Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Bronx Tale

It is 1949. Little Louie Walcott is prancing up the streets of the Bronx, covered in nervousness. Sixteen year old Louie is about to ask out the prettiest girl he's ever seen. He's hopeful she'll answer in the affirmative. But what if she doesn't?

Sheila Finkelstein is working in her father's kosher butcher shop on Fordham Road. Her hair is tied up and her sixteen year old cheeks are pinkish like raw meat. Even the most respected men who frequent the shop eye Sheila longingly as if she was a thinly-sliced pastrami.

Louie's hair is straight and thrown back with the help of lotion. Sweat drips off of his black skin on this hot June day. He straightens his tie and cocks his hat in the reflection of a grocery store's window on Fordham Road. He's three stores away from the kosher butcher shop and his stomach is spawning moths at an astronomical rate.

Sheila is slicing a piece of roast beef while in a daze. Thoughts of Abie Moskowitz won't leave her. Abie stands only a few inches above five feet. His face is as a round and cute as a baby’s, but several whiskers above his upper lip give him an air of prized maturity. Abie is known for his intelligence, sense of humor, and his athletic prowess. He has the sweetest smile, displaying slightly crooked teeth that always produces a rapid beat inside Sheila's chest.

Louie enters the kosher butcher shop. He goes over what he will say to Sheila for the 43rd time since he left his house. All eyes in the shop shift from Sheila's pubescent breasts to Louie's anxious face. "Um. Sheila? Will you go to the summer dance with me?" Louie manages to spout.

Sheila's eyes ignore the new entry. "Get lost, Louie. I'm hoping Abie asks me." Louie is crushed. His head falls harder than London Bridge. He turns and leaves the shop without looking back.

Within ten years, Louie has joined the Nation of Islam, changed his last name to Farrakhan, and blamed the Jews for everything wrong in the world.

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