Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Book That Digs My Grave

There’s a huge dilemma brewing with my father. He wants to write a book. What’s worse than that is, he wants me to write it for him. I’m working on my second book which includes stories from the past, and how it was to grow up in an “Italian household” clueless to 'suspicious happenings’. He wants to take it a step further and have me interview him. I wanted this to be narrated from my viewpoint as a child growing up. But no, he wants to have a face-to-face interview and place all of his shocking stories in a book for all to see.

“Oh come on! Stop with that tawk! She’s not writing that crap in there!” My mother yells from the kitchen.
“Whaddya’ tawkin’ about??? This’ll be a top sella’ if she goes tru’ wit’ dis—whaddya’ crazy or sumptin’? Dese’ are all true stories I’m tellin’ ya here!” My father yells out from the living room back over to my mom.

My question is, if I display all of his stories in my book—would some wise guy find it? And if they did, would they come after me? Would I reveal someone’s deep dark hidden secret and have them rush over to where I live with two big cement shoes, and then drive me over to the Hudson River for a nice casual swim? It just doesn’t sit well with me.

Another concern is, my father has millions of stories. How do I even attempt to gather all of those up and place them in a book and attempt to call it ‘my own’? He’s already thinking up names of the book.

“Dad, I don’t even know how to start with this book.”
“Whaddya’ mean? You start with how I started workin’ at da’fish market down in South Street Seaport in Manhattan when I was justa' kid. I hadda’ collect money from da’stores for a percentage. I dought’ it was okay until some guy grabbed me to drive a tractor trailer full of bagged up meats into a butcher shop wit’ no name. You can call it, ‘Life in an Organized Mess.'"

It was messy alright. I had no clue why this happened, or why ‘that’ happened. All I know is, if you ever get your meat from a butcher, keep in mind what might go through those grinders. I think my dad’s the culprit of my nightmares. I'm making him pay for all my therapy bills.

“Ma! Are these real stories or is he taking too much medication?”
“I don’t remember a thing!” She pipes back. Figures.

“Listen to me! You tell dem’ about the excavation business and how the garbage companies participated in the ‘clean up’ as well as the laundering.”
“Dad! Your excavation business is still going strong--are you crazy? You really want me to put that in the book?”
“Why not? Dis’ is all from da’ past and I’ve already been indicted for these things. I did my time.”

He was right. He did his time in a Federal Pen and now back on track with his excavation business. What’s wrong with this picture?

There’s not a doubt in my mind that most of these stories are comical, but there are stories that are just full of gore. I am not sure I am over the trauma of watching my parents get arrested to begin with. They were all ‘hush hush’ before the arrest, and now my father wants to tell the world his story.

I wonder if his story will become my story. If you see my face on a milk carton, you’ll know why.