Giovanni Cartucci Part 8

I was born to a modest family in New Hampshire in a suburban outside of Manchester on April 17, 1964. Events preceding and of my birth are not known to me and hopefully insignificant. The names of my parents were Eugene and Idaho, my father dark and my mother fair. My parents were young and foolish, pooling their money into a stock that crashed 45% on the same day my sister was conceived. I was 14 years old. Due to the startling change in our socioeconomic position, we moved to Corleone, Sicily, my mother’s roots, the same as in which the Godfather had lived. We watched the movie on our neighbor's VCR player in pixelated quality. There was no sound because his American friend had forgotten to flick the switch on his camcorder. It was still enjoyable, though barely. When I went home that night my dad was still unemployed and struggling to speak Italian, my sister was still a bump, my mother still trying to make some desperate meal out of millet, grass, and boiling water. My dad pulled me aside that night and told me that someday, when I stood on the line of myself between wellbeing or misery, and on the fence between another's, and I must choose a path between solitude and guilt and desperation, then I would learn what it was to be living, responsible man. Later that cold winter night, while the rest of us were asleep on the dirt floor, my dad walked out on us, out of the small town of Corleone, Sicily, because he had learned what it was to be a brave, responsible man on the path of loneliness. Our family lived without him for months, and it was better. My mother became an English-Italian interpreter and I a journeyman opium farmer for the rich in the city. The money we made was enough to feed two mouths and more. We went to church every week and we paid our protection from the mafia. And then one summer day, after all this business, in the month that my baby sister was to be born, I was sitting alone by the fireplace drinking some broth while my mother was interpreting for the don and while the kind, reassuring weight of my gun was constant in my pocket, I was taken away from my family. There was a knock at the door. I walked to the window and peeked outside. There was a man in an ironed black suit. He knocked again. I twisted the brass doorknob then exploded against the far wall as the door smashed into the floor with superhuman velocity. The man in black pounced on me and his weight crushed my chest. I couldn't breathe as he smothered me in punches and blows. All I could do was to shield my face. I relinquished my shield for a second as I reached for my gun and immediately a fist came down and rocked my head back. I braved through it and fingered the handle of the gun but my assailant wrenched it from my grasp and tossed it away. I heard it fire and I knew I would just have to survive until my neighbors came. I reached above me onto the kitchen counter and clung onto a kitchen knife. I saw the fist come down and feebly swung at it. And then there was impact. My chest imploded and my vision blacked out. I couldn't breathe, couldn't move. But every vein in my body I could feel and as they pressed against their shells, every single one of them like a cramp, I became nauseous. I remember being carried out of my house, people screaming and guns firing. There was a screech of rubber and then the world stretched, like dew on a green leaf, and when it hit soil I fell asleep.

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