Awaiting Your Turn

In My Father’s Words


03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018

Awaiting Tour Turn


The man pushed open the door to the waiting room and stood still for several
seconds as the brightness of the lighting struck him in the face. “God”, he
muttered, shielding his eyes and shaking his head, as he walked slowly into
the room. It was a large room, very bright, and almost full of people of
both sexes and all ages. Just in front of him was a round machine at about
chest height and beside it a sign, which read “PLEASE TAKE A TICKET AND
AWAIT YOUR TURN.” Dutifully he did so.

He stood in the doorway for some moments, looking around. He was not a tall
man and was a little paunchy. He ran his hand over his thinning hair as he
searched for a free seat. The most remarkable thing about this wan was the
striking blue of his eyes.

“Is this seat taken?”

“No, buddy, it ain’t”. The small dark man with deep brown eyes shuffled to
his right to make space. He extended his hand. “Hi, I’m Al.”

The first man sat down heavily and clasped the other’s hand. “Frank.” He
took a pack of Marlborough from his pocket. “Cigarette, Al.”

“Hell, no, babe. Like verboten, in here. The damm things will kill you,
you know.” He laughed loudly at his own humour.

Frank put the pack away and looked at the number on his ticket. Number 98.
“What number do you have, Al?”

Al held up the little piece of paper. “I got 53. Where are you from, Frankie?”


“Yeah, you know, just for a minute I could have sworn you had a touch of Noo York in there.”

Frank laughed. “You’ve got me, Al, I was born in the big Apple.”

“Hey man, cool, I’m a NY boy.”

“Yeah, I’d never have known.” Frank regretted his words as soon as they
spoken, but fortunately Al recognised nothing to which he might take

“I noo it, I noo it. Where in our great city?”

“On the eastside, Hoboken. You know it?”

“Get outa here, man. I’m from Hoboken.”

Frank grinned. “I was born in Monroe Street. You an Italian boy, Al?”
“Sure as hell, man. Abbot street myself. I was part of Tony Catani’s crowd. You knew them?”

“I knew Tony. A tough guy.”

“Yeah, poor old Tony, God rest him. Got taken out by the Micks from across the river.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“What do you do for a living, Frankie?”

“This and that. I sang a bit”

“You do OK?”

“I made a living. What about you Al?”

“I was a funeral director, Frankie.”

“What, you put people in boxes?”

“Yeah, eventually. My job was to make sure they were ready to go in boxes.  I was a fixer, you know, for the Family.”

“The Family. You mean?”

“Frankie, you’re an Italian boy. You know what I mean. The Mob, the Mafia, Cosa Nostra, it’s all the same. To me, it was the Family. I took care of those who caused problems for the Family. Like Mad Mick O’Connor who rubbed out Tony. You savvy?”

“Yeah, Al, I savvy.”

At that moment the room fell silent. The door to an inner office opened and a woman in a white suit, like a hospital nurse stepped out. The light behind her from the office lit up her head and figure, making it appear that she had a halo above her dark hair.

“Number 98.”

“Hey, Frankie, that’s you, babe.”

“It can’t be, Al. You’re 53; you’re ahead of me.”

Al grinned, a crooked little smile twisting his face. “It doesn’t work that way, man. Your number is not your place in the queue, but when you died.  Me, I went to the chair in 1953. Noo York State Pen. I’ve been a bad boy.  I gotta wait a lot longer.”

The woman called out again. “Number 98, Mr Sinatra

Written by my Father B.M

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