Assisi Triptych


St. Frankie plucked a strawberry off the curb in a snow patch 

on 8 Mile Road and planted her in the shag carpet at New York 

Dominic’s big ranch crib on Windmill Point, another white lie 

as the big wet snowflakes of the false Spring killed the crocuses. 

The strawberry’s black patch was tropical.  She danced to her 

chosen radio station.  In the eyes of St. Frankie her hair rose up 

off her skull like ten penny nails and cascaded to her shoulders 

like a stringer of bullheads.  St. Frankie longed to hear the drip 

of the kitchen sink.

“Here’s the play.  You’re gonna get yours up front.  The long 

green for the trick comes out right now.”  He fans out his pocket 

wad and lets it fly, a green shower for her.  “I’m gonna play the 

piano.  You’re gonna slow dance.  3 numbers.  Then I’m through 

with you.  Don’t stop till I exit this room.  Then scoop up your cash, 

dress up and hustle your ass out of here.  Be quick about it and no 

funny business.  Use your cell to get a cab back to your beat.”

From the perch of his piano bench St. Frankie eyeballed her all 

through Misty and part way through Clair de lune as the chords

slipped frombetween his fingerslike flowers and then it was all 

white and black keys until his exit to the patio midway through 

La Fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with The Flaxen Hair), 

his exit outdoors where Assisi the statue stationed in the dead 

flower box stood tall in a straight jacket of snow.


“Look kid, always pay as you go and never full price.  

Cash money is clean.  No hidden fees. There is no 

tomorrow in the current moment.  Sleep till noon 

every day if you can but never lose any sleep. Never ask.  

Always let the women come to you and always wear 

a raincoat. Remember you create your own 24 hours.  

You’ll be OK as long as you’re set to 98.6.  I’m not 

talking about the radio dial here.  Oh yeah, your chances 

are always best if you live in the city where you got a lot 

of choices.  It’s the human element.”

I’m not a seeker of Frank’s wisdom but I listen.  He’s a 

friend of certain people and I don’t want to get into how 

he got connected to me.

Every year I draw him aces against the Taxman, a matter 

of washing sundry 1099’s from his Hazel Park harness 

horse track winnings.  I do it again on a sunny April 

afternoon.  That done, we’re in his 1989 Cadillac 

Fleetwood Brouham to motor to Jack’s Waterfront for a 

late lunch.  “Fuck the Prius crowd.  A BUNCH OF 



We walk straight to the bar.  “I’ll pass on eating.  

You go ahead.  I gotta take a piss.  Order me the usual.” 

I do after he walks off.  She brings them.  Long Necks.  

I tell her, “Better bring him a glass.”

He’s a particular man.  He wants everything right.  

Money back at tax time and sunshine in April.

He wants to drive an old time land yacht at 11 miles per 

gallon for the leg room and the service in max comfort 

of a $40 blow job from a crack whore.

He wants a glass for his beer of choice and she brings 

over a nice frosted mug for him.  I take a hit from the 

bottle and then he’s back.  “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?” 

“What?” I say.  He points to the frosted mug.  


He stalks off and returns with a short High-Ball glass.

“FUCK THAT.”  He points to his frosted mug.  I take a 

good hit out of the bottle.  When she comes with my Crab 

Louie, he says “Give us 2 more, sweetheart.”  

She grabs my empty and then his quarter full bottle 

pouring the remains in his little glass.  He screams 

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”  It startles her.  

Me too.  “What?” she says.  He points to the little glass. 



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