Story: “The Bronx Safari Trip”
By: Jerry Vilhotti
Gianni sat in the back of the car totally engulfed by cigar smoke which was coming from his father’s nervous puffing which grew more frantic the closer they were approaching the foothills; the Father swore he could smell the tiger Mamasu’s pee that delineated her area.
Gianni increased the sounds of his gagging to make it fully known he was suffocating and in the ugly sound was the real threat he was about to vomit. He reached for the handle to open the window. The move was seen by his father who was peering into the rear view mirror as if looking for enemy white hunters driving bigger cars.
“No, don’t! For the love of God don’t!” his father shouted into the flesh of the back of his hand; leaving bite-sized track marks all over it.
“Why not? I’m suffocating to facking death!” the eleven year said in his tongue. When two languages were being used the harshness of curse words were lost in the not understanding the full meaning in shape and form of one’s own language. Gianni pronounced the word like his father did.
“Because the wind might tilt the car over!” the Father shouted nearly losing control of his steering so nervous he was approaching his mother-law’s area.
If there had been six people on the pretend safari to bring the tiger home with them, the father would have spent a long time arranging everyone by weight and height to maintain a proper balance preventing the car from overturning.
“How?” Gianni asked being the only one among his siblings to dare challenge the great white hunter; being his favorite.
“The air becomes another damn person – that’s how!”
“OK, so I’ll throw up on the seat!”
“Wait! For the love of all the Saints! Let me pull over!” the father said while hitting himself in the head with a closed fist; forcing his wife to grab the wheel preventing them from falling headlong into deep black waters where tigers lurked.