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By Charles R. Vermilyea Jr.

Woody is concerned. This dedicated driver at an auto auction near Boston sees a Caddy parked in the 

Chrysler pile. Horrors!

“Look at that shit, would ya!” says Woody to his buddy Jimmy. “Some asshole left a Caddy in the Chrysler 

pile, parked crooked in the wrong direction. I gotta fix this.”

Yeah,” says Jimmy. “Parked crooked.” Then, with a grin: “A all the nerve.” 

Woody marches toward the Caddy, his head down and thrust forward, like he’s walking into a stiff wind. 

He yanks open the driver’s door, then falls on his ass and points, his eyes wide like saucers.

Woody: “Oh! Oh! Oh! It can’t be!”

Drivers run toward Woody. 

“Look!” he says pointing. “There’s a body!”

All work stops. A crowd gathers. In the passenger’s seat, a man is slumped forward, his brains splattered 

across the inside of the windshield. On his left pinkie is a serpent ring with rubies for eyes.  

A driver, Marsala, joins the crowd and sees the ring.

Marsala: “His goddamn serpent ring! It’s him!” 

She becomes giddy, and, with a demented smile: “Leave the ring and take the cannoli!”

She calms down and turns to address the crowd as sirens can be heard approaching.

“This is my husband!” she exclaims. “Ray! Gone for 10 years! The gangsters who killed him know I work 

here, and brought him back to me, the worthless piece a shit! That’s his snake ring with the stupid ruby 


She points to her husband’s left hand. 

Woody and others: “We’re sorry, Marci.”

“Don’t be! He was a success, a contractor! This is a man, I tell you, who wiped his ass with hundred dollar 

bills! But that was not good enough, and he leaves me and the boys for broads, booze and gambling. He 

thought he was Frank Sinatra, and wound up with holes in his head. But I put the boys through high 

school and Boston College. Alone! And, get this! Continued payments on his $500,000 life insurance 


Marsala stands tall. Her arms upraised, each hand making a V sign, like Richard Nixon at the end of his 

reign. She looks up to heaven, tears streaming from her eyes.

“Marsala Mangano has parked her last car!”

Charles R. Vermilyea Jr. is a retired Hartford Courant news copy editor. B.A. English/history, University of Connecticut (1967). Army veteran, 2/10 Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers (Korea, 1962/63). Son Jon, a West Coast artist. Daughter Elizabeth, an East Coast actress.





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