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Topic: Accent( 02/21/13)
A denominational allegory
By Jack Taylor
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The knobbed hickory cane jabbed into the cobblestones like a heron thrusting for crayfish. Pelting rain scattered at each determined step. A Yankees baseball cap, pulled low, almost hid the piercing eyes. The clenched jaw and deep scowl on its owner said it all.
Two young lovers, huddled under an umbrella in a café entrance across the way, noticed the shuffling old man and took another minute before braving the street. A narcotics officer masquerading as a ‘dumpster diver’ reached instinctively for his hidden phone. The block watch grandmother adjusted her drapes a little wider and fixated on the action sure to come.
The black trench coat wrapped around the hunched figure didn’t stop him from negotiating the wet stairway up to the door at number 316. The cane rattled the door glass as it smashed repeatedly against the wooden frame.
Within a minute the curtains were drawn back from the inside. The narcotics officer sprinted across the roadway during a break in the traffic and sheltered behind a tree with his gun drawn. The drapes on the third story apartment were now wide open.
The lovers lowered their umbrella and moved back into the sheltered alcove.
The intruder hesitated only a minute when the door remained closed. “Har ya da veazal dat insult my zohn? Cum out dis minoot and get yar thrashin.”
Inside the entranceway of 316 a slight bearded figure backed away from the doorway. The wide eyed stare and raised eyebrows gave their own message back.
“Vat iz da matta wit ya hed? Doan ya know dat people haz feelins? Now get out here and take yar thrashin. No man lookin like a billy goat insults my zohn and goes to bed without regret?”
The cane smashed repeatedly against the frame to emphasize the seriousness of the intention. The officer spoke urgently into his phone and the elderly apartment watcher began to dial. The young man opened the door of the café for his partner as she slipped inside to call for help.
Another figure joined the young bearded man on the other side of the door at 361. This one, potbellied, wrinkled, draped in a checkered bathrobe. He approached the door without hesitation. A Louisville slugger in his hand.
“What do you want?”
“I cum to avenge my zohn. He vas insulted by dat billy goat.”
“Are you calling my son a billy goat? I’d advise you to say your last prayers and step away from the door or you’ll be meeting your maker right now. Why isn’t your son here avenging himself?”
“He doan speek zo gud. Hiz family needz him to stay out of prizon.”
Sirens could be heard in the distance. The young lovers reunited in the alcove across the street and others emerged out of the café to join them as spectators of the confrontation at 316. The officer vaulted the wrought iron fencing lining the garden and raised his weapon as he moved slowly toward the stairs. The block watcher stood open mouthed and wide-eyed.
The potbellied bat holder let go of the doorknob and turned to the goateed young man sheltered behind him. “What did you say to his son?”
“Nothing! I couldn’t understand him.”
“Da billy goat iz lyin!” The cane smashed three more times for emphasis. “My Verner duz not lie. My zohn asked yar zohn vat teem he waz vatchin. Yar zohn told him he smelled like an ox.”
“An ox?” The inside intervener turned toward his son. “Why would you tell him he smelled like an ox?”
The bearded young man smiled. “I didn’t. I couldn’t understand him. I told him his accent was too much and I couldn’t help him.”
“So? Why would he be upset about that?”
“He obviously didn’t understand my accent. He thought I said ox scent.”
“Vat ar ya sayin bout my Verner?”
A full bellied chortle sounded. The door swung open. “Are you a Yankees fan or did you steal that from a sleeping drunk?”
The cap was removed. “Iz mine. Signed by Yogi Barra. See!”
“This bat is signed by Babe Ruth. Greatest of them all.”
“Iz gud. My zohn likes Babe Rooth.”
“Well my son likes Yogi Berra. Can he see your hat?”
The cane tip dropped to the porch stoop for support and the cap was extended.
“Come in. It’s the third inning. We’re up by two. It’s dry in here.”
The gun lowered. The drapes closed. The lovers embraced. The rain continued.
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