Quelle Cad

“If I could get back my youth, I’d do anything in the world except get up early, take exercise or be respectable.” Lord Henry Wooten from THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GREY

Neither Rain Nor Sleet Not Snow

1978 Boston. Route 128. A world-class blizzard hit New England. 24 inches of snow in 12 hours. The next day another 12. Manhattan was buried under a blanket of white. I was worried about my parents and called 109 Harborview Road o tell my father that said I was coming home

“How?” He was a man of direct eloquence

“By train.”

“Route 128 is snowed under.”

“By bus to South Station.” Greyhound was promising door to door from 42nd Street to South Station and they were proud of this claim.

“And after that?” My father was hinting at another barrier to travel and said, “There are no car allowed on the road.”


“Not even fire trucks.”

“I guess I’ll stay here.” My apartment was heated by steam. The windows were steamed by heat. The bodega on the corner was serving sandwiches and the dealers on the corner were back in business.

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow………………..

I saw my mother and father after the thaw.

We had a good bowl of chowder. It was that kind of a season. Winter beyond belief.

SNOW by Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester recorded this song in 1970.

Winter was winter back in the last century.

Listening to this song is as close as I’m going to get to the 20th Century on a day like this.

To hear SNOW by Jesse Winchester,please go to the following URL

New York Snow Day

In the winter of 2010 I woke early to see snow flakes flutter against the window of my Brooklyn bedroom. Beyond the glass a winter storm was decorated the city white. I thought about going back to sleep, except the telephone rang.

It was my boss’ son, Richie Boy.

“I hope you’re calling to tell me not to come in work.” I loved snow days.

“No, I have a customer coming into the store at 9:30. He’s buying a Rolex.”

“And you aren’t coming in?” Richie Boy never showed before the crack of 11.

“Not until later. I’m trying to re-book a flight to Miami. The snowstorm has cancelled flights out of La Guardia.”

“How much snow is there?”

“Twelve inches so far. Can you make it?”

“If the trains are running, yes.” I hung up, made a cup of tea, got dressed for the weather , and called my family in Thailand. My son Fenway was a good boy. Mem was feeling good.

“I never see snow.”

“I don’t think you’d like it.” The coldest it got in SriRacha was the low 70s.

“I think I die. You come here soon. I keep you warm.”

I hung up, finished my tea, and headed to the Atlantic Terminal. Trains were running slow, so there was no chance of a snow day for me. It was a good way to start out the morning and I headed out of the Fort Greene

The train ride into the city took an hour instead of 30 minutes. Richie Boy’s customer was already at the store. The banker looked upset. These Wall Street types didn’t like wasting time even in a blizzard. He didn’t thank me for coming into the city and I spun the dial of the safe slower than normal. After pulling open the door I took out the watch. It was in a box. The banker tried it on. It was a late gift from his bonus.

“You have the money.”

He handed over an envelope. $10,000 was much of a wad in hundreds. I count it three times and said, “You’re good to go.”

Neither of us said good-bye. I wasn’t making a penny from the sale. It was 100% Richie Boy’s deal. I looked outside, as I set up the jewelry in the window. The snow wasn’t letting up and I doubted Richie Boy was getting out of town today.

The phone rang.

I look at the number. It was a New Jersey number. A client was calling to ask where was his Fedex package. I answered the phone and told the realtor that his wife’s gift might be stuck at the depot.

“But Richie said it would get here today.”

“The snowstorm is an act of God.” I had to blame it on someone and who better the leader of America. The customer cursed me. He was a dick, but I said, “I’ll call Fedex soon and get back to you.”

“I’m not happy.”

“Good morning?” Andrea asked from across the aisle.

We were the only two people in the exchange other than the two guards.

“Yeah, lovely. I thought I was going to have a snow day, instead I came in to get yelled at by a customer who wants his package now.”

“Who wants what now?” Richie clomped into the store in his snowboarding gear. He saw the cash on the desk and stuck it in his pocket. He had bills to pay.

“I told him about the package in limbo.

“Let’s see if we can save it from purgatory.” Richie called Fedex and asked the FedEx rep about options. “Can a customer can pick up the package from 11th Ave and 42nd Street.”

That was FedEx’s main depot.

I groaning thinking that Richie Boy wanted me to pick up the package. He blamed me for the package’s status, not remembering that he had ordered Monday delivery to save on shipping. Americans loved to blame everything on someone other than themselves. I bit my tongue. I had four kids to feed. They’re more important than my pride.

But only a little bit.

“Where you going?” Richie Boy asked without putting down the telephone. The only time of day his ear was free was when he’s asleep. No one calls me. I’m a ghost in New York. Richie Boy is threaded into the fabric. Everyone calls him.

“To pick up the package.” I figured the go-come back would take two hours.

“Let the prick pick it up.” Richie Boy hung up the phone. His ear was boiling red. Better his than mine. I have no one talking in my head while I sleep.

“You’re right about that.” I don’t talk about any customers like that, although Richie Boy’s father considers all Gs are POS or pieces of shit and they proved the truth of Manny’s words more often than not.

There were no flights out of New York to anywhere.

Richie Boy was stuck here, but he made another sale. We closed early. The snow was gaining on the rock salt and shovels. His wife was waiting at home. A bottle of wine would be my companion for the night. Later a telephone call would join me with Mem. She would know from the tone of my voice that I had been drinking.

“It’s a snow day.”

Mem was smart.

She knows what that means and she knows me.

I love snow.

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American Sniper

AMERICAN SNIPER has fast become a national hit. The ‘hero’ kills and kills and kills only the bad guys. Every one of his targets deserved a tap on the head or a shot through the heart. Audience cheer the death of Iraqi insurgents without remembering that the USA’s occupation of Iraq was a complete failure and the military has been severely damaged by the endless war thousands of miles from our shores.

Hollywood has a funny way of shifting our perception of reality.

Recently I bought a copy of AMERICAN SNIPER from the Chinese bootlegger on the Upper East Side.

“Very good movie.”

“Those three words are her only English.

I like watching films on my MacBook and that evening fast forwarded through the film, editing out his childhood in Texas, SEAL training camp, and his relationship with this family and wife. All that remained was thirty minutes of Chris Kyle’s killing of Iraqis defending their land from foreign invaders.

Head shots and boy shots.

Close and far away.

He was called ‘The Legend’ by the other soldiers.

He made them feel safe.

One man same as Soviet sniper Vasily Zaitsev from ENEMY AT OUR GATES, but no one was safe from death in Stalingrad or Bagdhad.

Snipers are killers and this week the director Michael Moore twittered this, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

AMERICAN SNIPER fans railed against this accusation, but I got to agree.

No one lights three cigarettes with a match.

In World War I a sniper had the time to aim at the third man on the line.


No smoking for # 3.

Snipers are saints on your side and devils on the other side of the battle line and death doesn’t respect any rules in war, for as Charles De Leusse so aptly said, “The sniper of heart misses only flowers. (Le sniper du cœur – Ne rate que les fleurs)”