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THE MAN WHO LOVED CHARLOTTE RUSSE by Salvatore Buttaci


YOUNG BOY LEANING OVER BAKERY COUNTER   Maybe it would have helped if I had raised my hand some decades ago and told my story. “My name is Jeremy and I’m a sugar addict. I’ve come tonight seeking help.” But I didn’t. Nor did I look to psychoanalysis to help me. My father had raised us to distrust “those meddling brainpickers.” In fact, even before dementia riveted him to the same sound-byte loops in which repetition ruled at the slightest provocation, Father was well on his way with a favorite shrink line of his. When he told it, he held his rotund belly, then in raucous laughter his beach ball belly would jiggle and bob as if it had a life of its own. “Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist oughta have his head examined!”  It was no surprise in his last years one had only to say “shrink” or even...
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THREE QUICK FLASHES AND THEN DARKNESS by Salvatore Buttaci


FLASHING MY SHORTS by Salvatore Buttaci A flash of painful remembrance, a memory of a wounded World War II veteran, a tale of Uncle Pete who wasn’t really Uncle Pete at all, and then the darkness of a life once lived in unrestrained laughter.    Encounter    Years of hard drinking had driven him to seed.  He slept under cardboard  on the coldest New York City nights, and his days were taken up begging for spare change.   One morning a passerby stopped to look at him.  He turned his unshaven, toothless face away.  But the woman continued staring.  “Is your name Thomas?” she asked.  He shook his head.  “Thomas Cole?” she persisted.  Again he gestured no.  He could see the tears wetting the woman’s face.  She could not see his. Leaning against the streetlight, he watched his daughter lose herself in the rush hour of pedestrian traffic.       ...
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THE TRUE HEART OF ITALY by Salvatore Buttaci

My scrapbook of Italian postcards ranks high on my list of conversation pieces. “I’ve always wanted to see Venice,” says my neighbor Bill.  “Oh, the Bridge of Sighs,” says his wife Pauline. “I saw it in a movie once.” Venice. Florence. Pisa. Rome. Four postcards to a page. A scrapbook of colorful wish-you-were-here attractions: churches, the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica, paintings by Renaissance masters like Giotto, Titian, Fra Lippi, famous statues by Michelangelo, and the Trevi Fountain, All there in my scrapbook. I admit my collection is eye-catching, a memorabilia of vacations spent in Italy from 1965 to 1995. But there is a second scrapbook I love more, one I don’t usually share with others. It boasts no touristic postcards to woo the eye of the italophiles who visit my home. When Italy comes nostalgically to my mind, it is this scrapbook I take down from my bookshelf and sit...
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