Meet Frankie Lane, a horn-player from the 1920's during Prohibition, but Frankie is not who he appears to be and as he rubs elbows with gangsters and bootleggers, his reputation grows and blossoms. While producing the sweet jazz music of those times, Frankie is hiding a secret that is only revealed in his untimely death. Tony Brusso narrates and tells the story of his unique relationship with Frankie and working with Dom to clear all the bodies and evidence left behind by the lethal activity of the bootleggers, he learns Frankie's secret that he kept until his death. Now you will have a chance to find out Frankie Lane's secret, too.
I'm retired now after over twenty years working for the state forensics and before that a past I do not share with most people, but opened the doors I needed to earn some respectability in the community. Let me introduce myself, I'm Tony Brusso originally from Flatbush in a tough neighborhood where you had to duke your way out or die trying. I did a year in reform school for taking a swing at a teacher who called my old man another worthless guinea. That Irish bum got a lesson from one of his students. But in reform school I met Father Rosetti who grew up near the same neighborhood and talked like Jesus Christ was just another WOP from Flatbush. He got me all set up in night school just about the time they outlawed liquor, even beer and so Alphonse Anglese decided his gang would fill the void. The law of supply and demand has always been good for business back then and Dom the Fixer took me under his wing and schooled me in the fine art of making people disappear. Uncle Al, as we called the boss, would send out his goon squad to teach some of our customers on the finer points of business etiquette, but sometimes their lessons were more serious,if you know what I mean, so Dom would get the call and we'd go collect the remains, sort of like a highway crew collecting road kill. Dominic Galetti ran a quiet funeral home and many times he would double load the coffin, putting the stiff of a loved one on top for viewing and the mob still in a hidden compartment under grandpa. The pallbearers would notice the extra weight, but old Dom assured them it was just the weight of the pure oak casket. Both stiffs would go into the ground over the pious prayers of the priest so that both would rest in peace as the dirt was shoveled over the casket. I did my fair share of double caskets over the years, but Dom the Fixer always paid me for my troubles.
There are worse ways to start out, I think, but who am I to complain. I put a lot of money away so after the war, I enrolled in college and between the GI Bill and my nest egg, I became a coroner and got on with the state in Albany. Uncle Al would come up the Thruway every month to check up on me. My folks were both deceased so he was always welcome and he always brought Frankie Lane with him most times.
Now Frankie was a different nut altogether. He was just some kid Al met in the Paris Underground, a pretty swanky speaker down in Brooklyn about two blocks from Yankee Stadium where Frankie played trumpet in this big band set up. Al was fond of saying Frankie was perhaps the best horn man in Brooklyn including all them jig-a-boo horn blowers down in them colored joints in Harlem. Uncle Al was a connoisseur of jazz back then and he hired Frankie away from the Paris Underground which did not sit well with Jacques LeBlanc who protested losing his star attraction until a couple of thugs showed up to persuade the Frenchman to let Frankie go.
After that Frankie Lane was treated like royalty by Uncle Al. The Anglese Empire had become a formidable force in the city as bootlegging became the prime business of the country and Uncle Al was sitting atop his golden throne at Salvador's Finest Steakhouse holding court at the back table until his club opened up at eight. Anybody who was anybody would be waiting at the door ready to give the secret password to be admitted in where Frankie would be on stage with his fifty piece ensemble known as the Clock Keepers. It was a packed house almost every night and there Frankie would wow them with his precision and expert timing on his golden horn.
As I said before, Frankie was an odd nut, his mannerisms were, how shall i describe it, dainty or woman-like. While i would never argue his craftsmanship on the trumpet, his gait and the way he held himself in his tailor made pinstripe suit, could only be defined as someone who was a feminine in gesture and stature. Nobody I knew was gutsy enough to say it out loud, especially in earshot of Uncle Al. To him Frankie Lane was a living saint who was above any sort of harsh criticism even if capacious evidence suggested otherwise. As one of his occasional bodyguards when Dom had nothing doing, I would listen to him talk about his music and influences. Harlem was booming in those days and all sorts of musicians were making their mark, some like Duke Ellington and Count Basie playing all white venues. It was indeed a zenith for music, the fast beat matching the new urban heartbeat of a city on the verge becoming a crossroad to world commerce. The good times were here.
"So whatcha think of Frankie?" Al asked me one night.
