Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This story is about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Go to some other Internet Site. (Of course some people actually cultivate being offended; if that's the case, read right on). As far as detailed descriptive sex acts, I think you may find some good ones in other stories right here on Nifty, but as of now I do not envision a lot of explicit detail in this one.

If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence four. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our buttocks.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it (whatever for I wouldn't know), please e-mail me and also give proper attribution. As of now no one has permission to put this story on another Internet Site.

This story is almost entirely fictional, and autobiographical ONLY in the sense that many of the incidents in the story really happened, but in some cases to different people and under different circumstances. In other words I've simply adapted things that happened in my life to a fictional story. In fact, some aspects of both main characters are in part modeled from my own experiences. Some of my family members are also in this story, and perhaps (definitely) distorted a bit (a lot) at times and sometimes approaching caricature, but since I really don't expect them to sue, I'm taking the chance. All other characters are fictional, except as noted).

I welcome any feedback. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Rocco Paperiello


PART II -- Discoveries

Chapter -- 45a - Things Are a Changin'

Yesterday at Carlotta's house was actually more play than work. And it was strange. I frequently thought of myself as the kid who invented "don't-fit-in-ness." And I guess in many ways I don't. But lately it don't seem to matter so much. And last night I was thinking about that a lot. And I've realized a number of things. I'm different than I was just last year. I finally figured out a lot of the whys. Not all of them but enough for now. And that's something that's also different. I am not so worried about finally figuring everything out.

As I said I did discover some things. I always thought of myself as the "fix-it" guy. And I was very smug about my ability to think my way out of things. (Or into things; or whatever). But deep down inside I finally realized that I was mortally afraid of failure. Especially at living my life. I'm not too sure if I am a better person now, but at least I now know that I want to be a better person. So the fix-it guy will concentrate on that. Hopefully I can try to change rather than just react. I'm going to try to take charge more. For one thing I am going to be more concerned about the type of person I want to be, than what type other people are. And I think of all the people in my life right now, it is Jade that has brought me to this point the most. His Mama said that God gave Jade me, but I am convinced that it is Jade that God gave me.

Something Jade said -- about becoming a bible expert got me thinking too. I realized that I will never be a bible expert. Or even a "religion" expert. But I decided that I will just have to find out what I can and then make the best decisions I can. And I will be content with that. (Well, NOT true. I'll still worry a lot about my decisions, but I am now determined to not worry TOO much).

And it was little things that started me thinking about all this. First was how much fun I had at Carlotta's. My god, that was ME in someone's house having fun with not just friends but even a couple girls. And I realized I was happy. It didn't bother me that I seemed to like everything different than they did. And I realized that I was also so fortunate. It was something Carlotta said. I thought of her and her family as being so perfect. Like Ozzie & Harriet or the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver on TV. But Carlotta talked about being not able to fit in also. And that at times she felt alone. That she was worried that she would never find the right guy to marry. (I found it amazing and almost scary that we even talked about these things). And there was Consuelo. She was quite smart. She talked about going to college and said she wasn't going to let anything stop her. And I figured she was easily smart enough to succeed at what ever she wanted. And then I realized that I have a lot of abilities too. I do well at school and that gives me a lot of security thinking about the future. And I have friends. And I was not lonely anymore.

And the ONLY thing there that made me uncomfortable at all was Hernan, that's Carlotta's brother. At first I though of him as "no-ears." I though he was being called "Ear-none" Well, getting back to Hernan -- I had to NOT look at him! I don't think I've EVER been more physically attracted to another person. Even Jade. So whenever he was around, I concentrated on looking at everyone else but.

While there, we talked about everything. We talked about school of course. About sports. About the school newspaper. About TV shows. About President Kennedy. About his plan to invade Cuba, or his plan to put more "advisors" into Viet Nam. (Damn, last year I had to find a world atlas. I never heard of the country before). We even talked about Carlotta's new boyfriend.

