”
But just then, he noticed my shirt and the white napkin that covered the nasty stain. The expression on his face suddenly changed from gladness to sadness with a touch of bitter disappointment. Then he went up to me and pulled away the napkin that covered the stain, revealing the ugly spot of disobedience
“Frankie, what happened?”, he started, “didn’t I tell you that to become a member of my family you’d have to come without a stain?”
“Yes Mr. “G”, I answered with big time nervousness, “But you see, I ran into Mr. “S” on the way here, and, well, he stopped me and…well…offered me a snack…and…well…I was a bit hungry…”
“and you couldn’t resist the temptation, right?” interrupted Mr. “G”. “Didn’t I tell you that I had everything here prepared for you Frankie? yet you disobeyed my voice and fell into the enemy’s trap!” Mr. “G” s voice rang out with all sternness and au-thority.
“I’m sorry Frankie, I can’t let you in, you’re stained!”
And at those words, Mr. “G” just turned and walked away, just like that. He was headed back to the double-doors. This couldn’t be the end, could it? I thought. I had to do something, something quick.
“It was an accident Mr. “G”, I really didn’t mean it” I said in a loud voice.
“It wasn’t an accident Frankie, you chose to disobey!” he answered without turning around, but he did stop walking away.
“Isn’t there anything I can do about it?” I asked pleadingly.
“No Frankie” he answered quietly, “there is nothing YOU can do about it.”
“Please Mr. “G” I cried, and I really don’t cry that much, but this was really a dire crisis, “Isn’t there anything YOU can do to help me out?”
When I said those words, Mr. “G” turned around and looked at me with eyes so filled with love and compassion. He turned around and came back to me. He embraced me with his two loving arms saying;
“I was hoping that you’d say that Frankie. Yes, there is something I can do for you. Actually, I already did it many, many years ago. I gave up my own life to pay for your disobedience, for you and for the whole world. The problem is Frankie, that not everyone accepts what I did for them, only those who ask for forgiveness will receive it. Now, give me your stained shirt.”
I took off the stained shirt and I handed it to Mr. “G”. Then he went to the closet that was next to the easy-chair. He opened the closet and threw the shirt into a pile that consisted of other stained shirts. I took a quick look, and I saw what looked like thousands upon thousands of shirts, skirts, and dresses that were all stained with different food stains. As far as my eyes could see, there were stained clothing, yet the closet looked so small from the outside.
Mr. “G” then shut the door. “It’s the same story over and over again Frankie, if it’s not spaghetti sauce, it’s taco sauce, if not that, it’s soy sauce. In the end, disobedience is disobedience, sin is sin, no matter what. Now, you sit and wait here until I re-turn.”
Then Mr. “G” went up the staircase and in a few minutes, he returned with another white shirt in his hands. He handed it to me saying;
“Here, put this one on, it’s my own brand, it even has my initials on the upper-right side, just above your heart Frankie.”
I took a look at the shirt. It was like the one that was stained, but this one had the initials Y-A-H on it, embroidered with scar-let thread just to the right of my heart. I quickly put the shirt on. It was a perfect fit.
“Frankie” continued Mr. “G” now you can call me “Abba” because you accepted my shirt, you accepted what I did for you so long ago to pay for your sins. The initials YAH have a special meaning. They mean; “Behold the hand”. I held out my hands and I received the nails to pay for your sins, past, present, and future. The scarlet initials symbolize the blood that I shed for you. They also mean “Yeshuah” which means “Salvation is from YAH. Now that you are one of my sons, come with me to the party.”
With that, I followed Abba to the double-doors. He opened them and everyone in there looked in our direction. Then he an-nounced; “Sons and daughters, meet your new brother, brother Frankie”