"Best horn in town." I answered the way I was taught to. He slapped me, not hard, but enough to feel the sting of his blow.
"No bullshit, Tony, I know where you come from." He put his finger in my face menacingly. "What have the boys been saying about Frankie?"
"Nothing as far as I know." I studied his face for a moment, the hard line softened. "All I know is he's got good blow."
"I Hear things, you know, I ain't stupid." His face hardened again. "You know this organization ain't got no place for queers."
"You know it." I saluted him with a beer mug.
"But some of the boys aren't so sure." His coal black eyes twinkle in the dim light of the club. "Some say he's a bit light in the loafers, ya know."
"News to me, Al." I shrugged, my cheek still stinging.
"Is it?" He turned his shoulders square to me blocking any hope for a hasty getaway. "I just don't want people thinking these things that ain't true. Rumors will kill me worse than some gummbah rubbing me out in an ambush. So I will make you a deal."
"What kind of deal, Al?" I felt his hand slide over the cheek he slapped.
"I'll tell Dom, you're gonna be trailing Frankie as his bodyguard and report directly to me about any funny business. Double your salary." Al removed his hand from my cheek. His smile was not comforting to me as I had seen that same smile just before he rubbed somebody out.
"When?" My tone was serious and straightforward.
"Tonight." Al rose to his feet, brushing his double breasted suit off with his hands, "Meet him in his dressing room. I told him you'd be there."
Going to his dressing room meant I had to go to the basement where shadows lived and dark corners were everywhere where some thug could easily bushwhack you. Even though I knew Uncle Al was on the level, I was still on my guard as I walked through the dark hallway that was a munitions storehouse during the first World War. I was sure that a bunch of ghosts lived down here between the mortar and concrete.
“Oh hello.” Frankie’s voice called out from his dressing room when he heard my footfalls from my leather shoes. He was sitting in front of a mirror looking at himself. “Oh dear, another age line.”
“You look just fine, Frankie.” I complimented him as I walked in. He was already dressed in a beige suit and pastel tie that hung down to his belt.
“Such a dear.” His smile always made me feel as if I was talking to my sister who was already boy-crazy when I left for good. Celia was sixteen going on thirty and mom, who was already rundown from the ravages of a cancer that would take her life in three years, lit a cigarette, but Celia would frantically wave her hand and scold mom for smoking in her room where she had three candles already burning. I hated Randall her boyfriend, because he was an Irish kid who thought Italians were greasy, but my sister did not have any of the traits of the other Italian girls and I figured old Randy McClain was just trying to get her bloomers off in the back seat of his dad’s Ford.
“Frankie, I’m here to escort you to the stage.” I leaned against the concrete wall damp with moisture.
“Such a striking fella.” He smiled like the devil and wiggled his eyebrows. My stomach felt as if it had fallen out a trap door in my feet. “Alphonse promised me a good looking fella to escort me. He was not lying.”
I turned my head away from him as I was feeling quite uncomfortable suddenly.
“Showtime in ten minutes.” The stage manager Miss Cambridge stuck her head in the small room.
“I know, I know.” He pulled his trumpet out of the case lying open on the floor. Putting the horn to his lips, he played a quick scale. Now I don’t read music or even know an A flat from a B sharp, but even as he played the scale, I could tell that he was still the master as he was two years when I first heard him.
“Dang valve is still sticking.” He grumbled and put the trumpet on the counter in front of the lighted mirror. Reaching into his case, he removed a container of what appeared to be clear liquid with a lubricated viscosity and rubbed a finger on the sticky valve, “That should do it. Got some agent coming in tonight. I want things to be just right.”
“Agent? Nobody mentioned no agent.” I turned my head and looked at him.
“I have a chance to be recorded by Atlantic Records.” He smiled cordially.
“Does Uncle Al know about this?” I asked.
“Of course not, silly, he is not part of this.” Frankie sat in his chair with a certain delicate grace and crossed his legs.
“Um, yes he does. You have a contract.” I shook my head suddenly feeling like I had been in the ring with a prize fighter. Uncle Al did not take kindly to anyone who broke a contract with him, I had been in the room with Dom the Fixer on many occasions when a Judas would come through with a bullet hole in his forehead and the back of his skull absent in the examining room.
“I want to record a record.” He said with a squeal. “I will be famous someday.”
“Or dead. You know Uncle Al has a history of being harsh on people who break his trust.” I pointed out.
