It was Gianni’s father who gave his mother-in-law the name “Mamasu”; telling all his children it was an affectionate term for Grandmother; leaving unsaid, the word meant his wife’s “nasty bastard walking on sharp stones with bare feet” mother. It was one of the mightiest insults he could shape from a stressed out mind. He avoided having to look at her face with a mouth that harbored two teeth and a boneless tongue the size of picks and shovel he had swung during his days working for the WPA while trying to feed mouths so easily able to break bones as if they were large stones, and a wife who always tormented him about his falling into the smiles of other women of whom some were figments of her mother’s imagination. Only one had the courage to come to their fifth floor apartment, angrily asking permission from his wife, two years before his favorite child Gianni Savior was born when he stopped going away for days, to allow him to come out for just a little “fucking” while.
The son-in-law stuffed a whole large piece of bread into his mouth to stop him from saying words that would begin another week of revolutions that had engulfed Europe in eighteen forty-eight, when starving people, with the help of the middle class and a few intellectuals, tried to overthrow all the monarchies living in splendor and eating cake, meats and “ungearmed” greens with their favorite God whom they called Greed.
Feeling the tenseness permeating the silence that was lasting for two minutes or so with the clashes of forks with long teeth like extensions against dishes once filled, Gianni decided to leave the table to triple dribble his pink rubber ball from the kitchen to the woods outside where snakes and squirrels frolicked.
Gianni wished he were still in the East Bronx, where he once had to survive big trucks and buses being driven by guys who tried to avoid bodies of young children swimming in waters flowing from fire hydrants.