I saw that the room was a great banquet hall, with rows and rows of tables with all kinds of food on them. There were people from all over New York City. Some were oriental, some were Hispanics, and others probably Italians like me. There were Afri-can-Americans, and well, people of every nationality. All the men were wearing shirts like the one Abba gave me, and the women wore blouses with ankle length dresses. They ALL had the same initials “Y-A-H” embroidered on the upper right -hand side. There was also a stage to one side of the room with a large, ornate throne with a small table in front of it.
On the other side of the room were shining beings all dressed in white. They were all playing different musical instruments like harps, lyres, flutes, some had cymbals, and others had long, silver trumpets. All were playing soft and soothing melodies for us guests.
Everyone clapped and smiled and welcomed me. They embraced me with hugs and hand-shakes. Then one of the tall beings invited me over to a table. There I saw all sorts of Italian foods; spaghetti and meatballs with sauce, lasagna, salad with olive oil, stuffed Sicilian olives with spices, and there was cannoli, lots of cannoli. The tall being took a plate and served me up some spa-ghetti and meatballs and topped it off with a lot of parmesan cheese and two slices of toasted garlic bread. This guy seemed to know exactly what I wanted, I didn’t even have to tell him.
I ate some of that spaghetti and meat balls and let me tell you, that meal was ‘out-of-this-world’ good. I would say, it was ‘heaven sent’. Well, I sat down at one of the tables, all decorated with gold and silver ornaments on top of a white linen table-cloth. In the middle of each table was a seven-branched candlestick made of pure gold. A few more of my new “brothers” sat down with me. Some were Italians, others were Puerto Ricans, and there was even an elderly “sister” whose named was “Ms. Wong” she was from Taiwan as she told me. Now, we were all brothers and sisters in Abba’s family, what could be better.
As I was eating and enjoying the company of my newly found brothers and sisters, I heard someone tapping a crystal wine glass. I looked up and saw that Abba was sitting on the throne and in his hand, he had the crystal glass and a spoon. He was calling us all to attention. The musicians stopped playing and all awaited his speech. Then the discourse began.
“My dearest sons and daughters of light” began Abba. His whole demeanor reflected love and compassion, his countenance shone like the stars of heaven. “I would like to welcome all of you to my extended family. All of you were stained, stained with disobedience. But I paid the price for your disobedience, the price of sin cost me my life, but I gave it up willingly. I paid the price of sin with my own blood. I called all of you and you answered my call and came here to me, to accept my invitation to be part of my family. You wear my name on your bodies which is YeshuAH, which means “salvation”. Now you are all my precious sons and daughters. My kingdom is your kingdom. It shall be your inheritance throughout eternity.”
I looked around, and there was a feeling of awe, many had tears in their eyes. All of a sudden, the whole banquet hall burst out with praises to the LORD with uplifted hands. My hands went up too, I also started praising Him who sat of the throne of grace. The one who took a common, ordinary Italian-American and brought me into His family.
Then Abba lifted up his hands for silence, and I noticed two marks on his wrists, the mark of nails that at one time in the past, held him fast to an old, rugged cross on a hill that stood so far, far, away from New York City. I suppose it is still there. Then Abba continued his oracle;
“My dearest family members, I am sending you back into the world again to be my witnesses, to proclaim this generation of faith and salvation. One day I will call you back here again and you will go beyond these doors behind me.”
With those words he turned around and pointed to still another pair of double-doors, made of mother-of-pearl and decorated with all sorts of precious stones.
“Many of my children have gone past these doors and are enjoying the perfect peace of eternity even now. For the time being, each and every one of you has a job to do, I will equip you with spiritual gifts. Share this experience with your friends, neighbors, and work companions starting right here in New York City, going to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and to all the places beyond. I will give to each and every one of you my book. Read it, study it, it has my words all written down. The words written down in this book are the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It will be your guide for the rest of your life.”
When he finished his discourse, he lifted a medium sized black book with the words “Holy Bible” engraved on the cover. I remember Mom and Pop had one of those years ago. I remember seeing it once tucked away on a bookshelf, yet they hardly ever took it down to read, I mean, it was just “there” wedged between “History of Calabria” and “Mama Rosa’s Italian Cuisine”.
We all lined up and he passed out a copy of His book to everyone. When it was my turn, I still had more questions, so I asked.
“Hey Abba?”
“Yes Frankie?”
“I was just thinking, what if you called someone in Italy, I mean, does that person have to come over here to become a member of your family? That’s quite a distance to travel, some people don’t have the funds to…
“Frankie” interrupted Abba, with a broad smile, “This place is one of those mysteries which are hard to explain. This place where you are now, is everywhere, the Kingdom of God is everywhere, it is available to those who answer the call, like you did. To those who reject my calling, they can’t find this place…but… if they have a change of heart, then…it will be within sight.”
“Do you think that Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo will be able to find this place Abba?” I asked.
“Well Frankie” began Abba a bit sadly, “Right now if Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo would walk down the beach, all they would see would be sand, shells, driftwood and a few beach houses here and there. But…if they would open their minds and hearts and accept my calling, then, they would walk along the same road you came on and would see this place. That’s why you need to tell them about me Frankie.”
“But Abba” I asked, “How do I get in touch with you if they change their minds? I mean, I don’t have your phone number.”
“You don’t need to call me by phone Frankie, just talk to me, just like you would talk to your mom and pop, to Ana Ramos, to “Sal” and to your other friends. I’ll hear you. That’s the problem with many of my children, they leave here and then never talk to me, or when they do, they only talk to me when they need something or when they are in trouble. Please don’t do that, OK Frankie?”
And I saw a few tears in Abba’s eyes. Yes, I could understand that. Just talking to someone when you needed something would be kind of rude.
“OK Abba” I responded, “I’ll talk to you every day. If I have questions about this book, I’ll ask you for understanding, OK?”
“That’s great” said Abba, embracing me, “You now have my spirit inside you, my spirit will help you understand my words.”
So I said goodbye to Abba and left his mansion with the others, those “others” who were now by brothers and sisters in the faith. I felt very honored to be part of Abba’s family. As I was leaving, Abba called after me one more time.
“Hey Frankie, son, don’t forget to call me, remember, you don’t need a phone, only call out to me, “Abba”, and I’ll hear, OK?”
“OK”, I answered, “I’ll call on you, and talk with you…and you’ll answer, right?”
“Yes”, replied Abba, “I’ll always answer, my answers are already written down in my book, just read and study it. Don’t for-get to tell others about me, and what I have to offer. One day I’ll call you back home, but for now, just do your job as a faithful son!”
With those words, Abba turned and went back inside his mansion again. I thought about his words. Yes, I’ll tell my three friends; “Big Al”, “Lou”, and “Tony Rizzo” all about Abba. I’ll tell Ana Ramos, Mama, and Papa too. Well, who knows, maybe they’ll get a call from Abba someday. Well, what else can I say, only that this was the first day of the rest of my life.

The end

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Re: "THE STAIN" (A tale from New York City's "little Italy")

Postby deejay » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:58 pm

Beautiful! Now I'm getting hungry.... :lol:

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