“Oh he’s just a big pussycat.” Frankie waved me off. “We’d better be on our way.”
He picked up his trumpet and we walked the dark hallways side by side. Coming to the stair, I could hear the band warming up as they waited for the star of the show to appear. Frankie swayed and swished as he walked down the dark hallway and I was grateful that there was no one to see this other than me. Some of Uncle Al’s muscle was just beyond the stairs up in the showroom. I felt nauseous as we climbed the stairs. The music got louder and suddenly exploded into a frantic melody as he appeared in the spotlight, horn in hand, blowing some interlude to start things off. All around the room, the anticipation stirred the crowd. I did not hesitate, making a straight line to the table where Uncle Al was sitting surrounded by a couple of his guerrillas as he smoked a Cuban cigar. As soon as Frankie began to play, Uncle Al came to his feet, cigar clenched in his teeth, applauding along with everyone else.
That’s when I saw a mousy man wearing a trench coat, wearing glasses and a straw hat sitting at a table alone near the stage. He had a briefcase and when he opened it I saw Atlantic Records on one of the parcels inside his briefcase. Glancing over at Uncle Al, he had not noticed this gentleman yet, but his goons were now dispersing around the room that had filled with jazz, a bouncy number that had a few of the patrons on their feet by the second bar. The mousy man expressed his appreciation with a smile that nearly divided his oddly shaped head. I closed my eyes and walked to the mezzanine.
Ernie Houston, a colored doorman, spoke, “Whassa matter boss, ain’t diggin’ the buzz?”
“No, I’m just a little nervous.” I removed my cigarette holder and put one to the corner of my mouth. Reading over, Ernie lit my cigarette.
“He be the hottest number in town.” Ernie nodded as he put his lighter back in his coat pocket.
“He’s also got some record guy in there listening.” I blew a thick cloud of smoke over my head.
“Hmpt, ain’t nothing wrong wif dat.” He nodded again.
“No, but Uncle Al will not be fond of it.” I closed my eyes.
“Things will be what they should be.” He philosophized and I knew then that I and I alone seemed to know what was going on and I vowed to myself not to tell Uncle Al.
It was a few weeks later when Uncle Al asked me to do a job with Dom. I had no problems with the request, but Dom seemed pretty somber about the job. Driving over to the site, an abandoned meat warehouse on the north side, Dom warned me about the circumstances for our services. It seems a couple of our boys were ambushed on a delivery in a very brutal attack that seemed like a revenge hit and not a hijacking as it was made to appear.
The building had not been occupied for over a decade, last serving as a place where the army stored its provisions during the war. Now it was just a big empty space with a constant echo. Leaving our truck, Dom removed four body bags and handed me two. There were windows in the rafters that let in a guarded dim light that filtered to what once was the slaughterhouse floor. Dom’s legs wobbled as he walked across the stained cement floors.
“My father used to work in a slaughterhouse after he got off the boat.” Dom said as we came up to a place where there were signs of recent activity. He stopped and put his handkerchief to his face. “Oh mio dio, mio figlio!” He cried out as he fell to his knees next to a body lying on the cold cement floor. He embraced the victim in his arms as tears ran freely down his face. Dried coagulated blood caked the back of the man’s head in the thick black hair where his skull used to be. “Oh mio dio! Oh mio dio!” He sobbed as he rocked on his knees still embracing the dead man.
Looking down, I saw three other men lined up in a neat row, blood running into the gutter where once the blood of slaughtered animals once ran like a river. All the men were dressed in suits, their hands folded over their torsos each with a single bullet hole entry wound in their foreheads. It appeared as though the assassin had carefully prepared these men for the coroner.
“These animals, look what they have done to my son.” Dom gently laid the man back on the ground, his suit now stained with his own son’s blood. It was Victor. I closed my eyes feeling suddenly nauseous, remembering how Victor had mentored me into the business and introducing me to his father. The other men I had seen around the club sitting at the table with Uncle Al. Dom walked into a cooler with a big sealed iron door. Pulling on the handle, the heavy door swung open and in the middle of the cooler hung a man on a meat hook. From the horrible specter, it clearly appeared he had been placed there while he was still living. In an instant I recognized the man, “Jetty.”