Every once in awhile either Mr. or Mrs. Romero walked into what they called the family room (door open of course) to see if we "needed anything." But we also got a good article written. I was hoping to change it just a bit and put it in my own school newspaper, but I won't hold my breath. Anything more controversial than Mrs. Kennedy's pill box hats was summarily censored. But there's always hope. We did have a lively discussion. It was fun. We all saw the problem from our unique vantage point.

Here we were talking about race issues and I realized I was the only completely white person there. And Jade and I felt so easy talking about the subject, that I think both Consuelo and Carlotta were almost shocked, by how we interacted.

And when we finished watching that movie, I thought of something. It must have been bouncing around in my mind a while. So I asked: "I just thought about something. How come someone who is say part white and part something else is automatically thought of as the "something else" rather than as white." I got a couple blank stares. "Well answer me this. Hernan, are you white or Puerto Rican? And Consuelo, are you Puerto Rican or black? And Jade, how about Joey? He's as light as Hernan almost. Is he black or white?" Boy did that start something. I was almost wishing I'd never said anything. (Well, it sure got my mind off of Hernan for awhile).

And while we had been working on the article earlier I got myself into some trouble. I had specifically brought this quote with me I wanted to read and chose a way to introduce it that got me a lot of hassle.

I grabbed Jade and said: "Come on nigger-boy, admit that you are genetically inferior." Then I tried to quote something I had laboriously copied from a history book my mother got from a college library on exchange. (My Mom was heavy into history). But it took almost ten minutes of people clobbering me, both verbally and physically, before I could get back to it. But it was sure worth seeing everybody's reactions when I finally got it done. I quoted someone describing the attributes of the slaves which clearly explained just how they were so inferior. I only got about three sentences out when Consuelo interrupted.

"Crap. That's pure crap. No body can believe that." That's what Consuelo finally said. (She used bigger words but that was the gist of it).

"I'm merely reading what this guy wrote."

"Who wrote that doggerel?" That was also Consuelo again.

"Probably the guy who founded the KKK." put in Jade.

It took another couple minutes before I could continue. I finally was able to finish reading the paper and just watched all their expressions. I hoped my smug look wasn't too smug-looking. (OK, by that time I bet I could have rivaled Mussolini in smug-looking-ness). After a lot more debate on how stupid it was to characterize all colored people like that I lobbed the bomb. I announced: "Actually it was written almost 2000 years ago by a Roman Senator describing their Greek slaves."

"Holy smoke, let me see that again!" Jade almost took off a finger pulling the paper from me.

I couldn't help myself. "Damn nigger, sure you can read?" And Jade jabbed me with one of his hooks. Hard. I added: "See, the first refuge of someone so inferior is violence."

Then Consuelo whispered something into Jade's ear.

Jade said: "OK, sorry. Rocco we better cool it with the `niggers' and `honkys.'"

I understood. "Sorry Consuelo. But perfect case in point. We are trying to write about the different degrees to which different people of different races are getting along. Jade and I are so comfortable with each other by now, nothing we say really bothers the other. But it bothers you. I apologies but Jade will tell you, I only have a couple prejudiced bones left in my body." Jade and I looked at each other and we laughed.

Consuelo would not let that statement stand without an explanation. We did our best.

We paused to watch a movie the girls wanted to see on TV, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I thought it was great. I had to hide my face a time or two so nobody would see me with tears. During the movie Mrs. Romero brought us out some popcorn. It was that new EZ Pop Popcorn that you didn't need your own pan or oil or anything. And was pretty good.

On toward dinner time I went to my grip and pulled out two records. "OK, everyone else got the chance to play the favorites they brought and I suffered through some of them quietly. Now I just have two."

Carlotta asked: "What album is that? It looks a bit small."

"Actually it's an old 78, not a 33. It has one of my favorite songs." And I adjusted her record player, put in the small spindle, and started the record. A couple minor scratches since I've had it for years, but still very enjoyable.

After just a few words, Consuelo asked: "What IS that?"

"Burl Ives singing `Mr. Froggie Went A-Courtin'!' This was my favorite record when I was growing up." And I still loved hearing his singing.

Jade started reaching for the record.

I blocked his way. "No you don't. Keep your dirty scratchin' hooks off my record. I listened to all that stuff you guys put on."

