Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tick Tock

Vinnie Tuscavedo was the sort of guy that would hand a girl a five dollar bill with which to buy him a pack smokes, and tell her to use the change to pick up something 'nice' for herself. Then, if she came home without a new dress, he'd smack her around for disrespecting his generosity.

He was worse with us men. He’d scream and holler, leaping out of bed to take a swing. His mind was still locked in the sixties. I’m not talking about tie-dyed t-shirts and the summer of love here, I’m talking race riots, and Vinnie wasn’t backing the winning side. Vinnie’s an angry man with angry ideas. Over the years we learned to only send in white nurses with his meals, and to have a few of us guys waiting outside with sedatives in case anything kicks off.

That’s why I only see him when he’s sedated, or about to be sedated. We’ve never had a conversation and he’s never said a civil word to me. Everyone else looks peaceful when they’re knocked out, but Vinnie’s different. The hate in him has a knack of staying awake. His hands twitch into fists every couple of minutes. Makes his watch jangle. I swear I’ve seen the hair on his knuckles stand up, and his wrinkles are so deep he’s always frowning. Aggressive breathing too; sounds like he’s growling. He’s got a full head of white hair, so thick you’d never see his scars. Life aint fair. I’ve been going bald since I hit twenty, and this guy who’d as soon throw a punch as say hello aint even thinning yet.