Jetty or Solomon Grudell hung swaying the slight wind coming through one of the inoperable vents with a squeaky fan blade vibrating in the stale wind. Jetty was one of the servers at the club who would wait on Uncle Al every night, because he was his favorite colored waiter on account he had such light skin that he could have been Italian. Jetty came up from a rural town in Mississippi as a young boy and due to his industrious nature was able to find a special place in the white man’s world. Having connection with some of his people who made gallons of bathtub gin, Jetty found himself highly favored in Uncle Al’s business ventures.
“The old man isn’t gonna like this.” Dom said as he lifted Jetty’s body off of the meat hook. “Poor guy. Looks like it took him at least two hours to die on this hook.”
Hate dug into my guts where I was struggling to keep my breakfast down where it belonged. Four men lie dead on the cold concrete while another was impaled on a meat hook to spend the rest of his two or so hours on earth in complete agony. I bent over and vomited into the gutter red from the blood of the victims. Carefully Dom placed Jetty’s slight body into the black bag, zipping it up after saying a couple of Hail Mary’s. It took us the better part of the morning to finish up our business. Dom was silent on the ride back to his office, but I could see tears flowing down his chubby cheeks as he whistled a tune from one of Puccini’s operas.
“Now you see.” Uncle Al looked at me after Dom reported to him what had happened. “These enemies of mine are animals like the slaughterhouse they snuffed out my men. And Jetty. Why on earth did they off my Negro waiter like that? Animals.”
“I want to take a few days off.” Dom said with his head bowed and his fedora in his large hands.
“By all means. I will have Monsignor Anglese do the service if that’s alright, Dom.” I had never heard Al’s voice so soft and sympathetic, but Dom just nodded in concurrence before leaving us alone in Al’s office.
“Good news, Frankie really likes you. He says you got swing and swagger, kid.” Al laughed, his mood change was instantaneous while I was still reeling from watching Dom take Jetty off of the meat hook. Noticing my not so chipper mood, Al added, “Kid, this is part of the business. If I grieved for every person I ever thought highly of who got rubbed out, I’d never leave church. I loved my colored waiter, Jetty. He was a good man, but this is what happens when you are dealing with subhumans in this business. They got no respect. No respect.” He slammed his hands down on his large antique wooden desk. “If you give into emotion, you are finished. Finished, because they are looking for your weakness. You cannot let them know you are weak. Ever.” Once again he slammed his hands down on his desk for emphasis.
I attended Victor’s funeral. It was a rainy dreary affair in the cold early spring morning at the cemetery where over a hundred men dressed in fancy suits stood heads bowed as Monsignor Anglese stood reading from Psalms about riding into the valley of death and all. All I could think about was that woman standing there with her black veil draped over her tear stained face, holding the hands of her two young boys’ hands who were still wondering why dad hadn’t come home for dinner fidgeting as the monsignor continued to pray in Latin.
“Poor Victor.” I heard one of the mourners sigh as he dropped a handful of dirt on the coffin that had been scaffold down to the bottom of the grave.
“He was a natural.” Another stated as he also dropped his handful of dirt.
It took nearly twenty minutes for all the mourners to walk by the open grave, but when Marnie, his wife’s turn came, she stood there her eyes swollen and red as she pushed back the veil with a gloved hand and said, “Oh Victor, you promised you’d give up the business, because of what it did to your own father, but I see now, blood run thick and sometimes it makes it impossible to quit. You told me how much of this was insanity and I honestly believed you would come to your senses and move upstate away from all this. Now I got Artie and Paulie to raise. I’m going to Rochester to live with my mom and hope they won’t be sucked in like you were. I miss you, Victor. I miss you so much.”
There was an angel who must have grabbed my by my shoulder and guided me away from the cemetery as I realized I too would have to make the determination to quit the business before I came to an untidy end like Victor.
Frankie was trimming his nails when I walked into his apartment later that day. He lived in one of the upscale places near Manhattan that Uncle Al was paying for. In his marbled floored apartment were publicity posters of Frankie blowing his horn, his veins bulging and his face covered in his own perspiration. He was lying on his divan with his bathrobe open wider than I cared to see, his hair in women’s curlers since his image was that curly blonde hair that drove his women fans crazy. Mandy was fluttering and flitting about in the kitchen preparing a skin treatment since according to Frankie, the hot spot lights were hell on his fair complexion. I knew women who didn’t fuss as much with their looks as he did and it made me uneasy.
“Dear boy, come sit by my side while Mandy and I work on this hideous project.” He laughed a tittering laugh that was much too shrill for a man’s laugh.