The both girls went white. (OK, so Consuelo just went slightly lighter, or darker -- well from her expression she went something). Jade commented: "I think we did it again Rocco."

I tried to explain to the girls that we both knew nothing was meant by that remark. It was just in fun. Then I had to restart the record because we missed part of it. A couple minutes later and the "forced feeding" of Froggie Went A-Courtin' was done. The girls said they were happy that was over; that was until I insisted on playing my second record. "Don't worry, it's a 45 -- very short." Although relatively new, I explained that it was definitely NOT Rock-n'-Roll. A beautiful soprano voice filled the room. At least in my estimation.

Jade exclaimed: "Holy smoke, Rocco, now even I'm surprised."

"The record store."

"Funny. Where'd you come up with that? And who's the girl singing?""

"OK, I happen to like choral music. And the BOY singing this is one of the best boy sopranos there is, Norman Smith. He's singing Ave Maria, that's the `Hail Mary' in Latin. I can translate if you want." (One of the things I liked was that when I played it at home -- making sure NOBODY else was around -- I sang along with it. I even fantasized about being great singer myself).

I was disappointed. No one wanted a translation. "The other three songs are in French." During the record Consuelo kept giving me strange looks. I only got to play the first French song before Carlotta announced we were all going out to a pizzeria to buy dinner.

It came from Michael's Pizzeria, several blocks away. The neighborhood we were now in was mostly Italian. It was about seven blocks away from Torresdale Park. All four of us walked to the pizza place. We decided to take a long detour through the park since the weather was not too bad for a change. And suddenly I was distracted by the public restroom building as we went by. "Holy smoke Jade, look." And I pointed.

"What's up? I don't see anything."

All four of us had stopped and I pointed again. "I've been here a lot and I never noticed that before. On the side of that old restroom is a urinal -- an OUTDOOR urinal!"

"Three of us were taken aback, but Carlotta just said. "Not used to old Italian neighborhoods are you? That's common. Just like in old Italy. You see lots of other things too." We started walking again. "You'll frequently see mothers right out in the open nursing their babies. Very common." Jade and I gaped.

Consuelo added. "Maybe we can add that to the article. Show other differences in customs."

I was too embarrassed to even talk about a woman's breast to a girl.

We brought two large pizzas back with us. The pizzas disappeared quickly. Mrs. Romero had also baked a pie. That disappeared even faster. We started talking about different customs of different nationalities. Along with a lot of other stuff. Mr. Romero said he was the only non-white supervisor in the entire GE Division where he worked. He said it helped to have retired as a full colonel from the Air Force when applying for the job. Consuelo started to scare me. OK, maybe that's too strong. That she was very smart was evident by the questions she was asking; and some of THEM scared me. I was glad when she moved away from questions about who I had been / was currently / was thinking about / dating, and got sidetracked when Jade asked about the record I brought. I retrieved it from the living room. It was the typical 45 rpm size, in a red and black jacket with a picture of Norman Smith on the cover. I bought it at the record store up on Frankford Avenue last year. It was an early birthday present from my grandmother who I had gone shopping with. I said I always liked coral music since I heard a record my Dad had brought home with him quite a number of years ago. I almost surprised myself when I realized that I liked some of the same music my father liked. I also occasionally listened to some his old 78 Jazz records -- or at least had. I didn't volunteer all that information, but Consuelo "questioned" most of it out of me. I kept looking at Jade trying to ESP him to rescue me from the interrogation. I suspected by his smile that he thought it a big joke. He was going to get it later.

Now I had Jade giving me weird looks. I was realizing that I never listened to these records with Jade. I just assumed he'd not care for that kind of music; also, except for the couple records I brought, all the others were my Dad's and I did not want to ask him to borrow any of them.

When I got home later that night, Carlotta and Mr. Romero came inside with me. He took Consuelo home first and her cousin said she wanted to come with. It didn't hurt for me to be seen with her. It helped bolster the BIG LIE. I wondered if I could even manage a small kiss in front of everyone. Oh well, it was a thought.

Everyone talked for a bit. Boy, my father can be nice when he wants to.

