Donny heard it again.
“He was cut, Donny was cut,” they repeated, before sheepishly averting their eyes from him.
Donny needed air, and squeezed his way through the whispering crowd to the church yard.
Left out of his father’s will? Donny didn’t understand.
Giuliana felt her husband’s mood swing from grief to anxiety and beyond, and she tenderly stroked the trembling hand which held the weathered pages of the eulogy.
“Quit worrying so much about the eulogy,” she counselled, “just speak from the heart,”
Donny genuflected and ascended the altar.
“Pa was a giant of a man, a king, a legend,” the dutiful son recounted to the hordes filling the church beyond capacity.
“He was a father to all of us,” he affirmed, and for many the tears began anew.
Then, suddenly he stopped. His voice wavered between sorrow and anger and he spoke from the heart.
“I can’t do this. I ain’t gonna pretend. Why was I cut from the will? Why me? I loved Pa more any o’ you lot. Me and Pa saved the family business when the Russians moved in. Me and Pa took on the Bosco twins, it weren’t none o’ you,” and the congregation sat in bemused silence.
“Paulie, Alfonso!” he shouted in accusatory tones at his cousins.
“Where were you when times was tough, hey? Playin’ backjack in Atlantic City, hey Paulie? and what about you Alfonso, hiding out at a titty bar in Vegas?”
Donny’s resentful gaze landed upon Alfonso’s wife and he saw the whites of her eyes beaming from under her black mourner’s veil.
“And you Little Tony, you ain’t done nuthin’ None of you lowlife bloodsuckin’ maggots ain’t never done half o’ what I did for Pa. You disgust me. Pretendin’ to pay respect, but You ain’t here for that. You all came for your piece of the pie isn’t it…”
White hot anger propelled Donny’s words and they ricocheted off walls more accustomed to sombre prayers and hymns.
“Well it looks like I ain’t getting’ my piece o’ the pie, so you can all get…” but before Donny could hurl the final insult, he sensed the approach of the priest, and either through decorum or fearful respect, he vacated the pulpit and stormed out of the church.
Donny’s mother motioned to Roberto, and he set off after his brother.
“Donny, what was that?” asked Roberto, exasperated.
“They cut me out Bobbie, out of the will,” Donny sprayed, his anger not yet quelled.
“What are ya saying?”
“Before the service Bobbie, everybody was sayin’ real quiet and suspicious like… Donny was cut, Donny was cut”
“That’s how he died”
“What? It was a heart attack”
“No, it weren’t, we just got the autopsy results this mornin’, when you was out here reading that paper over and over. The Bosco twins got him, Pa was cut real discreet, he died real slow” and Roberto blessed himself again.
Donny slumped, dejected.
Donilo Scarpone Sr.
Rest in Peace
Image: Mayron Oliveira