“Mr. Lane, please hold still.” Mandy demanded as she applied the sticky solution to his face.
“Ah, I can feel it doing its magic now.” He rolled his eyes as he smiled like a naughty little imp. “Hey Tony, I want to practice a few numbers and was hoping you had time to stick around.”
“Sure.” I nodded agreeably since the only pleasure I got hanging around Frankie at this point was to hear him play.
“Mr. Simmons called me this morning.” Frankie explained as he closed his eyes so Mandy could apply the suave.
“And whose that?” I asked leaning back in my soft cushioned chair.
“The record agent from Atlantic.” Frankie answered.
“Have you talked to Uncle Al?” I asked, feeling my guts tense up.
“What for? I am an adult capable of managing my own affairs.” He said sticking his lower lip out like a obstinate willful child.
“Yeah, but as long as you live here and take his money, you are obligated to him, you know.” I pointed out as Mandy finished her application.
“You are such a kill-joy, Tony.” He squealed disapprovingly.
“I’ve seen what he can do to people who double deal him.”
“Double dear? Are you hearing this boy, Mandy? Double deal. I am not part of his business organization.” Frankie shook his head.
“You don’t understand, Frankie, he thinks you belong to him by contract.” I came to my feet in a single movement and walked to the window fourteen stories up that gave a panoramic view of the river.
“No one owns Frankie Lane.” He scoffed.
“Whadda bout the agent when he wants you to sign on the bottom line of a recording contract? Saying you agree to their terms?” I was feeling my anger rise up again.
“Posh! The money I could earn with a record would put me in the penthouse for life.” He got up off the devan and walked toward the bedroom.
“Or wind up in the river with cement overshoes.” I said without turning to look at him and his expression of shock that ravaged his face.
“My word. You have no idea.” I could hear the bedroom door slam.
“I’ll see my way out.” I told Mandy who was standing there with her mouth still agape.
“Kid, gotta job” Dom’s voice was flat and somber.
“Sure, sure.” I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, looked down at Maria who was naked under the sheets and got out of bed without waking her. Maria was a good time cigarette girl who wandered the aisles of the club selling packs of cigarettes during the shows. She wore a short skirt and sparkly knickers that had me bedazzled most of the time. Finding out what was under those sparkles became an obsession until I wore her down with spontaneous trinkets and bangles. The conquest was extremely satisfying, but I felt it also put me further in debt to Uncle Al who arranged our affair as it were. But the call of duty meant an early start to the day. I would leave her a note hoping to continue our relationship.
Taking a taxi, I got to Dom’s place about eight and his secretary Mildred served me some strong Italian coffee which means more grounds than water.
Dom hadn’t smiled since his son’s funeral and when he lumbered out of his small office, he did not look pleased to see me in the least.
“What’s up?” I asked coming to my feet showing him the respect that was expected.
“Body collection.” He poured his own coffee and drank it black.
“Again?” I shrugged.
“Busy season.” He mumbled. “C’mon we are taking the meat wagon.”
The meat wagon was the truck with a flatbed to transport stiffs back to his laboratory where he had enough lye to dissolve any human remains within twenty four hours. There were other substances that I’d rather not talk about because thinking about them makes me queasy. Lately, however, my inner constitution was getting stronger or used to the carnage that was waiting for us to clean up.
“So how ‘bout them Yanks?” He attempted to start a light conversation, but I was not much of a baseball fan. “Manager says Babe might be on the trading block. How ‘bout that, huh?”
“Yeah that’s something.” I let my mind go back to that moment when Maria disrobed and we began to get it on, such grace and elegance as sweet nectar now flowed in my veins that would help me endure whatever was waiting for us. In ten minutes time we arrived. Dom parked the car in an alley. Even as the morning sun burned down, the alley was dark and secluded as if chosen for that purpose.
As I followed Dom, I saw the body sprawled out on the cement, the head had burst open like an overripe melon and limbs were bent in unnatural positions. The face had been obscured by the sudden impact of the head as the victim fell from one of the windows of the upper stories. Then I recognized the building. Frankie lived here. And when I looked down, I gasped. Frankie was the victim. He had fallen seventeen stories, his body crushed by the impact. Slowly Dom put the broken remains of the trumpet player into the black bag and zipped it.
“What the hell?” I snapped.