Journal of Rocco P

February 16, 1961
Things were weird today at Carlotta's house. Good weird, but weird. (And I positively refuse to let myself even think about Hernan). They just discovered a new chemical element the other day and I think I'm starting to discover a new me. I can't believe I said some of those things. And I know Jade will let me have it tomorrow.

I'm starting to wonder about lots of things. I am SO afraid of failure. Especially at living my life. But I think I have finally got to the point where I have the courage to make decisions for myself. I feel so guilty sometimes, but when I think about Jade, I can't make myself judge him the way I keep judging myself. When I said I hoped he would find someone I was sincere and I had not the slightest glimmer of guilt for either him or for his having such a relationship. I got a lot of things to think about.

I was just ready to ask God to help me. But what I really need to do is get ME to help me.

Chapter 45b -- Things Are NOT A Changin'

I was sitting in the newspaper office today thinking about how I killed my White-boy yesterday. When he says something he has to be careful who is listening. But he seemed so upbeat I only partly killed him. I was thinking about some of the things he said at Carlotta's Saturday and Consuelo barged into the office and into my thoughts. And she must have known what I was thinking. That girl is SCARY! "So Jade, what's with that little friend of yours? My god, I never seen him like that. The Romeros think he's the strangest kid they'd seen in a long time. According to what Carlotta told me earlier today anyway."

Consuelo just forged ahead and kept asking questions. I finally had to put up my hook to get her to stop. "Consuelo. Is this a monologue or do you want me to contribute?"

"OK, so say something. I've been waiting."

Geesh. She was twice as bad as Rocco. "Look. I have to admit Rocco can be a bit weird sometimes. And he frequently just says the first thing that comes into his brain without putting it through any editing process. That's how he gets when he's happy. He'd been worrying about stuff lately, and I was glad to see him more like his normal self. (Well, Saturday he was a bit more "normal" than usual). But, Consuelo, he always means well."

Consuelo actually sat without saying anything for a moment. "Well, I know that. I even like him. But I thought he would never stop. And tell him under no circumstances will I ever want to here the nigger word from him again. I don't care if he was just joking."

"Look, Rocco and I had this all out yesterday. He admits he shouldn't have said a few of those things. And he asked me to say he apologizes again. But he also told me that he thought the whole affair was great. He really enjoyed the day there. He just gets hyper sometimes."

"I guess you're right. But Carlotta thought it strange. And I guess you can let Rocco know, Carlotta said that for some reason she felt she could really talk about certain things to him that she hardly could talk to anyone about. So she said she forgives him for making fun of one of her favorite songs. She always liked Elvis, and It's Now or Never is one of her all time favorites."

"There're a few songs he's liked, but I guess, in general, he hates a lot of today's music."

"And what's with a boy listening to Coral music?"

"That's another thing I killed him for yesterday. He tells me everything and that I didn't even know. He said he just assumed I'd not be interested and explained that he hadn't tried listening to his Dad's jazz albums for quite sometime."

We then started talking about all kinds of other things, and well, needless to say, neither Consuelo nor I got too much newspaper stuff done.

I was glad to see my "normal" White-boy back, but started wondering how, no matter how things seem to change, nothing changes after all. Rocco thinks I don't pay attention to the news, but I do. Well sometimes. I just don't like what I keep hearing. There is a new war in a place called Angola just starting. But I was more concerned about things a bit closer to home. Like at my high school. Rocco and I talked about possible problems between the black kids and white kids at Lincoln. Little things have been going on forever. We both just hoped that that's all would happen. And Rocco admitted he did like one of the new songs out. Consuelo played it Saturday. It was called Riders in the Sky.

And unfortunately nothing with my uncle seems to change. Just when I think things may be getting better, they aren't. Enough said on that topic. What's the point?

But there was one thing I brought up right away when I met Rocco after church on Sunday. (Rocco went to church; I didn't). So when we met on the way over to his friend's house to see about a possible half-ball game, I came right out: "White-boy, you and me have a couple things we need to talk about!"

He seemed surprised. We talked. He agreed to be more careful with what he says and in front of whom in the future. But there was one last thing I intended to really tease him about now that I finished killing him.

"And one more thing. How come you couldn't keep your eyes off of Carlotta's brother Saturday?" It was rewarding to see how red Rocco turned. He even stopped talking for almost five seconds.

"Do you think anyone else noticed?" He finally asked.

"I don't think so. At least I hope not. But gees, I thought YOU were the one practicing the BIG LIE. You should have been staring at Carlotta."

"Look Jade, I'm sorry, but darn I find him so attractive. Now I can better understand how some guys just go totally bonkers over some girl. It must be the same thing."

I was wondering how many people would see it as "the same thing."

Jimmy caught up with us and we played a couple games of half-ball at Stan's house, and when I started getting too cold we tried Rocco's place. We went into his basement where he broke out the game Tactics II which we hadn't messed with in quite sometime. We decided to use the Atom Bomb option and Rocco started World War III. Typical I thought. While we were playing Rocco kept hinting about my 17th birthday coming up and finally just came out and asked about what we might do.

Chapter -- 46 How Come I Feel Like I Lost?

It was right near the end of February when I finally got up the nerve to approach Father Hearn again. It was at the end of Religion class.

"Father, can I talk to you sometime again?"

"Of course. Do you need to talk now?" I could see he genuinely cared. Gees, he even had a class next period he would have skipped.

"No hurry really. How about tomorrow after school? Would that be OK?"

"Sure, I'll be here until three. We can talk after that. OK?"


I couldn't believe how my heart was racing. As I walked to my next class, I had a stray thought -- I hope I cared about people as much as Father Hearn did, when I got older. How come so many people don't? Just think how much nicer the world would be. Then I wondered if that really was what was meant by original sin -- I mean the effect on the world from people just not being as good and as caring as they could be.

But later that day, I had quite a scare. Thanks to my evil brother.

I was hurrying to the nurse's office, trying not to actually run. The corridor was deserted. Everyone else was either in class, at lunch, or even a few at Mass that is said in the school Chapel every day at noon. But my mind was only on one thing. Actually two. The foul taste still in my mouth, and getting the school nurse to call an ambulance.

If Dad or Mom don't actually do something this time, I was going to kill my brother. It had to be him, there was no other possibility. I had been at lunch talking to Jabloski, and Szamborski from the school paper. I had taken the wax paper off my second sandwich and just bit into it. Total and complete revulsion. And even before I could spit it out, I threw up over the table. Every one jumped and there were all kinds of yelling. I barely heard anything. I was SICK! I literally ran to the boy's room and tried to wash out my mouth as much as possible. But I kept heaving every few minutes even though there was nothing to come up. I was getting cold chills shuddering through my whole body. I got very scared. This had happened once before.

About four years ago I had nibbled on the end of a Cashew Nut and spit it out the taste was so vile. I then rinsed my mouth out with salt water. Five minutes later I was feeling REALLY BAD. My Mom got so frightened when she saw me she called our family doctor. Doctor Boyle at the time, and he came over immediately. But he had also called an ambulance before he left. That saved my life. By the time I was in the ambulance I could not breathe. A big needle, that almost killed me from fright alone, was stuck deep in my chest, and almost miraculously I could breathe again.

That started Mom sending me to the allergy clinic every week. I was just as severely allergic to peanuts. In fact, whenever there was peanut butter open in the kitchen, I couldn't even enter the room. I would throw up within seconds. Everyone knew this.

But my brother occasionally liked to test me. He still claimed I was faking it. Not for some time now, but he used to put slabs of peanut butter where I would come in contact. On my clothing, under the edge of the table where I sat, even under my pillow. All with horrible results; horrible for me that is. He just laughed.

But this time it became dangerous. He put a slab of peanut butter in one of my sandwiches I had made, and this time I actually got it in my mouth.

I finally got to the nurse's office and barged in without knocking.

"You can't just barge right in here, now go back out and knock."

Damn. I wondered if this was that librarian's twin sister. "I'm sorry but this is an emergency. I need you to call an ambulance. Please hurry!"

"Now hear me young man, you can't barge in here and demand things. You appear to be all right to me. Just what's supposed to be the matter?"