“Got the call last night that Uncle Al had caught him with some agent from a record company. The boys were told not to confront the record agent only to flush Frankie Lane out of his penthouse window. Which they did.” He craned his neck toward the open window seventeen stories up.
“I thought he liked Frankie.” I scratched my head as Dom filled the bucket in one of the spickets to wash away the remaining blood.
“No, no, he loved Frankie. Loved him more than anyone else on earth.” Dom explained splashing the water over the blood spot until it was washed away. “I’m surprised you didn’t know.”
“I thought he had no room in the organization for queers.” I shook my head as we carried the bag to the truck.
“Alphonse Anglese is not queer.” Dom laughed as we placed the back in the back.
“But Frankie? I mean…”
“Maybe you oughta accompany me in the lab. I’m sure it will satisfy your questions.” Dom laughed as we drove back to his place. I helped him unload Frankie’s remains and put the back on a shiny metal table where Dom then unzipped the bag. Some of Frankie’s entrails had leaked out of his remains. Taking a sharp scalpel, Dom cut down the ragged silk shirt like the one he had put on when I was there earlier in the week. Laying the shirt open, he pointed to one of Frankie’s nipples with his scalpel. “Whadda’s that look like?”
“Nipple.” I shrugged.
“How about the flabbiness?” Dom smiled as he pulled the shirt away from the coagulated blood.
“Lotsa men got men-boobs.” I nodded as he shrugged. Then he cut away the pants and then the boxer shorts.
There was no penis between his legs, just pubic hair and quite a thick wad if you ask me.
“There’s your answer.” Dom pointed to the penislessness of Frankie. “Virginia . No cock.”
“What is going on here.” I looked closely, my stomach began to turn on itself.
“Frankie wasn’t no man, Tony. He was a she.” Dom took his gloves off.
“For the whole time?” I asked feeling as if someone was playing a cruel joke on me, but Dom just nodded yes.
“What for?” I still could not believe my own eyes.
“Simple. Music is a man’s domain. Florence tried for three years after studying music at NYU getting on with a band, but no one would have her, a woman as lead horn no matter how good she was. So she decided to switch genders and caught on with a couple of local bands. She was playing at a small venue when Uncle Al caught the act. Later she took him backstage where she showed him her secret and the rest was a romance to rival any in the history of making connections. She had him promise to keep her secret, she dressed like a man, bound her breasts until after a while they no longer resembled a woman’s breast any longer.”
“So what happened?” I shrugged still reeling from the startling revelation.
“Betrayal. She got eyes for this guy who pretended he was a record agent.” Dom lit a cigarette.
“So who was he?” I asked.
“Some pollucka from nowheresville.” Dom laughed, “But one of her admirers who found out her secret.”
“I still can’t believe it.” I shook my head.
“C’mon kid, I’ve got to dispose of poor Frankie Lane here. We are going to spend some time together.” He ushered me out of the lab and closed the door. In less than an hour, Frankie Lane would no longer exist as her physical remains would disappear in a chemical reaction.
Later that evening as Uncle Al was entering his club, two masked gunmen put seventeen bullets into him and drove away. He actually lived through the night, but in the morning his system could no longer expel his own blood that was flooding his chest cavity and died. Dom and I were sitting in the waiting room when the surgeon gave us the news.
It was a week later when I enrolled in night classes and through hard work and effort, I managed to get my diploma in forensics and was hired on by the state of New York. Now thirty years later, I have my gold watch and thirty years of state business to look back on. I don’t mind. I like to putter in the garden and have my grand kids come visit on the weekends. Dom passed away just after the war as he was working in real estate after leaving the organization. Every now and then I go have lunch with Lucille, his widow and we talk about them good old days, but I feel as though she doesn’t miss them in the least. I know I sure don’t.
During the war, I worked at the army base identifying the remains of American boys coming back from Europe and it was that duty that changed my perspective about right and wrong in this world. The anger I felt at some of the things I saw as a mobster have gone away, filtered by the passing of time till I no longer feel the hate I once felt so vehemently.
“Kid, don’t be such a hot-head.” Dom would remind me while we cleaned up another mess left behind for us to take care of. The way he said it and that look in his eye as if he knew something that no one else knew was what kept me alive during those dangerous days.
Every now and then, I hear some of those jazzy numbers that was brighter than the neon lights over Broadway. I remember and think of Frankie Lane and how our own perceptions continue to shape the world we live in.