And I told her as briefly as I could.

"Nonsense. You're just trying to get out of school. If you don't get back to class immediately, I will have no choice but to report you to Father Brand! Now get out."

She must have learned her bedside manner from the Marquis de Sade. (We just were reading about him). I tried to argue. Big bad nurse 20, little kid 0. I finally realized she would do nothing.

So I ran out and down to the public phones at the end of the hallway and called emergency. The police answered. Now THEY were nice. Soon I was able to convince them to send an ambulance to the school. (In our city the police department ran the ambulance service).

"I'll be at the nurse's office on the first floor. Just down from the main offices."

I turned and found Hitler's reincarnation looming over me. She actually grabbed my arm -- hard -- and literally dragged me to the main office. Inside she said she needed to see Father Brand. He was not there.

"Then who IS here?" She was quite adamant I was going to suffer the consequences of "challenging authority."

"Well, there's Father McNeill, the principal."

"Well I need to see him at once." She was pretty loud. The principal came out of his office just to see what the commotion was all about. By this time I was starting to feel really REALLY sick, and started yelling myself.

McNeill intervened: "Please, everyone quiet. What is going on?" He addressed his question to the nurse.

"This malingerer came to my office and lied, trying to get out of school like they all do. When I sent him away he went down the hall and I even heard him on the phone to the police emergency. I suspect he was just pretending to bolster his story."

By that time there was heard knocking on the office door. Students and teachers usually just entered. I got to the door and there were two people with a big kit and a stretcher.

I tried explaining. "It's me. I'm in real trouble. I'm very allergic to peanuts and just accidentally ate some. Last time I went into shock." Not exactly true but the best I could do at the time.

Everyone started arguing again. I was getting real bad by then. I slumped down with violent chills, and wracking spasms throughout my body. I started having trouble breathing.

"Get him on the stretcher and strap him in. I'll get an IV ready. And get the epi." That was one of the medics.

"He's just faking." She told one of the medics. Then to me: "Young man, either stop this now or you'll be in serious trouble."

The other guy seemed quite angry. He wasn't quite so polite. "Shut up and get out of our way. Father, if you could finish strapping him in and then push up his shirt sleeve." By this time I was starting to panic and couldn't help thrashing around.

The nurse suddenly became unsure. "You mean he's not lying?"

"You're supposed to be a nurse? Can't you recognize someone going into anaphylactic shock?" Then to the other medic: "While I'm getting in the IV, you get the epi ready."

I watched as a needle went into a vein in my arm. I was having so much trouble breathing I never noticed any pain. I also now had rapidly fluctuating waves of hot and cold. And other very miserable reactions not able to be put into words. I recognized it all and got scared to death. This was what happened before. I was told the faster it happens the worse it will be. I was trying to think about the last time. I think about 10 minutes then. Fifteen already now. I vaguely heard someone say "Epi-something, stat." Then someone stuck the IV line with a needle. But by that time I was in full panic. I could breath out, but not in. If not strapped in I'd have killed for a breath of air. A half-breath. And then suddenly I could breathe.

"He's breathing again. He should be OK, but we will be transporting him to Nazareth Hospital. If you could perhaps notify his parents." That was one of the medics talking to Father McNeill.

I was being wheeled down the corridor. I don't even remember someone putting the oxygen mask over my nose and mouth. I was suddenly exhausted, but relieved. Damn my brother! By this time there were students all over the place. The rumors would be flying.

About a half hour later my Mom came flying into the ward where they put me. In it were seven other kids and one TV high on the cabinet at the very end of the room. Some stupid cartoon show. One thing about my Mom, whenever I get hurt, she needs more care than I do. This time she looked if she would be going into shock herself.

"Hi Mom, I'm OK."

"What happened? Someone from school just said that you were brought here in an emergency police van from school. You were recovering from shock. What happened at school?" She was calming down a lot as she saw me apparently well.

"I went into anaphylactic shock (even if I couldn't spell it, I definitely knew the word). It was from a slab of peanut butter Carl sneaked into my sandwich."

"Now how can you know that?" Here we go again.

"MOM, I ALMOST DIED! This is serious. Ask the doctor or the medics who brought me here. I COULD NOT BREATHE!"

"Well I just glad you're all right now."

"Well I'm not. I went into shock from the peanut butter Carl put into my school sandwich!"

"Well, we'll have to ask him. I am sure there's an innocent explanation."

I was getting furious, but then I just got cold. "Mom please listen to me. Carl put the peanut butter in my sandwich. He's been doing stuff like that for ages. You and Dad have to do something!"

"Of course we'll question him. But it must have just been a prank. He couldn't know it would lead to this. That is if he actually did it. And I can't see how you can know that."

I was just about ready to explode. But this time the angrier I got, the colder I felt. "OK, please listen. Carl did this. Almost killing me is hardly a prank. He had to know what would happen if I bit into that sandwich. If you don't PROMISE right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, that you and Dad will punish him for what he did, I promise I will walk right down that hall, call the police, and file assault charges. I am now deadly serious. I promise I will try to do everything I can to get him arrested for attempted man-slaughter."

"Rocco, you don't know what you're saying. You can't mean that. This was all just an accident."

I jumped up and started marching down the hall. Again, as usual, I was not believed. I was really tired of my parents not believing me. My Mom just looked. She was sure I was just putting on a show. I called the police. It took so long but eventually I got a detective.

"My name is Rocco Papariello. I'm at the Nazareth Hospital. Someone almost killed me."

I was getting frustrated. Now the policeman wouldn't believe me. "Here's the nurse. Ask her."

They talked a while. I was back on the phone. Eventually. "I'm in the hospital because I had been going into anaphylactic shock. Yes, I could have died if the medics didn't get there so soon. Yes, it actually happened."

A lot more stupid adult questions.

"Thank you. I'll be waiting. Yes fourth floor, B ward. Here`s the nurse again" I handed Miss. Pinched Face the phone. (That's what I was calling her). I went back to the ward.

As I got back in bed my Mom said. "They said they would release you after dinner if you are still all right. Where are your clothes?" I had on that embarrassing expose-your-butt gown but fortunately there were also robes.

Would she be shocked again when the police came. I never mentioned I really talked to them. I didn't want to give her a chance to stop them from coming.

About a half hour later I could see two uniformed police step off the elevator and go to the nurses' desk. My Mom saw them too. She gave me this totally incredulous look.

"You didn't really call them did you?"

"I said I would."

"What did you tell them?"

"Exactly what happened. Maybe one of these days you will actually believe something I tell you!"

They arrived. But they faced my mother. "Could you explain what the problem is, Ma'am?"

They totally ignored me.

"I'm sorry. There has been a terrible mistake. You see . . ."

I butted in loudly. "No, that`s not true! I called. My brother almost killed me! It's the truth. Just ask the doctor. Ask the nurses. Ask the medics and the policeman who brought me here in the van. Ask the school principal at my high school. Even ask my brother. I ALMOST DIED! My brother almost killed me."

My Mom and the policeman started talking at the same time. Finally the policeman won. "Ma'am, is this correct?"

"My son just had a bad fright. It was just an accident. . . ."


"Mrs. Papariello, considering what this young man has just said, we will have to at least investigate."

I finally smiled for the first time in a couple hours.

Unfortunately, later that day, after all that had happened, I was no longer smiling. As I lay in bed I was thinking long and hard about everything. And even though I finally got my parents to listen to me, it still felt like I lost. And my father was more furious at me for involving the police than he was at Carl. How is that fair?

I had tried calling Jade a little earlier but there was a busy signal. I suspected that the receiver was off the hook. His uncle did that sometimes. It was so late by the time I talked to him I gave him only the barest essentials. And I didn't realize I'd forgotten about the circulars until Jade said that he and Joey had delivered them.

Journal of Rocco P

February 23, 1961
God? You still listening to me? Why do I feel so crappy? I finally got Mom and Dad to listen to me, and I feel worse than when they didn't.

I wonder if Dad will ever talk to me again. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad. And I can't figure Mom at all right now.

Copyright 2006 by Rocco Paperiello